The Hunters were under the pump right from the kick off; forced to defend in their own half in the opening minutes.But solid defence denied the Seagulls early points.After weathering the storm, the Hunters went on the counter attack and found the try line in the 12th minute through Justin Olam.Ase Boas converted the try to take a 6-0 lead.But the Seagulls continued to ask questions, threatening to score dominating possession.The home side finally broke through the Hunters’ defence in the 31st minute when Sam Saville scored.The Hunters hit back six minutes later after good ball movement by Wartovo Puara Jnr put Adex Wera over the line.
Photo Getty Images. Caption: Napoli celebrate It looked as though Juve were going to preserve their four-point advantage at the summit with four games to play and edge closer to a seventh successive Scudetto only for Koulibaly to throw the race wide open.Compounding Juve’s last-gasp defeat is the fact Massimiliano Allegri’s men arguably have the tougher run-in of the two sides, with the Derby d’Italia away to Inter coming up next Saturday, and a clash with Champions League semi-finalists Roma awaiting in the penultimate round of fixtures.Napoli, meanwhile, seeking to win a first Scudetto since 1989-90, when they were inspired to a second title in four seasons by the great Diego Maradona, visit Fiorentina next weekend hopeful of seizing on any further slip-ups from the leaders. La nostra immensa gioia #ForzaNapoliSempre pic.twitter.com/cyP4rFdsjf— Official SSC Napoli (@sscnapoli) April 22, 2018Napoli enjoyed an early sight of goal when Lorenzo Insigne fired wide in the first minute, and the passage of play proved costly for Juventus, as Giorgio Chiellini sustained an injury that ultimately forced him off 10 minutes later, having failed to convince in his attempts to shake off what appeared to be a muscle problem.With full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner introduced and Benedikt Howedes shifting to centre-back, Juve went close for the first time in the 17th minute, Miralem Pjanic’s deflected free-kick wrongfooting Pepe Reina and striking the far post, leaving the Napoli goalkeeper stranded. His counterpart Gianluigi Buffon had to be alert to tip over a dipping cross-cum-shot from Mario Rui, who then slid in Marek Hamsik for the best chance of the first half in the 24th minute, only for the Napoli captain to drag his attempt across the face of goal and wide.Insigne had the ball in the back of the net seven minutes before half-time, but Lichtsteiner smartly stepped up to catch his opponent offside.Allegri responded to his team’s underwhelming first-half showing by withdrawing Paulo Dybala in favour of Juan Cuadrado, while Maurizio Sarri introduced the fit-again and in-form Arkadiusz Milik a minute past the hour mark, taking off the relatively ineffectual Dries Mertens.Substitute Piotr Zielinski tested Buffon from long range with seven minutes to go in what had been a tense second half, and the goalkeeper also had to claw away an awkward Jose Callejon delivery.From the Spaniard’s subsequent corner, Napoli grabbed the all-important goal, Koulibaly rising above the Juve backline to head home a powerful winner, the final whistle sparking wild celebrations among the visitors and ensuring a thrilling conclusion to the title race.9️0️Kalidouuuuuuuuuu️ #JuveNapoli 0-1#SerieA#ForzaNapoliSempre#grintaecuore pic.twitter.com/7gmgptoPIt— Official SSC Napoli (@sscnapoli) April 22, 2018
Apoel have decided that they will not be renewing the contract with their championship winning Danish manager Thomas Christiansen.The decision was reached on Thursday afternoon after a meeting between Apoel’s leadership and Christiansen.According to unofficial reports, the decision not to renew his contract had been taken well before Wednesday’s cup final and that it would not have changed even if Apoel had won the final.Among the reasons mooted for the change in management were a difference in the Dane’s remuneration package and crucially the team’s poor performances on the field, especially towards the tail end of the season.Christiansen joined Apoel last June from AEK Larnaca and succeeded in leading the Nicosia team to their fifth consecutive title, the last 16 of the Europa League and the Cup final.
Lizzy Yarnold became the first Briton to successfully defend a Winter Olympic title when she claimed the skeleton gold on Saturday as Laura Deas took bronze to complete the country’s greatest day in the Winter Games.Austria’s Janine Flock had seemed set to spoil the party when her impressive third run sent her into the final round in the lead. Yarnold, however, piled on the pressure with a course-record final run and Flock then made a series of mistakes that relegated her from first to fourth.Germany’s Jacqueline Loelling took the silver.British women have won medals at every skeleton event since the sport was reintroduced to the Games in 2002 and their two on Saturday, along with a bronze for Izzy Atkin earlier in the freestyle skiing slopestyle, meant it is the first time the country has won three Winter Olympic medals in a day – beating their best of two in 1924.An ecstatic and largely British crowd at the finish line whooped and cheered as an overjoyed Yarnold whipped off her helmet and screamed.“I love big occasions like this. I love the tension of it all, and the release of tension at the end,” Yarnold told Reuters. “I just could not stop screaming”.Yarnold finished 0.45 seconds ahead of Loelling, who had led after the first two runs, as her blistering track record of 51.46 seconds made the difference.“It means so much to me,” said Yarnold, who lost her love for the sport following her Sochi success.“At times over the last four years it’s been so hard and I’ve doubted myself and wondered whether I could get back to where I wanted to be but the team never lost faith and that’s why I’m back here today on the podium,” she said.“Honestly after the last few years the aim was to get here to the Olympics, I wasn’t thinking about the medals – but to achieve that is the stuff of dreams, as is sharing the podium with Laura who’s been amazing.”Skeleton races begin with an explosive sprint, with athletes then diving head-first onto a sled which accelerates down the ice at speeds of over 100kph.A minus 14 degrees Celsius wind chill threatened to keep crowds away, but the event has been a popular spectator sport in Pyeongchang following the success of host country South Korea’s Yun Sung-bin, who took the men’s gold on Thursday.At the finish line, many were entertained by Nigeria’s Simidele Adeagbo, competing as part of her nation’s first Winter Games delegation, who danced cheerfully despite consistently coming last.Although the 36-year-old clocked some of the fastest start times across the four heats, she struggled with the track at Pyeongchang, regularly crashing into walls as she exited curves.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp insists he was never worried about Mohamed Salah living up to last season’s remarkable 41-goal campaign.Egypt striker Salah made it 10 Premier League goals for the season with his hat-trick in Saturday’s 4-0 win at Bournemouth that sent Liverpool top of the league.The Reds now boast the league’s only unbeaten record after champions Manchester City lost 2-0 at Chelsea on Saturday evening.Salah’s dislocated shoulder in last term’s Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid spoiled his World Cup, but Klopp remains adamant he never doubted the 26-year-old.“Your basis is a difficult one because always you have to touch on the moment; I’m interested in the moment but I never judge it because the moment is just a little part of all that we have together,” said Klopp.“So I was not one second worried about Salah. I don’t know exactly what people wrote, I have no clue about that.“But we have to develop always, and to confirm and to improve again on a 41-goal season.“Everybody would struggle a little, because how can you improve on that?“If you score in the first five games 10 goals everyone will say ‘yeah it’s going to happen again’.“And then if you ended up with 39 people would say ‘yeah but it’s not 41’.“And we all have to learn to deal with it, and him of course as well. That’s how it is.“He’s never had a season like that before, and he wants to have the season again. But you have to make it step by step, so that’s what we do.”Liverpool must beat Napoli at Anfield on Tuesday to stand any chance of reaching the Champions League’s last 16, with Klopp calling on his players to prove their true class.“We were not good at Napoli so first of all we would like to show we are better than that,” said Klopp.“So we also have to call again on Anfield, and they should help us because that’s a massive game, a really massive game.“Last year we did nearly everything to get qualified for that tournament again, because we had the final in the background but we also knew we had to do the job in the league.“So now we have the chance with a specific result still to go through when this Champions League campaign so far was not really ours.“In the home games so far we weren’t quite so impressive. They know as well it will be tough, but they are strong and we need to be very strong.“We have to be on our toes on Tuesday night. It’s a big one, our people know that and I know they are already warming up.“I believe people get what they deserve. So if we are good enough we will get the result we need and go through. And if not we’ll congratulate Napoli and Paris, that’s how it is.”
Slovenian Aleksander Ceferin was re-elected unopposed on Thursday as president of European football’s ruling body UEFA for a four-year term at its annual Congress in Rome.The 55-year-old immediately promised a dramatic overhaul of European club competitions.“We will work hand in hand with our partner, the European Club Association, to design the club competitions of the future,” Ceferin told delegates.“Club competitions that are in keeping with the times, full of excitement and intensity and open, which will bring a new dimension to European football,” he said.He added that UEFA would do “everything possible” to bring the 2030 World Cup to Europe and that European football’s break- even rule known as Financial Fair Play (FFP) would be updated.“We will make football fairer, we will adapt the FFP rules to establish a new European balance: the initial objectives of FFP have been achieved…..finances are healthier than ever,” Ceferin said.Under UEFA statutes, Ceferin, as the only candidate, was voted in by acclamation – a round of applause – from the delegates of the 55 member associations.Ceferin was first elected in September, 2016 to replace Michel Platini after the former France midfielder was banned by FIFA for ethics violations. Platini has denied any wrongdoing.
Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri has described Dynamo Kiev’s pitch as ‘dangerous’ and fears his players could suffer injuries playing on it.Sarri’s squad trained at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday evening ahead of Thursday’s Europa League last-16 second leg.“The pitch is not good. I think that it’s dangerous, really dangerous,” said the Italian, whose team lead 3-0 on aggregate.“It’s really dangerous to play any football here in this moment, and I think it’s really very dangerous for injuries. But the situation is this.“I don’t know the reason – probably the winter. I came here two years ago (with Napoli) and the pitch was wonderful.Striker Gonzalo Higuain has not made the trip to the Ukraine. The Argentina forward has been suffering with illness since Sunday’s Premier League draw with Wolves.“He had a fever after the match in the Premier League for two days, so yesterday in the evening with the doctor, we decided to leave him at home,” said Sarri.“Just in order to recover him for the next match.”Sarri also said he was not concerned about fresh rumours linking Blues forward Eden Hazard with Real Madrid after the Spanish club reappointed head coach Zinedine Zidane.“At the moment, I didn’t speak with Eden about Zidane so I don’t know,” said Sarri.“I am not worried because you know very well my opinion – I want in my team only the players who want to play for Chelsea, so I cannot be worried.”Dynamo Kiev manager Aleksandr Khatskevich meanwhile admits his team need a miracle to overturn their deficit.Chelsea have never lost a game in this competition by more than two goals and Khatskevich accepts his side face an uphill task as the attempt to make history at Kiev’s Olympic Stadium.“Of course, we do have a plan. Tomorrow, we will have to play in a more offensive way taking into account we lost the first game 0-3,” the Belarusian said at his pre-match press conference.“We hope we’ll try to score quickly, maybe.“Miracles do occur in football and why not it occurs tomorrow?“The score of the first game makes us go forward.”Dynamo, who are confirmed as runners-up to rivals Shakhtar Donetsk in their domestic league for the third successive season, enjoyed a confidence-boosting 4-0 success over city rivals Arsenal Kiev on Sunday.
Oleksandr Zinchenko has hailed Pep Guardiola as the best in the world.Guardiola became the quickest manager to reach that landmark, in 134 matches, as City claimed a hard-fought and controversial 2-0 success over Sheffield United at the Etihad Stadium.Zinchenko paid tribute to Guardiola, whose impact in English football over the past three-and-a-half years has been remarkable.“It’s unbelievable,” said Zinchenko. “He’s the best in the world, no doubt.“For me, the most important thing is he knows the right thing to say at the right time, and the team feels these type of moments. Of course, he is unbelievable with tactics.”City needed to pick themselves up after the reverse at Molineux which, in all likelihood, ended any lingering hopes of retaining the title. Even after the victory, City still trail leaders Liverpool by 14 points having played a game more.Ukraine international Zinchenko said: “Wolves was a tough game, unbelievably tough. During the game we were playing 10 against 11 and a lot of guys spent a lot of powers. It was so difficult.“But here we got the three points and that is the most important thing. It is not always easy to play against these kind of teams when they play in this kind of way, but we did it.“Of course it’s a massive gap but every single game we have to show our class, and then in the end of the season we are going to see what happens, because everything is possible in this kind of league.”Zinchenko did not have an opinion on the game’s main talking point of the moment, VAR.He said: “My opinion is that we have to accept it, that’s it, and play our game.“What can we do? If I was to say, ‘I don’t like VAR’, nothing will change. You just have to accept it, keep your mouth closed and play.”City play their third game in six days when they host Everton on New Year’s Day. Zinchenko, as an Orthodox Christian, says playing so many games over the festive period does not bother him.“I don’t celebrate Christmas in this kind of time,” he said. “My Christmas is January 7, so I don’t mind it.”How he feels about playing the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Manchester United on January 7 he did not mention.Things do not get easier for Sheffield United as they head to Liverpool on January 2, but manager Chris Wilder will take plenty of positives forward after what was a first away defeat since January.He said: “If it was going to go, that unbeaten record, I don’t mind it going in the manner that it did.“My team has got heart and spirit and we pushed regardless of Man City’s position.“The team selection was a strong one, we went toe to toe with them. Did we have the majority of possession? No, but were we hard to beat? Yes. Did we cause a threat? Most certainly. On another day we might have got something.”