#Sanchez sends Arsenal into FA Cup final

Alexis Sanchez ensured Arsenal’s stormy season will end with an FA Cup final after securing a 2-1 victory over Manchester City in extra time at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Arsenal will play Chelsea on May 27 in its third FA Cup final in four seasons. The competition has provided a comfort blanket for Arsene Wenger as he has failed to deliver the Premier League trophy since 2004.

But with Arsenal languishing in seventh place in the Premier League, and set to miss out on the Champions League, the heat remains on the manager whose contract expires at the end of the season.

Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge of City will end without silverware. That’s not what City was expecting when it hired the serial winner who had won titles in every campaign with Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

City had led against Arsenal in north London, with Sergio Aguero completing a second-half counterattack after Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey gave the ball away in the opposition half. But Arsenal displayed the resolve lacking so often this year to turn the semifinal around, with defender Nacho Monreal producing a rare goal.

And Sanchez came through for Arsenal in extra time, just as he did for the joint-record 12-time FA Cup winners in the 2015 semifinal, producing a winner in the 101st minute. Mesut Ozil’s free kick was headed down by Rob Holding, Danny Welbeck missed his attempt but Sanchez demonstrated his poacher’s instinct to nudge the ball over the line.

FOR THE BEST GLOBAL HOTEL & FLIGHT BOOKINGS

Source – TheJakartaPost

Alonso embracing challenges of his ‘Indy 500 adventure

Fernando Alonso is on a personal “Indy 500 adventure” that is both a labor of love and ambition for the two-time Formula One champion.

The Spaniard will attempt to run the Indianapolis 500 next month, and hopefully, some day, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s part of his quest to win what’s considered the Triple Crown of racing — Alonso already has won the Monaco Grand Prix — but this bid will require him to master new cars and racing styles.

Maybe that’s why Indy is so appealing at this stage of his successful career.

“I want to be the most complete driver in the world and the best driver in the world and I want to win all the series in different cars with different driving techniques,” Alonso said Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park, where he’d flown from Europe to watch Andretti Autosport compete in the IndyCar race.

To be the most complete driver in the world, Alonso has a lofty goal for Indianapolis: “I need to win it. And if it’s not this year, we will plan it for the next attempt.”

Alonso drives for struggling McLaren in Formula One. He will be the sixth entry for Andretti Autosport at Indy in a partnership with Honda and McLaren. The 35-year-old has begun preparing for Indy by testing on a simulator, where the walls aren’t so intimidating and there’s no traffic to negotiate.

FOR THE BEST GLOBAL HOTEL & FLIGHT BOOKINGS

He flew to Alabama on Saturday, had dinner with his fellow Andretti drivers and flashed both confidence and humor at a Sunday news conference. Team and IndyCar executives believe the Formula One-to-Indy move by such an accomplished driver is a win for all sides, bringing exposure across the ocean in both directions.

“I don’t think there’s one person that’s involved in this thing that’s not going to get something out of it,” said Michael Andretti, founder and CEO of Andretti Autosport. “I think it’s going to be a fantastic thing. I think there’s so much interest all over the world, and it’s going to be great for Formula One, great for IndyCar, great for the Indy 500, great for our team, great for McLaren.”

Andretti, a former IndyCar champion, raced for McLaren in Formula One in 1993.

Mark Miles, CEO of IndyCar’s parent company, Hulman & Company, plans a European tour to build on the renewed interest.

McLaren’s Zak Brown said he sees no downside to the endeavor. The team brought in Gil de Ferran, the 2003 Indy 500 winner, as driver coach for Alonso. And Alonso will get a full day test at the speedway early next month.

All parties have admitted that if McLaren and Honda weren’t struggling so much in F1 right now, Alonso never could have skipped Monaco to race Indianapolis.

“I’d like to see McLaren here on a more regular basis,” said Brown, executive director of McLaren Technology. “And would we do it with Fernando again? Absolutely. I hope that we have the problem of Monaco and Indy in the same weekend and we are fighting for the championship.

“So what happens in 2018, we’ll have to wait and see, because obviously we’re working very hard to get Fernando and Stoffel Vandoorne a much more competitive car than we are producing right now.”

This is McLaren’s first time in the Indy 500 in 38 years. Stefan Wilson gave up his ride to accommodate Alonso, and Brown called him “the unsung hero in this whole process.”

Alonso wants to wait until after the May 28 race to seriously contemplate a possible repeat performance. He’s also uncertain when he’d run the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which could force him to miss multiple Formula One races.

Then, it’s back to his regular job, preparing for the Russian Grand Prix. He’ll also run the Spanish Grand Prix on May 14.

Alonso said he didn’t tell anyone, even his family, about his decision until the day of his announcement.

As for his F1 peers, Alonso professes to learn their opinions only from comments in the media.

“We don’t talk much there,” he said. “It’s a different world. I don’t know, the only thing that I know is probably what you guys (reporters) read, you know, because it’s what I read, as well. Some of them are happy for me and happy for this thing and curious to see how competitive we can be. Some others, they are not happy with anything in life. So this was another thing for their own problems.

“But it’s OK. I think, different world.”

Source – TheJakartaPost

Tiger Woods undergoing again a back surgery

The former number one of the world has been struggling with hernias and back injuries for several years and now announced today that he has been under the knife for the fourth time to fight pain in his back and legs.

Tiger Woods won’t be playing golf again anytime soon.

Woods announced on his website Thursday that he has undergone yet another back surgery to alleviate pain in his back and leg.

“The surgery went well, and I’m optimistic this will relieve my back spasms and pain,” Woods said. “When healed, I look forward to getting back to a normal life, playing with my kids, competing in professional golf and living without the pain I have been battling so long.”

The surgery, which he revealed on TigerWoods.com, was described as successful, and patients typically can return to full activity in six months.

Woods, 41, says his goal is to continue to play professional golf and live without pain.

The surgery was done by Dr. Richard Guyer of the Center for Disc Replacement at the Texas Back Institute, according to the Woods’ website.

“After he recovers from surgery, he will gradually begin his rehabilitation until he is completely healed,” Guyer said. “Once that’s accomplished, his workouts will be geared to allowing him to return to competitive golf.

 The 14-time major champion was out of action for 15 months after undergoing a pair of back surgeries in 2015. He’s only teed it up 19 times on the PGA Tour since 2014 because of various injuries, mostly related to his ailing back.

No miracle Barcelona 0-0 Juventus

Barcelona 0-0 Juventus (0-3 agg): Catalans crash out as Messi and co misfire at Nou Camp – 5 things we learned

Lightning didn’t strike twice.

This time Barcelona did leave themselves with far too much to do as composed an away performance you could wish to see in the Champions League to make the semi-finals.

On a night Barca needed everything he touched to turn to gold, Lionel Messi fired off target with the hosts best two chances either side of half-time.

Juventus always threatened the away goal that would have made the highly improbable impossible through the pace of Juan Cuadrado on the counter-attack.

In the end, though, their 3-0 first leg lead was more than enough as they registered an eighth clean sheet in 10 Champions League games this season.

Here are five things we learned…

ps, With a Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers

Read continue

FOR THE BEST GLOBAL HOTEL & FLIGHT BOOKINGS

Sebastian Vettel wins Bahrain Grand Prix for Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel is back on top of the Formula One standings and his Ferrari team is bursting with ambition again.

A couple of hours after Vettel had held off his Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton to win an exciting Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday — the German driver’s second victory in three races — Ferrari’s chairman spoke with new-found confidence.

“It is, of course, hugely satisfying to be back on the top step of the podium,” Sergio Marchionne said. “More importantly, however, we are now completely confident that our victory in Melbourne wasn’t just a one-off and that we will be at the forefront of this world championship until the last (race).”

Fighting talk from Ferrari, at long last.

Vettel is chasing his fifth world title and is seven points ahead of three-time champion Hamilton in the drivers’ standings, while Ferrari is three points in front of Mercedes in the constructors’ race.

The renewed optimism is in contrast to last year, when Ferrari did not even win a race and where Vettel drew more attention for his frustrated outbursts during actual races rather than his driving.

Ferrari won the last of its 15 drivers’ titles through Kimi Raikkonen in 2007, and the last of its 16 constructors’ titles a year later. A demoralizing drought for such a fiercely proud team, certainly, but this year promises to be different.

“We finally have a competitive car to count on and it is important to recognize the speed with which we implemented the developments,” Marchionne said. “My compliments not just to Seb for his achievements in Bahrain, but also to the whole team.”

Bayern Munich 1-2 Real Madrid

REAL DEFEAT BAYERN

Cristiano Ronaldo overturned Arturo Vidal’s header as Real Madrid won 2-1 at Bayern Munich, who had Javi Martinez sent off.

A second-half double from Cristiano Ronaldo secured a 2-1 win for Real Madrid against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena and a firm advantage in their Champions League quarter-final tie.

The Portugal captain struck two minutes after the break to cancel out Arturo Vidal’s bullet header before poking home a second to give the holders a strong result to take back to the Santiago Bernabeu for the return fixture.

Bayern had been good value for their lead but Vidal’s missed penalty allowed Madrid to get back into the match, before a red card for Javi Martinez left the Bundesliga leaders facing a battle to ensure they stayed in the tie.

The first half belonged to the home side and Vidal in particular, the midfielder scoring with one emphatic header, missing a clear chance for a second and blazing a controversial spot-kick over the crossbar.

Madrid responded through Ronaldo’s first goal in the tournament since September 27 and Martinez’s two quick-fire yellow cards gave them a foothold they never looked likely to relinquish, before Ronaldo’s second 13 minutes from time sealed the win – his 100th goal in European competition.

Source

FOR THE BEST GLOBAL HOTEL & FLIGHT BOOKINGS

 

 

Juventus 3-0 Barcelona: Turin giants stun Barca

Barcelona need another Nou Camp miracle if they are to reach the Champions League semi-finals after a crushing 3-0 loss to Juventus in Turin.

Paulo Dybala struck twice in a stunning first half and Giorgio Chiellini added a rare third after the break as the hosts claimed a commanding advantage ahead of next week’s second leg.

Dismal Barcelona’s only hope is to repeat their feat of the previous round, when they recovered from a 4-0 first-leg loss to Paris St Germain by beating the French side 6-1 at home.

But on the evidence of Tuesday night a second comeback looks highly unlikely after Juventus dominated proceedings with the help of Dybala’s brilliant first-half brace.

The home side hared out from the first whistle and had their first chance after less than three minutes when Gonzalo Higuain wasted a good chance in front of Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Luis Enrique’s men, smarting from a domestic defeat to Malaga at the weekend, looked clueless over how to deal with their opponents’ attacking threat and they fell behind with just seven minutes on the clock.

The superb Juan Cuadrado found Dybala on the right side of the box and the striker curled an excellent left-foot shot past the helpless keeper.

Barcelona responded well and could have grabbed an equaliser after 20 minutes when Lionel Messi threaded the ball to Andres Iniesta whose low shot was well saved by Gianluigi Buffon.

Moments later, Juventus surged down the left flank and Mario Mandzukic crossed for the unmarked Dybala, who fired his second of the game past ter Stegen to put the Italians 2-0 up.

Messi had an effort ruled out for offside on the half-hour before Juventus came close to increasing their lead when Cuadrado pulled back for Miralem Pjanic who blazed over the bar.

Barcelona started the second half in much better fashion with Messi rolling an effort inches wide of the upright and Buffon just beating Luis Suarez to an Ivan Rakitic through-ball.

Higuain rolled a weak effort at ter Stegen before Chiellini made it 3-0 after 55 minutes, out-jumping Javier Mascherano to head home only the second Champions League goal of his career.

Knowing a precious away goal could still help turn the tie in their favour, Barcelona began to press with Suarez trickling a fine chance wide then Neymar seeing an effort blocked by the busy Chiellini in the box.

Barcelona’s mis-firing mega-stars endured more frustration in the final quarter of an hour, Suarez mis-controlling after a pass across the six-yard box by Neymar, then Messi mis-judging a fine chance from a corner.

Marshalled by a towering performance by Brazilian Alex Santos, the Juventus defence held out and Messi’s last chance to reduce the deficit came to an end when he spun a free-kick into the Italians’ wall.

Source

FOR THE BEST GLOBAL HOTEL & FLIGHT BOOKINGS

Arsenal Defeated

Crystal Palace strengthened their survival bid and dented Arsenal’s top-four hopes with a superb 3-0 win at Selhurst Park on Monday Night Football.

Andros Townsend gave Crystal Palace a 1-0 lead with a close-range finish on 17 minutes, despite Arsenal’s dominance in possession in the first period.

The Gunners were second best after the break, and it was 2-0 just after the hour mark through Yohan Cabaye’s looping effort, before Luka Milivojevic put Palace three ahead from the penalty spot after Emiliano Martinez brought down Townsend.

READ CONTINUE

FOR THE BEST GLOBAL HOTEL & FLIGHT BOOKINGS

Ibrahimovic inspiration keeps Man United in top-four race

After 30 minutes of Sunday’s Premier League game against Sunderland, Manchester United appeared in danger of meandering its way to another disappointing result.

Thankfully for manager Jose Mourinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic had other ideas.

The Swedish forward demanded the ball be played to him on the edge of the penalty area, and then evaded the attempts of two Sunderland defenders to halt his progress before sending an unstoppable strike into the far bottom corner.

“You need these players sometimes to make it and normally every top team has a couple of them that can make a difference. Zlatan did that with the goal,” Mourinho said.

After Ibrahimovic’s moment of inspiration, the result was never in doubt and a red card for Sebastian Larsson left space for Henrikh Mkhitaryan and substitute Marcus Rashford to seal the points for United.

With the league’s top four all having won on Saturday, the victory ensured United kept pace in the race for Champions League qualification as it moved above Arsenal into fifth and within four points of fourth-place Manchester City, which has played one more game.

Sunderland remains bottom having now failed to score in its last seven games, 10 points adrift of safety.

“We reacted to the results of yesterday,” Mourinho said. “We got the three points, [with a] solid performance against a team that is sad. When you play against a team that is sad, if you score before [them], the game is almost over because it is difficult to react.”

“After Liverpool and Manchester City’s victories, if we didn’t win today it’s almost mathematically impossible [to finish fourth].”

Unlike its rivals, United can still qualify for next season’s Champions League by winning the Europa League. It resumes its campaign with a quarterfinal first leg in Belgium against Anderlecht on Thursday.

Source – TheJakataPost

FOR THE BEST GLOBAL HOTEL & FLIGHT BOOKINGS