Lance Armstrong wants to compete again

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Read Time:5 Minute, 5 Second

Shamed cyclist Lance Armstrong wants to return to competitive sport, but says the driving force behind his belated doping confession was the well-being of his five children.

“The biggest hope and intention was the well-being of my children,” Armstrong told talk show host Oprah Winfrey in the second segment of their televised interview that aired on Friday.

In the first installment aired on Thursday, the 41-year-old Texan admitted for the first time that an array of performance-enhancing drugs helped sweep him to a record seven Tour de France titles from 1999-2005.

Years of aggressive denials — including vitriolic attacks on those who questioned him, collapsed last year when he was stripped of his Tour titles and banned for life by the US Anti-Doping Agency.

“The older kids need to not be living with this issue in their lives,” Armstrong said. “That isn’t fair for me to have done to them. And I did it.”

But Armstrong said that if confession could help him regain a place in sport — in triathlons or marathons — he’d jump at it.

“Hell yes, I’m a competitor,” Armstrong said, adding that he didn’t think he deserved the “death penalty” of a lifetime ban.

“Frankly, this may not be the most popular answer, but I think I deserve it,” he said, telling Winfrey that former team-mates who implicated themselves in testifying against him received lesser punishments.

“I deserve to be punished,” Armstrong said. “I’m not sure that I deserve a death penalty.”

When Winfrey noted that virtually every article on the once revered cyclist now begins with the word “disgraced” Armstrong said he felt it fit.

“But I also feel humbled. I feel ashamed. This is ugly stuff,” he said. “I’m deeply sorry for what I did. I can say that thousands of times and it may never be enough to get back.”

Thursday’s first installment of the interview was a ratings winner for Winfrey, with its estimated 3.2 million viewers in the United States making it the second-most-watched show ever on her fledgling OWN network.

However, it left many still skeptical of Armstrong’s motives and methods, doubtful that he felt real remorse.

David Walsh, the journalist who almost single-handedly queried Armstrong’s remarkable comeback from cancer, was one of those left cold by the interviews.

This despite Armstrong apologising, when pressed to by Winfrey, for suing the paper Walsh works for The Sunday Times for libel and winning £300,000 ($480,000, 362,000 euros) in 2006 which the paper is now claiming back plus costs.

“Watching part 2 of Armstrong interview, he admits to feeling shamed and humbled. But why is it so difficult to empathise with his situation?” the Irishman tweeted.

“Oprah pressured him, the apology was, I thought, hesitantly promised. I didn’t ask for it, or expect it, but, yes, if its offered, I accept.”

His former rivals too generally shrugged their shoulders saying there was nothing new in what he said.

Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck said from Australia, where he is competing, that today’s riders would pay the price for the systematic doping undertaken by Armstrong.

“I think it’s good for him, maybe it gets some weight off his shoulders,” said Schleck, who was awarded the 2010 Tour de France when that year’s winner Alberto Contador was done for doping.

“But I believe the sad thing about it is that cycling is going to pay the price now, and it’s sad if we have to pay the price for it when we weren’t even professionals 15 years ago.”

Genuine emotion seeped through on Friday. Armstrong’s eyes reddened and his voice cracked as he described telling his 13-year-old son Luke: “Don’t defend me anymore” when his transgressions at last caught up with him.

“When this all really started, I saw my son defending me and saying, ‘That’s not true. What you’re saying about my dad is not true.’

“That’s when I knew I had to tell him,” Armstrong said. “And he’d never asked me. He’d never said, ‘Dad, is this true?’ He trusted me.”

He discussed the financial fallout, in particular the stampede of sponsors away from him with sportswear giant Nike in the lead.

“You could look at the day or those two days or the day and a half where people left,” he said. “That was a $75 million day.”

Armstrong’s admissions could carry legal repercussions.

The US Department of Justice is close to making a decision on whether to add the government’s name to a complaint lodged in 2010 against Armstrong by former fellow US Postal Service teammate Floyd Landis.

The Postal Service, a federal agency, paid $30 million in public money to sponsor Armstrong’s team — and may now seek to get it back.

Armstrong denied USADA chief Travis Tygart’s assertion in a “60 Minutes Sports” interview last week that someone in Armstrong’s camp offered the agency a $250,000 donation in what could be seen as an attempt at a pay-off.

“That’s not true,” Armstrong said, noting that it wasn’t in USADA’s official case against him.

But the cheating, the lying, the bullying — all true, and Armstrong said the “ultimate betrayal” was of the people who believed in him.

“I do not know the outcome here,” he said when asked about the future. “And I’m getting comfortable with that.”

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: Orji boosts Enyimba ahead of new season

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Read Time:1 Minute, 36 Second

Preparations of six-time Nigerian champions, Enyimba International Football Club of Aba for the 2012/2013 football season have been given a major boost by the Abia State Governor, Chief Dr. T. A. Orji, who has splashed cash on the team for the payment of sign-on fees.

Chairman of Enyimba, Felix Anyansi-Agwu, disclosed this to players and officials at the club’s ground on early this week..

Chief Anyansi revealed that for the first time, 50 per cent of sign-on fees for the team will be paid before the start of a season and expressed gratitude to the State Governor, Chief T. A. Orji, for making it possible.

“This is evidence of the Governor’s trust in the team,” Anyansi-Agwu said. “This is a proof that the Government of Abia State is solidly behind the team and a sign that things will be better

“We must now seize this opportunity to return the team to the top as a mark of appreciation, as a way of repaying the faith that the Governor has in the team. This is a historic point in our club and we must achieve the success to back it up.”

Responding on behalf of the technical crew, Head Coach, Salisu Yusuf, also thanked the Abia State Governor, saying that the payment of 50 per cent of sign-on fees before the start of the season has left him astonished. He promised to work hard with the rest of his staff to ensure the club finishes at the very top.

Players who spoke with EnyimbaFC.net and other members of the press at the end of the meeting also expressed their sincere thankfulness to the Governor and promised to give everything they have got to the success of the club and in recognition to the efforts of the Government and people of Abia State.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Messi: I’ve changed so much

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Read Time:9 Minute, 0 Second

Argentina’s Lionel Messi is undisputedly one of the most popular sporting personalities on the planet right now, with his goals played and replayed countless times in every corner of the globe and shirts with his name on donned by kids in even the unlikeliest of places.

Not that the Rosario-born superstar, who has recently turned 25, has let any of it go to his head.

On the contrary, in fact, with his interview responses revealing him to be extremely reserved off the pitch – a far cry from the breathtaking and eye-catching performer that lights up the field when turning out for FC Barcelona or La Albiceleste.

Just moments prior to collecting his fourth consecutive FIFA Ballon d’Or, the man who in 2012 set an all-time record for goals scored in a calendar year spoke to FIFA.com about an up-and-down 12 months.

On the agenda in this exclusive interview were such topics as Argentina’s fine current form, the change in attitudes towards him in his homeland and his hopes for full recoveries for Barça colleagues Eric Abidal and Tito Vilanova.

FIFA.com: You’ve come to the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala for six years in a row now. Does coming to this kind of event become something of a habit or does it always feel exciting?
Lionel Messi: To be honest, it hasn’t become a habit for me. Even though these events are similar or practically the same, every year is special. Just being here is always different: it’s always a lovely feeling knowing what days like this mean. And, what’s more, it’s a sign that you’re doing a good job.

When you first came back in 2007 you were a shy, long-haired youngster, but you’ve changed an awful lot since then, right?
So much! It’s true yes, a lot of things have happened to me and obviously I’ve grown up both as a player and a person. That was a lot of years ago, the first time I came I would’ve been 18 or 19. I’ve become more mature, my personality has developed and my career has taken shape. Loads of things have changed.

Diego Maradona often says that after the 2008 FIFA Ballon d’Or, when you finished second to Cristiano Ronaldo, he told you never to finish second again. Is that really the case?
To tell the truth I can’t even remember when Diego told me that (laughs), but it’s true that I went on to win the next three after that. Just being here is spectacular.

We’ve fired people’s enthusiasm and I’d say we’re more united than ever.

Messi on Argentina
You set a new record by scoring 91 goals over the course of 2012. If you had to highlight just one of them, which would it be?
Like I’ve said many times before, I’m always more likely to remember goals for their importance rather than if they’re beautiful or not. Goals scored in finals for example. So, in this case, the one I scored against Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey is the most important.

And, personally speaking, what would be your highlight of the year?
I think it was a good year overall. Although I would have liked to have won more with my club, I think it turned out to be a positive year with the Argentinian national team. That meant a lot to us all and that’s what I’d highlight: the national team having a great year after things not having gone well for such a long time.

What changed to finally help you hit your best form with La Albiceleste?
The national team in itself changed. For things to go well it depends on everybody involved, not just one player. And it’s not as if things were only going badly for me before, things weren’t right with the national team as a whole, for whatever reason. But once we started winning and our results improved, everything got easier. The fans are behind us, the press aren’t as critical as they have been in the past and we’re able to get on with the job in a different, calmer way. On top of that you end up getting more respect from opponents because of the form you’re in. The biggest change was the results, simple as that.

Do you feel more appreciated back in Argentina now?
Yes, I do. We’ve been fortunate enough to play in the capital, in the country’s interior region and all over the place, and the way the fans treated me and the team was amazing. That’s something we earned with our results and our football. We’ve fired people’s enthusiasm and I’d say we’re more united than ever.

You scored several hat-tricks in 2012, but was the one against Brazil in June’s 4-3 friendly win the most special?
They’re all special, aren’t they? But, in the way they came about and who they were against, regardless of the fact it was a friendly, those three goals were extra-special. But it’s scoring goals that’s great, whether against Brazil or anybody else.

Turning back to Barcelona, any doubts that surrounded the club when Pep Guardiola departed have now been dispelled. Have there been changes since Tito Vilanova took over as coach?
Yes, of course. The way we work and prepare for games is the same, but what’s changed is that Guardiola and Tito have different personalities and different ways of handling the squad. They’ve each got their own ideas and own style, but when it comes to playing and training we’re doing the same things we’ve been doing these past four years.

They hit us hard. It seemed like it was one thing after another, and they’re things that count much more than results or form.

Messi on Abidal and Vilanova’s health problems
This year has been a testing one for non-footballing issues, such as Pep’s exit and the health problems suffered by Eric Abidal and Vilanova. The Barça squad is known for being very tight-knit, but how hard did these events hit you all?

To be honest, they hit us hard. It seemed like it was one thing after another, and they’re things that count much more than results or form. They’re really awful situations. Of course we were hit hard, but we somehow managed to get through all of that by sticking together throughout. And thank God things began looking up for both Abidal and Tito. Though he (Vilanova) has still got to keep us his treatment, all the signs are good. That’s what matters most.

As far as this season’s La Liga race is concerned, is it hard not to get complacent now you’re so far ahead of the chasing pack?
We’re very aware that there’s a long way to go yet. Our La Liga hopes are in our hands thanks to the lead we’ve got and the way we’ve gone about things, but we can’t afford to relax. We know how good Atletico Madrid are, as we’ve played them already and they’re a great side. And you can never write Real Madrid off because they’ll fight till the end and they’ve clawed back big points’ deficits on us more than once. We’re not taking our foot off the gas, though we’re confident we won’t have problems staying on the same track.

Not long ago the renowned Uruguayan writer and journalist Eduardo Galeano wrote: “Me gusta Messi porque no se cree Messi” (I like Messi because he doesn’t think he’s Messi). Is that the case? Are you aware of your impact on this era in the modern game?

I don’t know. I’m just trying to keep doing my job and enjoying what happens to me, what we do and what we achieve every day. There isn’t time to sit and think about what you’ve been doing because everything happens so fast: as soon as one thing finishes another begins. I think that generally, as I’ve said many times, people are going to remember this Barcelona team once it’s gone, once time goes by. That’s when it’ll be awarded much more significance. And on a personal note, I think it won’t be until after I’ve retired that I’m fully aware of what I’ve done or what I’ve gone on to achieve in my career.

One of the aspects of your game that most catches our eye is the fact you’ll always chase seemingly lost causes and never deliberately go to ground. Is that something you’re born with or have learned?
To tell you the truth, I’ve been that way my whole life, since I was little. I’ve always tried to keep hold of the ball and keep going, whatever happens, and I still try to do that today. Every year I try to grow as a player and not get stuck in a rut. I try to improve my game in every way possible. But that trait is not something I’ve worked on, it’s part of me.

One last question: when you made a toast with your loved ones on New Year’s Eve, what did you wish for 2013 to bring?
Of course, my son is now my number one priority. It’s been a very nice and very big change and we’ll always put him first. Then I wished for Abidal and Tito to get well and put their health issues behind them for good. That and good health for me, my family and all my loved ones. After all that, on a sporting front, hopefully we can carry on what we’ve been doing and pick up some more silverware.

Taken from FIFA.com

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Hodgson eyes long-awaited England glory

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As the Football Association begins its 150th anniversary year, England manager Roy Hodgson has challenged his players to provide the ultimate celebration by at least putting themselves in contention to end almost half a century without a trophy.

Hodgson is the latest in a string of managers charged with ending England’s wait for a first major honour since their lone World Cup final triumph, against the then West Germany at London’s Wembley Stadium in 1966.

But after helping the FA launch its landmark birthday on the London site of its first meeting, the curret incumbent in the so-called ‘impossible job’ refused to accept it may take another 50 years to replicate.

“There’s always hope,” Hodgson insisted. “Hope springs eternal. But what you have to do to win tournaments is make sure you’re regularly among the ones who are up there with a possibility of winning.

“You could compare it to someone who is an amateur darts player. The more darts he throws in and around the centre, one day he will get it in the bullseye.

“If he’s spreading them around the board your chances will be less than if he’s getting them in the 25 circle.”

Hodgson took England to the quarter-finals at Euro 2012, only losing on penalties to Italy — even though his team’s performances were often described as limited by many critics who yearn for England to rely more on technique and finesse than just their famous bulldog spirit.

The FA shares the same ambition; which is why it has built a national academy in central England at St George’s Park — a school for coaches where all 24 national teams will also be based.

And although Hodgson knows any rewards from that venture are a long way down the line, he hasn’t ruled out a degree of short-term success if England qualify for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.

“The first thing we have to do of course is qualify for the tournament,” he said. “And then when we qualify it will be important that we give a very good account of ourselves at the World Cup in Brazil. And who knows, once you are there you have a chance of winning it.

“I think we have some very good young players coming into the game playing regularly now and showing that they do have the ability to shoulder the burden.”

Hodgson was joined at The FA’s anniversary launch by several former England managers including Sven-Goran Eriksson, Terry Venables and Fabio Capello, who left the role in controversial circumstances following a row over a decision to strip John Terry of the England captaincy.

But the Italian was all smiles as he said: “We are all friends now. It is very good to come back and see the people I used to work with. I have no problems with anyone.

“You know I can’t talk about what happened with England but I am enjoying my life with Russia and my hope is that we play England in Brazil at the World Cup. That would be very good I think.”

FA chairman David Bernstein welcomed Capello’s participation by insisting: “Fabio is a man of great dignity and I respect him enormously.

“To see him today (Wednesday) and the warmth he showed, and there was a great deal of warmth when we met each other was really fabulous. It’s the way it should be. There were hugs all round.”

Meanwhile it emerged the FA, which has already arranged anniversary England friendlies against Brazil, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, was also looking to fit in matches against Argentina and Germany at Wembley in October and November.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Hostile atmosphere at Stamford Bridge affecting players – Chelsea Benitez

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Read Time:3 Minute, 31 Second

Rafael Benitez blamed Chelsea’s defensive problems for their failure to beat struggling Southampton and admitted skipper John Terry remains a major doubt for the weekend clash with Arsenal.

Chelsea allowed a two-goal first half lead to slip as visitors Southampton battled back for a 2-2 draw that left the European champions 13 points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester United and all but extinguished their domestic title hopes this season.

Interim Chelsea manager Benitez said the Blues must improve quickly if they are to claim three points when London rivals Arsenal visit Stamford Bridge.

“We cannot be happy drawing at home,” said Benitez. “We have to defend as a team, as a unit, a bit better,” the Spaniard added.

“It’s something we have to improve. It’s a question of experience.

“No, I’m not angry,” the former Liverpool manager said. “I’m disappointed.

“We know the problems we have when the other team are well organised. We have to sustain attacks, keep the ball, and that’s not something we did today (Wednesday).”

Chelsea led through Demba Ba and Eden Hazard but Southampton, for whom the draw moved them three points clear of the relegation zone, recovered through Rickie Lambert and Jason Puncheon.

Benitez has been on the end of taunts from Chelsea supporters ever since replacing sacked fans’ favourite Roberto di Matteo in November.

And he admitted the hostile atmosphere at Stamford Bridge was beginning to affect his players.

The return of Terry would provide Chelsea with a major lift, particularly after the home supporters had again voiced their frustration.

But the centre-back, who was on the bench against Southampton, is not yet fully recovered from a knee problem.

“He’s not match fit to play 90 minutes,” said Benitez. “He needs to play some minutes. We’ll see how he trains. It will be difficult.

“He needs games and minutes, but at the right time. It was easier the other day. Today (Wednesday) wasn’t the game.

“To change the player, when you have to play high, with a player with no match fitness, it would be a risk. I will try not to take a risk. I will try and do my best and make the right team selection.”

Wednesday’s draw came on the same day as former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, billionaire Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich’s long-time target for the manager’s job at Stamford Bridge, joined German giants Bayern Munich — the team the Blues beat in last season’s Champions League final.

However, Benitez would not be drawn on what that meant for his prospects of extending his stay at Chelsea beyond the end of the season.

“It’s fine for him (Guardiola),” said Benitez. “He deserves to go there. No, it’s not a surprise.”

The interim manager also insisted Fernando Torres would be unaffected after once again being booed by Chelsea supporters after appearing as an 80th minute replacement for Frank Lampard.

“Torres is a professional, he’s concentrated and will try and do his best,” said Benitez.

Meanwhile Southampton manager Nigel Adkins believed this result showed how the south coast club were on the rise.

“It’s two defeats in 12 games, both one-nils, and it shows we’re improving,” Adkins said. “I just said ‘stick to the game-plan’.

“We could have chased it, played two up, and it could have been like Aston Villa here when they were done by eight (goals).

“We believed the plan was the right thing to do, so we stuck at it. Not many teams will come back from 2-0 down against Chelsea.

“There’s a continual growing belief and maturity about the players. They’re becoming accustomed to playing at this level now. We concentrate one game at a time. Let’s stay in the here and now and work hard.”

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Djokovic delivers, Sharapova ruthless

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Read Time:2 Minute, 24 Second

Novak Djokovic served up only flashes of his best tennis on the opening day of the Australian Open but took a comfortable first step on the path he hopes will lead to an unprecedented hat-trick of titles at Melbourne Park in two weeks’ time.

Perhaps keeping energy in reserve for the battles that lie ahead, the world number one’s workmanlike 6-2 6-4 7-5 victory over Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu on Monday summed up a day where the year’s first grand slam failed to really fire.

“It was a good performance for a first round,” said the top seed, who will play American Ryan Harrison in the second round.

“There are some few adjustments that I need to make and get a little bit sharper on the court. But it’s expected in the first match you’re still not a 100 percent on the court.”

While Djokovic only roused himself when necessary, Maria Sharapova was ruthless as she swept aside any fears about her fitness with a thumping 6-0 6-0 win over compatriot Olga Puchkova on Rod Laver Arena.

“It was tough to break. But in the end … I made some good shots and managed to go through straight sets.”

With Andy Murray and Roger Federer not beginning their campaigns until Tuesday and Rafa Nadal absent injured, Monday was an opportunity for those players just outside the elite of the men’s game to strut their stuff.

David Ferrer duly continued the form which won him a fourth Auckland Open title on Saturday to beat Olivier Rochus 6-3 6-4 6-2, while fifth seed Tomas Berdych also progressed with a 6-3 7-5 6-3 win over American Michael Russell.

Despite the record temperatures which have gripped Australia for the last couple of weeks, the Australian Open opened to a mild morning in Melbourne.

There was nothing mild about Sharapova’s demolition of Puchkova on Rod Laver Arena, however, and the Russian powered her way into the second round in just 55 minutes.

Firing winners at will, particularly off the forehand, the 2008 champion showed no signs of the collar bone injury that caused her to pull out of the Brisbane warm-up.

“I was happy with the way I started, considering I didn’t play any matches coming in,” the 25-year-old said. “It was just one of those matches where I didn’t try to worry about her too much, I just tried to think about what I had to do.”

Williams could meet Sharapova in the third round and proved she might be a handful for the second seed by winning 12 successive games to beat Kazakh Galina Voskoboeva 6-1 6-0.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Ferguson glad United overcame Liverpool

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Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson reflected on the 2-1 win over Liverpool at Old Trafford with satisfaction.

The Red Devils cemented their lead at the summit of the Premier League with goals from Robin van Persie and Nemanja Vidic either side of half-time.

Brendan Rodgers’ visitors were galvanised by the introduction of recent arrival Daniel Sturridge, who halved the lead with a close-range goal that set up a nervy final half-hour – but Ferguson’s men stood firm to take the points.

“I would have taken that score before the game,” said the United boss. “The first-half performance, and until we scored the second goal, was absolutely brilliant.

“It was as good a performance as we have had for a long time and we should have been three or four goals up but when they got their goal they got inspired by it.

“Their supporters got going and it was hard work after that. I am just glad we won the match. I haven’t seen the (Liverpool) goal again but it looked a bit soft; once again the keeper has parried one out and nobody is following in the rebound.

“It lifted them. Some of our defending after that was a bit erratic and even desperate at times. But we managed to get through it. The last three or four minutes they were shoving players into the box and there was some interchange play we had to deal with.

“The name of the game is winning. There are moments where you have to defend. Today (Sunday) was one of them.”

Prior to the game, Ferguson had claimed their arch-rivals were so far behind United he did not know where they were in the league but, after extending the gap between themselves and eighth-placed Liverpool to 24 points, he changed his tune slightly.

“Winning against Liverpool is important. It doesn’t matter where you are in the league,” he added. “Manchester United-Liverpool games are fantastic challenges.

“They are the two most successful teams in the country. Today (Sunday) hopefully those three points will be very important.”

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Barca set La Liga record

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Barcelona, the unbeaten leaders, ended the first half of the La Liga season with a record 55 out of a possible 57 points when Lionel Messi scored one goal and had a hand in two more in a 3-1 win at Málaga.

An 18th victory in 19 games for Tito Vilanova’s side restored their 11-point lead over second-placed Atlético Madrid, who secured a 10th win in 10 home matches this season with a 2-0 success against Real Zaragoza.

Barça’s win also extended their lead over Real Madrid to 18 points after the champions, mired in third, were held to a 0-0 draw at the bottom side, Osasuna, on Saturday.

Málaga have the meanest defence in the league but a howler by Ignacio Camacho handed Barça their opener in the 27th minute. Messi intercepted the midfielder’s wayward back pass and after leaving the goalkeeper, Willy Caballero, sprawling on the floor stroked the ball into an unguarded net.

It was the World Player of the Year’s 28th league goal of the campaign and the ninth straight game in which he has scored, a personal record and one short of the La Liga mark last achieved in the 1996-97 season by the former Barça striker Ronaldo.

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Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Vegan Venus talks about food, tennis

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Read Time:1 Minute, 38 Second

Venus Williams has made the dietary leap from steak lover to vegan but admits that in times of weakness she is a ‘’cheagan.’’

That’s Venus-talk for a cheating vegan.

‘’If it’s on your plate, I might get to cheat. If you’re sitting next to me, good luck. You turn your head once and your food might be gone,’’ Williams said, in good spirits after starting her Australian Open campaign on Monday with a quick 6-1, 6-0 win over Galina Voskoboeva.

‘’I think it’s pretty well known I’m a cheagan, ‘’the seven-time Grand Slam winner said, laughing. ‘’I’m not perfect, but I try.’’

On her website the 32-year-old American refers to this phase of her life as ‘’Venus A.D.’’ – Venus After Diagnosis.

Food is not the only difference between then and now, but it is one of the big lifestyle changes Williams has made since being diagnosed in 2011 with an immune system illness that had caused her years of mysterious symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue and muscle pain.

Williams went public with her illness after withdrawing from her second-round match at the 2011 US Open and then took seven months off tennis, skipping last year’s Australian Open as she learned how to manage the disease known as Sjogren’s syndrome.

Her website says Williams’ vegan diet is designed to decrease inflammation in her body and reduce the energy-sapping symptoms of the disease ‘’by not overloading her body with excess calories, pesticides or sugars.’’

‘’No more of her favorite cherry pies, as sugar is strictly,’’ forbidden, the website says, adding that Williams also has changed her training regimen to allow more rest days.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nigeria win behind closed doors

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Read Time:2 Minute, 6 Second

Nigeria edged Dutch club Sparta Rotterdam 1-0 behind closed doors this weekend in a final warm-up match with the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations kick-off in South Africa less than one week away.

The Super Eagles failed to win or score in two previous matches, in Spain with a Catalonia side that included several Barcelona stars and in Portugal with fellow qualifiers Cape Verde Islands.

Russia-based Emmanuel Emenike – expected to spearhead the Nigerian attack at the Africa Cup with Ikechukwu Uche – scored the winner on 55 minutes in southern Portuguese resort Faro.

Efe Ambrose and Ahmed Musa combined to set up the striker and he scored from close range to compensate for the disappointment of having the ball in the net during the opening half only to be ruled offside.

Coach Stephen Keshi, who is going to a first Cup of Nations with his native Nigeria after taking Togo and Mali to previous African football showpieces, made a host of changes after his side took the lead.

Shock absentees from the last tournament a year ago, Nigeria qualified with comfortable aggregate victories over Rwanda and Liberia and have been placed in Group C with Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and defending champions Zambia.

Pundits have few doubts about the outcome of this mini-league with the Eagles and the Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets) strongly fancied to fill the top two places and advance to the knockout phase.

Meanwhile, Tunisia coach Sami Trabelsi has given his squad a verbal lashing after disappointing warm-up results with a narrow 2-1 victory over Iraq followed by 1-1 draws against Gabon and Ethiopia.

"My players did not perform well and all of them are in poor form," he told reporters in United Arab Emirates city Abu Dhabi, where the Carthage Eagles are preparing for the January 19-February 10 tournament.

"We are in trouble because the Cup of Natons is going to be much tougher and we are not ready for the difficult tasks that lie ahead. The squad has to do more and prove it deserves to wear the national colours."

Tunisia are hoping to organise an additional friendly against record seven-time African champions Egypt in the Middle East before facing Algeria, title favourites Ivory Coast and Togo in Group D – the group of death.

Egypt, who won an unprecedented three consecutive titles between 2006 and 2010, miss out on South Africa after suffering a stunning qualifying loss to Central African Republic.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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