Jose Mourinho fails to match up as Pep Guardiola takes Man City streets ahead

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho celebrates at full time of Juventus vs. Manchester United in Turing. (Reuters)
Updated 10 November 2018
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Jose Mourinho fails to match up as Pep Guardiola takes Man City streets ahead

MANCHESTER: Manchester United turned to Jose Mourinho as the antidote to their “noisy neighbors” Manchester City finally achieving their long-held goal of hiring Pep Guardiola as manager in 2016.
Reunited in England’s northwest after two confrontational years on either side of the Barcelona-Real Madrid rivalry, where Mourinho ended Guardiola’s three seasons of La Liga dominance, United clearly hoped the feisty Portuguese could again get under the Catalan’s skin.
But now in their third seasons in charge, Guardiola and Mourinho’s reigns have instead seen a chasm open up with the blue half of Manchester now the dominant side of the city.
Win the Manchester derby on Sunday and City will already be 12 points clear of United just 12 games into the new season, a gap that has gradually widened in each of the past three years.
The season before their arrival, only City’s superior goal difference saw them pip United to fourth place in the Premier League and Champions League qualification.
Despite a difficult first season for Guardiola in English football, City finished that campaign nine points ahead of their City rivals.
Last season the gap jumped to a record 19 between first and second place as City romped to the title with 100 points.
“There is a quality of the work, of the organization, I think that is untouchable,” even Mourinho admitted on Friday.
City certainly seem untouchable at the moment. Once again on top of the Premier League, a goal difference of plus 29 to United’s plus one tells the story of both sides contrasting fortunes so far this season.
United have at least shown some resilience in recent weeks, coming from behind to beat Newcastle, Bournemouth and most impressively Italian champions Juventus in midweek.
Yet, even then every victory seems a struggle. Only twice have they won by more than one goal all season, to City’s 12 multiple-goal victories.
Guardiola also boasts an impressive record against Mourinho, losing just five of their 21 meetings.
But that includes the last one when United came from 2-0 down to stun the Etihad in a 3-2 victory that robbed City of the extra satisfaction of sealing the title against their rivals.
“The point is can we improve enough to catch them next season?” an optimistic Mourinho said at the time.
Fast forward seven months and Mourinho has turned on his superiors at the club for his failure to match City’s progression under Guardiola.
“To go to the Juventus level? Barcelona level? Real Madrid level? Manchester City level? How can you reach this level” he complained after losing the first of United’s double header with Juve. “It’s not easy. We work with what we have.”
Mourinho’s argument is that he has not had the backing Guardiola has in the transfer market, despite United spending more than the Abu Dhabi-backed Premier League champions this summer.
Most of that went on Brazilian midfielder Fred, a player also coveted by City, but who has largely failed to make an impact.
The same can be said for Alexis Sanchez. United beat City to his signature from Arsenal in January to much fanfare at the time.
When legendary United manager Alex Ferguson termed City the “noisy neighbors” over the signing of Carlos Tevez, their spending was cavalier.
Since those deep pockets have been married with Guardiola’s coaching, City are getting much more bang for their buck.
“They are a small club with a small mentality. All they can talk about is Manchester United, that’s all they’ve done and they can’t get away from it,” said Ferguson, angered at Tevez swapping sides of the Manchester divide.
There was a time with Ferguson in charge when City fans went to derbies more in hope than expectation. Guardiola has put the shoe on the other foot.


Finch's century helps fire Australia to eight-wicket win over Pakistan

Updated 23 March 2019
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Finch's century helps fire Australia to eight-wicket win over Pakistan

SHARJAH: Aaron Finch's fine century drove Australia to a convincing eight-wicket win over a new-look Pakistan in the first one-day international on Friday.
The Austraian skipper scored 116 off 135 balls for his 12th one-day international century that helped his team overhaul the 281-run target in 49 overs on a flat Sharjah stadium pitch.
The win gives Australia the lead in the five-match series and has come on the back of their 3-2 series win in India earlier this month.
Finch's match-winning knock overshadowed Haris Sohail's maiden one-day hundred (101 not out) which helped Pakistan to 280-5 in their 50 overs.
The 32-year-old smashed Shoaib Malik for a huge six towards deep mid-wicket to complete his century -- his first since June last year against England at Chester-Le-Street -- off 120 balls.
Finch, who knocked four sixes and eight boundaries, added an innings-building 172 runs for the second wicket with Shaun Marsh who scored an unbeaten 91 off 102 balls with four boundaries and two sixes.
With 46 needed Finch became Mohammad Abbas's maiden wicket but Peter Handscomb hit 30 not out to help Marsh cross the line.
Finch and Marsh came together after opener Usman Khawaja fell for 24 to medium pacer Faheem Ashraf, the only other success Pakistan's new-look bowling attack could achieve.
Pakistan rested six of their key players including regular skipper Sarfraz Ahmed in order to keep them fresh for the World Cup starting in UK from May 30.
But the young and inexperienced Pakistan led by Malik proved no match for Australia, who are on a roll after their win in India earlier this month.
Left-hander Sohail, who reached 1,000 runs in his 27th one-day international when on 40, anchored Pakistan's innings, adding 98 for the third wicket with Umar Akmal who made a 50-ball 48 in his first international match for two years.
Sohail took a single to complete his hundred in the last over, finishing with six boundaries and a six.
Pakistan had handed one-day debuts to opener Shan Masood and Abbas -- who have played 15 and 14 Tests respectively.
Masood put on 35 in an opening stand with Imam-ul-Haq (17) before off-spinner Nathan Lyon dismissed Imam in the seventh over, caught and bowled.
Masood, who hit five boundaries in his 62-ball 40, was then bowled by paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile who finished with 1-38 in his 10 overs.
Umar smashed three sixes in one Jhye Richardson over but fell one short of his half century.
Malik fell for 11 and Ashraf and Imad Wasim scored 28 each.
Wasim hit four boundaries and a six during his 13-ball unbeaten knock, helping Pakistan to 55 runs in the last five overs.
Sunday's second ODI is also being played in Sharjah, with the third in Abu Dhabi (March 27) and the last two in Dubai (March 29 and 31).