By Nemanja BjedovAfter beating league champions APOEL 2-0 over the weekend, Ermis Aradippou transferred their top form to the Cyprus Coca Cola Cup, trouncing local rival Omonia Aradippou 5-0 in the first round on Wednesday afternoon.Omonia Nicosia had no problems eliminating Nicos and Socratis Erimis 4-0 in Limassol, while Doxa Katokopia defeated ASIL 9-0 at the Makarios Stadium in Nicosia. AEK Kouklion celebrated a 5-2 victory away to AEZ Zakakiou, while Ethnikos Achnas topped AO Ayia Napa 2-0.AEK Larnaca and Enosis Neon Paralimni needed extra time to take out Othellos 2-1 and Chalkanoras Dali 5-3 respectively.Nea Salamina beat Karmiotissa 4-1 at the Ammochostos Stadium in Larnaca, while Aris beat PAEEK 1-0 away from home.In two matches that did not involve first division teams, Olympiakos Nicosia defeated Enosis Neon Pareklisias 2-0, while Onisilos overcame APEP Pitsilias 3-1.In the late match Anorthosis were set to host Anagennisi Deryneias at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium in Larnaca.
The draw for the semi-final round of the Coca-Cola Cup took place earlier today.APOEL were drawn against Doxa Katokopias while Apollon will play against Ermis Aradippou.The first legs will be played next Wednesday, April 2nd, with the return legs a week later on April 9th.The final is scheduled for Wednesday, May 21st.
By Josh ReichIshant Sharma claimed seven wickets to bowl India to a 95-run victory over England in the second Test at Lord’s on Monday, their first overseas win since 2011.India’s second victory at the home of cricket and first since 1986 continued England’s miserable year after series defeats by Australia and Sri Lanka.Resuming at 105 for four in pursuit of 319, Joe Root and Moeen Ali survived until the final ball before lunch when the latter fell to Sharma.The willowy right-armer claimed four more wickets after the break as England’s batsmen capitulated in the face of India’s short-pitched barrage and were bowled out for 223, putting the visitors 1-0 up in the five-match series.Sharma finished with career-best figures of 7-74, including five wickets in 33 balls.Root and Moeen had earlier given hope of an unlikely home victory, having come together with England in trouble at 72 for four midway through Sunday’s evening session.They added a further 68 runs on Monday morning before Moeen, who batted for a day to nearly save the second test against Sri Lanka at Headingley last month, fell to a brute of a delivery from Sharma which forced him to fend off to Cheteshwar Pujara at short leg.Root and Prior came out after lunch bristling with intent, hitting 20 runs in the first two overs after play resumed as Mohammed Shami and Sharma offered a procession of short balls.Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s plan paid dividends shortly afterwards, however, when Prior, who has endured a poor run both behind the stumps and with the bat, hooked Sharma to Vijay at deep mid-wicket for 12.Ben Stokes completed a pair in the match, mis-hitting Sharma to Pujara at mid-on and Root went the same over for 66, caught by Stuart Binny after another poor hook shot.Sharma claimed his fifth victim of the day and seventh of the innings when he had Stuart Broad caught down the legside by Dhoni.James Anderson was last to fall, run out by Ravindra Jadeja.The third Test starts in Southampton on Sunday.
By Stephen WoodManchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named the new captain of England on Thursday.Rooney, who succeeds Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard, will lead his country in a friendly against Norway on September 3 and their opening Euro 2016 qualifier against Switzerland on September 8.Coach Roy Hodgson made the announcement at a media conference at Wembley as he unveiled his squad for the forthcoming fixtures.“I gave it a lot of thought but Wayne is an obvious choice,” Hodgson told reporters.“He deserves it – his commitment to the cause, his experience. He has captained England in the past and, of course, he has that responsibility at Manchester United now.“I’ve had a long conversation with him and he’s prepared to accept the pressures that the England captaincy brings. It’s important that the player wants to take on that enormous responsibility.”After the announcement, Rooney tweeted: “Being named England captain is a dream and something I’ll take great pride in doing.“As a kid I always loved the occasion of watching a big England game on the television. Back then I had a burning ambition to play for my country. Now to be appointed captain is beyond my wildest dreams.“I would like to thank Roy and the coaching staff for having the belief and confidence in me to do the job.“I hope I will have the full backing of the fans. I am their type of player once I am on that pitch. My only thought is to win and give everything I have got. Sharing that desire will be the way I want to captain the team.”
By Brian HomewoodREAL Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo ended a three-game goal drought as the holders beat hosts Schalke 2-0 on Wdnesday night to take a big step towards the Champions League quarter-finals.The Ballon d’Or winner headed in after 26 minutes for his 73rd Champions League goal with Real’s first chance of the game and he set up Marcelo to make it seven wins for Real in seven Champions League games this season.Real’s victory was nowhere near as emphatic as last season’s 6-1 romp at Schalke at the same stage of the competition but it was a much-needed confidence boost for Carlo Ancelotti’s team after a lacklustre start to the year in Spain.Looking to become the first team to retain the Champions League title, Real, eliminated from the King’s Cup this month and crushed 4-0 by Atletico Madrid in La Liga, host Schalke in the second leg on March 10.The Germans fielded five defenders and were on the back foot from the start but coach Robert Di Matteo’s disciplined 5-3-2 system proved effective.First to the ball and working hard, Schalke gradually grew in confidence and a good effort from Dennis Aogo sailed just wide before a shot by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar required a full- stretch save from Iker Casillas.But Ronaldo, left with far too much space in the box, put Real ahead, ending his mini lean spell with a glancing header from Daniel Carvajal’s cross to take his competition tally to 73, two short of the record held by Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.Karim Benzema almost got a second but reserve keeper Timon Wellenreuther, making his competition debut, kept his cool to clear the ball.The 19-year-old got the nod due to injuries to Fabian Giefer and Ralf Faehrmann and he did well to deny Ronaldo his second goal, parrying a curling free kick in the 34th.Schalke’s game plan collapsed when Huntelaar, back in action despite serving a suspension in the Bundesliga for a red card, limped off with a leg injury.But Real, who took their foot off the gas after the break, were almost punished by 19-year-old Felix Platte who replaced Huntelaar and struck a shot against the crossbar 15 minutes from time.Brazilian Marcelo ended any lingering German hopes with a powerful shot 11 minutes from the end after good work from Ronaldo.
By Martyn HermanTHE pre-tournament shortlist of favourites for the French Open women’s crown continued to shrink and for a while on Thursday it looked as though top seed, Serena Williams, would also vanish.Shortly after former world number one Caroline Wozniacki was knocked out by Julia Goerges, meaning the third, fifth and sixth seeds had all gone before round three, Williams, 33, faced unheralded 21-year-old German Anna-Lena Friedsam.It looked like a mismatch but 105th-ranked Friedsam gave the 19-times grand slam champion a torrid time on Court Suzanne Lenglen, taking the first set before a nervy Williams recovered to scrape into the third round 5-7 6-3 6-3.Twice former champion Williams has suffered at the French Open before — last year when she was beaten by Spain’s Garbine Muguruza at the same stage and more memorably in 2012 when France’s Virginie Razzano knocked her out in round one.With the American’s groundstrokes sailing over the baseline and even her fearsome serve deserting her in the first set — she was broken three times — another blot on her incredible grand slam record loomed.Even when she led 4-2 in the second set, Williams appeared shaky, going 0-40 down and dropping serve, but once she got level and broke Friedsam’s serve at the start of the decider she relaxed.“A win is a win and as long as you live to survive the next day, you can always improve,” Williams said. “I know my level is literally a hundred times better than I played today.“I take more solace in the fact I can play better as opposed to the fact that that’s the best I could play — then I would be in trouble.”She will have to sharpen up against former world number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the next round.Denmark’s fifth seed Wozniacki joined the exodus of leading players, which includes Romanian third seed Simona Halep, last year’s runner-up, and number six Eugenie Bouchard of Canada, by losing 6-4 7-6(4) to Goerges.Fourth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova survived her own trial, however, coming back to beat Spain’s Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-7(4) 6-4 6-2 despite 54 unforced errors.In contrast to the women, the men’s favourites have been largely untroubled and that continued as holder Rafa Nadal, top seed Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray reached the third round.All eyes have been on Nadal as the Spaniard battles to rediscover his mojo and claim a record-extending 10th French Open title, but there were few weaknesses on show as he beat compatriot Nicolas Almagro with relative ease.Nadal took his stunning Roland Garros record to 68-1 with a routine 6-4 6-3 6-1 victory — his fourth without dropping a set against Almagro on the Paris clay.Djokovic needed an injury timeout when he slipped in a straight-sets win over Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller, although he looked untroubled when shaking hands with watching Swedish soccer great Zlatan Ibrahimovic.“I made a couple of slides that were quite unusual and it happened in those dynamic movements, I jammed the hip a little bit. Thankfully it’s nothing serious,” said the Serb who faces Australian upstart Thanasi Kokkinakis next.Third seed Murray was given a fight by Portugal’s Joao Sousa but came through 6-2 4-6 6-4 6-1 to set up an eye-catching clash with Australia’s trailblazer Nick Kyrgios.Some of the biggest cheers came elsewhere in the grounds.On Court One, nicknamed the Bull Ring, former women’s champions Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova battled for three hours and 50 minutes before Italian Schiavone prevailed 6-7(11) 7-5 10-8 having saved a match point.Kokkinakis beat his country’s former great hope Bernard Tomic in another cliffhanger, saving three match points at 5-2 down in the fifth which he won 8-6, while fellow teenager, 18-year-oldBorna Coric of Croatia, edged Spanish 18th seed Tommy Robredo, also in five sets.Coric will face Jack Sock in round three, one of only two surviving Americans in the men’s draw after John Isner lost to Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
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Wales are happy to cast themselves as underdogs in their Euro 2016 quarter-final against Belgium on Friday (10pm) but such modesty belies their proven ability to bite hard.The Belgians, who finally came together as a team to demolish Hungary 4-0 in their last-16 match, will start as favourites.Both sides, though, are fully aware that Wales have proved their mettle against Belgium, beating them 1-0 in Cardiff and drawing in Brussels in the tournament’s qualifying stage.Belgium, playing before what will be virtually a home crowd in the northern French town of Lille, are under huge pressure for their much-vaunted golden generation to fulfil their promise and finally challenge for a major trophy.Wales could also claim to have developed a golden generation, spearheaded by Gareth Bale, even if they have fewer illustrious players than the side ranked number two in the world.“We’re good normally in that situation when we’re right up against it,” Wales defender Chris Gunter said.“Belgium will be the fancied team and they are right on their own doorstep but it’s something we can use as an advantage.”All eyes will be on the form of Bale and Eden Hazard.Bale, the world’s most expensive player, has scored three goals and fired in the cross that led to Northern Ireland’s own goal in Wales’s 1-0 last-16 victory.His ability to seize the moment, not least at free kicks, could be pivotal.Hazard came to life against Hungary – as did the whole team after a stuttering start to the campaign. He set up the second goal for Michy Batshuayi and scored with a dashing solo effort two minutes later to crush Hungary’s hopes in what he said was his best-ever game for his country.The Belgium captain has missed two days of training with a thigh injury, but should he be declared fit to play, he will be returning to the city where he made a name for himself.GREATER DEPTHThe Welsh are playing in their first major tournament since the 1958 World Cup, when they lost in the quarter-finals to eventual champions Brazil.“Wales are a very strong side, and not just with Gareth Bale; they have other good players,” cautioned Belgian coach Marc Wilmots.Belgium, however, have greater depth. Wilmots has pointed to playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, who has been a tireless and influential figure. Romelu Lukaku scored 27 goals in 52 appearances for Everton this season and always looks threatening.“They have players on the pitch and the bench that would grace any international team,” Wales manager Chris Coleman said.“But in the last four years we’ve had four meetings and won one and drawn two, so there’s nothing to be afraid of.”Hazard said the Belgians would need to be wary of the Welsh.“They are a tricky side to play against. They have a very compact unit and they have a great player up front (Bale).”The winners will reckon to have a fair chance of reaching the final as the semi-finals would pit them against Poland or Portugal, avoiding the powers of France, Italy and Germany.Neither side will go gentle into that good night on Friday.
This match has been scheduled for October 10 and will be played at the Sir John Guise stadium.Kick-off is at 7pmChairman of the PNG Rugby Football League (PNGRFL), Sandis Tsaka said this match will provide another pathway for players to showcase themselves on the international stage and hopefully attract the attention of international talent scouts.“It will not only promote rugby league development in the two countries, but also enhance people-to-people relationships between our rugby league players and officials in both nations,” said Tsaka.Chairman of the Fiji National Rugby League (FNRL), Filimoni Vosarogo said the FNRL has always considered PNGRFL as an exponential part of rugby league’s growth in the Pacific and it is fitting for them to host this first ever challenge.“We look forward to the challenge and many more years to come.”“We hope to inspire our players to lift their game and aim for NRL and Super League Club Championship status in the future,” said Vosarogo.
Zeming said he was disappointed that he was not included in the team but remains positive and focused on the Hunters season.He said preparation for the Round 9 match against Redcliffe Dolphins on the weekend was tough after the Kumuls side was named last week with most Hunters included in the side.“It was important that we focused and concentrated on the game as we have a long season ahead and the Test match for the Kumuls is a one-off game.“I am proud of the boys for making the squad and give all the support to coach Michael Marum and the players for this weekend’s match,” Zeming said.Marum met with the 11 selected Hunters players last night to make sure that their mind is ready for this weekend.The players include Justin Olam, Stargroth Amean, Ase Boas, Wartovo Puara Jnr, Adam Korave, Adex Wera, Brandy Peter, Timothy Lomai and latest inclusion Edward Goma.The coach, players and team manager Arnold Krewanty departed for Cairns this morning.They will meet up later today with the rest of the PNG LNG Kumuls and coaching staff in Penrith, west of Sydney.