Manchester City 2 Bristol City 1: Late Aguero header earns EFL Cup semi-final advantage Jamie Smith Last updated 1 year ago 05:47 1/10/18 Getty Images Manchester City had to come from behind to beat Bristol City in the EFL Cup, Sergio Aguero heading in last-gasp decider. Sergio Aguero scored a stoppage-time winner as Manchester City beat Bristol City 2-1 in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final on Tuesday.Pre-match talk had focused on the quadruple chances of Pep Guardiola’s men, but they had to come from behind at the Etihad Stadium despite the Catalan naming a strong side, Aguero coming off the bench to settle it.Bristol City – who dumped Manchester United out in the last round – refused to be cowed and Lee Johnson’s high-flying Championship team matched the runaway Premier League leaders in an enthralling first half, with the visitors going into the interval ahead courtesy of Bobby Reid’s penalty. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Manchester City’s centre-back pairing were both at fault, Eliaquim Mangala losing possession and John Stones mistiming a tackle in the box on Reid, who picked himself up to convert from the spot.After a lax first period the hosts were much brighter and got back on terms 10 minutes into the second half, Kevin De Bruyne beating Frank Fielding with a powerful shot after playing a one-two with Raheem Sterling.Fielding made a string of saves to keep the sides level but the goalkeeper could not stop Aguero flicking home Bernardo Silva’s cross in injury time to give his side a slender advantage, although the Robins will take heart from their display ahead of hosting the second leg in two weeks’ time.90. GOOOAAAAL | @aguerosergiokun SCORES!!! #cityvbcfc #mancity 2-1 pic.twitter.com/WsRX8Bhy3W — Manchester City (@ManCity) January 9, 2018 City unsurprisingly began on the front foot as Ilkay Gundogan hit an effort wide and Bernardo Silva’s deflected shot looped over, but Bristol City did not look overawed.Johnson’s men called Claudio Bravo into action for the first time after 15 minutes, Joe Bryan firing at goal after a driving run but finding the goalkeeper equal to his strike.Fielding blocked Leroy Sane’s cross and then had to tip over a whipped De Bruyne curler as the underdogs gave the ball away deep in their own half.Marlon Pack rifled a drive at Bravo after 32 minutes as the visitors continued to pose a threat.And after Bailey Wright was perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty when he appeared to drag down Stones, the second-tier side won a spot-kick of their own.Stones dived in on Reid after Mangala gave the ball away to Josh Brownhill, the fouled forward tucking away confidently from 12 yards.Goal time for @bobbyreid93 ! ( @jmp_uk ) #MCYvBRC pic.twitter.com/e5YtVI0Kcw — Bristol City FC (@bcfctweets) January 9, 2018 Manchester City almost equalised immediately only for Aden Flint to make a miraculous headed clearance from Sterling’s goalbound lob.Fielding rushed out to deny Sterling five minutes after the break, but the he could do little about the equalising goal.Bravo started an attack that Bristol City never got close to stopping, captain De Bruyne slamming in an unstoppable finish after swapping passes with Sterling.OHHHHH, KEVIN DE BRUYNE! #cityvbcfc #mancity pic.twitter.com/0irinB6USX — Manchester City (@ManCity) January 9, 2018 Sterling, playing as a central striker with Aguero named among the substitutes, turned De Bruyne’s cross at Fielding before Guardiola sent for the Argentina international with 20 minutes remaining.Aguero scored twice in quick succession as his side came from 1-0 down at the break to beat Burnley in the FA Cup on Saturday and he saw to it that the champions-elect repeated the trick.Silva’s cross was perfectly floated for Aguero to flick a header past Fielding and complete the turnaround at the death. Key Opta facts:- Manchester City have reached the final of the League Cup on three of the previous four occasions when winning the semi-final first leg, with the exception being against Manchester United in 2009-10.- The Citizens are unbeaten in their last 32 games in domestic competition (W26 D6), with their last loss coming against Arsenal in the FA Cup in April 2017.- The last team from a lower division to lose a League Cup semi-final first leg against Premier League opposition, and still qualify for the final, was Birmingham City v Ipswich Town in 2000-01 (4-2 on aggregate).- Bristol City have scored more goals than any other team in the League Cup in 2017-18, with 12 of their 17 coming against Premier League opposition.- Three of Sergio Aguero’s five goals in the League Cup have been scored in semi-finals (also against West Ham in January 2014 and Everton in January 2016). read more
“We were fortunate Ben was excellent for us. We’ve got a lot of confidence in Ben. When he gets it off before the clock goes off and hits it, he’s a pretty good player.”“His demeanor is easy-going, low-key and that’s a positive. We’re very proud of him.” Coach seems to really dig the guys who are pretty laid back…like him.Talking K-State“They could very well be better up front, in their front seven, than what we saw this past week.”“I’m very impressed, so far, with their defense. They’ve got the experience at the corner spots. Got some guys there that have been there, seems like they’ve been there 10 years.”“The schemes seem to be the same as they’ve been forever – like since I played against them out here in 1989.” The Snyder Schemes!Running Backs While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. “He didn’t fall off as much as you think when you watch the tape. He needs to play better. I know the opinion of the general public is that, on a scale of 1-10, he was about a three. But…he was really a five.” So Gundy!On the fumble for the Scoop & Score: “It looked so bad that everyone had the general impression from that point on he’s had a bad day. But, he had several plays where he had 3rd and long with people right around him where he stepped up in the pocket and put the ball right on the money.” Like to hear a coach support his young QB1!“There’s times he does need to pull the ball down. You don’t get out of the system. If you do, bad things can happen. We want him to get better. He wants to get better.”Regarding the 1st (awesome!!) TD pass – thought this was interesting: “He tried to do too much. But it worked for him. The ball should have been in a different location earlier in the play and he wouldn’t have been in that situation.”“When you throw the ball 35 times a game, you’re going to have 3-4 throws you don’t like.”“JW could play 5 plays or 25, sometimes we just feel like we need a change of pace. He (Rudolph) had some numbness and we just said, ‘Hey, we’ll go with the other guy for a little bit.’” Then back to the other guy. Then back…Finally, on Social Media“My phone works just like everybody else’s.” At least, that’s what my 10-year old tells me. “You get 30-40 messages telling you everything you did wrong. You get 3-4 telling you what you did right.”“I tell them, what we’ve done is elevate Oklahoma State football to the point to where it’s (a win at Texas) isn’t enough. They want you to dominate. I tell them, you guys have done a great job. Now you have to live with the flip side of it.”“But, we’re ok with it. It’s what pays the bills.” Coach was asked about Rennie Childs and the number of carries he should expect: “I liked his aggressiveness, how he kept his pads down and ran hard. He ran through some arm tackles. He didn’t take lost yards. He was good in what we asked him to do. We’re ok with him being out there for 20 plays.”“Chris (Carson) should practice Tuesday. We’ll see how he feels, but I would anticipate him being ready to play. But, Rennie should be able to carry the ball 20 times comfortably.”On the DefenseHe was asked what has made the difference between last year and this: “Maturity and depth. They’re another year into it. We’ve got good players up front. They’ve got a lot of energy.”On Kevin Peterson and the others with experience: “Experience is important in those games. These type players, they’ve been there. They realize it’s all going to be ok.”Regarding some specific players…Jimmy Bean: “Jimmy’s really matured as a person and as a player for us. He’s also about fifteen pounds heavier than he was his first three years. That helps him be a better player at this level.”Seth Jacobs: “He’s a good person, plays with great effort. He likes to play. He’s very savvy – very intelligent. He got the play of the game for the one-handed interception, essentially having a club on one hand.”Jordan Sterns: “From a mental approach, he’s about a 5-6 now. He’s learning to play at the speed it takes to be successful.”About Mason Rudolph and the QB Situation AdChoices广告This was another relatively short conference on Monday where Coach Gundy recaps Texas, talks Ben Grogan, the Snyder-Cats, the RB situation, some about Mason and JW, social media and the defense.Thoughts on TexasKind of an abrupt opening with, “As a follow-up to the last game, after watching the tape, I think we were pretty akkrit in the postgame conference. The defense played really good. Offensively, we actually ran the ball a little better than I thought.”“The quarterback (Mason Rudolph, for those arriving late) had four throws that were, what I would call, ‘not as accurate as he would want them to be.’ One of the interceptions was a route issue.”“We got to a certain point in the game where I wanted to win the game with defense. And I can be wrong. But, those are the calls that I make. There was just a point in the game I felt really good about the defense.”On Ben Grogan
The hype for this weekend in Stillwater is growing to an all-time level. Oklahoma State faces a top 10 team in Texas Christian, and the Cowboys have an opportunity to make a statement on the national stage in Boone Pickens Stadium.This isn’t your typical hype video since it has a motivational speaker themed to the highlights; but if I’m an OSU player, this video definitely gets my blood boiling for Saturday. If you have a pulse, it’ll probably get you fired up for the weekend also.AdChoices广告[Via Sean Bennett / Twitter] While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
CW1 (Blocking)Sione FinefeuiakiJr. CW1 (Receiving)Keenen BrownR-Jr. Keenan Brown and Britton Abbott are fine players, but they are not and will not be what Zac Veatch and Blake Jarwin were in 2016. Let’s continue with a look back at spring practice with a dive into what we saw from the cowboy backs.SummaryOnly a few weeks before National Signing Day, coach Mike Gundy said he was still looking for another cowboy back to come in and fill the blocking role Veatch left.Gundy got him in Sione Finefeuiaki, but he won’t be on the field until the fall. The way Gundy talked about him made it seem as if he would change the outlook of the position. That’s good because the group seems like it is one name away from having a chance to have a meaningful impact on the field.“We’ve chewed on them pretty good, they have big shoes to fill,” Gundy said. “We couldn’t have won 11 (LOL) games last year without Veatch and Jarwin. We don’t have a lot of experience at that position. We’ve got guys here that have skill and need to develop.”The effort was there all spring. Cowboy backs coach Jason McEndoo had his guys out at the Sherman E. Smith Training Center before any other position group. They even beat the reporters. McEndoo stood across from his group with a laminated piece of paper and shouted blocking calls that the cowboy backs walked through.It seemed monotonous, but it must have been working to some degree.“They’re dedicated, and they’re working hard,” Gundy said. “They understand the importance of that position in our offense. I would say that’s why they’re out here (early).”In the spring game, cowboy backs combined for a pair of completions for 30 yards. Still, if Gundy feels like he isn’t getting enough bang for his buck, he shouldn’t have a problem going to four or five receivers, which is something he has said will be used more in 2017.Camp StarOn a fourth and three at one point last season, offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich drew up a play for a walk-on.Britton Abbott flooded to the flat and was open but dropped Mason Rudolph’s pass. Turnover on downs.In the spring, it was a turnover of leaf for Abbott.“Britton Abbott’s twice the player he was at this time last year,” Gundy said.Abbott is a blocking-first, Veatch-esque cowboy back who is part of a family of athletes. His brothers play football at Tulsa, and his dad spent time in the NFL with the New York Giants. Abbott hasn’t been a game-changer by any means for the Cowboys through his first two seasons in the program.At a position with less skill than normal, that is likely to change.Projected Two Deep CW2 (Receiving)Tyler FergusonR-Jr. SpotPlayerClass CW2 (Blocking)Britton AbbottR-Jr. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
It’s one of the most endearing sentiments in sports. David and Goliath. Any given Saturday, the weak can prevail. The unassuming can ruin things for the destined.So it should come as little surprise that there’s been a slight buzz around Oklahoma State’s trip to Alabama this September. Not that Alabama school. Not that one either. South Alabama. The team that beat Mississippi State last year. The same program that played Tennessee close a handful of years ago.Could the Jaguars follow in the footsteps of their conference and in-state rival Troy? Let’s take a look.ParticularsWhen: September 8, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. CDT (Friday night)Where: Ladd Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama. Capacity: 40,600Last Meeting: N/AThis is the first meeting between Oklahoma State and South Alabama which added football in 2008. It’s only been an FBS program since 2012.We will get a good look at the Jaguars during opening week when they head to Oxford to face an Ole Miss program whose off-the-field turmoil shouldn’t stop them from hammering the Jags.OffenseIn 2016, sophomore Dallas Davis took over as the Jaguars’ starting quarterback but battled with injury down the stretch. He still finished second in the Sun Belt Conference with 246 passing yards per game.Davis sat out the spring due to shoulder surgery and his best shot appears to be an “open competition” if he’s on schedule to vie for reps in fall camp. He’ll compete with fellow junior Cole Garvin and former UAB quarterback and teammate of Victor Salako’s, Evan Orth.Regardless of who takes snaps for the Jaguars, they will be replacing virtually all of their targets in the passing game. The top four receivers in 2016 were seniors Josh Magee, Kevin Kutchera, Tyrone Williams and tight end Gerald Everett. Those four represented 2,404 of the Jaguars’ receiving yards in 2016. In fact, 81 percent (2,579) of South Alabama’s 3,169 passing yards were collected by seniors last year as well as 13 of their 15 receiving touchdowns.The Jaguars do return leading rusher, Xavier Johnson who had 831 yards and 10 touchdowns a year ago. Johnson has led the team in rushing the last two years and boasts career totals of 2,225 yards and 17 touchdowns while averaging 5.9 yards per carry.DefenseSouth Alabama did finish second in their conference in passing defense, allowing just 174.6 yards per game and a 1.4:1 TD-to-interception ratio.But let’s not kid ourselves. The Sun Belt is not the Big 12 and the most prolific passing attack they faced was Troy. The chasm in skill players between Oklahoma State and the Troy Trojans is more embarrassment than mismatch. Oh yeah and the Cowboys have a legit Heisman contender in record-setter Mason Rudolph taking snaps.The Jaguars were best if given a long field to try and slow teams down, posting the 29th-best opponent points per long drive (1.17). They allowed an overall opponent points per drive of 2.40 which ranked 77th in 2016. Not great!Key MatchupJeremy Reaves is the veteran leader of the Jaguars’ secondary and returns after a junior season with seven pass breakups, three interceptions, 5.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. He and fellow senior DB Neiko Robinson (three pass breakups and an interception) will have their hands full with what should be the most prolific offense the program has faced in its eight-year history.ConclusionThe simple question is whether the Cowboys take it to the Jaguars or play down to their competition like we’ve seen in the past. The Jaguars beat a bad Mississippi State team last year. Does that put fear into Mike Gundy? Unlikely. But there’s no reason to go mess around with a lesser team on the road.Summer PredictionThis is another game that the Cowboys should control throughout. I’m predicting OSU makes it to 2-0 after a 52-21 win in Mobile. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
Barcelona Busquets: Barcelona ready for tough Atletico clash Sacha Pisani Last updated 1 year ago 11:39 2/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Barcelona Primera División Las Palmas Las Palmas v Barcelona The midfielder lamented two dropped points against lowly Las Palmas as he looked ahead to Sunday’s visit from Diego Simeone’s men Sergio Busquets said Atletico Madrid will be a tougher battle as the Barcelona midfielder quickly turned his attention to the top-of-the-table clash following Thursday’s shock draw at Las Palmas.La Liga leaders Barca dropped points against relegation-threatened Las Palmas, who earned a 1-1 draw after Jonathan Calleri’s penalty cancelled out Lionel Messi’s 21st-minute opener.Las Palmas were gifted the opportunity to equalise following the break when referee Antonio Mateu pointed to the spot, with Barca head coach Ernesto Valverde lamenting the “invisible penalty” post-match. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp The result saw Barca’s lead over second-placed Atletico left at five points and Busquets said: “We’ve dropped two points [against Las Palmas] in an important moment.”But we knew that it was a difficult ground to come to, even though they’re in the bottom three. “Sunday’s game against Atletico will be the tougher battle.”We are in a privileged position in La Liga and we’re going to try and keep it that way with a win this weekend.”On the penalty incident in the 48th minute, Barca team-mate Andres Iniesta added: “I didn’t see the penalty, but the referee referred to possible hands.”It is a contrary situation, as the [Las Palmas] goalkeeper’s handball outside the area before half-time was very clear, but we can’t change the result now. “We leave with a bittersweet sensation, because we’ve let two points go. We lacked that final pass in the final third and we weren’t able to build a bigger lead when we got ahead.” Undefeated Barca welcome Atletico to Camp Nou on Sunday.
Manchester United Lukaku has more goals than Mbappe, Higuain and Alexis, so why does he get no respect? Kris Voakes Man Utd Correspondent 16:00 4/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(7) Getty Images Manchester United Premier League Crystal Palace v Manchester United Crystal Palace Romelu Lukaku The Belgian has scored 22 goals already this term and has improved in other areas too, yet he has attracted far more criticism than is fair At almost every turn since arriving at Manchester United last summer, Romelu Lukaku’s contribution to the cause has been belittled.When he was scoring goals for fun at the start of the season, netting 11 goals in his first 10 United games, people refused to take him seriously until he replicated his hot form against bigger clubs. Then when he was unable to affect such fixtures as Jose Mourinho’s side played a more restrictive style of football there was little leeway given to the Belgian front man.Yet as he has gradually developed his build-up play to more closely resemble the kind of striker United have required, there has remained an insistence in some quarters that it is not enough if he is not scoring goals for fun still. Even netting 22 times by the beginning of March is considered paltry by those with short memories, and who will always use a haul recorded by Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo as a stick with which to beat every other striker. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp But far beyond Lukaku just not getting the credit he deserves, he has not been getting the respect he deserves either. It is a point he himself made to reporters after his goal and assist against Chelsea last week led United to a crucial 2-1 victory at Old Trafford.“I’ve been in the game for so long. I started playing when I was 16 and year in, year out people expect 20 goals from me,” he said. “I’ve been doing it for 10 years straight so I think I’ve proved myself. You expect a bit more respect but it’s the situation we’re in. I don’t listen to it. I just want to improve and show the people what I can do on the pitch.”In a season which has seen various plaudits continue to flood in for the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Dries Mertens, Gonzalo Higuain, Kylian Mbappe, Paulo Dybala, Mauro Icardi and Nabil Fekir, it is curious that Lukaku has been forced to speak up about the amount of flak he’s received. Not least because he’s outscored every single one of the players in that list.Add to that the fact Real Madrid’s first-choice centre-forward Karim Benzema has netted just eight times this term, while the Belgian’s new team-mate Alexis Sanchez has only nine but has still managed to attract an English record salary, and it is clear that the Lukaku-bashing has been misplaced.The contrarian view might be to explain away some of those goal records, but the same light should be shed on Lukaku’s too and few seem willing to do so. This time last year Zlatan Ibrahimovic was seeing the red carpet being laid out for him in most of Manchester following his first-season exploits at Old Trafford, yet Lukaku is struggling to get similar acclaim for his return despite seamlessly stepping into the Swede’s boots at the age of just 24.In seasons past, there will have been an almighty clamour for somebody boasting Lukaku’s kind of prowess. While he undoubtedly has rough edges about his game, he is clearly improving. He already works the channels far better than he did when first joining from Everton last summer, while his ability to hold the ball up with his back to goal has been increasingly more notable in recent months.Onlookers are far too willing to look for negatives in response to any praise in modern football. Even the storied Manchester United have only had 11 players in their long history record 30 goals in a single season, and Lukaku is on track to becoming just the 12th to reach that mark at his very first attempt as the Red Devils prepare to head to Crystal Palace on Monday. Do we really have to qualify every goal-scoring achievement by mentioning that Messi has hit 40-plus in eight straight seasons? Can we not just give a forward the respect he deserves and have done with it instead of feeling the need to compare him with the freakish outlier that is the greatest player the world has ever seen?Lukaku is being judged by the achievements of others more than he is being judged by his own, but it is time to show him the respect he deserves. He has already breached the 20-goal-a-season mark, has come on leaps and bounds in other areas, and has long since had Mourinho looking forward to life after Ibrahimovic with some confidence rather than trepidation. That’s one hell of a first season by anybody’s measure. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Mario Balotelli Balotelli will ‘probably’ leave Nice, admits president Robin Bairner 20:12 15/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Gettyimages Mario Balotelli Transfers Nice v PSG Nice PSG Ligue 1 After two fine years in France, the former Liverpool and Manchester City attacker is set for a new adventure in the summer Mario Balotelli might be out of contract at the end of the season but he will not leave Nice for free, claims club president Jean-Pierre Rivere.Agent Mino Raiola has claimed that the Italy international forward would represent a “bargain” signing for any team, with numerous clubs in his homeland and the Premier League linked with a move for the attacker.With Balotelli, 27, out of contract at the end of the campaign, it was considered that he could leave on a Bosman, yet Rivere claimed to RMC there is a “written deal” with the player’s entourage ensuring the club will get a fee. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Certainly, the prospect of the forward staying at the Allianz Riviera seems slim.“It will be difficult to keep him,” Rivere said. “He has had two good seasons with us and has matured between the first and second. He’s a player who certainly wants to move on.“The probability is more towards a departure than him staying, but we’ve not opened talks with Mario or his agent yet.”Meanwhile, head coach Lucien Favre could also be on his way out, with a return to the Bundesliga mooted as a link with Borussia Dortmund persists.“We know he’s very popular in Germany – and not only in Dortmund,” Rivere said. Nice are currently fighting for a European spot in Ligue 1 and will host Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday.
World Cup Maradona denies being racist towards South Korean fans Jon Fisher 21:57 6/17/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty World Cup Argentina Argentina v Iceland Iceland The Argentina legend was accused of making a racist gesture following his country’s World Cup opener in Moscow but he claims he is innocent Diego Maradona has denied making a racist gesture at a group of South Korea fans following Argentina’s World Cup clash with Iceland on Saturday.The inspiration behind Argentina’s 1986 title triumph was accused of pulling at the corner of his eyes – a move widely accepted as being racist – when a group of fans waved at him after he took in his country’s 1-1 draw in Moscow.Maradona not so cool now. Some South Korea fans just shouted “Diego” and he obliged with a smile, kiss and wave. Then pulled his eyes to the side in a clearly racist gesture. All of us who saw it are stunned.— Jacqui Oatley (@JacquiOatley) June 16, 2018 But Maradona claims the incident has been blown out of proportion and he was actually showing his gratitude that fans from Asia should be supporting Argentina. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar He wrote on Facebook : “I understand better than anyone that in the World Cup people are looking for news everywhere, but I want to be clear with this: today, in the stadium, among so many demonstrations of affection from the people, I was struck by a group of people around a fan who filmed us, an Asian boy wearing an Argentina T-shirt.”I, from afar, tried to tell them how nice it seemed to me that even the Asians cheer for us. And that’s all, guys, come on.” The initial accusation of racism came from British television broadcaster, Jacqui Oatley, who tweeted: “Maradona not so cool now. Some South Korea fans just shouted “Diego” and he obliged with a smile, kiss and wave. Then [he] pulled his eyes to the side in a clearly racist gesture. All of us who saw it are stunned.”
World Cup ‘Neymar fell down a lot’ – Lichtsteiner pleased with containing job on Brazil superstar Chris Burton 20:49 6/18/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Buda Mendes World Cup Neymar Brazil v Switzerland Brazil Switzerland Switzerland were able to prevent the Paris Saint-Germain forward from making much of an impact in their World Cup opener, but deny rough treatment Neymar has been accused of going to ground a lot during Brazil’s 1-1 draw with Switzerland at World Cup 2018, with Stephan Lichtsteiner suggesting that “every time he fell down it was a whistle”.The Paris Saint-Germain forward was felled 10 times during Sunday’s Group E clash at the Rostov Arena, with the Swiss defence well aware of the threat he posed.It was suggested that the Samba star had been singled out for rough treatment on his first competitive start since suffering a broken metatarsal with his club. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Those in the Switzerland camp have denied that was the case, with Arsenal new boy Lichtsteiner claiming that Neymar was theatrical, not targeted.He told reporters in the wake of a hard-fought point: “It’s very difficult playing him. He’s fast, he’s technical, you need to keep up with him all the time because he’s dangerous. It’s a big challenge.“And I was a little bit worried about the referee. Every time he fell down it was a whistle, a foul so that was a bit of a challenge.“You think to yourself ‘don’t be too aggressive’ because every time he goes down it’s a foul. So, because of that, I had to be a bit careful.”Lichtsteiner added: “We are a mix I think. We are physical and we defend well – but we also attack. We showed that.“We knew Neymar was a danger so it was very good teamwork on the right side with Valon Behrami, Fabian Schaer and me closing him down.“It was almost a perfect game. It’s important to have this teamwork in the next game because we’ll have new situations.“Maybe it’s an advantage to play a big team like Brazil first in the group. Maybe they don’t know us that well, they don’t have the feeling for the tournament.“The first game is never easy for a big team in the first game. But Switzerland have a good team – and we got a good point.”Philippe Coutinho fired Brazil in front in spectacular fashion on Sunday, but Steven Zuber levelled for the Swiss after the match officials decided against using VAR for an apparent shove on Miranda.
Transfers Transfer news & rumours LIVE: Man City close in on £46.5m Jorginho Goal Last updated 1 year ago 17:45 6/19/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Transfers Premier League Primera División Bundesliga Ligue 1 Serie A Goal takes a look at the biggest transfer news and rumours from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and beyond Man City close in on £46.5m JorginhoManchester City are nearing a deal to sign Napoli midfielder Jorginho for around £46.5 million (€53m/$62m), reports Sky Sports NewsThere are still details to be ironed out, but the Italy international appears set to join up with the Premier League champions. Arsenal to sign Leno and TorreiraArsenal are close to completing the signing of Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen for €22m (£19.2m/$25m), Goal understands. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar The 26-year-old Germany international will come in to alleviate Arsenal’s goalkeeping troubles, with the club open to offers for Petr Cech and David Ospina.The Gunners will also sign defensive midfielder Lucas Torreira from Sampdoria once the World Cup comes to an end.Click here to read Arsenal correspondent Chris Wheatley’s report!Barca make Pjanic contactBarcelona have made contact with Miralem Pjanic over a potential summer move, Mundo Deportivo claims.The Catalan side are looking to enhance their midfield after Antoine Griezmann’s decision to stay at Atletico Madrid altered their transfer plans.Barca have already spoken to Pjanic after another good season in Italy and the 28-year-old is open to a switch.Liverpool move closer to Pope signingLiverpool are ready to turn to Burnley’s Nick Pope to exorcise their goalkeeping demons, according to The Mirror.The Reds are targeting a new shot stopper to replace Loris Karius after his performance in the Champions League final and have been linked with several options.However, Jurgen Klopp’s team are currently doing background checks on the Burnley No.1 and could make a move in close-season as they target a cheaper option to Roma star Alisson.Barcelona keeping tabs on LozanoBarcelona are tracking Mexico star Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, reports ESPN FC.The PSV star scored the lone goal in Mexico’s shock win over Germany on Sunday, and will likely depart the Eredivisie side this summer amid interest from across Europe. The Blaugrana could struggle to land Lozano, with Philippe Coutinho, Paulinho and Yerry Mina currently occupying the club’s non-E.U. spots and Arthur Melo on his way in the winter. Hoffenheim open to €50m Kramaric approachFormer Leicester forward Andrej Kramaric could be allowed to leave Hoffenheim if a bid of €50 million (£43.9m/$57.9m) is made this summer.The striker is a reported target of both Bayern Munich and Newcastle United, who are watching the Croatian after he has impressed during his three years at Hoffenheim.Hoffenheim’s sporting director Alexander Rosen says the club rejected an offer for Kramaric in January, but did not rule out selling the player if a suitable bid is received in the summer.Read the full story right here!Everton target Martins and De LigtEverton are hoping to sign Sporting Lisbon winger Gelson Martins and Ajax defender Matthijs De Ligt, reports The Telegraph.De Ligt, 18, is one of Europe’s most sought-after defensive prospects, drawing interest from the likes of Barcelona and Manchester City. Martins, 23, is also likely to be in high demand this summer, with Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham all looking to make a move. De Jong fuels Barcelona transfer talk Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong is not ruling out a move to Barcelona. The 21-year-old is tipped for a big future, and the Blaugrana have identified him as a possible replacement for Andres Iniesta. Read what De Jong had to say about Barcelona right here!CSKA reject €17m Juve offer for GolovinCSKA Moscow have rejected Juventus’ first offer for midfielder Aleksandr Golovin, reports Gianluca Di Marzio.The Serie A champions offered €17 million (£15m/$20m) plus bonuses, but CSKA are holding out for €25m (£22m/$29m) for the Russia international star. Liverpool to demand £15m for SturridgeLiverpool will demand £15 million (€17m/$20m) for striker Daniel Sturridge, reports The Telegraph.Sevilla and Fenerbahce are both interested in signing the 28-year-old, who will likely depart Liverpool this summer after falling out of favour under Jurgen Klopp. Sturridge spent the second half of last season on loan at West Brom, but injuries limited him to just six appearances with the club. Southampton join race for WilshereSouthampton have joined the race for Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, reports the Mirror. Wilshere will be out of contract on July 1, and has yet to make a decision on his future with the Gunners. The 26-year-old has offers from a variety of clubs, including West Ham, Wolves, Sampdoria and AC Milan. Griezmann, Hernandez & Lemar agree Atleti dealsAtletico Madrid have announced deals for France internationals Antoine Griezmann, Lucas Hernandez and Thomas Lemar.Griezmann and Hernandez have inked extensions with the La Liga runners-up, signing through 2023 and 2024 respectively. Lemar has agreed personal terms with Atletico, and his move from Monaco will be confirmed following the completion of paperwork and a medical. Read the full story on Goal!Maddison set for Leicester moveIn-demand Norwich midfielder James Maddison has decided to join Leicester City, reports Sky Sports News.Several Premier League clubs were chasing the 21-year-old, and Maddison eventually decided to move to the King Power Stadium over Southampton.Both Leicester and Southampton had previously agreed a fee in the range of £22 million (€25m/$29m) for the England U-21 international. West Ham agree £22m Diop feeWest Ham have agreed a fee of £22 million (€25m/$29m) with Toulouse to sign defender Issa Diop, reports the Daily Mail.The 21-year-old is due in London on Monday to discuss personal terms, which are no sure bet to be finalised. Diop is understood to be demanding significantly more than the Hammers are proposing in their contract offer. €25m Leno set for Arsenal switchBayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno is set to complete a €25 million (£21.9m/$29m) move to Arsenal, reports Kicker.Leno has attracted attention from across Europe this summer, with Atletico Madrid and Napoli further rumoured destinations. But he has ultimately plumped for the Emirates Stadium, where he will sign a five-year contract on Tuesday pending a medical. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Transfers Man Utd need to find a Kroos and Ferdinand – Giggs offers transfer advice to Mourinho Chris Burton 04:15 6/20/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Transfers Manchester United Premier League The Red Devils legend has urged those at Old Trafford to use the summer transfer market to bring in a new creative midfielder and physical centre-half Manchester United need to bring in a Toni Kroos type midfielder and a Rio Ferdinand-esque defender this summer, claims club legend Ryan Giggs.The Red Devils are expected to be busy during the transfer window, with two deals already in place.Teenage full-back Diogo Dalot has signed from Porto, while a £52.5 million ($70m) fee has been agreed with Shakhtar Donetsk for Brazil international Fred. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Those additions will help to bolster the ranks at Old Trafford, but Giggs is hoping to see more funds invested in proven performers who can address obvious deficiencies in Jose Mourinho’s squad.The former United winger told the South China Morning Post: “I think up front we’re fine. With the firepower we’ve got [Romelu] Lukaku scores goals, [Alexis] Sanchez, [Marcus] Rashford, Jesse [Lingard]. You’ve got a lot of options up front.“In midfield I’d like to see, we’ve been saying it for a long time, we thought [Paul] Pogba would be that attacking midfielder I would like to see.“They don’t grow on trees unfortunately, a [Luka] Modric, a Kroos type who can keep the ball.“And also I think a centre-half we need.“All the successful United teams over the years – [Gary] Pallister, [Steve] Bruce, Jaap Stam, Ferdinand, [Nemanja] Vidic – they’ve always had top class centre halves.“Again, they don’t grow on trees. Who do we get? I don’t know, but I think a midfielder and centre half are vital.”Giggs believes there will be plenty of activity at Old Trafford over the coming weeks, both in and out, but acknowledges that a number of the club’s Premier League rivals will also be making market moves – including reigning champions Manchester City.The current Wales boss added: “I think United, there will be a lot of players going. There will be a lot of players coming in.“Whereas City will probably just tweak, which is always a good thing if you’ve got a settled side and then you can bring in two big hitters who can just make that difference and take you up to the next level.”
Transfers Forsberg opens transfer door to Arsenal, Liverpool & Roma Chris Burton 16:17 6/21/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Transfers Arsenal Germany v Sweden Sweden Germany RB Leipzig Liverpool Roma World Cup Bundesliga Serie A Premier League The Sweden international has hinted at leaving RB Leipzig by airing his dream of playing for one of “the strongest clubs in the world” Emil Forsberg has offered hope to the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Roma by hinting that he could be on his way out of RB Leipzig this summer.The Sweden international is under contract in Germany until 2022, but has suggested that a move elsewhere could be on the cards.Having impressed over the course of four years with Leipzig, interest in the 26-year-old has been building steadily. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Leading sides in England and Italy are said to be plotting big-money moves, with Forsberg conceding that he hopes to be turning out for one of “the strongest clubs in the world” in the not too distant future.He told Fotbollskanalen: “I’m ready for the next big step. That’s going to be very interesting. “I am in dialogue with RB and always had a good relationship with the club. “I have the dream of playing for the strongest clubs in the world.”Arsenal were recently urged to make a move for Forsberg by Anders Limpar, with the former Gunners winger eager to see a fellow countryman complete a switch to north London.He told Football.London: “If we get Emil Forsberg, we will be so lucky.“He’s the biggest prospect we have in Europe. He has been really good in the Bundesliga and has been outstanding for the national side.“If we get him, we would get a hell of a player who could produce points with assists and goals.“Please God, we should sign him straight away – if we can.”For now, Forsberg is away on international duty at World Cup 2018.He did figure in Sweden’s opening 1-0 victory over South Korea, but struggled to make his mark in that contest and is aware that he needs to offer more if he is to be of benefit in the present and a man on the move in the future.“I have a lot of pressure on me, but I like it,” Forsberg added.“I want it to be that way. When I’m not playing well, it’s not good. So I have to be good. I’m trying my best.”
Twitter/@appstequipmentAppalachian State helmets have been customized for today’s Camellia Bowl against Toledo.The Mountaineers and Rockets face off in Montgomery at 5:30 p.m. E.T., and App State is celebrating the occasion with some cool Camellia Bowl-themed helmets, featuring the camellia flower in the ‘A’ logo.Here is our new helmet decal for the #CameilaBowl!! @AppState_FB @appstatesports Thanks to @schuttsports and @Tucker_P for their help! pic.twitter.com/GfRTwGzumX— App State Equipment (@appstequipment) December 17, 2016I always love uniform flourishes and customizations for bowl games like this, and App State’s is pretty well done.Appalachian State went 9-3 this year, its third at the FBS level, and won the Sun Belt with a 7-1 record.According to OddsShark, the Rockets opened as a 2.5-point favorite, but the line has swung in favor of the Mountaineers, who now have a one-point edge at most sportsbooks.
STATE COLLEGE, PA – NOVEMBER 21: A general view of the stadium prior to the game between the Michigan Wolverines and Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium on November 21, 2015 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Evan Habeeb/Getty Images)Big Ten Network football analyst Matt Millen has battled amyloidosis, a rare and incurable condition that affects his heart, since 2011. Unfortunately, Millen’s health issues will cause him to miss the remainder of the 2018 college football season.Millen, a former NFL linebacker and general manager, is stepping away from the booth to continue treatment for amyloidosis, Big Ten Network announced today. Millen had called games the first five weeks of the season.“We will certainly miss seeing Matt this fall, but his health is the clear priority for everyone involved and we plan to support him in any way possible,” said Mark Hulsey, senior vice president of production and executive producer at BTN.Matt Millen is stepping away from the broadcast booth for the remainder of the 2018 season in order to focus on his health. pic.twitter.com/Ku1j1UD8i7— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 3, 2018Play-by-play man Kevin Kugler, who is partnered with Millen on BTN telecasts, tweeted a heartfelt message of support for his colleague this morning.I am really going to miss my partner. Please keep Matt and his family in your prayers. https://t.co/Ei7AvsjcB0— Kevin Kugler (@kevinkugler) October 3, 2018Amyloidosis is “a rare disease that occurs when abnormal proteins called amyloids, which are produced in bone marrow, build up in organs or tissue.” In Millen’s case it affects his heart.Back in April, it was announced that Millen may eventually need a heart transplant. He underwent eight months of chemotherapy last year and in early 2018 to treat his condition.Our thoughts and prayers are with Millen as he continues to battle this awful disease.
A sting operation by Halton police and the employees of a Burlington business has uncovered a ring of credit card fraudsters that’s likely ripped off a number of businesses across the GTA.It’s like a script from an episode of ‘Law and Order’. A sting operation involving a hot tub, Halton police, GPS tracking and the employees of Arctic Spas in Burlington. But it’s serious business. The Canadian Bankers Association says credit card fraud added up to over 465 million dollars in 2012 and it’s getting worse. Arctic Spas was hit last year and wasn’t about to let it happen again. So when a transaction aroused suspicion earlier this week they called police.It looks like a brand new hot tub — but it’s an old, damaged one — borrowed by Halton police to help catch fraudsters. .Phil Edey, General Manager of Arctic Spas: “We found a used hot tub in the back and they wanted to install a GPS in side it so they could track the hot tub. So they sent out a technician to install the GPS. We wrapped it up to make it look like a brand new hot tub, we loaded up the truck with the hot tub.”Edey says Arctic Spas received a phone call on Monday from the customer wanting to buy a hot tub. He says the red flags went up when the client didn’t really ask a lot of questions about the tub and paid for it in full over the phone by credit card. Even though the 10-thousand dollar charge was approved, Edey was suspicious and called the credit card company. They in turn called the card holder who was surprised to hear he’d bought a hot tub. The purchase was a fraud. Edey called police, who set up the sting .Ron Hansen, Halton Regional Police: “We followed the hot tub and truck to a storage facility on Stanley Avenue in Niagara Falls. Searching the people, they located a quantity of counterfeit credit cards on their person as well as hotel room keys.”In the hotel rooms, they found a laptop, card readers and writers and gift cards.Three people from Quebec have been charged with a number of fraud related offences. But police say more charges are likely. At least thirty thousand dollars in merchandise was recovered.There is a number of policies in place to protect consumers from credit card fraud. Both Visa and MasterCard have a zero liability policy in place. You won’t be liable for unauthorized purchases as long as you have taken reasonable steps to protect your card. But that leaves either the bank or the business on the hook.Edey says there are some things retailers can do to protect themselves: “Call the banks, call the Visa companies, make sure these purchases are authorized and if someone wants to pick it up they have to be here in store with the Visa that they used as well as the ID that matches.”Those tips help both the retailer and the consumer. For more information, check this website: It Pays To Know
The deadly bird flu virus continues to spread in poultry in Nigeria and could cause a regional disaster despite strong control efforts taken by the Nigerian authorities, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned today, calling for a vaccination campaign involving thousands of veterinarians and international donor support.“There is ample evidence that the Nigerian bird flu situation is difficult and worrisome,” FAO’s Chief Veterinary Officer Joseph Domenech said in a statement at the agency’s Rome headquarters of the H5N1 avian influenza virus discovered earlier this month in Nigeria, the first African occurrence in the current outbreak. “The movement and trade of poultry have strongly contributed to the further spread of the virus. The government has taken the right measures such as culling in outbreak areas and biosecurity controls, but the authorities are facing immense difficulties to enforce controls,” Mr. Domenech added. “Considering the possible widespread entrenchment of the disease in poultry, FAO is advising the government to prepare for a targeted vaccination campaign. Culling and the application of biosecurity measures alone may not stop the spread of the virus,” he added. Nigeria’s poultry population is estimated at 140 million. Backyard farmers account for 60 per cent of all poultry producers, commercial farmers for 25 per cent and semi-commercial farmers for 15 per cent.Mr. Domenech stressed the importance of compensating farmers for loss of animals to encourage early reporting of outbreaks and effective application of control measures. “Without financial incentives, people will probably continue to hide outbreaks and sell infected poultry,” he said.Since the first reports of H5N1 in Asia at the end of 2003, 170 human cases have been reported, 92 of them fatal, mostly in South-East Asia and China. Nearly 200 million domestic poultry have died or been culled in order to contain the spread.UN health officials have warned that the virus could evolve into a lethal human pandemic if it mutates into a form which could transmit easily between people. Cases so far have been traced to infection directly from diseased birds. The so-called Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1920 is estimated to have killed from 20 million to 40 million people worldwide.In Nigeria vaccination campaigns will require the mobilization of several thousand private and public veterinarians and will need a strong commitment from national and regional authorities and the support of the international donor community for vaccines, cars, vaccination teams and training. “The close coordination of control activities and the need for a central chain of command at the level of the federal Chief Veterinary Officer and between the regional states are crucial,” Mr. Domenech said.
Then-redshirt freshman Jincy Dunn skates up the ice while then-redshirt sophomore Kassidy Sauve watches from the net. Credit: Magee Sprague | For the LanternThe Ohio State women’s hockey team is set to start its season Tuesday with an exhibition game against an unlikely opponent: the South Korean Olympic Team.Though the Buckeyes have played international teams from Canada in the past, Tuesday’s game will mark the first time Ohio State will face off against an Olympic opponent from outside North America.Head coach Nadine Muzerall made the matchup possible by reconnecting with former teammate and South Korea’s head coach Sarah Murray. Knowing that South Korea was already touring the United States and playing other college teams, Muzerall worked with Murray to fit in a stop in Columbus.“Hockey is a small world and we have to lean on each other and do what we think is best for our student-athletes and our players, so Sarah thought of it as a great opportunity for her team … to have another [Western Collegiate Hockey Association] opponent on the schedule to prepare them,” Muzerall said. “We’re their last stop before they fly home, so I really want to publicly appreciate South Korea and their team for doing the detour.”It is common for Olympic teams to travel to the U.S. to face college teams during an Olympic year. The opportunity to play against an Olympic team gives collegiate athletes not only a chance to face off against stiff competition, but also leaves a lasting memory for those involved.“[The game] is about the experience of playing an Olympic team,” Muzerall said. “Most [players] will never get that experience, so they should cherish that as it only happens every four years, so those that are here won’t get to do that again unless they’re playing for their respective country.”Senior forward Julianna Iafallo recalled the Buckeyes’ locker room “went nuts” upon hearing the team would be playing South Korea. Although Ohio State is heading into the game with a competitive attitude, Iafallo said the team is most excited about the awareness the game will bring to women’s ice hockey.“The main takeaways, I think, will definitely be that women’s ice hockey exposure, getting it to the national level and showing the Olympics that we’re getting them prepared, and just showing everybody else what it’s going to be like,” Iafallo said. “For us, it gets us prepared for the season and lets us know what we have to improve on for three days later when we play [Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute].”The Buckeyes finished their 2016-2017 campaign with a 14-18-5 overall record and a 7-16-5 record in the WCHA. Tuesday’s game is set to start at 7:07 p.m. at the OSU Ice Rink.
BlackBerry’s annual developer conference kicked off this morning with CEO Thorsten Heins unveiling the company’s latest BB10 smartphone for emerging markets, the Q5.The BlackBerry Live conference, taking place only a few months after the reveal of BlackBerry 10 and the new Z10 and Q10 smartphones, sent a clear message that the company is interested in staying in the mobile ecosystem. Blackberry’s focus on business and government environments proved unsuccessful as Android and iOS have dominated the personal market, but now the company will turn to the average consumer with an all new experience. In keeping with the decision to focus on consumers, BlackBerry has announced the Q5 smartphones for budget buyers and emerging markets.The BlackBerry Q5 is a smaller, more colorful Q10 designed for younger users who are more interested in a colorful smartphone. The phone relies on a 3.1-inch touch screen and the all too familiar BlackBerry keyboard in a thinner profile than the current flagship BlackBerry. The focus for the phone is BlackBerry’s camera software and the full keyboard. There’s no mention of specs or price yet, but it’s been made clear that the phone is expected to be available in Europe and Asia starting in July.Outside of the brightly colored package and thinner profile, the Q5 is described by BlackBerry as being the same as any other BB10 device. This means that BlackBerry could be planning to start advertising BlackBerry Messenger and BBM Video to a younger audience, perhaps in competition with FaceTime and Google Talk. While BB10 is certainly enjoyable to use and the app ecosystem is filled with most of the latest smartphone games, it seems unlikely that this will be enough to attract the younger audience.
This week sees the release of SNK 40th Anniversary Collection, a compendium of two dozen arcade games from the remarkably durable Japanese studio. If you know SNK, it’s probably because of their fighting games like Fatal Fury, Samurai Shodown and King of Fighters, the latter two which continue to the present day. But how did SNK get into the fighting game business in the first place? The answer lies with one of gaming history’s most fascinating tales. Let’s get into it.Ancient HistoryShin Nihon Kikaku — “New Japan Project” — was incorporated in 1973, but it wasn’t until the end of the decade when founder Eikichi Kawasaki made the decision to push the company into video games. They released their first title, Ozma Wars, in 1979. 1981’s Vanguard was licensed to Centauri for U.S. release at the height of the arcade boom, bringing serious coin into the company’s coffers.In 1981, they established an American office of their own in Sunnyvale, California. The company would release nearly two dozen games before 1986’s Ikari Warriors, a run and gun title inspired by Rambo that was wildly successful. SNK also bet big on the new to market Nintendo Entertainment System, licensing and porting many of their successful arcade titles to the home console. By the end of the 80s, they were also producing original titles for the NES like action-RPG Crystalis.When Nintendo and Sega moved into the 16-bit era in the 1990s, SNK also made a move on the home console market with the Neo-Geo, a $599 beast of a system that played their arcade software. It was insanely powerful, but the price point doomed it to a luxury for the super-fans at best. The Neo-Geo platform, though, would play host to the next step in SNK’s software evolution.Round One FightIt’s not an exaggeration to say that the arcade market was completely upended by Capcom’s introduction of Street Fighter II in 1991. Its two-player competitive mode revitalized the industry, with the winning player staying on while the loser slunk away in defeat. Profits were up and the company’s competitors rushed to cash in. Our friends at SNK were already two steps ahead, though, with their prescient hiring of Hiroshi Matsumoto and Takashi Nishiyama.Also known as “Finish” Hiroshi, Matsumoto had been a planner at Capcom in the late 1980s. One of the titles he worked on was the original Street Fighter. Nishiyama was the original SF‘s director. Although that game wasn’t a robust success — its bizarre pressure pad buttons and slow, awkward gameplay were both drastically improved in the sequel — the two men learned a lot from it, and during their last years at Capcom were present for the early development of the sequel. SNK actively headhunted both men and other members of the development team because they knew they were onto something.SNK released Fatal Fury, created by Nishiyama, just nine months after Street Fighter II. It had everything Capcom’s game had — large, colorful characters with a handful of special moves triggered by quarter-circle joystick motions — plus something else: the ability to move back and forth between two planes on the Z-axis. And, because it ran on the Neo-Geo hardware, arcade fans could play the very same game at home.In 1992, Matsumoto followed suit with SNK’s next one-on-one game, Art of Fighting. That title had huge sprites that employed graphical scaling, so when players moved closer and farther away they’d change size proportionate to the screen, as well as a “spirit gauge” that powered the characters’ special moves. Both Capcom hires had left their mark on SNK, and the company would pivot heavily towards fighting games for the rest of the decade.Matsumoto and Nishiyama would bring their two franchises together for 1994’s King Of Fighters, an innovative mash-up that let players assemble teams of three warriors to face off in traditional 2D fighting style. KOF would become SNK’s flagship franchise, with updates nearly every year adding new fighters and game mechanics.Cross CounterWhile you’d think that Capcom staff were pretty sore at SNK for stealing the talent to make their fighting franchises, the Japanese game industry is a tight-knit world and Matsumoto and Nishiyama continued to talk to their Capcom counterparts. The companies also used their fighting games to poke fun at each other.1995’s Street Fighter Alpha introduced Dan Hibiki, a ponytailed martial artist clad in a gi remarkably similar to Art Of Fighting‘s protagonist Ryo Sakazaki. There were many other similarities — he throws his fireball with one hand, like Ryo, but it travels an embarrassingly short distance. The thing about Dan is that he was an overt joke character, letting Capcom put a thumb in SNK’s eye by running down their flagship character.SNK would fire back with the introduction of Yuri Sakazaki in the King of Fighters series. The perky young karate fighter has a moveset almost entirely plagiarized from a variety of Street Fighter characters, from Ken’s uppercut to Makoto’s intro animation. Unlike Dan, though, Yuri was more than a joke character and has actually been high tier in many KOF games.There were no hard feelings, though, and soon afterwards the two companies would come together in a more productive manner. Starting in 1999, the SNK vs. Capcom and Capcom Vs. SNK games pit the greatest fighters of each roster against each other on a variety of platforms, from the Neo Geo Pocket Color to the Dreamcast. Of the entire series, 2001’s Capcom vs. SNK 2 has stood the test of time best, allowing players to select from six “grooves” that determine how their special bar charges as well as giving them different offensive and defensive options.Dark DaysLike many companies focused on the arcade market, SNK had a rough time at the dawn of the new millennium. With the fighting game craze petered out except for a dedicated subculture, the myriad franchises slowly winnowing themselves down. In 2000, facing bankruptcy, SNK sold its assets to a Japanese firm called Aruze, which specialized in pachinko and slot machines. Aside from a King of Fighters pachislot, they didn’t do much with it.SNK founder Eikichi Kawasaki founded a firm called Playmore, which ended up buying SNK’s assets back from Aruze a few years later. They then sued Aruze for using SNK assets without permission and were awarded over 5 million yen. With that in their war chest, the company moved back into the gaming market, seeing both successes and failures. They currently focus on home console gaming, with many FGC fans hype for the upcoming Samurai Shodown reboot.Nishiyama and Matsumoto left SNK in 2000 to found Dimps, an independent studio that started out making licensed GBA games and Dragon Ball titles. Dimps also ventured into the original IP market with fighting game series The Rumble Fish. Capcom brought the pair back into the fold, hiring Dimps to co-develop Street Fighter IV and V.That’s a great illustration of exactly how valuable those two guys have been to the history of the fighting genre — 30 years after they worked on the first Street Fighter, they’re still plugged in to the highest-profile franchise in the game. SNK’s hire of the duo was one of the smartest move in the firm’s history.More on Geek.com:108 More Characters We Want Confirmed for ‘Smash’11 Greatest Esports Moments of All Time25 Years Later, How ‘Super Metroid’ Defined a Genre Stay on target No, Solid Snake Isn’t Coming to ‘Tekken’‘Street Fighter V’ and ‘Mortal Kombat 11’ Get Ne…