By Nemanja BjedovCypriot teams met with mixed fortunes in Thursday night’s Europa League clashes.Apollon became the first Cypriot club to avoid defeat in Poland as Gaston Sangoy struck the winner against Legia 1-0 in the second round of Group J. Back in Nicosia, however, APOEL, were outclassed 3-0 by Germany’s Eintracht Frankfurt at the GSP Stadium in Group F.“I am not that surprised that we won here, as we knew how Legia played,” Sangoy told UEFA.com after he missed a penalty in the first half and then hit an unexpected winner.“Of course, I was nervous when I missed the penalty in the first half, but my teammates encouraged me not to think too much about it, and I quickly put it behind me.“I got my payback in the second half. I want to dedicate this goal to my family, who are in Cyprus right now, my mother and my fiancée.“This win makes us feel very positive about the next games. It’s a pity we dropped three points against Trabzonspor in the first match but, thanks to this victory in Warsaw, we are back on the right track,” the Argentinean forward concluded.Apollon coach Christakis Christodoulou echoed his delight with the result: “I want to thank the people who came to Poland and could not even watch the match at the stadium … I dedicate this victory to them. This win is for the entire (island) and for all the Cypriot teams.”Apollon’s next match in the domestic league is scheduled for Monday evening when they take on Doxa Katokopia away from home, while APOEL host Aris.Assessing the result, APOEL coach Paulo Sergio noted: “first I’d like to point out that we faced a team which is stronger than us.“In the first half we had five corners, while they had only two, but unfortunately we conceded an own goal. We were definitely unlucky to go down.“In the second half we decided to take some risks and this resulted in us conceding again,” he went on. “From that point on our concentration was shattered and they scored their third goal.“We created some opportunities as well, and I can’t say I was unhappy with how we played. I definitely believe in these players and am sure the team has bright future,” Sergio added.Over the weekend, Ethnikos Achnas host Ermis Aradippou in the Round 5 opener on Saturday at 6pm at the Dasaki Stadium in Achna, while an hour later AEL face AEK in Limassol.On Sunday at 6pm, AEK Kouklion take on Anorthosis, while Alki meet Omonia in Larnaca. An hour later Enosis Neon Paralimni will be looking to record their first victory of the season and improve their dismal goal difference, 1-12, when they host Nea Salamina.
By Larry FineManny Pacquiao took up Floyd Mayweather Jr’s shout-out that the boxers finally book a long-awaited clash on May 2, the Filipino insisting money was no object and that they owed it to the sport to fight each other.Mayweather, in remarks to Showtime TV last Friday, said Pacquiao was not worthy of a 50-50 split in his proposed showdown, which would likely become the highest grossing pay-per-view bout in history if the match were made.Eight-division world champion Pacquiao appeared ready to accommodate the undefeated American.“Mayweather can get the amount he wants. As early as January this year, I challenged him to a charity fight. Until now, he has not agreed to it. So, money is not the issue in our fight,” Pacquiao said on his official website.“This fight is about legacy, this is about making the fans happy and, above all, this is for the good of boxing.”The two champions, boxing’s top drawing cards, have danced around a possible clash for roughly five years, with disputes over purses and drug-testing preventing a match being made.“We are ready. Let’s make it happen. May 2. Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao. Let’s do it,” the 37-year-old American, who fights at welterweight and light-middleweight, said.As befits their familiar verbal sparring, Pacquiao promised he would deliver an exciting fight despite the supreme defensive skills so often displayed by Mayweather (47-0).“He has reached a dead end. He has nowhere to run but to fight me,” Pacquiao (57-5-2) said. “I will try my best to make this a thrilling and entertaining fight.“But I doubt if he’s gonna engage me in a slugfest. You all know his fighting style. Most of his previous fights, if not all, induced us to sleep.”The 35-year-old Pacquiao dominated Chris Algieri in November to retain his WBO welterweight title in his last bout, while Mayweather won a unanimous decision over Marcos Maidana to retain his twin WBC titles in September.
Order of play on the show courts at the Wimbledon Championships on Monday:Centre Court 1-Serena Williams (U.S.) v 16-Venus Williams (U.S.)23-Ivo Karlovic (Croatia) v 3-Andy Murray (Britain)20-Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain) v 2-Roger Federer (Switzerland)Court One4-Maria Sharapova (Russia) v Zarina Diyas (Kazakhstan)4-Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) v 16-David Goffin (Belgium)1-Novak Djokovic (Serbia) v 14-Kevin Anderson (South Africa)Court Two21-Richard Gasquet (France) v 26-Nick Kyrgios (Australia)5-Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) v 20-Garbine Muguruza (Spain)6-Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) v 21-Gilles Simon (France)Court Three Coco Vandeweghe (U.S.) v 6-Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic)13-Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) v 28-Jelena Jankovic (Serbia)9-Marin Cilic (Croatia) v Denis Kudla (U.S.)Court 12 Vasek Pospisil (Canada) v 22-Viktor Troicki (Serbia)23-Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) v 30-Belinda Bencic (Switzerland)Court 18Olga Govortsova (Belarus) v 21-Madison Keys (U.S.)15-Timea Bacsinszky (Switzerland) v Monica Niculescu (Romania)
World athletics’ governing body (IAAF) has suppressed a 2011 survey that reveals up to one-third of the world’s top competitors admitted using banned performance-enhancing techniques, Britain’s Sunday Times has reported.The study was carried out by researchers at the University of Tuebingen in Germany, who conducted confidential interviews with athletes at the 2011 world championships in Daegu, South Korea, the newspaper said.The International Association of Athletics Federations told the newspaper they were still in negotiations with the study authors and WADA about its publication.The results of the study showed that 29-34 percent of the 1,800 competitors at the championships had violated anti-doping rules in the previous 12 months.“These findings demonstrate that doping is remarkably widespread among elite athletes, and remains largely unchecked despite current biological testing programmes,” the study said.A month after collecting the information and analysing it, they were told to sign a confidentiality agreement and have now criticised the IAAF for preventing its publication.“The IAAF’s delaying publication for so long without good reason is a serious encroachment on the freedom of publication,” the researchers said in a statement.The statement added the IAAF had not commissioned the survey, but had used its influence to suppress the findings, which have been leaked to the Sunday Times and German broadcaster ARD/WDR.The study was financed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), who told the newspaper on Friday they had given the IAAF the power to veto publication in return for allowing access to the athletes at Daegu.The lead author, Rolf Ulrich, said he and his fellow experts had been barred from even discussing their work.“The IAAF is blocking it,” Ulrich told the newspaper.“I think they are stakeholders with WADA and they just blocked the whole thing.”Some of the study’s headline figures were leaked in America in 2013 but the IAAF continued to prevent full publication, the newspaper said.
Warriors look to cap magical season with title runBy Jahmal CornerApril 15 (Reuters) – When the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls set the former record of 72 wins in one season they coined an accompanying phrase: “72-10 don’t mean a thing without the ring.”The Golden State Warriors are inclined to agree, and as the NBA playoffs open on Saturday they know their historic 73-win regular season will lose its luster unless they end the campaign with championship jewelry.Golden State have been compared to those Michael Jordan-led Bulls all season long, with many former greats proclaiming the Warriors could not have stood the test of past eras.Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen, for one, stated that his former Chicago team would sweep the current Warriors team in a mythical series matchup.Shrugging off such a hypothetical, Golden State, whose coach Steve Kerr played on the 72-win Bulls team, have a chance to put their stamp on the current generation and will begin their title defense against the Houston Rockets on Saturday.“With Pippen coming out and saying what he said, that’s cool. We respect those guys (on that team),” Golden State forward Draymond Green told reporters. “We’ve got one of them in our locker room.”The Eastern Conference’s Cleveland Cavaliers would love a return trip to the NBA Finals and a rematch with the Warriors but must first steady their bumpy ride.Cleveland’s LeBron James has been at the center of the team’s drama beginning when they fired coach David Blatt midway through the season despite leading the Eastern Conference.The standout trio of James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love have yet to reach the potential imagined when they teamed up last season and James has romanticized about joining forces with opposing All-Stars, bringing into question the Cavs’ chemistry.Despite that, Cleveland are the heavy favorite to win the East and James, looking to reach a sixth straight NBA Final, insists he is intently focused on leading these Cavs.“It’s a mind switch. I’m going to the gym even more,” James said. “Dialing in even more to focusing on what I need to do for us to be better.”The Toronto Raptors, powered by an All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, are the main threat to Cleveland while the third-seeded Miami Heat are an intriguing bunch who were bolstered by the acquisition of sharpshooter Joe Johnson in February.The health of Miami All-Star Chris Bosh remains a critical mystery, however. He has been sidelined since February due to a recurring blood clot issue and his return remains in question.Atlanta will attempt to build on last season’s run to the conference final, while the scrappy Boston Celtics will not be a pushover opponent.In the West, the San Antonio Spurs remain the experienced model of consistency and are ready to chase a sixth championship banner with a reloaded roster.Veterans LaMarcus Aldridge, David West and Kevin Martin will attempt to mesh their talents with coach Gregg Popovich’s proven game plan.Oklahoma City are facing their first postseason with new coach Billy Donovan along with the pressures of prevailing in the final year before star Kevin Durant becomes a free agent.Durant and triple-double machine Russell Westbrook are a battle-tested duo but the clock is ticking on a partnership that has not reached the Finals since 2012.The Los Angeles Clippers are hoping the return of forward Blake Griffin can ignite their championship hopes.Griffin missed 45 straight games due to injury and suspension and his return makes the Clippers a dangerous foe.But the spotlight will be on the Warriors as they look to again walk in the footsteps of those old Bulls who inevitably closed the season with ‘the ring.’
Luis Suarez grabbed a hat-trick and Lionel Messi bagged two goals as Barcelona began their quest for a third straight La Liga title with a 6-2 rout of Real Betis on Saturday.Arda Turan, whose two goals against Sevilla helped Barca lift the Spanish Super Cup on Wednesday, gave them an early lead at the Nou Camp before Ruben Castro equalised in the 21st minute.Barca went back in front thanks to a trademark 37th-minute goal from Messi before Suarez, La Liga’s top scorer last season, made it 3-1 before halftime.Messi set up Suarez for the Uruguayan’s second in the 56th minute before the Argentine netted again a minute later with a left-foot drive from outside the area.Suarez then completed his treble with a 25-metre free kick in the 82nd minute.Betis scored again six minutes from time after Castro struck a right-foot shot beyond goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
By Richard MartinBarcelona failed to capitalise on Real Madrid dropping points against Villarreal as the La Liga champions were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, while talisman Lionel Messi limped off with a groin injury.Ivan Rakitic nodded Barca ahead in the 41st minute but the home side lost control after the break following an injury to midfield lynchpin Sergio Busquets and Angel Correa fired in the equaliser in the 61st, shortly after Messi had come off.“Leo Messi has torn the groin muscle in his right leg. He will be out of action for approximately three weeks,” Barcelona officials said in a statement.Earlier on Wednesday, Real’s 100 percent start to the season came to an end as they drew 1-1 at home to Villarreal, which also halted their joint record run of 16 successive league wins.Real remain top of La Liga on 13 points. Sevilla are second on 11 points, Barcelona third on nine points while Atletico are fourth, on eight points.Barca had plenty of possession in the first half but Atletico, who knocked them out of the Champions League last season, forced them into tight spaces and constricted their ability to create openings.“We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game and we’d be attacking a team that sat back and worked hard. They gave us no space and made everything more complicated,” Luis Enrique told a news conference.Messi was denied by Jan Oblak in one of few chances in a tight first half but Rakitic broke free of Atletico’s clutches to put Barca in front.The champions did not kick on after the break, rocked by an exhausted Busquets being taken off and then Messi limping off.A lapse of concentration from Barca defenders Javier Mascherano and Gerard Pique allowed Atletico substitute Correa to latch onto a through ball from Fernando Torres and fire in off the post.Barca had 29 minutes to find a winner without Messi, and despite chances for Pique and Neymar, Atletico held firm.Barca striker Luis Suarez, meanwhile, had fierce words for Atletico defender Filipe Luis, who uploaded a picture onto Instagram of his bloodied foot bearing stud marks from a clash with Suarez.“Football is for men and what happened on the pitch stays on the pitch,” Suarez told reporters.“If every time someone got hit it was uploaded to Instagram this would turn into a circus. I’m not going to be sending photos out after every game.”Earlier, Cristiano Ronaldo spurned two early chances in a lacklustre first half by Real, who allowed Villarreal opportunities at the other end.Villareal captain Bruno Soriano gave his side the lead on the stroke of halftime with a boldly chipped penalty after Sergio Ramos had handled in the area, although the Real captain made amends by equalising in the 48th minute.“We were the much better side in the second half but you can’t always win every game in the last minute,” said Real manager Zinedine Zidane.
Britain’s Jenson Button will stand in for Fernando Alonso at next month’s Monaco Formula One Grand Prix while the Spaniard competes in the Indianapolis 500 on the same day, McLaren announced on Friday.“I’m thrilled to be making a one-off return to Formula One racing, and I couldn’t think of a better place to make that return than my adopted home Grand Prix: Monaco,” the 37-year-old said in a statement at the Bahrain Grand Prix.Monaco resident Button handed over his McLaren seat to Belgian rookie Stoffel Vandoorne at the end of last season but remained under contract to the team with the possibility of returning in 2018.He won the showcase race in 2009 on his way to the title with Brawn GP.Honda-powered McLaren have endured a tough start to the season, with no points from two races, but Monaco’s tricky street circuit could suit their car better and is also one where drivers can make the difference.Button will be the most experienced driver in the race as he makes his 306th start, with the Briton third in the all-time lists behind the retired Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher.He is also the last driver to win a race for McLaren, in Brazil in 2012, but cannot hope for such success this time.“It’s one of my all-time favourite racetracks,” said the winner of 15 grands prix.“OK, I realise we won’t have a realistic chance of repeating my 2009 victory, but I think we’ll have an opportunity to score world championship points, which will be very valuable to the team in terms of constructors’ rankings.“As for Fernando, I hope he not only fares well at Indy but enjoys it too.”McLaren announced earlier in the week that double world champion Alonso would compete at Indianapolis with a car run by Andretti Autosport, last year’s winners.The team made no mention of any testing before Monaco but Button said he would use McLaren’s simulator and had no fitness concerns.The Briton has been spending time in California, competing in triathlons and was recently disqualified for speeding during an Ironman 70.3 event.McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said Button’s return was great news.“Jenson is a class act. He’s a superb driver — fast, smooth and precise — and he won’t have lost any of his competitive edge over the past few months,” said the Frenchman.“He’s always been good at Monaco. He’ll do a great job for us, I’m sure of that.”
Olam picked up the XXXX People’s Choice Award at last night’s 2016 Queensland Rugby League awards at Royal International Convention Centre in Brisbane.This is the third year in a row the Hunters have won the People’s Choice Award since entering the Intrust Super Cup competition in 2014.Olam arrived todayjust before lunch from Australia with CEO of the PNG Rugby Football League, Bob Cutmore and Hunters coach, Michael Marum.“It’s a good feeling to have won the award. But I know there is still a lot yet left for me to achieve.“This award is for the fans, thank you very much for all your votes,” said Olam.Olam finished by saying that his advice for young rugby league players is to stick to the basics, have dedication, patience and the results will come.2016 QRL Awards:Cyril Connell Cup Player of the Year: David Fifita (Souths Logan Magpies) & Cory Paix (Toowoomba Clydesdales)Mal Meninga Cup Player of the Year: Alexander Brimson (Gold Coast White) & Gerome Burns (Norths Devils)FOGS Colts Challenge Player of the Year: Lane Ferling (Norths Devils)Carbine Club Rookie of the Year: Jonus Pearson (Redcliffe Dolphins)Struddy’s Leading Point Scorer: Darren Nicholls (Redcliffe Dolphins)Struddy’s Leading Try Scorer: Jonathon Reuben (Townsville Blackhawks)Club Championship: Redcliffe DolphinsJohn ‘Cracker’ McDonald Minor Premiership Shield: Redcliffe DolphinsXXXX People’s Choice Award: Justin Olam (PNG Hunters)XXXX Representative Player of the Year: Jai Arrow (Norths Devils)Match Official Recognition: Michael Wise (Origin Touch Judge); Clayton Sharpe (200 Intrust Super Cup games)
Sunam’s managed a well-earned 0-0 draw with Bismarck at the Sir John Guise stadium hockey pavilion.Sunam women played an inspiring match with a strong defence with a heavily guarded backline that turned the match the other way around from what was expected.Holding off the unbeatable Bismarck’s to a nil-all draw at halftime.After the break Sunam maintain their fair defence as the strong Bismarck side failed to make a breakthrough in a game with very few chances for either side.Indeed it was the Sunam who came close, with several attempts by their forwards in the second half putting the ball behind the Bismarck’s boundaries but only to see the attempts blew away through wide shots.Both sides struggled in the hot conditions, and there were only eight shots on target in the game but still both could not convert any into points with the scores levelled at 0-0.The result was strong reminded for Sunam team management as the completion approaches finals with only three round games left.