TBILISI, Georgia (AP):Lionel Messi scored twice and set up the winning goal as Barcelona started the season in dramatic style by beating Sevilla 5-4 after extra time to lift the UEFA Super Cup yesterday.The action-packed, all-Spanish match was won when Pedro, linked by British media with a move to Manchester United, scored from close range after a shot by Messi rebounded in the 115th minute.In the final seconds of extra time, Sevilla defender Adil Rami had a golden chance to send the match to penalties, but missed an open goal from close range.Earlier, Sevilla had battled back from 4-1 down to 4-4 as Barcelona’s fitness was tested in their first competitive match of the season – Europe’s curtain-raiser between the winners of the Champions League and the second-tier Europa League.European champions Barcelona went behind three minutes into the game when Ever Banega scored from a free kick from the edge of the penalty area.Messi curled two direct free kicks past Sevilla goalkeeper Beto in the seventh and 16th minutes and was a constant threat in attack throughout the first half, though he made less of a mark after the break.Barcelona’s third came shortly before half-time when Luis Suarez pounced on the rebound after his shot was parried by Beto and crossed for Rafinha to score.Suarez grabbed a goal in the 52nd minute following a poor pass by Sevilla defender Benoit Tremoulinas. The French left back gave the ball away to Sergio Busquets, who played in Suarez to apply a calm finish. However, it was cancelled out almost immediately when the unmarked JosÈ Antonio Reyes ran in at the far post to steer home a cross by Vitolo.PENALTY KICKVitolo was again in the thick of the action a quarter of an hour later as he tried to reach a cross from Tremoulinas, but was fouled by Jeremy Mathieu, playing at left back for the injured Jordi Alba. The resulting penalty was hit hard and left by Kevin Gameiro.Sevilla pulled level when debutant Yevhen Konoplyanka slotted in from close range off a low pass from Ciro Immobile in the 81st minute.Having won the Spanish league and cup titles, along with the Champions League, lifting the Super Cup keeps Barcelona on track to win six trophies in a calendar year, a feat the club last achieved under Pep Guardiola in 2009.Next up is the Spanish Super Cup against Atheltic Bilbao on Friday and Monday, before the Club World Cup in December.
Boys’ Town stalwart defender Xavian Virgo says he holds no ill feelings towards temperamental Waterhouse striker Jermain ‘Tuffy’ Anderson, who knocked him unconscious with an elbow during their Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) football game at Barbican Field last Sunday.”Tuffy called me the night. Although I could not really hear what he was saying because the line was breaking up, I knew he was apologising, so I just told him that everything was all right and that there were no hard feelings,” he said.”This is something that Tuffy Anderson always does in a game. He plays like that. It’s a natural thing for him,” admitted Virgo.”It’s dangerous because it was a scary moment for me. But it was just a challenge, and I came out on the bad side of it. He could have come out on the wrong side as well. So I have nothing against Tuffy. It’s just one of those days. It’s football all over,” Virgo told The Gleaner at a Locker Room Sports KSAFA Jackie Bell KO match at their Collie Smith Drive grounds on Tuesday, which Boys’ Town won 4-2 over Maxfield Park.Virgo also implored.”All I am just saying as a player is that we need to be more careful because it might happen to somebody else and it might be worse,” he said.”Some of the players need to be careful when they are playing because serious things can happen in football and some of us have our families to take care of. We are not playing to hurt each other, even though we play to win, play aggressive and hard, but be careful when they are out there playing.”NODAMAGEThe 30-year-old said he went blank after being hit but is pleased to know that he did not receive any major damage.”Tuffy jumped in front of me, swung his elbow and hit me in the centre of my face. I fell to the ground and saw blood coming from my face and I called to the referee, who was running towards me, looked at it and said ‘Tuffy, you see what you did?’. Then after that, I can’t tell you what happened as I passed out.”But none of the bones were damaged, so that was good. I only have a little pain to the neck. But all in all, I am recovering well … . By the next game, I should be ready because I returned to training this (Tuesday) morning,” he disclosed.
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC):Former West Indies captain Ramnaresh Sarwan has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket after making 286 international appearances for West Indies.Sarwan, 36, made the announcement on Thursday during a ceremony at the Stella Maris Primary School in Guyana, where he launched his career by scoring two centuries in a now-defunct Under-12 competition.Also a former Guyana captain, Sarwan was given a hero’s welcome as students lined up and chanted his name on arrival.”Sarwan always loved cricket. I remember when he was just 10, he was first picked for Stella Marris. He was in third standard and got the Man of the Match award, making 49 in the final,” recalled Surendra Khayyam, Sarwan’s vice-captain at Stella Marris.Sarwan, who made his first-class debut for Guyana against Barbados in the Red Stripe Cup of 1995-96 at the age of 15, had an international career that lasted 13 years.He featured in 87 Tests, 181 one day internationals (ODI), and 18 Twenty20 internationals and boasts 15 Test centuries.”Carl Hooper saw me at Georgetown Cricket Club when I was 14 and told me that I would play Test cricket,” said Sarwan, who launched his Test career in 2000 by scoring 84 against Pakistan in Barbados.HARD WORK”That inspired me to really train and work hard, and here I am today.”Sarwan has identified the high points of his career as his 105 in Antigua which led West Indies to a record 418-run successful chase against Australia in May 2003, his 84 on debut against Pakistan, and his career-best 291 against England in Barbados in 2009.”When I made the Guyana team at 15, my roommate was Keith Semple. I was being peppered by the pacers since I was a little boy from Wakenaam, and I was intimidated by guys who were big and tall and did not do well,” recounted Sarwan, who captained West Indies in four Tests, five ODIs and two T20s, and who finished his career with a total of 11, 994 international runs, spread across all three formats of the game.”I was batting well in practice, but I was afraid to play shots in the games. Semple said I should bat the way I batted in the nets, and I started to do that.”Sarwan’s career was not without controversy.In 2005, he was one of seven players who were dropped for the series against Pakistan and South Africa following a contract conflict between individual sponsor Cable and Wireless and the team sponsor Digicel.Sarwan’s last appearance for West Indies was during the 2013 Champions Trophy, but he was dropped after poor performances against Pakistan and India.
WESTERN BUREAU:Rural kingpins St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS) stormed back from the brink of elimination to edge Holy Trinity High 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller in the FLOW Super Cup round of 16 at the Montego Bay Sports Complex yesterday.STETHS’ leading marksman, Jovoney Brown, struck a brace in the 12th and 85th minutes, respectively, as the Santa Cruz-based school rallied to score two goals late into the action to erase Holy Trinity’s 3-2 lead.Holy Trinity took the lead on three occasions, but were pegged back each time by STETHS. The Kingston-based Holy Trinity took the lead with a Rajhae Welsh goal in the eighth minute.Brown found the equaliser when he rose above the Holy Trinity defenders to flick a header into the far corner. Shortly after, Holy Trinity were again in front when Shemar Farmar scored.Again, STETHS showed character and poise to level things through Demar James, who lobbed Holy Trinity goalkeeper Antonio Millington.With the teams going into the breakeven, STETHS coach Omar Wedderburn said he only told his players to relax, enjoy the game and remain focused.On the 68th minute, Dante Green, Holy Trinity’s second-half substitute, scored the easiest goal of the evening to put his team in the lead again after a goalkeeping error.SUPERIOR STRENGTHThereafter, it was practically all STETHS. They used superior strength and their usual courage to orchestrate a fightback that resulted in goals from Rojay Robinson in the 83rd and Brown in the 85th minutes, respectively, to log the win, which resulted in them sweeping into the quarter-finals.”We never doubted the outcome. Even when we are trailing, I know we have the ability to win games like these,” said Wedderburn.”This is a match that typifies how tough mentally this STETHS team really is, and the guys did everything we asked of them in securing this victory,” he said.Everton Russell, the assistant coach at Holy Trinity, said the loss was a severe blow to his team, especially after holding the lead three times.”The boys are distraught. I think we did enough, but they had some more as you see in the result, but it was a good game. both teams counter-punched with skill, but in the end, there could only be one winner,” conceded Russell.
And in those four games, United have scored only once – failing even to find a way past promoted Burnley last weekend to drop to eighth in the league. “Sometimes teams don’t score goals because of their philosophy, because the team isn’t aggressive enough and doesn’t risk enough,” Mourinho said. Zlatan Ibrahimovic hit the ground running with four goals in four games after signing amid great fanfare in July, but since then the 35-year-old forward has looked his age by netting only once in 11. “Some players in our attacking areas lack confidence,” Mourinho said. “They’re not sharp and getting the chances that they can.” And the treatment room is getting crowded, too. Center backs Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling were joined on the injury list on Thursday by Paul Pogba, who limped off with a thigh injury. Then there’s another of Mourinho’s signings: Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Armenian played the last 30 minutes of the loss in Turkey after two months out of the team. But the attacking midfielder is a shadow of the player who scored 23 goals and set up another 32 last season for Borussia Dortmund. “He has to do more, it is as simple as that,” Mourinho said. “We have big expectations in the club. We have lots of players for these positions, and he has to play better than (Juan) Mata, he has to play better than (Jesse) Lingard, he has to play better than (Anthony) Martial.” But something has changed with the two-time Champions League-winning coach, who is exhibiting the sullen and downbeat demeanour only seen later in his reigns at Chelsea, Inter Milan or Real Madrid. United should have read the warning signs. Maybe last season at Chelsea – when a title-winning team tumbled into the lower reaches of the Premier League – was not a blip. Can 53-year-old Mourinho still find a way to innovate and rejuvenate United in the way Juergen Klopp has turned Liverpool into title contenders again or Mauricio Pochettino has refreshed Tottenham? ONLY ONE GOAL LONDON (AP): Manchester United hoped Jose Mourinho would provide a quick fix. Hire the manager renowned as a “serial winner” and the stupor of the fleeting David Moyes and Louis van Gaal eras would vanish. There’s little sign of that. If anything, results and performances suggest the record 20-time English champions are regressing. Even Mourinho calls his team “fragile.” With five losses in his opening 16 games, Mourinho has made a worse start than Alex Ferguson’s two immediate successors who never came close to winning the Premier League or Champions League. Under Mourinho, United are even a diminished force in the second-tier Europa League. A 2-1 loss to Fenerbahce on Thursday left United third in their group with only six points out of a possible 12. Although Mourinho has previously expressed his disdain for UEFA’s Thursday night competition, the Portuguese coach doesn’t expect his team to slacken. There’s pride on the line, if little prestige. “Our problem started in our global attitude,” Mourinho said, berating his team for treating for the game like a friendly. The only encouraging moment in Turkey for United was Wayne Rooney ending a goal drought of almost three months – a moment of personal satisfaction, certainly for the 31-year-old captain. But there is little evidence Rooney, so ineffective for Mourinho, will provide any potency tomorrow at Swansea. There are clearly deeper flaws when the team goes through October without winning a single Premier League game, drawing three times and losing once on Mourinho’s humiliating return to Chelsea.
Athens Olympics sprint relay gold medallist Aileen Bailey has described 2016 RJR Sports Foundation Sportswoman of the Year nominee Elaine Thompson as an amazing young lady.Bailey believes that Thompson will do well in the future and that she could be the spearhead of Jamaican sprinting when six-time Olympic winner Usain Bolt retires.An Olympic 100 and 200 metres finalist herself in 2004, Bailey has high praise for Thompson and her achievements in 2016. During an interview earlier this week, Bailey said: “She’s been doing well and representing us well and I just wish the best for her.”Thompson sprinted to an undefeated season in the 100m, equalling Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce’s national record of 10.70 seconds in the process and taking gold at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.Though she lost a couple of races over 200 metres, she led the world with her Olympic gold medal-winning time of 21.78 seconds. Thompson’s super Olympic campaign has earned her a nomination for the prestigious Sportswoman of the Year award.She has already been voted the 2016 International Female Athlete of the Year by readers of the British journal, ATHLETICS WEEKLY.”Based on her build, she reminds me of Usain,” Bailey continued to assess, “how they cover ground and everything like that”. The 2004 and 2008 Olympian is certain that good things lie ahead for the 24-year-old Thompson.”She’s being guided by Mr Francis, so she’ll definitely do well,” Bailey said in a reference to MVP coach Stephen Francis.”I feel that this year, all our national records in the sprints are going to be gone,” she predicted, “because she’s an amazing young lady.” Jamaica’s national 200-metre record stands at 21.64 seconds. That’s just 0.02 quicker than Thompson’s personal best of 21.66 seconds.The existing mark was set by Merlene Ottey in 1991.In addition to that, Bailey thinks Thompson could be Jamaica’s big star of the post-Bolt era. “It could be,” she envisaged, “Bolt is going out, so she could be the replacement that we need.”Thompson was among the nominees for the 2015 Sportswoman of the Year award won by Fraser-Pryce. Swimmer Alia Atkinson and 400 metres runner Shericka Jackson, cricketer Stafanie Taylor and Fraser-Pryce complete the list of nominees for the award this time around.
IAAF CEO Olivier Gers said although the federation is disappointed at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association’s (JAAA) decision to abstain from voting on new reforms for anti-doping controls in the sport, it will not impose any sanctions on the body, and, he wants to greater develop the relationship between the two bodies and also Jamaica’s athletes. Gers, who was the guest speaker for last night’s RJR Sports Foundation National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards ceremony, said that the association has nothing to fear regarding sanctions for its decision. “There’s no change (in the relationship), there won’t be any repercussions, and there won’t be any impact,” Gers said. “Don’t get me wrong, we were disappointed because of the amazing ranking and amazing weight that Jamaica has in our sport, so I think President (Sebastian) Coe and all of us on the council were disappointed not to get the full support of Jamaica, but it doesn’t mean that there will be any repercussions. We’re working together already, we’ve been talking since then, and we’ll be working to hear Dr (Warren) Blake’s (JAAA President) concerns.” Gers said that Jamaica has what he describes as a rich track and field heritage and said that the nation’s input in the sport’s affairs is important to the IAAF. He also noted that the federation wants to learn from what the nation has done, to make the sport better in other areas of the world. He continued by saying that Usain Bolt is one of the sport’s greatest finds and that he hopes he will remain involved in it after Bolt’s planned retirement later this year. “Hopefully, he won’t be too far (away from the sport), and we’ll get his passion and his talents on the administration side of what we do,” Gers told The Gleaner. “We need his fame and his dedication to the sport, but in a different fashion, because he’s an amazing trendsetter and marketer of himself so I’m looking forward to working with him in that fashion.” He said that he hopes that younger athletes would follow Bolt’s pattern of marketing himself socially. “How he markets himself through social media and other tools that exist today that didn’t always exist, that was an innate talent of Usain,” he said. “His incredible charisma, talent and his unique relationship with the fans is something we hope we can teach younger talent. We are in the business of sport and the business of entertainment, and we have to remember that we are competing with other sports as well.” Gers said that he would love to have Bolt as an ambassador at the IAAF after his retirement. “That would be great,” he said with a grin. “We haven’t had a chance to talk to him about it because we’re letting him focus on his season and letting him focus on all the milestones he has set for himself in 2017.”
Tiffany James, last year’s World Under-20 400m champion, was an interested spectator at the JAAA Carifta Trials on Saturday, James, a six-time Carifta Games gold medal winner, isn’t looking back on her stellar junior career. She has her mind focused on competing with the ladies she respectfully calls ‘the big girls’.With junior meets reserved for those that are under 20 during the entire year of competition, James is looking ahead. “Well, I know a lot of people are expecting much from me so it’s just for me to stay focused, keep calm, put in some more work and get out there, because, you know; this time with the big girls, it’s going to be much harder but I’m confident.”Speaking with the assurance that perhaps comes from being a World champion, the Mico University college student athlete professed, “I’m willing to work and I’m ready.”She isn’t dismayed by the recent success Jamaica has enjoyed in the 400 and the 4x400m relay. Stephenie Ann McPherson led a Jamaican 1-2-3 at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, with Shericka Jackson taking bronze medals at both the 2015 World Championships and at the Olympics last year. The 4×400 team, including McPherson and Jackson, is the reigning World champion. In fact, James said, “It excites me to see that Jamaica is improving in the one-lap events.”Coached by 1983 World champion Bert Cameron, James is working to do well in her first senior season. “I have a lot of goals for 2017”, she informed. “A few are to run a personal best, of course, to be on that World Champion-ship team, the World University Games”, she enumerated as she watched the trials.FIRST TIMEJames set a personal best of 51.32 seconds to win her World title last year.She was pleased with her Gibson McCook Relays performance. Appraised that her 4x4x00 relay leg was timed in 52.8 seconds, she responded, “It’s the first time actually doing the one lap since the start of the season, so it felt great.””I’ll be running the 400 metres at the G.C. Foster Classic,” she revealed, “so let’s see how it goes.”The Mico University college did very well at the recent Gibson McCook Relays, especially in the 4×400 metres. James explained why, saying, “Well, I guess everybody is seeing and wants to come and everybody is willing to work.”Nobody knows Mico as a team that can win Intercol, or have somebody to win,” she continued, “but I don’t know if it is me, but I believe I started it and everybody is motivated and want to train, and that’s why we’re getting the results.”The Inter-collegiate Champ-ionships are set for April 7 and 8 at the National Stadium.
At last week’s Boys and Girls’ Championships, the St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) pair of Rayon Butler and Jauavney James surprised their rivals with a one-two finish in the Class One 800 metres.According to STETHS coach, Reynaldo Walcott, the choice to target gold in that event rested on careful study and preparation. Regarding Butler, he cited the decision to do just one individual event as a key factor.After Butler and James had produced the fastest Class One 800m times – 1 minute 50.24 seconds and 1:50.27 – at Champs since 1990, Walcott revealed that he had carefully watched the performances of Tyrese Reid of Spot Valley High School and of the St Jago High duo of Leon Clarke and Joel John-Pierre.He noted that Reid had run well early in the season and improved to 1 minute 51.11 seconds at the Carifta Trials. However, Walcott observed, “When I saw him at the Carifta Trials, I got the impression that they couldn’t go any faster based on how I looked at them.”He made a similar assessment of the St Jago boys at Central Championships. After seeing John-Pierre obstruct fast-finishing Christiana’s Agerian Jackson to preserve a lead held by Clarke, he deduced, “When I saw that they did, it still struck me as they seemed to be hitting a wall.”They seemed to be struggling to go faster than the 1:52,” was his verdict of a race won by Clarke, a 2015 World Under-18 800m finalist, in 1:52.46.That seemed to cement the decision to constrain Butler, a former Champs winner at 1500 metres for Holmwood Technical High School, to run only the 800m.”So when I looked at everything and based on how training was going, I told myself that if Butler does just one event he would have a shot at it because he would approach that race with fresh legs compared to others who would feel the need to double,” Walcot said on Monday.James did double in the 800 and the 400 metre hurdles, but the coach explained, “James has proven that he can do the double or at least handle the double in the past.”Walcott’s view was spot on target. as Reid, arrived at Champs with an injury niggle, Clarke and 1500m winner Akeen Colley of Rusea’s all did the 800/1500 double.James had the lead throughout most of the final with a fast-finishing Butler edging home on the line.”When the race ended, I was happy that they came 1-2.” Nevertheless, he had one reservation.”I couldn’t say I was happy that Butler won … because I coach both of them and I have a soft spot for both of them,” he confessed.
As the country prepares, yet again, to celebrate its glory on the track, JN Bank will be making the dreams of three Jamaicans and their guests come true with all-expense-paid trips to the 16th IAAF World Championships in London, England, August 4-13.The event will be the final World Championship performance for the legendary Usain Bolt, who will run the 100 metres at the meet. The many-time World Championship gold medalist is set to retire following this meet.”This is not just another prize,” remarked Saniah Spencer, JN Bank’s senior manager of marketing and product development.” This could lead to the moment of a lifetime!”No other Jamaican, or any man in the world, has achieved the success and athletic glory that Usain Bolt has in track and field. Therefore, this is a major opportunity to become a part of a very significant aspect of global track and field and international sports history,” Spencer declared.Bolt, the fastest man on the planet, holds the world record in the 100 and 200 metres with a lightning 9.58 in the 100 metres, and 19.19 over 200m.HOW TO QUALIFYSpencer explained that to get an opportunity to win a trip to the World Championships, the lucky JN member will only need to apply for and activate a JN Visa credit card, or transfer their current credit card balance to a JN Visa card.”In addition, they should also make a minimum purchase of $10,000, or its equivalent in US dollars. This includes GCT payments,” explained Spencer.The promotion, which commenced on April 18, will run until June 30.”Track and field is a very important part of our cultural history and our identity as a nation, therefore, we saw this as an international event, which our people should have a chance to witness for themselves,” she added.The company, which for a long time sponsored the Jamaica International Invitational meet and the Eastern Secondary Schools’ Sports Association Championship, has, in recent years, partnered with organisations representing Bolt, including the Racers Track Club. JN Bank will maintain its headline sponsorship of the JN Racers Grand Prix, to be held at the National Stadium, June 10.”While these partnerships have resulted in developing the sport, they have also assisted with developing communities,” Spencer added, underscoring the millions of dollars JN Bank has raised through the JN Foundation’s Heroes Run/Walk for charity, in partnership with the Usain Bolt Foundation over the past three years.