Fekir sees Lyon into French Cup quarters

Lyon's French midfielder Nabil Fekir grabbed his 20th goal of the season with a 27th-minute spot-kick. (AFP)
Updated 08 February 2018
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Fekir sees Lyon into French Cup quarters

PARIS: Nabil Fekir’s penalty helped Lyon beat Montpellier 2-1 on Wednesday to reach the French Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 2012.
Maxwel Cornet caught home goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte by surprise to give the visitors an early lead, only for Jonathan Ikone to quickly lash in an equalizer.
But Fekir grabbed his 20th goal of the season with a 27th-minute spot-kick to restore his team’s advantage.
Lyon move into the last eight for the first time since winning the trophy for a fifth time six years ago, bouncing back from back-to-back league defeats that have seen them slip to fourth in Ligue 1.
Coach Bruno Genesio made five changes to the side that blew a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to 10-man Monaco at the weekend, and it was Cornet who made the most of his opportunity by giving them a 13th-minute lead.
The 21-year-old latched onto Bertrand Traore’s pass, and with Lecomte anticipating a cross, he fired home inside the near post with a clever first-time effort to score his fourth goal of the season.
But Montpellier levelled just nine minutes later, as 19-year-old Paris Saint-Germain loanee Ikone met Paul Lasne’s cutback to hammer into the top corner.
It took Lyon less than five minutes to move back in front, though, as Pedro Mendes clumsily bundled over Fekir in the area, with the attacking midfielder picking himself up to slot in from the penalty spot.
Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes had to make a couple of good saves in the second half, while Memphis Depay spurned an excellent chance at the other end, but the away side held on with relative ease.
Earlier on Wednesday, Caen edged out Ligue 1’s bottom club Metz on penalties after a 2-2 draw, while third-tier Chambly ended fourth-division outfit Granville’s run and Lens beat top-flight side Troyes.
Paris Saint-Germain continued their bid for a fourth straight title as Angel Di Maria scored a hat-trick in Tuesday’s 4-1 win at Sochaux.
Marseille are also through after Kostas Mitroglou and Lucas Ocampos both scored trebles in a 9-0 thumping of second-tier Bourg-en-Bresse.


Virat Kohli refuses to take anything for granted as India prepare to face depleted Australia

Updated 20 November 2018
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Virat Kohli refuses to take anything for granted as India prepare to face depleted Australia

  • Australia are still without Steve Smith and David Warner following their bans for ball tampering.
  • Kohli, however, refuses to accept India are huge favorites to beat the hosts.

SYDNEY: India captain Virat Kohli insisted Australia still have the quality to upset his side in their Twenty20 series and said his team will be focusing on the “little things” to come out on top.
The visitors open their tour with the first of three T20s in Brisbane today ahead of four Tests and three one-dayers that will keep them in Australia until late January.
In the short format, they have been by far the better team in recent times. Australia have also been weakened by ball-tampering bans to key batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner.
“We definitely have a very strong side,” said Kohli, who last month became the fastest to reach 10,000 runs in one-day internationals, breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s record.
“When we step on the field we have 11 individuals striving for excellence, they want to be the best they can.
“Those are the dynamics that have allowed us to play the cricket that we are and hopefully we can build on that.”
Despite Australia being without Smith and Warner — who will need to serve their full 12-month bans for ball-tampering, after Cricket Australia Tuesday ruled out any reductions — Kohli is adamant the hosts still pose a big threat.
“There’s no denying the quality they have in their side,” he said.
“They still have world-class cricketers, though missing out on two of the world’s best batsmen in not ideal for any team.
“But the guys they have, especially in the limited-overs game, can do damage at any point in time. You can never underestimate any side. We’re won’t be taking anything for granted.”
India arrived in Australia on the back of a home thrashing of the West Indies, but their form traditionally is more fragile on the road.
Kohli said they planned to “do the little things right so we can win more situations than the opposition.”
“We definitely believe we have the quality to win, but it will boil down to how we think in each moment in every game we play.”
Australia were beaten in both white-ball formats by South Africa in recent weeks, but skipper Aaron Finch is confident they can turn their fortunes around with a more assertive approach.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity for us to come out and express ourselves, play some great attacking cricket, take the game on and really try and take it to India,” he said Tuesday.
And Finch believes they are close to winning their first series since new coach Justin Langer took over, after Darren Lehmann stepped down following the tampering row.
“India are in great form but we feel as though we’ve been building really nicely without getting results going our way so far,” he said.