Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba must rediscover his best form and lead by example in Wednesday’s Champions League tie at Valencia, manager Jose Mourinho has said.
Record signing Pogba, who has been on the bench for United’s last two Premier League games, is likely to start the final Group H encounter alongside fringe players as the side have already qualified for the last 16.
“I am looking for him (Pogba) to play well and to have a good impact in the game and in the team… a team with many players who don’t have many miles in their legs and some players who are not playing a lot,” Mourinho told reporters.
Sixth-placed United take on unbeaten Premier League leaders Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, looking to back up last week’s win over Fulham with another positive result to stay in touch with the top five, but Mourinho’s focus is firmly on Valencia.
“It’s not about Liverpool. Football is football and anything can happen… it is a football match, a Champions League match. It is Manchester United, professional players, and we want to do well.”
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In a once-dominant team humbled by a cheating scandal and still racked with doubts about its identity, spinner Nathan Lyon has been a reassuring throwback to an age of hard-bitten Australian cricketers who talked the talk and walked the walk.
After India completed a 31-run victory in the series-opener on Monday, few of Captain Tim Paine’s players will report for duty at the Perth second test with enhanced reputations. Lyon, however, is not one of them as he burnished his stature at Adelaide Oval by anchoring a gritty tail-end push for a final day victory after he had taken eight wickets with the ball. Australia may have failed in their bid to pull off an unlikely victory, but Lyon ended the match unbeaten on 38 as he ran out of partners at a venue where he wore overalls as a groundsman eight years ago.
A cult hero in Australia, the 31-year-old has been nicknamed the ‘GOAT’ (Greatest of All Time), for good reason. His 326 test wickets is a record for an Australian off-spinner, more than double the 141 taken by Hugh Trumble more than a century ago. But the man known as “Gazza” to his team mates has become much more than a sum of his statistics, and seems to add a new string to his bow every season. Last year under Captain Steve Smith, who is currently serving a suspension for ball-tampering, Lyon became the team’s unofficial sledger-in-chief in the lead-up to the Ashes. He first tore into the 2013-14 England team that were whitewashed 5-0 and spoke of “ending careers” in Joe Root’s side on their subsequent tour Down Under in a rant that was denounced widely in British newspapers. He backed up his words with 21 wickets as Australia thrashed England 4-0 to regain the urn they had relinquished in 2015.
Lyon also marked himself as an elite fielder in the series, with a stunning, one-handed caught-and-bowled effort to dismiss Moeen Ali at Adelaide Oval emerging as the highlight of several brilliant plays. A year later, Lyon appears to have enhanced his overall repertoire with an improved batting technique.
Against India, Australia were staring down the barrel at 104 for four at stumps on day four, still 219 runs short of their victory target, when Lyon issued a rallying cry.
“We’ve got a massive sniff here, I believe anyway, in this test match,” he told reporters after taking 6-122 to limit India to 307 in their second innings. He called on his team mates to be “heroes” but nearly became one himself in a mature 47-ball knock that was at odds with the usual tail-end slog-fest. It was a result of a winter batting sessions with his brother Brendan Lyon, who runs a coaching school for juniors, state radio reported.
Australia head into Friday’s test plagued with doubts about its batting and the wayward form of pace spearhead Mitchell Starc. But with Lyon in the side, they at least have a model for inspiration and grit, qualities sorely needed to turn the four-match series around and deny India a first ever victorious tour Down Under.
South Africa Coach Rassie Erasmus and his assistants are to spread out across the country’s four Super Rugby teams to offer support as they look to harmonise preparations for 2019’s World Cup in Japan.
The Springbok coach and his assistants Jacques Nienanber, Matt Proudfoot, Mzwandile Stick and Aled Walters will work with the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers, who have started preparations for the new season starting in February.
Erasmus’s first posting will be to help new Bulls Coach Pote Human, who replaces John Mitchell, who left to join the England coaching staff.
“All of the coaches worked with one or other of the franchises in the past year to exchange ideas and expertise and hopefully assist the teams in raising the performance bar,” Erasmus said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Strong performances at franchise level will translate into strong Springbok performances – it’s a win-win.”
Erasmus said the coaches would in no way be dictating style or tactics or trying to impose a national blueprint on teams.
“We will assist in generic areas such as skills and conditioning, mauling, scrumming and lineouts,” Erasmus said.
“It will also give the national coaches a chance to discuss individual players with the franchise coaches and work on specific areas for specific individuals.
“But it is not our role to have input on selection or game plan – that can only be determined by the franchise head coach. But we do believe this is approach can work for South African rugby in its broadest sense at the start of a very important Rugby World Cup year.”
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Japan’s Daiya Seto has broken Chad le Clos‘ 200 metre butterfly Short Course world record and won the gold medal at the Short Course World Championships in Hangzhou, China.
There was very little to choose between Seto and Le Clos with the South African leaving his strong finish just too late.
Both touched the wall under Le Clos’ world record of 1 min 48.56 seconds.
Seto won in 1 min 48.24 seconds, eight hundredths of a second ahead of Le Clos in second place.
Le Clos’ countryman, Cameron van der Burg, who was 9th fastest overall in Tuesday morning’s 100 metres breaststroke heats, was sixth fastest in the Tuesday afternoon semi-finals and qualified for Wednesday’s final.
South African Rugby players are set to honour their own at the second annual BrightRock Players Choice Awards on Tuesday evening.
The awards, in association with BrightRock and MyPlayers, will take place in Johannesburg at the Sandton Convention Centre.
The awards are the only of their kind in South Africa where professional rugby players from the country’s 14 unions vote for their top players across six different categories.
The 7th is a Fans’ Choice category where SA rugby lovers were given the chance to vote for their favourite players of 2018.
The 2018’s flagship award will again be the coveted Players’ Player of the Year award, won in 2017 by Springbok Captain Siya Kolisi.
Kolisi, who is in the running for it again in 2018, competes along with Aphiwe Dyantyi, Kwagga Smith and Malcolm Marx.
Other categories include Defender of the Year, Forward of the Year, Backline player of the Year and Best off the bench and the #LoveChange Award which will be handed down to the most improved player.
Fans were also able to get in on the action by voting for their favourite player among Werner Kok, Damian Willemse, Hacjivah Dayimani and Warrick Gelant.
The fans’ favourite will receive R50 000 for their chosen charity.
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Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo would like Barcelona’s Lionel Messi to leave Spain and rekindle their rivalry by joining him in the Italian top flight.
Ronaldo moved to Serie A champions Juventus in July for 100 million euros ($113.76 million) after spending nine trophy-laden seasons at Real Madrid.
Messi and Ronaldo have dominated the global football landscape for a decade, each winning the Ballon d’Or five times before Croatia international midfielder Luka Modric broke their stranglehold by claiming the coveted award this year.
“I’d like (Messi) to come to Italy one day,” Ronaldo told reporters. “I hope he accepts the challenge like me, but if he’s happy there then I respect that.”
Asked if he missed his rivalry with Messi, Ronaldo suggested it might be the other way round.
“No, maybe it’s him who misses me,” he said. “I’ve played in England, Spain, Italy, Portugal and for my national team, while he’s still in Spain. Maybe he needs me more.”
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Having become the first Indian team to win a test series-opener on Australian soil, Virat Kohli’s side are determined to keep the momentum rolling into the second clash in Perth and inch closer to a breakthrough series triumph Down Under.
India were made to work harder than expected in the 31-run win at Adelaide Oval, and their bowlers will have only three days’ rest before taking to the field again at Perth Stadium on Friday.
Despite the quick turnaround, Kohli suggested the tourists were leaping out of their skins to land another blow on Tim Paine’s shaky side in the four-match series.
“They are at their peak, all of them together and it’s something that we as batsman look at as an opportunity to put in good performances,” Kohli said of his attack, rated India’s most potent in years.
“We will be, in every test match, gunning for a result.”
Compared to his counterpart Paine, weighed down by a sore index finger and a long list of concerns, Kohli heads to Perth with a spring in his step.
India’s Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami enjoyed a stellar debut as a pace unit in Australia, sharing 14 of the 20 wickets at Adelaide Oval, bowling with sustained pressure and limiting the hosts to a single 50-run partnership.
Kohli’s batsmen got off to a shaky start and needed man-of-the-match Cheteshwar Pujara’s glittering 123 to achieve a modest first innings total of 250.
However, after Australia was bowled out for 235, they were quick to seize the momentum and build valuable partnerships to all but bat Australia out of the game.
Though beaten and vulnerable, a chastened Australia can be expected to fight back hard on a wicket likely to suit their classy pace attack.
Kohli will hope for more from the recalled opener Murali Vijay, who has struggled to justify his place in the side this year. He managed only 11 and 18 in Adelaide, undone by Australia’s pace spearhead Mitchell Starc both times.
With sidelined young opener Prithvi Shaw seen limping around Adelaide Oval after his ankle injury during a tour match, the veteran Vijay should have another chance to stake his claim.
Kohli, who struck four centuries in the 2014-15 tour of Australia, is also due a score after being dismissed for three and 34 in Adelaide.
The India skipper noted that his team’s tail-end batting was trumped by Australia’s as their last five wickets could only muster 25 runs in the second innings.
A more determined application could have set Paine’s side a higher target than the 323 for victory, while saving India a lot of nerves on day five.
India first toured Australia in 1947-48 and is yet to win a test series Down Under in 11 previous attempts.
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Black Leopards Football Club midfielder Phathutshedzo Nange’s goal against rivals Baroka Football Club has won the Absa premiership goal of the month.
Nange was presented with the award in Polokwane on Monday. The league also announced that Nange’s goal is also a contender for Absa premiership goal of the season.
Nange’s goal was selected from a shortlist of 10 goals voted for by fans between September and October. Other contenders for goal of the month were Vincent Pule of Orlando Pirates and Vusimuzi Mngomezulu of Polokwane City Football Club.
Nange has expressed happiness at being given the recognition but he is still concerned that his side is at the bottom of the league log.
Black Leopards coach Dylan Kerr says he has cautioned his players to think carefully about their future as there are reports that some players are being targeted by top Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs.
Nange is being linked to a move to one of three PSL clubs. Kerr says a number of players have attracted an interest from big clubs.
Runners from Lesotho and South Africa are taking part in a race to commemorate the loss of 42 lives 36 years ago.
This was when apartheid’s military regime launched attacks on the front line members of states.
Thirty of those who died were South Africans.
Now the government of Lesotho and South Africa commemorate the massacre and 300 runners converged to remember the sacrifices made.
The annual race hopes to strengthen the bond between the two countries.
Watch video below:
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Ernst Middendorp has returned to Kaizer Chiefs for his second spell. Middendorp was in charge of the team from 2005 to 2007.
He now returns to the team that is under pressure to get results. Amakhosi are seventh on the Premier Soccer League (PSL) log and host their hoodoo team Supersport United in a midweek encounter.
“We need to show our abilities. We need to respect SuperSport. We need to perform on a high level.”
“I’m focusing on the league at the moment so that is the match against SuperSport. The second thing is to focus on the direction of the players.” – Coach Middendorp#HailTheChief pic.twitter.com/9dh1JerXt5
— Kaizer Chiefs (@KaizerChiefs) December 10, 2018
Kaizer Chiefs are under pressure especially with their big rivals Orlando Pirates playing so well. They recently fired their coach Giovanni Solinas.
Middendorp comes into the team hoping to get better results than the previous coach and knows that he will have to hit the ground running.
“For me it is important to see the players like in the last two days and the next two days before the match is coming to see what we can do, what direction we can implement some in terms of defence, in terms of attack and transition certain elements and we have put it immediately in the work on these two training sessions. Plus today, definitely we should mention the huge support from Arthur Zwane who was immediately available to put his knowledge and experience into it and now we have two days to find decision in terms of the structure probably is done what we expect to go for put the names to put in as a second stage and I will keep it open until Wednesday,” says Middendorp.
Senior player Bernard Parker says that the team is doing well in camp and is ready for the match against their voodoo team SuperSport United. He says that the players are responding well to the new coach.
“There’s been positive response from the players now wanting to prove themselves to the new coach and puts everybody on their toes to give good competition to their teammates and help the teammates to be the best. He can be so that’s what we need and the game coming up we know our opponents very well and we know they’ve been doing quite well with their coach. So the good thing about it is for us is we eager and we in that state where we wanna bounce back,” explains Parker.
Middendorp’s first match in charge of Chiefs against Supersport United on Wednesday evening was moved last week and will take place at the Mbombela Stadium at 19:30pm.
Meanwhle, former Bafana Bafana captain, Shaun Bartlett, has been appointed as Ernst Middendorp’s assistant at Chiefs.
Shaun Bartlett new assistant coach!!
Shaun Bartlett has been appointed as Ernst Middendorp’s assistant coach with immediate effect on a two and a half year contract.
— Kaizer Chiefs (@KaizerChiefs) December 10, 2018
He will join the coaching team immediately on a two-and-a-half year contract.
Watch Video Below: