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Troubles mount for Real Madrid, Barcelona after stunning reversals in La Liga



Madrid, Oct 4: Real Madrid and FC Barcelona go into the international break with problems after they both suffered defeats in La Liga over the weekend.

Recently promoted Espanyol — for whom Chinese striker Wu Lei played the last 25 minutes — stunned Real Madrid 2-1 on Sunday evening, highlighting Los Blancos’ defensive problems. Raul de Tomas’ near-post finish and Aleix Vidal’s excellent individual goal put Espanyol 2-0 up. Karim Benzema gave Madrid hope with his ninth goal of the season in the 71st minute but there were to be no further goals.

The defeat follows a goalless draw against Villarreal and a shock Champions League loss to Sheriff Tiraspol, and means Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti faces a difficult couple of weeks.

Ronald Koeman is clinging on to his job at FC Barcelona after his side suffered a painful defeat away to Atletico Madrid on Saturday night.

Former Barca striker Luis Suarez was Koeman’s tormenter-in-chief, setting up Thomas Lemar for Atletico’s opener midway through the first half and then doubling their lead just before half-time as Barca made significant errors in defense.

Barca never really looked like getting back on level terms, despite Ansu Fati being brought into the action midway through the second half, although surprise declarations from Barca president Joan Laporta look to have assured Koeman’s short-term future when many expected him to be sacked.

Villarreal’s season continues to build thanks to a 2-0 win at home to Real Betis thanks to two goals from Dutch winger Arnaut Danjuma, who put his side ahead on the stroke of half-time and confirmed the win with his second of the game with 20 minutes left to play.

Real Sociedad are third in the table, level on points with Atletico and Real Madrid, but missed the chance to go top after drawing 1-1 at home to Getafe, who took their first point of the season thanks to Sandro Ramirez’s first-half goal, which was cancelled out by Mikel Oyarzabal’s 68th minute goal.

Sevilla missed the chance to move level with Real Madrid, Atletico and Real Sociedad when they lost 1-0 away to struggling Granada. Ruben Rochina’s powerful 24th minute shot and a series of saves from Granada keeper Luis Maximiano helped Robert Moreno’s side to their first win of the season and probably saved the coach’s job, at least for the short term.

Sevilla ended up with 10 men after Diego Carlos was sent off for using his elbow on Granada striker Luis Suarez.

Manu Sanchez’s diving header in injury-time gave Osasuna a 1-0 win at home to Rayo Vallecano to end the visitors’ five-game unbeaten run.

Angel’s 74th minute goal got Real Mallorca back to winning ways at the expense of Levante, who have still to win this campaign.

Cadiz coach Alvaro Cervera left out seven first-team players who had gone partying after last weekend’s defeat to Rayo Vallecano, and his much-changed side held on for a 0-0 draw at home to Valencia.

Valencia dominated the game with 68 percent possession and 16 shots against just two from Cadiz, but were unable to stop their run of games without a win extending to four.

Bernadetto’s goal early in the second half got Elche back on track with a 1-0 win at home to Celta Vigo, who saw how Iago Aspas’s goal in the last minute ruled out for handball.

Raul Garcia’s 44th minute header gave Athletic Bilbao a 1-0 win at home to Alaves on a night that saw Athletic striker Inaki Williams make a record 203rd consecutive La Liga appearance. Garcia had earlier seen a penalty saved, but was in the right place to nod home Inigo Lekue’s header on the stroke of half-time.

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You will see me in yellow but not sure as player, says Dhoni on playing for CSK in 2022



Dubai, Oct 7: Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni on Thursday said that fans will see him in ‘yellow in IPL 2022, but he doesn’t know if he will be part of the franchise as a player or in some other role.

Dhoni, who has been CSK’s captain since the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008, highlighted that there is a ‘lot of uncertainty’ because of the two new teams coming in and the mega auction, next year.

“Well, you can see me in yellow next year. But whether I will be playing for CSK? There are a lot of uncertainties around it for a simple reason that we have two new teams coming up. We don’t know the retention policy. We don’t know how many foreigners, Indian players we can retain, the money cap that every player will be cutting from the kitty,” said 40-year-old at the toss ahead of CSK’s match against Punjab Kings in Dubai.

“So there are a lot of uncertainties. Unless the rules are in place you can’t really decide that. So we will wait for it to happen and hopefully it will be good for everyone,” he added.

The former India captain also mentioned that it has been difficult to maintain fitness this season due to back to back matches in the UAE leg of the 2021 IPL.

“It’s tough to maintain fitness. Once the IPL was postponed, it meant there will be back-to-back games (whenever the tournament resumes). We had that sort of a stretch but, looks good, no concern with fitness,” said Dhoni.

Dhoni, who has led CSK to three IPL titles, earlier indicated that he will be playing his farewell game in Chennai.

The 40-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman in an event celebrating 75 years of India Cements, earlier had said that he hopes to play his last IPL match in Chennai.

“When it comes to farewell, you can still come and see me play for CSK and that can be my farewell game. So, you will still get that opportunity to bid me farewell. Hopefully, we will come to Chennai and play my last game over there and we can meet the fans there,” Dhoni said while interacting with fans during the virtual event on Tuesday.

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Du Plessis’ fifty takes CSK to 134/6 against Punjab Kings



Dubai, Oct 7: A hard-earned fifty by Faf du Plessis (76 off 55) took Chennai Super Kings to 134/6 against Punjab Kings in the 53rd match of the IPL 2021 at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, here on Thursday.

Put in to bat first, CSK were off to a poor start as they lost the wickets of Ruturaj Gaikwad (12) and Moeen Ali (0) inside the powerplay.

Arshdeep Singh provided Punjab Kings the first breakthrough as he dismissed Gaikwad. The in-form opener tried to take on the short-pitch delivery bowled by Arshdeep but got a top edge and Shahrukh Khan completed the catch. Faf du Plessis was then joined by Moeen Ali, who didn’t trouble scorers and was dismissed for a duck.

Du Plessis looked in fine touch and hit back-to-back boundaries. But, he didn’t get the required support from the other end as Robin Uthappa (2), Ambati Rayudu (4) got out cheaply. Both Uthappa and Rayudu were dismissed by Chris Jordan, who is playing this game in place of Nicholas Pooran.

MS Dhoni, who came to bat next, hit a few boundaries before getting playing-on to his stumps a googly bowled by Ravi Bishnoi, leaving CSK struggling at 61-5 after 11.6 overs. From there on, Du Plessis and Ravindra Jadeja batted sensibly and rebuilt the CSK innings.

The Proteas cricketer took calculated risks and completed his fifth fifty of IPL 2021 in 46 balls and kept Chennai Super Kings alive in the match. Jadeja, on the other hand, gave him the much-needed support by rotating the strike regularly.

In the final overs, Du Plessis batted freely and hit a few lusty boundaries to give impetus to CSK innings. His fine innings came to an end for 76 in the last over of the innings and he added 67 runs for the sixth wicket with Jadeja.

In the last few balls, Dwayne Bravo hit a four and helped CSK post a total of 134-6 in 20 overs.

Brief scores:
Chennai Super Kings Innings – 134-6 in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis (76 off 55, Chris Jordan 2/20, Arshdeep Singh 2/35) against Punjab Kings

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Sports gears of Olympians in highest demand in auctioning



New Delhi: Sports gears of Olympians have received the highest bids with just one day left for the e-auction of the Prime Minister’s mementos to end, historical items and religious artefacts seem to have drawn more interest. The javelin used by Neeraj Chopra, which brought him the gold medal, received the highest bid of Rs 10 crore on the opening day, it was later cancelled on the suspicion that it could be a fake bid.

The auction opened on September 17 and since then all eyes are focusing on the sporting gear of Olympians and Paralympians. Weeks later, a javelin used by a Paralympic gold medallist remains at the top with a bid of Rs 1,00,50,000. However, till now it has received only two bids, according to the latest bid details on the PM”s memento’s site

In comparison, a metal mace whose base price was Rs 2,500 has received 54 bids, with the highest at Rs 5 lakh. The javelin used by Paralympic gold medallist Sumit Antil, with a base price of Rs 1 crore, received a bid of Rs 1,00,05,000 from one bidder, while a wooden model of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya saw 24 bids come in. The mandir’s base value was Rs 2,50,000.

A badminton racquet autographed by Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games gold medallist Krishna Nagar received a highest bid of Rs 80.15 lakh but there were only three bidders who showed interest in it. On the other hand, a small metallic figurine showing Lord Rama, Hanuman, Laxman and Goddess Sita, titled Bhagwan Ram Parivar, received 44 bids,

With the highest being Rs 1.35 lakh. Its base price was only Rs 10,000. Apart from religious items, a large-scale three-dimensional replica model of a DRDO tank placed inside a glass box has received 23 bids, with the highest being Rs 5 lakh. Its base price was Rs 75,000.

Another item, a memento of the Pune metro line with a sculpture of Chattrapati Shivajji on a horse and the metro line within the cityscape, received 24 bids, with the highest being Rs 43,000, while its base price was only Rs 3,000.

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