In football news, Croatia's World Cupper and former manager Igor Stimac will be appointed the Indian football team's head coach. This was confirmed after the AIFF Technical Committee recommended his name for the top job on Friday.
The 51-year-old Stimac, a part of the Croatian team that finished third in the 1998 World Cup, received the nod from the Technical Committee, which interviewed four shortlisted candidates.
PTI reported that the AIFF is likely to officially announce Stomach’s appointment as India coach on Saturday. Technical Committee Chairman Shyam Thapa said, “We have recommended Igor Stimac's name to the All India Football Federation Executive Committee after interviewing all the four candidates. We found him as the best suited to become India coach.” Stimac was the only candidate who turned up in person for the interview while three other candidates – South Korean Lee Min-sung, Spaniard Albert Roca and Hakan Ericson of Sweden – were interviewed via skype.
Gokulam Kerala thrashed SSB Women's Football Club 5-0 to post their third win on the trot in the Indian Women's League on Thursday.
Anju Tamang scored a brace in the first and 89th minutes while Anita Rawat scored in the 39thminute, Ranjana Chanu in the 46th, and Bawitlung Vanlalhriattiri in the 74th as a rampant Goklulam dominated the match almost entirely. In fact, Gokulam took the lead immediately after the start of the game. An intricate move was converted into a goal by India international Anju Tamang. The entire move took Gokulam just 14 seconds, which made this the fastest goal scored in the 2018-19 season of the IWL.
Following the big win, Gokulam have taken a big lead at the top of the Group II table with nine points and are on the verge of qualifying for the semi-finals.
In another IWL match, Panjim Footballers posted their first win of the tournament as they pipped FC Alakhpura 2-1 in a close contest. Karishma Shirvoikar scored both the goals for the Goan side in the 9th and 56th minutes while India U-18 International Samiksha got the lone goal for the Haryana side in the 71st minute.
In cricket news, Cricket Australia has praised Australian cricketers’ post-Sandpapergate conduct as the men's team registered its first violation-free season in seven years.
CA said the Australians’ once-notorious behaviour has significantly improved amid attempts to clean up the game's culture after the ball-tampering scandal. Chairman Earl Eddings said, “Everyone in Australian cricket is well aware that it's not just winning that counts, but how we play the game, and the players have certainly embraced that spirit.”
He added that the men's national team had no conduct citing during the 2018-19 season, the first clean sheet in seven years, and Code of Conduct charges at all levels dropped 74 percent. He said umpires had also reported they were being accorded more respect from players as the new, less abrasive culture beds in.
Australian cricket has made extra efforts to shed the "ugly Australian" image after cricket's standing in the sports-mad nation reached its lowest point. Last year, in a Test against South Africa in Cape Town, Australian players were caught red handed trying to cheat, attempting to alter the ball with sandpaper. The aftermath was laden with much drama and many tears, as erstwhile captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner expressed contrition after being banned from all forms of cricket for many months. The clean up was begun soon after.
An independent review commissioned by CA slammed Australian cricket's "arrogant" culture, criticising both players and officials for chasing victory with no thought of morality or the spirit of the game. Eddings explained, “While there is always room for improvement, these are very good signs which demonstrate meaningful change and will have a positive and lasting impact on Australian cricket at all levels.” Greg Dyer, president of the Australian Cricketers' Association , said, “At all levels, the players understand their role as ambassadors in growing the game and are to be congratulated for the way they are conducting themselves both on and off the field.”
Teenager Jemimah Rodrigues struck an unbeaten 77 to help Supernovas beat Velocity by 12 runs and enter the final of the Women's T20 Challenge on Thursday.
The two sides will face off once again in the summit clash on Saturday as the third team, Trailblazers, who also secured the same two points as Velocity and Supernovas, finished third on the basis of net run rate.
It was a must-win match for the Supernovas, and 18-year-old Rodrigues' 48-ball 77 not out ensured they reached 142/3 in their 20 overs. She struck 10 fours and one six in her aggressive innings. Supernovas’ bowlers then restricted Velocity to 130/3 to win the final round-robin league match of the tournament and make it through to the final.
Chasing 143 for a win, Velocity lost early wickets losing openers Hayley Matthews and Shafali Verma cheaply, to be reduced to 21/2 by the fourth over. Danielle Wyatt threatened to take the game away from Supernovas with a 33-ball 43 but she was dismissed in the 12th over after a 56-run stand with captain Mithali Raj, who remained 40 not out off 42 balls. Raj also shared a 53-run partnership with Veda Krishnamurthy for the fourth wicket but the duo could not chase down the target. The total of 130 was, however, enough for Velocity to make it to the final. For the Supernovas, leg-spinner Poonam Yadav was the most impressive bowler with one wicket at the expense of 13 runs from her four overs.
In tennis news, top seed Novak Djokovic qualified for the quarterfinals of the Madrid Open, beating Frenchman Jeremy Chardy for the 13th time.
The Serbian star needed less than 90 minutes to extend his domination of French opponents, beating Chardy 6-1, 7-6. Djokovic holds an overwhelming record against the French, standing 66-2 against them since leading Serbia to the 2010 Davis Cup title over France.
He won the opening set in less than half an hour, but was forced to a tiebreaker as Chardy's resistance stiffened in the second. He will face ninth seed Marin Cilic next after the Croatian put out Laslo Djere 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, winning 11 of the last 13 games.
Djokovic, the Madrid champion in 2011 and 2016, is searching for his top clay form as he begins the chase of a fourth straight Grand Slam title at the French Open, which starts in two weeks.
Meanwhile, Roger Federer saved two match points to defeat France's Gael Monfils 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3) on Thursday to also reach the quarter-finals. Federer trailed 4-2 in the deciding set before levelling at 4-4. The 20-time Grand Slam winner then saved match points in the 12th game before sweeping through the tiebreaker to record his 1,200th career win.
In the women’s draw, two-time women's champion Simona Halep overcame Ashleigh Barty 7-5, 7-5 to reach her fourth Madrid semi-final. Swiss player Belinda Bencic knocked top seed Naomi Osaka out in the quarterfinals of the Madrid Open on Thursday with a 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 comeback win. It was the second victory in two months for the Swiss over Japan's world number one after Bencic shocked Osaka at Indian Wells in March.
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Updated Date: May 10, 2019 13:33:45 IST