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LEICESTER CITY VS SPORTING BRAGA

The foxes have impressed in the last few games and there was no letting up on Thursday night. What a pass from Tielemans in the build up the third goal from fellow Belgian Praet. Iheanacho, deputizing for the rested Vardy struck a brace to stake a claim for a starting berth but it will take some doing to depose Vardy in the form he is in. Braga on the other hand barely threatened Schmeichel’s goal. With competition for the top 4 places in the Premiership promising to be at an all time high, this competition may provide a route for Leicester into the Champions League. They need to sort out their consistency issues particularly after Christmas. Their over reliance on goals from Vardy may come back to bite them and may possibly need to dip into January market to find a player who can supplement him. No offence to Iheanacho and Slimani of course.

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PARIS MASTERS HIGHLIGHTS

Standout result on Thursday was Stan Wawrinka beating the in form Russian Andrey Rublev in 3 sets. Stan the man recovered impressively from losing the first set for just 1 game showing his younger upstart he has a lot in his 35 year old self.The key to his victory was winning his efficient conversion of break points(3/5) to Rublev’s (3/6). There was not much in it but it proved to be telling. Rafa Nadal celebrated a milestone 1000th win on the tour with a straight sets win over Australian Thompson. Thompson impressed me with my shot of the day when he was 3-2 up in the second at 0-15. Nadal is now ONLY behind Jimmy Connors(USA), Roger Federer(SUI) AND Ivan Lendl(CZE). He looked much settled after a shaky last match with Lopez.

MONTE CARLO MASTERS:RUBLEV VS NADAL

The master of the ATP500 struck at a ATP Masters 1000 event against one of the all time greats. Andrey Rublev produced a noticeable victory over Rafa in three sets in the quarter finals in Monaco. Break points galore in this one. Between them they had 27 break point opportunities with both combining to convert a not so great 11 times. On the positive, this could indicate the digging-deep ability of both players. Rafa’s forehand was strangely off in that first set. Watch 4-2 Rublev up a break with Rafa serving at 40-30 down. Not like him to let the shot hit the net in a high stakes game. Closing out the first set took a lot out of Rublev too.It took another unforced error to seal the set win for the Russian by Rafa 6-2.

This point showed that a player can out-Rafa Rafa Nadal on a clay court .Rublev up a break at serving up 3-2 with adv Nadal at deuce.The Russian keeping the Spaniard on the baseline with some scintillating shots capped off by a volley at the net of which Rafa with his aging legs could bot get to. Now for the point of the match, one in which Andrey will want to look away from. Rublev up 4-3 serving with adv Nadal at deuce. Ball presented to Rublev at the net crying to be smashed away. Rafa reading the cross court forehand like a book returning a forehand down the line with postage stamps. Rafa sealed the hotly contested set 6-4.

Rublev raced to a double break up in the third 4-1 with Rafa looking increasingly tired. The months away from the game taking their toll perhaps. From there there could only be one winner.Rublev with the biggest victory of his young career and if you ask him I bet he will tell you its trumps any of the titles he has won so far.

VUELTA A VALENCIA STAGE 3

Caught up with the Tour of Valencia at the third stage. Pretty tricky course with winding ascending roads. Enric Mas took the stage win and seized the yellow jersey. At the end it was down to three riders at the front Mas,Victor Lafay and Elie Gersbert. With 2 km to go the steep uphill ride proved to be the man separator with some riders falling by the wayside failing to tame that lion. After that the mad dash to the finish was won by Mas showing incredible leg strength and stamina.

PREMIER LEAGUE:EVERTON VS TOTTENHAM

Jose Mourinho is one bloke who really needed the win. His Spurs team lost more ground on the top 4 with two dropped points. Same could be said about Carlo Ancelloti’s team as well. Everton missed the attacking threat of Calvert-Lewin. Not that Richarlison was bad but the Brazilian is not as clinical as the England forward. Now lets compare the double strikes by Sigurdsson and Kane. The first from Kane was Kane making the most of a half chance. He still had a lot to do when the ball got to him but he did it right. The second was similar to the first in that the defense was lax in clearing the ball and it found its way to the predatory striker.

Reguillon is not good defensively, lets get that out of the way. The was no need to foul James on the edge of the box with a sea of Spurs players behind the ball. The penalty was dispatched as competently as the referees award of it by the Icelandic. Gylfi’s second sums up Spurs’ recent defensive woes. A defender literally caught in no mans land, between his goal and the opposing player with him not knowing where he should be. Jose tried to go for the game pulling the defensive minded Ndombele and replacing him with Lamela but it was too little too late as usual.

MONTE CARLO MASTERS:GOFFIN VS ZVEREV

The Belgian coming up tops on a day where a handful of top seeds fell by the wayside most notable Novak Djokovic in the Round of 16. There was very little separating the Goffin and Zverev. Goffin seizing his chance in the seventh game at 3-3. It was all the more surprising that Sasha lost that game having started solidly with good serving to lead 30-0. First, the German missed a routine overhead,30-15. He hit the net during the rally in the point after that to make it 30-30. Great net coverage by Goffin gave him the break point 30-40 which he ultimately converted.

The second set went to a tie break with both players unflinching in their desire to hold serve. With 1-1 in the breaker, Zverev took a major gamble went for the deep forehand cross court which he missed to hand the initiative to Goffin. That trusty forehand by Davis propelled him to a 4-1 lead in the breaker, making him odds on favorite to seal the victory. Zverev launched a laudable comeback from 6-2 down to surge ahead 7-6 and then he threw it away. Serving down 8-7, the German lost the point off the back of a promising rally returning a weak backhand straight into the net.

EUROPA LEAGUE:SLAVIA PRAHA VS ARSENAL

Arsenal producing a professional showing here. Coming into this second leg tie with the first leg having finished 1-1 at the Emirates, they new they needed to score first to have any chance of winning the tie and progress. They did just that in the 18th minute through Nicolas Pepe. The Gunners have played better when the Ivorian and Smith Rowe are in their side, they give them that creative spark.

Lacazette scored a double one of which was a penalty won by the marauding Bukayo Saka.By minute number 24 when Saka would add his own goal, Arsenal were out of sight at 3-0 in the first half. Slavia Prague have surprised all and sundry in making it to the last eight of this year’s competition. Well it should not have. They are top of the Czech league unbeaten in 26 of the games they have played all season.But in this encounter, they were woeful in front of goal. They did not manage a single shot on target in this one, their most dangerous player Provod well neutralized by Thomas Partey. The Europa League is the last chance saloon for Arsenal to make it to Europe next season as they are way off the top 6 places with the season close to winding down.

FORMER ZIMBABWE CRICKET CAPTAIN HEATH STREAK BANNED

Heath Streak, one of the all time great cricket Captains was handed a eight year ban from all forms of cricket by the International Cricket Council for breaching anti-corruption rules. Heath admitted to being approached by an Indian man seeking insider info for the purposes of gambling.

Apparently Heath thought that receiving gifts in the form of Bitcoin and an Apple iphone which she gifted to his wife would go undetected. Now, Heath is held in high regard in his home country Zimbabwe where he coached the national team as well. One of the best ever all rounders to come out of the Southern African nation, Heath played 215 Tests, took 216 wickets and played 239 ODIs and took 189 wickets. When you heard the headline, you must have thought oh no not another Hansie.

ICC confirmed that his actions although deplorable had no bearing on the outcome of the results. The matches under question where from 2017 to 2018. They occurred in the 2017 Bangladesh Premier League, where he coached,2018 IPL,2018 Afghanistan Premier League and 2017 Tri-Series between Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Financial constraints may have played a part in tempting Streak to actually do this. It is reported the yet to be named Indian man said the players stood to make” substantial amounts of money” if they provided the info. When will players ever learn? Anything activity that involves multiple individuals and personalities will never stay hidden. Check out the charge sheet below for the list of offenses Streak committed. Lets hope he learns his lesson and resumes his career in due course. Boldeagle is a huge fan.

  1. 2.3.2 – disclosing inside information under both the ICC Code and various domestic Codes, in circumstances where he knew or should have known that such information may be used for betting purposes.  In particular, he disclosed inside information in relation to matches in the 2018 Tri-Series involving Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the Zimbabwe v Afghanistan series in 2018, the IPL 2018 and the APL 2018.
  2. 2.3.3 – directly or indirectly soliciting, inducing, enticing, persuading, encouraging or intentionally facilitating any participant to breach the Code. In particular, he facilitated or attempted to facilitate the introduction of four different players, including a national captain, to someone he knew, or should have known, may have wanted to approach them to provide inside information for betting purposes.
  3. 2.4.2 – Failing to disclose the receipt of any gift, payment, hospitality or other benefit that the participant knew or should have known was given to them to procure a breach of the Code or that was made or given in circumstances that could bring the participant or the sport of cricket into disrepute.
  4. 2.4.4 – Failing to disclose to the ACU full details of any approaches or invitations received to engage in corrupt conduct under the Code including in relation to international matches, matches in the 2017 BPL, the 2018 Pakistan Super League, the 2018 IPL and the 2018 APL.
  5. Article 2.4.7 – obstructing or delaying an investigation, including concealing, tampering with or destroying any documentation or other information that may be relevant to that investigation and / or that may be evidence of or may lead to the

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE:DORTMUND VS MANCHESTER CITY

At half time BVB was heading into the semi finals, the match ended with them needing three goals to advance. Emre Can’s disputable handball was the difference. The German international attempted to head the ball 10 minutes into the second half and the ball came off the top part of the arm. Now I am made to believe the sleeve part of the arm is not considered when making decisions for hand ball. Another point to consider is that although his arm was not in a natural position, there was no way he could have gotten it away from the ball.

Anyway to the least controversial parts of the beautiful game , the goals. Ex Birmingham City youngster Jude Bellingham scored an absolute peach in the 15th minute. He followed that up with a man of the half performance in that first half. He was brilliant defensively as well. If he had not put that shot away a penalty was definitely on the cards after an ugly looking lunge in the build up. Dortmund’s tactics were spot on until the unfortunate penalty, sitting back absorb not overcommit. Lets talk about the Foden winner in the 75th minute which knocked the stuffing out of BVB. No excuse for being beaten on your near post when you are a keeper. But the defense should also shoulder the blame for backing off the England man.

City to face PSG for a place in the final in Istanbul in May. Dortmund would be absolutely gutted for letting it slip.

MONTE CARLO MASTERS:DJOKOVIC VS SINNER

Novak’s dad has been shooting his month about town for a while about how better Novak is compared to Federer. We are going to be keeping a close eye on the world number one until September to see if Novak can match Federer and Nadal’s 20 majors. Yesterday in Monaco he faced Italian Jannik Sinner fresh from his maiden Masters 1000 final in Miami. Djokovic beat Jannik 6-4 6-2.

The Serb showed some shot variation which will make him very competitive come Roland Garros. Watch the delicate chip when up 3-2 with Sinner serving(30-30). The Serb recovering well from a poorly disguised drop shot. Sinner returning the favor to break back with a not so poor drop shot at 4-2(30-15). I like the Italian’s resilience here. He was down 5-2 stirring down the barrel and fought back to 5-4. All that came to knot in the tenth game, on deuce adv Djokovic he inexplicably played a routine backhand(at least it looked easy). On second glance Jannik’s footwork looked off so no wonder he played that long.

Sinner did the same thing again this time it proved decisive in the second set. With the set on serve at 2-1 deuce adv Djokovic he played another backhand long to hand the break to Novak. The rally was going so well and it looked like the Italian will win it. Rush of blood to the head by the inexperienced Jannik. Djokovic closed out the set with ease laying the ground during points with great placement on the serve, not going for power, but making sure the return from Jannik was not going to cause problems.

MONTE CARLO MASTERS:TSITSIPAS VS KARATSEV

Aslan Karatsev was looking to extend his fine hard court form into the clay. He found his match in the fourth seeded Greek. Tsitsipas very professional in his approach, did not give Aslan a sniff. Zero break points converted by the Russian. Maybe Aslan’s exertions from the start of the season starting to take their toll. 1-1(15-0 Karatsev) second set, no effort whatsoever to chase the forehand cross court with Karatsev hopelessly out of position. The forehand by Aslan, so effective in landing the Dubai title last month deserted him in this match. He went for it at match point 5-4(40-15 to Tsitsipas) but missed the mark.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE:PSG VS BAYERN MUNICH

Paris were anything but pretty. They had to do it the hard way and almost gave the tie to Bayern. Choupo Moting with a scrappy finish just before half time. Neymar rattled the woodwork twice in the second half. That is perhaps the one criticism of the Brazilian, for all his nifty footwork he does not score nearly as enough as the BIG TWO of world soccer. Bayern in all honesty did not do much wrong in terms of approach to this game but lacked a cutting edge up front. Sane and Muller were the players I was looking for to bring Bayern back into this tie. Both disappointed immensely. In the second half, PSG were colossal defensively, they did not get excited and attacked with recklessness.

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