SPORTS DAY: The sisters do what the brothers can't
A round-up of the sporting news
SA U-17 women secure World Cup spot
South Africa’s Women U-17 National team booked a place at the Fifa Junior World Cup in Uruguay with an emphatic 6-1 aggregate score over their Moroccan counterparts on Saturday. Bantwana had almost but sealed a berth at the world stage after romping to a comfortable 5-1 first-leg victory at Dobsonville Stadium two weeks ago. And although Morocco showed some fighting spirit at home, the passage to South America was never in doubt. The visitors were always comfortable and could have won by a bigger margin but wasted countless glaring chances in the opening stanza. The World Cup will take place from 13 November to 1 December in Uruguay.
Go easy on Markram, Kohli pleads
Indian batting superstar Virat Kohli has pleaded with South Africans to show patience and not judge young South African stand-in captain Aiden Markram too harshly. Markram, 23, took over as captain after Faf du Plessis’s injury in the first ODI in Durban, and South Africa lost four of the five matches he was in charge of by big margins, leading to questions about the decision to give him the responsibility. “It is not easy when the results don’t go your way, but I have been very impressed with him as a batsman and as a captain‚” said Kohli after the sixth and final ODI in Centurion. “He is very composed from what I saw on the field. He is someone who does not lose his cool and that is a positive thing. He has captained his province‚ at junior level as well, and I will suggest that people show patience with him because he is potentially your next leader.”
Star emerges from dad's shadow
Snowboarder Ester Ledecka turned the world of alpine skiing on its head by winning Olympic gold in the super-G, and yet the Czech is not even the most famous member of her family. That distinction belongs to her father, rock star and hit composer Janek Ledecky. But after blazing to victory on two skis at the weekend, Ledecky predicted his daughter would also become a household name in the Czech Republic. “She’ll be the darling of Czech fans,” he gushed after Ester’s astonishing win.Russian curler in doping claim
A Russian medallist at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics is suspected of having tested positive for a banned substance, a source at the Games said on Sunday, in a potential major blow to Russia’s efforts to emerge from a drug-cheating scandal. Alexander Krushelnitsky, a bronze medallist along with his wife in mixed-doubles curling, is suspected of having tested positive for meldonium, the source said. Meldonium increases blood flow which improves exercise capacity in athletes. Krushelnitsky did not respond immediately to a request for comment. A spokesman for the Russian delegation at Pyeongchang said he had no immediate comment. Russia has been accused of running a state-sponsored and systematic doping programme for years, an allegation Moscow denies.
Sharks' defeat leaves coach gloomy
More depth‚ more experience and more punch were qualities the Sharks were said to bring into this Super Rugby campaign. For patches of their clash against the Lions they displayed familiar combativeness and stretched the South African Super Rugby standard bearers. But they still lacked the composure to avert a 26-19 defeat at Ellis Park on Saturday. “(It’s) never good to lose in such a way‚ when you’ve created a lot of opportunities. Tough one‚” sighed coach Robert du Preez. He lamented his team’s inability to seize the moment‚ blaming poor execution. “I think we lacked patience at crucial times. I’m not happy with that.”
Bongi blow for Stormers
The Stormers have suffered another setback with the news that hooker Bongi Mbonambi will miss their tour to Australasia. The Springbok hooker was rushed into surgery on Friday after a burst appendix ruled him out of action for at least the next three weeks. Coach Robbie Fleck said he was recovering well but clearly would not undertake the Super Rugby tour to play against the Waratahs‚ defending champions Crusaders and the Highlanders over the next three weeks. The side is already without Bok lock Eben Etzebeth and tighthead Frans Malherbe, while hooker Scarra Ntubeni and scrumhalf Jano Vermaak are also out of the tour.SOCCER
'We let Chiefs off the hook'
Benni McCarthy did not exactly blast his own players after the game but left little doubt that he thought Cape Town City were always second best in their Premier Soccer League loss to Kaizer Chiefs at Soccer City on Saturday night. He summed it up perfectly after the 1-0 setback: “We let the occasion beat us. Too many players didn’t show up ... We planned everything and went in with a decent approach but we let them (Chiefs) off the hook really.” A second successive defeat in the league against one of their title rivals leaves City seven points adrift of top place‚ and having played one more match than league leaders Mamelodi Sundowns. Effectively‚ any title hopes they might have had look blown.
Bizarre own goal costs Inter dearly
One of the most bizarre own goals of the Serie A season set Inter Milan on their way to a 2-0 defeat at Genoa which cost them third place on Saturday. Veteran Macedonia striker Goran Pandev scored the second against his old club as Inter slipped below AS Roma, who earlier won 2-0 at Udinese after Cengiz Under scored his fourth goal in three games. On the stroke of halftime, Ervin Zukanovic swung in a cross, which Milan Skriniar hooked away. But his clearance ricocheted off Andrea Ranocchia and flew into the net, leaving goalkeeper Samir Handanovic stranded.
VAR in firing line again
The VAR system faced criticism again as Manchester United had a goal contentiously ruled out for offside by the video assistant in their 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round victory over Huddersfield Town on Saturday. United midfielder Juan Mata’s goal on the stroke of halftime, with his side leading 1-0, had initially been given after the linesman had kept his flag down, but after long-winded deliberations with the video assistant, referee Kevin Friend scrapped his original decision. Replays suggested that if Mata was offside, it was only by the tiniest fraction and not a clear mistake by the officials. Huddersfield manager David Wagner, whose team benefited from the decision, said it was “killing the emotion of the game”. He told the BBC: “I did what I had to do which was to score and celebrated. Then after I saw the referee speaking to someone, and you look silly when the goal is denied.”
Wigan revenge next for Man City
Manchester City’s bid for a historic quadruple rolls into Wigan for Monday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie, with avenging a shock defeat to the Latics in the 2013 final also in mind. Pep Guardiola’s side have blown away any suggestion injuries and fatigue could derail their quest to win the Premier League, Champions League, League and FA Cup by scoring nine goals in their last two matches.However, Guardiola has warned against complacency at League One promotion chasers Wigan, who have beaten two Premier League sides in Bournemouth and West Ham to get to this stage.
– TimesLIVE, Reuters and Safanet