Lady Seraphs proving their mettle on softball diamond Seraphs earn the three seed in Parochial South B

first_img By Warren Rappleyea Staff Writer Lady Seraphs proving their mettle on softball diamond Seraphs earn the three seed in Parochial South B At the beginning of the season coach Jeanne Dickinson knew that her Mater Dei High School softball team was likely to be underestimated. That’s not the case now, though, as the Middletown Seraphs will play Rumson-Fair Haven this afternoon for a share of the Shore Conference Class B Central title. After losing several key starters from last year’s 12-9 team, Dickinson said, “I don’t think people thought much of us as a team. So the Seraphs went out and proved themselves. Along the way Dickinson’s team downed St. Rose twice, Shore Regional, in a 2-1 game; Monmouth Regional in 11 innings; and pulled a stunning comeback to upend Matawan. With a 16-7 overall record, Mater Dei also qualified for the NJSIAA Parochial B tourney, where they are the No. 3 seed in the bracket. The Seraphs will host Sacred Heart Tuesday at 4 p.m. The winner of that contest gets the winner of the Cardinal McCarrick (7)-Gloucester Catholic (2) first-round match-up. “From the start of the season the girls had a motto, ‘Together everyone achieves more,’ ” Dickinson said. “That’s the way they’ve played all season. This has been such a team effort, and I’m particularly pleased with the way the girls play defense.” That defense is solid up the middle. The Seraphs double-play combo of second baseman Lisa Holt and junior shortstop Sarah McCarthy has been outstanding, committing just five errors between them. Center fielder Katie Supon and catcher Nicole Faccas, who played the outfield a year ago, have been excellent as well. Right fielder Kelly Shannon keeps opponents hustling as was evidenced by her seven assists. On the mound, Ashley Heaney has done all the work. The junior’s 16-7 record mirrors that of the team. In 142 innings she has 107 strikeouts and just six walks, while compiling a 1.58 ERA. Offensively, the Seraphs score enough to get by. Holt is Mater Dei’s top hitter with a .459 average, including 10 extra base hits, and eight RBIs. McCarthy is right behind with a .423 mark, 18 RBIs; and her 18 stolen bases are tops on the team. Shannon, a junior, is batting .406 with a homer and 19 RBIs, and left fielder/DH Emily Cortiglia is at .333 with six ribbys. Other members of the team include first baseman Taryn Balthazar, third basemen Katie Dellosso and Desiree Marsh; juniors Jackie Anderson, who splits the left field and DH duties with Cortiglia, and Natalie Bernstein, a catcher; and freshman infielder Erica Weeks. “The girls wanted to have a good year, and they’ve all stepped up a bit to make it happen,” Dickinson said.last_img read more

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Hawks’ football team heads into transitional campaign

first_img Monmouth University football players J.P. McManus (l) and Ed Hunt run through a blocking drill during practice on Aug. 15. The Hawks are playing an independent schedule this fall and open up on the road at Montana State University on Aug. 29. STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ERIC SUCAR Monmouth University football is embarking on what head coach Kevin Callahan referred to as a “transitional” year.After 16 years in the Northeast Conference (NEC) — and five titles — the Hawks are moving to the Big South Conference next year. In the meantime, the Hawks are playing a 12-game, independent schedule this fall. As they get ready to join their new conference in 2014, there is excitement and anticipation for the 2013 season to unfold.Callahan said he sees a lot of positives for the Hawks this season despite the challenges that it creates.“It puts us in a tremendous position,” he said. “It allows us to play a schedule that is national in scope.“This year serves as a steppingstone to the Big South,” he added. “We know it will be a challenge. We’re playing teams with a national reputation.”The Hawks’ regular-season schedule begins on Aug. 29 at 9:05 p.m. against Montana State University, last year’s Big Sky co-champions and the No. 2 preseason ranked team in the country among Division I football teams by Football Championship Subdivision coaches.Monmouth will make the trip to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., at 7 p.m. on Sept. 7. Liberty is a future Big South Conference rival and last year’s conference champion.The Hawks, who play just four home games, play their home opener at Kessler Field on Sept. 14 against Lehigh University at 1 p.m.Monmouth’s “transition” year is about more than a beefed-up schedule; it’s a sign of where the program is headed. Scholarships are increasing as the Hawks move into a new conference, and that is making Monmouth a more attractive school for recruits and transfers, as is the conference they’re moving into. Callahan was pleased to announce that at long last, the Hawks’ home field is getting a facelift. Renovation will begin right after the Hawks complete the 2013 season.The football field, Callahan noted, is the only thing about Monmouth football that hasn’t changed since its inception in 1993.Monmouth, which was 5-5 in 2012 during its last season in the NEC, has one big hole to fill on offense at quarterback. Fouryear starter Kyle Frazier graduated, and no one vying for the starter’s job has taken a single snap in a game for Monmouth.Greg DePugh (Parsippany Hills High School), a senior who has been with the program for five years; Terence Scanlon (Red Bank Catholic High School), a sophomore; and University of Massachusetts transfer Brandon Hill, a junior, are the top candidates for the starting assignment.Each has a different skill set, and what Callahan is looking for is the quarterback who makes the best decisions and is a leader.Whoever wins the job won’t lack weapons. The Hawks return their five receivers from last year and their top three running backs. Heading up the receiving corps are Neal Sterling (Manasquan High School), Lamar Davenport (Asbury Park High School), Eric Sumlin (Dover, Del.) and Mike McLafferty (Sayreville War Memorial High School). Sterling caught five touchdown passes last year and had a long game of 55 yards.This group’s collective experience is an asset for Monmouth quarterbacks, Callahan remarked.The running backs are led by Julian Hayes (The Hun School), who rushed for 659 yards in 2012, averaged 4.1 yards per rush and scored 11 touchdowns, Pete Nagy (Hanover Park High School), and Kwabena Asante (Silver Spring, Md.). Hayes (51) and Nagy (50) are capable of the big play, with each having a long run of 50-plus yards last fall.The tight ends are McLafferty, a fifth-year senior who caught 23 passes last season, and junior Evan Ruane (Shore Regional High School).Between the running back and receiver positions, Monmouth quarterbacks “have a very talented supporting cast,” Callahan said.Monmouth’s goal on offense is to combine explosive big players with the ability to move the ball and control possession.The Hawks return three starters to the offensive line in center Mike Hunchak (Hanover Park), right tackle Brandon Maxwell (Washington Township High School) and left guard Josh Patterson (Fairfax, Va.)Reece Johnston (Shawnee High School) and Peter Ireland (Manheim, Pa.) complete the unit and are first-time starters.No one on the line is under 300 pounds. It is the biggest line the Hawks have ever had, Callahan said. Having fullback Justin Pandorf (Lacey Township High School) on the team is like having an extra blocker on the line.Another weapon that the Hawks have is senior place-kicker Eric Spillane (Colts Neck High School), who was put on the College Football Performance Awards’ preseason watch list.Spillane led Monmouth in scoring, with 70 points on 34 PATs (a program record) and 12 field goals. He went 12-for-16 kicking field goals, with a long of 43 yards.“Eric has done a great job,” Callahan said. “He’s our all-time leading kicker.”Spillane begins the season with 202 career points, which is third all-time.Elijah Phillips (Holy Cross High School) is the Hawks’ return specialist.Monmouth has experience on the defensive side of the ball, too.Callahan is very happy with what the Hawks have up front. Ends Pat O’Hara (Souderton, Pa.), a starter last year, Darnell Leslie (Gaithersburg, Md.) and Eric Macik (Landisville, Pa.) are players who can get pressure on the quarterback. In the middle, Callahan is anxious to see what sophomore Dimitrius Smith (Jackson Memorial High School/Milford Academy) can do.Callahan expects the Hawks to put more pressure on quarterbacks and use extra blitzes.Anthony McDonough (Philadelphia, Pa.), Dave Damirgian (Churchville, Pa.) and returning starter Dan Sullivan (Manasquan) head up the linebackers.The defensive backfield is solid, with three returning starters in Joe Johnson (Manchester Township High School), Pat Gray (Hargrave Military Academy/Westfield High School) and Andrew Sutton (Williamstown High School).Clark Coe (Carteret High School) and Tevrin Brandon (Bethlehem, Pa.) fill out the secondary.Gray, Sutton and Coe are safeties, while Johnson and Brandon are cornerbacks.What the Hawks’ defense has to avoid, according to Callahan, is giving up the big play. That bit them last fall.Damirgian, O’Hara, Brandon, McLafferty and Phillips were selected by the Hawks as the team captains. Gray and Hayes were also named to the College Football Performance Awards’ preseason watch list.The 2013 Hawks include a number of area players on their roster. They are defensive back Chris Whitlock (Red Bank Catholic), defensive back Jahmer Bunch (Red Bank Regional High School), running back Lavon Chaney (South River High School), defensive back Keone Osby (Monmouth Regional High School), linebacker John Sieczkowski (Manalapan High School), defensive lineman Jack Eisenstadt (Rumson- Fair Haven Regional High School), defensive lineman Manny Maragoto (Freehold Township High School) and defensive lineman Zak Irizarry (North Brunswick Township High School).As the Hawks embark on this new challenge, Callahan’s biggest concern is quality of depth. They will face teams that have 63 scholarship players, while Monmouth has only onethird that number. However, that won’t be a problem for long, as Monmouth ups its scholarship quota to be in the Big South.Looking back, Callahan said that the refusal of the NEC to accept Monmouth as an associate member is the best thing that could have happened to the program. The Hawks will now get national exposure. By TIM MORRIS Staff Writer last_img read more

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Huskies, Lions ready for state track sectionals

first_imgBy WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent The boys indoor track and field teams at Matawan Regional High School and Middletown High School North, bolstered by some reassuring performances in the Shore Conference championships on Jan. 23, will be homing in on repeat NJSIAA section titles on Feb. 8 at the John Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex in Toms River.“That’s what we’re focusing on right now,” Matawan coach Sam Turner said, as his boys aim for a repeat title in Central Jersey Group II after they finished second to Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) at the Shore Conference championships behind pole vault champion Matt Isaacson, who cleared 14 feet. He was runner-up last year at 13-6.“I think we have a legit shot to win it [again],” the coach said. “We finished second to CBA and some people may complain about them [as a private school], but they beat Union Catholic in the state relay, a team regarded as the best in the state. CBA makes us better to step up our game.”At the Shore Conference meet, Nate Bowie was second in the 55 hurdles in 7.67. Sophomore Tom Kalieta was fourth in the 400 meters in 51.46 and fifth in the 55 in 6.75. Kalieta also ran on the 4×400 relay with Matt Natoli, Bryce Lew and Harrel Dixon that finished third in 3:30.84. Natoli was fourth in the 800 in 2:01.53, David Alston cleared 6-0 in the high jump for fourth place and sophomore Donald Smalls threw the shot put a personal best 50-4½ for sixth place.Matawan’s girls also finished second in the Shore Conference championships behind national level elite runner Samantha Anderson, who swept the 400 meters in 57.97 and the 800 in 2:15.66. Matawan’s girls, which also finished second in the Group II relays earlier this month, also got great efforts in the Shore Conference meet from pole vaulters Nicole Macco, who cleared 11-6 for first place, and sophomore Isabella Viggiano, who reached 8-6 for sixth place.Middletown North finished farther down the team standings. The boys were eight and the girls placed 12th. However, the boys’ depth and improving times by distance runner Mike Marano, an NJSIAA Meet of Champions qualifier a year ago who was fighting an illness over recent weeks, can make a run for another Central Jersey section title and move a lion’s share of the team to the Group III championship meet. Marano finished sixth in the 3,200 meters in 10:01.98 and those ahead of him included teammate Matt Todaro, who was second in 9:49.35.“We’re hoping to compete for the championship again,” Middletown North boys coach Ray Convey said. “We’re putting ourselves in a good spot with what we’ve been doing and have to keep improving. We have to get points from everywhere to come down to the [final] 4×400 [relay].”Convey admitted that relay lineup still is in a state of flux, but he confident he can put a competitive quartet out there. Marquis Waltson was fifth in the high jump at 5-10.The showing was a solid encore to the Group III relay meet two weeks earlier when his team tied for third place in what Convey called its best performance in his eight years as coach with medals in six events.Matawan believes it showed enough depth and talent behind its five medalists and medal-winning relay at the Shore Conference meet to compete strongly in the sectionals. It also served notice in the NJSIAA Group II Relays, where it regained its title from two years ago after finishing in second place last year.In the state relays, Natoli took the baton in third place as anchor to the sprint medley and moved up to break the tape in 3:40.53. Matawan also won the shot put relay, as Smalls threw 47-5½ and Mike Kawka hit 42-1½. It was second in the pole vault relay, as Isaacson reached 14-0 and Justin Leonard hit 10-0. It also got a second-place time of 31.53 from its shuttle hurdles in the state relays that included Kadeem Spencer, Bowie, Alston and Liam Nappi.Also of note in the Shore Conference meet was Middletown North’s girls, as senior Maddy Maroney ran a personal best 5:15 for fourth place in the 1,600 meters, and sophomore Jenna Reid was sixth in the 400 in 1:01.68 in her first race back from a lengthy illness. Reid also ran the third leg on the 4×400 relay that was third in 4:13. Kayla Pfleger led off, followed by Kerri Powers, with freshman Kelli Molnar anchoring.“It’s a young group with a bright future ahead,” Middletown North girls coach Brock Silvestri said. “Nearly all of our top finishers are sophomores.”Middletown High School South’s Davey Hunter was fifth in the boys 800 in 9:49.35.last_img read more

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Greece out to clip Colombia’s attacking wings, Uruguay still pack a punch

first_imgBy Karolos Grohmann and Gideon LongContaining Colombia’s potent attacking game, even without injured striker Radamel Falcao, will be key to defensive-minded Greece’s attempt to upset the World Cup Group C favourites on Saturday.The Greeks, who also play Japan and Ivory Coast in the group, have long said their first game will be the most crucial one with Colombia, who finished second in the South American qualifiers after a superb campaign, seen as the team to beat.“We have it in our own hands to beat them,” said Greece’s versatile defender Giorgos Tzavellas. “Colombia will have to find a way to score against us and that will be very difficult and I hopeful we will win this game. This first game is extremely important.”Greece, who 10 years ago staged a major upset by becoming European champions, have forged a reputation as a hard-working defensive team, conceding just four goals in their 10 qualifiers.“They have a high quality attack but everyone of us is experienced. We will only play to win,” said Greece defender Kostas Manolas. “We are a good team and we will prove it on Saturday.”Greece will need to be at their well-organised best with Colombia, despite the absence of talismanic striker Falcao for the tournament, having outstanding attacking options with Jackson Martinez or Carlos Bacca and a constantly changing system.For 64-year-old Colombia coach Jose Pekerman any result other than victory would be a disappointment and he will be banking on his European mercenaries to deliver, with 15 of his 23 players plying their trade across the Atlantic.“Colombia cannot simply change its playing style,” captain Mario Yepes told reporters. “Throughout the qualifiers we relied on possession of the ball and that is what makes us strong.”Luis Suarez meanwhile looks certain to sit out Uruguay’s World Cup Group D opener against Costa Rica on Saturday but in Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan the South Americans still boast a formidable attacking partnership.Suarez had keyhole surgery on his left knee just three weeks ago and although he appears to be recovering well, coach Oscar Tabarez is unlikely to risk him against what promises to be the weakest team in the group.The Liverpool striker was sensational in the English Premier League last season, scoring 31 goals in 33 appearances, way more than any other player.But although his absence is a concern for the Uruguayans, they are blessed with an abundance of attacking riches.Cavani comes to Brazil after a successful first season at Paris St Germain and while Forlan’s star has faded somewhat since the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, he still has the intelligence and dead-ball expertise to unlock any defence.He will need it because if there is one thing that Costa Rica do well it is defending.The Ticos conceded fewer goals than any other team in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, averaging well under one goal a game to finish as runners-up to the United States.The Central Americans will look to young Olympiakos striker Joel Campbell for goals in Saturday’s clash at the Castelao arena in Fortaleza.He will be watched closely by a rugged and experienced Uruguayan defence led by the two Diegos – Lugano and Godin.This will be Uruguay’s first World Cup match on Brazilian soil since their famous 2-1 victory over the hosts in the 1950 final, a result that traumatised a nation.last_img read more

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Murray dethroned as youthful uprising continues (Updated)

first_imgBy Martyn HermanThe mayhem created by an Australian firecracker the previous evening was continued in brutal fashion by Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov on Wednesday as he annihilated defending Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.With the dust still settling on 19-year-old Nick Kyrgios’s fourth-round demolition of world No.1 Rafael Nadal, Dimitrov caused the second seismic shock on Centre Court in the space of 24 hours by outclassing Murray 6-1 7-6(4) 6-2.The Briton’s shattering defeat means that two of the so-called Big Four in men’s tennis have departed in quick succession from the grasscourt grand slam, both walloped by members of a brash new generation of big hitters with no fear and scant regard for reputations.“Everyone’s starting to get better,” a downbeat Murray said. “The younger guys are now obviously becoming more mature and improving all the time.”It’s one thing surrendering your crown, but to suffer such a remorseless beating on your own turf in front of Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, was especially galling.Yet Murray said: “It’s not the toughest loss of my career; that was losing in the final here in 2012 (against Roger Federer).“I’ve had a good run here at Wimbledon over the past few years. Obviously it’s disappointing for it to end like that.”Novak Djokovic, the man Murray beat a year ago to end Britain’s 77-year wait for a men’s Wimbledon champion, nearly went the same way before restoring order by digging himself out of a hole to beat dangerous Croatian Marin Cilic 6-1 3-6 6-7(4) 6-2 6-2 and set up a clash with Dimitrov.UNWELCOME DISTRACTIONThe top seed, who was playing on Court One, admitted that the unfolding drama in Murray’s match was an unwelcome distraction.“(There was) so much noise coming from the Centre Court,” the Serb said.The Murray contest was one everyone at Wimbledon wanted to watch, Djokovic said, adding: “I said to the chair umpire, ‘Let’s just stop the match, put it live on the big screen and let’s watch it till they’re done. It’s going to be better for all of us’.”Seven-times champion Federer may be 32 but will be eager to prove that he can still teach the young guns a thing or two after he advanced to his ninth Wimbledon semi-final with a 3-6 7-6(5) 6-4 6-4 victory over fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka.He will face 23-year-old Canadian Milos Raonic, who ended the remarkable run of 144th-ranked wildcard Kyrgios 6-7(4) 6-2 6-4 7-6(4).The Australian’s efforts in saving nine match points to subdue Richard Gasquet and then slay Nadal finally caught up with the teenager as Ranoic blasted down his 39th ace to become the first Canadian man to reach the last four here since Robert Powell in 1908.With cracks beginning to show in the top echelons of the men’s game, Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard and Romania’s Simona Halep heightened the sense of a changing of the guard in women’s tennis as both reached the semi-finals.Bouchard, 20, beat Germany’s Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-4 while Romanian third seed Halep, 22, continued her fantastic year to overcome last year’s runner-up Sabine Lisicki 6-4 6-0.They will face-off on Thursday, when both will become the first women from their respective countries to play in a Wimbledon semi-final.Of the last four standing in the women’s draw, only 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has tasted grand slam glory. She now faces fellow Czech Lucie Safarova.DISBELIEFA growing sense of disbelief settled over Centre Court and outside on the sun-baked hill, where thousands had assembled to watch on the huge screen, as Murray’s imperious charge towards a second consecutive title came off the rails.Murray had looked impeccable in reaching the quarter-finals without dropping a set but found himself a set down and in deep trouble after only 25 minutes against 23-year-old Dimitrov.Such was the quality of the 11th seed’s tennis that Murray could have been excused for thinking it was Federer in his prime on the other side of the net.Comparisons with the Swiss maestro appear to have weighed heavily on Dimitrov since he won the junior title here, but with coach Roger Rasheed and girlfriend Maria Sharapova now in his corner, the Bulgarian looks ready to jump the queue of those waiting to get their hands on some major silverware.“Dimitrov is in a semi-final and he will say, why can’t I beat Federer or Djokovic and win the title?” former champion Jimmy Connors, who was commentating for the BBC, said of the player who won the Queen’s Club grasscourt title last month.“He played spectacular tennis today. It won’t get easier, so he has to lift his level again. I don’t think he is just satisfied with being in the semi-final.”TORRID STARTThe crowd did their best to lift Murray after his torrid start, but he was clearly having a very bad day at the office. Any hopes for a repeat of his comeback from a two-set deficit at the same stage last year against Fernando Verdasco evaporated in the third set as he was clinically picked apart by Dimitrov.“As soon as we started warming up I sensed his game was not at the highest level and I was feeling good,” said the Bulgarian after ending Olympic champion Murray’s 17-match winning streak at the home of lawn tennis. “I held my ground through and the (second set) tiebreak was crucial.”While Dimitrov will contest his first grand slam semi-final, Bouchard will be appearing in her third this year, determined to go at least one better than she did at the Australian and French Opens.“Yeah, I’m excited to be in the semis,” she told reporters. “But never satisfied. I definitely want to go a step further.”last_img read more

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Argentina face Chile in history-rich Copa America final

first_imgBy Gideon LongArgentina head into Saturday’s Copa America final (11pm) seeking their first major silverware in 22 years while hosts Chile aim to end a century-long jinx by winning the trophy for the first time.The two Andean neighbours meet in Santiago’s national stadium in a classic South American encounter steeped in history and rivalry.These were two of the four founding nations of the South American Championship as it was first known back in 1916. Argentina thumped Chile 6-1 at that tournament, setting the tone for a century of Chilean pain.Of their 36 competitive clashes since then, the Chileans have won just one – a World Cup qualifier in Santiago in 2008. They have never beaten Argentina at the Copa America in 24 attempts.Argentina have lifted the trophy 14 times and if they win on Saturday will draw level with Uruguay as the most successful side in the tournament’s history.Chile, in their 36 previous attempts to win the trophy, have come closest when they finished as runners-up four times.For Argentina’s inspirational playmaker Lionel Messi, this is a golden opportunity to reproduce his success at club level for his country. His only previous titles with Argentina were at under-20 and Olympic level.For his team as a whole, Saturday’s match is a chance to make up for last year’s World Cup final defeat by Germany and two consecutive Copa America final defeats at the hands of Brazil in 2004 and 2007.“In the space of less than a year these guys are going to play their second final of a major tournament,” Argentina coach Gerardo Martino said after his side destroyed Paraguay 6-1 in the semi-finals.“This is not the World Cup but even so, it’s the second most important tournament there is for us in this part of the world.”Argentina are at pretty much full strength while Chile are still mulling how to replace centre-back Gonzalo Jara, suspended for his now infamous gesture in the quarter-finals when he was caught on camera sticking his finger up an opponent’s backside.Jose Rojas replaced Jara in their semi-final against Peru, a 2-1 win, but was far from convincing and coach Jorge Sampaoli might reshuffle his backline again.The match is a clash between the two highest-scoring sides in the competition – Chile found the back of the net 13 times on their way to the final while Argentina bagged 10.Messi has yet to score in open play but if he pulls the strings like he did against the Paraguayans that will not concern his coach.“If he makes three assists and they all end up as goals that’s fine,” Martino said. “He doesn’t need to be the top scorer in the team to be happy.”last_img read more

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Arsenal trigger Vardy’s Leicester buy-out clause-reports

first_imgLONDON, June 3 (Reuters) – Arsenal have triggered a buy-out clause in striker Jamie Vardy’s contract with English champions Leicester City after making a bid of about 20 million pounds ($29.04 million), several British media reports said on Friday.Vardy, who is in England’s 23-man squad for the Euro 2016 finals in France that start next week, scored 24 Premier League goals last season as Leicester won the top-flight crown for the first time in their history.The 29-year-old was chosen as Player of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association and was named in the Professional Footballers’ Association’s team of the year.Former England forward Gary Lineker, a Leicester fan, has urged Vardy not to leave.“Stay with the Champions @vardy7 don’t join the perennial also-rans,” Lineker said on his Twitter account.Meanwhile France and Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud has fuelled speculation that Jamie Vardy is on his way to the Gunners by saying he has heard the Leicester City striker is keen to move.“I have been told that Jamie wants to join us and it’s very good news for us,” the striker told Sky Sports after scoring twice in France’s 3-0 friendly win against Scotland on Saturday.last_img read more

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Tottenham roll on, now seek a helping hand

first_imgTottenham Hotspur remained a worrying presence in Chelsea’s rearview mirror after a second successive 4-0 victory cut the gap in the Premier League title race to four points on Saturday.Bournemouth became the 12th consecutive side to leave White Hart Lane empty-handed as Harry Kane hit the 20 league goal mark for the third season in a row with his side’s third.Long-time leaders Chelsea are away at Manchester United on Sunday for what looks the toughest fixture of their run-in.“We got the three points and now the pressure is on Chelsea to win in Old Trafford,” Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said. “It would be fantastic if tomorrow night, after the game, the gap is still four points. But four points is still a lot.”With only two of their last six matches at home Tottenham are still rank outsiders to snatch a first title since 1961.Manchester City moved above Liverpool into third after they registered an impressive 3-0 win away at Southampton, with captain Vincent Kompany on the scoresheet.Kompany’s impassioned celebration, following his 55th-minute opener, told the story of what has been two injury-hit seasons for the inspirational Belgian defender.“I don’t really complain about what’s happened to me, I just carry on,” Kompany, whose goal was his first since August 2015, told BT Sport.“When this happens I feel I’m giving something back to the fans. I’m finally giving something back to the team and that’s what you see in that moment.”Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero — with his 11th goal in 11 games in all competitions — were also on the scoresheet.In the title run-in, Chelsea must still also visit Everton who racked up an eighth successive home win when beating Burnley 3-1 to move above Arsenal and United into fifth, albeit having played more games than the teams around them.Premier League top scorer Romelu Lukaku struck Everton’s third, taking his season tally to 24.RELEGATION BATTLEThere was little movement in the relegation battle with none of the clubs in the bottom six managing a win.Bottom club Sunderland scored their first goal in eight games as Fabio Borini’s late equaliser earned them a 2-2 draw at home to West Ham United which left them nine points behind 17th-placed Hull City who lost 3-1 at Stoke City.Second-from-bottom Middlesbrough host seventh-placed Arsenal on Monday while 18th-placed Swansea City slumped to a fifth defeat in six matches in a 1-0 loss at Watford.Swansea remain two points behind Hull while Crystal Palace, who battled back from two down to draw 2-2 at home to champions Leicester City, are seven points above the relegation trapdoor.Bournemouth are still looking over their shoulders, although they also have a seven-point cushion.Since losing to Liverpool on Feb. 11 Tottenham have won seven games in a row — their best top flight sequence for 50 years — scoring 22 and leaking only four.A week after beating Watford 4-0, having also kicked off before Chelsea, they produced another display oozing confidence with Mousa Dembele and Son Heung-Min scoring inside the first 20 minutes and Kane striking just after halftime.Kane is the fourth player to score 20 or more goals in the Premier League three seasons in a row, joining Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer and Ruud van Nistelrooy.“Sometimes it’s good to play first. Early kick off, get the three points and then we can enjoy our Easter weekend and see what happens tomorrow,” Kane said.“Hopefully Man Utd can get a result for us.”Three days before taking on Atletico Madrid in their Champions League quarter-final, seeking to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg, Leicester were involved in a rip-roaring duel at Selhurst Park.Goals by Robert Huth and Jamie Vardy put them 2-0 ahead but Palace hit back through Yohan Cabaye and Christian Benteke.Summaries from the English premier league matches on SaturdaySouthampton 0Manchester City 3 Vincent Kompany 55, Leroy Sane 77, Sergio Aguero 80– – –Sunderland 2 Wahbi Khazri 26, Fabio Borini 90West Ham United 2 Andre Ayew 5, James Collins 47– – –Stoke City 3 Marko Arnautovic 6, Peter Crouch 66, Xherdan Shaqiri 80Hull City 1 Harry Maguire 51– – –Everton 3 Phil Jagielka 49, Ben Mee 71og, Romelu Lukaku 74Burnley 1 Sam Vokes 52pen– – –Watford 1 Etienne Capoue 42Swansea City 0– – –Crystal Palace 2 Yohan Cabaye 54, Christian Benteke 69Leicester City 2 Robert Huth 6, Jamie Vardy 52– – –Tottenham Hotspur 4 Mousa Dembele 16, Son Heung-Min 19, Harry Kane 48, Vincent Janssen 90+2Bournemouth 0last_img read more

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