Some Russian athletes will be allowed to compete at PyeongChang 2018 in certain circumstances under the name “Olympic Athlete from Russia” and will compete in uniform bearing that name, the IOC said.However, the country’s government officials are forbidden to attend, its flag will not be displayed at the opening ceremony and its anthem will not sound.The unprecedented punishment is for executing an extensive state-backed doping program at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.Russian authorities refuse to acknowledge there was a state conspiracy to corrupt the Sochi Olympics – a key condition insisted on by World Anti-Doping Agency.Russia blames individuals for the doping programme, and wants whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov – the former director of the Moscow and Sochi labs – to be extradited from the United States. Rodchenkov is in a witness protection programme after fleeing to the US and alleging to American media last year how the Sochi doping system worked.The IOC has banned Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko for life from the Olympics for his role in the country’s doping program.Mutko, who was sports minister at the time of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, remains head of the 2018 World Cup organising committee.IOC commission chairman Samuel Schmid says the doping program “was under the authority of the Russian sports ministry. That is why the then sports minister has responsibility for the failure of this system.”The New Zealand Olympic Committee backed the move, saying the sanctions send a strong message in support of a level playing field for all athletes and the integrity of the Olympic Game Photo by: Chung Sung-Jun/ Getty Images. Caption: The 2018 Winter Olympics are to be held in PyeongChang, Korea.
Coach, Peter Gunemba said the team will rely on home-grown senior players in skipper Raymond Gunemba, Nigel Dabinyaba, Emmanuel Simon, Jacob Sabua and Ronald Warisan for their campaign.“With the injection of the two Solomon Islanders- Andrew Rarangia and Tutizama Tanito, I am sure we can win some pool matches to decide our next phase of play. “Carrying the flag of the country and Morobe province is not an easy task for us, but we will give our best shot at the competition to make our country, province and our sponsor Lae Biscuit Company proud.Dwellers are in Pool A with Nakultan FC from Vanuatu, Ba FC from Fiji and Tupapa Maraerenga FC from Cook Islands.“I think we have prepared well after going undefeated over four rounds of the National Soocer League competition, but we are wary of Ba FC and Nalkutan FC who will be fielding some of their best players, however with the high level of football display by the team during the NSL games, I’m confident we will improvement from last year’s performance.”Tomorrow’s match at Korman Stadium will kick off at 2pm (1pm PNG time).
This is in preparation for next month’s Netball World Cup 2019 Regional Qualifier- Oceania in New Zealand.”Training has been going really well for the last four weeks,” said In-Country coach, Richanda Kassman.”Towards the end of March, it will be cut down to the final 12 players.”The Pepes will be up against other Pacific island countries including Samoa, Fij, Cook Islands and Tonga.”It’s an exciting time for our girls. This tournament will be a challenging one but our girls will be ready.”She said the Pepes will play lead up matches against Queensland State League teams one week out from the Qualifier.Kassman finished by appealing to business houses and individuals to support the Pepes.”We need all the help we can get. If we win this, we go to Liverpool next year.”We’ve got a great bunch of girls who have been training really hard for this.”I’m asking all potential sponsors to get behind our national team.”
After the Kumuls’ 32-22 win over the England Knights yesterday in Port Moresby, Nene Macdonald and some of his teammates went out to unwind when he was allegedly assaulted.In a Facebook post, the Kumuls centre said he will not wear the red, black and gold jersey again until the man who smashed a bottle over his head at Lamana is dealt with.Coach Michael Marum confirmed the incident but said they are still in the early stages of gathering information.“He is traveling out today and no, his injury was not severe,” stated the coach.More to follow…
World champions Germany pushed Brazil back into second place to return to the top of the Fifa rankings, which was published on Thursday.Germany’s 2-1 win away to the Czech Republic and their 6-0 drubbing of Norway in the World Cup qualifiers lifted them over the already-qualified Brazil, who dropped points in a draw away to Colombia.European champions Portugal climbed three places to third – even though they are second in their World Cup qualifying group behind Switzerland.In another surprise, Argentina are fourth in the rankings despite struggling to qualify for the World Cup after drawing their last two games – away to Uruguay and at home to Venezuela.War-torn Syria, who have reached the Asian playoff stage in the World Cup qualifiers despite playing their ‘home’ World Cup qualifiers in Malaysia because of the security situation in the country, rose to their highest-ever ranking of 75.Three other teams reached their best-ever place – Peru (12th), Northern Ireland (20th) and Luxemburg (101st) after they held France to a 0-0 draw away.The rankings made disappointing reading for Asia with only three sides in the top 50 – Iran, Japan and Australia.The next Fifa rankings will be announced on Oct. 16 and used to determine the seedings in the draw for the four European playoff ties for next year’s World Cup finals in Russia.Top 10 rankings: (previous positions in brackets) 1. Germany (2) 2. Brazil (1) 3. Portugal (6) 4. Argentina (3) 5. Belgium (9) 6. Poland (5) 7. Switzerland (4) 8. France (10) 9. Chile (7) 10. Colombia (8)
Fulham beat Derby County 2-0 (2-1 aggregate) at Craven Cottage on Monday night to move into the final of the Championship playoffs where they will play Aston Villa or Middlesbrough.Second half goals from Ryan Sessegnon and Denis Odoi earned Fulham the victory as they seek a return to the Premier League which they were relegated from in 2014.Derby have now missed out in the playoffs three times in the past five seasons.The playoff final will be held at Wembley Stadium on May 26. Villa host Middlesbrough on Tuesday and lead 1-0 from the first leg.Fulham attacked from the outset but Derby keeper Scott Carson frustrated them throughout the first half with a series of fine saves.A one-handed effort kept out a strong header from Fulham’s Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic and Carson was at his best again to keep out a powerful drive from Aboubakar Kamara.But Slavisa Jokanovic’s side finally got reward for the efforts two minutes after the interval when 17-year-old Sessegnon showed great composure to drive home a left-foot shot from inside the area.The decisive goal came in the 66th minute when Belgian Odoi beat Carson with a brilliantly angled header from a corner.Fulham head to Wembley for the first time since they lost the FA Cup final to West Ham in 1975.“This club needs this kind of happiness,” said Jokanovic, “After 43 years we will play at Wembley and it is an important achievement for us.“We deserve this victory and a chance to reach the Premier League. The players showed great belief and confidence and it is credit to my players,” he said.Derby boss Gary Rowett felt his team had been too nervous.“I think our composure let us down tonight, we made far too many mistakes on the ball, we looked a bit edgy to be honest,” he said.“They outplayed us in the second-leg and they more than deserve to go through.”
Manchester United produced a stunning fightback to relieve some of the pressure on manager Jose Mourinho as they came from two goals down to beat Newcastle United 3-2 in the Premier League on Saturday.The victory lifted United to eighth place in the standings, three points behind Bournemouth who continued their fine form with a 4-0 thrashing of 10-man Watford at Vicarage Road.It was Old Trafford, though, which drew the main focus of the day after media reports had suggested that Mourinho was close to losing his job following disappointing results in all competitions.The Portuguese’s exit looked inevitable after Kenedy gave Newcastle the lead with a smart finish before Yoshinori Muto made it 2-0 after 10 minutes following poor United defending at a corner.The hosts turned it around in the second half, though, Juan Mata sparking the comeback with a low, curling free kick in the 70th minute. Anthony Martial equalised six minutes later before substitute Alexis Sanchez headed in the dramatic winner in the last minute of normal time.While Old Trafford was celebrating wildly and singing Mourinho’s name, the pressure switched to Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez as his side remained winless in the league and second-bottom of the table.Elsewhere, there was a rash of red cards but nowhere was one more significant than at Vicarage Road where 10-man Watford were humbled by Bournemouth.David Brooks had given the Cherries the lead after a quarter of an hour before Watford’s Christian Kabasele received a second yellow for bringing down Josh King in the penalty area.King converted the resulting spot-kick and added another goal on the stroke of halftime as Bournemouth began to run riot.Callum Wilson grabbed the fourth two minutes after the break as Eddie Howe’s men continued their impressive start to the season, moving up to fifth. Watford, now winless in four league games, are ninth.Cardiff City also had their numbers reduced at Wembley Stadium with Joe Ralls seeing red for a cynical challenge on Tottenham Hotspur’s Lucas Moura.That did not stop the winless team from giving a good example of themselves, creating good chances against a wasteful Spurs side.However, Tottenham never looked in serious trouble and came through 1-0 winners thanks to Eric Dier’s early goal.FAILED COMEBACKLeicester City were trying to mount a comeback from going a goal down to Everton when Wes Morgan was sent off for a second booking just after the hour mark.Ricardo Pereira’s drilled effort following a brisk counter-attack had cancelled out Richarlison’s early strike for the visitors at the King Power Stadium.But with a numerical advantage, Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson made sure of all three points 13 minutes from time with a superb right-foot shot from just outside the area.The Icelandic international’s 50th Premier League goal gave Marco Silva’s men their first away win of the season, 2-1.Huddersfield Town scored only their fourth goal of the season in a 1-1 draw at Burnley.Sam Vokes headed in to give the home side the lead after 20 minutes. But a second-half header from Christopher Schindler levelled the match and lifted Huddersfield off the bottom of the standings.Wolverhampton Wanderers claimed a Premier League record by naming an unchanged first XI for their opening eight games of the season – and it paid dividends as they won 1-0 at Crystal Palace.Matt Doherty found the bottom right corner from a tight angle shortly before the hour mark as Palace’s struggles in front of goal continued.
There were changes that led to congestion at the top of the table following the weekend results in the Cyprus football championship as five teams are now separated by just three points.Apollon moved to the top, level on points with AEL, following their 3-0 defeat of Alki and their fellow Limassolians’ thumping by Nea Salamina. AEK overcame Apoel in a dour match while Omonia and Anorthosis played out a 1-1 draw, a result that favours neither team as they remain nine points off the top.Nea Salamina produced their best performance of the season as they hammered AEL 4-1. This was AEL’s second consecutive defeat and they have now let in seven goals in the last two games having conceded just two from their opening eight games.Goals by Charles Eloundou and Ivan Fustar gave the Famagusta team a deserved half-time lead while six minutes after the restart Mintikkis increased Salamina’s lead. AEL tried to respond and managed to reduce the deficit just after the hour mark through Texeira but it proved too little too late as Tiago rounded off a fine performance by Nea Salamina with a fourth two minutes from time.The big game on Saturday between AEK and Apoel was settled by a moment of brilliance by Florian Tauleummuse who exquisitely started AEK’s move and was on hand to finish it off with a low drive that beat goalkeeper Boy Waterman for the only goal of the game.It was admittedly a poor game with neither side willing to commit too many players forward resulting in a game with few chances. The only other chance of the game fell to Ivan Trickovski who ballooned his effort high over Waterman’s goal with only the goalkeeper to beat.After taking the lead AEK were more than happy to allow Apoel possession of the ball and defend in numbers, something that they did with consummate ease.For yet another game Apoel were abysmal in attack, unable to penetrate the well-marshalled AEK backline. With Jordanian star Al Tamari out injured for the second consecutive game the champions lacked any incisiveness going forward. The injury in the fifth minute to Delattorre compounded the problem as his replacement, the Iranian Reza, proved easy to defend against for AEK’s central pairing of Catala and Truyols.As expected Apollon had no problems defeating Alki despite having six first-teamers unavailable.Two goals by Facundo Perreira in the first half and a third by Faupala ensured that the Limassol team climbed to the top of the table overtaking both Apoel and AEL. Omonia and Anorthosis had to settle for a point each in a game that neither side deserved to win.Omonia opened the score in the 18th minute through Ramirez but Douglao equalised on the stroke of half time with a fierce drive from outside the penalty box.In the final weekend game Pafos FC defeated Enosis Neon Paralimniou thanks to a late first half penalty by Nemec, while Ermis and Doxa drew 1-1 in Monday night’s match.
European champions Portugal will take on Switzerland in the semi-finals of the UEFA Nations League following the draw for the finals in Dublin on Monday.World Cup semi-finalists England, who are looking for their first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup, meet a resurgent Netherlands side in the second semi-final of the inaugural tournament.Hosts Portugal, without forward Cristiano Ronaldo who has not been selected since this year’s World Cup in Russia, qualified comfortably for the finals by winning Group A3 ahead of Italy and Poland.They face a Switzerland side brimming with confidence after come from behind to beat Belgium 5-2 in the final game of Group A2.England face the Netherlands in a competitive match for the first time since a thumping 4-1 win in the 1996 European Championships.Gareth Southgate’s side needed a late goal from Harry Kane to beat World Cup finalists Croatia and claim top spot in Group A4 which also featured former world and European champions Spain.The Netherlands, a rejuvenated side under new manager Ronald Koeman, sealed their progress from a tough group featuring world champions France and Germany.The event, created to replace friendly internationals that were unpopular with clubs, players and fans as they interrupted league action, largely got the thumbs up after the first batch of matches in September.The semi-final matches will be played in Portugal on June 5-6 next year with the title clash set to be held on June 9.
Philippe Coutinho was booed off by his own fans after failing to shine against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday but Barcelona’s record signing may get another chance to win them over this week with Ousmane Dembele set to miss their Champions League tie with Olympique Lyonnais.Incisive winger Dembele helped Barca to a 3-1 win after coming off the bench with the team struggling to break down the La Liga minnows, with Coutinho failing to provide any spark or combine with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.Fans showed their dissatisfaction with the Brazilian when he was replaced in the 80th minute by Ivan Rakitic, who promptly set up a goal for Suarez and helped secure a win that kept Barcelona seven points clear and bidding for a first treble since 2015.A goalless draw in the first leg in Lyon means Barca have to win the second leg on Wednesday to ensure progress in the Champions League, but they will likely have to make do without the pace and unpredictability of Dembele, who ended the Rayo game with a hamstring strain.Coutinho, who arrived from Liverpool for a club record 165 million euros ($185.18 million) in January 2018, has so far shown little to suggest he will be able to compensate for the Frenchman’s absence against Lyon.He has six goals and five assists in La Liga and Europe, while he has not scored outside of the Copa del Rey since October.Defender Gerard Pique gave Coutinho his backing after he faced the wrath of the Nou Camp but also challenged him to raise his game.“Philippe is having a good season, but obviously his price tag was very big and this means there are bigger expectations about his performances,” Pique said.“You have to accept the reaction of the supporters because they are our fans, but inside the dressing room the players give him all the support in the world.”Coach Ernesto Valverde also had words of support for Coutinho, even though he has tended to leave the player out of his starting line-up for the biggest games this season.“We are at a club where there is a huge expectation to win, so we should not give too much importance to the fact he was booed,” he said.“He keeps fighting to score, and we always expect him to pull a rabbit out of the hat. But his work is plain to see, the secret is in persevering.”