Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/ Maurizio Sarri says he will not make any changes to Juventus’ free-kick hierarchy, despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s poor conversion rate. There have been calls for Miralem Pjanic and Paulo Dybala to replace Ronaldo as Juve’s default free-kick taker, with the Portuguese statistically Serie A’s worst. However, Sarri made it clear before tomorrow’s trip to Lecce that he would leave duties to the discretion of the No 7 and Pjanic. “It’ll be a difficult match against a team who always propose their own style of play, even when they’re in trouble,” he said at a Press conference. “There will be many variables to deal with, like the heat, which can be an obstacle as it was in Florence, but we must be able to overcome these difficulties too. “Right now we don’t have that many options to rotate, but we’ll change something based on the condition of the players. “Bonucci’s always played, we’ll see if we can give him a breather. Douglas Costa isn’t ready yet and De Sciglio also needs a few more days. “I often talk to Ronaldo. Even for him he’ll occasionally need to rest. We’ll see when, based on how he feels. “Cristiano and Miralem decide over free kicks, it’s down to them. I’ve asked for a few things from Pjanic, without changing his nature, and he did well to make himself available. “He’s expressing himself at very high levels.”
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/ Another Celtic fan has been stabbed in Rome, with 12 Lazio ultras also arrested in the aftermath of last night’s Europa League clash. Local reports state the Celtic fan, who was only 20 years old, was taken to hospital in the early hours of Friday morning. As for the arrest of Lazio ultras, it came as the 9,000-strong Scottish support was leaving the Olimpico, celebrating their side’s 2-1 win to reach the Europa League last 32. The group had staged an unprovoked attack on Celtic fans, which led to one police offer also needing medical treatment for a fracture. Despite their attempts to flee the crime scene, 12 of the ultras were eventually caught and booked by officers. Two Celtic supporters were also stabbed before kick-off, which led their club to issue strict travel guidelines – among them not to wear green and white.
Giorgio Chiellini has joked how he supported Milan and idolised Paolo Maldini, but “I became smarter. Now it’s difficult to find a bigger Juventus fan than me.” Chiellini was speaking to Juve’s Junior Members at the Allianz Stadium on Monday afternoon, where he fielded questions about his career. Asked about his toughest opponent, he replied: “Apart from Ronaldo and Messi, who are two extra-terrestrials, I always say Zlatan Ibrahimovic. “He had physical strength, technique, personality… I had the fortune to play with him and against him.” The veteran is a Bianconeri icon, having stuck with the club for the last 15 years, but he confessed he was initially a Milan supporter. “I was a Milan fan, unfortunately, then I got better. I became smarter growing up. Maldini was my favourite player. “I have a twin brother, he was a Juve fan and I had to go against him and be Milan. Can you imagine how happy he was when Juve bought me when I was 20 years old? “When I moved here I immediately fell in love with the club, and now I think it’s difficult to find a bigger Juve fan on this earth than me.” A master of the art of defending, Chiellini shared some of his secrets to the youngsters. “You must find pleasure in stopping a move. The emotions that others find in scoring, you have to feel the same in stopping them. “If you find those emotions, you can become a great defender.” The Old Lady captain concluded by naming the two games he would never forget. “My first match because it will always be my first. It was against Messina and we won 3-0 [in October 2005]. “The other was that night in Trieste [against Cagliari], the first in our run [of Scudetti]. It was a night of strong emotions, which will always stay with me.” Chiellini is currently recovering from a torn ACL and is expected to return in the spring. Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/
Back in their elements after the opening match debacle, a confident India will have a score to settle when they take on hosts Zimbabwe for the second time in the ongoing cricket tri-series on Thursday.Zimbabwe had spoiled Suresh Raina’s captaincy debut when they inflicted a stunning six-wicket defeat on India in the tournament opener in Bulawayo but the visitors were quick to recover as they thumped Sri Lanka in their second outing to bounce back.At the halfway stage, all three teams have one win and a defeat against their names and India will go all out for a win today at the Harare Sports Club to put one foot in the June 9 final of the tournament.For India, their batting has been the biggest strength so far as they posted 285 in the first match and chased down 242 with consummate ease in the second tie with 6.3 overs to spare.Batting mainstay Rohit Sharma has been in the form of his life as he slammed consecutive centuries to anchor the Indian innings in both the matches. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and vice-captain Virat Kohli have also sizzled with the bat.The team, however, has not been served well by its openers. Both Dinesh Karthik and Murali Vijay could not give starts that India is so used to when Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir open the innings.Raina, on his part, looked in good nick in both the matches but the team is yet to get a big knock from the skipper.advertisementThe last time they met Zimbabwe, it was India’s inexperienced pacers which let them down. But in the match against Sri Lanka, the young guns put up a better bowling performance with Ashok Dinda and Umesh Yadav looking better bowlers.The spinners, however, have done a decent job with Amit Mishra and Ojha doing well and Ravindra Jadeja chipping in.Zimbabwe, meanwhile, will require something extraordinary to pull off a repeat performance against the mighty Indians.Their high-flying campaign has already been brought down to earth by Sri Lanka last night when the hosts were skittled out for a paltry 118 in 24.5 overs in a rain-curtained match.The Lankans led by skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan produced a blistering batting performance to chase down the target in just 15.2 over to inflict a massive nine-wicket defeat on the hosts.Zimbabwe’s batting scorecard wore contrasting looks in the last two matches. While against India, everybody chipped in with meaningful contributions, against Sri Lanka only three could reach double figures.
The hazardous environment in which workers are putting together infrastructure for the Commonwealth Games was exposed on Thursday when a huge glasspane came crashing down several floors at the Talkatora stadium. The accident was recorded on camera by a Headlines Today team that was at the stadium to check if workers were being given adequate protective gear. The team found three workers – without any protective gear – perched on a ledge on the stadium’s fourth floor. They were trying to bring a glasspane weighing about 100 kg down to the ground floor. Merely tied to a rope, the huge glasspane went out of control and crashed to the ground. Luckily, nobody was hurt. The workers on the fourth floor too were working in hazardous conditions. They had no harness, safety jackets or helmets. “We raised the issue with the contractor, but he asked us to work without safety gear,” one of the workers said.
The police will have insufficient evidence to press charges against alleged spot match fixer Mazhar Majeed, who was seen accepting money on camera, the chairman of a United Kingdom commission set up to probe gambling-related threat of corruption in cricket feels. The statement of Rick Parry, the chairman of the commission who was earlier the CEO of Liverpool Football Club, has added a new twist to the match fixing scandal involving top Pakistani cricketers, including captain Salman Butt. Parry believes that the case is likely to flounder unless evidence of illegal betting activity was found to back up the claims. In this case, the greater onus would have to fall on International Cricket Council (ICC) to take prompt and decisive action against anyone found guilty of match-fixing, he said. In his explanation Parry said, “I don’t think the case has any evidence at all. Unless News of the World placed a bet, which would be highly unlikely, because in doing so they would have carried out a criminal act.” “Then there doesn’t appear to be any betting activity at all associated with these particular allegations. It places the ball squarely back into the hands of the cricket authorities,” Parry added.
Former South Africa cricketer Jonty Rhodes feels that India’s middle-order batsman Virat Kohli has the ability to match the extraordinary feats of iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar to some extent.”Kohli is only 22 but he has already shown his potential with the bat. He has shown that he can be a superstar,” Rhodes told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of his new range of nutritional supplements under ESN (Evolution Sports Nutrition).”His conversion rate from fifties to hundreds in ODIs is amazing. Once he gets a fifty, he is a difficult batsman to dismiss. With regards to the stats and the number of runs scored, he has shown that he can compete with the records of the likes of Sachin Tendulkar in the long run.”Kohli is expected to play a big role in India’s success in the future. He is a fine cricketer and a fine athlete. He is a complete all-rounder,” he added.Kohli has scored 2,496 runs in 66 ODIs at an average of 45.38 with the help of seven centuries and 16 fifties.The 42-year-old Rhodes also believed that Kohli although does not have an impressive record in Tests, having scored only 76 runs in five innings, had it in him to become a successful player in the longer version of the game too.”The right-handed batsman has been consistent in IPL, T20s and ODIs because he plays good cricketing shots,” said Rhodes.”He plays shots all-round the park. From the team point of view, he has shown maturity. He finishes games for India and does not throw his wicket away. That’s what Test cricket is all about,” he added. Rhodes, who scored 2,532 and 5,935 runs in 50 Tests and 245 ODIs respectively, felt it would be an uphill task for England, who have lost the first two one-dayers against India in the ongoing five-match series, to bounce back.advertisement”England are a team that have come off a convincing win (over India) in their home. But being 0-2 down is always a dangerous position to be in, especially when you are playing against a quality side. England have shown that they are very good but beating India in India is a tough ask,” Rhodes said.”We all know its pretty tough to play in India. England had played pretty well recently but India have bounced back.They are the world champions. No team would like to go to England and fail to win even a game there, especially if they are the world champions. India have given England a lesson in cricket in the last two games,” he added.The South African came out in support of veteran off- spinner Harbhajan Singh, who has been dropped from the national team, saying that he has a lot to offer to the Indian team.”Bhajji has always been a fighter and he has been known for it throughout his career. I have been dropped in my career. There are two things you can do in that situation — either sulk and say that’s it I’m not going to participate or you can get back to the field. That’s what he did for Mumbai Indians in the Champions League,” said Rhodes, who is the fielding coach of IPL franchisee Mumbai Indians, the team in which Harbhajan plays.”He could have said Sachin is not here, I’ve been dropped from the Indian team so what’s the point, but he led (Mumbai Indians) from the front. That’s shows the kind of guy he is.He is a real team man. He has got a lot to contribute to the India team.”
When the Bombay High Court on Friday slammed Team Anna Hazare’s petition asking for the state to give land for their agitation at cheaper rates, not many shed tears or were disappointed with the court’s reaction.For many in the state, Hazare and his team had it coming for a long time. “I am really happy with the court’s order. I am fed up of this attitude that whatever they do is right and whatever others say is wrong. The court’s verdict was needed because they needed to be shown that they are not always right,” said Rita Almeida, a resident of Bandra.Anna Hazare and his team may want to ignore Rita’s comment. If they don’t, it would be at their own peril for, till recently, Rita was a supporter of Hazare and his Jan Lokpal Bill.”My disillusionment came after Anna’s second fast in Delhi. I believe instead of the issue of Jan Lokpal being the centrestage it is Anna Hazare who is in the limelight and is being projected as the new Gandhi. There can be only one Gandhi, you can follow him, but you can’t proclaim to be him,” Rita said.Rita is not wrong. Hazare and his team, in not so subtle a way, is trying to portray that he is the next Gandhi. For instance, three months ago, elders from Hazare’s village Ralegan Siddhi gave him the title of ‘Mahatma’. Seeing eyebrows being raised, Hazare promptly said he won’t take the title.People in Mumbai sign up in support of Hazare.However, the incident had already set the cat among the pigeons. For, it is common knowledge that Hazare is in the know of anything significant that happens in Ralegan Siddhi and it is likely that the villagers bestowed the title after taking Hazare’s consent.The incident has not dampened Hazare and his supporters’ enthusiasm.advertisementHandbills and pamphlets being distributed in Mumbai have a picture of Mahatma Gandhi on one side and Anna on the other. “I was in the gym when the India Against Corruption (IAC) volunteers came and gave me a handbill and asked me to join the three-day fast and jail bharo agitation. What riled me was how strategically they had placed Gandhi and Anna Hazare’s photos next to each other in the handbill,” said Shashank Purohit, a chartered accountant from Andheri.He added that the brazen way with which Team Anna was ridiculing those opposed to them was matter of concern. “I think everyone agrees that corruption is very serious issue in our country. However, the way these people are going about their protest is simply like ‘if you don’t agree with us then you are anti-national or corrupt’. The court order was like a rude awakening that not everything you say is right,” said Purohit.Team Anna has also not been helped by its continuing flip-flops and the leadership speaking in different voices. For instance, five days ago, when the Mumbai police denied permission for the fast in Azad Maidan, Anna and his supporters said it would be held at Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) grounds in Bandra (East).In fact, at the time IAC volunteers asserted that the high price being charged by MMRDA for the ground was not going to be a factor at all. But within a span of 24 hours, the IAC changed its stance at Hazare’s behest.The IAC claimed that Hazare had disapproved of the high cost and was not ready to accept the ground even though there were volunteers willing to arrange money for it.Since Hazare did not accept the ground, the IAC volunteers decided to file a PIL. Unfortunately for the IAC, the high court came down heavily on the organisation and its demand to be allowed to use the ground for free.Hours after the IAC verdict, Hazare made a volte face and criticised his own team for rushing to the court.Hazare claimed that was not consulted before the PIL was filed and said the decision to go to the court was wrong. This, when himself had said the cost for the MMRDA ground was too high!”For a man who is projecting himself as the second Gandhi, he should be taking responsibility for the actions of his people and not disown them, which Hazare did after the court’s order,” said Anil Galgali, an RTI activist from Mumbai.”The present issue has shown that there is no difference between Hazare and the politicians, Hazare and his team wanted the MMRDA ground for cheap as it ‘was in public interest’ while our politicians also avail of facilities for free as they ‘represent the people’. In fact, the past two months’ events and the high court’s order have clearly shown that it’s not the government that is behaving in a dictatorial manner but Anna and his team,” Galgali added.advertisementThe court’s verdict has come as a boost for the Congressmen who had been demoralised and have been the favourite whipping boys of Team Anna for a while. Congress leaders in the city have naturally been sporting a big grin after the verdict.”The verdict has punctured Team Anna’s claims that they are above Parliament. The agitation has now lost its credibility after the high court’s order,” said a Congress leader.He added that though Anna will fast they are not going to be unduly worried as it’s going to be for three days only.Although the IAC activists have put up a brave face in public, in private they acknowledge that the high court’s stinging observations have dampened their morale.”With hindsight it was definitely a wrong approach to go to the court because, however exorbitant the rate, we should have paid the money for the MMRDA ground the first time itself. Now, though the fast will go on, the momentum has shifted,” said an IAC functionary.