LONDON (AP):Claudio Ranieri shed his coy and cautious demeanour yesterday to flaunt his euphoria about Leicester being on the brink of the Premier League title in the most stunning season in the club’s 132-year history.Breaking the habit of a season, when Ranieri has mostly restricted himself to prioritising top flight survival, the manger finally publicly acknowledged the target is delivering the title.With 12 points to play for, Leicester have a five-point lead over Tottenham as they looks to collect the biggest prize in English football for the first time.The pursuit of the title has overshadowed the landmark already achieved: steering Leicester into the Champions League for the first time by securing a top-three finish.”Hey man, we are in Champions League!” Ranieri said at a giddy news conference appearance at the central England club. “Dilly-ding, dilly-dong, come on! You forget.”You speak about blah, blah, blah, but we are in Champions League! Come on man!”Leicester’s hierarchy were mocked for hiring Ranieri last July having only just avoided relegation from world football’s richest league.The 64-year-old Italian had been out of work for almost a year after being fired by Greece for making a wretched start to European Championship qualifying.And he hadn’t coached in England for 11 years since being fired by Chelsea. Now Ranieri’s team is a staggering 29 points ahead of defending champion Chelsea, with the two teams meeting in the last round.”Fantastic, fantastic. Terrific. Well done. Well done to everybody,” Ranieri said. “The owners, the fans, to the players, the staff, everybody … it’s a great achievement, great achievement. Unbelievable. And now we go straight away to try to win the title. Yes. Yes man!”Amid the unusual expressiveness, Ranieri still had a serious message for his players: “Keep calm.”One key player will be missing this weekend: top scorer Jamie Vardy. The 22-goal striker is banned for tomorrow’s visit of Swansea and is waiting to discover if the suspension will be extended after admitting that his conduct toward the referee was improper after being sent off in last Sunday’s draw with West Ham.”Now we go straight away to try to win the title. Yes man, only this remains,” Ranieri said. “I talk to my players, ‘Come on, now is the right moment to push’.”I always believe. I am a positive man. If Tottenham go above us, congratulations, but I prefer to be five points ahead.”
7 March Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Thursday named Dean Elgar as the replacement for Proteas captain Graeme Smith on its national list of contracted players for 2014/15. Smith announced his retirement from international cricket earlier this week.‘Obvious replacement’ “Dean is the obvious replacement and must be excited by the opportunity to emulate the greatness achieved by his recently retired national captain,” CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat said in a statement. “He has all the attributes and qualifies as the next player eligible to be awarded a contract in terms of the new methodology we developed together with the South African Cricketers’ Association (Saca). “As mentioned before, the Board has also agreed to award multi-year contracts to our top players to secure and recognise their value.”Two-year contracts The seven players awarded two-year contracts are Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn. The other 10 nationally contracted players awarded one-year contracts are Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar, Rory Kleinveldt, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Wayne Parnell, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Imran Tahir and Lonwabo Tsotsobe. Jacques Kallis has been awarded a special contract for one year only. In addition, CSA has announced the 12 Franchise players to receive CSA High Performance Centre (HPC) top-up contracts, also for a one-year period.‘Investment in our future’ “This is investment in our future,” commented CSA selection convener Andrew Hudson. “We are keen to centrally influence the management and close monitoring of these exciting young players so that we can provide the best chance of developing their careers to the full potential. “I am excited by the mix of this group of talented players and it is now up to our programmes to develop these players to one day represent the Proteas as we move into a new era following the retirement of several great players from the Castle Lager test squad. “The HPC players will be managed, developed and monitored quarterly to see that they are fulfilling their potential.”CSA HPC contracted players The CSA HPC contracted players are Kyle Abbott, Temba Bavuma, Simon Harmer, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, Eddie Leie, Mangaliso Mosehle, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Stiaan van Zyl and Khaya Zondo. CSA Chief Executive Lorgat also confirmed enhancements to the existing BSkyB broadcasting deal that would extend broadcast content into the markets of UK, Ireland and mainland Europe.‘New opportunites’ “It is really exciting to work with our commercial partners to seek new opportunities and even augment existing deals. “Their confidence in South African cricket and our future tours programme is truly rewarding,” he said. SAinfo reporter and Cricket South Africa
“I think this is going to give me a lot of confidence,” Federer said. “It’s important to go through all of these emotional roller coasters early. That pressure is not fun but it’s what you have to go through.”The match was Federer’s first since losing the Montreal final to Alexander Zverev nearly three weeks ago. He withdrew from Cincinnati with a sore back the following week.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening“I was worried in the beginning from my back issue from a couple weeks ago but I loosened up,” Federer said, calling his back “extremely well” and adding “it’s only going to get better from here.”“To get through a five-set match you’ve got to be healthy. I believe this is going to give me great confidence in my game and my body.” Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 29: Frances Tiafoe congratulates Roger Federer of Switzerland after their match on Day Two of the 2017 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 29, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/AFPRoger Federer made a narrow escape in a tense five-set thriller Tuesday, sorting out worries about a back injury and poor preparation to reach the second round of the US Open.The 19-time Grand Slam champion outlasted 70th-ranked US 19-year-old Frances Tiafoe 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 in a shockingly tough battle that boosted his hopes of a deep run on the New York hardcourts.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Tiafoe was disappointed he could not stay atop Federer after breaking in the opening game.“He won by the skin of his teeth,” Tiafoe said. “I felt like when I was playing well, I was controlling most of the rallies. When I was hitting the ball big, he wasn’t really doing much except staying steady with me.”But that was enough. Federer has not made a first-round exit in a Grand Slam since the 2003 French Open and has never lost an opener on the New York hardcourts. But Tiafoe tested him.“It was more than a test,” Federer said. “It was exciting. It’s why I came to New York as well, to go through these emotions.”It also was Federer’s first match under the $150 million Arthur Ashe Stadium roof that became operational last year.“To see the new addition of the sliding roof, it’s wonderful,” Federer said. “I’m the lucky guy who got to play through the rain so I’m very happy about the roof.”Asked about the noise level with the roof closed, an issue that drew complaints from top-ranked rival Rafael Nadal, Federer said, “When you guys get going it’s even a better atmosphere than we used to have.”“I expected worse because I heard comments like this. I didn’t think it was that bad and when the crowd got into it, it was really cool… I felt like the energy was back in the building again. It was a lot of fun playing in that atmosphere.”Nadal and Federer have never faced each other at the US Open but could meet in this year’s semi-finals.And Federer is the only player who can dethrone Nadal as world number one at the US Open. NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Australia proves fertile talent pool for NBA Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Biggest Pogo service provider padlocked for tax evasion Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Third seed Federer will next meet either Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny, who is 0-16 against him, or Slovenia’s Blaz Kavcic, 0-1 against Federer, as the Swiss chases a record sixth US Open crown.The 36-year-old Swiss, who won this year’s Wimbledon and Australian Open crowns, took the US Open titles from 2004-2008.The intense match came after limited preparation due to his back issues.“I always knew I was going to come in rusty or not great. I was hoping to start better,” Federer said. “I was being too cautious with my movement. In the second set it all started to come together.“I enjoyed myself even though I was maybe tired and nervous at the end. It was cool to be part of that match. I’m really excited I won.”ADVERTISEMENT View comments
Genoa coach Andreazzoli: We did not deserve defeat to AC Milanby Carlos Volcano20 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveGenoa coach Aurelio Andreazzoli felt they did not deserve defeat to AC Milan. Lasse Schone had Genoa ahead before Theo Hernandez and Franck Kessie struck for the visitors. Pepe Reina secured the points with an injury-time penalty save.Andreazzoli said, “It was an odd game. I complimented the lads at the end of the first half, as they played the game I expected. Then, in a couple of minutes we made some inconceivable naïve errors and threw it all away. You can’t afford that at this level.“After that, the team again did everything we had asked for, even more so, fighting with their hearts on their sleeves. There are regrets, clearly, as we play for a result and it hurts to emerge empty-handed from a match like that, but football is a combination of incidents and interpretations.“We played very well and it’s a pity for the lads, as they did not deserve the defeat. I do not protest at refereeing decisions. He went to view it on VAR, so he must know the decision he made.“Incidents went against us, Reina made up for his earlier error and saved them at the end. It was a game that deserved a different ending.” About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say
He’s not quite the caliber of NBA Dunk Contest champion Zach LaVine, but former Michigan wide receiver Devin Funchess is a pretty incredible dunker. Funchess, who played for the Wolverines from 2012-14, declared for the NFL Draft following his junior campaign that included 733 receiving yards and four touchdowns. NFL scouts will certainly love the 6-foot-5, 230-pound pass catcher’s athleticism. Check out this video of Funchess on the court: Former #Michigan WR Devin Funchess (@D_FUNCH) has avatar-like bounce. When NFL teams see his head above the rim?! pic.twitter.com/uLWbbxBQeQ— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) February 15, 2015Funchess is projected by many to be a tight end at the next level. Jimmy Graham, one of the NFL’s best tight ends, has similar skills on the basketball court. If Funchess can be half the player Graham is, he’ll have a very long career.
OSU sophomore linebacker Jerome Baker (17) and senior linebacker Chris Worley (35) combine on a sack againstr Michigan junior quarterback Wilton Speight (3) during their game on Nov. 26 at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes won 30-27. Credit: Mason Swires | Assistant Photo EditorThe Ohio State Buckeyes were doomed for defeat against rival Michigan. Everybody could see it. Everyone could feel it throughout the stadium. The signs were present.Through much of the game, the OSU offense failed to string together consistent drives to put the Wolverine defense on its heels. Almost a replica to how the offense looked in its only loss of the season at Penn State, redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett was erratic with his throws and the running game was stopped for minimal gain against a ferocious Michigan defense.However, there were a couple signs of a possible OSU comeback, all of which began with the defense.In the second quarter, a theme was developing. The OSU offense was unable to move the ball past its own 35-yard line in the quarter and only accumulated two first downs. A booming 60-yard punt pinned Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight at his own 6-yard line.OSU blitzed junior linebacker Raekwon McMillan and sophomore linebacker Jerome Baker, but it was McMillan who got to Speight and forced an errant throw that landed in the hands of Malik Hooker. The redshirt sophomore safety returned it to the house for his third pick-six of the season, breaking a school record.In the third quarter, an unproductive offense became the story of the game. Barrett wasn’t connecting with receivers in the passing game and redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber and junior H-back Curtis Samuel were being stalled in the run game.Michigan led by 17-7 nearing the fourth quarter and it was clear that the defense needed to make a play to boost the offense or the Wolverines were going to roll to victory. Like it had so many times before, the defense stepped up.Baker intercepted a pass from Speight and returned it 22 yards to the Michigan 13. Two penalties later, OSU had the ball on the 4 where Barrett carried for three yards, then Weber punched it in to trim the deficit to three.“We just do our job. I got it in there, did what I can do,” Baker said. “Raekwon, (Chris) Worley, Joe (Burger), all those guys kept my head up.”Again in the fourth quarter, following senior kicker Tyler Durbin’s second missed field goal that would’ve tied the game, the Silver Bullets took the field needing to stop the Wolverines for the offense to have another chance to tie, or possibly win the game. A couple first downs likely would’ve put the nail in the coffin of OSU.Three plays later, the defense was off the field and the offense marched 77 yards to send the game to overtime.“Our defense kept hanging in there, hanging in there, and they provided sparks,” said OSU coach Urban Meyer. “And the offense kind of took over in the fourth quarter and overtime.”It was the third time in the biggest game of the year that the defense saved a lackluster offensive performance, and was one of several games that the defense gave the offense a chance for redemption. A walk-off sack against Wisconsin in overtime, an early pick-six in Norman, Oklahoma, a game-saving interception on a Michigan State two-point conversion and a game-clinching interception against the Spartans are all plays that have defined this 2016 defense as opportunistic. They are all plays that can bail out an offense. The two interceptions on Saturday were primary examples of something that has been a staple of co-defensive coordinators Greg Schiano’s and Luke Fickell’s defense.Michigan running back De’Veon Smith gained 158 yards and score two touchdowns in the previous game against Indiana. On Saturday, McMillan, Baker and the rest of the defense halted Smith to just 60 yards on 21 carries. The two linebackers combined for 31 tackles — 16 and 15, respectively.“At times we need (the offense) to help pick us up. At times, they need us to pick them up,” McMillan said. “We needed them toward the end and they needed us toward the beginning. The brotherhood at the beginning, they just keep us going.”
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer took to the Big Ten teleconference Tuesday afternoon to discuss an upcoming matchup with No. 7 Michigan State, as well as addressing an injury to junior cornerback Armani Reeves.Meyer had praise for the Michigan State offense and said he understands the pressure surrounding Saturday night’s game. Heading into East Lansing, Mich., the No. 13 Buckeyes are 7-1 and 4-0 in the Big Ten — which is the same record as the Spartans.Meyer said Michigan State hasn’t changed a lot since last season, but he noted the Spartans now have “one of the best offenses in the country.”More on Spartans’ offense: “They’ve gone from being a good offense to a great offense.”He said the biggest concern for the matchup is good players, of which he added Michigan State has an abundance.Meyer said the Buckeyes’ are doing things on offense now that are “much different” from what they were doing in August when redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett was new to the starting role.Meyer on Barrett: “He’s got the full capacity to run the entire offense.”He said he expects to have the same feelings of magnitude for the upcoming matchup with Michigan State that he did before last year’s Big Ten title game, which the Spartans won, 34-24.Meyer described OSU and Michigan State as “two sledgehammers” going head-to-head.He said there’s no room for role players in a no-huddle offense in reference to sophomore H-back Dontre Wilson’s need to keep improving and getting stronger.Meyer said he feels Michigan State redshirt-senior running back Jeremy Langford is “one of the top backs in the country and certainly one of the top backs in the Big Ten.”He said the Buckeyes haven’t had any issues with effort since his first season in Columbus two years ago.Meyer said Barrett has a “tremendous relationship” with co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman and added the two are close. “As a head coach you love to see that kind of relationship between a position coach and a player,” he said.Reeves UpdateMeyer said Reeves “wasn’t cleared to play last week,” and said he’s not sure of Reeves’ status for Michigan State.Meyer on Reeves: “He’s a great kid, he’s having trouble focusing and they’re not quite sure exactly.”He said the trainers haven’t said Reeves has a concussion. “To be honest with you, I’m not quite 100 percent sure what it is,” Meyer said.The Buckeyes and Michigan State are scheduled to face-off at 8 p.m.
Ohio State redshirt sophomore defender Jincy Dunne (33) attempts to stop a fast break in the first period of the game against Minnesota on Jan. 19. Ohio State won 3-2. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorAfter two weeks on the road facing consecutive Top 10 teams, the No. 4 Ohio State women’s hockey team returns home to face another tough test, this time in a matchup between Olympic goaltenders. The Buckeyes (7-3, 3-1 WCHA) take on St. Cloud State (4-6, 2-4 WCHA) in a conference showdown that pits former teammates against each other. Ohio State freshman goaltender Andrea Braendli and junior goaltender Janine Alder of St. Cloud State were both members of the Swiss National Team in the 2018 Winter Olympics. “We’re going to come across a very good goaltender and it’s going to be Swiss Olympic goalie versus Swiss Olympic goalie so that will be fun,” Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said. “St. Cloud is coming off a very big win against at that time the No. 5 Minnesota Duluth team, so we just really need to play as a unit of five in the offensive zone and I think great things will happen.” The Huskies have momentum on their side, coming off a ranked win against now-No. 7 Minnesota Duluth, but the Buckeyes are fresh off a ranked win of their own, a 6-1 victory against No. 10 St. Lawrence. If Ohio State wants to build off that momentum, it will have to be more disciplined on the ice. Over two games, Ohio State had thirteen total penalties, two of which were converted into power play goals by the Saints, which led to its loss on Friday. “I think we just need to learn to be more disciplined with our sticks,” redshirt junior Jincy Dunne said. “It’s one thing to be aggressive with your body but we have to clear up our stick play as well and play an aggressive smart style.”Defense should not be the issue with Ohio State. Braendli is coming off a 42-save game and is continuing on an impressive rookie campaign. The Buckeyes currently rank No. 3 in the NCAA in team saves with 298. Defense is also not the issue for St. Cloud State, as the Huskies are No. 2 in the nation with 358 saves. Ohio State can look to several players to contribute on the offensive front. Senior forward Charly Dahlquist was named WCHA forward of the week for her performance against St. Lawrence, where she scored two goals and had two assists. “Charly has been the backbone to the majority of our success offensively,” Muzerall said. “She does all the dirty areas, she’s the five-footer in front of the net, in the corners and she’s going to set up the play. She may not get the assist, but she’s going to do the legwork, the blue-collar stuff behind the scenes that’s going to create a turnover and create an offensive opportunity. Charly is very underrated, and I am glad she got the recognition she is so deserving of.” The Buckeyes play two home games this weekend against St. Cloud State at OSU Ice Rink at 6 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday.