Yaya Toure hails eclipsing of Man Utd as Man City exit looms

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Yaya Toure is set to play his final home game for City against Brighton on Wednesday. (AFP)
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Yaya Toure is set to play his final home game for City against Brighton on Wednesday. (AFP)
Updated 09 May 2018
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Yaya Toure hails eclipsing of Man Utd as Man City exit looms

  • Ivorian leaving after eight years at City
  • 'We had to remove United – they were such a force'

LONDON: Yaya Toure ranks deposing bitter rivals Manchester United as one of the greatest achievements during his time at Manchester City as he prepares to leave the Premier League champions.
City have won the league three times during the Ivorian’s eight-year stint at the club as well as four domestic cups and have become one of the highest-profile clubs in the game.
“When I came to City, we could not compare, they (United) had so many trophies, so many Champions League finals,” said the 34-year-old, who is leaving the Etihad at the end of the season.
“But that was the purpose — to come to City, to put United in the shadow, although that would be difficult. The semifinal was a big part of it.”
The semifinal referred to was in the FA Cup in 2011, a tense derby against United which Toure settled with the only goal early in the second half. City went on to win the final and end a 35-year wait for a trophy, validating the vast expenditure lavished on the club since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover in 2008.
“United were in our way,” said the midfielder. “We had to remove them, they were such a force.
“Coming into the game they had such confidence, they thought they were going to beat us. I’ll never forget it, they missed big chances. At half-time we were nearly fighting in the dressing room.
“We said ‘go out and play like men — or we go home again and say to (chairman) Khaldoon, ‘thank you, we’ve eaten the money but we move on because this club will never achieve’.
“We had that chat and you saw a different City in the second half. That’s why we won the game. It was brilliant, awesome.”
Toure is set for a huge ovation as he plays his final home game for City against Brighton at the Etihad on Wednesday.
The Ivorian has been one of the club’s most influential players since his arrival from Barcelona in 2010 and was a driving force in the Premier League successes of 2012 and 2014.
His influence has decreased since and he made only nine appearances, all off the bench, in this season’s title win.
“I am very sad about it,” said Toure, who is not planning to retire. “I wanted to be more part of it on the field, not out of the field.
“But look in our dressing room and they are all competitors now, with the will to win and to achieve. It’s a great ability, and I love it.”
Manager Pep Guardiola has assured Toure of a starting spot on Wednesday and a number of tributes are being planned.


Naomi Osaka shocked as Kristina Mladenovic downs world No. 1 in Dubai

Updated 19 February 2019
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Naomi Osaka shocked as Kristina Mladenovic downs world No. 1 in Dubai

  • It was Osaka's first match since she won the Australian Open — her second consecutive Grand Slam title.
  • World No. 67 Mladenovic lost for words after surprise win.

DUBAI: Naomi Osaka stumbled badly in her first match since winning the Australian Open as the world number one went down in a flurry of errors to exit the Dubai Championships on Tuesday.
Dubai-based Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic claimed a 6-3, 6-3 victory to reach the third round as Osaka made 25 unforced errors.
The rout, which featured seven breaks of the Osaka serve, took barely an hour, sending Mladenovic into a Wednesday contest with Carla Suarez Navarro.
“This is my home tournament, I live here,” world No. 67 Mladenovic said. “It’s great to get a win like this in front of a big crowd.
“Beating the number one is always special.”
The second set was riddled with seven consecutive breaks of serve before Mladenovic finished off the job with a winner to the empty court on match point.
Osaka stunned the tennis world last week by announcing her split from coach Sascha Bajin despite winning back-to-back Grand Slam titles at the US and Australian Opens.
She said earlier this week that she would not prioritize “success over happiness” when asked about the sacking, and she never looked like winning in Dubai as she also served five double faults.
Earlier on Tuesday, Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova both won their opening matches, while Elina Svitolina made a strong start to her bid for a third straight title.
Kvitova, the 2013 winner, recovered from losing a first-set tiebreak to defeat Katerina Siniakova 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-4 and squeeze into the third round.
Halep, Dubai champion in 2015, saw off 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.
The Romanian said she is still feeling the effects of her weekend final defeat in Doha by Elize Mertens.
“It was a good match because I won it. I tried to finish the points faster because I’m a little bit tired,” Halep said.
“She played well, the level was pretty good. At some points I really ran very well. I’m confident. I feel good on court even if I’m tired.”
A third former world number one also advanced as Angelique Kerber beat Dalila Jakupovic 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.
Kvitova, Wimbledon champion in 2011 and 2014, said she was unfazed about the early midday start to her match.
“I don’t really care if I play the first match,” the Australian Open runner-up said. “Now I’m done, so I have a free afternoon.
“I’m not sure what I’m pleased with... maybe with my comeback at the end.”