FIFA president Gianni Infantino, whose election promises included expanding the World Cup finals to 40 countries, on Monday proposed an even larger tournament involving 48 teams.However, he suggested that 16 of those teams would go home after just one knockout match, and the remainder of the tournament would be played, as now, with a 32-team group stage, followed by a knockout phase.Infantino, speaking during an event at Bogota’s Sergio Arboleda university, said a final decision would be taken by the FIFA Council in January, Colombian media reported. A FIFA spokesperson confirmed that the reports were accurate.”These are ideas to find the best solution, we will debate them this month and we will decide everything by 2017,” Infantino was quoted as saying. “They are ideas which we put forward to see which one is the best.”Infantino said his suggestion was to have a preliminary knockout round involving 32 teams played in the host country, with the 16 winners reaching the group stage. A further 16 seeded teams would get a bye into the group stage, he said.”The idea is that 16 teams would qualify directly to the group stage and the other 32 would play in a preliminary phase, in the country where the World Cup is being played – they would play for the remaining 16 places,” he said.”It means we continue with a normal World Cup for 32 teams, but 48 teams go to the party.”FIFA’s idea is to develop football in the whole world, and the World Cup is the biggest event there is,” he added. “It’s more than a competition, it’s a social event.”advertisementInfantino was elected FIFA chief on Feb. 26 to replace Sepp Blatter, who received a six-year ban for ethics violations.A key point of Infantino’s election platform was to increase the tournament to 40 teams, although critics say this number creates difficulties in finding a suitable and simple format.Germany coach Joachim Loew said on Sunday that a larger tournament would “dilute” its sporting value, while European clubs have strongly opposed an increase in the number of teams.
National chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq is “disappointed” at Pakistan not playing India in Test matches but believes that his country can snatch back the number one ranking from them by doing well against other countries.”What can one say on this Indian refusal since 2007 to play us in Test matches. It is disappointing for me as I have played and captained against India in both countries and I know how much these matches mean to people of both countries and cricket world,” Inzamam said in an interview. (India dethrone Pakistan, reclaim top spot in Test rankings)”There is nothing we can do but Pakistan is still capable of beating other teams and get back the number one Test spot from India,” the former Test captain said. (India eye top Test rank in the upcoming home series against New Zealand)He said Pakistan deserved a lot of credit for even having overcome the issue of not being able to play at home since last six years. (India far better than Pakistan in Test cricket: Sourav Ganguly to India Today)”India is playing 13 Tests at home in the next few months, we have not played at home since 2009. But I still believe this Pakistan team can do well anywhere and against anyone,” he said. “The way we fought back from 1-2 down to level the series in England was a heartening performance. India has not done that well outside their country in Tests. They lost their last series in England.” (Historic first for Pakistan as Misbah gets the Test mace in Lahore)advertisementInzamam said Pakistan was blessed with some quality young players and had the right balance with experienced performers as well.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been charged with improper conduct by the FA after he was sent off at the weekend for the second time in a month.The Portuguese was banished from the dugout in the 27th minute of Sunday’s 1-1 home Premier League draw with West Ham United after booting a water bottle down the touchline following what he felt was an unjust booking for midfielder Paul Pogba.”It is alleged his behaviour … amounts to improper conduct,” the FA said in a statement on Monday. “He has until 6pm on 1 December 2016 to respond to the charge.”Mourinho was also dismissed for verbally abusing referee Mark Clattenburg at halftime during a match against Burnley at the end of last month.The former Chelsea, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Porto boss was banned from the touchline for one match and fined a total of 58,000 pounds ($71,972) for two separate incidents of misconduct in October. (Mourinho sent off again on a bad day for United)He admitted using abusive and/or insulting language towards Clattenburg and was fined 8,000 pounds for the incident and banned from the touchline for one game.Mourinho was also charged and fined a further 50,000 pounds for comments he made about referee Anthony Taylor ahead of a game against Liverpool.United are sixth in the Premier League with 20 points from 13 matches, 11 adrift of leaders Chelsea.Mourinho’s team entertain West Ham again in the League Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Luka Modric believes Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are out of this world, but feels his campaign deserved to be recognised with FIFA’s Best Men’s Player award.The Real Madrid and Croatia star claimed the prize ahead of Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah on Monday.Modric helped Madrid win the Champions League before claiming the Golden Ball at the World Cup, where he led Croatia to the final. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! While the midfielder was full of praise for Ronaldo and Messi, who were both notably absent from the ceremony, he said his season was also worthy of recognition.”I am happy because other players are recognised, the ones before deserved to win but couldn’t do it,” Modric said.”The goals are important, especially players like Cristiano and Messi are apart from this world. They are the two players of the world.”But other players have to be recognised when they have a good year. I am happy it happened this way and I hope it happens in the future with other midfielders or defenders.”Congratulations, Luka Modric Winner of #TheBest FIFA Men’s Player 2018 #FIFAFootballAwards pic.twitter.com/D489MswXug — #TheBest (@FIFAcom) September 24, 2018 Croatia fell just short of a fairytale World Cup title, losing to France in the final in Russia.Modric, 33, said he would happily give up his individual honours for the World Cup title.”Of course I would change everything to have won in Russia. For me, the team is always more important,” he said.”And I would of course change all my individual trophies for that trophy to be World Cup champions.”But of course this is also recognition for all the hard work, for the season that I had for Real Madrid and the national team. And for this I am happy that people recognise me as the best for this year.”
Hull City and Swansea City earned valuable victories in their battle for Premier League survival but Middlesbrough slid further towards the drop after a 4-0 hammering at Bournemouth on Saturday.Hull’s 2-0 win over Stoke City and Swansea’s identical scoreline against Watford increased the pressure on Crystal Palace and Burnley, who are hovering above the relegation zone and play Liverpool and Manchester United respectively on Sunday.With four games remaining 17th-placed Hull are just a place above the drop zone with 33 points to the 31 of Swansea. Boro are in 19th spot on 24 points and Sunderland are bottom on 21.Hull had a tough task after Oumar Niasse was surprisingly shown a straight red card after 25 minutes for a challenge on M’Baye Niang.But the Tigers took the lead just past the hour when Liverpool loanee Lazar Markovic scored from close range after his header had bounced down on the goal line.Hull made sure of the points nine minutes later when Sam Clucas found the top corner with superb 30-metre shot. They have now won four consecutive home league games.Spanish striker Fernando Llorente gave Swansea the lead with a trademark header from a corner in the 10th minute and the Welsh side were given a break when Marko Arnautovic missed a second-half penalty.Swansea made sure of the win when Tom Carroll’s shot found the top corner via a deflection off Joe Allen.Time is running out for Boro who have not won in 16 league games and they endured a nightmare opening 20 minutes in which they conceded two goals and had midfielder Gaston Ramirez sent off for a second booking.advertisementJosh King scored just 96 seconds into the match and Benik Afobe doubled the advantage for the Cherries.Winger Marc Push made it 3-0 and Charlie Daniels completed the rout.While, West Ham and Everton played out a 0-0 draw in a desperately poor Premier League encounter at the London Stadium on Saturday.It took 28 minutes for the first effort on goal and recalled Everton goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg saved comfortably from Havard Nordtveit’s shot from outside the box.Visiting manager Ronald Koeman made a double change at the break, introducing Gareth Barry and Ademola Lookman, and the tempo improved in the second period.Lookman forced two opportunities in quick succession and put both wide, while Stekelenburg saved from Manuel Lanzini but there were few nervous moments for either side.
Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir got his first five-wicket haul in tests since returning to international cricket from a spot-fixing ban as the West Indies progressed to 278-9 in the rain-hit first Test on Saturday. (SCORECARD)Rain and a wet pitch permitted only an hour’s play in the second session, and the rain returned to wash out the rest of the day.Amir, back on the international scene for 15 months, took the only two wickets on the second day to have 5-41 so far.Captain Jason Holder, on 55 not out, completed his fifth Test half-century before rain forced the players off the field. No. 11 batsman Shannon Gabriel was unbeaten on 4.Overnight rain seeped through the covers at Sabina Park and left wet patches on the bowler’s run-up and pitch, preventing any play before lunch.A brief shower after lunch added to the delay, and when play finally resumed, Holder and Devendra Bishoo, on 28, frustrated Pakistan’s fast bowlers with the second new ball for nearly eight overs.Resuming from 244-7 overnight, Holder and Bishoo stretched their eighth-wicket stand to 75 runs as the West Indies captain reached his half-century off 60 balls with six fours and two sixes. He notched his fifth Test fifty in style when he lofted debutant seamer Mohammad Abbas for a straight six.Amir struck in successive overs. He first found a thin edge of left-hander Bishoo’s bat, and clean-bowled Alzarri Joseph for a duck off a full-pitched delivery.Less than two overs later, the day was done.
Cricket Australia’s (CA) team performance manager Pat Howard has written a strongly worded email, warning all international and national cricketers of a six-month suspension if found playing in any exhibition matches.The Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) has been involved in a bitter conflict with the national cricket board over the terms of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to be signed by the cricketers.The current MoU expires on June 30 and this conflict may lead to Australia fielding depleted teams for the upcoming tours of Bangladesh and India and even the home Ashes series.”Players (including uncontracted players) cannot play in ICC approved cricket (e.g. domestic T20 competitions operated by overseas cricket boards) without approval from Cricket Australia,” Howard wrote.”Players who participate in disapproved cricket (e.g. exhibition matches) are not permitted to participate in ICC approved cricket for a minimum of six months thereafter.”If your contract expires on June 30, you will not be an employee of CA, a State Association or a W/BBL Team from July 1,” the email further read.”This means that you are not required to play, train, perform player appearances or media commitments, and you will not be paid a retainer until such time as a MoU is agreed and a player contract is agreed with you in writing”.The main cause of this conflict is the fixed revenue sharing model that has been at the centre of all the agreements of the players in the past 20 years.The CA wants to scrap this provision for state and women cricketers and only wants to give international male cricketers a share of the pie because most of the revenue is generated by international cricket played by men.advertisementBut the ACA is firm that the provision should be a part of the MoU with elite international cricketers like Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Starc going on record to criticise the board.
Mithali Raj’s golden run in 2017 continues as her sixth One-Day International ton helped the India beat New Zealand by 186 runs and qualify for the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup in England.Virat Kohli is the gold standard of consistency in ODIs. And Mithali Raj has set the bar even higher as India’s cricket captains continue tolead from the front.Mithali, who has been in scintillating form in this tournament, scored 109 off 123 balls to help India score 265/7 from their 50 overs. She hit 11 fours in her 123-ball innings.Before this match, she hit three fifties in the tournament but failed to convert them in a century but today, she stepped up when the team needed her the most, helping them earn an important victory for her team in a must-win clash.The Indian captain has been on a mission to take Indian cricket to the top much like her male counterpart — Virat Kohli. Much like Kohli, who likes leading from the front, the Hyderabad girl has hit 676 runs from 13 matches. On the other hand, Kohli has amassed 695 runs from 14 games.Earlier, Mithali became the first batswoman to score 6000 runs in ODIs in the course of India’s World Cup league game against Australia at Bristol.The India captain, is now the leading run-scorer in women’s cricket, having overtaken Charlotte Edwards of England.Mithali broke the barrier in women’s cricket because she happens to be the only Asian in the list of top-10 run-scorers.The top-10 is dominated by women from England (3), Australia (3) and New Zealand. Stafanie Roxann Taylor is the only West Indian in the list.advertisementMithali had earlier become the first woman in cricket history to hit seven consecutive fifties in ODIs. She hit 71 off 73 balls against England in their World Cup opener. She scored 44 against West Indies but was out for eight against Pakistan — bringing an end to her golden run. But she came back with a bang, scoring 53 against Sri Lanka to make it eight fifties from 10 inning. However, she fell for a golden duck in the previous match against South Africa.Raj’s first of the seven fifties came against Sri Lanka when she hit 70 not out at Colombo in February, 2017. Following that she scored an unbeaten 64 (South Africa), 73 (Bangladesh), 51* (South Africa), 54 (South Africa), 62* (South Africa), 71 (England).The 34-year-old right hander now has 6137 runs from 184 ODIs before this ODI. Her highest being 114* against Ireland in Milton Keynes back in 26 June, 1999. She has five centuries to her name and averages over 50.VIRAT KOHLI IN 2017Captain Kohli after a very successful 2016, began the year with a bang when he hammered 122 against England in the first of the three-match ODI series in Pune.After that, he took 12 innings more to score a century. His match-winning and 28th ODI ton helped India clinch the five-match ODI series against West Indies 2-1.Kohli has hit two centuries and five fifties in this calendar year so far. Also watch:
South Africa took full advantage of an abject England batting display on Monday to complete a crushing 340-run win in the second Test at Trent Bridge which levelled the series 1-1 with two games remaining.Defeat was Joe Root’s first as captain in his second game in charge, and England’s eighth loss in 13 matches. But it was the manner of their capitulation inside 45 overs and with a day and a half to spare that will trouble Root most.Instead of mounting the required rearguard action, England collapsed to 133 all out, with the last three wickets falling without the addition of a run.The wickets were shared among four bowlers with man-of-the-match Vernon Philander (3/24), Keshav Maharj (3/42) and Chris Morris (2/7) taking the honours.South Africa outplayed England in every aspect of the game, with the tourists’ first innings lasting one ball longer, at 96.2 overs, than England’s two combined.Hopes that England might chase down a world-record 474 runs for victory were dispelled by the second over when Philander removed Keaton Jennings’ off-stump, following up soon afterwards by having Gary Ballance for lbw.Both Jennings (3) and Ballance (4) will find their positions under pressure after contributing just 44 and 85 runs respectively in four innings this series.With their departure, England looked to Root and former captain Alastair Cook for resistance but the excellent Morris claimed both batsmen before lunch, bowling Root (8) and bouncing out Cook (42) with a vicious lifter.The hosts fell away alarmingly after the interval when Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali surrendered their wickets to poor shots while Philander removed the dangerous Ben Stokes with the sharpest of return catches.advertisementThe final indignity came when Stuart Broad, Mark Wood and Jimmy Anderson all fell on 133, leaving former England captain Michael Vaughan to post on Twitter, “This is absolutely terrible…Far too much talent in this team to play like this.”Root offered a more diplomatic assessment, saying: “It has been a tough week. We weren’t good enough with the bat for the whole game. We prepared very well and had two good practice days.”England have delayed selection ahead of the third test, which starts at the Oval on July 27, and could make changes.By contrast, South Africa’s captain Faf du Plessis was delighted, dedicating the win to absent coach Russell Domingo, who missed the game following a family bereavement. “It was for Russell,” he said.Du Plessis added he admired the way his side refused to relinquish their stranglehold once they got on top.”It was important to get into a position of strength and not lose our momentum,” he said.
Champions Chelsea can make up for their slow start in the Premier League provided they can keep Spain forward Alvaro Morata fit, former club striker Tore Andre Flo said in an interview.The London club are currently nine points behind leaders Manchester City after eight matches, prompting fans to wonder if they have already fallen behind in the title race.Former Norway striker Flo believes Chelsea could still mount a title charge and pointed to last season when they went on a 13-match winning streak after dropping seven points in the first six.”It’s been a bit up and down. Much of it has been very, very good but surprisingly we have also dropped some points,” Flo, who scored 50 goals in 163 appearances for Chelsea, told Reuters.”We knew it would be difficult to have the same season as last year. But last year at the beginning Chelsea dropped some points too but then went on to win a lot of consecutive matches.”It’s still possible to end at the top of the table at the end of the season. But it’s difficult, the Manchester teams are doing very well.”Manchester United are currently second, two points behind neighbours City, with Tottenham Hotspur making up the top three in the league.Chelsea suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at Crystal Palace on Saturday, their third loss in the league and only two less than the whole of the last campaign when Italian manager Antonio Conte took them to the title in his first year in west London.advertisement”Obviously we would like to lead the table at the moment but we saw it last year, we can still catch up and do well,” Flo said.”Chelsea are in the Champions League this season and as a club we will really want to do well in that one. We weren’t in the Champions League last year.”Flo, who was in Mumbai as part of Chelsea’s trophy tour and a club foundation programme, blamed injuries for the club’s poor start.Morata, who left Real Madrid for Chelsea in the off-season, has already scored seven goals but missed the Palace defeat through a hamstring injury. N’Golo Kante and Victor Moses are also out with similar problems.The 24-year-old Morata is expected to return from injury and lead the attack against AS Roma in the Champions League later on Wednesday.”Morata is a very good striker and the challenge for Chelsea is to keep him fit. Chelsea will definitely miss him when he’s not playing, when he’s injured,” Flo, who works as a coach for Chelsea’s youth teams, said.Compared to City’s 29 goals, Chelsea have managed 13 and six of them from the 58-million pound ($76.45 million) striker.”If we can keep him fit and he can play a lot of matches then he will score a lot of goals,” Flo said.Belgian Michy Batshuayi has failed to impress as a back-up to Morata but Flo pleaded for more time for Chelsea’s new signings.”Chelsea got quite a few players but if you look at some of the other clubs too that have bought a lot of players,” he said.”If we give little bit of time, I think the players that Chelsea bought will start doing a good job for the team.”I don’t think Chelsea have a problem in front of goal. Batshuayi has shown he can score goals and Chelsea can use him a back-up for Morata.”
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel seized his 50th Formula One pole position at the Mexican Grand Prix on Saturday with title rival Lewis Hamilton third on the grid and poised for a fourth world championship.The German now has a great chance to win Sunday’s race, barring any recurrence of Ferrari’s recent reliability problems, but he also knows the title outcome is out of his hands.Hamilton has a 66-point lead over Vettel, a four-times champion, and the Mercedes driver will become Britain’s first quadruple title holder with two races to spare if he finishes fifth.”It depends on Lewis. For us, we go all out. We deserve a good result so let’s see what we can do tomorrow,” Vettel told reporters.Hamilton, last year’s winner from pole, had expected a difficult session and congratulated the German on his milestone.”I tried to deny him but it wasn’t to be. It was a difficult session and it has been a difficult weekend,” said the Briton, who holds the all-time record of 72 pole positions and was chasing his 10th of the season.”They did a great job and their car was working better than ours this weekend, but I am still there in the fight,” added the 32-year-old, who feared overtaking would be difficult at the high-altitude Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who had looked like becoming the sport’s youngest pole-sitter until Vettel’s late final lap of one minute 16.488 seconds, qualified alongside Vettel on the front row.Hamilton was 0.446 seconds off Vettel’s time.advertisementSTEWARDS INVESTIGATIONVerstappen had risked losing his front-row slot after being summoned to the stewards for allegedly impeding Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas in the second phase of the session, but they decided to take no further action.The Dutch driver, who has had several run-ins with stewards and was demoted from third to fourth after last weekend’s U.S. Grand Prix for exceeding track limits, was already frustrated not to be starting from the top slot.”Second is good but not given the way it went. I really wanted that pole position,” said the 20-year-old, who played down the incident.”It’s his own problem if he outbrakes himself at the next corner. I was on the inside and didn’t hold him up,” he told Sky Sports television. “I moved to the inside and was past the point where you go to the right. I don’t see an incident.”Bottas, who said Verstappen had definitely ruined his lap, will start alongside Hamilton in fourth place with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen fifth.French driver Esteban Ocon qualified sixth and ahead of Force India team mate and local hero Sergio Perez, who will line up a disappointing 10th.The two team mates had several spats earlier in the season, with Ocon accusing the Mexican of trying to kill him at the Belgian Grand Prix in August and receiving death threats on social media.The pair have subsequently mended fences and Perez has called on his fans to show respect to his team mate.Australian Daniel Ricciardo qualified seventh with the Renault pairing of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz in eighth and ninth.Ricciardo said he had struggled to get the tyres up to temperature.”This afternoon should have been a breeze to warm the tyres up and get them going so that’s where it’s more confusing,” he said.”If we figure it out and get back to the car we had for the rest of the weekend then I think we can race up to a podium. I was helpless in that qualifying.”New Zealander Brendon Hartley, in only his second race for Toro Rosso, qualified 13th after stopping on track during the second phase with engine problems that could herald a grid penalty.
The current WWE champion, India’s Jinder Mahal, is all set to defend his title against Kevin Owens in the World Wrestling Entertainment Live India event on December 8, it was announced on Tuesday.Jinder retained the title against Shinsuke Nakamura at Hell in a Cell recently and will be up against Canadian professional wrestler at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium.Apart from them, Roman Reigns will face Braun Strowman in the second match..@FightOwensFight looks to hinder @JinderMahal’s #WWEChampionship reign at #WWELive #India this #December!Book now: https://t.co/r7RdyuQVEp pic.twitter.com/cIDkh4tFmG- WWE (@WWEIndia) October 26, 2017Different eras, same sheen!#IndiaWelcomesJinder #ModernDayMaharaja @JinderMahal pic.twitter.com/Mz0twLEbwr- WWE (@WWEIndia) October 15, 2017In the RAW Tag Team championship match, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins will lock horns with Cesaro and Sheamus and Finn Balor will face Bray Wyatt. Women wrestlers will also take part during the live event. Sasha Banks will face Alexa Bliss in the RAW championship match.In Cruiserweight Championship match, Kalisto will face Enzo Amore while Jason Jordan will face Elias. Though the match card can be subject to change.
India women became the Asian champions on Sunday as they beat China 5-4 in a nail-biting hockey Asia Cup final in Japan.It was 1-1 at full time after China found a late equaliser through Tiantian Luo, who converted a penalty corner in the 47th minute.With the victory today, the Indian women’s hockey team have qualified for next year’s World Cup.The triumph of the Indian women’s team follows the Asia Cup victory of the men’s side last month.India had to wait long for their second Women’s Asia Cup title with the last one coming way back in 2004, when they had beaten Japan in New Delhi for the trophy.South Korea secured third place with a 1-0 win over Japan earlier in the day.It was skipper Rani who scored the winning goal for India while Savita made a great save in sudden death to ensure India the 5-4 score in the penalty shootout.Earlier, it was Navjot Kaur who scored India’s lone goal in the 25th minute. It was in 2004 when the Indian Women’s Team lifted the Asia Cup after beating Japan 1-0 in the final.It was advantage China right at the start as a stick check in the circle saw India concede a penalty corner in only the second minute of the game.However, Savita was at her usual best to pad it away while an alert Deep Grace cleared the ball.Soon after, the Indian forwards launched a swift attack with Navneet Kaur and Vandana working in tandem to find space in the Chinese defence but an attentive Wang Na averted the danger.advertisementChina, meanwhile, won their second penalty corner but Savita was spot on yet again to pad away Meiyu Liang’s flick.With the first quarter ending in a stalemate, India came back looking determined to find a breakthrough.The Indian forwards kept the pressure on China as they made brave forays into the striking circle.Navjot Kaur came close to converting a field goal in the 17th minute but her diving effort was blocked even as skipper Rani made a quick attempt to find a deflection.It was not until the 25th minute when India found its first breakthrough when Navneet Kaur and Rani played give-and-take before penetrating the circle only to assist Navjot who took a clear shot on goal.It was a much-needed 1-0 lead for India. Though China launched a counter attack soon after, the Indian defenders were up to the task in denying them success.India began the third quarter rather positively as they persisted with an aggressive attack.They dominated the ball possession with accurate passing, rotating the ball and testing China’s patience. Neha Goyal and Lilima Minz showcased good dribbling skills to steer past the Chinese defenders but a second goal was not to come by even as the clock ticked away to the third hooter.On China’s part, they stayed disciplined in their defence to deny India a chance to score through a penalty corner.The final quarter was tense as China won a penalty corner through a successful video referral in the 47th minute.Tiantian Luo kept low as she improvised from the injection to find the right corner of the post, scoring a sensational equaliser for China.The following minutes saw both teams play at par with each other not allowing either of them to stay in control.With nine minutes left for the final hooter, India upped their attack desperately attempting to find a gap in the 15-yard mark but the Chinese defenders were resolute in not allowing any room for error.Meanwhile, China won their fourth penalty corner of the match with a little less than three minutes to go for the final whistle.But it was brilliantly saved by rusher Sunita Lakra and almost immediately, India launched a counter attack but only to send the ball wide off the target and complete the full-time in a stalemate resulting in a shootout.In the penalty shootout Rani scored twice while Monica, Lilima Minz and Navjot scored a goal each to ensure India reclaimed the Asia Cup title after 13 years.Savita was adjudged Goalkeeper of the Tournament while Monica won the Woman of the Match award.(With inputs from PTI and IANS)
Kochi, Nov 16 (PTI) Optimism will mingle with curiosity when the revamped Indian Super Leagues fourth season kicks off here tomorrow with more teams and home-grown players seeking to cash in on the euphoria generated by the countrys maiden FIFA event.The ISL will now be a four-month drill — double the length of the previous three editions.Defending champions ATK and Kerala Blasters, who lost to the rechristened unit from the eastern Indian in last years summit showdown, will start the proceedings at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the venue for the 2016 final.Now considered the countrys top-tier league, the winner of which will get a direct spot in the AFC Cup (Asias equivalent of Europes Europa League), it remains to be seen if it is able to sustain the interest and momentum generated by the U-17 World Cup last month.Two more teams have been added this season — the brand new Jamshedpur FC, backed by the Tata group, and the highly professional Bengaluru FC, making the switch from the I- League.With the league, which was conceptualised with an aim to make the global sport more popular in the cricket-mad nation, getting recognition from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), it was logical on the part of Bengaluru FC to make the switch.Often cited as an example of professionalism in Indian football, Bengaluru FC have been the most successful I-League club in recent years, winning it twice and finishing runner-up once.More Indian players, more teams, more matches and more months – this is already being touted an ISL with a difference.advertisementAnother change in the league is that it has done away with the requirement of mandatory signing of a marquee player, the rule due to which India has been graced by the likes of World Cup winning stars such as Alessandro Del Piero, Marco Materazzi and Roberto Carlos.Though the ISL has slashed the number of highly-paid foreign recruits, teams like ATK still have on board former Manchester United star Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane, an ex-Tottenham Hotspur forward.As the focus has now shifted to nurturing home-grown players, teams are now required to have at least six Indians on the field.While more Indian players will get more playing-time now, off it the number of foreign coaches will still dominate.Prominent among them are Teddy Sherringham, who has won three Premier League titles and scored the equaliser in Manchester Uniteds famous 2-1 Champions League victory over Bayern Munich in 1999, and former Real Madrid midfielder Miguel Angel Portugal.The 51-year-old Sherringham joined reigning champions ATK in July, while Portugal is helming Delhi Dynamos.The move to field more Indian players in the playing XI is a wise one, reckoned Sherringham and Chennaiyin coach John Gregory.”I think its a good decision to have six Indians on the pitch at all times and it means Indians getting more chances to play and show their skills,” the former Manchester United legend had said.Gregory added, “We dont have a marquee signing this year but you will see that we have invested our money in young Indians who will not just come on for 10 minutes, but will form an integral part of my squad this season.”NorthEast Uniteds coach Joï¿½o Carlos Pires de Deus was surprised by the quality of Indian footballers.”You ask me if the Brazilians in my team will produce magic… but what is magic? Its not limited to Brazilians. Even the Indian players in our team are very skillful and can produce a lot of magic,” Deus said.As far as the opening game is concerned, ATKs rivalry with Kerala Blasters has grown over the past few seasons.Sherringham described the Blasters as the biggest threat to ATKs ambitions.ATK will be without their star signing Keane, who is nursing an Achilles injury and will not be part of the opening game.Chennaiyin FC, Mumbai City FC, FC Pune City, NorthEast United FC and FC Goa complete the line-up.The final is slated for March 17 in Kolkata. PTI AH BS BS
Mumbai, Dec 6 (PTI) Maharashtra Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis, today launched the logo for the Tata Open Maharashtra which will be held in Pune from January 1 to 6, 2018.World number six Marin Cilic, 2017 US Open finalist Kevin Anderson and big-serving Ivo Karlovic are the top players who would feature in the tournament, Indias lone ATP World Tour event, to be held in Punes Balewadi Sports Complex for the first time.The qualifiers for the tournament, which has moved to Pune after being held in Chennai for 21 years, will be held on December 30 and 31.”We have a lot of tennis lovers in our country and our state who keenly watch tournaments, be it the Wimbledon, French Open, US Open, Davis Cup. All these tournaments are watched on television. But, to watch a high-ranking tournament at the stadium is a visual treat for tennis lovers and also a good learning process for tennis players,” Fadnavis said.The tournament – introduced in 1996 – has seen the likes of Spanish great Rafael Nadal, Stanislas Wawrinka, Carlos Moya, Milos Raonic and Marin Clinic, gracing the event.”It will start a new era in the lawn tennis space of Maharashtra,” he remarked.Tournament Director Prashant Sutar said the tennis stadium within the complex was being renovated at a cost of Rs 60-70 lakh.Asias Tennis Best Academy, to be supported by Adar Poonawala for the next five years, would be announced during the ATP (tournament), Sutar said.”There will be main five centres – Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Aurabgabad and Solapur – to provide tennis coaching to students and 25 per cent of the seats will be reserved for students from rural areas,” he said.advertisementThe CM also said a plan is being prepared on how best to revamp the Balewadi complex in order to put it to maximum use.”We are speaking to some consultants. After our Sports Director returns from election duty in Gujarat, we will make the plan public,” he added.According to Fadnavis, the focus of his government will be to see how sports activities can be enhanced at the Balweadi complex and the Mankapur Sports Complex in Nagpur. PTI NRB SSR NRB SDM
Jidner Mahal’s claim of soon becoming a ‘two-time’ champion fell flat on Sunday at Clash of Champions.The one-time champion was made to tap-out by AJ Styles to retain the title.But what was up for show in the match was Jinder’s impressive display against the Phenomenal One. The Indian perhaps put his best performance till now in a main-event against Styles at TD Garden on Sunday.Much like Style’s clash with Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series, Mahal physically dominated throughout the first half. But Styles was able to rally back and that brought dramatic near falls and a slowly built electricity from the crowd.Adding insult to INJURY, The #ModernDayMaharaja @JinderMahal continues to punish @AJStylesOrg’s ribs! #WWEClash #WWEChampionship pic.twitter.com/1Ayua1kBkg- WWE (@WWE) December 18, 2017Talking of Jinder, how can you keep The Singh Brothers out? The two were earlier seen talking backstage that ‘The Modern Day Maharaja’ doesn’t need them at ringside as he is good enough to beat Styles alone. But when the time came, they did accompany their leader and also made their presence felt late by saving Mahal from a three count after Styles hit a springboard 450 splash.And that’s when everything went haywire.They. Don’t. Want. None. #StylesClash #WWEClash #WWEChampionship@AJStylesOrg @SinghBrosWWE @JinderMahal pic.twitter.com/biTLSPyQz1- WWE (@WWE) December 18, 2017Styles first hit both of them outside the ring with a Phenomenal Forearm and that was followed with Styles Clash. As he went back in, he was forced to kick out of a pin attempt seconds later when Mahal hit The Khallas. However, Styles quickly recovered and capitalised on Mahal’s foolishness. The former champion tried to hit Styles with the Styles Clash finisher but AJ reversed out of the it into a calf crusher and forced Jinder to tap in the center of the ring.advertisementA #CalfCrusher seals the deal as @AJStylesOrg leaves #WWEClash as CHAMPION! #WWEChampionship #AndStill @JinderMahal @WWENetwork pic.twitter.com/JRWw4cFx4U- WWE Network (@WWENetwork) December 18, 2017In the end, it could be said that it was a win-win situation for WWE. Styles lifted Mahal to a great match and the best of the pay-per-view by a distance. AJ continued to impress after producing great matches with Finn Balor and Lesnar. Although they were losses, this win will elevate him and he will now walk into 2018 as much deserving champion and the face of SmackDown Live. Mahal’s experiment as champion produced a few bright spots as well and sure elevated him and will be interesting to see now what they do with an improved and more than able Jinder, who can now pull-off good main-event matches.Other results from the PPV:EXCLUSIVE: “If I give…this company everything I have, then I need to be able to back it up!” – @HEELZiggler is your NEW #USChampion! #WWEClash pic.twitter.com/qpImiqlZUp- WWE (@WWE) December 18, 2017Dolph Ziggler beats Baron Corbin (C) and Bobby Roode to become new United States ChampionKevin Owens and Sami Zayn beat Randy Orton and Shinsuke NakamuraThe Bludgeon Brothers beat BreezangoCharlotte retains the SmackDown Women’s Championship against NatalyaThe Usos retain the SmackDown tag titles against Gable and Shelton Benjamin
New Delhi, Dec 23 (PTI) Talented youngsters from Jammu and Kashmir can contribute greatly to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a delegation of schoolgirls from the state today.The girls are touring various parts of the country as a part of the Indian Armys “Sadbhavana” programme.The prime minister interacted with the girls on a host of subjects, ranging from education to the Swachh Bharat campaign and benefits of yoga.”Delighted to welcome a delegation of school girls from Jammu and Kashmir, who are touring various parts of the country as a part of the Indian Armys Sadbhavana programme.”The school children from Jammu and Kashmir and I had a lively interaction on areas pertaining to education, Swachh Bharat, benefits of Yoga,” Modi later tweeted.”They were particularly keen to know about the steps our government is taking towards furthering girl child education.”The talented youngsters from Jammu and Kashmir can contribute greatly to the nation. It is gladdening to see more youth from the state joining the civil services and showing great potential in sports,” he said in a series of tweets. PTI TDS RC
Hardik Pandya defied the odds to smash runs all over the park on a pitch where top Indian batsmen struggled to score runs. Pandya struck 93 off just 95 balls on the second day of the first Test between India and South Africa at Newlands, Cape Town on Saturday.Pandya’s blazing innings was studded with 14 fours and a six but fell short of what could have been his second hundred. India were all out for 209 to hand South Africa a 77-run first innings lead.Pandya came out all guns blazing and played his own game attacking the South Africa pace battery, which had ripped apart the Indian batting line-up and left the visitors reeling at 76/5.Pandya had joined Ravichandran Ashwin second ball after lunch when overnight batsman Cheteshwar Pujara was caught for 26 by skipper Faf du Plessis off Vernon Philander. Ashwin (12) and Wriddhiman Saha (0) soon departed and India were in deep trouble at 92/7 before Pandya took the attack back to the opposition.ALSO WATCHPandya started off on an attacking mode and was not afraid to take the risks. Like fortune favours the brave, the 24-year-old survived twice. Dean Elgar dropped him on 15 off Dale Steyn and Quinton de Kock missed a stumping chance when Pandya was batting on 71.In the 56th over, Pandya had welcomed spinner Keshav Maharaj with a mighty six on the second ball of the over.On the very next ball, he stepped down the track again and swung his bat wildly only to miss the ball. The awkward bounce was generated after pitching and De Kock fumbled collecting the ball chest high.advertisementPandya was also involved in a 99-run stand Bhuvneshwar for the eighth wicket to help the visitors cut down the first innings deficit.Pandya had started his Test career with a bang smashing 50 on his debut innings to lead India to a 304-run victory over Sri Lanka at Galle in July.But in only his third Test, Pandya blasted his way to a maiden century when he reached the three-figure mark off only 86 balls on the second day of the third Test against Sri Lanka at Pallekele.He became the quickest Indian to score a century batting at No.8 in the longest format. Pandya had scored 108 off 96 balls.