Fonseca: ‘Roma deserved this’

first_img Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: Paulo Fonseca thanked his Roma players for pushing through the pain barrier to get “three very, very important points” against Milan. Edin Dzeko and Nicolò Zaniolo pounced on defensive errors around a Theo Hernandez strike to secure the 2-1 victory, despite a lengthy list of absentees. There was also added fatigue, as the Giallorossi had played a 1-1 Europa League draw with Borussia Monchengladbach on Thursday night. “The players put in a good performance and fought hard, but it’s not easy at the moment to play three games in a week, so they really deserved this,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia. “Zaniolo had a great game, scored an important goal for us and we have three very, very important points for the team.” Alessandro Florenzi was on the bench and remained there, even after Leonardo Spinazzola limped off. “When Spinazzola felt the muscular problem, I thought we needed to defend well, especially against a quick player like Rafael Leao on the left. Cetin has more pace and is more of a defender, he’s also more physical, so the thought was to defend at that moment.” Javier Pastore has been playing more than expected lately because of the injury crisis, but this evening had one of his best games in a Giallorossi jersey. “We cannot forget there are three games in a week for Pastore, but he showed his quality and professionalism this evening.” Roma are only one point adrift of Napoli and fourth place, despite the injury crisis. “At this moment, we just have to take it one game at a time. We’ll look at the table later on, positions aren’t important right now.”last_img read more

De Ligt ‘happy’ with Juve progress

first_imgA defiant Matthijs de Ligt tells his Juventus critics, “I had a very good game against Milan and scored the winner against Torino.” De Ligt is currently on international duty with Netherlands, and he spoke to NOS Voetbal about his start to life in Serie A. The defender was at fault for some early goals against Juve in the opening weeks of the season, including several incidents where the ball hit him on the arm, but he feels he has turned a corner. “[The criticism] was only for a moment. I had a very good game against Milan and scored the winner against Torino in the derby. It was a beautiful moment. I am happy.” The 20-year-old is challenging for the Scudetto with Inter rival Stefan de Vrij, both of whom are teammates for the national side. “It’s a great fight for the title with Inter. But I see De Vrij as more of a friend. “If he plays against me, he gives it to me and vice versa. I’m often with him as Milan is only an hour in the car from Turin. I really like having someone nearby to speak Dutch with.” The Oranje conclude their qualifying campaign for Euro 2020 with matches against Northern Ireland and Estonia. Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: read more

Cagliari suffer Nandez blow

first_imgCagliari have confirmed that midfielder Nahitan Nandez will miss Uruguay’s games against Hungary and Argentina because of a thigh injury. The Uruguayan limped off in the first half during Cagliari’s 5-2 over Fiorentina on Sunday. Now, the club have given confirmation on their official site that Nandez suffered a hamstring strain in his right leg. The 23-year-old will now stay in Sardinia for observation and further evaluation of his injury. Nandez joined the Rossoblu from Boca Juniors over the summer as a replacement for Nicolo Barella. He has played in all of their 12 Serie A games so far this season, helping them into the top four. Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: read more

Spain or Holland? FIFA World Cup final fever mounts

first_imgFootball fever — be it red or orange — has taken over Spain and Holland ahead of the World Cup final, with both countries desperate to lift the trophy for the first time ever.ALSO SEE>>Netherlands Beat Uruguay, Enter FinalGerman Onslaught Ends, Spain in FinalWin or lose, Spain is preparing for an extraordinary fiesta.Spain’s blood-red and gold colours are flying from balconies, bars and cars throughout most of the country.Even in Catalonia, a region with its own distinct culture and language and which has traditionally been disdainful of the Spanish national team, there was growing enthusiasm.Authorities in the Catalan capital of Barcelona agreed for the first time during the tournament to set up a giant outdoor screen for the match on Sunday.In the northeastern town of Pamplona, the fervour over this week’s annual San Fermin festival, which includes “running of the bulls”, was mixed with excitement at on Sunday’s World Cup final.On Madrid’s main Paseo de Castellana avenue, municipal workers have draped flags over the Cibeles and Neptune fountains, where fans of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid respectively celebrate their victories.At least 150,000 fans of La Roja (The Reds), as the Spanish team is known, are expected on the avenue Sunday night to watch Spain’s first ever appearance in a World Cup final on giant screens in a “fan park,” which has been moved for the occasion.The screens were previously installed outside Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium, where some 50,000 watched the semi-final against Germany.advertisementEven if Spain loses, the players will be feted in a parade in an open-top bus that will pass through the city centre on Monday.And many companies, as usual, have spotted marketing opportunities.As temperatures soar throughout the Spanish capital, Coca-Cola representatives are handing out red and gold fans.Spain’s Mahou beer company has launched an Internet campaign for July 11 to be named a national holiday if Spain lifts the World Cup, and the supermarket chain Carrefour is offering 25 per cent reductions on television sets.Spanish television for the first time on Friday broadcast live the prediction of Paul the “pyschic” and now famous German octopus, who has tipped Spain to win. The Dutch were not too dismayed though, as Pauline, a female octopus in the Netherlands, has forecast a win for Holland, albeit in her first attempt at clairvoyancy.Throughout the Netherlands, what is colloquially known as Orange Fever has grown in line with the team’s progress through the tournament. Entire streets are lined with small orange flags and some people have covered their homes with plastic sheets in the national colour.Others adorn themselves, their children, pets, cars and bicycles with orange paraphernalia. Wigs, shirts, boas and hats and some more unusual items like orange toilet paper, pastries, contact lenses and underwear, even condoms, are flying off the shelves.In Amsterdam, the canals are being prepared for a boat parade of the Oranje Elftal (Orange Eleven as the team is nicknamed) on Tuesday, if they win. Barges that could block the procession are being removed by authorities.The city expects a million people to come out in support of their team, if victorious, on Tuesday.Giant television screens are being installed in several cities. The biggest gatherings of supporters on Sunday are expected in Amsterdam, where up to 50,000 watched the semi-final against Uruguay on the Museumplein (Museum Square) on Tuesday, and in Rotterdam where two screens are being erected.In the central city of Utrecht, as in many others, fans will watch the match on a big screen on the outskirts to prevent too many people crowding into city centre bars.Flags prematurely declaring Holland the 2010 football World Cup champions are selling like hotcakes. Sales of televisions, barbeque sets and orange accessories are expected to reach a peak on Saturday, according to a spokeswoman for the Dutch retailers federation, Yvonne Fernhout.In The Hague, animal protection services have urged people not to blow too hard on their vuvuzelas during Sunday’s match so as not to terrorise their pets. “Animals panic, run away and an be injured,” it warned in a statement.last_img read more

Sewage trouble raises a stink at Buddh track

first_imgThe proposed closure of the Buddh International Circuit later this month for ‘maintenance work’ actually has its source in a very basic problem of day-to-day life – plumbing.It has been learnt that the circuit is being shut down to bring about changes to the sewage lines, which were a cause of embarrassment to the otherwise state-of-the art circuit.The maintenance work has led to the cancellation of the final rounds of the National Racing Championship and the international motorsports federation (FIA) approved JK Racing Asia Series, which were to be held on November 26 and 27 at the Greater Noida venue.The national racing finals have been shifted to Chennai while the Asia Series hasn’t yet finalised its new venue, but has expressed regret at the inability of Jaypee Sports International to host the race at the Buddh circuit, completed just in time for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix last month.During the Formula One weekend, a lot of toilets were surprisingly clogged due to blocked sewage lines, and that raised quite a stink in the paddock. Sources claim some teams couldn’t stand the stench, with Team Lotus reportedly even protesting to the organisers about the trouble.The temporary solution for the problem was to use a limited number of bathrooms, with the teams asked to “have their breakfast and come to the circuit”. In fact, lunch was the only meal served at the venue, in order to minimise the need to use the toilets.The problem came to light on October 29, the day of Formula One qualifying, when a sewage pipe behind the paddock cracked. This led to a lot of gutter water leaking on to the service road, raising a stink there too. The problem can only be eliminated if the sewage lines are dug up and fixed or relaid, but the question remains whether this couldn’t have been postponed for a few more days to allow the events to take place.advertisementJPSI chief Sameer Gaur has said there will be a rethink about the timing of the shutdown, but with the organisers of the series confirming the shift, there seems to be no chance of the Buddh circuit hosting another race this year.last_img read more

SAFF Championship: India need convincing victory over Bhutan

first_imgIndia’s start to the SAFF Championship has been disappointing, to say the least. Coming to the tournament as the defending champions, Savio Medeira’s boys were given a run for their money by Afghanistan before the hosts escaped with a draw.Now the men in blue face 198th ranked Bhutan in their second and must-win match on Monday. Bhutan are another weak opponent, at least on paper, who are coming into the match after a 0-3 drubbing by Sri Lanka.Bhutan’s performance in the first match might give some solace to India, but the margin by which the Sri Lankans won is bound to increase coach Medeira’s problems, as goal difference may well become the deciding factor as to which two teams will proceed to the semi-finals from Group A.Medeira knows it well, and said the team may go for all-out attack to increase the goal tally. “I had a talk with the boys regarding it. Tomorrow we need victory; tomorrow we need goals,” he said. “I hope they will show the character they showed against Malaysia when we beat them.”However, Medeira will stick to the normal 4-4-2 formation rather than the more attacking 4-3-3 style. “I cannot go on changing the strategy every day. There is no time for experimentation right in the middle of the tournament,” he said.All the players who started against Afghanistan will also feature against Bhutan, with the exception of defender Samir Naik who has suffered an ankle injury. He did not practice with the team on Sunday.advertisement”The team doctor will have a look at the injury tomorrow and then will decide the line-up. In his place we can either play Nirmal Chhetri or Govin Singh,” Medeira said.India’s mid-field had a poor outing against the Afghans and were clearly dominated by the rivals. However, the coach has decided not to disturb the rest of the combination.”They had a bad day against Afghanistan and I am confident they will find the touch tomorrow,” Medeira said. That essentially means captain Climax Lawrence, Steven Dias, Rocus Lamare and Clifford Miranda will again man the mid-field.The other three defenders in the opening match – Gouramangi Singh, Syed Rahim Nabi, Mahesh Gawli – have the full support of Medeira despite crumbling in several pressure situations.The goalkeeping responsibility will be held by Karanjit Singh, who was a busy man on Saturday as he had to continuously thwart the rivals’ attacks.Medeira is also hopeful that his two strikers Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua would be in their element against Bhutan. “You cannot expect a player to travel for 12 hours and then perform in the same way he has been doing in the last few matches,” he said. “They are the best possible striking combination right now.”Bhutan is a pretty young side. If the Himalayan nation wants to make an impact then strikers Nim Sangay and Sangay Khandu will have to fire. And in the defence, they will depend on Tshering Dorje.Monday’s matches: Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka (3 pm); India vs Bhutan (6 pm) – All matches live on TEN Action+last_img read more

Saina Nehwal pulls out of Syed Modi event

first_imgAce Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal pulled out of the Syed Modi Memorial India Grand Prix Gold Badminton Championship at the last minute on Wednesday. World No. 4 Saina was to play Pai Hsiao Ma of Chinese Taipei, but withdrew minutes before the game.”She (Saina) complained of a hamstring injury and withdrew from the tournament”, Badminton Association of India general secretary Vijay Sinha said. Doctors have advised her rest for three days and she left the city later in the evening.However, sources in the Uttar Pradesh Badminton Association said Saina was suffering from cold and exertion after her recent loss in the summit clash at the Super Series Finals.On Tuesday, her coach Pullela Gopichand had said no one should worry about Saina’s class. “She is capable of defeating any player from any country. This tournament is a very good platform for players and I am sure that Saina will win,” he had said.The tournament, with a prize money of $120,000, has participants from over 30 countries.last_img read more

Auto Expo: Car makers are betting big on the Indian market in 2012

first_imgClick here to EnlargeThe global automobile industry is not daunted by the recent slowdown in India’s growth rate. The 11th edition of AutoExpo, which begins in Delhi on January 7, will launch more than 50 new models of cars and other vehicles, marginally higher than the number launched at the,Click here to EnlargeThe global automobile industry is not daunted by the recent slowdown in India’s growth rate. The 11th edition of AutoExpo, which begins in Delhi on January 7, will launch more than 50 new models of cars and other vehicles, marginally higher than the number launched at the 10th edition in 2010. Motor enthusiasts will be able to view more than 200 car models, including the new launches at Delhi’s Pragati Maidan, across different price segments.The show-stealer in the premium segment is the super luxury convertible SLS Roadster by Mercedes, priced at Rs 2.5 crore. Luxury carmakers BMW and Audi will present their latest concept cars to the Indian audience. At the opposite end of the price spectrum, Bajaj’s new small car, the RE60, launched three days before the AutoExpo, will attract a lot of attention. It isn’t clear yet whether the small car which the company claims will give a mileage of 35 km to a litre will be available to all consumers or restricted for use as public transport, much like Bajaj’s best-selling three-wheeler autorickshaws.Click here to Enlarge2012 seems to be the year for utility vehicles. Mahindra & Mahindra will launch its sports utility vehicles, SsangYong Korando and SsangYong Rexton; Maruti will showcase its multi-utility vehicle Ertiga; and Nissan will bring to India its NV200. Renault’s mid-price SUV, Duster, and Volkswagen’s upgraded Touareg will also be on display at the AutoExpo.The rise in prices of petrol through 2011 has made cars that run on diesel attractive buys for the price-conscious Indian consumer. The price differential between petrol and diesel is a sizeable Rs 25 per litre. Most of the new suvs run on diesel, but there are also a number of smaller cars that are looking to make a mark in this segment. Tata Motors is releasing a diesel variant of the Nano in a bid to compensate for the lukewarm sales of its petrol version. Other companies are also eyeing the segment. General Motors Vice-President P. Balendran told India Today that while the company saw little growth in 2011, it recorded good sales growth for the diesel variant of the Chevrolet Beat.advertisementGoing with the green theme of the event, visitors can also see a number of cars that run on alternate fuel. Maruti and Tata, among others, will launch hybrid models. Mahindra is expected to launch an upgraded version of its electric car Reva, the Reva NXR.Car makers are hoping that the expo will herald a turnaround after a bad year in 2011. It is estimated that the sector grew by about 3 per cent in 2011, compared with a growth of 30.8 per cent in 2010. The purchasing power of Indian consumers was dented by a combination of high inflation, prohibitive interest rates and increased cost of petrol. R.C. Bhargava, chairman of India’s largest car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki, believes that 2012 will be better for car makers. Says Bhargava, “Historically, one bad year is followed by a good year.” However, he doesn’t expect a return to 2010. “I don’t think 2012 will see a growth of 25 per cent,” he says, reflecting the general mood of cautious optimism among car manufacturers. Few expect the headwinds of high interest rates, high inflation and high fuel prices to go away in just one year. There will be a moderation of adverse conditions.Broking firm ICICI Direct said in a recent report that it expects the automobile sector to rebound after cuts in interest rates. “We believe fiscal year 2013 may not mimic a V-shaped recovery, as we expect modest near-11 to 13 per cent growth in the auto sector,” the report says Bankers are hopeful that interest rates will indeed decline this year after the rbi signalled a pause in its rate hikes in its December review of monetary policy. Says Rana Kapoor, managing director and ceo of Yes Bank, “I expect interest rates to come down 1.5 per cent by September.”The year has started on an ominous note for consumers. Major car manufacturers like Mahindra & Mahindra, Hyundai Motor India, Toyota Kirloskar, Ford India, Nissan and General Motors India have begun the year with price hikes in the range of 1-3 per cent. The pressure of inflation and the sharp decline in the rupee have added to cost pressures, some of which are inevitably being passed on to consumers. Nevertheless, those who have deferred purchases through 2011 would be looking to buy more cars in 2012.Balendran expects the market to turn around by April-May. He is not upbeat about growth in the small car segment. “The small car segment has not grown much, the major growth has happened in the premium hatchback section. The low-medium has also registered some growth but the mini car has been a dampener this year,” he points out.advertisementUnlike in 2010, when manufacturers had pinned their hopes on small cars, in 2012, they are focusing on the premium and mid-price segments to drive the market. These segments are usually less sensitive to high inflation and prohibitive interest rates than the budget segment.last_img read more

President Pratibha Patil’s son used his status to further his business and political interests

first_imgRajendra Shekhawat.Rajendra Shekhawat, the MLA son of President Pratibha Patil from Amravati, courted controversy on February 15 when local police seized unaccounted cash of Rs 1 crore from a car headed for his home, two days before the city voted for the municipal corporation. This is not the first time,Rajendra Shekhawat.Rajendra Shekhawat, the MLA son of President Pratibha Patil from Amravati, courted controversy on February 15 when local police seized unaccounted cash of Rs 1 crore from a car headed for his home, two days before the city voted for the municipal corporation. This is not the first time his name has cropped up for the wrong reasons. The high-profile Shekhawat, 45, allegedly used his status as President’s son to acquire a 532 sq m plot of land worth Rs 1.50 crore and in possession of the National Cadet Corps (NCC), for a college run by Vidya Bharati Education Society (VBES), a charitable body, while he was the organisation’s chairman. VBES runs 21 educational institutes including colleges and schools in Amravati. India Today is in possession of documents which show that land, which was previously with the NCC, was transferred to VBES.Shekhawat’s name surfaced in the cash episode when Arun Bodhankar, driver of the car, asked a constable on duty about the home of the Congress MLA. “It was 1.30 a.m. and the driver was new in the city. He thought the constable would know where Shekhawat’s home was. The alert constable gotVidya Bharati premises.suspicious and inspected the car thoroughly. To his shock, there was a stack of Rs 1 crore lying on the rear seat. Then he alerted his superiors and the cash was seized,” a senior officer with Amravati Police Commissionerate told India Today. While the Opposition alleged that the money was meant to be distributed among voters, Shekhawat said it was party funds meant to be distributed among the 87 Congress candidates in the fray. The question remained: Why did the candidates need money on the day campaigning ended and why was the money not deposited in their bank accounts, as made mandatory by Election Commission?In 2007, when Patil was on the verge of becoming President, vbes got lease of 10,117 sq m of land, adjoining the Vidya Bharati College, on April 26, 2007, to construct a students’ consumer centre, canteen, employees’ cooperative society and a hostel. The land had been under the possession of NCC till then. After 2007, a portion of the land, 532 sq m, remained with ncc for conducting Sunday parades of its cadets. In 2010, VBES got possession of the 532 sq m land-a year after Shekhawat became MLA. Shekhawat had sent a proposal to the divisional commissioner in January 2009 asking for possession of the 532-sq m plot for developing a playground. After he became MLA in October 2009, he wrote to then school education minister Balasaheb Thorat on January 14, 2010, “requesting” for a change in the venue of the NCC parade ground from Vidya Bharati College to the Zilha Parishad School’s ground in front of the state transport depot.advertisementSunil Deshmukh, Former Minister.On January 27, 2010, Vinod Bodare, a desk officer in the Maharashtra School Education Department, wrote to the deputy director for sports and youth services of Amravati division seeking his opinion on Shekhawat’s letter. On February 22, 2010, the director recommended that the land no longer be reserved for the NCC parade as “alternative lands were available for the parade”. He suggested that the parade ground be moved to alternative sites such as Sant Gadgebaba Amravati University, Vidarbha Institute of Science and Humanities, Dasera ground and Zilha Parishad school. Bodare wrote on April 3, 2010, to Amravati Municipal Commissioner Navin Sona for his opinion on the transfer. After getting the commissioner’s nod, the land was handed over to vbes in June 2010. “It is not possible to get possession of a government land in just six months unless you have strong political influence,” says Sunil Deshmukh, former Maharashtra minister of state for finance. “Shekhawat pressured officials to work in his favour using Pratibhatai’s clout,” he alleges.Shekhawat also stands accused of misusing Patil’s position to consolidate his base. In December 2011, Patil inaugurated a flyover near Kondhali, 20 km from Amravati, on the Nagpur-Ahmedabad highway. The function was included in her official itinerary on the insistence of Shekhawat, who saw it as an opportunity to project himself as a leader keen on development ahead of the municipal corporation polls. “The inauguration of a flyover lowered the President’s dignity but Shekhawat did not care,” says Pradeep Shingore, BJP president in Amravati.Shekhawat rubbishes the charges. “What I can say is that the allegations are baseless. I do not want to elaborate on anything else at this point,” he said.In 2007, Shekhawat ran pillar to post to get a Congress ticket from a ward in Worli, Mumbai, for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation polls. He was denied a ticket. Now, under his leadership, the Congress has emerged as the single-largest party in the 87-member Amravati Municipal Corporation by winning 25 seats. Currently, Shekhawat is among the most powerful leaders in Maharashtra Congress. Will his clout last beyond July, when Patil steps down from office?advertisementlast_img read more