‘It hurts’: Valencia inflict first defeat on Zidane’s new Madrid

Zinedine Zidane dropped Gareth Bale and endured his first defeat since returning to Real Madrid as his side were deservedly beaten 2-1 by a resurgent Valencia on Wednesday.

The last time Zidane left Bale on the bench, the Welshman proved a spectacular substitute against Liverpool in the Champions League final 10 months ago but there was to be no rescue act at Mestalla.

Instead, Valencia surged to a convincing victory, Goncalo Guedes and Ezequiel Garay scoring in each half to leave Marcelino’s team within a point of La Liga’s top four. Karim Benzema headed in a late consolation in injury-time.

“We lacked a bit of spark up front,” Zidane said. “I am not going to criticise my players. They have tried and we played a good team. But losing always hurts.”

After a miserable start to the season, Valencia could yet enjoy a barnstorming finish.

 

Champions League qualification is now within touching distance while a Copa del Rey final against Barcelona and Europa League last 16 tie against Villarreal still await.

“The game played out how we hoped,” said Marcelino. “It was a complete performance.”

For Zidane, after two opening victories, this was perhaps something of a reality check, even if Madrid’s reappointed coach has insisted he is under no illusions regarding the task ahead.

They now trail leaders Barcelona by 13 points, the exact same margin they were behind the Catalans under Zidane at this stage last season.

This was reminiscent too of the limp displays that have undone Madrid in recent months, blunt in the final third, overly-generous in defence and bereft of either snap or spark in midfield.

Bale had started each of Zidane’s first two games, offering hope there might yet be a future for him in the new era, but his relegation to the bench suggests the Frenchman’s old doubts may linger.

Zidane’s press conference on Tuesday had been littered with questions about players’ futures but Raphael Varane and Marcelo both started in defence, as did Keylor Navas, restored in goal ahead of Zidane’s son Luca and the injured Thibaut Courtois.

Valencia were far superior in the first half and the only surprise was that it took 35 minutes for them to score.

Navas punched a corner to the edge of the box where Guedes bounced the ball off Carlos Soler, stopped it and curled between the goalkeeper’s right hand and the near post.

Valencia unleashed a series of efforts in search of a second. Kevin Gameiro headed wide, Geoffrey Kondogbia half-volleyed over and Rodrigo’s bending shot whistled inches past the post.

Madrid had barely featured as Bale came on for Marco Asensio in the 64th minute, along with Isco, who replaced the quiet Toni Kroos.

Bale might have had an equaliser shortly after had it not been for Dani Parejo’s sliding block and then the he sent a sumptous pass to the far post, but it was cleared away from the waiting Benzema.

Valencia should have wrapped it up with 15 minutes left as five sprawled forward on the break but Rodrigo miscontrolled while his cutback was flicked by Soler, harmlessly into the hands of Navas.

If Madrid were more threatening they might have capitalised but there was no counter and instead victory was secured when Garay headed in Parejo’s cross with seven minutes left.

Sergio Ramos had a late penalty taken off him, ruled out by VAR, before Benzema nodded in a consolation in added time. It was too little too late.

 

 

 

Champions League qualification is now within touching distance while a Copa del Rey final against Barcelona and Europa League last 16 tie against Villarreal still await.

“The game played out how we hoped,” said Marcelino. “It was a complete performance.”

For Zidane, after two opening victories, this was perhaps something of a reality check, even if Madrid’s reappointed coach has insisted he is under no illusions regarding the task ahead.

They now trail leaders Barcelona by 13 points, the exact same margin they were behind the Catalans under Zidane at this stage last season.

This was reminiscent too of the limp displays that have undone Madrid in recent months, blunt in the final third, overly-generous in defence and bereft of either snap or spark in midfield.

Bale had started each of Zidane’s first two games, offering hope there might yet be a future for him in the new era, but his relegation to the bench suggests the Frenchman’s old doubts may linger.

Zidane’s press conference on Tuesday had been littered with questions about players’ futures but Raphael Varane and Marcelo both started in defence, as did Keylor Navas, restored in goal ahead of Zidane’s son Luca and the injured Thibaut Courtois.

Valencia were far superior in the first half and the only surprise was that it took 35 minutes for them to score.

Navas punched a corner to the edge of the box where Guedes bounced the ball off Carlos Soler, stopped it and curled between the goalkeeper’s right hand and the near post.

Valencia unleashed a series of efforts in search of a second. Kevin Gameiro headed wide, Geoffrey Kondogbia half-volleyed over and Rodrigo’s bending shot whistled inches past the post.

Madrid had barely featured as Bale came on for Marco Asensio in the 64th minute, along with Isco, who replaced the quiet Toni Kroos.

Bale might have had an equaliser shortly after had it not been for Dani Parejo’s sliding block and then the he sent a sumptous pass to the far post, but it was cleared away from the waiting Benzema.

Valencia should have wrapped it up with 15 minutes left as five sprawled forward on the break but Rodrigo miscontrolled while his cutback was flicked by Soler, harmlessly into the hands of Navas.

If Madrid were more threatening they might have capitalised but there was no counter and instead victory was secured when Garay headed in Parejo’s cross with seven minutes left.

Sergio Ramos had a late penalty taken off him, ruled out by VAR, before Benzema nodded in a consolation in added time. It was too little too late.

CULLED FROM:

http://www.msn.com/en-xl/europe/europe-sport/it-hurts-valencia-inflict-first-defeat-on-zidanes-new-madrid/ar-BBVBvN8?ocid=spartanntp

 

 

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Atiku, Obi Congratulate Wike On Re-election

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the just concluded election, Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Peter Obi have congratulated the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike on his re-election.

Wike won the election with 886,264 votes, while Mr Biokpomabo Awara of the African Alliance Congress (AAC) who came second scored 173,859 votes.

Atiku in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja described Wike’s victory as hard earned re-election.

 

“It gives me much pleasure to see a political force for good, such as yourself, overcome the anti-democratic forces of dictatorship and oppression.

“The PDP is blessed to have a political gladiator, such as yourself on our side.

” I am favoured to count on you, Governor Wike, as my friend and brother, and Rivers as my second home.”

Atiku said that as Wike was savoured by men of goodwill all over Nigeria, he was sure that the governor would continue the pattern of good works which he had become known for.

“Nigeria needs men like you. Men who can remain firm, unbowed and resolute in trying times.

 

“You have proved that you have character under trial, and not just when the going is good.

“Such refinement will stand you in good stead as, by the grace of God, you will finish the good work you have started in Rivers.”

On his part, Obi, in a statement issued by his media office, said that all lovers of democracy must salute the resilience of the people of Rivers who stood in defence of their votes.

He said that the people would not have been bigoted to Gov. Wike if he had not made appreciable impact in their lives through delivery of good governance.

He advised Wike to remain focused on the delivery of democracy dividends to his people and not get distracted by the needless bickering and provocation that greeted the election.

The former Anambra governor said that the people of Rivers didn’t need to go through the stress given the outstanding performance of their governor in the last four years.

The post Atiku, Obi Congratulate Wike On Re-election appeared first on Independent Newspapers Nigeria.

 

CULLED FROM:

http://www.msn.com/en-xl/africa/nigeria/atiku-obi-congratulate-wike-on-re-election/ar-BBVBn9o?ocid=spartanntp

 

Miracle baby girl is born on top of a mango tree during Mozambique cyclone

A woman whose home was destroyed from the floods of the deadly cyclone that hit southern Africa last month gave birth to a baby girl while atop of a mango tree.

Single mother Amelia climbed up the tree with her 2-year-old son as the rising flood waters of Cyclone Idai rushed into her home in central Mozambique.

“I had no choice but to climb a tree, I was alone with my son. Then the pain started, and I had no one around to help me,” she told the United Nation’s children’s agency UNICEF. “In a few hours, I gave birth to my baby girl Sara, on top of that mango tree. I was completely alone with Sara and my son.”

 

The little family stayed up on the tree, clinging to branches, for more than two days until the flood waters began to recede and neighbors were able to reach them.
They are now staying in an improvised accommodation center in Dombe.
Cyclone Idai roared into southern Africa on March, bringing with it massive amounts of water that washed away homes and covered vast stretches of the countryside, as high as the tops of trees in some places.

More than 700 people have been confirmed dead and that number is expected to rise higher as the communities affected struggle to contain diseases, including cholera which has already seen an outbreak in Mozambique. More than 50,000 homes were destroyed.

More than 100,000 survivors of Cyclone Idai are still living in displacement camps with little access to clean water or sanitation, and the World Health Organization has warned of a “second disaster” if waterborne diseases such as cholera and malaria spread.
In the Indian Ocean port city of Beira, meanwhile, Mozambicans lined up Wednesday to get cholera vaccines, in an effort to contain an outbreak of the deadly disease.

Beira, which has a population of 500,000, is where most of the more than 1,400 cases of cholera have been reported since the outbreak was declared a week ago.

 

CULLED FROM:

 

http://www.msn.com/en-xl/africa/top-stories/miracle-baby-girl-is-born-on-top-of-a-mango-tree-during-mozambique-cyclone/ar-BBVAZ4h?li=BBQbcGp&ocid=spartanntp

UFC heavyweight Ruslan Magomedov first fighter to receive lifetime USADA ban

The UFC’s anti-doping partner is not joking around. Back-to-back violations have resulted in the maximum punishment under its anti-doping program.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) today announced UFC heavyweight Ruslan Magomedov (14-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is banned for life after failing a test this past fall and refusing to take another in February.

Under the UFC’s program, a third violation brings a suspension that at minimum doubles the time served for a second violation – and at maximum nets a permanent ban.

UFC officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

Magomedov, 32, came up positive for five separate banned substance following an out-of-competition urine test conducted Oct. 10, 2018. Two were methyltestosterone metabolites and three were stanozolol metabolites. Both parent compounds are well-known steroids and considered non-Specified Substances that are banned year-round in the USADA-led program.

According to USADA, the third violation was triggered when Magomedov refused to “complete the sample collection process as requested” by a doping officer during another out-of-competition test conducted Feb. 5. At that time, he was already provisionally suspended for the Oct. 10 test results pending the resolution of his case.

Magomedov first ran afoul of USADA in 2016, when he and UFC featherweight Zubaira Tukhugov failed out-of-competition tests in September for the selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM) ostarine. They went to arbitration with the anti-doping agency, claiming their positive tests were the result of a contaminated supplement. They hoped to receive a reduced sentence, but USADA refused to offer leniency after two days of testimony. Rather than continue their appeal, they settled for the standard two-year punishment for first-time offenders.

Magomedov was scheduled to return to the octagon at UFC 230 in a bout opposite Marcos Rogerio de Lima. He reportedly pulled from the event due to visa issues, but his positive test on Oct. 10 appears to contradict that information.

As a UFC heavyweight, Magomedov won three straight fights via decision and was considered a rising prospect. He has not yet commented on his lifetime ban.

Here is USADA’s full statement:
USADA announced today that Ruslan Magomedov, of Krasnoyarsk, Russia, has received a lifetime sanction after his second and third violations of the UFC® Anti-Doping Policy.

Magomedov, 32, received a second violation after he tested positive for methyltestosterone metabolite 17α-methyl-5β-androstan-3α, 17β-diol, as well as stanozolol metabolites 3′-hydroxystanozolol-O-glucuronide, 16β-hydroxystanozolol-O-glucuronide, and stanozolol-N-glucuronide, as the result of an out-of-competition urine sample he provided on October 10, 2018. Methyltestosterone and stanozolol are non-Specified Substances in the class of Anabolic Agents and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

The athlete’s third violation resulted from his refusal to complete the sample collection process as requested by a doping control officer during an out-of-competition test on February 5, 2019. Refusing or failing to submit to sample collection, without compelling justification, is a doping violation under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

Magomedov’s lifetime period of ineligibility began on November 5, 2018, the date his provisional suspension was imposed.

USADA conducts the year-round, independent anti-doping program for all UFC athletes. USADA is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental agency whose sole mission is to preserve the integrity of competition, inspire true sport, and protect the rights of clean athletes. In an effort to aid UFC athletes, as well as their support team members, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on the UFC Anti-Doping Program website ( https://UFC.USADA.org) regarding the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online ( https://UFC.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, and periodic athlete alerts. Many of the resources available to athletes are provided in multiple languages, including Russian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese.

Along with education and testing, robust anti-doping programs enable investigations stemming from tips and whistleblowers. USADA makes available a number of ways to report the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs in sport in an effort to protect clean athletes and promote clean competition. Any tip can be reported using the USADA Play Clean Tip Center, by email at playclean@usada.org, by phone at 1 877-Play Clean (1-877-752-9253), or by mail.

 

CULLED FROM:

 

http://www.msn.com/en-xl/europe/sport/ufc-heavyweight-ruslan-magomedov-first-fighter-to-receive-lifetime-usada-ban/ar-BBVvA3N?li=BBQbcGp&ocid=spartanntp

Shola Ameobi open to Newcastle United Academy role

Shola Ameobi says he will welcome a coaching role with Newcastle United Academy.

The former Nigeria international has been linked with one of three new roles in the Magpies’ youth set-up.

The 37-year-old who made 397 appearances for the Magpies, scoring 79 goals currently coaches Newcastle kids and is delighted to give back to the club that ‘invested’ in him.

“The Academy stuff is something I have always done. Even when I was a player I would go down in the afternoons to the Academy,” Ameobi told Chronicle.

“If the Academy and club hadn’t invested in me I wouldn’t be where I am. It has always been a passion of mine.

 

“The Foundation too, is all about the community and what we can do. Football has a huge part to play in the city.

“You have to look at it as a positive light and to affect as many people as you can. The Foundation does that and I’m passion about it.

“I enjoy the coaching and engaging with the kids and do everything I can to help them on and off the pitch to be adults.

“That is something I will always do and what I’m about it. There will always be a part of me for Newcastle United if they want me.

“It’s something I’d love to see where it goes and if I can play a part in helping the club I’m all in.”

 

CULLED FROM:

 

http://www.msn.com/en-xl/africa/nigeria/shola-ameobi-open-to-newcastle-united-academy-role/ar-BBVzhEg?li=BBQbcGp&ocid=spartanntp

Pele: Legendary Brazil striker taken ill in Paris

Pele has fallen ill in Paris but is not in a life-threatening condition.

The 78-year-old recently met up with Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe in the French capital for a promotional campaign.

There are conflicting reports on whether Pele was admitted to hospital, as was initially claimed by French radio station RMC Sports.

But the Brazilian’s team claim he was treated in his hotel after suffering from a fever.

During his meeting with Mbappe, Pele insisted the France international does not need to leave PSG to fulfil his potential.

“No, he doesn’t need to leave (PSG),” Pele said. “He needs to continue in the same way because he will become the best in the world.
We’re not sure who was more starstruck 🤩
“That, that’s important. If we have to do a comparison with me, I never left Santos to become the best player in the world.”

While Pele also tipped Mbappe to aim for 1,000 career goals, a feat he accomplished over more than 20 years as a professional.

 

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known to millions of fans as Pelé, enjoyed one of the most glittering and memorable footballing careers of all time. Born in the east Brazil city of Três Corações, the former Santos and New York Cosmos is remembered for terrorising defences all over the globe and for winning the World Cup three times – more than any other player.

“It’s possible, I scored exactly 1,025, so 1,000 goals is possible for him,” Pele said.

Mbappe, however, has ruled out ever scoring that many goals.

“I think that even if we count the goals on inter-city pitches and goals on the PlayStation, I won’t be able to reach the 1,000-goal mark,” said the 20-year-old.

“We will try to get as close as we can, but I think I’ll be a long way off it at the end of my career.”

 

CULLED FROM:

 

http://www.msn.com/en-xl/latinamerica/sport/pele-legendary-brazil-striker-taken-ill-in-paris/ar-BBVAl4K?li=BBQbcGp&ocid=spartanntp