By Mike CollettGoals from Gary Cahill and Diego Costa gave Chelsea a deserved 2-1 comeback win at Liverpool on Saturday as they stretched their unbeaten Premier League run to 11 matches from the start of the season.Chelsea stayed four points clear at the top from Southampton, who won 2-0 at home to Leicester City after Shane Long came on as a 67th-minute substitute and scored with a left-foot shot on 75 minutes and a right-foot effort five minutes later.Chelsea have 29 points, Southampton 25 with champions Manchester City, who are third on 20 points, playing at Queens Park Rangers in the evening kick-off.Elsewhere goals were in short supply as Manchester United beat Crystal Palace 1-0 with a 67th-minute effort from substitute Juan Mata, while Burnley beat Hull City 1-0 for their first league win of the season thanks to Ashley Barnes’ 50th-minute header.West Ham United drew 0-0 at Upton Park with Aston Villa, whose run of six successive defeats came to an end.The most exciting match of the afternoon came at Anfield where Emre Can scored his first goal for Liverpool with a long-range shot after nine minutes that took a deflection off Gary Cahill’s shoulder leaving Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois stranded.Cahill pulled Chelsea level after 14 minutes – awarded after the Goal Decision System proved the ball had crossed the line even though his shot was smothered by Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet.Costa settled the points in the 67th minute when he put Chelsea ahead with a low, powerful drive, but Liverpool thought they should have had a penalty in the 88th minute when Cahill appeared to handle a Steven Gerrard shot.Their strong claims were denied though and they lost for the third time in a week.
David de Gea’s camp are increasingly confident the Manchester United goalkeeper will complete a long-protracted move to Real Madrid before Tuesday’s transfer deadline, The Mirror reports.De Gea hasn’t featured for the Red Devils so far this season, having been exiled by manager Louis van Gaal until his future is resolved either way.And sources close to the player believe that a transfer can be done by Monday, it is claimed.Real have so far failed to meet United’s £35m asking price for the Spaniard – a world record for a goalkeeper – but is understood that an offer slightly less than £30m will be accepted by United.Reports suggest the Premier League side have reached a stage where they feel they would be better off without De Gea, given the distraction his protracted transfer has caused.The 24-year-old has also refused to sign a new contract at Old Trafford, meaning he would leave them for free next summer barring a dramatic u-turn before then.Stand-in goalkeeper Sergio Romero has proved an able deputy so far and it is unclear if United plan to bring in further reinforcements before the deadline.One player who had been tipped to replace De Gea is Dutchman Jasper Cillessen, but the Ajax No.1 has since pledged his future to Ronald de Boer’s side.De Gea’s fellow Spanish shot-stopper, Victor Valdes, is also on is way out of Old Trafford, with a move to Besiktas all but complete.Elsewhere, Manchester City have made an ‘astonishing’ wage offer to winger Kevin de Bruyne, claims Wolfsburg’s director of sport Klaus Allofs.De Bruyne, 24, has been left out of Friday’s game with Schalke as talks continue over a move to City.City have not responded to reports a £58m deal has been agreed for the Belgium international.Chelsea meanwhile have made an offer for China and Guangzhou Evergrande defender Zhang Linpeng, Chinese media reported on Friday.The Premier League champions sent a contract on Wednesday and hope to secure the 26-year-old right back before the summer transfer window closes on Tuesday, Titan said.Even if were to go ahead, Zhang said he did not expect to get straight into Premier League football.Players from non-European Union countries are subject to tighter work permit requirements in Britain, and Chelsea might elect to loan the defender to a European side for a period of time to pave his way into the league.Technically proficient and solidly built, Zhang has been a key player in Guangzhou’s success in China and their run to the 2013 Asian Champions League title.He carries the nickname ‘Zhangmos’ in China in a nod to Real Madrid’s stalwart defender Sergio Ramos.
By Ian RansomAustralia has backed a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recommendation that Russia be banned from international athletics, including the 2016 Olympics, after a report alleged systemic state-backed cheating.Both the Australian Olympic Committee and Athletics Australia (AA) said Russian track and field athletes should not be allowed to compete at the Rio de Janeiro Games.AA chief executive Phil Jones said there was not enough time for Russia to prove its track and field program was clean before Rio 2016 started on Aug. 5.“The runway clearly is very short to address all the issues that the report calls out,” he told state radio broadcaster ABC on Tuesday.“I think given the time between now and the Rio Olympics, it’s very difficult to see that their house is going to be demonstrably in order by the middle of next year.”Australia’s Olympic chef de mission Kitty Chiller said she hoped the IAAF’s new president Sebastian Coe would have the courage to “do what’s required”.“If Russia is not in Rio, I think the reputation of athletics will be enhanced,” she told reporters in Sydney.A WADA anti-doping commission reported allegations of widespread corruption and collusion by Russian officials, including state security services, to cover up the results of drug tests, destroy samples and intimidate laboratory staff.Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said there was no evidence for the accusations.DEMANDING GOLDThe WADA report also identified “systematic failures” at the IAAF, athletics’ world governing body, which has been rocked by a French judicial investigation into fraud involving its former chief Lamine Diack and other senior officials.The accusations have angered Australian athletes, including race walker Jared Tallent, who has demanded he be awarded the 50km gold medal from the 2012 London Games after finishing runner-up behind Russian drug cheat Sergei Kirdyapkin .Only the IAAF has the power to ban Russia from international competition. Coe has given Russia a week to respond formally to the allegations.Jones doubted Russia was alone in its doping problems.“I don’t think it’s surprising in any way,” he added.“It’s difficult to imagine Russia is the only country where there would be anti-doping issues. It would be very surprising if Russia was an island in this regard.”The report has cast doubt on results at a number of international events, including the London Games, where Russia won eight gold among 17 track and field medals.Athletics New Zealand joined Australia in supporting the WADA stance and said if Russia was proved to have been involved then they should face sanctions.Russia is to host the World Race Walking Cup at the Volga river port of Cheboksary in May, 2016.Many of Russia’s leading walkers have tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and Tallent said he had no intention competing at the meeting unless it were moved from Russia.Jones said AA would support other local athletes if they wanted to boycott the meeting.
By Greg StutchburyWorld number one doubles pairing Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza clinched their first Australian Open doubles title together with a 7-6(1) 6-3 victory over Czech pair Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka on Friday.It was the 12th grand slam women’s doubles title for Hingis while the third for India’s Mirza, all of which have come with the Swiss in the last year.The pair, who have now won 36 successive doubles matches, are also the reigning Wimbledon and U.S. Open champions.“Thanks to my partner, we have had an incredible year,” Mirza said in a courtside interview. “We keep going and it’s great to have all these records with you.”Both pairs were broken four times each in the first set before Mirza sealed it in the tiebreak after 62 minutes when Hradecka sent a forehand service return long over the baseline.Hingis, who was knocked out by Mirza and Croatia’s Ivan Dodig in the mixed doubles quarter-finals, took a medical time out at the end of the first set to have treatment to her right shoulder, but did not appear troubled.Hradecka dropped serve in the first and fifth games of the second set, to give the top seeds a 4-1 lead, and while Mirza lost her next service game they never looked like relinquishing control with Hingis dominant at the net.The Swiss was then broken while serving for the title, though they sealed it on their fourth championship point when Hradecka’s running forehand sailed over the baseline, the third time she was broken in the set.“You have won two grand slam doubles so you were very tough,” Hingis said of the Czech pair.“I know everyone will say break, break, break but you guys have the best returns in doubles.”
Saturday’s Greek Cup final between league champions Olympiakos Piraeus and AEK Athens has been postponed at the request of the police.The match was due to be held behind closed doors due to crowd violence that has blighted this season’s competition.However, a nationwide 48-hour strike by various trade unions that began on Friday meant the police did not have the resources to oversee the game.“By a decision from the Deputy Minister of Culture and Sport Mr Stavros Kontonis, the Greek Cup final has been postponed following a request from the police and the recommendation of the anti-violence committee,” said a government statement.No new date for the match has been announced.The postponement is the latest twist in what has become a farcical Greek Cup saga.Kontonis cancelled the competition after the first leg of the semi-final between PAOK Salonika and Olympiakos on March 2 was abandoned due to a pitch invasion.Fans also hurled flares and missiles before being dispersed by riot police.Kontonis reversed his decision last month after world governing body FIFA and European counterpart UEFA warned the country would be suspended from international football if the Greek Cup did not resume.The competition restarted with the remaining games played behind closed doors for security reasons.PAOK then failed to show up for the second leg of their semi-final and were punished with a heavy fine and a three-point points deduction that will take effect from the start of the 2016-17 league season.
A clash between supposedly the two most expensive line-ups in history overseen by two of the most decorated coaches will end the phoney war and ignite the Premier League season for real when Manchester United host Manchester City on Saturday.Jose Mourinho’s United and City, under the command of his old adversary Pep Guardiola, have enjoyed 100 per cent starts as tens of millions of pounds worth of summer buys bed in.But much more will be known about their title-winning credentials when the final whistle sounds on the lunchtime kick-off at Old Trafford (2.30pm).From the moment the fixture list was published in June, the continuation of the often frosty and occasionally volatile Mourinho-Guardiola rivalry has been eagerly-anticipated.The chance to land an early blow in the first seismic clash of the season will be irresistible.Both clubs chronically under-achieved last season – City finishing above United on goal difference in fourth.But after installing serial trophy hunters in the respective managerial hotseats and making a splurge of signings both have won their opening three games and moods have been transformed.Mourinho spent upwards of £145 million in the close season signing the likes of Paul Pogba while Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who once dubbed Guardiola a ‘spineless coward’, joined for free after leaving Paris St Germain.“He is the mastermind, the masterbrain,” Ibrahimovic said of Mourinho, who he played for at Inter Milan.“He knows what he needs to do to win.”Speaking at Friday’s pre-match press conference, Mourinho had plenty of praise for Guardiola. “City are a very good team with a very good manager. They are title contenders and you have to respect them,” he said.When asked about being involved in his first derby he added: “I am normal. When you are in the first phase of the season no match is more important than the other. “I know what the derby means. I played them everywhere but I always want to be in a position of emotional control. If we want to win we have to be at the top.”Guardiola has spent around £175 million revamping City’s creaking side with English defender John Stones and German winger Leroy Sane among those added to their already expensive ranks.While City’s Sergio Aguero will be suspended, the two starting line-ups are likely to feature six of the 12 most expensive players in English football history with the total value of the 22 to line up expected to be around £600 million.It should produce the kind of spectacle to justify the hype surrounding this year’s Premier League in which Chelsea, under new coach Antonio Conte, are also 100 per cent after three games.But the cameras will not only be aimed at the galaxy of talent on the pitch. What happens in the respective dugouts will be equally engrossing as Guardiola and Mourinho cross swords again, having been involved in some epic past skirmishes.On the pitch former Barcelona boss Guardiola has usually mastered Mourinho – losing only three of their 16 meetings.Mourinho more than held his own off it though – regularly riling Guardiola with his barbed comments.Speaking at his Friday press conference, Guardiola tried to play down the rivaly with his Portuguese counterpart. “I said it many times – I have a lot of respect for Jose Mourinho,” he said. “I always try to learn from all of my colleagues – it’s the same with him. The rivalry is more from the media and we can’t control that.“He was my coach, my assistant coach with Sir Bobby Robson. OK, the last period at Barcelona and Real Madrid was not easy for both of us but we met each other two, three weeks ago at the managers’ Premier League meeting. We spoke fluently with Ronald Koeman and Tony Pulis. It was correct, so that’s all.”Elsewhere over the weekend, Chelsea protect their 100 per cent record at Swansea City on Sunday while the pick of Saturday’s other fixtures sees Liverpool host reigning champions Leicester City in the late kick-off.Fourth-placed Everton go to Sunderland on Monday.
The players have previously done visits to schools, communities and hospitals in Kokopo and over the weekend, they had their first big community event in Port Moresby.They were involved in the Street kids Christmas Feast helping to feed more than 1,500 settlement kids.The players responded to an invitation and were happy to come out and be part of the community and be involved in supportting community initiatives.Hunters’ assistant coach Nigel Hukula said it is very important that the Hunters participate in community incentives or networking with the community.Hukula said a lot of the players come from communities and have different backgrounds and walks of life and most of the team’s support comes from the communities.“We try to assist where we can as we have great corporate support from business houses as well as making sure that we give back to the community.“It’s very encouraging and allows us to be part of the community and it shows the children that whatever sport they choose to play, it’s good to give back to the community,” he said.The club is hoping to have many more community outings in the future and will plan certain schedules and places they will visit as part of their long term community service obligation.
The group stage ended on the weekend with Hekari finishing second in Group B while Dwellers failed to secure a win, settling in fourth place in Group A.Hekari failed to qualify for the semifinals after being defeated by Team Wellington 4-0.Wellington progressed with the maximum nine points while Hekari’s campaign was over despite two impressive victories from their three matches.Hekari defeated AS Lossi in their first game 1-5 and beat Suva FA 3-0 in their second game.The OFC official website reports that Hekari coach Jerry Allen couldn’t hide his disappointment after the match against Team Wellington.Allen said it was a really tough game and they knew that Wellington were very strong, a well-disciplined team.“They scored early and that wasn’t good for us. So we are very disappointed but that’s how football goes,” Allan said.Dwellers’ first loss was against Amicale FC 3-0, second loss was to defending champion Auckland City FC 1-2 and the third loss was against Solomon Warriors 5-4.Lae City coach Peter Gunemba couldn’t hide his disappointment after losing all three games.Gunemba accepted the first two defeats but wasn’t happy with his players in the final game, “especially with my defenders at the back.“Overall our first champions league has been a great experience. We learned a lot and I love this tournament. If we get a chance to play in it next year we will give our very, very best,” Gunemba said.Hekari and Dwellers return home this week.The semi-finals of the tournament will see Auckland City FC take on best runners-up AS Tefana at 12pm on Wednesday before Team Wellington face AS Magenta at 3.30pm at Auckland’s QBE Stadium.
The Wigmen were on the board after six minutes through good vision from halfback David Joseph who ran a second man play to put Standford Talita into space to score.A mistake from Muruk’s fullback and PNG Pukpuk’s star, Tisa Kautu led to the second try from the Wigmen in similar fashion, but this time to Junior Rau.An unsuccessful conversion from captain and five-eighth William Mone put the score at 8-0.The Muruks reduced the deficit to trail by a converted try right on the 20 minute mark thanks to halfback Mark Tony who booted through a penalty goal from right in front.The Hela boys continued to find success attacking the same left wing and in the 28th minute, their lead was extended by a try from Ian Maliaba.Mone nailed his first for the match converting the try.A soft try to the Muruks three minutes out from half-time to captain Andrew Ipi put them right back in the contest.The score at the break was 14-8.The Muruks edged closer minutes into the second through the class of five-eighth Joe Frank who crossed over for a four pointer.With the score at 14-12, it was still anybody’s game as both sides levelled up in defence and attack.The winning try came in the 70th minute when Maliaba was put into space to score near the posts.Mone made sure of the kick, slotting it through the posts to make it 20-12 for the Wigmen to go on to win the match.
259.52 TEAM W 2 15 78 0 49 392.50 0 0 2 L 1 2 0 Canada 0 0 15 2 8 -116 Ireland 2 6 0 0 2 44 109 150.00 0 PTS USA 92.06 L 1 136.07 South Africa 2 76 61 Fiji 4 PTS 0 2 1 0 Sri Lanka 76 2 17.61 0.00 0 Great Britain New Zealand 1 103 4 83 A F 0 L W -11 2 1 1 4 PTS 67 8 0 3 D % 2 81.97 1 1 117.05 % -5 4 European Crusaders 8 0 61 0 GD P 2 45 4 0 1 120 2 2 3 159 2 2 151 W 34.88 0 0 Croatia 2 175 France 41.82 2 107 Round 3 matches will be played this weekend.The Mozzies will play USA at Montrose Recreation Reserve on Saturday at 12pm, while the Flames will do battle with Ireland at Hallam Reserve. This game kicks off at 2pm.Men’s International Cup Division 1:POS 42 39 Men’s International Cup Division 2:POS 2 1 Ireland 107 0 69 10 Papua New Guinea 0 4 57 -328 2 0 1 1 -84 Nauru -4 0 W 5 165 Indonesia -50 2 58 328 79.59 0 236.84 0 272.73 0 % 24 L 40 0 1 157 54.95 0 A 4 28 Papua New Guinea 4 2 64 22 1 8 202 0 TEAM 0.00 0 111 D F China 2 0 0 1 F 729.17 F 2 95.56 63 Canada 187 0 8 1346.67 Great Britain 2 38 8 Pakistan 0 2 D 90 7 TEAM Fiji 2 4 0 -131 2 88 -10 2 1 8 2 28 0 0 P P 8 3 1 0 86 42 2 The AFL International Cup is played every three years. The PNG Mosquitoes are the Men’s defending champions while Canada are the Women’s champions from 2014.Photo credit: 2017 AFL International Cup 0 2 9 % 3 4 -43 2 0 135 A 70 2 0 117 -96 4 2 0 114 2 2 1 2 0 TEAM D 129 GD 4 USA A 1 8 Women’s Pool A:POS Women’s Pool B:POS 61 166.67 0 99 1337.50 50 1 59.81 2 0 GD 116 GD 2 PTS P