Chelsea end Liverpool’s winning run

By Daniel Laming posted 27th April 2014 5:06PM in Football, Sports

Chelsea came to Anfield and ended Liverpool’s eleven game winning run with a 0-2 final score line. Jose Mourinho’s team has yet again managed to blow the title race wide open again, as The Blues not only contained Brendan Rodgers’ men, but had a near perfect tactical performance to put them within two points of the top of the table.

The London side took the lead on the stroke of half time courtesy of Demba Ba and a rare slip up by Steven Gerard. The second goal inevitably came on the counter attack, as Liverpool pressed for an equaliser. Jose Mourinho once again showed his tactical genius by over crowding the midfield and slowing down the pace of the game, which made sure Liverpool could not at their usual fast tempo and led to their players and fans being totally frustrated.

The home team did have a lot of the possession, but could not break through a well organised Chelsea defence. Even with the likes of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge on the day brought no joy. Steven Gerard did try several long range shots, and the home supporters would have loved for one of them to find the net, as the Liverpool team found it increasingly difficult to get into their opponent’s 18 yard box.

One thing is for certain, this is the English Premier League at its finest. For the neutrals and fans alike, this is nail biting stuff. Manchester City will now be able to join Liverpool at the top of the table, if City can win their game in hand. Chelsea and Jose Mourinho will be waiting be pounce on any of those two if they are any further slip ups, and it now means the pressure is on all three to not lose any points!

 

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Lewis Hamilton wins China GP

By Daniel Laming posted 20th April 2014 9:13AM in Moto GP, Sports

Lewis Hamilton wins the Chinese Grand Prix, which makes it his third successive win, a first in his F1 career. The Mercedes team once again dominated, with second place going to Hamilton’s team mate Nico Rosberg, as he won the battle against Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso who then finished third. Red Bull picked up the rest of the points, with Daniel Ricciardo in fourth and his team mate Sebastian Vettel in fifth.

Hamilton’s win was done in style, as he made distance between him and the field of the field in the early part of the race, and then just had to manage his lead, tyres and fuel consumption to win the GP. This means that the young English man reduces the lead held by Nico Rosberg to four points, as the two Mercedes drivers do battle in the Drivers Championship. Lewis will be hoping that his winning run can continue, so that he can make up for retiring in the Australian GP, and start focusing on breaking some personal bests and Formula One records.

The race was as always, exciting and filled with tension, with all drivers battling for position and points. Ferrari and Red Bull showed why Formula One racing is one of the best racing in the world. Even with all the titles firmly with Mercedes, it does not dampening their competitive spirit and that desire to always win.

Force India is another team that has been improving, while Mercedes gets the headlines. Sergio Perez has been a joy to watch and one can only hope that his team grows in confidence and claims more success.

Supporters can now look forward to the Spanish Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton favourite to extend his consecutive wins and dominate yet again.

 

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McFadden wins London Marathon

By Daniel Laming posted 13th April 2014 11:02PM in Sports

The Virgin Money London Marathon was won by the American Tatyana McFadden, in impressive fashion as she set a new course record. Tatyana throughly enjoyed the occasion as it was also her second successive win at the London event, and proved to herself as her supporters that she is a deserving champion, as she had a busy year with the Winter Paralympic Games where she won silver in the 1km Cross Country Sprint in Sochi.

The athlete was concerned that she would not be able to give the London Marathon her best, especially with other participants preparing for the event in Australia whilst she was in a Sochi competing. However, her talent, determination and stamina was just too good for the rest of the field, with her finishing the marathon in 1:45:12, close to a full minute faster than last year. This course time meant that she finished the race more than a minute and half in front of her nearest rival!

The London race was not that easy, with 2010 winner, Wakako Tsuchida and Manuela Schar putting up a fight early on in the course. But as the half way stage passed by, McFadden began to tear away from these two and increase her lead with every mile.

Tatyana has made quite a name for herself as the person to look up to and a role model to all athletes. She has managed to reign supreme in all all major races in 2013 winning all four in Boston London, Chicago and New York, in addition to claiming no less than 6 gold medals at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon.

The 24 year old now travels to US to focus on the Boston Marathon, and she will be a strong favourite to build on her success in London and dominate yet again!

 

 

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Sri Lanka win World Twenty20

By Daniel Laming posted 6th April 2014 7:02PM in Cricket, Sports

Sri Lanka earned a well deserved six wicket win over the favourites India to claim the World  Twenty20 title in Mirpur. The win marked the end of dreadful run of four defeats for Sri Lanka in global finals (World Cup Finals of 2007 and 2011, World T20 Finals of 2009 and 2012) and made sure that India did not manage to become the first team to capture all three limited over titles.

India with a near perfect performance all the way to the finals were expected to win finals. However, on the day, their batting performance was disappointing to say the least. Rohit Sharma drove to extra cover and ended the second wicket partnership. Yuvraj Singh was another one of India’s top batsmen that lost their way on the day. One must admit the entire Indian team under performed, but one must also give credit to the Sri Lankan bowlers.

Nuwan Kulasekara, Angelo Mathews and Gangana Herath all got a wicket each. The Sri Lankan bowling stats show the true discipline of their five bowlers, as not one of them gave away more than 29 runs from four overs. At the end of the innings, India’s batsmen were contained and only managed 130-4, and that was even with Kohli’s 77 runs.

Sri Lanka came into to bat and had to hod their nerve, as India took wickets throughout the innings to keep their hopes alive. At one point, Sri Lanka were struggling on 78-4, but Perera took on the Indian bowlers and subdued them with two sixes in consecutive overs. Sangakkara also finished off strongly and made a half century as a fitting score to retire from International Twenty20 cricket.

This finals was truly spectacular, with two teams showing what Twenty20 is all about. It was indeed a fitting end to a very exciting tournament, with both players and spectators alike enjoying every bit of the cricket.

 

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Liverpool at the top of the EPL Table

By Daniel Laming posted 30th March 2014 6:29PM in Football, Sports

Liverpool made a bold statement of intent for the English Premier League title as they annihilated Tottenham Hotspurs 4-0 at Anfield. A Spurs own goal in the 2nd minute of play by Younes Kaboul put off the visitors from the start, and Luis Suarez then made it 2-0 in the 25th minute as a result of a defensive blunder by Michael Dawson. Goals by Coutinho and Henderson in these second half completed the despair for Spurs and Tim Sherwood.

The win places Liverpool at the top of English Premier League, two points in front of Chelsea and four ahead of Manchester City, although one would have to note that City has two games in hand.  However, Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerard will know the title is a very real possibility. If Liverpool win their last six games, it will guarantee the Premier League trophy goes back to Anfield. Liverpool fans will be hoping for their team to remain focused to bring back the league title for the first time since 1990.

Tim Sherwood will be disappointed with his team, but has already admitted that they have ‘a problem against the top four’. The manager’s attitude is to face up to the fact that his team must improve against the best of the Premier League in order to compete for the Premier League. However, Sherwood does face problems with regards to his position and long term role at the club, so only time will tell whether he will be the man to lift the North London club.

It is a completely different outlook for Brendan Rodgers who looks set to remain at Liverpool after his, some would say, surprising success, at Anfield. He will be hoping that history can repeat itself, as 50 years ago, on the 30th March 1964, Liverpool beat Tottenham 3-1 at Anfield to go top of the league and The Reds went on to win the league.

 

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3 Matches – 2 Clean Sheets and 20 Goals!

By Daniel Laming posted 23rd March 2014 5:31PM in Football

On what marks a historic weekend in the history of the Premier League, we were lucky enough to see three of the most volatile and high-scoring matches including a 9-goal thriller and a 6-0 demolition of one of the Premier League’s top ranking teams.

So where to start Sports fans!? Well let’s kick off with Manchester City thumping 5 past Fulham albeit with them having to fight with just 10-men for the second half of the game, courtesy of Amorebieta who felled David Silva and had no choice but to accept his marching orders. Yaya Toure bagged a hatrick with two penalties and a 25-yard strike, and City propped this up with 2 more goals thanks to Fernandinho and Dimichelis. This leaves them in 3rd place behind Chelsea and Liverpool.

Perhaps our 2nd favourite match of the day was Liverpool pushing past Cardiff 6-3 in a 9-goal thriller than entertained from the start. Another hatrick, this time from bad-boy Luis Suarez and a brace from Skrtel were enough to knock Cardiff off balance, despite a brace from Mutch and the 2-1 deficit they found themselves in after the 25th minute. This moves Liverpool into 2nd place but they are two games ahead of City who are only 2-points adrift thanks to their easy victory.

The real story however, comes from the match at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea demolished Arsenal 6-0 in what can only be called a rout. In fact, with a little bit more precision, it could easily have ended up in double figures, and perhaps for Wenger, he must be glad that it didn’t! It took just 5 minutes for Eto’o to open the scoring and by 17 minutes, the Gunners found themselves 3-0 down. It seemed to be the worst of circumstances for a team that have been struggling to retain their lead in the League for some time and another 3 goals only served to compound their misery. While Chelsea move to the top of the table, Arsenal find themselves in 4th and in danger of making the Champions League yet again!

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Mercedes Rosberg wins Australian GP

By Daniel Laming posted 16th March 2014 2:44PM in Sports

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg won the Australian Grand Prix in impressive fashion. The opening race of the season saw the introduction of the new turbo hybrid engines and lots of incidents which resulted in eight cars not finishing the race. Lewis Hamilton started the race in pole position, but experienced with one of his cylinders, which resulted him dropping down to fourth place by the first corner. Lewis was then down to fifth place by the start of the second lap, and eventually retired on lap three. Another high profile casualty was World Champion Sebastian Vettel, who also had engines problems with his Red Bull car and pulled out of the race in the fourth lap.

Vettel’s Red Bull team mate Daniel Ricciardo finished the race in second place, but was then disqualified due to a fuel-flow infringement. This meant that McLaren Dane Kevin Magnussen was promoted to second place, as his team mate Jenson Button came third and Fernando Alonso finishing in fourth place for the Ferrari team.

Rosberg had a relatively easy race, especially with Lewis Hamilton not there to challenge for the lead. Mercedes look the team to beat this season, and the fear for many teams, including Red Bull, is that Mercedes have the potential to improve the car even more.

The race was filled with incidents as even after hitting the wall on the exit of Turn Ten and breaking his wheel, Williams’ Valtteri Bottas still finished a respectable 5th place at the end of the race.

F1 supporters would have been keen to see how all the teams are coping with the new engines, and there is no doubt that Mercedes are the ones to beat this year. Lewis Hamilton will be disappointed with his car, but he will no doubt be looking to win the Malaysian GP and start competing for his Drivers World Championship title in earnest.

 

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England take the Triple Crown

By Daniel Laming posted 9th March 2014 5:14PM in Rugby, Sports

England have won the Triple Crown with a 29-18 victory over Wales. It was a strong performance from the England team with tries from Danny Care and Luther Burrell, together with a perfect kicking game from Owen Farrell totalling 19 points. The winning margin could have been even bigger, but they lacked a bit of concentration which allowed Halfpenny to keep Wales within fighting distance. Wales did try their best to make it difficult for England, but that mainly came via their wingers Alex Cuthbert and George North.

In fact Welsh supporters would have been hoping for more from their team, as very early on the game was awarded a penalty from the first scrum in the second minute of the game. However, Wales could not take advantage of their early opportunity. They were to rue that missed chance, as two minutes later England had their first try of the game courtesy Clare. From then on England pushed on with Farrell’s kicking which covered up mistakes that let Wales stay in the game.

Anyways, the win means that England stay on course for the RBS 6 Nations title. Currently England lie in second place with a points difference of 32, a full 49 less than Ireland, which means they would need a miracle  and a massive score in Rome on Saturday. However, it is still way better than France and even if Les Bleus  are victorious in Paris, England and Lancaster will be on top of the world – assuming they can beat Italy.

 

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City take the Capital One Cup

By Daniel Laming posted 2nd March 2014 9:50PM in Football, Sports

Manchester City beat Sunderland 3-1 to win the Capital One Cup at Wembley, and in so doing gave Manuel Pellegrini his first taste of success as a City manager. The win will mean he can now turn his attention to  the English Premier League, UEFA Champions League and FA Cup. Manchester City have now won the League Cup a total of three times, and this latest trophy should be a strong indication of more to come.

Gus Poyet’s Sunderland started off brightly, full of hope and confidence. The manger would know it would have been a hard battle, with the odds stacked against them, but would have been playing to win and not just to contain Pellegrini’s attacking force. Sunderland were rewarded with a goal in the 10th minute of the game, and this but all but sent their supporters into a manic frenzy, with a sea of red and white being see in the arena. Poyet’s men could have scored more goals with Borini proving to be a handful for the City defence.

But all credit to Manchester City, Pellegrini rallied his troops during the half time break, and it only took them about 10 minutes after the start of the second half to equalise.  Yaya Toure thumped one from 25 yards out, quickly followed by Samir Nasri’s strike which more or less spelt the end for The Black Cats. The third goal came as time went by and Sunderland went looking for the equaliser. Yet, Toure charged forward to set up Navas for him to score and make sure of the trophy for Manchester club.

Poyet will be disappointed as he, like Sunderland fans, would have believed they would have been able to pull off the near impossible. One thing was for certain, they made themselves and their fans proud with the way their positive play and ‘never say die’ attitude. It was absolute joy to witness, and hopefully there will lots more like this to come!

 

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Russia ends the Winter Olympics on a high

By Daniel Laming posted 23rd February 2014 11:02PM in Sports

A breath taking ceremony marked the end of the 2014 Winter Olympics, with the host nation Russia taking the most medals. The awesome show was seen by a 40,000 strong audience, in addition to millions worldwide via the television networks. The closing ceremony celebrated all aspects of Russia, making references to the nation’s art, culture and heritage. Everyone was treated to floating houses and shapes based on Marc Chagall art, then Rachmaninoff’s ‘Piano Concert No 2′ was perfectly perfectly performed by the famous pianist Denis Matsuev, and this was followed by the most talented ballet dancers giving us one of the best renditions of a variety of popular and classic work.

The next part of the ceremony was all about literature, which focused on a wide range of leading authors from the likes of Pushkin and Dostoyevky to the dissident author Alexander Solzhenitsyn. All these geniuses made up a huge library, a fitting tribute to them and the ceremony.  The final part was all about looking forward to the next Winter Olympics scheduled to be held in South Korea. In this part, the world witnessed Sochi Anatoliy Pakhomov handing the Olympic flag to Pyeongchang Mayor Lee Sok-ra, which confirms to all the world that South Korea will the next honoured nation to do it all over again in 2018.

One has to admit the ceremony was one of the most memorable, and made even more so, when the fifth Olympic ring failed to roll out. The organisers handled it all in good humour and laughed it off, as the dancers dealt with the error as if it was of the routine. The fifth ring did finally open and it was then greeted with hearty applause and cheers.

Team GB did manage to win four medals, with gold medalist Lizzy Yarnold leading her team carrying the flag for her country.

 

 

 

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