Inter boss Antonio Conte admits he has lost “confidence” in VAR this season but insists the technology is still ‘important” for football. VAR was completely ignored for flash points in Napoli-Atalanta and Roma-Napoli midweek, while some felt it could have been used before Juventus’ match-winning penalty against Genoa on Wednesday. “It is not being used in the same way by everyone,” Conte said at a Press conference. “It is important for the big calls. Last year I was more confident with it, but today we don’t understand how it should be used because there’s so much insecurity and instability. “If I was a referee and had the technology, I would make my decision and then put it in the hands of the VAR. I would officiate with more serenity.” Inter face Bologna on Saturday and Conte has been impressed with Sinisa Mihaijovic’s side, who narrowly lost 3-2 to Cagliari in their last fixture. “Despite their defeat to Cagliari, they [Bologna] are a team in form. We will play an intense and excellent side.” Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/ A moment of magic from Douglas Costa in stoppages gave Juventus the 2-1 victory away to Lokomotiv Moscow, booking their spot in the Champions League Round of 16. Follow all the action as it happens from this game and Atalanta-Manchester City on the LIVEBLOG. The Bianconeri had the opportunity to qualify for the Round of 16 with a victory, having fought back from an Aleksei Miranchuk goal to win 2-1 in Turin with Paulo Dybala’s brace. Dybala was only on the bench in Moscow, having suffered from a stomach bug, so Gonzalo Higuain partnered Cristiano Ronaldo with the returning Aaron Ramsey. Danilo and Daniele Rugani came in for suspended Juan Cuadrado and injured Matthijs de Ligt. The hosts were still without Luka Djordjevic, Anton Miranchuk, Fedor Smolov, Jefferson Farfan and Boris Rotenberg. It was a bizarre start, as within four minutes Cristiano Ronaldo’s powerful free kick from a difficult angle, practically at the touchline, squirmed through Guilherme’s arms and legs, with Aaron Ramsey getting the final touch just before the ball had entirely crossed over. UEFA awarded the goal to Ramsey, an historic one, as it was Juve’s 300th in the Champions League. It also means Ronaldo has still never scored a free kick in a Juventus jersey. Lokomotiv hit right back, as a Maciej Rybus cross from the left found Aleksei Miranchuk’s header that bounced off the far post and he was quickest to react on the rebound. He had also found the net in Turin, so clearly enjoys facing the Bianconeri. The hosts continued to push forward with rapid counter-attacks, as Miranchuk only shinned a very promising Rybus cross from 12 yards and he got a second bite, his header landing on the roof of the net. Gonzalo Higuain sprung the offside trap on a floated ball and kept his volley low, forcing a fantastic fingertip save from Guilherme. After the restart, Guilherme beat away another Cristiano Ronaldo free kick, then got his hands to a rocket from the Portuguese star that was flying into the near top corner. Joao Mario wasted a promising counter by blasting over, while Juve’s long passing moves at a slow tempo did little to really trouble the hosts. Instead, Lokomotiv Moscow had a huge double chance on 78 minutes. First Wojciech Szczesny came rushing out to clear from Krychowiak, then Leonardo Bonucci got back to clear the Joao Mario follow-up off the line. Paulo Dybala somewhat surprisingly replaced Ronaldo as the final substitution and he nearly scored. La Joya chested down a ball for Higuain, then Vedran Corluka stopped him getting the tap-in from six yards on the Rabiot roll across, while Pjanic’s strike was deflected wide. It seemed as if a 1-1 draw was inevitable, until a sudden Flash from the substitute. Douglas Costa dribbled past three defenders down the left side, completed a give-and-go with Higuain’s back-heel flick, beat another two men as he cut inside and then nutmegged the goalkeeper deep into stoppages for 2-1. Lokomotiv 1-2 Juventus Ramsey 4 (J), Al Miranchuk 12 (L), Douglas Costa 93 (J) Lokomotiv Moscow: Guilherme; Ignatyev, Höwedes, Corluka, Rybus; Zhemaletdinov (Murilo 82), Krychowiak, Barinov, Joao Mario (Kolomeytsev 85); Al Miranchuk, Eder Juventus: Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Khedira (Douglas Costa 69), Pjanic, Rabiot; Ramsey (Bentancur 64); Higuain, Ronaldo (Dybala 82) Ref: Buquet (FRA)
Inter are contemplating a move for Atalanta winger Robin Gosens, according to Calciomercato.com. Antonio Conte is desperately seeking reinforcements in January, as he maintains his team are “going at 100mph” and can’t rotate players due to a lack of squad depth. Calciomercato.com state that Inter are impressed by Gosens’ performances this season, with the Dutch-German dual citizen providing four goals and two assists in 11 league outings. This is significantly better than the statistics for Kwadwo Asamoah, Antonio Candreva, Cristiano Biraghi, and Valentino Lazaro. Conte is apparently unhappy at the quality of his current set of wingbacks, and believes the 25-year-old would be an upgrade. The report states that there’s also interest from Premier League clubs, but it is difficult to see Atalanta agreeing to a deal in January, especially if they manage to stay in Europe after Christmas. Gosens has been at La Dea since 2017, when he signed from Dutch side Heracles. Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/ Inter’s on-loan striker Gabigol could be heading to Crystal Palace or West Ham, according to reports, if Flamengo cannot agree a permanent deal. The Brazilian recently scored both goals in the final of the Copa Libertadores against River Plate to secure the title for Flamengo, who signed him on loan for a year at the beginning of 2019. His performances have seemingly caught the eye of clubs around Europe after he scored 31 goals in 38 competitive games. Fcinternews.it reports that Crystal Palace and West Ham are interested in signing the 23-year-old. Inter had reportedly been ready to accept €22m from Flamengo for Gabriel Barbosa, going back to when the two clubs both agreed on the loan deal. However, the report states that in light of his performances, Inter are now hoping for a bidding war. Inter would then use the money to strengthen Antonio Conte’s squad. Conte has been complaining for several months about the lack of depth and wants reinforcements. Inter are hoping to sell Gabigol for around €30m. It is thought that Schalke are also interested in the Brazilian. Gabigol only scored one goal for Inter in nine appearances and never made the starting XI.
A journey that started two years back will finally come to an end on Sunday in Johannesburg’s Soccer City Stadium.For the first time in the tournament’s history the World Cup, which has been the purview of a select few, will change hands and a new name will be imprinted on the trophy. There is, and will be, endless debate on who’s Cup it should be, and whether Diego’s darlings or Dunga’s devils ought to have been crowned champions. Or should Loew’s youth brigade have walked away with footballing glory. None of the three. At the final whistle well past midnight tonight, it will be either Spain or the Netherlands who will walk the cloud.This has been a World Cup of many firsts, and South Africa hosting it now seems to be just a sideshow. Dressing-room bustups, a team boycotting training sessions, last edition’s winner and runners-up both getting knocked out in the first round itself, just about every thrill a scriptwriter would need.And then, the march to the final by Spain, a team whose performance at the World Cups so far has been inversely proportional to the talent it produces. The pass masters, who conquered Europe two years back, now have the world for their taking. On the shoulders of midfielders Iniesta, Xavi and Busquets-all three playmakers of the highest order-lay the responsibility of taking their team to World Cup triumph. They have not disappointed so far, especially Iniesta and Xavi, who are also in the running for the Golden Ball-the player of the tournament.advertisementOn the other hand, the Netherlands have been at this stage before, when the ‘Flying Dutchmen’ were soaring over Europe and the world. But not even the Cruyffs or the Neeskens could manage to steer the Oranje past the final hurdle. The stage is now set for Wesley Sneijder and company to break that jinx.For a World Cup where a tentacled tipster named Paul hogged much of the limelight, it will need something special from the Dutch to prove him wrong.Bert van Marwijk’s team, which has exuded an air of harmony and commitment in contrast to previous Dutch sides that have possessed at least as much talent but also a reputation for internal squabbling, has persuasive arguments that it will be third-time lucky for the Oranje.In Sneijder they possess one of the few creative midfielders who can match Xavi and Iniesta for skill and ability to influence a match. The two teams have a similar commitment to keeping the ball-hardly a surprise given that this Spain team is built on the Barcelona model, which in turn has had a major Dutch influence since the days of Cruyff, who coached the Spanish club.A win for Spain will help lift the country-at least psychologically-from the ongoing economic crisis. Spain has one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe and the Socialist government in Madrid has introduced tough austerity measures, including wage cuts for public-sector workers, in a bid to prevent a Greekstyle debt crisis.Parties have been planned in both countries as the finale reaches fever pitch. Authorities are planning a boat parade in Amsterdam if the Dutch win, with a million people expected to turn out. In Madrid, players will be feted in a parade in an open-top bus even if their team comes up short. At least 150,000 fans of La Roja (the Reds) are expected to cram Madrid’s main Paseo de Castellana avenue to witness Spain’s maiden appearance in the final.Celebrations are not limited to the two nations. It has spread to other parts of the world as well. Hosts South Africa expect a massive surge of red and orange on its streets-where locals will merge with the foreigners-for the final. In places far away from the action, similar scenes aren’t ruled out either. The Monday blues from World Cup hangover are not just restricted to the workforce but also students. Hence in New Delhi, the Capital’s Vasant Valley School decided to postpone the start to Monday’s classes by two hours to facilitate students catch up on sleep after watching the final live on television. Over 500 million people across 215 countries are expected to tune in to catch the battle for the title.
Sustainability Commissioner to the London 2012 Olympics, Meredith Alexander, quit on Thursday in protest of the sponsorship deal with Dow Chemical Company for its connection to the Bhopal gas disaster.Alexander was appointed by Mayor of London Boris Johnson to monitor the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).Alexander, head of trade and corporates at the charity Action Aid, told the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 that she could no longer remain in the unpaid post given LOCOG’s refusal to end the association.She was one of 13 commissioners.”I don’t want to be party to a defence of Dow Chemicals, the company responsible for one of the worst corporate human rights violations in my generation. It is appalling that 27 years on, the site has still not been cleaned up and thousands upon thousands of people are still suffering.”I believe people should be free to enjoy London 2012 without this toxic legacy on their conscience,” she said.Welcoming Alexander’s resignation, Amnesty International said the London 2012 Olympic organisers must admit their mistake in awarding the lucrative seven million pound contract to the Dow Chemical Company.Dow Chemical owns US-based Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), the company that held a majority share in the Indian subsidiary that owned and operated the UCC plant responsible for the 1984 gas leak disaster, which killed thousands of people.
Redefining HimselfAdvani Redux BJP leader L.K. Advani’s track record both as a politician and as an individual stands out from many of his contemporaries in Indian politics (“Makeover Man”, January 16). He has endeavoured to give a new course to events, which is a rarity among politicians, who prefer flowing,Redefining HimselfAdvani ReduxBJP leader L.K. Advani’s track record both as a politician and as an individual stands out from many of his contemporaries in Indian politics (“Makeover Man”, January 16). He has endeavoured to give a new course to events, which is a rarity among politicians, who prefer flowing with the current. He always took a principled stand amid controversies and stood his ground like in the recent and the most turbulent spat with the RSS over his remarks on M.A. Jinnah. Advani’s political career should not be judged only on the basis of the Ayodhya and Jinnah issues. He certainly deserves a fair deal.-R.K. Sudan, on e-mailI am not impressed by INDIA TODAY’s portrayal of Advani. His decision to step down was neither voluntary nor did it come at a time when he was at the pinnacle as party president. He had no option but to step down because of constant pressure from the RSS and his rivals. His single remark on Jinnah being secular has earned him the reputation of having his own mind. Had he resigned in the face of protests against this remark, it would have improved his image. Now he is like any other politician.-Anusha Singh, DelhiLal Krishan AdvaniAdvani may have his bitterest critics, but the fact remains that he is one of our most decent, dignified and gentle politicians. It is true many of his opinions are debatable and his politics has been controversial. It is equally true that he is one of the finest liberals ever to have stridden in the field of Indian politics. Unfortunately, he is also the most misunderstood politician after the legendary Rajaji. All sane human beings try to evolve with time and that is what Advani tried to do through his remarks on Jinnah, but, sadly, our nation lacked the maturity to grasp the essence of it.-T.S. Pattabhi Raman, CoimbatoreAdvani’s stand on Jinnah in Pakistan in June 2005 made him the newsmaker of 2005. Did his roots there influence him to do so? Whatever the reason, his move was surely a headline grabber.-K. Chidanand Kumar, BangaloreI fully agree with Advani that the BJP has lost a golden opportunity to redirect itself. It could have exploited his remarks on Jinnah to expose the Congress’ hypocrisy. The attempts by the Congress to uplift minorities through controversial means like reservation may polarise the country on religious lines.-Nirvair Singh, PatialaAdvani’s attempts at redefining himself have been thoughtless. He began his tryst with secularism by praising Jinnah instead of the Indian secular ethos. At a time when the BJP is riddled with internal problems, he aspires for the post of prime minister rather than strategising on how to bring his party back to power.-Navneet Dhawan, DelhiThe irony of the Jinnah episode is that Advani did win the trust of the people in Pakistan and India to an extent, but lost that of his own partymen.-Sameer Ahmad Hashmi, BangaloreAfter his Jinnah sermon, we have recognised in Advani a “leader” who indulges in flattery to deceive people. Atal Bihari Vajpayee is another one in the long list of deceivers. -Raju Sreenivasan Aiyer, DelhiTightrope Walk”Crown of thorns” aptly describes the position of the BJP’s new President, Rajnath Singh (“First Among Equals”, January 16). The BJP could neither bring Ram Rajya nor build Ram mandir during its regime. However, its leaders have been successful in creating a Mahabharat in the party by playing Ramlila started by Vajpayee when the former prime minister crowned Pramod Mahajan, not Rajnath, as the Laxman.-Madhu Agrawal, DelhiThe image of the BJP is poised for a positive change under the leadership of Rajnath. The party should desist from taking up issues like the Ram janmabhoomi to placate the RSS.-K.V. Raghuram, WayanadThe biggest challenge Rajnath faces is from the overambitious people in his own party. But he has the advantage of having taken over as party president at a time when his predecessors have failed to deliver. If he can keep the RSS and the power duo, Advani and Vajpayee, on his side, it would be easier for him to sail through.-Vaishali Gupta, MumbaiSinister DesignsThe attack at IISc indicate that terrorists have expanded their area of operation to the south (“Terror in Technopolis”, January 16). It is obvious that no particular person was targeted. The aim, it seems, was to shake the scientific community and throttle the country’s economic progress. Bangalore was chosen for the reason that it is the hub of science and technology. There is no option but to take the strictest of security measures to defeat the terrorists’ motives.-H.R. Bapu Satyanarayana, MysoreAfter attacks like the one at IISc in Bangalore, one cannot feel completely safe even with the security measures in place. A better way to counter terrorism is to remove it from the roots. Terrorists cannot enter India and launch attacks without the help of local people.-Sidhartha Barik, RajkotEven the best of efforts cannot prevent all terrorist attacks, especially when the perpetrators are a fanatical lot. Criticism, however, is warranted when terrorists get away with murder because of inadequate security arrangements as was the case in the IISc attack. If anything, the Government’s soft stand on terrorism, stemming from its votebank politics and highlighted by its revocation of POTA, is encouraging terrorists and demoralising law-enforcing agencies.-J. Akshobhya, MysorePromise of a SpectacleThe India-Pakistan cricket series is undoubtedly going to be one of the most exciting sporting events of this year, especially with a new skipper-coach duo at the helm of affairs, a supposedly “reformed” Shoaib Akhtar and the “perennially at war” Sourav Ganguly supporters and baiters spicing up the spectacle (“Forward Strides”, January 16).-Jinu Mathew, on e-mailSoft TouchIn reviewing the UPA Government’s performance why have you overlooked the pathetic performance of the prime minister who kowtowed to the whims of the Left parties (“Roller Coaster”, January 9)? If the Left said go slow on disinvestment, he stopped it altogether.-R.P. Desai, on e-mailPeople’s YearThe year 2005 was indeed one of ordinary stars (“Ordinary Celebrity”, January 9). From Indian Idol Abhijeet Sawant to laughter champion Sunil Pal, people about whom one had not even heard of earlier became celebrities being chased by TV cameras. In this respect, the media was the biggest newsmaker of the year.-Sameer Upadhyay, KolkataMulayam Singh Yadav – Amar SinghTrouble TalkThe ease with which the phone tapping was carried out raises the question of not only Amar Singh’s right to privacy as an MP, but also of national security (“Tapping Trouble”, January 16). -J. Akshay, SecunderabadAmar Singh is an expert in creating a mountain out of a molehill. The whole episode is nothing but a ploy by him to gain publicity and discredit political adversaries. -Divya Roy, DelhiIf it was really done at the behest of the Congress, it would mark a new low in its ethical standards. -Revathi Aiyar, Hyderabadadvertisementadvertisement