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  • Super Rugby players sent home but still hoping to...
    by Reuters on August 12, 2020 at 1:54 am

    Blues’ final match in Auckland on Sunday is sold outCurrent restrictions in place until at least FridayThe Blues have sent their players home ahead of a lockdown in Auckland due to a new outbreak of Covid-19 in the region but are hopeful their sold-out final Super Rugby Aotearoa match on Sunday can still go ahead.New Zealand’s government said late on Tuesday that four new cases had emerged in Auckland after 102 days without community transmission and the country’s largest city […]

  • Atlético Women suspend training after five...
    by Suzanne Wrack on August 11, 2020 at 10:31 pm

    Players, coaching staff and assistants are in quarantineFive players self-isolating 10 days before Champions LeagueAtlético Madrid women have suspended their training only 10 days before the Champions League is due to restart after five positive Covid-19 tests.A statement from the club confirmed that four players had tested positive for the virus on Tuesday after a first player was identified as having contracted the disease last Friday. Training has been suspended and players, coaching […]

  • Neil Lennon dismayed by Bolingoli's...
    by Ewan Murray on August 11, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    Three games postponed after Celtic defender’s Spanish visitLennon: ‘We are all desperately disappointed. It’s appalling’Neil Lennon has expressed dismay at the “premeditated” actions of Boli Bolingoli, after Celtic’s Belgian defender caused the postponement of three Scottish Premiership fixtures with an unauthorised trip to Spain. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has warned the country’s football resumption will be put on hold if […]

  • Rugby league in turmoil after five Hull FC...
    by Aaron Bower on August 11, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    Training sessions cancelled following resultsSalford’s players tested but results not yet received Super League has suffered a major blow just two weeks in to the competition’s resumption after a number of Hull FC players, who played in Sunday’s fixture with Salford, tested positive for Covid-19. Related: Premiership clubs hit by Covid-19 could forfeit 20-0, says Sale's Diamond Continue reading...

  • Lucas Ocampos scores late winner to end Wolves'...
    by Paul Doyle at the MSV Arena on August 11, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    Wolves’ epic season reached an agonising end as Lucas Ocampos headed a goal two minutes from time to send Sevilla into a Europa League semi-final against Manchester United. There can be no begrudging the Spaniards their progress on the balance of play in this quarter-final, but Wolves’ pain was deepened by the knowledge that things might have panned out very differently if Raúl Jiménez had not had a penalty saved early on – or if the referee, or VAR, had spotted […]

  • Big Ten, Pac-12 postpone fall college football:...
    on August 12, 2020 at 3:52 am

    What does this mean for the rest of the Power 5? Answering that question and more following Tuesday's latest.

  • What a spring college football season could --...
    on August 12, 2020 at 3:52 am

    Whether or not you like the idea of spring college football, the logistics can work ... if conferences show the foresight and cooperation they've lacked over the five months since the coronavirus pandemic altered the sports calendar.

  • Champions League quarterfinal preview,...
    on August 12, 2020 at 3:47 am

    The Champions League is down to just eight teams. Will PSG survive Atalanta? Bayern vs. Barca: which super club goes home early?

  • Draft-Day Manifesto: The 7 Habits of Highly...
    on August 12, 2020 at 3:40 am

    This season will be unlike any other we've experienced, so Matthew provides keys to consider on draft day.

  • Lightning prevail in Game 1 after 6 hours, 5 OTs
    on August 12, 2020 at 3:32 am

    Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo set an NHL playoff record with 85 saves, but it was the Lightning who won Tuesday night's five-overtime epic on a Brayden Point goal that came 150 minutes, 27 seconds into Game 1.

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  • Sri Lanka Cricket ready to host IPL 2020
    by Sports Flashes Desk on April 17, 2020 at 10:18 am

    Sri Lanka Cricket ready to host IPL 2020 Amidst the stern circumstances due to the massive coronavirus outbreak, the BCCI announced the suspension of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for an indefinite period. The disastrous COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll across the globe and more than 1 lakh deaths have occurred due to the life-threatening virus. In order to prevent this situation, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently extended the lockdown period until May 3. However, with India not ready to host the IPL in the near future, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has proposed to host the cash-rich T20 league this year. During an interview, Sri Lanka Cricket President Shammi Silva stated that the BCCI is very much likely to consider their proposal after reviewing the pandemic situation in Sri Lanka. In case there is no IPL this year, its stakeholders are expected to incur some big losses. However, if the IPL 2020 is held in Sri Lanka, the losses can be minimized to a great extent. Currently, there are close to 238 coronavirus positive cases in Sri Lanka out of which 65 patients have recovered and 7 have died because of the deadly disease. “If IPL is called off, Indian Cricket board and IPL stakeholders will have to bear a loss of more than USD 500 Million. So, it will be beneficial for them to conduct the league in another country as they did in 2009 in South Africa,” said Silva. “If we get the go-ahead from them to this proposal, we are ready to provide all the facilities necessary under the supervision of Sri Lankan health authorities,” he added.  

  • Dinesh Karthik confident of returning to India T20I team
    by Sports Flashes Desk on April 16, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    Dinesh Karthik confident of returning to India T20I team Many of the players’ careers were dependent on the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Now with the huge uncertainty over the IPL 2020 due to the massive coronavirus outbreak, it will be very much difficult for some players who were looking to make a comeback in the national team after a stellar performance in the IPL. Indian team management is yet to decide their first-choice wicket-keeper batsman for the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia. KL Rahul currently looks as the top-contender for the slot with brilliant performances in white-ball cricket in the recent while. Rishabh Pant, who warmed the bench during the limited-overs leg of the New Zealand tour, is also in the line. There were also speculations about MS Dhoni’s return to the national side in case he does extremely well in the IPL. In the recent development, Dinesh Karthik has also stated that he is hopeful of his return in India’s T20 setup. Karthik was last seen in the India colours during the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup against New Zealand. Since then, he suddenly vanquished from the scenes. During a recent interview, Karthik talked about his formidable T20 numbers and his chances of making a possible return for the 2020 T20 World Cup. "It does hurt, no doubt about that. I have always had this burning desire to play for my country and it hasn't diminished one bit," quoted Dinesh Karthik. "My record in T20s has been good. A big tournament like the World Cup did not go exactly as per the plan. I could understand the one day bit (being dropped from ODIs) but even now I would like think that I stand a good chance in returning to the T20 side,” he added. In 32 T20Is, Karthik has scored close to 400 runs at a decent average of 33.25 with a strike-rate of 143.53. It is also a fact that the right-handed wicket-keeper batsman had performed really well for India in the finisher’s role. With a remarkable last ball six, he helped India to an unbelievable victory in the final of the 2018 Nidahas Trophy against Bangladesh in the final. "I have done well even in the recent domestic games that I have played. I have no reason to doubt myself (that I can't make another comeback)." "There is a T20 World Cup round the corner and I know if I do well, I stand a good chance of making the team. I know it gets tougher every time. The team is getting stronger all the time and it is great to watch. But it is my duty to get better as a player and the rest will take care of itself,” Karthik noted. "With everything that has been happening, I am not able to think too much about the IPL. I have moved into a state where I have accepted that it is not going to happen for now. Before the lockdown, I was practising really hard for the IPL, just like I did it every other tournament. There is still a lot of hope (of playing for India again), it is always there. In fact, the entire world is living on hope right now," he concluded.

  • IPL 2020 officially suspended indefinitely
    by Sports Flashes Desk on April 16, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    IPL 2020 officially suspended indefinitely Even after the big 21-day lockdown period in India, the massive COVID-19 pandemic situation is still very much threatening. This has also forced the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to also take the hard step. In a huge development, the BCCI has officially suspended the forthcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for an indefinite period. The announcement from the BCCI was quite expected with regards to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi extending the lockdown period in the country until May 3. In its recent press release, the BCCI stated that all the stakeholders have mutually come to a decision that the IPL should go ahead only when things settle down and the coronavirus situation dries down. "The health and safety of the nation and everyone involved in our great sport remains our top priority and as such, the BCCI along with the Franchise Owners, Broadcaster, Sponsors and all the Stakeholders acknowledge that the IPL 2020 season will only commence when it is safe and appropriate to do so," a BCCI release stated. The tournament was earlier scheduled to be held on March 29 but due to the massive coronavirus outbreak, the league was suspended until April 15. This announcement from the BCCI was very much on the expected lines after the extension of the lockdown period in India. Currently, most of the sporting activities in the world have either been cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic. However, there are still talks going around about the possibility of having the IPL somewhere around the September-October window later this year. IPL 2020 can be organised successfully if the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia is cancelled or postponed. But for that to happen, the coronavirus disastrous situation needs to get cleared up very soon which is looking very much bleak right now.

  • Tim Paine gives a fitting reply to Michael Clarke
    by Sports Flashes Desk on April 9, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    Tim Paine gives a fitting reply to Michael Clarke Recently, former Australian captain Michael Clarke made a statement that the Australian players were too scared to sledge Indian captain Virat Kohli during the 2018-19 Test series as they were afraid of losing their IPL contracts. India made history under Virat Kohli’s captaincy by winning their maiden Test series in Australia. However, Clarke feels that the home team players were too soft against Kohli because they didn’t want to lose million dollar IPL deals. Australia’s Test captain Tim Paine has come up with a fitting reply to the former skipper’s controversial comments. During a recent interview, Paine mentioned that he did not notice his team trying to be nice to Virat Kohli or taking a step back. The Australian skipper revealed that they had persisted on not provoking Virat in any way because of him being at his best when someone tries to get under his skin. “I certainly didn't notice too many people being that nice to Virat or not trying to get him out or anything like that. I thought everyone who had the ball in their hand or when we were batting were trying their absolute best to win the game for Australia. I'm not sure who was going easy on him; we certainly had a thing where we didn't want to provoke any fight with him because we think that's when he plays at his best," quoted Tim Paine. Tim Paine also talked about an instance from the documentary released on Amazon Prime ‘The Test’ where the two captains engage in a healthy banter during the Perth Test match. The Aussie skipper went on to mention that he was in a nothing to lose situation as he was not going to be a part of the IPL and believed that all his players gave their 100% in every Test match of the series. “Who knows what will happen this series and, as we saw in the documentary, there was still quite a lot of heat in some of those games. I certainly wasn’t holding back, but again the IPL’s not a huge draw for me at the moment, so I had nothing to lose. But anytime our guys go out and play a Test match for Australia, they’ll be giving their absolute all and I’m pretty sure they’re not thinking about an IPL contract when they’re running in, bowling to Virat,” he added.

  • Reason behind Sanjay Manjrekar dropped from commentary panel
    by Sports Flashes Desk on April 9, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    Reason behind Sanjay Manjrekar dropped from commentary panel Before the official COVID-19 lockdown in India, it was learned that former Indian cricketer and a well-known commentator Sanjay Manjrekar was sacked by the BCCI from the commentary panel. Manjrekar had been under the striking lines for his various critical statements because of his vocal nature. He was not included in the commentary panel for the ODI series against South Africa that got suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. During the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales, Manjrekar controversially termed Ravindra Jadeja as ‘bits and pieces’ player due to which the former faced the heat on the social media from the fans. In the Test match in Nagpur 2019, Manjrekar was once again involved in a controversial discussion with commentary panel mate Harsha Bhogle where Manjrekar was critical over the latter not having played cricket. It was being reported that these controversies were the major reason for Manjrekar’s sacking from the commentary panel. However, a recent report states that he did not follow the guidelines set by the BCCI during his commentary stint. Manjrekar reportedly spoke about BCCI president Sourav Ganguly’s conflict of interest issue. “Manjrekar was quite vocal last year when Ganguly was engulfed in the conflict of interest controversy. Back then the former Indian skipper had been holding multiple posts – including that of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president and mentor of the Delhi Capitals team,” the source said. “All the claims are false that says Ganguly has been on a witch-hunt since becoming the BCCI boss, or that he has been pushing his detractors out of the board,” other source added.

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  • NHL Live Tracker: Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights
    by Sportsnet Staff on August 12, 2020 at 2:39 am

    The Chicago Blackhawks square off with the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of their best-of-seven series on Tuesday in the first meeting between the two franchises in playoff action. Follow along with our NHL Live Tracker. The post Blue Jays do little things right to cash in winning run against Marlins appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.

  • Antetokounmpo headbutts Moe Wagner, gets ejected
    by Sportsnet Video on August 12, 2020 at 2:30 am

    Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo headbutts Washington Wizards’ Moe Wagner after a heated exchange and gets ejected from the game. The post Blue Jays do little things right to cash in winning run against Marlins appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.

  • Flames/Stars Post-Game
    by Sonny Sachdeva on August 12, 2020 at 2:29 am

    The post Blue Jays do little things right to cash in winning run against Marlins appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.

  • Flames credit hot start for Game 1 win against Stars
    by Sportsnet Video on August 12, 2020 at 2:26 am

    Calgary Flames head coach Geoff Ward and forward Dillon Dube speak about how the team used momentum from the first period in their win against the Dallas Stars. The post Blue Jays do little things right to cash in winning run against Marlins appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.

  • Bolts, Jackets on OT Thriller
    by Sonny Sachdeva on August 12, 2020 at 2:21 am

    The post Blue Jays do little things right to cash in winning run against Marlins appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.

  • IPL 2020 in the UAE is officially a go after Emirates Cricket Board receives official clearance
    on August 11, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    The 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the UAE has been given the green light after the Emirates Cricket Board received the official clearance to host the tournament. The UAE was provisionally declared as the host country a few days earlier, pending a final clearance from the Indian Government. On Monday, IPL chairman Brijesh Patel confirmed that the BCCI had been provided a formal approval from India’s central government to shift the 13th edition to the UAE. With the ECB’s confirmation of receipt of the official clearance from the BCCI on Tuesday, the final hurdle has been removed for the tournament taking place in the UAE. His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Cabinet Member and Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, Chairman of the Emirates Cricket Board said; “We feel extremely privileged to host what could be considered the pinnacle-event of our favourite sport. The magnitude of being in a position to bring the IPL to the vast cricket-loving global community, during current events which have greatly impacted our daily lives, is one we take with extreme importance.” “This is undoubtedly the highest-profile cricketing-event to be held in the UAE and our team will continue to support all facets (of the tournament) and work toward delivering a successful event for the enjoyment of all sports-fans; here in the UAE, in India and across the world.” Emirates Cricket Board has today confirmed they have received the official clearance from the BCCI to host the 13th edition of the highly-popular, prestigious Indian Premier League.Read more 👉 https://t.co/5qB6jvXxR6 pic.twitter.com/ypR5Z9vcUV— UAE Cricket Official (@EmiratesCricket) August 11, 2020 “The UAE is well-versed in delivering successful events – sporting and lifestyle – and we remain in very close contact with the BCCI, IPL committees, the UAE Government and Ministries, our Health Authority, as well as many other entities, who are all experts in their respective fields and it is our collective intent that the tournament be played in a safe, enjoyable environment. We extend our sincere thanks to everyone who has worked tirelessly to bring the ‘IPL 2020’ to the UAE,” added Al Nahayan. The T20 league is slated to run from September 19 to November 10 in three venues – Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. The final schedule of the tournament is yet to be announced by IPL’s governing body and is expected to be revealed in a week’s time. This will be the second instance of the UAE playing host to the biggest T20 franchise tournament in the world. The Gulf country had earlier hosted a part of the 2014 IPL edition, owing to the tournament’s clash with the central elections in India. The eight participating franchises are expected to start arriving in the country from August 20. Last week, the IPL governing council had sent a 16-page document to all eight franchises where it had outlined the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the tournament. Players and team staff are to undergo five mandatory COVID-19 tests before they are cleared to enter the bio-secure bubble in the UAE. In addition to this, they will also be tested every five days of their stay in the UAE.

  • Rare drought fails to dampen James Anderson’s spirits as England veteran vows to soldier on
    on August 10, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    Murmurs of an impending retirement were gradually building on Monday as James Anderson prepared to address the media, but those were quickly put to bed as the England veteran vowed to carry on. Having just turned 38 two weeks ago, Anderson is no longer the spring chicken he once was in his prime. Hence, talks of an irreversible decline were accelerated after his listless showing in the recently concluded Manchester Test against Pakistan. Playing on his home turf at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground, the Lancashire man picked up just the solitary wicket across the two innings. It was quite the comedown for a bowler who has become synonymous for tormenting opposition batsmen under the rain clouds of England’s summer. It has been a lean summer by Anderson’s high standards with the stalwart picking up a total of six wickets in as many innings against the West Indies and Pakistan. For a man who kicked off 2020 with a seven-wicket haul against South Africa in Newlands, the recent displays might represent cause for alarm. The veteran has failed to grab any wickets in the second innings for three Tests and running now. These diminishing returns do raise questions about Anderson’s fitness levels in particular and whether he can maintain the intensity over the course of five days. Although the concerns are valid, it is too hasty to suggest that the seamer has lost his golden touch. He beat the bat on several occasions in Manchester against Pakistan and even saw a catch put down off his bowling. The veteran vented his ire by kicking the ground in frustration, as Ben Stokes looked on apologetically as the guilty fielder in the slip cordon. “It’s been a frustrating week for me personally,” Anderson said on Monday as quoted by the ICC. “I’ve not bowled very well, out of rhythm. Probably for the first time in probably 10 years, I got a little bit emotional on the field. Started getting frustrated and let that get to me a little bit. “It reminded me of when I first started playing, when you get a little bit angry, you try and bowl quicker and quicker and it doesn’t help.” The Manchester disappointment notwithstanding, Anderson is in no mood to call it quits any time soon. He has reiterated his desire to play in the 2021 Ashes series Down Under and it would be foolish to assume otherwise. Even in an off-colour display in Manchester, he managed to dismiss Pakistan’s star batsman Babar Azam with a trademark outswinger. His new-ball partner Stuart Broad might have hogged the limelight in the past month by joining him in the 500 wickets club, but Anderson has the chance to create a unique piece of history himself. He currently stands on the cusp of becoming the first pacer in history to claim 600 Test scalps, though the elusive milestone is still 10 wickets away. When the six Tests against West Indies and Pakistan were announced for the summer, 600 was a question of when, not if for Anderson. Now, there are doubts over whether he can attain the feat in the two remaining Tests. But discount Anderson at your own peril. After two successive Tests in Manchester, the scenery now shifts to Southampton for the remainder of the series against Pakistan. The extra swing on offer at the Rose Bowl might just be the tonic needed to reinvigorate a fast-bowler who has already defied convention with his remarkable longevity at the top level. Jimmy Anderson struggled for rhythm in Manchester, but he's got no plans to quit Test cricket any time soon and is confident of a strong bounce-back in Southampton 💪 #ENGvPAK pic.twitter.com/w8FsOyMZSC— ICC (@ICC) August 10, 2020 It is not the same Anderson who debuted more than 17 years ago at Lord’s as a talented, but highly inconsistent swing bowler. Over the years, he has sacrificed pace for accuracy and has reaped rewards with his ability to swing the ball both ways. As a true master of his craft with no parallel in contemporary cricket, we are lucky to have witnessed Anderson doing his thing for the best part of two decades. That he has no intentions of bowing out in the near future will only be a bonus. The 600th wicket will inevitably come, even though the man himself is not too fussed about the milestone. “600 wickets is not a huge thing for me really,” he said on Monday “The other milestones I’ve gone past haven’t been either. I want to be contributing to this team, that’s my sole focus. I want to be bowling well and contributing to England winning games of cricket. That’s been my focus throughout my career. I think that focus has served me well.” It is now 154 Test appearances and 33,331 deliveries and counting for Anderson. No other pacer in history has bowled more deliveries while only Alastair Cook (161) has more matches under his belt as an Englishman. Should he be able to fulfill his target of playing in the next Ashes series, Anderson will surely go past Cook to create a new record. It will still be just one of many for the England star who is bound to join Cook in receiving a knighthood at some point in the future.

  • A look at who will be the next RB Salzburg star to follow Erling Haaland and Takumi Minamino into Europe’s elite
    on August 10, 2020 at 10:29 am

    The Red Bull football project has arguably been more effective than its drink in keeping some football fans awake at night. Their involvement in the sport is routinely ostracised for its perceived plastic ownership strategy, yet there are elements of the Red Bull model which should actually be celebrated. Blanket some of the feverish opinions and the cold-hard reality is that they are arguably one of the best-run operations in football, with much of Red Bull’s cash poured into developing the most promising young players on the planet. Since Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz purchased Austria Salzburg in 2005, his group’s portfolio of clubs has pumped out as many brilliant players for our eyes as they have energy drinks down throats. Erling Haaland and Takumi Minamino are two of Salzburg’s most recent examples, but they certainly will not be the last. The question is, which of the Austrian giant’s current stable will be picked off next? There’s a few contenders to examine. Dominik Szoboszlai | 19 | Hungary Before Milan decided to stick with Stefano Pioli, Ralf Ragnick was set for a return to management at the Rossoneri. The former Leipzig boss has been serving as Red Bull’s Head of Sport and Development, so it speaks volumes that his chief transfer target was said to be Szoboszlai. That move may not materialise now, but the interest in the Hungary international remains high, and for good reason. Lining up on the left of midfield, the game comes comfortably to Szoboszlai. His body mechanics are easy on the eye as he maneuvers his way around the pitch with grace. Nothing is forced, his passes are measured and his touch secure. Pressure him and he tip-toes away serenely, stand off and he’ll buzz saw through lines of defence at speed. It’s not just all glitz, though, the teenager allies graft with his craft and while he’s not a naturally clean finisher, his technical ability elsewhere plus football IQ mark him out as a special player indeed. He’s far from a traditional winger in the sense he positions himself in between both boxes, rather than darting into the box from out wide. It explains why the 19-year-old produced more assists (14) than goals (nine) in the Austrian Bundesliga last season, Watch out for a similar transformation to Kevin De Bruyne, into an elite midfielder, in the years to come. Noah Okafor | 20 | Switzerland YouTube search results provide a decent guide of where a player is at in their development. Szoboszlai, for example, returns numerous slick edits with titles such as “Why everyone wants to sign Dominik Szoboszlai”. The search results aren’t quite as emphatic for Noah Okafor, but they will be soon. The 20-year-old had been on Basel’s books since the age of eight and moved to Salzburg in January for a league-record €11.2 million as the Austrians wisely reinvested the cash from the sales of Haaland and Minamino. He’s already impressing. Okafor has taken flight on Salzburg’s left wing after he scored three and assisted one in three games after the Austrian Bundesliga restarted. He is silky skillful and his immediate intention is to be direct and daring. But there’s certainly more to come. He is very much in the development phase of his career, which is obviously normal considering his age, as the Switzerland international hasn’t quite found his timing yet in terms of directing a cross or releasing a pass. He has that immature tendency to hold onto possession for too long which can lead to unbalanced crosses and undetected passes. However, the footwork is smooth and he possesses the knack of maneuvering the ball without actually touching it through his clever body feints. Changes of direction are sharp and he often leaves defenders in the dust. If he can find a clinical mentality in the same way Jadon Sancho has done, he won’t be in Austria for too long. Manchester City, Sevilla, Juventus, Dortmund, Inter and AC Milan were all interested in signing the winger before he joined Salzburg and it’s feasible that clubs of that calibre will come calling again. Patson Daka | 21 | Zambia Patson Daka is always smiling. It’s probably because he’s always scoring. The 21-year-old finished the Austrian Bundesliga season as the second top scorer, netting 24 times in 31 games, his best-ever tally by miles. Impressively, 10 of those strikes were scored after Haaland had departed for Dortmund. Although he’s been a slow-burner in comparison to his explosive former strike partner, Daka had only scored three league goals in the previous two seasons, he won’t be far behind when it comes to a move to one of Europe’s ‘Big Five’ leagues. Daka is another fine example of Red Bull’s diversified scouting network. There are 10 different nationalities represented in the first-team squad from Japan to Mali. Zambia is hardly a heartland for elite talent and yet the Austrians have two very promising players hailing from the African country – more on Enock Mwepu later. Daka, though, is their next goalscoring sensation. The departure of Haaland was always going to hurt, and Salzburg did miss his superpowers in front of goal. The Zambia international by contrast is a much more elegant player. If we say Haaland is Thor, all hammer and thunder, Daka is more like The Flash, more cutting than bludgeoning. He doesn’t possess the same physical oomph, but he’s extremely mobile and electrically fast. What he does share with Haaland is that he, too, will likely be using Salzburg as a stepping stone for a move to one of Europe’s elite in the near future. Karim Adeyemi | 18 | Germany Salzburg’s strategy is to give youngsters a chance at a club of sizable stature and sell on at a profit. Of course, this means the club is very transient, yet the team remains successful despite its conveyor-belt nature and the reason for that is that selling players is only bad when they’re not adequately replaced. Monaco are a prime example of this failure. So, Haaland departs, Patson Daka steps up. Daka will no doubt leave in due time. Karim Adeyemi is next, and he could be even better than the others. His journey is slightly different as well in that he was actually discovered by one of the super giants. Adeyemi was on the books at Bayern Munich, but was released because of discipline issues. The striker dropped down to the lower reaches of German football with Unterhaching, however, it wasn’t long before Europe’s elite circled with Chelsea taking him on trial before Salzburg proved most attractive with their promises of a structured career path. The teenager only broke into the first team in February, but he’s looked deadly. Devastatingly direct, Adeyemi’s vivacity and sweet feet have made his transition into senior football effortless. He catches the eye with the way he can blaze through defenders, but it’s his cold will to win which is most impressive. This is a player who is well aware of his talent and his potential, soon enough all of Europe will be as well. He’s mainly featured off the left side for Salzburg, contributing to four goals in 10 games, leading to talk he could become the successor to Jadon Sancho at Dortmund. Enock Mwepu | 22 | Zambia Sazlburg is effectively one of football’s best refineries. The precious talent arrives from all parts of the globe packed full of shimmering potential. They are too much of a risk for Europe’s elite, but Salzburg acts as the polisher, sharpening them mentally, physically and culturally so they eventually fetch a higher price. Any top side looking for players with a positive mentality on the pitch, who is active in the press, quick in transition and can find solutions, then look no further. Liverpool employ a similar system and so head coach Jesse Marsch believes Enock Mwepu is another player ready to be handpicked by the champions. It’s easy to see why. The Zambian is an archetypal box-to-box midfielder. He mixes boundless energy off the ball with serenity on it and it’s hard not to be impressed. In fact, against Liverpool in the Champions League, he was magnificent across both group stage games. The 22-year-old demonstrated his two-way talent in that he was press resistant, using minimal touches in tight spaces and intelligent short passes to develop play from deep in midfield, while also being a press instigator high up the pitch. His sense of timing is excellent as he leaps on loose balls with his long limbs and he frequently sneaks in off the blind side of attackers to scurry the ball away, too. Mwepu’s game is about being in the right position at the right time. His career will follow a similar path.

  • Manchester salvos come at just the right time for unlikely heroes Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes
    on August 9, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    A bold counter-attack from Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler saw England get away with daylight robbery in Manchester, as the hosts returned from the jaws of defeat to snatch victory over a spirited Pakistan. Being notoriously slow starters in a Test series is a reputation which has stuck with England in the recent past, but they took it to a completely new level at Old Trafford before scripting a sensational fourth innings run chase. Having been completely outplayed by the visitors for the best part of three days, Joe Root’s side will count themselves lucky to have sneaked a victory in an enthralling finish on Saturday. At the forefront of their thrilling win in the opening Test were two of the most unlikely heroes in Woakes and Buttler. Going from villain to hero over the course of four days, Buttler produced a batting performance that might have just saved his England Test career. His diminishing returns with the bat over the past two years had already been under the microscope, and question marks over his place in the side were only raised further after a poor wicketkeeping display in the recent series win over the West Indies. His multiple dropped catches in Manchester could have proved costly for him and England, with a CricViz analysis showing that those lapses had cost the team as many as 84 runs. Hence, the pressure on his shoulders was immense when he came out to bat at 106-4 on Day Four. He could only watch from the other end when a Shaheen Afridi delivery absolutely took off from a length to hit Ollie Pope’s gloves. In the same phase of play, Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah was starting to torment the batsmen by making excellent use of the big rough on a deteriorating pitch. .@josbuttler stepped up and how 🔥 pic.twitter.com/gntoLOrepC— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) August 8, 2020 To play for survival in such conditions would have been futile, as England’s top-order batsmen including Joe Root and Pope found out the hard way. Taking the attack to Pakistan’s bowlers though, was an audacious approach from both Buttler and Woakes. In hindsight, it might have been the only way England could have won the Test. Not many batsmen in the world would have been able to pull off such a precise counter-attack in such testing circumstances, and that is testament to the immeasurable quality that Buttler possesses. It was this quality that saw him earn an unexpected Test recall in 2018, although that spark seemed to be flaming out in the last two years or so. The skills that make him such an entertaining white-ball batsman were on full show at Old Trafford, with Buttler combining the orthodox and unorthodox to devastating effect. A reverse sweep might have finally been his undoing against Yasir Shah, but not before the right-hander had brought the hosts to the cusp of victory with a rapid 75. That contribution might still be short of the 84 runs he had cost the team with his wicketkeeping, though it was one which might end the debate surrounding his Test credentials. “If I had taken those chances, we would not have been chasing 277. I know I was not good enough. I know if I’m going to continue to be a wicketkeeper in this team I have to be better,” he told BBC Sport after the match. His glove work will surely need to be better going forward, but there are not many that can replace the qualities that Buttler brings to the table for England. His two half-centuries in as many Tests is the same amount that he has managed in the 29 innings preceding them. Whether England should field specialist wicketkeeper is another debate altogether, but Buttler is worth his weight in gold as a counter-attacking batsman. A similar redemption arc was witnessed with Woakes on Saturday as the all-rounder brought up the win with an unbeaten 84. It was the first time since September, 2018 that the 31-year-old had gone past 50 with the bat in hand.  A lean run stretching across 17 innings has brought Woakes down the pecking order for England, with the all-rounder considered a luxury more than a necessity. Despite always being a reliable performer with the ball in English conditions, he has had to make way for the likes of Sam Curran and Mark Wood on several occasions. Coming into this Test, Chris Woakes was averaging 8.25 in 2020. He hadn't made a half-century in more than two years.He's just played the innings of his life to win England a match they seemed dead and buried in.#ENGvPAK pic.twitter.com/JyL6Ia9VoZ— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) August 8, 2020 While Buttler has made 17 Test appearances for England since the start of 2019, Woakes has only featured in 10 matches during the same period. In these 10 Tests, the Birmingham-born all-rounder has scalped 38 wickets at an average of just 21. His four wickets in Manchester against Pakistan were extremely crucial to England’s cause, especially with James Anderson putting in an off-colour display. Though his batting returns haven’t exactly been ideal in the past 15 months, his bowling has been good enough on its own to merit a place in the XI. With Anderson and Stuart Broad stealing the limelight for the most part, Woakes’ good work often goes unnoticed. His all-round display in Manchester has seen the plaudits pour in, but Woakes has been a crucial cog in the England wheel a long time running now. While his overseas record does not flatter him, Woakes should really be considered indispensable in England. Both Buttler and Woakes played starring roles in England’s thumping 4-1 victory over India two summers ago and the Manchester Test was a nice refresher of their worth to the squad. For Buttler, it is a timely reprieve. For Woakes, it is a timely validation of his all-round credentials. With England talisman Ben Stokes pulling out of the rest of the Test series, Woakes roaring back into some form with the bat could really not have come at a better time for home side.  

  • Al Ahli aiming to inflict mortal blow on Al Ittihad as Jeddah derby features in must-watch SPL matches
    on August 9, 2020 at 11:13 am

    A consequential Jeddah derby and the telling response from the shaken champions are set to dominate matchweek 24 in the Saudi Professional League. There was joy last week when the Middle East’s premier club competition resumed after five months away because of coronavirus. Mixed emotions, however, followed in the aftermath. Here are this round’s must-watch games: AL ITTIHAD V AL AHLI JEDDAH (SUNDAY, 22:00) (Twitter/@ALAHLI_FC). Much more than local pride will be on the line when these historic rivals meet at an empty King Abdullah Sports City. Sunday’s clash is defined by sides moving in different directions, under highly respected coaches hired in February. Tuesday’s Abdulfattah Asiri-inspired 4-2 triumph versus Al Hazem helped propel Ahli into the third-and-final 2021 AFC Champions League qualification spot. This is where Vladan Milojevic will be determined to stay, with two wins and one loss recorded during his interrupted tenure. A diabolical second half for Ittihad, in contrast, at mid-table Abha witnessed a well-earned 1-0 lead degenerate into an alarming 2-1 defeat. Only one point and one place now separates the bedraggled troops of Fabio Carille – for whom it has all been downhill since February 29’s debut 5-1 thrashing of Al Shabab – from a first relegation in their 92-year history. Fate has, potentially, given them a reprieve with suspensions for Al Nassr-bound Asiri and ex-Nantes left-back Lucas Lima. Plus, injury problems for Bosnia midfielder Elvis Saric and Saudi Arabia right-back Saeed Al Mowalad. But Omar Al Somah has struck in his last three derbies for Ahli, March 2019’s staggering bicycle kick providing the highlight. The iconic Syria centre forward’s personal duel with Romarinho may decide this match, plus so much more. Prediction: Al Ittihad 0-2 Al Ahli Jeddah ABHA V AL NASSR (MONDAY, 20:15) Al Nassr’s Rui Vitoria (r) (EPA). First, for the good news; Nassr will not need to quell a striker of Bafetimbi Gomis’ enduring ferocity on Monday. The ex-France centre forward delivered two goals – including an exquisite first-time finish from a sweeping counter attack – when leaders Al Hilal inflicted a 4-1 defeat on shaken holders Nassr, opening up a nine-point gap. A retort is a must for Rui Vitoria’s chastened chasers if they are to hold any pretension of extending a title race which already appears lost. Nothing is guaranteed, though, at Abha. The hosts responded in defiant fashion versus Ittihad to make it only one defeat in their last five matches. Mentality is the key for Nassr. Do they still have the stomach for an almost-certainly forlorn title fight when a sprint through the remaining 2020 AFC Champions League rounds awaits from next month? Prediction: Abha 1-1 Al Nassr AL WEHDA V AL RAED (SUNDAY, 20:30) (Twitter/@alwehdaclub1). Consistency remains the key problem for Al Wehda. Jose Daniel Carreno’s men relinquished, with a whimper, the third place they’d held throughout the pause with a 3-0 home loss to Shabab. Only five attempts on goal were registered to the visitors’ 16, a statistic which leads little room for complaints. This continued a remarkable campaign in which Wehda are yet to draw a match. If they are to fend off Ahli and Al Faisaly, they must start turning some of their SPL defeats – there have been 10 of them – into victories. Imminent opponents Raed, however, are looking to do the double over them after November’s 3-2 win. Wehda are also set to be without suspended centre-back Renato Chaves. Prediction: Al Wehda 2-1 Al Raed

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo ejected for head-butting Moritz Wagner (Video)
    by John Buhler on August 12, 2020 at 2:45 am

    Giannis Antetokounmpo head-butted himself right out of this ball game. Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn’t using his head when he used his head to attack Moritz Wagner. Not all is pleasant in the NBA‘s beautiful basketball bubble. Thriving in captivity is never easy, not even if you’re The Greek Freak and the star of the Milwaukee Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo ejected for head-butting Moritz Wagner (Video) - FanSided - FanSided - Sports News, Entertainment, Lifestyle & Technology - 300+ Sites

  • Warning: Joe Pyfer’s dislocated elbow at Contender Series will probably make you gag (video)
    by Thomas Albano on August 12, 2020 at 2:28 am

    NSFW: Joe Pyfer tries to break his fall and suffers a gruesome injury Joe Pyfer has learned the hard way: You shouldn’t use your arm to break your fall the way he did while competing on Season 4, Week 2 of Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS). Pyfer competed against Dustin Stoltzfus in the main event of Warning: Joe Pyfer’s dislocated elbow at Contender Series will probably make you gag (video) - FanSided - FanSided - Sports News, Entertainment, Lifestyle & Technology - 300+ Sites

  • Wikipedia prankster transferred Justin Fields back to Georgia after Big Ten canceled season
    by John Buhler on August 12, 2020 at 2:13 am

    According to Wikipedia, Justin Fields now plays for Georgia football again. How you gonna tell Justin Fields he can’t go home and play for Georgia football? After one incredible year with the Ohio State Buckeyes, the 2019 Heisman Trophy finalist had his junior season canceled on him by the Big Ten. Fields projects as the Wikipedia prankster transferred Justin Fields back to Georgia after Big Ten canceled season - FanSided - FanSided - Sports News, Entertainment, Lifestyle & Technology - 300+ Sites

  • Damian Lillard makes NBA history with 61-point night in win over Mavs
    by Braulio Perez on August 12, 2020 at 2:01 am

    Damian Lillard scored 61 points to lead Portland to a 134-131 victory over Dallas on Tuesday night.  Paul George and Patrick Beverley very well may have woken up a monster in Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard. After the Clippers beat the Blazers last week, both George and Beverley did everything they could to try Damian Lillard makes NBA history with 61-point night in win over Mavs - FanSided - FanSided - Sports News, Entertainment, Lifestyle & Technology - 300+ Sites

  • Tampa Bay Lightning win the fourth longest game in NHL history in a fifth overtime
    by Griffin Youngs on August 12, 2020 at 1:58 am

    It took over ninety minutes of overtime before the Tampa Bay Lightning ended the fourth longest game in NHL history. Game 1 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets started at 3 PM EST, and it didn’t end at 9:24 PM after the game went to a fifth overtime Brayden Point scored his Tampa Bay Lightning win the fourth longest game in NHL history in a fifth overtime - FanSided - FanSided - Sports News, Entertainment, Lifestyle & Technology - 300+ Sites

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  • AFL Trades: Is there a serious suitor for Brad Crouch?
    by Josh Elliott on August 11, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    After last night’s four-goal loss to Collingwood, the Adelaide Crows are just six games away from the end of a season which, if possible, they’d like to see the finish of even more quickly. That’s about the time of year that clubs and the media often start turning their eye more and more to the

  • Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG
    by Nicholas Bishop on August 11, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    Any doubt about who should be playing at number 7 for the Wallabies this season has been erased by the Waratahs’ comprehensive 45-12 rout of the Reds in the gathering rain on Saturday evening. When I wrote this article only three weeks ago, things were looking pretty rosy for the men from Queensland. They were

  • Let’s be realistic about Rugby Australia’s new broadcast offering
    by Tom English on August 11, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    If you’re anything like me, Rugby Australia announcing their new rugby rights deal out of the blue would’ve completely thrown you. Shoutout to Raelene Castle, because without her taking the rights to market earlier in the year, we would likely have another run-of-the-mill Super Rugby competition, played at shocking hours, packaged up for a minuscule

  • Warriors set for more years of disappointment with Nathan Brown at the helm
    by Thomas Costigan on August 11, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    For a side that has consistently underperformed over the years, there seems no more fitting appointment than Nathan Brown as coach of the New Zealand Warriors.  Brown will take on the role in 2021, after he signed a three-year deal with the club over the weekend. It was a seemingly quick appointment for the role

  • With one game to go, Sydney FC’s title credentials are on the line
    by David Shilovsky on August 11, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    Despite securing the Premiers’ Plate since coming back from the season pause, Sydney FC’s formline has fans and media questioning their championship credentials. Just looking at the scoreline, you would have thought Sydney had it easy in a 3-1 win over Wellington in their first game back. Their performance was far from polished that night,