Listen: Full script of Episode 101 of Spodcast where we discuss Liverpool's win over Napoli, Ramesh Powar back in contention for coaching role and more
Here, we discuss Liverpool's victory over Napoli in Champions League, Ramesh Powar reapplies for Indian women's cricket team coaching job and more.
Welcome to Spodcast, where we take a look at the big sports news of the morning.
We start with football news today from the Champions League. Liverpool prevailed over Napoli in a tense match to make it through to the knockout stage while Tottenham Hotspur made it through after drawing their game against Barcelona.
Liverpool, who finished in second place last year, went into the match knowing full well that a 1-0 win, or a win by 2 goals, would help them reach the last 16. Liverpool’s Egyptian star Mohamed Salah slotted the ball beyond Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina in the 34th minute to give his team the crucial lead they required.
The rest of the match saw a rusty Liverpool miss multiple scoring opportunities as Napoli looked to equalize. This almost cost Liverpool dear as the Serie A team nearly scored a goal. It took an extraordinary save from goalkeeper Alisson to halt Napoli’s charge. The ball fell for substitute striker Arkadiusz Milik unmarked in the area, but Alisson raced from his line to keep out the Pole's strike with his legs. A happy Jurgen Klopp gushed, “I have no idea how Alisson made a save like this. It was amazing,” adding, “...what a game. I am not sure a manager could be prouder of a team than I am.”
Liverpool’s Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur, also progressed to the last 16 after getting a draw against Barcelona. Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele scored in just the seventh minute to help the Spanish club draw first blood. Philippe Coutinho nearly made it 2-0 but Tottenham were saved when his shot struck the post.
It was a tough game for Spurs, who searched for an equalizer all through the game, only to be denied for nearly 80 minutes. Finally, they broke through in the 85th minute as Lucas Moura's strike leveled the score.
Paris Saint-Germain trounced Red Belgrade 4-1 to finish top of their group and qualify for the next round. Borussia Dortmund finished at the top of Group A with a 2-0 win over Monaco.
A quick update on the IPL 2019 player auction. The auction, slated for 18 December, has seen over 1000 cricketers register for the next season. 346 players from that lot have been shortlisted for the auction, of which 226 are Indian players.
Nine international cricketers will have the highest base price of Rs 2 crore - Lasith Malinga, Colin Ingram, Shaun Marsh, Corey Anderson, Sam Curran, Angelo Mathews, D'Arcy Short, Brendon McCullum and Chris Woakes.
As mentioned earlier, Jaydev Unadkat will be the highest priced Indian player at 1.5 crores.
An update on the controversy that has broken out in women’s cricket in India. Ex-coach Ramesh Powar has re-applied for the role following consistent support from team captain Harmanpreet Kaur and her deputy, Smriti Mandhana.
Powar’s tenure ended on 30 November, and the end was nothing short of ignominious. He was accused by veteran player Mithali Raj of sabotaging her career. Powar hit back, claiming Mithali had threatened to retire midway through the Women’s World T20.
Mithali was decidedly against Powar becoming coach again while skipper Kaur and vice-captain Mandhana said the team had developed a winning mindset during his tenure, because of which they are backing him. Powar too submitted his application, saying, “...I have applied this evening because Smriti, Harmanpreet have supported me and I can't let them down by not applying.”
Meanwhile, the BCCI has received applications from ex-cricketers like Herschelle Gibbs, Dimitri Mascarenhas and Manoj Prabhakar for the coach’s position.
The latest development is that veteran players, and ex-coaches, Kapil Dev and Anshuman Gaekwad, as well as former India cricketer Shantha Rangaswamy will interview the candidates for the job. The interviews will be held on 20 December at the BCCI’s headquarters in Mumbai. A press release said, “The Board of Control for Cricket in India on Tuesday announced the ad-hoc committee to conduct the interviews of the eligible candidates for the selection of head coach for Team India (Senior Women).”
Hockey news now, from the men’s world cup being held in Odisha. The Netherlands thrashed Canada 5-0 on Tuesday to qualify for the quarterfinals, where they will face 5th ranked India. Netherlands, who are ranked fourth in the world, have been champions thrice before - in 1973, 1990, and 1998. The quarterfinal between the fourth and fifth-ranked teams promises to a thrilling contest.
The Netherlands dominated 11th ranked Canada from the outset. Lars Balk scored goal number one in the 16th minute, and Robert Kemperman slammed home the second just four minutes later. Canada showed some defiance to halt the scoring, holding off the Dutch assault for 20 minutes. However, Thijs van Dam broke through in the 40th minute to make it 3-0. Thierry Brinkman compounded a stunned Canada’s misery to make it 4-0 just 60 seconds later. The scoreline may have been a lot more dire for Canada if not for goalkeeper Andrew Charter’s brilliant saves. But the Dutchmen weren’t finished. With two minutes left in the match, van Dam broke through Canada’s defence once more to make it 5-0.
The Netherlands will face India on Thursday.
In ISL news, FC Pune City beat FC Goa 2-0 in an impressive performance on Tuesday. Goa have struggled since coming back from the break in November, and have been in fourth place in the points table ever since. Pune, who were lower down the table have now climbed to seventh place. They have continued to improve, and earned their second straight win yesterday.
A tense first half saw neither side make any inroads, and it wasn’t until the 74th minute that Pune City’s aggressive approach paid off when Pune’s Brazilian player Marcelinho worked his magic. Sarthak Golui's pass found Marcelinho in space outside the box and the Brazilian unleashed a beautiful curling strike that landed in the back of the net. Then, four minutes into extra time, Pune were gifted a penalty when Marko Stankovic was held back by Mohammed Ali. The midfielder took the penalty himself and slotted it home to make it a memorable 2-0 win for Pune.
Euro 2020: Struggling Spain can draw inspiration from Chelsea's Champions League success, says Cesar Azpilicueta
Azpilicueta lifted Chelsea's second European Cup as the team changed gear under new coach Thomas Tuchel, a superb finish to the season culminating in a surprise victory over Manchester City in the final.
"Kevin De Bruyne has joined the group and that's fantastic news. He looks ready, he looks fresh, and just to see him walking into the dining room was a real highlight of the day," Martinez told reporters at Belgium's team base near Brussels.
Sergio Ramos leaves Real Madrid in the summer after spending 16 seasons with Los Blancos where he played 671 games and scored 101 goals.