Arsenal open Europe League with a 3-1 win against FC Koln

Arsenal’s first game in the Europa League started with a bang, having defeated FC Koln 3-1 in a night to remember.

Fans in North London, and across the world, were treated to not only three goals, but witnessed live how the power of football brings fans together. 20,000 FC Koln fans stormed into the stadium, singing age-old chants, most without tickets, creating an electric, yet tensed atmosphere, trying to fit into a space for 2,900.
Amidst a sea of confusion, chaos and a one-hour delay due to the intense congestion at the Emirates Stadium, the Gunners made the best out of a bitter-sweet Europa League situation.
Ahead of the highly-anticipated Premier League clash against Chelsea on Sunday, manager Arsene Wenger rested most of his tier 1 players, like Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Petr Cech, starting instead with Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott.
The hosts’ chances looked bleak with a dry first half. FC Koln’s Jhon Cordoba’ seized the opportunity to play a Columbian vs. Columbian one-on-one, by playing the ball past David Ospina’s hands, costing Arsenal a clean sheet, and adding to the euphoria of the Germans. This additionally created an atmosphere of unease, between the two fan sides and the teams.
The second half started with FC Koln’s supreme attacking front, with Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny and Alex Iwobi struggling to maintain the regular pace of the experienced likes of Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey. It is however noteworthy that Jack Wilshere made his come back after more than a year for Arsenal and instantly made his presence felt on the pitch.
Wenger then introduced one of Arsenal’s summer buys and current star, Sead Kolasinac, who immediately brought in a ferocious change of pace, definitely one to watch out for. The Bosnian charged across the pitch where instinct, not opportunity took him to produce Arsenal’s first goal, just five minutes into the second half.
 Alexis Sanchez, who Arsenal almost lost in the transfer window, scored their second goal, striking past Timo Horn, while the third was scored by the reliable Hector Bellerin.
Now that Arsenal are here for a season of the Europa League, it is best left that they make the most of it with their current talent.

Korean Super Series: Sindhu, Sameer make it to the quarter finals

On Thursday badminton stars P V Sindhu and Sameer Verma kept the Indian flag flying high by making it to the quarter-finals of the Korean Super Series with sweeping straight wins.

 

Even though Parupalli Kashyap’s performance waned in the second round after an unlikely defeat in Seoul, Rio silver medalist Sindhu made up for it when she got the better of Thailand’s Nitchaon Jindapol. Sindhu beat her with an impressive 22-20 21-17 and will soon play opposite 2014 World Championships bronze medallist Minatsu Mitani of Japan. Mitani had defeated Saina Nehwal in the 2012 French Open finals to win the title. Last year, World Championships silver medalist Sindu improved her 1-1 record against World No.16 Jindapol, who had beaten hear at the Syed Modi International.

 

On the other hand, Sameer defeated Wong Wing Ki Vincent of Hong Kong scoring 21-19 21-13 within 41 minutes thus setting up a tough fight in the quarters against the famous Son Wan Ho.

Inorder to beat Son Wan Ho, Sindhu and Sameer will have to gain leverage in the game against him. Earlier, Son Wan Ho had ended Indian shuttler Kashyap’s Korea Super Series campaign by defeating him 21-16 17-21 21-16 in an hour and 16 minutes to reach the last-eight stage.

Sources: The Indian Express, The Hindu

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Suspension ends for Mohammed Irfan

A six month ban on Mohammad Irfan ended on Thursday, as the pace bowler confessed that the last few months were the toughest in his life. He allegedly failed to report approaches by bookmakers, following investigation into the match fixing scandal that plagued the second edition of Pakistan Super Leauge (PSL). The 35-year-old had his central contract suspended for six months and was fined Rs 1,00,000 after he admitted to his crimes. However, he was made aware that his ban would be shortened if he could follow guidelines which he subsequently did, making him free to resume his carrier.

Standing at 7’1”ft,he is one of the  tallest player to play First class as well as international cricket. A three-member tribunal was formed by Pakistan Cricket Board(PCB) to hear the case against batsmen Khalid Latif and Sharjeel Khan who have been charged with spot-fixing in the PSL were involved with bringing in other players into the racket as well. “I am formally asking the nation for their forgiveness and hope that I will be pardoned by them.”said Irfan after his ban ended. He has played four Tests and 20 Twenty20 internationals along with 60 one-day internationals, with a record of 83 wickets at an average of 30.71.

News Sources- ANI, PTI

Divorce With Renault Leaves Red Bull to Move On to Honda

Red Bull and Renault have reportedly broken up causing new complications on the Formula circuit. This is predicted to leave Red Bull with no foreseeable option other than forcing to shift to engines made by Honda. Red Bull and Honda already have a tied association with each other in Moto GP and this should ideally give Red Bull an opportunity to leverage a financial deal that allows them to no longer pay for their engines. They might also receive considerable funding from Honda which should make Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz happy.

McLaren on the other hand is expected to move from engines made by Honda to Renault for consecutive three seasons in the future. Renault is also set to announce their contract with Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz starting 2018 and are prepared to lose Jolyon Palmer. Rosso will team up with Nico Rosberg. Renault and Red Bull have had a publicly rocky relationship since 2014, with the inception of the current turbo hybrid engine formula. They powered through four drivers’ and constructors’ titles but Renault’s inability to match match up to Mercedes has left Red Bull with little patience. After constant struggles, Renault has finally decided to break ties permanently. Meanwhile, McLaren left Honda because their engines are believed to be the worst in the circuit.
News Sources- BBC, Autosport

Rank will decide fate of FIFA World Cup 2018

 FIFA adopted a simple format of global ranking for the 2018 World Cup draw. ON Thursday, the Organising Committee decided that the four pots will have teams as per their ranking instead of continent-wise.
Pot 1 will have seven topmost teams along with host Russia. Pot 2 will have next 8, and similarly, the remaining 16 countries will be divided. Draw from each pot will decide the teams that will compete in a group. Europe gets an exception in the case that no two teams from the same continent can be a part of a group.
The whole process will be based on the teams’ positions in the October rankings. Till now, Argentina, Germany and Portugal are expected to be in Pot 1 whereas Pot 2 could have France, Spain, England and Italy.
The previous world cup saw complexities with Pot 1 as per ranking, others as per continent, additional Pot X which attracted criticism.
The rankings will be out on October 16, 2017 and the draw will happen on December 1.

Paris 2024, Los Angeles 2028 Summer Olympics Confirmed

In a unique double allocation, Paris was awarded the 2024 Summer Olympic Games and Los Angeles the 2028 Games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Paris, having hosted the Games twice before, will stage the Olympics 100 years after its last Games in 1924. Los Angeles, too, will organise its third Summer Olympics after 1932 and 1984. Both cities, after London, will have hosted the multi-sporting extravaganza three times.

The votes were a mere formality since no other cities had bid for the 2024 and the 2028 Games. Votes for the both cities were “unanimous” said IOC President Thomas Bach.

Earlier this year in July, the IOC decided to award both Games at the same time, following the withdrawal of four of the six cities bidding for the 2024 Olympics. The reasons cited were cost, size, and complexity of organising the world’s largest sporting event.

“In the coming seven years we will prepare the Olympic Games with all our energy,”  said French President Emmanuel Macron having personally campaigned for the bid. The French capital celebrated the announcement by unveiling a giant set of interlaced rings, the symbol of the Games, on the Trocadero Sqaure against the backdrop of a glittering Eiffel Tower.

“This is a momentous day for the people of Los Angeles and the United States. For the first time in a generation, we are bringing the Games back to the City of Angels,” said Eric Garcetti, mayor of Los Angeles.

Allegations of corruption and embezzlement surrounded the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. Tokyo, the 2020 host of the Summer Olympics, has also had to fend off such allegations.

Sources: Reuters, HT

Germany on top, and India on 107th position in FIFA world rankings

In the latest FIFA ranking, Germany has replaced Brazil to be the number one team. The German team has risen to the top after defeating Czech Republic (2-1) and beating Norway 6-0 in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Brazil is in the second spot, while Portugal has climbed up three places to third.Argentina and Belgium are the other two teams that have secured their spots in the Top 5 FIFA ranking.

Spain stays at 11th position, England has dropped to 15th and Italy slipped five places to 17th.

However, Indian football team is no more in the top 100 ranking; and has dropped down to 107th position out of 211 countries. In May, this year India was placed at 100th spot, from where it rose to 96 in July, and 97 in August.

Cape Verde is the highest climber, moving up 47 places to 67th position, and Guatemala, on the other hand, are the biggest fallers, falling 31 places to 131st post. Additionally, teams of Peru (12th), Northern Ireland (20th) and war-torn Syria (75th) have reached record-breaking spots this time.

The next FIFA world rankings will be released on October 16, 2017.

Sources: Hindustan Times, Zee News

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