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LEICESTER CITY VS SPORTING BRAGA

The foxes have impressed in the last few games and there was no letting up on Thursday night. What a pass from Tielemans in the build up the third goal from fellow Belgian Praet. Iheanacho, deputizing for the rested Vardy struck a brace to stake a claim for a starting berth but it will take some doing to depose Vardy in the form he is in. Braga on the other hand barely threatened Schmeichel’s goal. With competition for the top 4 places in the Premiership promising to be at an all time high, this competition may provide a route for Leicester into the Champions League. They need to sort out their consistency issues particularly after Christmas. Their over reliance on goals from Vardy may come back to bite them and may possibly need to dip into January market to find a player who can supplement him. No offence to Iheanacho and Slimani of course.

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PARIS MASTERS HIGHLIGHTS

Standout result on Thursday was Stan Wawrinka beating the in form Russian Andrey Rublev in 3 sets. Stan the man recovered impressively from losing the first set for just 1 game showing his younger upstart he has a lot in his 35 year old self.The key to his victory was winning his efficient conversion of break points(3/5) to Rublev’s (3/6). There was not much in it but it proved to be telling. Rafa Nadal celebrated a milestone 1000th win on the tour with a straight sets win over Australian Thompson. Thompson impressed me with my shot of the day when he was 3-2 up in the second at 0-15. Nadal is now ONLY behind Jimmy Connors(USA), Roger Federer(SUI) AND Ivan Lendl(CZE). He looked much settled after a shaky last match with Lopez.

NFL:COWBOYS VS GIANTS

Another season another injury to Cowboys’ QB Dak Prescott. 1-1 Dallas facing 2-0 Giants without their star QB who suffered a thumb fracture against Tampa on opening day. Unlike the previous injury suffered two seasons back, this one is not that serious should have him back in two shakes. However, Dalls fans need not worry, back up Cooper Rush did well in this one throwing a success rate of 68%.Giants have tightened up their defense in the first two weeks, key to them entering 2-0 in this one, conceding less than 20 points average. Both defenses in fact deserve special mention , particularly in the fist half. Watch the block from Cowboys’ Armstrong on 07:45 left in the first to save 3 points at 4th down. Desperation to get on the board from New York? Now contrast with 02:38 this time Dallas on the football for the 3 point kick. Brett Maher well shielded by the ROBUST defense, such moments key to outcome of matches. 6-3 Dallas going into the second half.

First TD of the game going to the Giants. Giants QB Daniel Jones’s strength over his opposing QB Rush was that Jones had BETTER rushing stats. 96 yards that he got indicate ability to see gaps in defense, makes up for shortcomings in throwing(196 yards). Watch the start of third Q. Back to the aforementioned first TD, more than what New York deserved for holding possession so well. Saquon Barkley with a 40 yard dash to the EZ, diagonal running is the key to this 6 points although due credit must go to that defense again. If there is a player who has Dallas’s back in terms of TD scoring and yards its CeeDee Lamb. The Wide Receiver’s 87 yards is second high only to teammate Pollard’s 105. However it was Zeik Elliott with the crucial TD to tie the game with the third winding down, Cowboys too hot and close to the EZ for the otherwise strong. The decisive moment of the game? Yes , the drive from Dallas on 09:20 in the 4th Q finished off the you guess it CeeDee who got hit just a yard from the EZ. Cowboys didn’t need the other 3 Downs as they did the business on 1st and Goal, Lamb stretching to catch with the one hander. Still early days in the season but if you must know CHECK OUT the NFC standings below. Philly ruling the division 3-0 but the newly named Washington Commanders(we can’t say Redskins no more lol) not in command of NFC just yet.

NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE

NFC EASTWLTPCTPFPANet PtsHomeRoadDivPctConfPctNon-ConfStrkLast 5
Philadelphia Eagles3001.0008650361 – 0 – 02 – 0 – 01 – 0 – 01.0003 – 0 – 01.0000 – 0 – 03W3 – 0 – 0
Dallas Cowboys2100.6674652-61 – 1 – 01 – 0 – 01 – 0 – 01.0001 – 1 – 00.5001 – 0 – 02W2 – 1 – 0
New York Giants2100.6675659-31 – 1 – 01 – 0 – 00 – 1 – 00.0001 – 1 – 00.5001 – 0 – 01L2 – 1 – 0
Washington Commanders1200.3336382-191 – 1 – 00 – 1 – 00 – 1 – 00.0000 – 2 – 00.0001 – 0 – 02L1 – 2 – 0

IME UDOKA’S DIVISIVE SUSPENSION

Who has got Stephen Smith and Malika and( Black community)on each other’s throats Answer, Ime Udoka.The coach of the Celtics, last season’s NBA finalist has awoken a debate that has raged since time immemorial, why do man cheat? How about this. You spend close to 10 hours at work, Monday to Saturday presuming Sunday is rest day(of which in the NBA that doesn’t exist). That translates to close to 2800 hours away from home(a mind numbing 116 days). There will be boys and girls mingling together, sharing their stories and sharing their innermost feelings. Bonds tend to develop. Before you know it sexual feelings develop and boom hubby or wife is having a full blown steamy affair. Now don’t get me wrong hear, infidelity has ZERO excuse. I believe you ship out if you can’t handle being with one partner. Now, I believe that is Ime’s story right there in a nutshell. Away from the missus for too long and guy couldn’t handle himself. Now what is the Boston Celtics saying? We are going to publicize your affair and humiliate you and your wife in the process. You just can’t script it. Okay, Ime violated the franchise’s rules but this is a consensual adult affair which any third party has no right to publicize. Another thing, why suspend him for a whole season? It is either you want him to be your coach or you don’t. I am failing to see where that affair is interfering with basketball.

One thing I like about politics is that no matter if you do your extra marital shenanigans, it doesn’t affect how your peers see you or relate to you. Take Bill Clinton’s romp with Monica in the late 90s. Dude got caught, lied about it then admitted it but still completed his term. Why is sports so unforgiving? My theory to this is that there is jealousy, underlying envy for the work Ime was doing. The fact that the Celtics knew of the affair and kept it under wraps for a while shows that they are not acting in good faith at all. I hope the suspension serves both ways for the girl and the boy but my first instinct is that its weighing more heavily against Udoku.In closing to answer the question why both men and women cheat, it is because they can and they have the opportunity to do so. Pure selfishness, got nothing to do with how beautiful Nia Long is. Kind of like a millionaire shoplifting(Winona I see you), its opportunity and thrill. Hope Udoka owns up and comes back stronger, whether its with Celtics or another team, with Nia or someone.

LAVER CUP:TIAFOE VS TSITSIPAS

The mainstays of World Tennis for the better part of the last century has been the US and Australia. However Europe got it right with developing promising younger players such that they won 19 of the last 22 Davis Cups on offer. One might say that it coincided with the emergence of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. But the last two years have offered a glimmer of hope for the rest of the World. The ageing aristocrats of tennis, Team Europe were pitted against the youthful exuberance of Team World, a perfect opportunity to gauge where the true powerhouse of the game lies. For much of the weekend from Friday, Europe looked to be on their way to a romp leading 8-4 going into the last day. The points spread is one point for a win on Friday, two on Saturday. It is the first to 13 points in the Laver Cup, with points on Sunday counting as three, no doubt Sunday is D-Day. Leading 10-8, Team World had Flushing Meadows semi finalist Frances Tiafoe facing Stefanos in a winner take all. Well Stefanos’s form going into the Cup was the poorest of the six selected in my opinion but one would expect him to win over the American.

It looked that way in the first set. Tsitsipas’s serve too hot to handle at over 70% first serve, Tiafoe’s serve and volley and net game that served him well in New York coming short , watch 2-1 Tsitsipas 40-15. Frances can only get better on other surfaces like clay , but on hard court he is fast becoming the best(Next to Novak wink wink). His major strength, shot variation and the occasional hail mary winner. His guts were on show in the second set breaker. Check him out going for broke at 11-11. The fact that the ball started from outside the line as it left the racquet shows he didn’t catch it well, but if you gamble right you might get lucky one or two times. That was the kick in confidence needed to win the close breaker. Crucial. What makes the Laver Cup unique is that the last set is a tie break set to save the energy and risk of injuries to players. This is wise on all levels. An unintended consequence is that you can win a match without having to break your opponents serve. Tiafoe did just that. Check out 4-4 third set, Tiafoe moves well for a fairly big guy, credit to coach Wayne Ferreira(Mzansi in the house) for getting him in tip top shape. The win for Team World would not be possible had it not been for a team effort ,with Felix winning against Novak the pivotal turning point earlier in the day. You can’t help but feel bubbly inside for John Mac too.

LA VUELTA 2022 STAGE 16

Defending champion of La Vuelta Primoz Roglic is now up against it this year. A minute 34 seconds behind leader in the GC Remco Evenepoel, it would take a monumental effort to retain it this time around as La Vuelta winds down. Stage 16 is one of his last chance saloon stages for the Slovenian. The Stage which comes after a rest day was a 189km course from Barrameda to Tomares was flat with no category climbs which is a sprinter’s dream and offered a glimmer of hope to Remco’s chasing pack. Mads Pederson with his second stage win of La Vuelta but story of the day was how Roglic faltered after seemingly poised to cut the lead by Remco by a sizeable amount. His attack on 3km to go was well calculated and on point.

Now check out TEAM UAE on his tail to offer a challenge to him. The cycling gods seem to be smiling on Primoz as Remcon had a puncture to boot with 2.2 to go. Hot conditions make puncture likely AS THE PRESSURE rises in the tires making for fast wear and tear. Low tire pressure under those conditions such as in Spain was a big no no. Back to Roglic, into the final stretch the good day turned into a nightmare with a crash a few meters to the finish. The Jumbo Visma leader tried to get closer to the ramp, the crowded side of the bunch. It is correct cycling to do so as it requires you to measure where your opponent is by getting close to his or her rear tire. A little too close as Wright caught Roglic. Very unfortunate indeed. At least Primoz finished the race, cutting the lead by Remco by just 8 seconds to all but lose his title. In what condition will the Slovenian be in Stage 17? One thing is for sure , he has to race in that one to win La Vuelta 2022.

US OPEN:GAUFF VS GARCIA

Cori Gauff has been nothing short of commanding in her matches so far at Flushing Meadows. Not dropping a set so far in a very open draw , she is well set to make another grand slam final. She faces Caroline Garcia of France who is having her best season yet with titles in Poland and Cincinnati to show for it. What impressed me the most about Coco is his serve, it sets her in good stead for the entire point. It kind of negates that progress that her return game has not been as good. The point of the match came early on in the first set at 2-0 Garcia 40-30, the Frenchwoman already a break up. The decision making at crucial times the downfall of the American , check out the cross court backhand instead of the easy down the line winner midpoint. From there on it was scrambling and panic stations to stay in it. Coco threatened a mini fight back down 4-0, but with a double break down dug herself a massive hole. Caroline on the other hand, a first time Grand Slam quarter finalist(a late bloomer at 28 years of age) was steely in winning points on her serve,71% of points won thereof. Her point construction is the best around, check out 4-2 advantage Garcia on deuce. Baits Coco to leave one side of the court open to strike with that monster forehand of hers. 6-3 first set Garcia.

You have to go back 5 years for the last time an American won the ladies US Open title. Coco being the only one left in the draw had such heavy weight on very young shoulders. Watch first game second set Advantage Coco on deuce. Coco’s serve and attempt was on point as play variation was needed , Garcia more than dominating the rallies. The net coverage wasn’t great leaving a big gap right side of court. That was the turning point as far as the complexion of the match went. Garcia again took charge of the set at 2-0. Caroline didn’t always dominate the rallies as first point of the third game showed. Good turning of defense into attack from the American, Caroline caught flat footed for once. The break of serve early was enough for the Frenchwoman to seize victory and book a semi final spot against Ons Jabeur on Thursday. However Coco’s powers of recovery from going a break early need working on. That means working on the psychological aspects of the game.