Pep Guardiola coy over quadruple bid after Manchester City reach FA Cup final over Brighton

Manchester City's Nicolas Otamendi, Danilo and Aymeric Laporte celebrate after the match as Brighton's Florin Andone looks dejected during the Wembley FA Cup semifinal. (Reuters)
Updated 07 April 2019
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Pep Guardiola coy over quadruple bid after Manchester City reach FA Cup final over Brighton

  • City will play Watford or Wolves in the final on May 18
  • City labored to kill off Premier League strugglers Brighton in a hard-fought semifinal

LONDON: Pep Guardiola claimed he still does not believe Manchester City can win the quadruple after his side reached the FA Cup final with a 1-0 win over Brighton on Saturday.
Guardiola’s men were well below their best in the Wembley semifinal, but Gabriel Jesus’s early goal got the job done.
City will play Watford or Wolves in the final on May 18, but before then they hope to have retained the Premier League title and reached the Champions League final.
Currently two points behind leaders Liverpool with a game in hand in the Premier League, City go to Tottenham for the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday.
Having already won the League Cup, an unprecedented clean-sweep of all four major trophies is within touching distance, but City manager Guardiola refuses to talk up his team’s chances.
“My opinion is that nobody has done it (won the quadruple), so why can we do it?,” he said.
“It is almost impossible to achieve everything, that is the truth.”
City labored to kill off Premier League strugglers Brighton in a hard-fought semifinal lacking many thrills.
Guardiola praised Brighton’s resilience and admitted he was relieved to get the win.
“It was a semifinal, Brighton are an incredible defensive team, we knew that set-pieces were huge, massive. We conceded too many but only one dangerous situation. We are in the final, we are there,” he said.
City defender Kyle Walker came off at half-time after suffering a first-half knock.
Walker was also fortunate to escape with a yellow card after a VAR review of a 32nd-minute incident when the England star reacted to a challenge from Alireza Jahanbakhsh by aiming his head at the Brighton player.
“I didn’t see the Kyle Walker incident,” Guardiola said.
“We are losing players every game but still we will try to do it.
“I am happy to be in the final. We extend our season by one more week and we are happy for that.”
Brighton boss Chris Hughton was adamant Walker should have been sent off.
“I have seen it a few times and my opinion is it is a red card,” he said.
“We ask for players to be honest and with Alireza, if he goes down clutching his head it would have been a different outcome. There is enough movement for it to be a red card.”


Leonard stars as Raptors claw back with win over Bucks

Updated 20 May 2019
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Leonard stars as Raptors claw back with win over Bucks

  • Milwaukee’s MVP finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo struggles to just 12 points
  • He then fouled out in the first minute of the second overtime period

LOS ANGELES: Kawhi Leonard scored eight of his 36 points in the second overtime period Sunday to lead the Toronto Raptors to a gritty 118-112 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Eastern Conference finals.
The Raptors, who dropped the first two games of the best-of-seven series in Milwaukee, clawed their way back to 2-1 in front of home fans and will try to level the set when they host game four on Tuesday.
Pascal Siakam scored 25 points and Spanish center Marc Gasol added 16 for the Raptors, who got off to a quick start and led much of the night but had to battle to put the Bucks away.
“We just played a lot tougher,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “We were up guarding, we were physical. We were ready to play tonight.”
Milwaukee’s Most Valuable Player finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo struggled to just 12 points on five-of-16 shooting.
Antetokounmpo’s 23 rebounds helped the Bucks stay in touch, but he didn’t reach double figures in points until the middle of the fourth quarter and he produced eight of the Bucks’ 20 turnovers.
Antetokounmpo fouled out in the first minute of the second overtime period.
Moments later the Bucks managed to edge ahead 105-103 — taking the lead for the first time since Antetokounmpo scored the game’s opening basket — but Leonard and the Raptors roared back.
Leonard’s steal and dunk put Toronto ahead 112-109 and his driving bank shot gave Toronto a 114-110 lead with 32.4 seconds remaining.
Leonard played a key role in limiting Antetokounmpo and Nurse said his defensive play was “probably the biggest key of the game.”
“Not only did he just play good, but he made some huge plays with some steals and rip-aways and break aways,” Nurse said.
“Offense was hard to come by there for both teams for a while and any time you can get a steal and a break out it’s a huge momentum play.”
Toronto had a chance to win it in regulation, but they let a 96-91 lead slip away in the final 1:13 of the fourth quarter.
Milwaukee guard Khris Middleton’s putback basket from his own miss with 2.2 seconds left in regulation forced overtime.
The Raptors led 103-99 with 1:29 remaining in the first extra session.
But Malcolm Brogdon floated in a shot and George Hill drained two free throws to tie it before Leonard’s jump shot fell short.
The Raptors overcame a slow night from Kyle Lowry, who scored 11 points before fouling out with 6:12 left in the fourth.
Although Leonard scored 19 points in the fourth quarter and both overtimes, some grimaces from the Raptors star sparked concerns he might be injured.
“I’m feeling all right,” he said. “This is playoff basketball. Everybody’s hurting, you just have to keep fighting.”
Hill led the Bucks with 24 points and fellow reserve Brogdon added 20. Center Brook Lopez led the Bucks starters with 16 points.
“I feel like we gave ourselves several chances,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We weren’t able to get over the hump.
“When you have opportunities you’ve got to make them and we didn’t quite make enough of our good ones. I think we’ll be better in game four, Giannis, everybody.”