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November 7, 2019 | |Post a Comment

first_imgThis fortnight Touch Football Australia’s (TFA) official footwear sponsor, X-Blades, will be promoting a great Christmas deal through the TFA website and newsletter.  X-Blades has exclusive online Christmas Gift Packs, with savings of up to 50 percent off.There are 12 different packs to choose from – for Men, Women and children, and for TFA members, X-Blades is offering free postage on all Christmas packs. To take advantage of this deal, please visit the X-Blades online shop and enter the code ‘TFAXM’ at the checkout. To visit the X-Blades online shop, please click on the following link: www.bladesfootball.com.au/shop Stay tuned to the TFA website for more great promotions from X-Blades. Related LinksX-Blades Promotionlast_img read more

October 28, 2019 | |Post a Comment

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Newcastle striker Rondon: I chose number 9 for Shearer pressureby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveSalomon Rondon has revealed he chose the number nine jersey at Newcastle on purpose. The Venezuelan has been in excellent form for the Magpies, who he joined from West Bromwich Albion on loan in the summer. Rondon has always wore the number 23 jersey during his career, but he revealed that he enjoys the pressure of wearing the jersey previously worn by club legend and the Premier League’s all-time top goalscorer Alan Shearer.”It was a peculiar story,” Rondon said.”The ’23’ was free, my number of always, and the ‘9’. One of the people who closed the transfer told me: ‘The ‘9’ is a very important number at Newcastle because it was led by Shearer, who is the club’s top scorer and the history of the Premier League. If you dare to wear it, it will be fine. ‘ And so it has been.”It is a pressure that pleases me. I work well on pressure because it is where one more demands and is forced to give the maximum.”We exchanged some tweets, but personally I still do not know (Shearer). I would love it (to meet him), not only for what it has been at Newcastle, but for what it has represented for football.” last_img read more

October 28, 2019 | |Post a Comment

first_imgFulham boss Ranieri insists Kamara row now overby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFulham boss Claudio Ranieri insists his row with Aboubakar Kamara is now over.Ranieri says he has patched up his differences with Kamara over the penalty debacle in Fulham’s win over Huddersfield.He said, “Now everything is finished. He came to me after I called all the squad, all the people around us, and they (all) apologised. For me it’s finished.”The team is the first in my idea, if I need him he continues to play but he has to improve what I ask. He’s a good guy and I hope also the fans are behind him and all the team.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

October 12, 2019 | |Post a Comment

first_imgMumbai: Aditya Roy Kapur is remarkably self aware. In a family of artistes, he says he was the least artistically inclined; but for someone who was averse to acting in Hindi cinema, he has gradually fallen in love with the profession. “As I look back, I think I am an accidental actor. Just because it has been ten years I can’t say I’ve been sure about wanting to be in this profession, even though I’ve started to love it now,” Aditya says. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: PriyankaHe started out as a VJ for Channel V and eventually made his debut as actor in 2009 with London Dreams. Over the years, he featured in films like Aashiqui 2, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Ok Jaanu. “It all happened by chance,” Aditya says. A casting call in 2008 for the Vipual Shah film gave him an opportunity to enter Bollywood, even though he never “harboured any desire to be an actor.” “I never grew up on a staple diet of hindi cinema. In fact when I was a VJ, I was averse to it. Purely because I could never imagine myself being an actor.” The 33-year-old actor has of course seen the highs and lows, hits and misses and received both appreciation and brickbats for his performances. “Over the years I’ve grown to love the industry, my job, and the profession itself. It’s been a journey full of ups and downs.last_img read more

October 12, 2019 | |Post a Comment

first_imgVladivostok (Russia): North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he was looking forward to his first talks with President Vladimir Putin as he arrived in Russia on Wednesday seeking support in Pyongyang’s nuclear deadlock with the United States. Kim’s armoured train rolled in to the Tsarist-era station in Russia’s Pacific port city of Vladivostok, where the summit will take place on Thursday. Wearing a long black coat and fedora, Kim stepped out onto a red carpet on the station platform before making his way outside to be received by an honour guard and military band. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US His limousine drove off after the welcoming ceremony, bodyguards in suits running alongside. The talks, only confirmed at the last minute, will be Kim’s first face-to-face meeting with another head of state since negotiations with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi collapsed in February. “I hope this visit will be successful and useful,” Kim told Russian television in the border town of Khasan, where women in folk costumes welcomed him with bread and salt in a traditional greeting. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls “I hope that during the talks… I will be able to have concrete discussions on resolving situations on the Korean Peninsula and on the development of our bilateral relationship,” Kim said. Putin was due to arrive in Vladivostok on Thursday, then fly on after the talks for another summit in Beijing. Russian and North Korean flags were flying on lamp posts on Vladivostok’s Russky island, where the summit is expected to take place at a university campus. The island is connected to the rest of Vladivostok by a bridge built in 2012 that crosses a harbour used for commercial and naval ships. Kim plans to stay on in Vladivostok on Friday for a series of cultural events, including a ballet and a visit to the city’s aquarium, Russian media reported. The talks follow repeated invitations from Putin since Kim embarked on a series of diplomatic overtures last year. Since March 2018, the formerly reclusive North Korean leader has held four meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, three with South Korea’s Moon Jae-in, two with Trump and one with Vietnam’s president. Analysts say he is now looking for wider international support in his standoff with Washington, while Moscow is keen to inject itself into another global flashpoint. In Hanoi, the cash-strapped North demanded immediate relief from the sanctions imposed on it over its banned nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes. But the talks broke down in disagreement over what Pyongyang was prepared to give up in return. North Korea last week launched a blistering attack on US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, insisting he be removed from the negotiations just hours after announcing it had carried out a new weapons test. Moscow has already called for the sanctions to be eased, while the US has accused it of trying to help Pyongyang evade some of the measures — accusations Russia denies. Kremlin foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov told a briefing on Tuesday: “The focus will be on a political and diplomatic solution to the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula. “Russia intends to help consolidate positive trends in every way,” he said, but added that no joint statement or signing of agreements was planned. Moscow was a crucial backer of Pyongyang for decades and their ties go back to the founding of North Korea, when the Soviet Union installed Kim’s grandfather Kim Il Sung as leader. The Soviet Union reduced funding to the North as it began to seek reconciliation with Seoul in the 1980s, but Pyongyang was hit hard by its demise in 1991. Soon after his first election as Russian president, Putin sought to normalise relations and met Kim Jong Il — the current leader’s father and predecessor — three times. The first of those meetings was in Pyongyang in 2000, when Putin became the first Russian leader to visit the North. China has since cemented its role as the isolated North’s most important ally, its largest trading partner and crucial fuel supplier, and analysts say Kim could be looking to balance Beijing’s influence. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Wednesday that Beijing was happy to see talks between its “friendly neighbours”. “We believe this will contribute… to peace and stability on the peninsula and in the region,” Geng said, noting that China and Russia “have always maintained close communication and coordination” on the issue. While ties between Russia and North Korea have remained cordial, the last meeting between their leaders came in 2011, when Kim Jong Il told then-president Dmitry Medvedev that he was prepared to renounce nuclear testing. His son has since overseen by far the country’s most powerful blast to date, and the launch of missiles capable of reaching the entire US mainland.last_img read more

October 12, 2019 | |Post a Comment

first_imgTripoli — Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said Monday he had ordered the army to lift the blockade imposed by protesters on the main oil terminals in the east of the country.Since last July, security guards at key oil terminals in eastern Libya — many of them former rebels who helped overthrow dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011 — have blockaded exports, hitting government revenues.“I asked the defence minister to give the order to the army chief of staff to head for the oil ports,” Zeidan said at a press conference in Tripoli. He said he had given the order two weeks ago, without giving further details about the nature or date of any military operation.Protesters at the eastern oil ports are demanding a restoration of the autonomy the eastern region of Cyrenaica was granted in the first decade after Libya’s independence in 1951.They have also accused the authorities of corruption and are demanding a more equitable distribution of oil revenues.Zeidan has threatened to break their blockade with force in the past, but has refrained from taking action, and has repeatedly said he will not negotiate with protesters.Libya’s vital oil revenues fell far short of expectations in 2013, reaching just $40 billion after protesters shut down production at key sites in the east of the country.The crisis saw production plunge to about 250,000 barrels per day from nearly 1.5 million bpd before the crisis. After the blockade of an oilfield in the south was lifted, output rose again to 600,000 bpd.He also said at the press conference he had presented the country’s highest political authority, the General National Congress, with a list of ministers as part of a cabinet reshuffle.The Islamist Justice and Construction Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, withdrew its five ministers from the government last month, demanding Zeidan’s resignation.Their resignations came after an attempt to pass a censure motion against Zeidan, proposed by 99 lawmakers, most of whom were Islamists.But they failed to clinch the required 120 votes in the 194-member GNC.last_img read more

September 28, 2019 | |Post a Comment

INDIANAPOLIS — If there’s one thing that’s become almost painstakingly clear about the Indiana Pacers this season, it’s that they’re an acquired taste among basketball fans.Unless you’re from the state of Indiana, chances are you’re not going to find this club all that sexy. In a league flush with pace, dunks and threes, the Pacers rank near the bottom in all three. Their franchise player, high-flying All-Star Victor Oladipo, went down with a devastating, season-ending injury in January, supposedly ruining whatever chance the club had of making a deep playoff run — if it could even finish the job and reach the postseason to begin with.But focusing on what the Pacers don’t have, or won’t accomplish, might make you miss something important: Indiana possesses perhaps more grit than any NBA team.Of course there are two concerns with a statement like that. First, as numbers-heavy as we are at this site, we couldn’t quite come up with anything to measure the Pacers’ heart (although we pieced together a number of things to make a solid argument). Second, and perhaps more important for the time being: For all the heart Indiana possesses, looking at the team’s recent results might lead you to believe the struggling team is on life support.Before their home win here over the Pistons on Monday night, the Pacers had lost seven of their past eight and were coming off a dismal 4-10 record in March, by far their worst month of the campaign. They’ll head into Detroit on Wednesday in the midst of a 10-game road-losing streak — concerning for a team in danger of falling to the fifth seed and losing home-court advantage in the first round.Aside from a much tougher schedule lately (of those 10-straight road defeats, nine have come to teams that will make the playoffs),1This rationale might comfort Pacers fans. But if Indiana can’t beat playoff-caliber teams on the road anymore, that probably speaks volumes about the team’s prospects of making it out of a second-round series, if it even gets that far. Indiana has struggled to generate consistent offense in Oladipo’s absence. The team logged just 106.5 points per 100 possessions during the month of March, the league’s fourth-worst scoring attack during that span, according to NBA Advanced Stats.More and more, the Pacers’ hardscrabble offense has been putting too much pressure on the team’s third-ranked defense. Before Oladipo’s injury ended his season, Indiana was 16-12 when giving up 100 points or more. But since he left the lineup, and the team’s margin for error shrank immeasurably, the Pacers have gone just 6-17 when surrendering 100 or more.Understandably, the team was a mess immediately after Oladipo’s injury, which required him to be carried off on a stretcher before the home crowd. General manager Kevin Pritchard gave an emotional rallying cry in the locker room after the game, reminding the players that they’d gone 7-4 without Oladipo already this season (as opposed to 0-7 the season before) and were still 5 points per 100 possessions better than their opponents with him off the floor. But that didn’t stop Indiana from falling into a season-worst four-game skid. Adjustments were needed.“It’s a totally different thing to play those 11 games without him when you know in the back of your mind that you’re going to get him back healthy,” coach Nate McMillan said of Oladipo, who was also an All-NBA defender. “But after the injury, we knew he wasn’t coming back. So we had to change everything [in our offense] and hit the reset button.”That meant shifting from a relatively open system — one that often encouraged players (especially Oladipo) to take midrange shots if opponents sagged off — to one that’s more heavily synchronized. Indiana has tripled its number of ball screens for Bojan Bogdanovic,2Since February, Bogdanovic has gotten a ball screen 12.7 times per 100 possessions — up from just 4.2 per 100 possessions prior to Oladipo’s injury, according to data from Second Spectrum. giving him a downhill advantage to set up open teammates if and when defenses collapse into the paint.With more playmaking responsibilities, Bogdanovic has upped his scoring average from 16 points before the Oladipo injury to almost 22 per game since then. He and Wes Matthews, who signed with the Pacers after being bought out following the trade deadline, have replaced the vast majority of Oladipo’s shot attempts. Thaddeus Young’s play has been noteworthy, too, as he has basically doubled his assist average since Oladipo went down. All three players factored into Indiana turning things around in February, winning eight of nine — albeit against suspect competition.Effort has been one of Indiana’s defining traits, both this season and in previous years. After posting that 0-7 mark without Oladipo in 2017-18, the Pacers now stand 21-21 in games without their star this season. They’re highly physical, almost always preferring to fight through screens as opposed to switching on defense, like most teams do. They dive on the floor for extra possessions and rank near the top in recovering loose balls on D. And they’ve developed an attitude that suggests that no deficit is too big for them to overcome. In one of their best wins of the season, the Pacers rallied from 19 down last month to beat ex-Indiana star Paul George and the Thunder. It marked a league-high 19th time over the past three seasons that Indiana had come back to win a game it once trailed by 15 points or more, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group.But the struggles over the past month and change have illustrated that effort, which these Pacers are built on, can take you only so far — especially now that Indiana’s foes are bona fide playoff clubs again.“When you’re struggling offensively, it’s hard to grind on these guys and yell, ‘C’mon guys: Keep guarding! Get your intensity up!’ when you can just see their confidence oozing out of them and slipping away with each missed shot,” Pacers assistant coach Dan Burke told me.Put another way: At a certain point, you can only get so much defense out of a team that isn’t producing anything on offense.That isn’t to suggest there isn’t talent on the roster, because there is. It just hasn’t been reliable from top to bottom. Take the two biggest acquisitions from last summer: Tyreke Evans and Doug McDermott. Evans, who figured to be an enormous insurance policy as a ball-handler in case anything happened to Oladipo, has been the NBA’s worst finisher at the rim.3Literally the worst. Out of the 85 players who have taken at least 250 shots from the restricted area, Evans — at 45.7 percent — is the only one shooting worse than 50 percent. And while McDermott has been fine, he’s had unusually wild shooting swings, depending on whether he’s playing at home (just over 30 percent from 3-point range) or on the road (where he’s slightly better than 48 percent from 3-point range).Indiana uses cutters better than most teams. But the Pacers are often slow to identify the mismatches they have when opposing defenses counter their screen-and-roll action with a switch. In fact, no team generates less efficient offense than the Pacers (who score a minuscule 0.81 points per possession) do when getting a switch, according to data from Second Spectrum.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/SWITCHES.mp400:0000:0001:38Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.And as you might guess, crunch-time offense has often been a struggle for Indiana, one of a handful of teams to average less than 1 point per possession in those scenarios since Oladipo’s injury.There are obviously plenty of things the Pacers do well, and they still somehow have an outside chance of reaching the 50-win mark. Domantas Sabonis has become one of the NBA’s most efficient bench scorers. Indy shoots very well from three; they simply don’t take many (29th in attempt rate). Yet the team’s bread and butter is its defense, where players like Young and block machine Myles Turner (both of whom deserve All-Defensive Team consideration)4And in Turner’s case, Defensive Player of the Year consideration. frequently force opponents into mistakes. Indiana has occasional breakdowns, too, of course. But the fact remains that the Pacers usually keep themselves in games on that end of the floor.Whether their defense will keep them in the playoffs for long is a separate question. But even if it doesn’t, we can rest assured that the Pacers — warts and all — will leave whatever they’ve got on the court.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

September 28, 2019 | |Post a Comment

Ohio State freshman guard Luther Muhammad (1) dribbles the ball during the first half of the game against Northwestern on Feb. 20. Ohio State won 63-49. Credit: Amal Saeed | Assistant Photo EditorTuesday will begin a closing stretch of games head coach Chris Holtmann views as one of the toughest of the season for Ohio State. The Buckeyes will face three Big Ten teams currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 in the final four games of the regular season: No. 22 Iowa, No. 14 Purdue and No. 19 Wisconsin. With an Ohio State team on the bubble for a spot in the NCAA Tournament, and with this stretch of games heading into the Big Ten tournament, Holtmann said his team is in a position not many teams have the opportunity to be in. “We all know what was said about this group earlier in the year, before the season got started, and we’ve got an opportunity here to see how we can finish,” Holtmann said. “We get what we earn.” Projected StartersOhio State (17-10, 7-9 Big Ten)G — C.J. Jackson — Senior, 12.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.4 apgG — Luther Muhammad — Freshman, 8.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.0 apgF — Justin Ahrens — Freshman, 2.1 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 0.2 apgF — Andre Wesson — Junior, 8.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.7 apgF — Kaleb Wesson — Sophomore, 14.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.7 apgNo. 22 Iowa (21-6, 10-6 Big Ten)G — Jordan Bohannon — Junior, 11.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.5 apgG — Joe Wieskamp — Freshman, 11.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.0 apgG — Isaiah Moss — Redshirt junior, 9.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.9 apgF — Tyler Cook — Junior, 16.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.5 apgF — Luka Garza — Sophomore, 13.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.9 apgAs the No. 6 team in the Big Ten, the Hawkeyes have won five of their past six games, taking a 76-70 overtime win against Indiana Friday. Iowa will bring the No. 1 scoring offense in the conference to Columbus Tuesday, averaging 80.4 points per game and shooting 46.6 percent from the field, which is second-best behind Michigan State. Ohio State already has an idea of what the Iowa offense looks like, having lost to the Hawkeyes 72-62 Jan. 12. Despite the Buckeyes leading 26-24 at halftime, Iowa exploded to make 15-of-27 from the field in the second half.“We thought that it was a win,” sophomore forward Kaleb Wesson said. “I feel like going into the second half, we didn’t have the same intensity and came out with the same toughness that we had the first time in the first half.” Much of the Hawkeyes’ success was due to the play of its two starting forwards: junior Tyler Cook and sophomore Luka Garza. Against Ohio State, they combined for 31 points, converting on 11-of-17 attempts from the field with 12 rebounds. Wesson said that both Iowa forwards do a good job of sealing, getting them multiple touches in the paint. Holtmann said the reason why both forwards have put up the numbers they have is because of the shooting ability of the rest of the starting lineup. The Hawkeyes are No. 3 in the Big Ten in 3-point field goal percentage. In his first year with the Buckeyes, Holtmann knew of Cook, the player who leads Iowa this season with 16 points per game. But Garza was the one who made the lasting impact. “I was so impressed with Garza last year when we played them,” Holtmann said. “And he has proven to be as good of a player as he is.” Garza made 6-of-7 shot attempts against the Buckeyes Jan. 12, leading the team with 16 points. On the outside, Holtmann said senior guard C.J. Jackson will return to the starting lineup after being sidelined with a shoulder injury Saturday against Maryland. After earning his first career start against the Terrapins Saturday, freshman forward Justin Ahrens will continue to have opportunities in an increased role, Holtmann said. He added that the starting spot is still “fluid,” though. In five games against ranked opponents this season, Ohio State is winless. Its past two losses to ranked teams have been by double digits. However, Holtmann said he senses a level of urgency heading into Tuesday’s matchup with the Hawkeyes, saying, “You’ve got to be living in a cave if you don’t have that feeling.” But the number attached to Iowa does not change the mentality of Wesson ahead of Tuesday’s game. “Every game from now [on] is the biggest game of the season,” Wesson said. “We have to go into practice and think our biggest game is Tuesday.” Ohio State will take on No. 22 Iowa at the Schottenstein Center at 7 p.m. Tuesday. read more

September 18, 2019 | |Post a Comment

first_imgNapoli are keen to bring Karim Benzema to the club, according to Sports Mole.The Italian side have identified the Real Madrid number 9 as a summer target for the club.New Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti is keen on a reunion with Karim Benzema.Ancelotti who replaced Maurizio Sarri at the dugout in Napoli at the end of the season wants the former France striker to move Naples this summer.Cristiano Ronaldo, JuventusSerie A Betting: Match-day 3 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Considering there is a number of perfect starts so early in the Serie A season, as well as a few surprisingly not-so perfect ones….Benzema has been linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu this summer as new Madrid Boss Julen Lopetegui looks to shape the squad in his own image.The former Olympique Lyon forward who joined Madrid nine years ago has been linked with moves to Italy and England, and Carlo wants the striker to lead the new revolution at Napoli as they seek to overthrow Juventus from the top of Italian football.Benzema has scored 182 goals for Madrid since he joined in 2009 but contributed only 10 goals last season and there’s believe the club is looking at other options.Ancelotti has asked the hierarchy at Napoli to make a move for the £40million rated forward who still has three years left on his current deal with Florentino Perez’s Madrid.last_img read more

September 18, 2019 | |Post a Comment

first_imgSpurs will be moving away from their stadium to play Watford in the third round tie of Carabao Cup.This change of plans is caused by two reasons: the construction of Spurs stadium White Hart Lane, which is still under construction, and the heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Alexander Povetkin at Wembley, where Spurs has been a tenant last season.Spurs does not wish to upturn the draw made on Thursday to play the round three tie in September. They have tendered their request to be considered by the EFL board on September 6, before their match.London Football News has reported Spurs to have made the following statement about their decision: “We have applied to the EFL board for special dispensation to play this tie at Stadium MK.Christian Eriksen, Tottenham, SpursPochettino: ‘Happy’ Christian Eriksen ready for Spurs action Andrew Smyth – September 12, 2019 Mauricio Pochettino insists Christian Eriksen is “happy” and in the right frame of mind for Tottenham despite his failed summer exit.“We appreciate that Stadium MK may not be an ideal destination for every fan to get to on a weekday evening.“However, the club felt it would not be beneficial to request a reverse of the fixture as it would have resulted in no more than a 10 per cent allocation of tickets for our supporters at the venue of our opponents.“In contrast, we shall have a ticket allocation of up to 90 per cent at a neutral venue, ensuring greater access for our fans.”last_img read more