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Maestro Messi fires Barcelona to win at Spurs

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London :Lionel Messi lifted Barcelona out of their recent slump with a magical display as his side beat Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 in a thrilling Champions League Group B clash.
The Argentine maestro scored two goals to take his Champions League haul to 105, was the instigator in two others and was twice denied by the woodwork as he lit up Wembley Stadium.
Messi, 31, was applauded off by both sets of fans at the end of an absorbing contest that kept Barca at the top of the group and Tottenham in trouble after two defeats.
Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic scored in clinical fashion as Barcelona went in 2-0 ahead at halftime.
But Barcelona needed Messi at his best to repel a tenacious Spurs fightback as Harry Kane and Erik Lamela gave the hosts hope.
Only when Messi struck his second in stoppage-time could Barca coach Ernesto Valverde breathe a little easier.
Barcelona, without a win in their last three La Liga games, were supposed to be vulnerable but on a pitch baring the scars of British heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s fight against Alexander Povetkin they took only two minutes to land a blow straight in the solar plexus.
Tottenham allowed Messi time and space to curl a pass to Jordi Alba on the left and with keeper Hugo Lloris, back from injury, charging out of his goal Alba cut the ball back to Coutinho who drilled home through a gaggle of defenders.
The hosts responded with Kane firing in a shot that did not have enough venom to worry Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Messi opened up Tottenham again in the 28th minute. His floated pass was chested down by Luis Suarez to Coutinho whose volley sliced up in the air before the quick-thinking Brazilian hooked the ball back to Rakitic who rifled a picture-perfect right-foot volley in off the post from 25 yards.
Messi ran riot at the start of the second half, twice teasing the Spurs defence before thudding shots against Lloris’s right-hand post.
Tottenham capitalised on their good fortune and Kane halved the deficit in the 52nd minute with a clinical finish.


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Dhoni could be ‘exposed’ by Yuvraj’s dad after World Cup

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Mumbai: Father of recently retired former Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, Yograj has struck again, and all the signs point toward former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

While the cricketer is busy preparing for India’s next clash against Pakistan on Sunday after rain played spoilsport on the much-hyped India-New Zealand clash, a recent video of Yograj has surfaced where he speaks about an ‘un-named’ player who is responsible for the ‘dirty politics’ in the Indian cricket team.

Yograj further goes on to state that this player is the reason that many players like Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman, and his own son Yuvraj Singh were not included in the Indian team at crucial points in time.

 

While Yograj didn’t reveal much about the player he talks about, he did mention that he’d make the complete revelations after the currently ongoing 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. Based on earlier allegations by Yograj, who was also a former pace bowler, towards then Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, It seems pretty evident that he is speaking of ‘Captain Cool’.

“I don’t want to take his name but he has been playing these dirty politics from the last 15 years. He has made lives difficult for Indian cricketers. I will make this revelation after the World Cup gets over. He will remember this for life that someone said something about him,” said Yograj.

“I don’t want to speak about him at this point in time because I don’t want the team to get affected during the World Cup,” he added.

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FIFA Rankings: India unmoved at 101

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London: The Indian national team remain unmoved in the June 2019 edition of the FIFA Rankings released.

Following India’s exit from the 2019 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Asian Cup, India have had a change in coach with Igor Stimac replacing Stephen Constantine.

Under Stimac, India recently participated in the King’s Cup 2019 in Thailand where a 3-1 defeat against Curacao (79) was backed by a 1-0 win over hosts Thailand (116) in the third-place play-off.

 

GFX India FIFA Rankings June 2019

The Blue Tigers are set to face Tajikistan (120), DPR Korea (122) and Syria (85) in the upcoming Intercontinental Cup 2019 next. India enter the tournament as defending champions.

Meanwhile, in the global standings, Belgium continue to lead at the top having bettered their advantage over second-placed France who also stay put in their position, the same as Brazil and England at third and fourth spots respectively.

2019 UEFA Nations League champions Portugal have displaced Croatia to stand fifth while Spain (7) has gained two places. Germany (11 – tied with Argentina), Italy and Netherlands (both at 14) have also moved two places up.

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Coutinho brace helps Brazil forget Neymar in winning Copa start

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Sao Paulo: A brace from Philippe Coutinho handed hosts Brazil a winning start to the Copa America in a 3-0 victory over Bolivia as the absence of superstar Neymar was quickly forgotten.

Barcelona’s Coutinho scored from the penalty spot early in the second half and added a close-range header three minutes later.

Substitute Everton netted a sensational third five minutes from time to clinch a Group A victory for coach Tite’s tournament favorites in Sao Paul.

 

The build-up to the competition had been dominated by Neymar’s woes, firstly when he was accused of rape by a Brazilian model, and then when he damaged ankle ligaments in a friendly last week, forcing him out of the Copa.

If Brazil’s first-half performance was anything to go by, the Paris Saint-Germain star was sorely missed, but Coutinho’s brace at least silenced the jeers that met the team at half-time.

“Whistles are part of the game, the fans want us to win and play well, so that’s why they jeer,” said the match-winner, whose goals papered over the cracks of an at times disjointed performance.

“We always want their support but we’re focused on the objective, which is the match,” Coutinho told Brazil’s SportTV.

“Whistles or cheers, the important thing is to stay focused and get the win.” Brazil made a bright start and predictably dominated the early possession and chances
But surprisingly their greatest threat came from set-pieces with Coutinho’s corner delivery causing panic in the Bolivian backline.

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