Manchester United are paying the price for “constant disruptions”, says Rene Meulensteen, with Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba needing to “close ranks” rather than air their grievances in public.The Red Devils have made as many headlines off the field this season as they have on it, with supposed rifts within the camp contributing to an inconsistent opening to 2018-19.Talk of a feud between Mourinho and Pogba refuses to go away, with the latest instalment of that unfortunate episode seeing the pair involved in a training ground argument. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! At a time when United should be focusing all of their efforts on the pursuit of positive results across multiple competitions, unwelcome distractions are doing their cause few favours.Meulensteen says it is imperative that these issues are ironed out quickly, with those at Old Trafford needing to get their house in order if they are to avoid seeing “difficult times” destroy their season.The former Red Devils assistant manager, who saw how business should be conducted during a spell alongside Sir Alex Ferguson, told talkSPORT: “There are too many things coming out, whether from Mourinho or the players, and that causes constant disruptions inside and outside the club.“Obviously there is a problem because there are certain things as a manager between your players you want to keep between the walls of the dressing room.“That is part of the strength of the squad and that’s what you need when you are getting into difficult times, like Man United are in at the moment.“That’s when you need to pull together and close the ranks, rather than throw something out that again opens up the speculation and causes a lot of disruption.”United’s last two outings have seen their manager and several leading players fall back under microscope.A 1-1 Premier League draw with Wolves was followed by a penalty shoot-out defeat to Championship side Derby in the Carabao Cup third round on Tuesday.Those results mean that an opening weekend victory over Leicester remains the Red Devils’ only success on home soil this season, with their next fixture set to take them back out on the road as they prepare to travel to West Ham on Saturday.
Matthijs de Ligt compared himself to Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, saying he sees similarities between himself and the Spanish star.De Ligt has been linked with a number of big clubs for quite some time with Barcelona seen as the front-runner to sign the young Netherlands international.With those links still swirling, de Ligt added a bit of fuel to the fire by comparing himself to the long-time Barcelona star. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! “I am similar to [Pique],” the Dutchman told ELF Voetbal Magazine.”I like to carry the ball out from the back.”Defensively I am strong and, like Gerard, I also started as a midfielder.”In addition, de Ligt went onto praise Barcelona’s style, saying he has been schooled in a similar way of playing during his time at Ajax.Barcelona and Ajax have long been linked dating back to the days of Johan Cruyff with both clubs always putting a priority on dynamic attacking soccer and strong ball-possession skills.”Ajax’s style of play is similar to Barcelona’s,” he said.”High press, a high defensive line and a high level of ball possession.”Alongside team-mate Frankie de Jong, de Ligt is considered one of the brightest prospects in world football with a number of teams swirling.Barcelona have largely given up hope on signing de Jong, with Manchester City the front-runner in the chase for the midfielder.However, a move for de Ligt seems to be a priority for a team that is thin in central defense due to the injury issues of Samuel Umtiti.De Ligt, de Jong and Ajax return to action against Den Haag in the Eredivisie having already sealed a spot in the last 16 of the Champions League
Championship side Birmingham City appointed former Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp as manager until the end of the season, as a replacement for Gianfranco Zola.Redknapp, who at 70 becomes the oldest manager in English football, guided Tottenham to Champions League qualification in the 2009-10 season.His last foray into management was a two-match spell in charge of the Jordan national team in March last year.”I got fed up sitting around doing nothing. I will come and live up here until the end of the season,” Redknapp told TalkSPORT on Tuesday.”If I can keep them up then we can sit down and talk about going forward.”Former Italy international Zola resigned after a 2-0 home defeat to Burton Albion that left Birmingham three points off the relegation zone.They are in 20th position and play Aston Villa on Sunday.
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Bengaluru FC skipper Sunil Chhetri, who scored seven goals in the just-concluded edition of the I-League football tournament, has won the most coveted Hero of the League award, it was announced on Tuesday.Mohun Bagan’s Debjit Majumder, with eight clean sheets, won the Best goalkeeper award of this season.Bagan’s Anas Edathodika, who recently made his international debut, edged others to win the ‘Jarnail Singh Best Defender’ of the league award while Alfred Kemah Jaryan of Aizawl FC was adjudged as the Best Midfielder.There was very little competition for the Best Striker award as Aser Pierrick Dipanda Dicka of Shillong Lajong grabbed the award, thanks to his tally of 11 goals in 18 matches.’Best Emerging Player of Hero I-League’ award was inducted by the AIFF this season to encourage the youngsters and it was Jerry Lalrinzuala (DSK Shivajians), who grabbed the award this season.Khalid Jamil, who mentored Aizawl FC to their historic I-League victory, was bestowed with the ‘Syed Abdul Rahim Best Coach Award’.Meanwhile, Churchill Brothers FC Goa, who made a comeback to the fray after a hiatus, won the ‘Fairplay Award’ of Hero I-League 2016-17.DSK Shivajians FC and Bengaluru FC shared the ‘Best Organiser Award’ this season on the basis of points awarded by the respective AIFF Match Commissioners.
Ruling out the merger of the I-League with the Indian Super League (ISL) in the immediate future, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) told officials from Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal on Saturday that it will talk with all stakeholders before taking a decision on the matter.”Patel informed the representatives that the revised roadmap of India football has not yet been finalised and before a final decision is taken, stakeholders including the Asian Football Confederation would be consulted,” the AIFF said in a statement.”Indian football has made rapid progress over the last few years and it’s important for AIFF to take a long term view. The AIFF has been in discussion with AFC and will do what’s in the interest of Indian football,” the statement added.The AIFF also asserted that the I-League will continue to be the premier domestic tournament of the country until the merger.The question of the merger of the I-League and the ISL has acquired new urgency since unheralded north-eastern outfit Aizawl FC capped a fairytale season by winning the I-League, edging out formidable Mohun Bagan by a single point. (FIFA president Gianni Infantino congratulates Aizawl FC on winning I-League)But despite winning the I-League, Aizawl’s future in the top division is uncertain since the AIFF and IMG-Reliance – the organisers of the ISL – want clubs to pay a fee of Rs 15 crore to participate in the new unified tournament.The AIFF only wants to allow three clubs from the present I-League – Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Bengaluru FC – in the new league.advertisementThe rest of the I-League clubs are supposed to play in the second division for the next seven seasons with no hope of promotion to the top division under the new rules formulated by the AIFF which inordinately favour the teams of the federation’s favourite corporate houses.While Mohun Bagan and East Bengal are trying hard to persuade the AIFF to waive the entry fee, Aizawl have virtually no hopes of playing in the unified league as they do not have the required financial muscle.However Aizawl’s owner Robert Royte has warned the AIFF that the club officials will try all avenues including hunger strike in their quest to gain admission.The club had made a formal application to the AIFF last Tuesday to continue being a part of the new unified league.
Chandigarh, May 12 (PTI) Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar today urged Home Minister Rajnath Singh to help provide assistance in enhancing the states agricultural productivity.Khattar asked Rajnath to make a strong recommendation to the Centre and the National Capital Region (NCR) Planning Board in this regard. He also urged the Union minister to upgrade agricultural marketing infrastructure in the region.Khattar was speaking at the Northern Zonal Council (NZC) meeting held under the chairmanship of Rajnath here.”North Indian states played a key role in ushering in the Green Revolution and the nation now expects us to lead the way in crop diversification, water conservation and promotion of organic farming,” he said.The chief minister said Haryana, a relatively small state, has led the way in several sectors of development, accelerating the economic growth in the region.”During the ongoing celebrations of the Golden Jubilee year of the formation of Haryana, we have registered many firsts,” he said.These include becoming the first kerosene-free state and ranking first among all North Indian states in the Ease of Doing Business ranking, he added.”We are proud to have registered a historic improvement in our sex ratio at birth and of our sports persons having brought laurels in many sports events including the last Olympic Games,” Khattar said. PTI VJ SUN CHS BSA
Sidharth Malhotra is a treat to the eyes, be it his well-sculpted body or super-stylish clothes, he knows how to keep all the eyeballs glued on him.Known for his dapper choice of clothes, and ever growing charm, Sidharth has constantly experimented with style, and rightly so.The Student Of The Year fame model-turned-actor, who is often spotted in quirky t-shirts and sneakers, got everyone talking again, for an entirely different reason though.The actor was sporting a cedar-brown hoodie, which we think was torn from places. No kidding.Photo: Yogen Shah Sidharth donned a pair of black jeans, and sneakers with his hoodie, and left us baffled over his choice of clothes.Also Read: Finally, we really like the dress Shraddha Kapoor’s wearingThe hoodie was so distressed that one could safely assume that Sidharth had been attacked by the Wolverine, in another parallel world.While Sidharth seemed extremely comfortable in his attire, we couldn’t help but wonder if it was the outcome of some DIY (do it yourself) practices he might’ve indulged in.His hoodie made us recall veteran actor Rishi Kapoor’s dig at Zara’s collection of torn clothes. Kapoor had stirred a controversy last year when he started a debate on how disrespectful these clothes are for the underprivileged, for whom distressed clothing isn’t a fashion statement, but a means of helplessness and poverty. Photo: Yogen Shah While Sidharth’s torn hoodie reminded us of actor Rishi Kapoor’s remarks, it also made us reflect on our insensitive fashion ideas.advertisementAlso Read: Here’s what’s absolutely wrong with Shilpa Shetty’s fusion attireWe have no idea why you wore a torn hoodie when you can afford everything in the world, Sidharth.
Jenson Button says he feels no pressure ahead of his one-off Formula One comeback with McLaren in Monaco this weekend because he has nothing riding on it.”If I get to Turn Two and I feel totally out of my depth, I will drive off into the sunset and not come back,” the 37-year-old Briton told reporters on Monday, smiling as he said it.”So it is fine. It is not a problem. I have no pressure.”The 2009 world champion and former Monaco winner left Formula One at the end of last season, handing over his seat to Belgian rookie Stoffel Vandoorne, and has moved to California where he has focused on triathlon.He is returning for the showcase race as a replacement for Spaniard Fernando Alonso.The Spaniard is missing the race around the streets of the Mediterranean principality in order to compete in the Indianapolis 500 on the same day, with the double champion qualifying fifth on Sunday.McLaren are the only team yet to score a point this season, their Honda-engined car beset by engine problems and lack of performance.But Button did not have to worry about that as he immersed himself in the McLaren simulator at the team’s Woking headquarters.He said negotiating Monaco’s tight and twisty street circuit in the virtual world, which replicates every bump and curve and can be adjusted for different conditions, still had its difficulties, however.”I also fell in the port twice today, and hopefully that’s not going to happen,” he said.advertisement”After Turn One, you go up the hill and I fell off on the right hand side. And rolled. I’ve never rolled in the simulator before – but I rolled. Lucky enough, the impact isn’t as big as in reality but you still get a jolt and a bit of G-force.”Despite McLaren’s problems, Alonso managed to qualify seventh at the previous race in Barcelona and Button saw that as a positive sign that the car could be competitive in Monaco with new updates coming.”What a step forward,” Button said. “He obviously did a great lap but it shows how much improvement the team has made. It is massive.”If Alonso can put it seventh in Barcelona then we should be looking sweet for Monaco,” he said, adding one caveat: “First of all I’ve got to see if I still know what to do when I get in the car on Thursday.”ALSO WATCH:
Spain’s Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by Barcelona soccer star Lionel Messi and stood by a Catalan regional court’s 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud, court documents showed.The five-times World Player of the Year is unlikely to go to prison, however.Messi and his father Jorge were found guilty by a Catalan court last July on three counts of tax fraud between 2007 and 2009 to the tune of 4.1 million euros on image rights and were also fined 2 million euros ($2.24 million).The court reduced Jorge Messi’s sentence from 21 months to 15, however, for returning the defrauded amount to Spain’s tax authority.Neither Messi nor his father are expected to serve time in jail, as under Spanish law sentences under two years can be served under probation.A court statement said Messi “unequivocally understood his obligation to pay tax on income obtained from exploiting his image rights…therefore it is not logical that he should ignore his duty to pay tax on them”.The Supreme Court’s ruling brings an end to a case which began in 2013.Messi, 29, and his father defrauded the Spanish tax office of 4.1 million euros between 2007 and 2009 by using a web of shell companies based in Belize, Switzerland and Uruguay to evade taxes on income from the player’s image rights.Messi, who has won eight La Liga titles, four King’s Cups and four Champions League crowns with Barcelona, finished top scorer in Spain this season with 37 league goals.He is set to play in the King’s Cup final next Saturday in Madrid, the last game of the domestic season.advertisementMessi is Barcelona’s all-time top scorer and their highest paid player. He is expected to sign a new contract with the Catalan club later this summer, with his current deal expiring in June 2018.Messi’s lawyer was not available for comment.Barcelona, who last year released a statement in support of Messi following his guilty sentence and launched a campaign in support of him on social media, have not yet commented on the Supreme Court’s decision.
Director Ruben Ostlund walked away with the Cannes Film Festival’s highest honour as his The Square, an art world satire that stars Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West, won this year’s Palme d’Or.When Ostlund did not get an Oscar nomination in 2015, he released a video that included what he called a “worst man cry”.On Sunday night, the Swedish director took a different tack as he rejoiced in his Cannes win. He asked photographers in the pit below the stage at the Lumiere Theatre to turn their cameras on the audience and led all attendees in a primal scream “of happiness”.He said, “I can direct you now, after all I won the Palme d’Or.”Other winners included Diane Kruger as Best Actress for her first German-language turn in Fatih Akin’s In the Fade, a timely story of the aftermath of a terrorist bombing, reports deadline.com.The actress, who works largely in French and American cinema, gave a shout-out to those affected by terrorism, particularly the folks left behind.To those “who have to go on living” after losing someone, she said, “please know you are not forgotten”.Joaquin Phoenix was named Best Actor for You Were Never Really Here. He sported Converse sneakers, apologising that his proper shoes already had been sent home.The Amazon Studios title also won Best Screenplay for writer-director Lynne Ramsay, who shared that nod in a tie with Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou for The Killing of a Sacred Deer.Actress Nicole Kidman was awarded a special 70th anniversary award. She sent a video message from Nashville saying she was “devastated” for not being present at the event.advertisement”Last week was like a dream. This is a lovely way to come back to the dream,” Kidman said.Among her acknowledgements was Sofia Coppola, in whose movie The Beguiled Kidman starred.Coppola, also absent from the Palais gala, was named Best Director for the film. She sent a message honouring, among others, her mother and father, director Francis Ford Coppola who made The Godfather trilogy.This is the second time in the festival’s history that a woman has won this prize, following Yuliya Solntseva for The Story of the Flaming Years back in 1961.In other big wins, Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless, won the Jury Prize. And, Robin Campillo’s AIDS activist drama “120 Beats Per Minute” picked up the Grand Prize.ALSO READ: India going gaga over Aishwarya and Sonam, but no Indian film in competition at Cannes ALSO READ: Sonam Kapoor reveals whom her psychedelic saree at Cannes Film Festival was dedicated to WATCH: Deepika talks about Cannes, her Met Gala outfit and selfies
Indian Super League (ISL) football franchise FC Goa have confirmed the signing of Sergio Lobera Rodriguez as their new head coach.The Spaniard put pen to paper on a two-year deal and will join the club in the first week of July.Lobera, who has previously coached UD Las Palmas and Moghreb Tetouan in Morocco amongst others, was also part of the late Tito Vilanova’s backroom staff during his tenure as the Head Coach of FC Barcelona.Reflecting on the appointment, FC Goa’s President, Akshay Tandon said, “After a thorough and exhaustive process where the best part of 60 names were considered for the job, we are pleased to hand over the reins of the first team to Sergio. We have always maintained that we are looking for a coach who will be able to help us achieve our vision for Goan football and Sergio fits that profile perfectly. We are excited by the ambition he has shown and his enthusiasm in getting to grips with the Indian game.”Sergio comes with a proven track record of promoting young talent. And with the club orienting itself towards the same goal as well, Sergio was the obvious candidate. After the disappointment of last season, we were keen to bring some fresh ideas into the club while continuing to display an attacking brand of football. Having had the opportunity to go through his footballing philosophy and his style of work, we are confident in his ability to evolve the club to the next level. With Sergio’s ambition and drive to succeed being complimented by Derrick’s know how and experience of the Indian game, we are ideally placed to achieve the desired results in the upcoming season of the ISL,” he added.advertisementEcstatic to join FC Goa, Rodriguez termed it as the ideal step in his career before adding that he is now looking forward to achieve best results with the club.”I’m delighted to join FC Goa and play my part in a very exciting vision. I see FC Goa as the ideal step in my career and hope to achieve the best results for the club. The passion for football in Goa is well documented and I’m keen to ensure that we play an attacking brand of football that the people of Goa can be proud of. The owners are keen to ensure that Goan football does not take a backseat in the exciting future of Indian football and having had a chance to visit Goa and observe the facilities and the infrastructure in close quarters, I’m convinced that the club is ideally placed to compete in not just the ISL but across the youth level as well,” he said.”Having seen the plans in place for the entire youth set-up and the grassroots program, I’m keen to play my part in helping the club work towards a unified playing philosophy, which will extend beyond the realms of the club to all the young footballers in Goa who are keen to take up the game,” Rodriguez concluded.
Ajinkya Rahane continued his rich vein of form with yet another half-century in One day Internationals. Rahane is making the most of the opportunity at the top of the order and has so far scored fifty-plus scores in all the four ODIs against West Indies in the ongoing five-match series.Rahane has been in a sublime form with scores of 62, 103, 72 and 60.Rahane top-scored for India with 60 off 91 balls but his knock went in vain as the visitors failed to chase down 190 against West Indies, losing the match by 11 runs. India had won the second and third ODIs after the first game was washed out. The visitors lead the series 2-1 with the fifth and final game to be played on June 6 in Jamaica.Rahane’s innings also helped him equal Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Mohammad Azharuddin, Suresh Raina and Sourav Ganguly for four consecutive fifty-plus scores.Tendulkar achieved the feat twice in 1996 and 2003, Azahruddin did it in 1990 and 1993, Ganguly in 2002, Kohli in 2010, Dhoni in 2011 and Raina in 2013.Rahul Dravid, Tendulkar and Kohli jointly hold India’s record with five successive fifties in ODIs.Rahane, who was sitting on the bench for whole of the ICC Champions Trophy, said he utilised the time focusing on his fitness and batting. In West Indies he got the opportunity after Rohit Sharma was rested for the tour.”I would like to thank Virat (Kohli) and team management that they gave me this opportunity to bat at the top of the order. When I was in England, I really worked hard on my fitness and I am happy all that hard work is paying off here,” Rahane told ANI last week.advertisement
David Beckham’s son Romeo is a talented tennis player with “a lot of potential” according to world number 11 Grigor Dimitrov, who gave the 14-year-old lessons prior to the start of Wimbledon.Beckham Junior, who last year had a lesson from defending Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, shared a video of his session with Bulgarian Dimitrov on Instagram on Saturday.”Romeo, he’s a very talented kid. I think he hasn’t played tennis for that long, but he sure showed I think a lot of potential,” said Dimitrov, who beat Argentine Diego Schwartzman in straight sets in his Wimbledon opener on Tuesday.Dimitrov’s friendship with the Beckham family, including fashion designer and former pop star Victoria Beckham, is his latest involvement in the celebrity world.The Bulgarian has been dating American singer Nicole Scherzinger and previously was in a high-profile relationship with Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova.Dimitrov said Romeo Beckham had shown interest in his career before the lesson.”I just wanted to do something nice for him. He came to quite a few of my matches. I’m glad to spend also some time with Victoria and get to know the family from close,” he said.
India will tour Sri Lanka for a full series beginning with a test match at Galle from July 26, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) announced on Friday.The number one Test team in the official rankings, Virat Kohli-led India will play three Tests, five one-dayers and one Twenty20 International against their neighbours.Colombo will host the second Test from Aug. 3, while Kandy is the venue for the third match nine days later, the SLC said.Beginning on Aug. 20 at Dambulla, the teams will play five one-dayers before India wrap up their tour with the Sept. 6 Twenty20 match in Colombo.India, currently in West Indies for a limited-overs series, remain without a coach after Anil Kumble stepped down last month citing a breakdown of relationship with Kohli.India last toured Sri Lanka in 2015 when they won the three-Test series 2-1.Series guide July 26-30: 1st Test, GalleAug 3-7 : 2nd Test, ColomboAug 12-16 : 3rd Test, KandyAug 20 : 1st ODI, DambullaAug 24 : 2nd ODI, KandyAug 27 : 3rd ODI, KandyAug 31 : 4th ODI, ColomboSept 3 : 5th ODI, ColomboSept 6 : Only T20I, Colombo
Floyd Mayweather did exactly what was expected of him when he outclassed mixed martial arts champion Conor McGregor in their crossover bout on Saturday to secure a final victory in an illustrious career that ends with an unmatched 50-0 record.The 10th round technical knockout not only enabled to Mayweather to depart boxing on a winning note but allowed the American to pull clear of heavyweight legend Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 mark for most wins without a loss or draw.History has been made. 50-0! #MayweatherMcGregor pic.twitter.com/mBKtbeNxHt- MayweatherPromotions (@MayweatherPromo) August 27, 2017The 40-year-old was lured out of a near two-year retirement for the fight and a shot at the record with what could amount to a $200 million payday but Mayweather was adamant that no amount of money would tempt him back into the ring once more.”Rocky Marciano is a legend and I look forward to going into the Hall of Fame one day,” Mayweather said in a post-fight interview. “This was my last fight tonight. For sure.”I didn’t have to come back.”We do foolish things sometimes but I am not a dam fool. If I see an opportunity to make $300 million in 36 minutes why not. I had to do.”But this is the last one, you have my word on it.”AP PhotoThe victory over McGregor was the culmination of a 21-year journey that took Mayweather from the grit and grime of Grand Rapids, Michigan to the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, and from childhood poverty to a billionaire lifestyle.advertisementIf the pay-per-view projections are accurate and Saturday’s fight becomes the most lucrative of all time, Mayweather will pocket $200 million to put him among the world’s highest paid athletes like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan.”I come from poverty, I come from the inner city,” explained Mayweather. “Now when I get with my billionaire buddies, I don’t get with them and say ‘I am happy to hang in your house’ or ‘I’m happy to ride in your jet’.”I say ‘teach me how you did it so I can have the same thing’.”Now the student is ready to become the teacher with Mayweather saying the next chapter of his life will be as a trainer, like the father who taught him.Along with his real estate investments and Las Vegas gentlemen’s clubs, he will spend time focusing on his boxing business and uncovering the next Floyd Mayweather to groom for super stardom.”I just want to help young fighters,” he added. “My dad is a trainer he taught me the sport. Everything he taught me from day one is still with me.”Trainers help make fighters better and teach fighters about becoming a superstar, not just in the ring but outside.”Hopefully I can find the next Floyd Mayweather.”Nothing but #Respect #MayweatherMcGregor pic.twitter.com/Vp1KA7ELHe- UFC (@ufc) August 27, 2017Much respect between these two. @FloydMayweather & @TheNotoriousMMA put on a show #MayweatherMcGregor pic.twitter.com/Q2nek4jpC8- UFC (@ufc) August 27, 2017
World Cup hosts Russia needed a second-half equaliser from Zenit St Petersburg striker Dmitry Poloz to secure a 1-1 draw against Iran in a friendly in Kazan on Tuesday.Russia fell behind when Iran striker Sardar Azmoun beat back-up goalkeeper Andrei Lunev in the 57th minute after Mehdi Taremi powered through the Russian backline.Russia, however, hit back in the 74th minute, with Poloz sliding in to get a touch on cross by Alexander Samedov, beating Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand.Russia came into the game on the back of a confidence-boosting 4-2 win against South Korea at the weekend, when they were aided by two own goals from South Korean defender Kim Ju-young.As World Cup hosts, Russia have not had the opportunity to measure themselves against Europe’s best in qualifying.The friendly against South Korea was Russia’s first international test since they exited the Confederations Cup at the group stage in June, which added to a long list of recent failures.Russia also made an early exit at both the 2016 European Championship and the 2014 World Cup, failing to win a match in both tournaments, and they are eager to avoid embarrassment at next year’s finals.Iran, three-times Asian champions, finished first in their qualifying group for the World Cup. They will be making a fifth World Cup appearance next year.The World Cup finals run from June 14 to July 15 in 12 venues spread across 11 cities including Moscow, St Petersburg and Sochi.
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By SS RamaswamyMumbai, Oct 27 (PTI) Young Mumbai high hurdler and national record holder Siddhanth Thingalaya has set his sights on a podium finish at next years Commonwealth Games in in Australia as well as the Asian Games in Indonesia.Prior to these two multi-sport events, 6-foot-3-inch tall Thingalaya has the chance to run and prove his credentials in the 60 m hurdles at the World Indoor Championships scheduled in Birmingham, in March next year.He claimed that he has already achieved the qualifying mark of 7.70 seconds.”I am definitely sure about getting medals in the Commonwealth as well as the Asian Games after having seen the earlier winning times. I am slowly improving,” said Thingalaya, who would be 27 as he heads into the top three events of 2018.Thingalaya ran in this years World Athletics Championships in London but couldnt make a mark and blamed lack of sufficient preparation time as he hit many hurdles during his race.”I am a 110m specialist, the first athlete to go for world championship this year as no one has done it in 110m (from India) earlier.”I and my coach (American Gary Cablayan) have to rectify a few mistakes ? from start of the race to its end including between hurdles that happened in the World Championship for which I did not have enough time to prepare,” said the Mumbai hurdler, who is supported financially by his parents.His father has retired and his mother, also a bank employee, is still in service, Thingalaya said.advertisement”I have also done the qualifiers for the World Indoors scheduled in March and I am among the early qualifiers (7.70 secs). I have done the same done in Seattle and I will be competing again there in January, before the World Indoors and CWG,” said Thingalaya, who started training for indoors in California, constantly improving upon his timing.”I am hoping to get my times even better. A podium finish in the World Indoors may be difficult, but I can make the finals,” said Thingalaya, who rued that it clashed with the Federation Cup meet in Patialia.”I am not sure whether there is any qualifier just after the World Indoors. Its an experience to run with world level athletes. I am focusing on it. Its unfortunate it clashes with the Federation Cup.”I need to concentrate on World Indoors for international exposure as they are the same who will show up in the Tokyo Olympics,” he said.Thingalaya is not in the Government-supported TOPS and is hoping to get into it following his request to the Athletics Federation of India.”I am not in TOPS. I have approached AFI, lets see. They said they will consider my case. They have to put forward my case to TOPS at the next meeting.”He said he was with the Bengaluru-based JSW for two years before being left out in 2014 and had approached Mumbai-based OGQ a month ago without tasting success. PTI SSR KHS KHS