Archive for: ‘September 2019’

Thrilling attack will be no defence if City fail

12/09/2019 Posted by admin

City’s back line has looked vulnerable in the close season and they go into their first match at home to Newcastle United on Monday having let in eight goals in their last three warm-up matches, including a 3-1 defeat by Arsenal on Saturday.

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This after boasting the meanest defence in the league last season when they let in 34 goals in 38 games in finishing runners-up to neighbours Manchester United.

In the previous season they had an even better record, conceding just 29 on their way to the title.

Having spent around 90 million pounds on forwards Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic, winger Jesus Navas and midfielder Fernandinho in the close season, it is not surprising they have also scored seven times in those games.

The trouble is that more goals conceded than netted does not add up to silverware, a challenge for a club whose chief executive has set a target of five trophies in the next five years.

There is still time before the transfer window closes at the end of the month for the wealthy club to bolster their defence but even if they do, they seem to have made it clear where their priorities lie.

Pellegrini, who replaced the sacked Roberto Mancini in June, has promised to instil an attractive brand of attacking football in his team but also knows this cannot be at the expense of City’s recent strengths.

“We had problems defending and we will try to improve this week,” local media quoted the Chilean as saying.

“If we buy someone, then OK. But, otherwise, we have a good squad. But, yes, we have conceded many goals, we will have to find ways to change this.

“You are always concerned when you are 3-0 down but we lost in pre-season. We did not lose three points and that is important. We will be at our best for the Premier League.”

UNDER RADAR

City trailed Manchester United by a hefty 11 points last season but with last term’s top three sides all under new management there is a sense of unpredictability about the new season and a feeling that Pellegrini has been flying under the radar.

While new United manager David Moyes has been batting away questions over the future of striker Wayne Rooney, while also conducting a very public pursuit of Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas, second-time Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has been chasing Rooney.

In the meantime, Pellegrini has been quietly going about his business, bringing in new players in good time while the others are most likely left to carry out their transfer activities once the season has started.

The former Malaga manager’s calm manner also offers an antidote to the sometimes temperamental Mancini, whose public criticism of his players fuelled media reports of dressing room unrest last season.

City fans are still fond of Mancini after an FA Cup win in 2011 and a Premier League title the following year, after more than three decades without a trophy. But they will hope that their new manager can bring the team back together.

Goalkeeper Joe Hart, one of the shining lights in the championship-winning season, was one of those to feel the sharp tongue of Mancini last term and Pellegrini will hope he can coax him and some of the others back to their best.

Pellegrini reckons he has the right players to bring in trophies.

“I think we have the best squad in England,” he told local media earlier this month.

“We bought four important players. We already had a very good team and with these four I think we improved a lot.

“We hope that from the first match against Newcastle at home we will start winning, and we will try to bring another trophy here.” ($1 = 0.6460 British pounds)

($1 = 0.6468 British pounds)

(Reporting by Sonia Oxley; Editing by Tony Goodson)

Boomers respect Tall Blacks’ passion

12/09/2019 Posted by admin

Favourites Australia will go in with confidence, but coach Andrej Lemanis says they’ll also take plenty of respect into their Oceania basketball championship series against New Zealand.

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The home-and-away tie begins in Auckland on Wednesday, with the Boomers’ 12-man roster boasting the likes of San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills and former FC Barcelona guard-forward Joe Ingles among six Olympians.

But Lemanis says his eight NBL seasons with the New Zealand Breakers taught him about the motivation levels of Kiwi players representing their country.

“I know New Zealand will play it down – `we’ve got these young kids’ – and all that,” he said.

“But I’m fully aware of the passion that they will play with and the character that’s in the group.”

The Mika Vukona-skippered Tall Blacks have four rookies in their squad and are missing high-profile names in NBA draft pick Steven Adams and experienced shooting guard Kirk Penney.

But they will go in match-hardened, having just completed an eight-game tour of China.

Lemanis was happy with his own players’ preparations during their week together.

“We come in here with confidence,” he said.

“We believe if we play well, we’re going to give ourselves a shot at winning the game.”

The return leg is in Canberra on Sunday.

With both Australia and New Zealand already headed for the world championships in Spain next year, the series is being used to help to determine seedings for that tournament.

Lemanis agrees that the scenario does take a bit of the edge off, but he has no doubts the intensity will lift at tip-off.

“Once you get on the court all that is forgotten,” he said.

“You go to practice sessions and teams are bitching about the score and the clock and `that’s a foul’, because both teams want to win. That’s the nature of the sport.”

The Auckland leg will be Lemanis’ first match back at the North Shore Events Centre since his emotional farewell to the Breakers after guiding the club to three successive Australian NBL titles.

Saad can keep playing in AFL for now

12/09/2019 Posted by admin

The AFL and former anti-doping boss Richard Ings have confirmed Ahmed Saad is within his rights to play for St Kilda, despite returning an irregular drug test result.

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Saad will most likely know in the next week whether his B sample is also irregular.

If that’s the case, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) will serve an infraction notice and Saad will go before the AFL tribunal.

Under anti-doping rules, the Saints small forward can keep playing until ASADA serves the infraction notice.

Brisbane fans booed Saad at the `Gabba last Saturday night after he was a late inclusion for the match.

He was not even one of their three emergencies until the Saints named him in the squad on Friday afternoon.

An initial irregular test result is supposed to be confidential until a charge is laid, but Saad’s case was leaked to the media last week.

“They’re completely compliant with WADA in that decision and whether he played or not was a decision for the club,” said AFL deputy chief executive Gil McLachlan.

“It’s pertinent to note here that normally this would be confidential – the fact it was made public makes it slightly different.

“But he’s well within his rights and there’s a process to play out here.

Ings, the former ASADA chief executive, also backed Saad’s right to play while ASADA continued to process the case.

“A positive test for a specified substance might attract a ban of weeks to a couple of months, depending on the circumstances,” Ings told the AFL website.

“So if you provisionally suspend someone, they may actually be provisionally suspended longer than the actual ban would have been.”

The Saints said Saad was brought into the side after a gastro bug swept through the club.

It was his first senior game since round 15.

Saints coach Scott Watters said on Friday that Saad’s anti-doping case was an isolated issue for the club.

Saad returned an irregular sample last month, with the Saints saying it was for a substance that is permitted for use out of competition but not in competition.

It is understood that the case stems from an energy drink that Saad took before the round 15 match against the Dockers.

Smartphones 51.8% Of global mobiles sales

12/09/2019 Posted by admin

Smartphones have made up the majority of mobile phone sales worldwide for the first time, according to new figures.

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Some 225 million smartphones were sold globally between April and June, or 51.8 per cent of all mobiles sold in that quarter, research firm Gartner said.

It is the first time smartphone sales exceeded those of feature phones – the more basic models that have limited or no access to the internet and applications.

The figures also show that Microsoft edged out BlackBerry for the first time in the smartphone operating system (OS) market, taking third position with a 3.3 per cent market share compared with BlackBerry’s 2.7 per cent.

Android continued to increase its lead, taking 79 per cent of the market in the second quarter, followed by iOS with 14.2 per cent.

The figures show Samsung sold 71.3 million smartphones in the quarter, a market share of 31.7 per cent, followed by Apple at 31.8 million units or 14.2 per cent of market share and LG Electronics with 11.4 million units or 5.1 per cent.

Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, said: “Smartphones accounted for 51.8 per cent of mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2013, resulting in smartphone sales surpassing feature phone sales for the first time.

“While Microsoft has managed to increase share and volume in the quarter, Microsoft should continue to focus on growing interest from app developers to help grow its appeal among users.”

He added: “With second quarter of 2013 sales broadly on track, we see little need to adjust our expectations for worldwide mobile phone sales forecast to total 1.82 billion units this year.

“Flagship devices brought to market in time for the holidays, and the continued price reduction of smartphones, will drive consumer adoption in the second half of the year.”

Herman Cain, we hardly knew you

12/09/2019 Posted by admin

The former pizza boss has “suspended” his campaign for President, or at least the campaign to be the Republican Party nominee, after revelations that he may not be the man we thought he might be.

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Cain ended his run (“suspending” his campaign in favour of ending it is semantics so he can continue to attract funding for any other political endeavours he pursues) after a few too many women came forward to tell of sexual harassment and an extra-marital affair.

First, Sharon Bialek said Cain made unwanted physical advances on her 14 years ago when he was the chief of the National Restaurant Association, claiming he suggested he’d boost her job search in return for sex.

A second woman, Karen Kraushaar, joined Bialek with more sexual harassment claims during Cain’s tenure as National Restaurant Association boss. The organisation reportedly settled her concerns with a $45,000 pay out.

Then, two other anonymous women complained of harassment but it was the revelation by another woman with a movie star name that sealed Cain’s fate. Ginger White, unemployed and a failed small business owner, revealed she’d had a 13-year affair with Cain during which he provided her with money.

Cain apparently discussed the claims with his wife (who’d not known about the affair), publicly denied them, and decided to blame the media for his downfall.

As you do.

But among the wreckage, perhaps the satirical news outlet The Onion best summed up Cain’s campaign collapse with this headline: “Rumors Of Extramarital Affair End Campaign Of Presidential Candidate Who Didn’t Know China Has Nuclear Weapons”

The Onion’s joke – funny because it is not a joke – referred to a Cain comment during a televised debate that inferred he did not know China has had nuclear capability for several decades. This from a guy who wants to lead the most militarily powerful nation on Earth.

Just how Cain rose to such prominence in the Republican campaign demonstrates the challenge facing the party in finding an electable candidate. On several occasions, Cain led credible polls leading the Republican nomination.

Cain somehow made Mitt Romney, the smart squeaky clean slick Mormon self-anointed as the Republican’s uninspiring conservative safe bet, look less of a sure a thing than first considered.

As for the new frontrunner? Welcome back Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker known for political brilliance and personal failings. Married three times, divorced twice, a run of form that included his own six-year extra-marital affair.

This is the best the Republicans, the party of family values, can do.

Gingrich is defending his past claiming human fallibility. Maybe so, but whether the Christian Right will agree with that, and the rest of America too, is another matter.

Just ask Herman.