Chelsea rebounds to beat Tottenham 2-1

Chelsea’s Spanish defender Marcos Alonso celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. (AFP)
Updated 20 August 2017
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Chelsea rebounds to beat Tottenham 2-1

LONDON: Marcos Alonso’s double reignited Chelsea’s title defense by securing a 2-1 victory over Tottenham on Sunday after goalkeeper Hugo Lloris blundered to enable the champion to recover from its opening weekend loss.
It was a gloomy start to Tottenham’s temporary residency at Wembley Stadium after going unbeaten throughout its final season at White Hart Lane before it was demolished to make way for a new venue.
Tottenham had been well placed to salvage a draw when Alonso’s first-half free kick was canceled out by Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi inadvertently heading the ball into his own net in the 82nd minute just after coming off the bench.
But within six minutes Chelsea was back in front and Batshuayi’s blushes were spared. Lloris threw the ball out to Victor Wanyama and Pedro Rodriguez disposed the Tottenham midfielder. The ball was then thread through for Alonso, whose shot squirmed under the normally reliable Lloris in the Tottenham goal.
Last season’s top two now have a win apiece after Tottenham opened the season with a victory over Newcastle last Sunday. Chelsea was left demoralized after it opened its title defense by losing at home to Burnley.
Earlier, Huddersfield made it two wins out of two at the start of its first Premier League season by beating Newcastle 1-0, condemning its fellow promoted team to a second successive loss.
Australia midfielder Aaron Mooy scored in the 50th minute, curling in a shot from 18 yards (meters) following a one-two with Elias Kachunga to secure the victory for David Wagner’s team.
“The boss has a saying to have no limits and we all stand behind that,” Mooy told British broadcaster Sky Sports. “It has been a great start so far, but we can’t get carried away, it’s early in the season. We just have to keep working hard and keep trying to improve.”
It was Huddersfield’s first top-flight game at home since 1972 — 20 years before the formation of the Premier League. Huddersfield opened the season by beating Crystal Palace 3-0 last weekend, while Newcastle lost 2-0 to Tottenham in the first round.
“People wrote us off last week at Palace but we couldn’t rest on our laurels and we have made a statement,” forward Tom Ince said. “The manager has come and said it, we are not here just to be part of the league, we are here to show people what we are about and that we deserve to be in the Premier League.
“Today was about winning. Two games, six points and we move on.”


Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir ‘100 percent ready’ to face England, says coach

Updated 22 May 2018
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Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir ‘100 percent ready’ to face England, says coach

  • Left-armer is fit after a knee injury
  • 'He’s fine, he’s ready to go'

LONDON: Pakistan spearhead Mohammad Amir is “100 percent ready” for the first Test against England at Lord’s starting on Thursday despite a knee injury, according to team coach Mickey Arthur.
The left-arm fast bowler was seen stretching out his right knee as Pakistan beat Test debutants Ireland by five wickets during a one-off match in Malahide, Dublin concluded last week.
Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood suggested Amir had suffered a recurrence of a “chronic” problem.
But head coach Arthur, speaking to reporters at Lord’s on Tuesday, had no qualms about the fitness of Amir.
“He’s perfect, 100 percent,” Arthur insisted. “He’s fine, he’s ready to go.”
As for Amir, missing Pakistan’s final warm-up match ahead of the two-Test England series, last weekend’s drawn match against Leicestershire, Arthur added: “It was his rotation. (Mohammad) Abbas sat out the first (tour) game, Hasan (Ali) sat out the second, so he sat out the third.”
Amir was the hottest property in world cricket after bursting on the scene as a teenager in 2009 and at 18 he was the youngest bowler to have taken 50 Test wickets.
But his world was turned upside down in 2010 when he became involved in a spot-fixing scandal after deliberately bowling no-balls during the Lord’s Test against England — an incident that would eventually see him sent to prison by an English court and given a five-year ban by the International Cricket Council.
Amir’s first 14 Tests saw him take 51 wickets at just a fraction over 23 apiece, figures that had him on course to be an all-time great.
But the 17 Tests since his comeback two years ago have seen him take 49 wickets at a more expensive average of 34.91
Amir, and Pakistan for that matter, have not been helped by the fact that those 17 Tests since 2016 have also seen 16 catches dropped off his bowling.
The stigma of his spot-fixing exile has started to fade, with Amir playing for Pakistan during their 2-2 draw in a four-Test series in England two years ago.
He also starred for Essex as they won English domestic cricket’s first-class County Championship title last season.
Now the 26-year-old Amir is set to be the leader of an inexperienced Pakistan attack.
England, who didn’t manage a single win during their recent seven combined Tests in Australia and New Zealand, collapsed to 58 all out in Auckland in March as Kiwi left-arm quick Trent Boult took six wickets.
And Arthur backed Amir to do similar damage
“I think Mohammad Amir is the finest exponent of pace and swing when he gets it 100 percent right,” Arthur said.
“We’ve used that spell that Trent Boult bowled in Auckland. We’ve had a look at his lengths.
“We believe he (Amir) bowls incredibly well at left-handers and there will be three left-handers (Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman and Dawid Malan) in the (England) top four.
“He’s ready, I just hope it goes really well for him because he’s been unlucky at times with the amount of dropped catches.
“He’s ready, he’s determined, he’s fit, he’s strong, he’s excited, he’s in a very good place at the moment.”
Arthur is unusual in having served as the head coach of three leading nations — his native South Africa, Australia and Pakistan.
But he was adamant he had no desire to replace Trevor Bayliss when the Australian steps down as England coach next year.
“No, I’m very happy,” Arthur said. “I’d like to keep going with Pakistan for as long as they will have me because it’s unfinished business for us at the moment. This is a very young cricket team and I worry if we move on what happens to these guys. Their fitness regime is outstanding, they are training hard and they are enjoying their cricket. I’m very, very happy with where I am at the moment,” he insisted.