Celtic win Scottish Cup to complete ‘treble treble’

Celtic players celebrate after winning the Scottish Cup final against Heart of Midlothian in Glasgow on Saturday. (Reuters)
Updated 26 May 2019
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Celtic win Scottish Cup to complete ‘treble treble’

  • Club appoint Neil Lennon as manager on a permanent basis

GLASGOW, Scotland: Celtic claimed an unprecedented third consecutive domestic treble after coming from behind to win the Scottish Cup by beating Hearts 2-1 thanks to Odsonne Edouard’s double at Hampden on Saturday.

The Hoops were on course for a first domestic cup defeat in 27 games when Ryan Edwards shot Hearts into a shock lead seven minutes into the second half.

However, Celtic quickly responded when Edouard leveled from the penalty spot and the Frenchman sealed another clean sweep of silverware by racing clear to score the winner eight minutes from time.

Neil Lennon was offered the Celtic manager's job on a permanent basis.

Despite consolidating an eight-point lead when Brendan Rodgers left the Scottish champions to take charge of Leicester in February to win an eighth straight Scottish Premiership, and now the Scottish Cup, Lennon had faced criticism for his side’s performances and style of play.

Celtic were again disjointed for long spells and could easily have been beaten but for a bit more quality and composure from a Hearts side missing a host of key players through injury. Edouard had the only decent chance of a poor first 45 minutes when he was played in by Tom Rogic, but John Souttar slid in to make a brave block.

Hearts had not won in five games since their semifinal victory over second-tier Inverness, but they made the breakthrough with their first big chance of the game.

Sixteen-year-old Aaron Hickey fed Arnaud Djoum on the edge of the area, his miscued shot found its way to Sean Clare who backheeled to find the free Edwards to slot home.

Celtic seemed to need the shock of going behind to snap into action and leveled within 10 minutes.

Edouard was tripped by Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal, although contact was minimal and referee Willie Collum pointed to the spot.

Zlamal could have made amends, but did not get a strong enough hand to Edouard’s penalty to keep it out.

Celtic paid a club record £9 million ($11 million) for Edouard from Paris Saint-Germain 11 months ago and he took his tally for the season to 23 when Mikael Lustig’s forward header somehow evaded the whole Hearts defense.

Edouard kept his cool to slot past the advancing Zlamal and seal Celtic’s sixth domestic treble.

 

Tuchel extends deal to 2021

Also on Saturday, Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel has extended his deal with the French Ligue 1 champions through to June 2021, the club announced.

The 45-year-old German took over in June 2018 and despite winning Ligue 1 has come under scrutiny after the Parisian club’s defeat to Manchester United in the Champions League last 16.

The news cuts short speculation that PSG’s owners would fire Tuchel and hire outgoing Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.

“I’m delighted to extend my contract and commitment to Paris Saint-Germain,” Tuchel said.

“I’d like to thank the chairman and the whole club for their trust in me and my staff. This only reinforces my ambition to bring this team to the very top through hard work,” he told the club website

“I’m also very touched by the backing of our supporters, and I’m sure that the best is yet to come for our club.”


Unrivaled: India now 7-0 in World Cup games against Pakistan

Updated 17 June 2019
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Unrivaled: India now 7-0 in World Cup games against Pakistan

  • Conditions did not dampen the enthusiasm of a predominantly pro-India crowd 

MANCHESTER, UK: For such an intense rivalry, it is still a lopsided contest when India and Pakistan meet at the Cricket World Cup.

India extended their record to 7-0 against Pakistan at the World Cup with an 89-run victory in a rain-interrupted encounter Sunday that likely will remain the most-watched game of the six-week tournament.

India started ominously with Rohit Sharma scoring 140 from 113 deliveries and skipper Virat Kohli contributing 77 in a total of 336-5, a record for a One-Day International at Old Trafford.

Pakistan were always behind the run-rate required.

Fakhar Zaman (62) and Babar Azam (48) put on 104 for the second wicket but when both were dismissed by left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav within nine balls, Pakistan’s hopes faded with them.

When Hardik Pandya took wickets with consecutive deliveries in the 27th over, Pakistan were 129-5. And with a result in play because both teams had batted more than 20 overs, there was no chance of sharing points if rain prevented any more play. A delay after the 35th with Pakistan at 166-6 just prolonged the inevitable.

Pakistan were  set a revised target of 302 from 40 overs and the last five overs were a non-event with Pakistan finishing 212-6. India remained unbeaten in four games to start the tournament.

The conditions did not dampen the enthusiasm of a predominantly pro-India crowd that filled the 162-year-old venue to its 23,500 capacity. Seats were in excessively high demand, after all, with the International Cricket Council reporting more than 800,000 ticket applications for the game.

There is always extra significance when the nuclear-armed neighboring countries meet at ICC tournaments because India and Pakistan play cricket so infrequently in bilateral series.

This was no different, with a 1 billion-plus TV audience and an almost football-like atmosphere at the ground.

Kohli’s single to get off the mark was met by “Kohli-Kohli-Kohli” chants from the predominantly pro-India crowd.

Sharma set the tone with his second century of the tournament, sharing partnerships of 136 with KL Rahul (57) for the first wicket and 98 with Kohli for the second.

He seemed ready to really unleash when he needlessly paddled a ball from Hasan Ali to Wahab Riaz at short fine leg in the 38th over.

Kohli continued, becoming the third Indian batter to pass 11,000 ODI runs. In doing so in his 222nd innings, he became the fastest to reach the milestone.

Kohli was on 71 and India was 305-4 when rain stopped play for the first time in the 47th over. The India captain was caught behind off Mohammad Amir’s bowling not long after he returned from the 55-minute rain break and, surprisingly, walked off before umpire Marais Erasmus had a chance to signal him out.

There was some speculation Kohli did not edge the ball but it was inconsequential in the end, as India passed Sri Lanka’s 318-7 against England in 2006 to set the highest ODI total in Manchester.

After a batting onslaught at the top, Pakistan pegged back the run-rate slightly as Amir (3-47) dismissed Pandya (26) and then had MS Dhoni (1) and Kohli caught behind — both the ex-captain and captain walking.

Things started going haywire for Pakistan after skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed won the toss and fielded, going against the advice sent via social media by Prime Minister and 1992 World Cup-winning captain Imran Khan.

Overcast and cool overhead conditions that usually would favor swing and seam bowling didn’t greatly assist the Pakistan attack, with India racing to 52-0 in its most productive opening power play of the tournament.

The Pakistan pacemen had trouble with the umpires, with Amir and Wahab each cautioned twice for running on the protected area in the middle of the pitch. One further warning would have resulted in a suspension.

It also didn’t help that opener Imam-ul-Haq got out in rare circumstances to Vijay Shankar’s very first delivery at a World Cup — it coming on the fifth ball of Pakistan’s fifth over after Shankar was asked to finish it off for injured teammate Bhuveshwar Kumar.

Pakistan’s next game is at Lord’s against South Africa, which also has three points and only remote prospects of reaching the semifinals.