Leroy Sane shines as slick Manchester City crush West Ham, Liverpool win at Watford

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring their second goal with Leroy Sane (Reuters)
Updated 24 November 2018
0

Leroy Sane shines as slick Manchester City crush West Ham, Liverpool win at Watford

LONDON: Manchester City stormed to their eighth successive victory in all competitions as Leroy Sane’s brace capped a ruthless 4-0 demolition of West Ham on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola’s side were in clinical form in east London as the champions maintained their unbeaten start after 13 games of the Premier League season.
David Silva and Raheem Sterling struck in the first 19 minutes to put City in complete control.
Germany winger Sane netted before the interval and again in the closing stages to ensure leaders City remain two points clear of second placed Liverpool.
City have scored 19 goals in their last four games in all competitions, with their latest blitz serving as the perfect preparation for next week’s Champions League clash at Lyon.
In this mood, it is hard to imagine who can stop City and their former manager Manuel Pellegrini, now in charge of West Ham, clearly had no answers.
Pellegrini managed City for three seasons between 2013 and 2016, winning the title in 2014, the League Cup twice, and 100 of his 167 games in charge.
The Chilean became the only non-European manager to win the Premier League, and only the second City manager to win two major trophies in one season.
But his City team was nowhere near as potent as the Guardiola model.
And for all West Ham’s shortcomings, City worked as hard as ever to make the most of the openings presented to them.
Sterling, whose previous appearance in a City shirt ended with him being admonished by Guardiola for showboating near the end of the 3-1 victory over Manchester United, was direct and creative, providing the final pass for Silva’s and Sane’s goals.
West Ham had looked tentative and nervy even before City took the lead after 11 minutes, and they were largely spectators as Kyle Walker ran down the right.
He found Sterling, who crossed low for Silva to stroll between the immobile Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena to slip a first-time shot past Lukasz Fabianski from four yards.
West Ham showed little inclination to hit back, and there was so little pressure on the ball that Fabian Delph, although lining up at left back for City, was able to move into the central midfield position and launch a series of attacks.
It was 2-0 to City after 19 minutes as Sane stepped past former City defender Pablo Zabaleta on the left and hit a low pass across goal for Sterling to stroke home.
West Ham briefly spluttered into life when Michail Antonio robbed Aymeric Laporte and set up Marko Arnautovic, but the Austrian’s shot was saved by goalkeeper Ederson.
Then Arnautovic found Antonio cutting in from the right but his well-hit shot rebounded off Ederson’s chest.
But City sealed victory when Fernandinho passed out to Sterling on the right, he volleyed back into the center, and the unmarked Sane controlled the ball, sidestepped Balbuena’s attempt to recover, and rolled in the third.
Fabianski denied both Sterling and Sane in the opening minute of the second half and West Ham’s best chance disappeared when Antonio ran clear of defenders only to hit his shot against the outside of the post.
Sane showed how it was done in stoppage-time, collecting Gabriel Jesus’s cross and shooting across Fabianski, the ball going in off Aaron Cresswell.
Elsewhere, Roberto Firmino ended his English Premier League goal drought and Mohamed Salah also scored as 10-man Liverpool maintained their unbeaten start by winning at Watford 3-0 on Saturday.

Mohamed Salah celebrates his goal against Watford as Liverpool earned another three Premier League points. (AFP)

Firmino headed in a late third for Liverpool at Vicarage Road, for his first top-flight goal since Sept. 15.
Trent Alexander-Arnold's brilliant free kick made it 2-0 after Salah opened the scoring — with his sixth goal in his last seven club games — in the 67th minute from Sadio Mane's cross.
Liverpool will be without Jordan Henderson for next weekend's Merseyside derby with Everton, however, after the midfielder was sent off for two bookings — the second one coming just after he'd been warned by the referee.
Hard-working Watford will feel aggrieved after referee Jon Moss rejected its penalty claims when Andy Robertson appeared to trip Will Hughes in the second half, when the score was 0-0.
It was far from a vintage Liverpool performance but they remained unbeaten in 13 games and two points behind league leaders City.


Uruguay’s Indian cricketers searching for a permanent home

Updated 16 February 2019
0

Uruguay’s Indian cricketers searching for a permanent home

  • Descendants of Indian immigrants carry banner for Uruguay in the cricket field

MONTEVIDEO: Every Sunday, close to a statue of Indian independence hero Mahatma Gandhi, a group of Indian ex-pats take over a patch of land in Uruguay’s capital Montevideo for a game of cricket.
Tucked in between the Rio de la Plata estuary and the long promenade known as the “rambla” that stretches from one side of Montevideo to the other, Avijit Mukherjee prepares to bat, watched eagerly by his Uruguayan girlfriend.
“I played in my country but with a lot more infrastructure,” said the 28-year-old Mukherjee, whose girlfriend Veronica is the main reason he has stayed in Uruguay.
“There are stadiums and many places to play in India, whereas here we only have one.”
Although cricket was first played in Montevideo by British expat workers even before the foundation of the independent republic in 1828, its practice died out in the 1980s.
But following an influx of Indian immigrants to Uruguay at the turn of the century, cricket steadily returned to Montevideo.
First there were one-off matches. Then, the players organized their own league and even set up a Uruguayan national team.
At the end of last year, Uruguay, whose team was made up almost entirely of Indian expats, finished second in the South American championships in Colombia.
While the cricketers are now established on their little patch of land, their initial appearance was not entirely welcomed by local footballers playing on an adjacent pitch.
“We came like spiders and rebuked them,” recalls Daniel Mosco, a local resident who has been playing football in that field for 30 years.
The issue was quickly resolved, though, and the cricketers agreed to start playing only once the football matches had finished.
With no fixed cricket markings, players use flour to draw white lines.
Now, bat can be heard crashing against ball until sunset.
Even though they’ve been here for years, the shouts of “howzat!” and “wait on” still elicit glances from locals making their way along the rambla.
They make a curious spectacle for people little accustomed with either cricket or India.
Mosco, for one, was surprised that the players speak to each other in English.
And there’s another surprise in the form of 29-year-old doctor Saied Muhammad Asif Raza: he’s from Pakistan.
“Between the governments and in (professional) cricket there are always problems, but the people get on really well and within the team the are no problems whatsoever,” said Asif.
He left his home town of Multan, 10 hours from Islamabad, at 19 and moved to Cuba thanks to a Fidel Castro scholarship.
After returning home, he found he couldn’t readapt to his own culture.
“I didn’t come here to find a better life economically, I had a better life in my country because in my family we didn’t lack for anything,” said Asif.
“The thing is that when you live many years away, nowhere is home, and cricket brings me close to it.”
Although now at home on their small patch, finding something more permanent is crucial to Montevideo’s cricketers.
“We’re looking for a permanent ground,” Beerbal Maniyattukudy, the Uruguayan cricket association’s secretary, told AFP.
“We have 120 players this year. On top of that we’re starting some women’s teams and for now we have 20 people interested. We also have plans for an under-15s league.”
The solution may lie with Uruguay’s most popular football team: Penarol.
Penarol started life as the Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club (CURCC), founded by British railway workers in 1891.
It was a multisport club — but just over 20 years later, its football section broke off and was absorbed by a newly created team, Penarol.
The original club’s cricket section disappeared as football became the main focus — but it was relaunched a week ago.
And crucially, Penarol are planning to build a cricket pitch an hour outside Montevideo.
“When we raised the idea of cricket, there wasn’t much to sort out; everyone was aware of what it meant to the history of the club, we just needed to work out how to make it happen,” said Leonardo Vinas, who is heading up the project.
While many club members signed up to be involved, very few have ever played cricket.
Vinas says the project will take time, not just to spread interest in the sport, but also for the club’s staff to get their heads around the rules of the game.
“Even now, we’re still not clear about certain rules.”