Aguero to the rescue against valiant Bristol City

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero scores his sides second goal. (AP)
Updated 10 January 2018

Aguero to the rescue against valiant Bristol City

Manchester, United Kingdom: A goal in stoppage time by Sergio Aguero saved Manchester City’s blushes as it was enough to secure a 2-1 win over second-tier Bristol City in their League Cup semifinal first leg clash on Tuesday.
The Argentinian’s 19th goal of the season and a fine effort by Belgian international Kevin De Bruyne canceled out Bobby Reid’s first-half penalty to give the hosts a club record-equalling 16th successive home win.
However Bristol City, this season’s giantkillers who have eliminated four Premier League sides including holders Manchester United, gave their 8,000 traveling fans — the highest away attendance at the Etihad Stadum in its 15-year history — much to cheer.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola sportingly congratulated his Bristol City counterpart Lee Johnson at the end.
“We created a lot of chances and that’s why we win in the end, but today we knew we are not going to finish our job — that will have to happen away in Bristol when we travel there,” the Spaniard told the BBC.
“They were really good, so we tried so hard, all the players tried and we’re really happy,” added the 46-year-old, who has lost five of his last six semifinals including City’s last domestic loss to Arsenal in last season’s FA Cup.
Johnson, who last season received a death threat and had to move house as a result after Bristol City lost eight matches in a row, said he was proud of his players.
“They can’t be disappointed as we are still in the tie,” he told Sky Sports.
“They have shown the world we are good footballers.”
Manchester City went close to breaking the deadlock on the quarter-hour mark when a flowing move concluded with Bernardo Silva’s goal-bound shot taking a deflection off a Bristol City defender.
The visitors, though, were not in the least intimidated and went close themselves immediately afterwards, Claudio Bravo saving Joe Bryan’s long-range shot.
Bristol City — appearing in their first major semifinal in 29 years — were more than holding their own but a poor clearance saw De Bruyne force a good one-handed save from Frank Fielding as the hosts pressed for the opener.
The hosts turned the screw as the half progressed forcing a series of corners but without the end reward.
However, it was Manchester City who cracked in the 43rd minute as the shaky Eliaquim Mangala was dispossessed and John Stones made a rash challenge on Reid to concede a penalty.
Reid dusted himself off and although Bravo guessed the right way and got his fingers to the penalty, he was unable to prevent it going into the net for the scorer’s 14th goal of the season.
Aden Flint ensured the Championship side went into the break 1-0 up when he produced a superb header to clear over his own bar as Raheem Sterling’s shot looked destined to bring the sides level.
However, there was nothing the visitors could do about the equalizer in the 55th minute.
De Bruyne surged forward playing it to Sterling who laid it back to him and the Belgian rifled the ball into the net to provoke a sigh of relief from players and home fans alike.
Guardiola decided to send on his only out-and-out striker Aguero for Yaya Toure with 20 minutes remaining and the club’s record goalscorer did not disappoint, firing in the winner for a barely deserved victory.


NBA star Lebron James: Free speech comes with a cost in Morey-China row

Updated 15 October 2019

NBA star Lebron James: Free speech comes with a cost in Morey-China row

  • ‘Yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that too’
  • NBA telecasts have been pulled from Chinese television in the aftermath of the dispute

LOS ANGELES: Basketball player LeBron James waded into the dispute between the NBA and China on Monday, saying he believes Daryl Morey went too far when he tried to exercise his right to free speech.
The Los Angeles Lakers star criticized the Houston Rockets GM, saying he was “misinformed” and needed to be educated after Morey tweeted his support for the Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters.
“I don’t want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey. But I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand and he spoke,” James said before the Lakers exhibition contest Monday against the Golden State Warriors.
“So many people could have been harmed not only financially but physically, emotionally and spiritually, so just be careful with what we tweet, and we say, and we do.
“Yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that too.”
James’s Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets were thrust into the controversy when the clubs arrived in China last week to play two exhibition games on October 10 and October 12 amidst turmoil after Morey tweeted, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.”
Morey’s tweet was in support of the protesters fighting a move by China that would allow extraditions from Hong Kong to mainland China. Human rights has long been an issue in China well before the former British colony returned to mainland control in 1997.
Hong Kong has been rocked since June by protests that were ignited by a now-scrapped plan to officially allow extraditions but snowballed into a movement calling for more democratic freedoms and police accountability.
James said Morey was thinking of himself when he made his comment.
“There are ramifications for the negative that can happen when not thinking about others, when you are only thinking about yourself,” he said.
James also has a lifetime endorsement deal worth tens of millions with Nike, which does big business in China. James has made about a dozen trips to China with Nike.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver stressed last week that he regrets Chinese NBA fans are upset but would not apologize for Morey’s tweet.
“I don’t come here, either as the commissioner of the NBA or as an American, to tell others how they should run their governments,” Silver said.
“We’re not apologizing for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression.”
As for having NBA telecasts pulled from Chinese television, Silver said, “It’s unfortunate, but if that’s the consequences of us adhering to our values, we still feel it’s critically important we adhere to those values.”