LONDON: Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen says defenders will have to adapt to VAR after the latest controversial incident in the Champions League quarterfinal win against Manchester City.City were awarded a penalty in the 13th minute of Tuesday’s first-leg tie at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium when Raheem Sterling’s shot hit Danny Rose’s arm.None of the players appealed at the time and it was only after the VAR official advised Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers to review the incident that the spot-kick was given, in line with UEFA’s directive on the handball law.Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris ensured that it was not a potentially decisive moment, saving Sergio Aguero’s tame effort from 12 yards before the hosts went on to win 1-0.Vertonghen has urged the decision-makers to think like footballers, saying he feared there could be a huge increase in penalties awarded once VAR is up and running in the Premier League next season.“I think we have to change the way we defend,” he said. “We are not pulling people down but even a small touch, if you watch it 20 times in slow motion, it will give so many more penalties.“I think you’ll see in the stats in the next few years in the Premier League, you will see at least 20, 30, 40 more penalties.“I think we all need to adapt — the players, the referees and how they think as a player sometimes.“Sometimes you can’t do anything else than put your body on the line and I don’t even know, but it’s important that referees think as a football player sometimes.“You can’t even touch anyone. Before it was quite physical, but in a fair way. But now you are too scared to get close to someone.”Rose said the ball hit his arm but said he did not believe his arm was “outside his body.”“I’m not sure I can complain,” he added. “I haven’t seen it again. It did hit my arm but it certainly wasn’t intentional.”“I’m just grateful Hugo saved it and we kept a massive clean sheet, scored at the end and have something to look forward to next week.“It’s unnatural to try to defend a shot with your arms behind your back and I’m not sure that’s something the manager would be promoting. But there’s not much I can do, I have to learn from it.”
Liverpool cruised to a 2-0 victory in their quarterfinal clash against FC Porto on Tuesday. (AFP)
Meanwhile, elsewhere on Tuesday, Liverpool built a 2-0 lead over Porto heading into the second leg of the quarterfinals thanks to first-half goals by Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino at Anfield on Tuesday.“Positive, good, we won 2-0 … we controlled the game, had direction of the game,” said Klopp, whose only criticism of his players was for the number of free kicks they gave away in dangerous areas. “We knew we had to play the second game and we cannot decide the tie tonight.”
NBA’s Spurs to retire French great Parker’s number
MANCHESTER: Harry Kane feels he is already reaping the rewards of a rare month off as Tottenham’s talisman hopes to outgun England teammate Raheem Sterling when Spurs visit Premier League champions Manchester City on Saturday.Kane was beset by ankle injuries last season after just a three-week break between lifting the Golden Boot as the World…
MANCHESTER: Harry Kane feels he is already reaping the rewards of a rare month off as Tottenham’s talisman hopes to outgun England teammate Raheem Sterling when Spurs visit Premier League champions Manchester City on Saturday.Kane was beset by ankle injuries last season after just a three-week break between lifting the Golden Boot as the World Cup’s top scorer and the start of another gruelling Premier League season.He returned just in time for Tottenham’s first ever Champions League final and England’s Nations League semifinal against The Netherlands in June, but looked well short of match fitness as he ended up on the losing side in both games.Rejuvenated by a summer off, in which he got married to childhood sweetheart Kate Goodland, Kane got his and Spurs’ season off to flying start with two goals in the final five minutes to beat Aston Villa 3-1 on the opening weekend.“I had four weeks off, the most I’ve had off in a few years now,” said the England captain.“I’ve had a good pre-season, been here from the start, worked with the team and everyone’s feeling good.“We’ve still got work to do, I’ve still got work to do in terms of fitness and things like that, but playing games will only help.“I feel in a good place and hopefully I can continue doing what we’ve done.”A double still was not enough to gain an early lead in the Premier League Golden Boot race, though, as Sterling scored a hat-trick in City’s ominous 5-0 demolition of West Ham.But for Tottenham, City could have celebrated a quadruple of trophies last season as even shorn of Kane for the majority of the tie, Mauricio Pochettino’s men edged a thrilling Champions League quarter-final on away goals.Son Heung-min was Tottenham’s star then, scoring three of his side’s four goals, but Spurs’ lack of depth slowly caught up with them in the final few months of the season.With 12 Premier League games of last season to go, Spurs were just five points adrift of City and had a game in hand.However, they won only three to finish 28 points behind the champions and clinging onto fourth place.Tottenham’s squad has been bolstered by the signings of Tanguy Ndombele, who scored on his debut last weekend, Giovani lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon.Yet, with Son serving the last of a three-match ban, the pressure is on Kane to ensure they do not falter at just the second hurdle in the title race.“We kept up with them for a while last year but they blew ahead after January,” said Kane on challenging City and European champions Liverpool for the title this season.“It’s important that we stay in touch as long as we can.“We have full belief that we can go all the way but there’s a long road ahead and we’ve got to be fully focused.”However, stopping the City juggernaut on home soil is a huge ask for Spurs, particularly with Sterling continuing the fine form he showed to win the football writers’ player of the year award in England last season.Tottenham let Kieran Trippier leave for Atletico Madrid last month and did not replace the England international meaning the inexperienced Kyle Walker-Peters has the unenviable task of keeping Sterling quiet.“Since we started this season in China and the Community Shield he’s scored one goal minimum every game,” said City boss Pep Guardiola on Sterling’s thirst for goals.“I know the special quality of the player, the consistent physicality and the finishing.”
Refreshed Kane aiming to keep Sterling in the shade
LOS ANGELES: The San Antonio Spurs said Friday they will retire Tony Parker’s Number 9 jersey on November 11, when they host the Memphis Grizzlies in an NBA regular-season game.Parker will become the 10th player in Spurs franchise history to have his number raised to the rafters, joining Bruce Bowen (12), Tim Duncan (21), Sean…
LOS ANGELES: The San Antonio Spurs said Friday they will retire Tony Parker’s Number 9 jersey on November 11, when they host the Memphis Grizzlies in an NBA regular-season game.Parker will become the 10th player in Spurs franchise history to have his number raised to the rafters, joining Bruce Bowen (12), Tim Duncan (21), Sean Elliott (32), George Gervin (44), Manu Ginobili (20), Avery Johnson (6), Johnny Moore (00), David Robinson (50) and James Silas (13).France’s Parker played 17 of his 18 NBA seasons in San Antonio, helping the Spurs capture four titles.He was the 2007 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, becoming the first European player to claim that honor.Originally selected by San Antonio with the 28th overall pick in the first round of the 2001 NBA Draft, Parker is the Spurs leader in assists (6,829), while ranking second in games played (1,198), fourth in points (18,943) and steals (1,032), fifth in free throws made (3,309) and sixth in rebounds (3,313).He announced his retirement from the NBA in June, having played his last season with the Charlotte Hornets.Parker is one of five players in NBA history to post at least 19,000 points and 7,000 assists, along with Oscar Robertson, John Stockton, Gary Payton and LeBron James.He played in a total of 1,254 career games in 18 seasons with the Spurs and Hornets, averaging 15.5 points, 5.6 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 30.5 minutes.Parker finished his career seventh in NBA history with 892 wins.
Ravi Shastri reappointed India’s cricket coach
MASON, Ohio: Seven-time champion Roger Federer was ousted from one of his favorite tournaments in only 61 minutes Thursday, falling in straight sets to a 21-year-old qualifier he’d never faced. Andre Rublev — with only one career win over a top-five player to his credit — took advantages of Federer’s numerous mistakes for a 6-3,…
MASON, Ohio: Seven-time champion Roger Federer was ousted from one of his favorite tournaments in only 61 minutes Thursday, falling in straight sets to a 21-year-old qualifier he’d never faced.
Andre Rublev — with only one career win over a top-five player to his credit — took advantages of Federer’s numerous mistakes for a 6-3, 6-4 victory that further depleted the top of the men’s bracket in the Western & Southern Open.
Federer has won the tournament more than anyone, using it as a springboard to the US Open. He had 16 unforced errors against the 70th-ranked Rublev, who raised both fists and wiped a teary eye in celebration after Federer’s forehand sailed long to end it.
Struggling with his serve, Federer got broken twice in the first set.
“And there you have it. It set the tone for the match a little bit,” Federer said. “He was super clean — offense, defense, serving well. He didn’t give me anything.”
Federer, who lost a classic five-set match for the Wimbledon title to Novak Djokovic, thinks he’s in good shape heading into the US Open despite the upset in Cincinnati.
Second-seeded Rafael Nadal withdrew before the start of the tournament because of fatigue after winning the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Sunday. Djokovic was the only one of the Top 3 left, set to play later in the day.
The day began with the ATP fining Nick Kyrgios $113,000 for expletive-filled outbursts that included smashing rackets, insulting a chair umpire and refusing to get ready to return serve during a second-round match the previous night.
Back against the wallIn the women’s bracket, top-seeded Ashleigh Barty reached the quarterfinals, joined by a resurgent Venus Williams.Barty beat Anett Kontaveit 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, raising her fist in triumph after fighting off one match point to take the 2-hour, 10-minute match. She was down a break in the second set before rallying on a day when she struggled to find consistency.“The best thing is when my back was against the wall, the tennis was there,” Barty said. “It may not have been there the whole match, but we were able to find it when we needed it.”Barty, the French Open champion and currently ranked No. 2, can move up to the top spot by reaching the final.With the crowd cheering for her, Williams recovered from a rough first set and beat Donna Vekic 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, her best stretch of tennis in since she won three straight matches in March at Miami.After a first-round loss in Toronto last week, her ranking slipped to No. 65, her lowest in seven years. With sister Serena cheering courtside, Venus reached the semifinals.“I mean, I’m pretty pumped,” Venus Williams said. “When you’re winning, it’s fun.”Serena Williams withdrew from the tournament because of back spasms. She calmly watched her sister advance.“I think she believed in me,” Venus Williams said. “She was rooting hard but didn’t seem panicked at all after I lost the first set.”