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Rodgers pleased with Leicester City’s ‘excellent win’ over Aston Villa

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Birmingham [UK], February 22 (ANI): Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers was pleased with his side’s “excellent win” over Aston Villa and praised the players for their “very, very good” performance.
Leicester City defeated Aston Villa 2-1 in the Premier League here on Sunday.
“It was an excellent win for us. In the first half, in particular, our football was very, very good… our movement, the speed of the game, the pressing was really good. We were really hungry in that first half. We conceded a poor goal from our perspective after 48 minutes, so that gives them momentum for the next 15-20 minutes,” Rodgers told LCFC TV.
“But we then got to grips with the game again. We still had one or two chances. Vards (Jamie Vardy) was through, he looked like he was going to get in and score. There were one or two moments where their ‘keeper makes a great save from James’ free-kick and then, by the end, on the back end of European travel and a tough game, we had to defend strongly, and the players did that fantastically,” he added.
Leicester City dominated their opponents in the first half. James Maddison opened the scoring in the 19th minute, giving Leicester a one-goal lead. Harvey Barnes doubled the lead only four minutes later as Leicester City took a commanding position in the match.
In the second half, Bertrand Traore scored a goal for Aston Villa but it was not enough to stop Leicester City from earning three points from the game. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng: Drawing series against hosts would be one of my greatest achievements, says Root

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 3 (ANI): Ahead of the crucial fourth Test against India, England Test captain Joe Root has said that if his side manages to draw the ongoing series then it would be one of his greatest achievements as a captain.
The four-match series is currently being led by India 2-1 and the hosts just need to win or draw the final Test to qualify for the finals of the World Test Championship (WTC).
On the other hand, England is out of WTC’s final contention, and they would be playing just to end the four-match series 2-2. If England wins the last Test, then Australia would qualify for the WTC finals.
“You look at India’s record at home in recent times and it’s incredible. So, for us to come away with a drawn series would be a really good achievement, especially off the back of the last two games. We’ve had two challenging weeks but that doesn’t define us as a team. We need to look at this as a real opportunity to do something special. It would be a brilliant achievement to leave here two-all. It would be a monumental effort from this group of players. So there are loads to play for,” ESPNCricinfo quoted Root as saying.
“It would certainly be up there with my greatest achievements as captain. The progress we’ve made over the last couple of years has been really pleasing, especially away from home. If we end up winning this game it’d be four wins out of six Tests on this tour. It would be a phenomenal achievement from the players to have found a way in some very foreign and difficult conditions. So it’s a great motivator for us as a side and I’d be extremely proud of everyone involved if we managed to do that,” he added.
India had managed to defeat England by ten wickets within two days in the third Test at the same venue. The match saw both India and England batsmen failing to shine and getting out to balls that did not turn and skidded through from the spinners.
Root also ended up taking a fifer in the first innings of the third Test and he returned with the figures of 5-8. However, England went in with just Lack Leach as a frontline spinner and now the England skipper says that Dom Bess is also in contention for the fourth and final Test.
“If the pitch looks anything like the last one, he’ll (Bess) be licking his lips at the opportunity. He is certainly in contention for selection. He is a very skillful young player that is very ambitious and will be desperate to make his mark. You look at the side for the last match: we got that wrong in terms of the way we selected the team; we read the pitch wrong. We looked at the conditions and how the ball had behaved and the previous pink-ball Test in India and we got it wrong. We didn’t envisage it to spin as much,” said Root.
“If the pitch is anything like the last one, of course, Dom would be a fantastic option. His skill levels are far above mine. He will be very much looking forward to bowling on it. We’re definitely expecting this pitch to spin. That’s been a big part of our focus in training so we’re as prepared as we can be going into this game,” he added. (ANI)

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Premier League: Man City thrash Wolves to extend lead at top of standings

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Manchester [UK], March 3 (ANI): Gabriel Jesus’ brace helped Manchester City thrash Wolves 4-1 in the Premier League at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.
With this win, City further consolidated its lead at the top and now the side has 65 points from 27 matches. Pep Guardiola’s side now has a 15-point lead over the second-placed Manchester United.
This win was Manchester City’s 21st consecutive victory across all competitions this season.
In the first half, Wolves’ Leander Dendoncker registered an own goal and this helped in City gaining an early lead in the 15th minute of the game.
No more goals were registered in the first half and City went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
In the second half, Wolves got the equalising goal in the 61st minute as Conor Coady got among the scoring sheets, bringing the scoreline level to 1-1.
Gabriel Jesus then came into his own and he got his first goal of the match in the 80th minute, giving City a 2-1 lead. Ten minutes later, Riyad Mahrez got among the act and this ended up giving City a 3-1 lead.
Jesus scored his second goal of the match three minutes later and in the end, the hosts walked away with a comfortable 4-1 victory.
Manchester City will now take on Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday. (ANI)

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Resilient Indian men’s hockey team play out 1-1 with Germany

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Krefeld [Germany], March 3 (ANI): Indian men’s hockey team’s second of their four-match tour of Europe ended in a 1-1 draw with both the teams living up to the billing on Tuesday.
Jarmanpreet Singh of India opened the scoreboard for India in the 4th minute while Martin Haner scored for Germany. Riding high on confidence after a dominating 6-1 win in their first international match of 2021, India started on an attacking note against the hosts and earned themselves a penalty corner in the 4th minute, which was converted by defender Jarmanpreet Singh with a classic slap shot.
Within the following two minutes, the hosts also bounced back and got their chance to score an equaliser with a penalty corner but could not capitalise.
The visitors continued to dominate in the second quarter, with better ball possession, creating potential opportunities with intent to capitalize on the early lead. However, the quarter ended with the hosts putting pressure on the Indian men with strong man-to-man tackle.
The hosts backed their tactical play with some quick forays into the striking circle, resulting in them earning back-to-back penalty corners. It was in their second attempt when the experienced Martin Haner levelled the score 1-1 minutes ahead of the half-time break.
Continuing the momentum, the third quarter saw Germany keeping the ball in the Indian half to create scoring opportunities but, Indian defenders remained composed and set-up a well-structured defence that kept the German forward line from converting. A solid block from Surender Kumar at the very last minute saw the third-quarter ending in a 1-1 stalemate.
The final quarter saw some nail-biting moments, with both the teams upping the ante but neither allowed a goal with the match ending in a 1-1 deadlock.
“This match was a good experience for our players. It was a tough match and the team worked hard. Both teams created opportunities and I believe we will learn a lot from this game,” stated India’s coach Graham Reid.
India will next play Great Britain on Saturday, March 6. (ANI)

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Crowd to be allowed for 5th T20I if Wellington’s alert level status is relaxed

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New Zealand Cricket (NZC) on Tuesday announced that the order of Sunday’s T20I double-header at Wellington’s Sky Stadium has been reversed.

As a result, New Zealand’s men’s team will be taking on Australia in the early game and New Zealand’s women’s team (White Ferns) will be squaring off against England later in the afternoon. “The decision follows discussions between New Zealand Cricket and Cricket Australia and will allow the Australia squad to catch a charter flight home immediately after the game – and avoid having to transit through Auckland,” NZC said in an official statement.

“Should Wellington’s Alert Level status be relaxed ahead of Sunday’s doubleheader, a crowd will be allowed inside the venue,” it added.

On Monday, NZC had announced that the final T20I of the five-match series between New Zealand and Australia has been shifted to Wellington from Bay Oval.

The final T20I of the three-match series between New Zealand women (White Ferns) and England women will also be played in Wellington.

Earlier, it was confirmed that the upcoming third and fourth T20Is between New Zealand and Australia will be played behind closed doors. The first and second T20I between New Zealand Women (White Ferns) and England Women will also be played behind closed doors following the change to New Zealand’s alert levels with an eye on the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Saturday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that Auckland would return to level 3 for seven days. As a result, no sport can be held at level 3, reported stuff.co.nz.

The fourth T20I between New Zealand-Australia and White Ferns-England was to be played in Auckland, but as per the new guidelines, the matches were relocated to Wellington.

The rest of the country has moved to alert level 2 and the restrictions will last for a period of seven days. While announcing the new restrictions, Ardern said that the lockdown was needed due to there being no immediate transmission link between the new mystery case and the latest Auckland cluster.

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Real Madrid lose 2 vital points in La Liga title race

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Real Madrid dropped two vital points in the race for the La Liga title when they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Real Sociedad.

The result leaves Real Madrid five points less than league leaders, Atletico Madrid, with an extra game played ahead of the Madrid derby which will be played in Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium next weekend, Xinhua news agency reported.

Real Madrid again lacked effectiveness in front of goal without the injured Karim Benzema, but Real Sociedad deserves credit for a solid display in which they always looked threatening on the break on Monday night.

The game was just six minutes old when the visitors should have had a penalty when Casemiro brought down Nacho Monreal only for the referee to rule it out for a prior offside, which for some reason the VAR did not correct.

Real Madrid reacted to the let-off and took control of the game with Mariano Diaz having a header deflected onto the bar, before Raphael Varane also hit the bar with a header, which visiting keeper Alex Remiro had covered.

Marco Asensio then saw a shot blocked and Robin le Normand cleared off the line, while Remiro saved from Luka Modric as Madrid threatened but failed to open the scoring.

Real Sociedad then started the second half strongly and Portu opened the scoring with a header that went in off the post in the 54th minute after a pinpoint cross from Monreal.

Porto was then inches away from setting Alexander Isak up for his side’s second of the game, only for the ball to evade the striker by inches.

Duro saw a header deflected over in injury time but there was not enough time for Real Madrid to find the winning goal their title hopes needed.

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Ashwin nominated for ICC Player of the Month

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India’s senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been nominated for the International Cricket Council (ICC) men’s Player of the Month (February) award.

The ICC on Tuesday announced the nominees for the ICC Player of the Month Awards for the month of February to recognise the best performances from both male and female cricketers across all forms of international cricket. Alongside Ashwin, England skipper Joe Root and West Indies all-rounder Kyle Mayers have also been nominated for the month of February in the men’s category.

Ashwin played 3 tests against England as part of India’s ongoing series against them. In these Tests, he scored a 106 in the second innings of India’s second Test victory over England in Chennai and took his 400th Test wicket in the third Test victory in Ahmedabad.

Scoring a total of 176 runs across these games while also taking a total of 24 wickets, Ashwin is the deserving candidate to be nominated in the men’s category for Feb.

England Test captain Joe Root makes it to the list of nominations again this month for his outstanding performance with the bat and the ball.

He scored a total of 333 runs and took 6 wickets overall in the 3 Tests that he has played against India. In the first Test against India, Root scored a 218 to lead England to victory.

From the West Indies, Test debutant Mayers played 2 Tests against Bangladesh and scored a match-winning 210 to help the West Indies successfully chase 395 and win the first Test against Bangladesh. This performance alone is deserving of this nomination.

In the women’s category, England opening batter Tammy Beaumont and all-rounder Nat Sciver and New Zealand batter Brooke Halliday have been nominated for the month of February.

Tammy Beaumont’s unbeaten 72 helped England to a comfortable seven-wicket win against New Zealand. She played 3 ODIs and passed fifty in each of these against New Zealand, totalling 231 runs.

Brooke Halliday of New Zealand also played 3 ODIs against England and scored a total of 110 runs and took 2 wickets in these games. Brooke also went on to become just the fourth woman to score half-centuries in each of her first two ODI matches.

England’s Nat Sciver went on to take 5 wickets and score a total of 96 runs in the 3 ODIs she played against New Zealand. Nat was the leading wicket-taker in the ODI series between New Zealand and England and added an innings of 63 in the second match that they won.

India wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant had won the men’s award in January while the women’s award went to South Africa’s Shabnim Ismail.

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