By Nemanja BjedovOMONIA and AEK Larnaca joined holders Apollon, APOEL, Ermis Aradippou, Doxa Katokopia, Alki and Enosis Neon Paralimni in the Cyprus Coca Cola Cup quarter-finals after securing aggregate victories in the Round of 16 on Wednesday over Anorthosis and Aris Limassol respectively.After a 1-1 draw in the first leg at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium, Anorthosis approached the game with an attacking mindset and created three good chances inside the first fifteen minutes.The first chance fell to the visitors after only six minutes, but Valentinos Sielis was unable to hit the target with his header. In the 13th minute, Toni Calvo’s powerful shot from inside the penalty area was well saved by Alexandre Negri, while two minutes later Gonzalo Garcia had another opportunity for the visitors but his shot went wide.Anorthosis coach Jorge Costa was then forced to take Garcia off in the 23rd minute due to an injury and bring on Andreas Makris, only a few minutes after the referee sent off Andreas Avraam for a second bookable offence.The hosts eventually got into the game and took the lead two minutes before half-time through Serginho Greene’s header.Joan Thomas extended the home side’s lead fifteen minutes from time, but Makris made the final few minutes interesting by pulling one back for Anorthosis four minutes from time. However, Nikos Englezou put the outcome of the tie beyond any doubt in the last minute by making it 3-1 on the day and 4-2 on aggregate to send his team into the next round.Omonia arrived in Limassol with a slim 1-0 advantage after the first leg, but took the lead midway through the first half through Maximiliano Oliva’s own goal.The Nicosia giants then controlled the game until the final whistle. Aris made sure they didn’t lose the match though, with Davide Grassi’s goal two minutes into injury time meaning a 2-1 aggregate defeat.After a disappointing 3-3 draw last week in Larnaca, Alki beat the B2 side Onisilos Sotira 2-0 away from home on Wednesday to book their spot in the last eight where they join Enosis Neon Paralimni who progressed past Ethnikos Achnas with a 1-1 draw at the Dasaki Stadium after a goalless draw in the first leg.
By Andreas Vou and Mike CollettApollon have been drawn against Villarreal, Borussia Monchengladbach and FC Zurich in Group A of the UEFA Europa League for the 2014-15 campaign.Christakis Christoforou’s side pulled off a shock 4-1 win in the Russian capital on Thursday evening to defeat Lokomotiv Moscow and progress to the group stages 5-1 on aggregate.The Limassol club are Cyprus’ only representatives in the competition as Ermis Aradippou went out in the third qualifying round while Omonia and AEL were knocked out in the play-off round.Last year was the club’s first ever qualification to the group stages of European competition where they finished third in their Europa League group with one draw against Lazio and a solitary win against Legia Warsaw away from home.Following on from APOEL’s Champions League success on Tuesday, Apollon’s appearance in the Europa League this year makes it the eighth time in seven seasons in which a Cypriot team has made it to the group stages of one of Europe’s club competitions.Elsewhere, holders Sevilla will face former winners Feyenoord plus Standard Liege of Belgium and HNK Rijeka of Croatia when they begin the defence of their trophy.Europe’s second-tier competition, which comprises 48 teams in 12 groups, has been given added lustre this season with the winners qualifying for at least the Champions League playoffs next term.The other title favourites include former European champions PSV Eindhoven and Inter Milan, former UEFA Cup winners Tottenham Hotspur and Napoli, and former European Cup Winners’ Cup holders Everton.Tottenham will play Besiktas, who were knocked out of the Champions League playoffs by Spurs’ arch-rivals Arsenal on Wednesday, Partizan Belgrade and Greek team Asteras.Everton will face Lille, Wolfsburg and FC Krasnodar while Scottish champions Celtic meet Salzburg, Dinamo Zagreb and Romanians FC Astra.The group stage begins on September 18 with the final in Warsaw on May 27.Group A: Villarreal, Borussia Monchengladbach, FC Zurich, Apollon LimassolGroup B: FC Copenhagen, Club Brugge, Torino, HelsinkiGroup C: Tottenham Hotspur, Besiktas, Partizan Belgrade, TripolisGroup D: FC Salzburg, Celtic, Dinamo Zagreb, AstraGroup E: PSV Eindhoven, Panathinaikos, Estoril, Dynamo MoscowGroup F: Inter Milan, Dnipro, St-Etienne, QarabagGroup G: Sevilla, Standard Liege, Feyenoord, RijekaGroup H: Lille, Wolfsburg, Everton, KrasnodarGroup I: Napoli, Sparta Prague, Young Boys, Slovan BratislavaGroup J: Dynamo Kiev, Steaua Bucharest, Rio Ave, AalborgGroup K: Fiorentina, PAOK, Guingamp, Dinamo MinskGroup L: Metalist Kharkiv, Trabzonspor, Legia Warsaw, Lokeren
Without the departed Luis Suarez and injured Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool returned to the Champions League with a win but face a challenge to recover the free-scoring form that put them back among the European elite.A last-minute penalty converted by captain Steven Gerrard, after Dani Abalo had levelled for Bulgarian champions Ludogorets, following an exquisite 82nd minute opener by Mario Balotelli, gave Anfield reason to cheer on Tuesday.Reality, however, soon quelled any fears of uncontrolled optimism as manager Brendan Rodgers and Gerrard both called for improvement if any dreams of the club’s halcyon days in Europe are to be revived.“We are not yet at the level we were last season, but we will get there,” said Rodgers. “It was a great night in the end because we won. Ludogorets played very well and to get the win was very important.”“We did OK, but it wasn’t better than OK,” said Gerrard. “There’s a lot to learn…”The former England captain, who resigned from national service following the national team’s disappointing early exit at the World Cup, had more praise for striker Balotelli, a 16 million pounds ($26.11 million) recruit from AC Milan in August.“You have to give Mario credit,” said Gerrard. “It didn’t go his way for long periods, but the sign of a good goalscorer is to keep going and get a chance…”MORE STATICHowever, Liverpool clearly face a struggle to find their former fluency with the more static, if statuesque, Italian at centre-forward in lieu of the swift incisive scissor-cutting combinations provided by Suarez and Sturridge at their best.Suarez, who scored 31 Premier League goals, and Sturridge, who netted 21 times, revelled in angled running and sharp-passing interplays, often involving Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho and roaming 19-year-old England winger Raheem Sterling.Without the Uruguayan’s movement and precision, Liverpool’s attack appeared predictably focused on Balotelli’s dependable but less expansive leadership which made it more difficult for the midfield to find moving targets with their passing.As The Daily Telegraph’s match report put it: “In Sturridge’s absence, the onus was on Balotelli to provide forward impetus, but the cartographers will not need protective gloves when handling the Italian’s heat map.”Liverpool, without the goalscorers of last season, are again a work in progress as Rodgers seeks a new design. The cutting edge has gone, but the manager has a bigger, and stronger, squad from which to mould a solid replacement.It may not dazzle as often, or have the flair of the side that finished second last term, but should prove capable of handling the dual challenge at home and abroad, starting with Saturday’s Premier League trip to West Ham United.
By Tony JimenezChelsea are brimming with confidence and, fortified by a seven-day break, go into Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 return match (9.45pm) as favourites to knock Paris St Germain out for the second season in a row.Defender Gary Cahill says ‘there’s a great buzz’ around Stamford Bridge after the Londoners followed their 2-0 League Cup final victory over Tottenham Hotspur on March 1 by winning 1-0 at West Ham United in the Premier League three days later.Treble-chasing Chelsea, who are five points clear at the top of the Premier League, have not played since their Upton Park triumph and, according to Cahill, the Wembley win over Spurs has lifted the squad’s self-belief to new heights.“The Cup final was huge in terms of the atmosphere around the club and the dressing room,” he told the club website (www.chelseafc.com).“We were desperate as a squad to win that game. It’s the first time this group, a newish group formed at the start of last season and before this season, has reached the end of a competition together.“We came through it really well and hopefully we can take the positive experiences from that and try and build momentum for many more cup finals,” added Cahill.“We are very proud of winning our first trophy as a group together and getting that win at West Ham. But they are gone, all that is on our minds now is the PSG game.”Zlatan Ibrahimovic was missing through injury when PSG were beaten on away goals by Chelsea in last season’s quarter-finals but the French club’s talismanic striker is fit this time round.Last month’s first leg in Paris ended in a 1-1 draw and visiting coach Laurent Blanc wants his attack to be more ruthless than they were during Saturday’s 4-1 victory over struggling RC Lens in Ligue 1.“When you play a game like the one against Lens you must be efficient,” said Blanc who criticised Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi for wasting an opportunity in front of an open goal.“If he misses the same chance at Stamford Bridge I won’t be the only one who is not happy.”PSG will be without injured forward Lucas but fellow Brazilian David Luiz returns to Chelsea for the first time since moving to Paris in the close season.
By Abhishek TakleFormula One world champion Lewis Hamilton stormed to his third successive pole position of the season, and third in a row in China, after edging team-mate Nico Rosberg in a front-row lockout for Mercedes on Saturday.Hamilton, unbeaten in qualifying so far this year, lapped the 5.451 km Shanghai International Circuit in one minute 35.782 seconds to take his 41st career pole just 0.042 of a second clear of Rosberg.“Oh, come on guys,” exclaimed a frustrated Rosberg when informed over the radio that he had lost out by such a small margin.Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, winner of the previous race in Malaysia, will start third.Ferrari, who were helped by a bold strategy gamble and searing temperatures at Sepang, continued to lead the chasing pack but were unable to match Mercedes’ formidable one-lap pace in the cooler conditions.Vettel’s best time was nearly a second off Hamilton’s benchmark.Brazilian Felipe Massa and Finland’s Valtteri Bottas, seeking to re-establish their Williams team as Mercedes’ closest challengers, were fourth and fifth ahead of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari in sixth.Former champions Red Bull, who had looked the third-best team after final practice, dropped back with Australian Daniel Ricciardo only seventh.His Russian team-mate Daniil Kvyat, meanwhile, failed to even make it through to the top 10.McLaren had another bleak afternoon and failed to make it past the first session of qualifying for the third successive weekend, once again qualifying ahead of only the backmarking Manor Marussias.Both Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso had hoped to make it into the second phase after an encouraging Friday but in the end missed the cut by just over two tenths of a second and will start 17th and 18th, respectively.
Austria, who were undefeated in 10 qualifying games, were beaten 2-0 by old rivals Hungary in the opening match of Euro 2016 Group F on Tuesday.The Hungarians, who only reached the finals through the playoffs, took the lead with a rare goal by forward Adam Szalai in the 63rd minute.It his first at international level since October 2014.Austria thought they had equalised soon after but Martin Hinteregger’s effort was disallowed for a foul by Aleksandar Dragovic who was sent off after receiving a second yellow card.Substitute Zoltan Stieber secured victory three minutes from the end.
Katoatau made a clean sweep, winning all three medals in the 105kg men’s category.The Kiribati man also let loose after his final lift, doing his trade mark dance.These were the same dancing moves he did when winning gold in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.Katoatau won the snatch with a lift of 141kg, clean and jerk 200kg and an overall total of 341kg.While the snatch silver medal went to Zac Gregurevic (Australia) and bronze to Rory Taylor (New Zealand). clean and jerk, second and third placing was shared by Taylor and Gregurevic.In the overall total, the silver and bronze was won by Taylor and Gregurevic. Meanwhile, the women’s 75kg division is now on the cards and will follow soon.
Oceania will now receive two berths at men’s age grade tournaments from 2017.The region created history at this year’s Men’s Under 20 World Cup with hosts New Zealand reaching the quarter finals and Fiji upsetting Honduras in the group stage.Rajesh Patel says Oceania officials have been trying to secure an extra berth for a long time and he says Fiji’s impressive World Cup showing proved the region is no longer a minnow.”When I was there too and I met a lot of FIFA officials and all the other member associations from all over the world. They said they never reckoned that the Island nations and Oceania members, New Zealand and especially Fiji, will be this powerful. I think we have proven to the world and that is something that we will strive to grow on and not be complacent about it, and look forward positively”.Rajesh Patel says the move is a good sign for all the 11 Oceania nations and the development at youth level.
Playing under chilly weather conditions, which the Wellington players are used to, Hekari have struggled in the first half with few opportunities.Tommy Semmy had a half chance for Hekari three minutes into the game but his volley was blocked by the Wellington defence.Wellington’s first goal came 21 minutes into the game 1-0 when Tom Jackson fired a low cross into the box that Captain Bill Robertson turned into the top corner.Wellington extended their lead 2-0 in the 37th minute when goalkeeper Ismael Pole palms a Robertson header but it goes straight back to the defender and he loops his second header into the net.Wellington went into half time leading 2-0.Second half is underway.More to come…..
Last week’s results were pleasing as many Papua New Guinean men showed great enthusiasm in the competition. It is a popular team sport for women, but after round 7 of the games, men are catching on the show.”You will be surprise with how much momentum the men’s game has picked up after the recent round games.”Tonight the Rita Flynn courts in Port Moresby will heat up again as teams advance into playing their round 8 games when the men will show it all when they hit the courts.Round 8 will kick off with Kamuna in the Premier Mixed Division taking on Mari Pasifika; BB Kings will play Veupunama 1 whilst Mona is on Bye.NSL will play Lasi 1, Ripa Rala will take on Veupunama 2 while BSP (1) will challenge PNGFP and BSP (2) will go up against Matrix and in the Social B division PNG Construction will go head to head with HHL / CPL, Aura Netters will go on a showdown with PNG Hardware’s, Lasi (2) will vie against Grafitti and PNG Hardware will play APVG.