Month: February 2019

Sluggish United held by Sunderland, Spurs thrash QPR

United’s problems were there for all to see as Juan Mata’s opening goal on 17 minutes proved a unique scoring opportunity while their lack of a commanding centre half was exploited by an unmarked Jack Rodwell for Sunderland’s equaliser.

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They now find themselves five points adrift of early Premier League pace-setters Tottenham Hotspur, who were Sunday’s big winners with a 4-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers that ensured Harry Redknapp suffered a second straight defeat and a miserable return to his former club.

In Sunday’s other game, Hull City played most of the match with 10 men and came within six minutes of holding on for victory over Stoke City, but were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw.

PRESSING CONCERN

With the transfer window edging towards a close, United were handed another reminder that nothing but significant investment in a squad that lacks depth and strength will spark an improvement in their fortunes after last season’s woes.

They lacked penetration in attack with little pace or incision and while Mata tapped home following a driving run and fizzing cross from Antonio Valencia, the Spaniard was largely ineffective as a central playmaker.

As English media reported United were nearing a deal for Real Madrid’s Argentina winger Angel Di Maria, many United fans were perhaps wondering if the more pressing concern lies at the back despite defender Marcos Rojo’s arrival midweek.

It was Robin van Persie who let Rodwell run and jump unchecked to head Sunderland’s leveller on 30 minutes, but in centre backs Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and youngster Tyler Blackett, United seemed to lack the presence of a leader.

For new manager Van Gaal, who has already claimed it will take a miracle to propel United to the Premier League summit, Sunday’s woes stemmed from midfield.

“We have one point and that is not good enough for Manchester United,” the Dutchman told the BBC.

“We have to work a lot. The players are very disappointed after the game because we thought we would win.

“The purpose of the game is to create more chances and score goals. We haven’t created more chances. You have to recognise the fight of the opponent.

“We have reached Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie a lot of times, but after that you need the support of the midfielders, and the combination was not good enough.”

EXPENSIVE PATCHWORK

Goals were not in short supply at White Hart Lane where players condemned as costly mistakes last season starred in a 4-0 victory.

Nacer Chadli, among the expensive patchwork of players recruited when Gareth Bale left for Real Madrid, scored Tottenham’s first and third while record signing Erik Lamela was pivotal in a playmaker role.

Eric Dier profited from a Lamela corner to net Tottenham’s second, scoring for the second time in two weeks, and Emmanuel Adebayor rounded off the scoring with a crisp low finish.

For Redknapp, sacked by Spurs in 2012 after leading them to fourth in the Premier League, an experiment with three central defenders backfired spectacularly with Tottenham scoring three times inside the opening 37 minutes.

“We didn’t play well. We got what we deserved, which is nothing. We didn’t play with enough energy and I thought we were in awe of Tottenham a little bit,” Redknapp said.

Hull had James Chester sent off after 14 minutes against Stoke for a lunging last-man tackle, but opened the scoring before halftime when Nikica Jelavic finished from close range after a Tom Huddlestone shot was only parried by Asmir Begovic.

The Tigers’ hopes of winning back-to-back league games for the first time in 11 months were shredded when Ryan Shawcross scrambled the ball over the line after a Phil Bardsley effort hit the post.

The equaliser left Hull boss Steve Bruce fuming that a throw-in was given against his side earlier in the move.

“It baffles me. It is an awful one,” he said.

“The throw-in was ours and blatantly ours. It is not as though it is a faint touch, their boy does not even want to turn round for a throw. You would think they get that right because it has cost us.”

(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Martyn Herman and Mark Meadows)

Rap mogul hurt in US nightclub shooting

Death Row Records founder and rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight was injured in an early morning shooting in a packed nightclub in Hollywood, but is expected to survive.

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Knight was one of three club patrons struck by gunfire around 1:30 am local time on Sunday at 1OAK on West Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard, said Sergeant C. Tatar, watch commander at the Los Angeles County sheriff’s West Hollywood station.

Two other victims, a man and a woman, were also being treated at local hospitals and were expected to survive.

Authorities are still seeking a suspect and declined to release additional information, citing the ongoing investigation.

The shooting came just hours before MTV’s Video Music Awards, which are slated for Sunday evening in Inglewood.

R&B singer Chris Brown, who was co-hosting a party at the nightclub with Pia Mia, was also inside the club but not hit by the gunfire, Tatar said.

MTV said it had no affiliation or connection to the event.

Knight has been shot before. In 2005, he was struck in the leg during an MTV awards pre-party in Miami Beach.

Knight’s genius for poaching up-and-coming talent helped him land and make megastars out of Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre and shifted the centre of the rap universe to the West Coast the 1990s.

Knight formed a separate artist management company before co-founding Death Row Records in 1991 with Dr Dre, who had broken with popular Compton rap group N.W.A.

Dr Dre’s solo debut album, The Chronic, became one of the most profitable and influential rap albums of the 1990s.

It also made a star of Dr Dre’s underling, Snoop Dogg, whose debut album Doggystyle was also widely popular.

Knight, however, has been in and out of jail over the past two decades due to parole violations and physical attacks relating to a “rap war” he fuelled with East Coast artists.

Financial troubles also eventually lead to Death Row Records filing for bankruptcy.

Messi strikes twice as 10-man Barca sink Elche

Youngster Munir El Haddadi hit the woodwork as did Andres Iniesta before Messi made the breakthrough, turning well in the box and slotting in after 42 minutes.

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Barca’s job was complicated with Javier Mascherano sent off for bringing down Garry Rodrigues a minute later but Munir, drafted into the side as a replacement for the injured Neymar, clipped home to make it 2-0 shortly after the restart.

Messi, whose Argentina side were beaten in the World Cup final by Germany in July, was the talisman once again for Barca.

He made space for himself on the edge of the area and found the back of the net again after 63 minutes.

The result handed Luis Enrique a promising start with Barcelona after the club failed to win any major trophy last season under Gerardo Martino.

“I’ve always said that Messi is the best player in the world in all the ways that you want to look at it,” Luis Enrique told a news conference.

“If Messi wanted to be a defender he would be the best in the world defending. We have seen him do more difficult things in training and he will keep being the best in the world as long as he wants to be.

“The game was made more difficult with the sending off and the team had to respond by playing a bit deeper but with the team we have and Messi in form it worked out.”

EIBAR WIN

Luis Enrique put his confidence in youth with Munir and Rafinha given a chance in attack alongside Messi. It was a sign of veteran Xavi’s changing role in the side that he was on the bench with new signing Ivan Rakitic taking his place and the Croat slotted in effortlessly in the midfield.

It was the usual Barca style with more pace than they showed for much of last season but they found it difficult to break down a well-organised Elche.

Munir has looked sharp during pre-season and his quick movement and shot almost gave Barca the lead midway through the first half but his effort came back off the crossbar.

Iniesta also struck the woodwork from 25 metres and Dani Alves failed to hit the target from inside the area before Messi gave them the lead.

Mascherano’s dismissal for upending Rodrigues as last man did not unsettle Barca and having quickly got their second from Munir they never looked back.

Messi was found by Alves and he toyed with the Elche defenders, looking to go one way then the other, before picking his spot to complete the scoring.

In other matches, Eibar made their debut in the top flight with a 1-0 victory over neighbours Real Sociedad with Javi Lara scoring the only goal before halftime.

Joaquin Larrivey, Fabian Orellana and Nolito gave Celta Vigo a 3-1 victory over Getafe whose only reply came from Jorge Sammir.

Villarreal beat derby rivals Levante 2-0 with second half goals from Ikechukwu Uche and Denis Cheryshev.

Champions Atletico Madrid begin their title defence on Monday at Rayo Vallecano having lifted the Super Cup on Friday with a 2-1 aggregate win over Real Madrid, who host Cordoba in their La Liga bow on Monday.

(Editing by Mark Meadows)

Mahan triumphs by two shots at The Barclays

A stroke off the pace heading into the final round, American Mahan sparked his sizzling run by knocking in a five-footer at the par-four 11th and effectively sealed the win at the par-five 17th, where he sank a slick 22-foot putt from above the hole.

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He could afford the luxury of a bogey at the last, after pushing his tee shot into a tree line, chipping out and missing the green with his third, as he closed with a six-under-par 65 at Ridgewood Country Club to post a 14-under total of 270.

Stuart Appleby also signed off with a 65 in the opener of the PGA Tour’s four-event FedExCup playoffs, finishing joint second at 12 under with fellow Australian Jason Day (68) and American Cameron Tringale (66).

Veteran American Jim Furyk, co-leader after the third round with Day, mixed five birdies with four bogeys on the way to a 70 as he slipped back into solo eighth place at 10 under.

Mahan, who was congratulated on the edge of the 18th green by his wife Kandi and daughter Zoe Olivia, was thrilled to clinch his first playoff event and end a title drought dating back to the 2012 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

“I haven’t played my best this year so to get a win at an event like this, and the timing that it was (in the playoffs), feels unbelievable,” a beaming Mahan told CBS Sports.

“I am extremely proud of myself right now. I’ve had some success the last couple of weeks, my game was starting to come around and I was making some putts, making some 20-footers, getting up and down here and there.

“I knew this was around the corner but to do it, and to do it today with a 65, feels great.”

TAKEN ABACK

Mahan, whose previous best finish this season was a tie for fourth at the Phoenix Open in February, was taken aback by the unexpected but very welcome arrival at the course by his wife and daughter.

“It was great,” smiled the 32-year-old American, who moved to the top of the FedExCup points standings with his victory on Sunday.

“There was a lot of going on in my head right there (on the 18th green), and I never thought they would be there but it’s always great to see them. They make every day a little bit better.”

Tringale, who last week disqualified himself from the PGA Championship for signing an incorrect scorecard, was in a buoyant mood after celebrating his 27th birthday on Sunday by shooting a final-round 66.

“It was a lot of fun out there,” the Californian said after recording his best finish on the PGA Tour. “Being my birthday, I was going to have a great day no matter what and that’s been my attitude all week.

“I really didn’t feel nervous out there, I just felt comfortable, like I was in control of what was going on.”

Overnight pacesetters Day and Furyk duelled for the tournament lead on the front nine before Mahan, Appleby and Tringale made their moves as prime contenders after the turn.

As both Day and Furyk faltered, Mahan was the first player to reach 13 under, sinking a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-three 15th, before birthday boy Tringale drew level by knocking in a six-footer to birdie the par-five 17th.

A superb approach by Mahan to three feet at the 16th set up his sixth birdie of the day and the tournament was all but over when he coaxed in his 22-footer on the 17th green.

Northern Irish world number one Rory McIlroy, who arrived here on a sizzling three-tournament winning streak that included major triumphs at the British Open and PGA Championship, ended his week with a 70 for a five-under total of 279.

Second-ranked Australian Adam Scott, who had been tied for the second-round lead at Ridgewood, finished at seven under after closing with a 68.

The top 100 players on the FedExCup points list after The Barclays qualify for next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston where the leading 70 will advance to the Sep. 4-7 BMW Championship.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)

Holocaust survivors and descendants condemn ‘genocide’ of Palestinians in Gaza

Latest news from the Gaza conflict

More than 300 survivors of and descendants of survivors of the Nazi holocaust have issued a statement condemning the “genocide” of Palestinians in Gaza.

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In the statement, which was released by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and printed in the New York Times on Saturday, the group said it unequivocally condemned “the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonisation of historic Palestine.”

The statement was signed by 40 Jewish survivors and 287 descendants.

“We are alarmed by the extreme, racist dehumanisation of Palestinians in Israeli society, which has reached a fever-pitch,” they said.

“We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring about an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people.”

The statement was written in response to a letter by Nobel prize-winning author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel that accused Hamas of using children as human shields.

In the controversial letter – that appeared in The Guardian, The New York Times and the Washington Post, among others – the author labelled Hamas a “death cult”.

“Do the two cultures that brought us the Psalms of David and the rich libraries of the Ottoman Empire not share a love of life, of transmitting wisdom and opportunity to their children? And is any of this discernible in the dark future offered by Hamas to Arab children, to be suicide bombers or human shields for rockets?” he said.

The survivors and descendants behind the latest ad took issue with Wiesel’s message.

“We are disgusted and outraged by Elie Wiesel’s abuse of our history in these pages to justify the unjustifiable: Israel’s wholesale effort to destroy Gaza the murder of more than 2,000 Palestinians, including any hundreds of children,” they said in the statement.

“Nothing can justify bombing UN shelters, homes, hospitals and universities.”