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SPORTS: October 2015

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Saturday, October 31, 2015

FIFA U-17 WORLD CUP New ground broken as quarters begin

Kingsley Dogo Michael of Nigeria pours water over his face
© Getty Images
A battle between two former champions, including the holders, highlights the opening day of quarter-final action at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015, while the winner of the day’s other last eight clash will make history in Chillan. Three-time champions Brazil face off against four-time winners and holders Nigeria in Vina Del Mar for the first time at this level before Croatia and Mali face off for a spot in what would be either side’s inaugural semi-final at this level.  
Match of the day
Brazil-Nigeria, Vina Del Mar, 1 November 2015, 16:00 (local time)Vina Del Mar has been a kind venue for A Seleção in the past, playing host to four of Brazil’s games in their victorious FIFA World Cup campaign in 1962, with that trend continuing with two victories at the Estadio Sausalito during Chile 2015. Nigeria stand in the way of Carlos Amadeu’s men continuing their charmed streak in Vina, and the imperious Victor Osimhen will be giving Brazil’s defenders restless nights ahead of the quarter-final. The Nigerian No9 has scored seven goals in four games. Seven is also the number of titles shared between these sides, but this game is remarkably the first meeting between the two sides at this level, although the nations’ U-20 sides faced off in New Zealand earlier this year – with Brazil the 4-2 victors.
The other match
Croatia face Mali in a truly ground-breaking game. The European side played in and won their first U-17 World Cup knockout game against Germany in the previous round, and face Mali in a FIFA tournament for the first time. Mali might have reached this stage twice before (in 1997 and 2001), but they have never gone further, meaning the victors would reach the final four at the U-17 global finals for the first time. The African side saw off Korea DPR in a dominant performance in the Round of 16, and now boast the best defensive record in the tournament, having conceded just one goal – against Ecuador in the group stages. Croatia will need all the creative guile of Nikola Moro and their technically gifted frontmen to unlock the Africans, with the Croat captain registering two goals and two assists so far.
Player to watch
Josip Brekalo (Croatia)While Moro has stolen the headlines in Chile, Brekalo has been in inspired form in South America. The No7 was sensational against Germany in the previous round, consistently attacking the right side of the DFB-Nachwuchs defence with a tormenting combination of intricate footwork and devastating delivery. He hit the woodwork and was instrumental in both goals, crossing for Moro’s opener and snatching possession before setting free Ivan Delic to tee up Davor Lovren’s late tap-in. The African’s superb defensive record so far will certainly be under threat from the gifted Dinamo Zagreb youngster.
The stat
200 minutes without conceding a goal for Mali at this tournament. They have some way to go to catch the record, a staggering 830 minute run set by Nigeria at the 1987, 1989 & 1993 finals.
The words
“We are candidates to win the title, but so are Brazil. We will work to put up a good fight,"Emmanuel Amuneke, Nigeria coach.​
Match schedule
Quarter-finalsBrazil-Nigeria (Estadio Sausalito, Vina Del Mar, 16:00)
Croatia-Mali (Estadio Nelson Oyarzun Arenas 19:00)
(All times local)

Luis Enrique: Busquets world's best midfielder

(AFP) Saturday 31 October 2015
Luis Enrique: Busquets world's best midfielder
© Getty Images
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique described Sergio Busquets as the "best midfielder in the world" after the Spanish international produced another near perfect performance in the Catalans' 2-0 win at Getafe.
Luis Suarez and Neymar again carried the goalscoring burden in the absence of the injured Lionel Messi with a goal either side of half-time to take Barça back on level terms with Real Madrid at the top of the table. The South American duo have now scored the European champions' last 14 goals in La Liga since Messi suffered knee ligament damage over a month ago. However, Enrique chose to highlight the consistently brilliant but often overlooked Busquets.
"He is a unique player. He is the most complete and, for me, best midfielder in the world without a doubt," he said. "He is a fundamental player for us, not just for his football intelligence but because he can play in any position and play at a very high level."
Indeed, Enrique admitted his biggest worry with Busquets is to ensure he gets enough rest having started every one of Barça's league and UEFA Champions League games this season due to a spate of injuries to other midfielders.
"Playing in front of the defence is where he feels most comfortable and when he is there the team gains solidity in defence and attack. He is a key player and I will try to give him a rest when I can."
Enrique was finally able to count on Sergi Roberto and Andres Iniesta after they overcame groin and hamstring injuries respectively. And it was 23-year-old Roberto who bolstered his burdening reputation with assists for both goals, including a spectacular backheel to play in Suarez for the opener.
"We are starting to get players back which is positive," added Enrique. "Sergi played a very complete game. He is changing positions and giving us a lot. He is in great form and we have to take advantage of that. Andres felt good in the half hour he had and is desperate for more."

New Zealand clinch third World Cup with 34-17 triumph against Australia

Ma'a Nonu runs in superb individual try while Dan Carter shows composure under pressure with the boot as All Black legends end their careers in glory
Adrian Warner
31/10/2015 06:28 GMT
New Zealand clinch third World Cup with 34-17 triumph against Australia
LONDON, 31 Oct - New Zealand withstood a rousing Australian fightback to secure a 34-17 victory in the Rugby World Cup final and claim a historic third Webb Ellis Cup.
A magical individual try from centre Ma’a Nonu and the composed boot of veteran fly-half Dan Carter helped steer the All Blacks to their second successive title.
Nonu scored one of the finest individual tries of RWC 2015 with a weaving run from 40 metres out at the start of the second half, as New Zealand ran in three tries in the most entertaining final in the 28-year history of the tournament.
Just as the Wallabies were threatening to complete an astonishing comeback in the second half after battling back from 21-3 behind to 21-17 with two quick tries in succession, Carter put over a crucial drop goal from 40 metres. The fly-half then slotted over a huge penalty kick from the half-way line as the All Blacks became the first team to defend the Webb Ellis Cup successfully.


Both players were playing their last game for New Zealand, as was Richie McCaw, who became the first All Blacks captain to lift the World Cup on foreign soil after their victories at home in 1987 and 2011.  
Carter, who missed out of New Zealand's 2011 final triumph because of injury, kicked a total of 19 points while winger Nehe Milner-Skudder and replacement Beauden Barrett added the other tries for the All Blacks.
The Wallabies’ second-half comeback was fuelled by tries from number eight David Pocock and centre Tevita Kuridrani, while fly-half Bernard Foley put over seven points with the boot.
It was not enough to prevent the All Blacks from sealing a deserved victory that makes them the most successful team in World Cup history, ahead of Australia and South Africa who have both won the tournament twice.


New Zealand dominated territory and possession in the first half but the Wallaby defence, which had played a major role in their progression to the final, withstood the pressure well, restricting the All Blacks to a 9-3 lead courtesy of three Carter penalties.
But with 39 minutes on the clock, Steve Hansen's side got their reward when Milner-Skudder touched down after a superb move from 20 metres out. Centre Conrad Smith, also retiring from international rugby after the final, ran a perfect line and cleverly switched the ball with Aaron Smith. The scrum-half then timed his pass outside to McCaw who fed Milner-Skudder to score near the right-hand corner.
Carter converted to give the All Blacks a 16-3 lead, and the All Black triumph seemed to be sealed just after the restart with Nonu’s piece of brilliance.
Sonny Bill Williams, who had been on the field for a matter of seconds as a half-time replacement for Conrad Smith, produced a slick overhead offload to Nonu just over the half-way line and the centre sprinted past a handful of Wallaby players to touch down to the left of the posts.


Leading 21-3, the All Blacks then faced a Wallaby comeback after losing full-back Ben Smith to the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle on Australia wing Drew Mitchell 10 minutes into the second half.
Australia ran in two tries while Smith was off the field, the first coming after they produced one of their classic rolling mauls off the back of a lineout for number eight Pocock to score.
Kuridrani then crashed over near the posts after Foley gathered a kick from Will Genia down the right-hand touchline and passed inside to the centre to score.
But with 10 minutes to go, and the All Blacks’ slim 21-17 lead looking in danger, the 33-year-old Carter stepped up to slot home a crucial drop goal from the half-way line, before adding another three-pointer from the tee that effectively settled the contest.
With two minutes remaining, New Zealand got their third try after Smith broke away from his own 22 and put ahead a kick from the half-way line, which Barrett in turn kicked ahead and then gathered to score. It was a superb piece of individual control to cap a tournament the All Blacks have controlled collectively.

Chelsea suffer fresh blow, City stay top

(AFP) Saturday 31 October 2015
Chelsea suffer fresh blow, City stay top
© Getty Images
Chelsea's miserable start to the English Premier League season continued as the troubled English champions crashed to a 3-1 defeat against Liverpool.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho's mounting problems took centre stage on a dramatic day in the Premier League which saw Manchester City stay top after escaping with a late 2-1 win against Norwich City.Arsenal are second, behind City on goal difference, after defeating Swansea 3-0 in an especially strong second-half display, while misfiring Manchester United failed to find the net once again in a 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace.
At Stamford Bridge, Mourinho's side took an early lead through Ramires but any hopes that would alleviate the crisis were destroyed by Philippe Coutinho. The Liverpool forward hit a superb equaliser in first half stoppage-time and punished sloppy Chelsea defending to put Jurgen Klopp's team ahead in the 74th minute.
With Mourinho fuming that Liverpool midfielder Lucas avoided a red card for what looked like a possible second booking at 1-1, his misery was compounded when Christian Benteke scored Liverpool's third goal seven minutes from full time. The Blues have now lost six of their 11 league games and are languishing four points above the relegation zone.
At Eastlands, City defender Nicolas Otamendi opened the scoring with a bullet header in the 67th minute to notch his first goal since signing from Valencia in August. Norwich snatched an 83rd minute equaliser when City goalkeeper Joe Hart spilled a corner and Cameron Jerome punished the embarrassing blunder. But City hit straight back to win it when Norwich defender Russell Martin was sent off for deliberate handball. Yaya Toure stroked in the resulting 89th minute penalty and there was still time for City to miss a spot-kick in stoppage-time when Aleksandar Kolarov fired wide.
Arsenal bounce back, Foxes go thirdArsenal remain hot on City's heels as they bounced back from their shock League Cup exit with a stroll at Swansea. Beaten by second tier Sheffield Wednesday in midweek, the Gunners took the lead when Olivier Giroud headed home in the 49th minute for Arsenal's 2000th goal under Arsene Wenger.
Laurent Koscielny got the second in the 68th minute when Swansea's former Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski dropped a corner and the French defender slotted in. Costa Rica forward Joel Campbell completed the victory with his first goal for Arsenal, four years after joining the Gunners, in the 73rd minute.
Manchester United did little to quell criticism of their "boring" style in a dour stalemate at Crystal Palace. United manager Louis van Gaal was slammed by Old Trafford legend Paul Scholes for his cautious tactics in midweek and there was no immediate response from his players after a third successive goalless draw that leaves them in fourth place.
Watford halted West Ham United's impressive run as Nigeria forward Odion Ighalo struck twice in a 2-0 win at Vicarage Road. Ighalo converted Nathan Ake's cross from close-range in the 39th minute and netted again three minutes into the second half for his seventh goal of the season. West Ham defender James Collins was sent off for a dangerous challenge six minutes from full time.
Leicester City climbed to third place as Jamie Vardy scored for the eighth successive league game to clinch a 3-2 win at West Bromwich Albion. Venezuela striker Salomon Rondon headed Albion into the lead in the 30th minute. But Leicester's Algeria winger Riyad Mahrez equalised in the 57th minute. Mahrez put Leicester ahead seven minutes later before England forward Vardy netted in the 77th minute for his eighth in a row -- a superb run that only Ruud van Nistelrooy and Daniel Sturridge have surpassed in Premier League history. Rickie Lambert's 84th minute penalty for Albion came too late to rescue a point.
Newcastle missed a chance to move out of the relegation zone after a 0-0 draw against Stoke City at St James' Park. On Sunday, Everton host Sunderland and Southampton face Bournemouth, while managerless Aston Villa travel to Tottenham Hotspur on Monday.