Tag Archives: displeasure

Cristiano Ronaldo scores twice as Real Madrid beat Real Sociedad 4-3

Ronaldo brace seals Real win as Mourinho forced into using Casillas after Adan red

By
Joseph Wilson, Associated Press

PUBLISHED:

19:44 GMT, 6 January 2013

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UPDATED:

20:07 GMT, 6 January 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals in a three-minute span to give 10-man Real Madrid a 4-3 win over Real Sociedad on Sunday, after coach Jose Mourinho's decision to drop goalkeeper Iker Casillas almost backfired for a second straight game.

Despite heavy criticism after last round's loss, Mourinho again started rarely used Antonio Adan, but the keeper was sent off after giving away an early penalty.

Casillas then came on but couldn't stop Xabi Prieto's resulting spot kick to cancel out Karim Benzema's opener, and it was 2-2 at halftime after Prieto leveled again following Sami Khedira's goal.

At the double: Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring one of his two

At the double: Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring one of his two

Ronaldo scored on the break in the 68th before hitting the winner from a free kick in the 70th. But Prieto wasn't done and scored his hat trick in the 76th to keep the wild shootout in doubt until the final whistle.

Madrid's first victory in three games left it in third place, 13 points behind leader Barcelona and four points behind Atletico Madrid before their games later.

The crowd at Santiago Bernabeu stadium voiced its displeasure with Mourinho's continued benching of Casillas by jeering the coach's name when it was announced before the game and cheering for their beloved star.

Seeing red: Referee Ignacio Iglesias sends off Real Madrid's goalkeeper Adan after six minutes

Seeing red: Referee Ignacio Iglesias sends off Real Madrid's goalkeeper Adan after six minutes

Time for a change: Iker Casillas gets ready to replace Adan after his red card

Time for a change: Iker Casillas gets ready to replace Adan after his red card

Madrid's fans, however, couldn't have asked for a better start just two minutes in when Sociedad's unbalanced defense left Benzema unmarked to receive Khedira's pass and slot beyond the stranded Claudio Bravo.

But Madrid's lead didn't last long when Mourinho's choice in goal again proved misguided.

Adan was overwhelmed last round when he conceded three goals in the loss at Malaga, and he was soon shown to be out of his depths at home as well.

The regular backup made a poor pass that Carlos Vela intercepted, and he then charged out and tackled the Mexico forward in his box.

He shoots, he scores: Ronaldo scores for Real

He shoots, he scores: Ronaldo scores for Real

The referee didn't hesitate to show him a direct red card, creating the dramatic situation of Casillas being called off the bench to defend the penalty try.

The crowd chanted 'Iker! Iker!; as the Spanish international jogged on, but there were no heroics as Prieto coolly stroked in the spot kick to equalize in the ninth.

Despite being short a man, Madrid pressed forward and deservedly went in front in the 35th through Khedira's crafty back-heeled flip to redirect a cross between the posts.
Prieto beat Casillas to restore parity at 2-2 five minutes later when he pounced on a rebound inside the area.

Goal time: Karim Benzema celebrates his goal

Goal time: Karim Benzema celebrates his goal

But Ronaldo gave Madrid control of the match when Benzema stole the ball in midfield and played the Portugal winger behind the defense for him to score.

Ronaldo then earned a free kick on the left corner of the area and blasted the ball over goalkeeper Claudio Bravo for his 16th goal in the league this season.

Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain went on as a substitute for his first action since being sidelined for two months with a leg injury and quickly found the woodwork.

Prieto appeared to give Sociedad a late hope when he shot inside the far post, but Sociedad never threatened again after Daniel Estrada was booked for a second time, leaving the visitors with 10 men for the final 10 minutes.

Lewis Hamilton forced to back down in helmet row: McLaren star left red-faced by offensive message

Lewis forced to back down in helmet row: McLaren star left red-faced by offensive message

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UPDATED:

21:13 GMT, 17 November 2012

Lewis Hamilton has been forced into
his fifth embarrassing climbdown of the season after ditching a
specially designed helmet for the USA Grand Prix which bore a highly
offensive message.

During Friday practice, Hamilton wore
a Stars and Stripes crash helmet bearing the initials H.A.M. – short
for 'hard as a m*****f*****'.

However, in practice and qualifying sessions, the offending acronym was nowhere to be seen.

Tough guy: Lewis Hamilton shows off his helmet

Tough guy: Lewis Hamilton shows off his helmet

Hamilton had reverted to the
standard yellow helmet design adopted early in his career to match the
colours of his great racing hero, Ayrton Senna.

A McLaren insider would only say: 'He
has decided to take it off.' But it is safe to assume the Woking team's
hierarchy took an extremely dim view of the latest ill-judged stunt
from their driver, who leaves for Mercedes at the end of the season.

Indeed, Hamilton had already used the
phrase in a tweet before opting to take it down for fear of causing
offence, so his decision to use it in such a public fashion once again
is highly bemusing.

So far this season, Hamilton has had
to apologise tweeting his displeasure at being beaten to pole position
in Belgium by team-mate Jenson Button after being infuriated by the
joint decision to run an older spec rear wing.


Lewis Hamilton of McLaren

Worse was to follow when Hamilton
escaped sanction by his team after posting sensitive telemetry data on
his Twitter site comparing his speed to that of Button's in Spa.

Then there was the infamous rant at
Button for 'unfollowing' him on Twitter, which was swiftly followed by a
public apology after he discovered he had never been followed by his
team-mate.

The latest incident comes hot on the
heels of a warning by the sport's governing body, the FIA , for drivers
to mind their language after both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen
swore on live television during their podium interviews.

Vettel was at it again in the pre-race press conference in Austin, using the F-word, although he thought his microphone was off.

In fairness, the manner in which Vettel and Red Bull have stormed back this season to lead the championship with two races to go is perhaps enough of an excuse to have their rivals turning the air blue.

Hamilton has warned new team Mercedes they must find a way to emulate the stunning achievements of Red Bull.

In position: Sebastian Vettel is close to another championship

In position: Sebastian Vettel is close to another championship

Red Bull stand on the verge of clinching a remarkable third successive constructors' title at the race on the outskirts of Austin, despite this being only their eighth season in the sport.

Meanwhile, Vettel is odds-on to make it three drivers' title in as many years.

Hamilton has been forced to watch their dominance as even the mighty McLaren have been left trailing in their wake.

'Red Bull took five years to be champions, so hopefully we can do it quicker than that,' said Hamilton.

'That is what our target must be. Red Bull have set the target for every team.'

Insisting that he simply has not had the equipment to compete with Vettel on a regular basis, Hamilton added: 'Sebastian's team have done a better job, and he's done the job with the car they've given him.

'I was fortunate to arrive at McLaren when they were competitive. It's just unfortunate that we weren't able to continue that every year.'

Jen Chang bullying Duncan Jenkins claims denied by Liverpool – Charles Sale

Liverpool see red over Chang bullying Duncan Jenkins claims

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UPDATED:

09:27 GMT, 13 October 2012

Liverpool director of communications Jen Chang has denied extraordinary allegations made in an anonymous blog on Friday that he had harassed a supporter because his accurate transfer knowledge had cost the club money.

It was claimed Chang had promised to ban the unnamed fan for life, that crazy supporters would put dogs*** through his letter box and make his life 'a living hell', that the supporter might have to move home and that newspapers would 'ruin' his dad's online business.

These threats were allegedly made by Chang at a meeting with the mystery fan – who has the alter ego Duncan Jenkins – in Manchester following Liverpool displeasure at his fake Twitter account.

Bully claims: Jen Chang, Liverpool's director of communications, denies harassing an unnamed fan after he posted information about the signing of Nuri Sahin (pictured) in his blog

Bully claims: Jen Chang, Liverpool's director of communications, denies harassing an unnamed fan after he posted information about the signing of Nuri Sahin (pictured) in his blog

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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Chang says the club believed the account
was being fed by an Anfield mole, who provided information about the
signings of Fabio Borini and Nuri Sahin.

The blog also accused a paranoid Chang of bombarding 'Duncan Jenkins' with phone calls and telling him that the club investigation into the tweets had diverted money from charitable projects.

The blog states: 'Everything I've written is 100 per cent true. There is not a single shred of embellishment in this account.'

But Chang, who confirms he did meet the self-styled Slam Dunc in Manchester, said: 'I will not be responding to total nonsense.

'The contents of my tweets that are included in the blog bear no relation whatsoever to the false accusations made by a fictional character.

'There was never any investigation by Liverpool over the tweets.'

Meanwhile, Liverpool's owners, the Fenway Sports Group, are keeping to their data-based Moneyball philosophies by appointing Ian Graham, who has a PhD in biological physics from Cardiff University, as their director of research to make the best use of all the statistics that now emerge from matches and training.

Sound of Lineker's gaffe still ringing in Middle East

Gary Lineker's filmed apology for his crass comment during Al Jazeera's Champions League coverage – that Montpellier players Karim Ait-Fana and Younes Belhanda 'ate grass' as they adopted the traditional Muslim prayer position to celebrate a goal – has helped keep the lid on a controversy that is still bubbling in the Middle East.

Sinfield still searching for Man of Steel

Kevin Sinfield, named on Friday as the England rugby league captain after leading Leeds Rhinos to a sixth Super League triumph, is recognised as his sport's marquee player.

He is inspirational enough to be
invited by England rugby union coach Stuart Lancaster to motivate his
squad. Yet remarkably Sinfield has never made the three-strong shortlist
for rugby league's Man of Steel player of the year award.

That is voted for by the players, some of whom can only be envious of Sinfield's standing in the game.

Top dog: Kevin Sinfield is considered to be rugby league's marquee player

Top dog: Kevin Sinfield is considered to be rugby league's marquee player

Sky's cutbacks put speedway and snooker on backburner

Sky Sports' necessary cost-cutting after their increased 1billion spend on Premier League rights has put coverage of speedway and snooker in jeopardy.

And another pointer towards ESPN dismantling their UK TV sports operation after the loss of their PL packages is the departure of station boss Jeroen Oerlemans.

Frankie leaves it late

Frankie Dettori, having enjoyed the comforts of a night's stay at his chosen five-star London hotel courtesy of the Leaders in Racing conference, texted organisers the next day, four hours before his keynote appearance, to pull out of the event because he was feeling unwell.

Kieren Fallon was called in as a late replacement.

Not up to it Frankie Dettori pulled out of the Leaders of Racing conference because he was feeling unwell

Not up to it Frankie Dettori pulled out of the Leaders of Racing conference because he was feeling unwell

Dettori was also due to have hosted the racing industry reception at his own Frankie's Bar & Grill at Stamford Bridge that evening.

Meanwhile, a bigger surprise than a no-show from a sports star was Manchester City's former gaffe-prone chief executive Garry Cook managing to host a session at the Leaders in Football conference without making a clanger.

Mills' plan faces opposition

Sir Keith Mills' plan to set up a British Sports Marketing Bureau to attract sponsorship rights across all sports following the Olympics has opposition from sports best placed to go it alone.

UK Athletics and British Cycling have doubts and it is understood the country's biggest three sports, football, rugby union and cricket, have reservations as well.

Demba Ba latest: Alan Pardew plays down rift rumours

Pardew tries to play down Ba rift rumours after outburst from player's agent

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UPDATED:

18:08 GMT, 19 September 2012

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew insisted there is no rift between himself and striker Demba Ba.

The Senegal international admitted his displeasure at only being named among the substitutes for Monday night's 2-2 Barclays Premier League draw at Everton having responded in fine style by coming off the bench to score both his side's goals.

His agent Alex Gontran caused consternation on Tyneside when he suggested the following day that Ba might have to consider his options if he found himself sitting on the bench too often in the future.

Getting ready: Alan Pardew with defender Mike Williamson ahead of their clash with Maritimo

Getting ready: Alan Pardew with defender Mike Williamson ahead of their clash with Maritimo

Pardew's response in Madeira on Wednesday night was more diplomatic than it might have been, with the initial response behind the scenes one of acute displeasure.

He said: 'That's just people needing to say things they shouldn't say, really, but it doesn't really affect me and Demba. We have got a good relationship.'

Pardew signed Ba last summer and saw him plunder 15 goals before heading off to the African Nations Cup, after which he scored just once more before the end of the campaign.

However, he was asked to play a slightly different role on his return, one of the strands of Gontran's criticism.

That early form led to speculation that a series of suitors might activate the 7.5million release clause in Ba's contract during the summer, although the deadline came and went without incident.

Relief at the player's continued presence was tempered by the belief that he had been touted around for sale, and it would be no surprise if the rumours started once again as the next transfer window approaches.

In the meantime, Pardew has no problem making the tough decisions he needs to to balance the demands of trying to compete on four fronts.

He said: 'The bottom line is you have to get your players to play at their best and sometimes there are different methods of doing that.'

Strong: Pardew says he has a good relationship with Demba Ba

Strong: Pardew says he has a good relationship with Demba Ba

Ba and compatriot Papiss Cisse were conspicuous by their absence when a largely inexperienced 19-man squad jetted out from Tyneside for Thursday night's Europa League clash with Maritimo, although Cisse was withdrawn because of illness.

Shola Ameobi will start on a night when 37-year-old Steve Harper hopes to extend a European career which he admits he thought was over.

The goalkeeper made his first senior appearance for the club in almost 17 months in the away leg of the play-off against Greek side Atromitos last month, and as a result of number one Tim Krul's elbow injury, returned to Barclays Premier League action at Everton.

Ready to go: Steve Harper is set to start

Ready to go: Steve Harper is set to start

Asked if he thought he would ever play
in Europe again, Harper said: 'Last year, probably not. But this year
it's well-documented the conversation I had with the manager.

'He
said we had a lot of games and if I still wanted it, it was there for
me, so at the start of the year there was light at the end of the tunnel
and here I am.'

Despite spending much of his career as Shay Given's deputy, Harper has experienced most of the Magpies' big nights on the continental stage.

He played in a famous 1-0 Champions League victory over Juventus at St James' Park and was in the side which beat Dynamo Kiev 2-1 in the same competition in 2002-03, while he was on the bench the night Craig Bellamy's late winner against Feyenoord in Rotterdam fired the club into the second group stage.

On song: Ba struck twice against Everton

On song: Ba struck twice against Everton

Harper said: 'Obviously, the two Champions League games against Juventus and Dynamo Kiev were special, the Feyenoord night, going to Barcelona, the San Siro. It was fantastic.

'The good thing about this is, I was able to sit and look at the draw and the bonus is we are going to three places we haven't been to before.

'We are going to Madeira, Bordeaux and Bruges. I was looking at the draw and looking at Partizan Belgrade thinking, “I've been there twice, can we please go somewhere else” Not that there's anything wrong with Belgrade, but you just want to go out and experience new places.

'It's fantastic to come to Maritimo and I'll hopefully get to Bordeaux and Bruges as well.'

Fernando Torres was summer target for Liverpool reunion

EXCLUSIVE: Torres feeling blue again ahead of Juve clash… as it emerges Liverpool considered shock summer reunion

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UPDATED:

06:34 GMT, 18 September 2012

After storming down the tunnel at Loftus Road on Saturday, Fernando Torres found little to smile about at Chelsea's training ground on Monday.

The 50million striker is retreating into his shell again, making his displeasure known after he was substituted nine minutes from time against QPR.

Torres expects to start against Juventus on Wednesday night as Chelsea begin the defence of the Champions League, but his confusing body language is cause for concern.

Not again: Fernando Torres was unable to grab a goal against QPR on Saturday

Not again: Fernando Torres was unable to grab a goal against QPR on Saturday

At times he has hankered after a return to Liverpool, the club who converted him from lethal finisher to world-class forward after his move from Atletico Madrid in 2007.

Had Damien Comolli, Liverpool's former director of footballer strategy, got his way it could easily have happened after he explored the extraordinary possibility of re-signing the striker.

In February this year, Comolli was stunned when a prominent member of the Liverpool dressing room knocked on the door to his office and pleaded with him to investigate the proposition.

Torres had been sold by Liverpool a year earlier, taking a pay cut to sign for Chelsea on a five-year deal, but had struggled to settle into his rhythm.

Carlo Ancelotti, the manager when Torres arrived, had been fired after Chelsea's failure to defend the Premier League or win the European Cup.

Last season, between October 19 and March 18, the striker went five months – or 25 hours and 40 minutes – without scoring.

Audacious: Damien Comolli considered swooping for Fernando Torres to re-sign him for Liverpool

Audacious: Damien Comolli considered swooping for Fernando Torres to re-sign him for Liverpool

Audacious: Damien Comolli considered swooping for Fernando Torres to re-sign him for Liverpool

Andre Villas-Boas, sacked during the barren run, even moved Juan Mata's peg in the Chelsea dressing room to help the Spanish pair settle in.

Nothing appeared to click. At Liverpool, Comolli considered whether to put forward the unthinkable when he flew to Florida to discuss the summer transfer targets with Liverpool's owners John W Henry and Tom Werner.

Liverpool's players were used to Torres' ways, ducking out of social nights and rounds of golf with his team-mates and Torres had been a cult figure at Anfield, scoring 65 goals in 102 appearances in the Barclays Premier League.

It was a mouth-watering prospect for Comolli as he sifted through the statistics.

The 28-year-old scored 81 goals on Merseyside, with 56 of them resulting from a defence-splitting pass.

The Liverpool way suited the Spain striker and at least one player in that dressing room said Luis Suarez would benefit if they could be paired together.

The Uruguayan had been signed in January 2011 as a second striker and Comolli knew he would not be able to match his incredible goalscoring ratio in the Dutch Eredivisie with Ajax.

Summer target: Chelsea were linked with a move for Falcao (right) through the summer

Summer target: Chelsea were linked with a move for Falcao (right) through the summer

Comolli worked on his own rule of thumb that, with the exception of Ruud van Nistelrooy, strikers imported from Holland only score around a third of the goals in the Premier League.

Suarez scored 81 times in 110 appearances at Ajax; he has 17 in 48 appearances in the Premier League.

Dirk Kuyt scored 71 times in 98 appearances for Feyenoord; at Anfield, he scored 51 goals in 208 appearances.

So Comolli was excited about the prospect of re-signing Torres, but it was a transfer fraught with difficulties.

He expected the fee to be prohibitive and that Roman Abramovich would be an unwilling seller.

Comolli did not get the chance to pursue it, after he was fired without warning by Werner and Henry on April 12 this year, two days before the FA Cup semi-final with Everton.

Next up: Chelsea will take on Juventus on Wednesday in the Champions League

Next up: Chelsea will take on Juventus on Wednesday in the Champions League

Two weeks later, Torres scored against Barcelona in injury time of the Champions League semi-final to put Chelsea through to face Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.

After winning the Champions League final, Torres claimed: 'I have been through the worst moments of my career during the season.

'I felt they treated me in a way I was not expecting.'

Despite his side being linked with Atletico striker Falcao, this term Torres is the focal point of Chelsea's attack, the main striker in a system designed specifically for his assets.

He has scored twice in the Premier League this season, but Roberto Di Matteo's system has some mild teething problems.

Wednesday evening, against a resurgent Juventus, is the right time to administer some painkillers.

Roy Hodgson disappointed after Jermain Defoe goal disallowed

Hodgson furious at ref Cakir after Gerrard's sees red and Defoe has goal chalked off

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UPDATED:

23:12 GMT, 11 September 2012

Roy Hodgson was aggrieved and relieved on Tuesday after a late Frank Lampard penalty saved England from a World Cup qualifying defeat by Ukraine.

England were trailing to a first-half screamer from Ukraine's Yevhen Konoplianka with three minutes to go and heading towards a loss that would have left them facing an uphill struggle to reach the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as winners of Group H.

But Hodgson's team were handed a lifeline in the dying minutes as substitute Danny Welbeck won them a penalty.

Pointing the finger: Roy Hodgson shows his displeasure at referee Cakir after the final whistle

Pointing the finger: Roy Hodgson shows his displeasure at referee Cakir after the final whistle

Lampard scored the spot-kick to save his side from their first World Cup qualifying defeat at Wembley for 12 years.

England were annoyed that a
first-half Jermain Defoe goal was ruled out for a foul with the game at
0-0 and Hodgson went straight to the referee's room to protest after the
full-time whistle.

'I don't really know why Jermain's goal was disallowed as we couldn't see a foul on the bench,' said Hodgson.

Nevertheless, the England camp still
could not hide their relief at salvaging a point, even if a late sending
off for Steven Gerrard left a sour taste.

Hodgson said: 'I suppose you are
always relieved when you are one down late on. I am not sure I will
accept it was a poor performance.

Sent off: Steven Gerrard hands the armband to Lampard after his dismissal

Sent off: Steven Gerrard hands the armband to Lampard after his dismissal

'We went a goal down to a wonder
strike and you are always going to be up against it. But we kept going
and kept probing and deserved our equaliser.

'The post was made to work a few
times and we created some dangerous moments. I don't think there were
many bad fouls. There were too many yellow cards and Steven was unlucky.
He didn't deserve two yellow cards.'

England will be without Gerrard when
they face San Marino in their next qualifier in October but the captain
will be back for the tougher-looking meeting with Poland that follows.

Speaking about his penalty, Lampard
said: 'It's a bit nerveracking to take a penalty near end of the game,
so I was happy to see it go in the back of the net.

'No-one knows why Jermain's goal was
disallowed. We thought it was a free-kick and that the ref brought it
back too early. It wasn't a foul at all, so we are very disappointed.
Before the game, we wanted to win, but in the circumstances, after
having a goal disallowed, it showed great character to get a point.

Clinical: Frank Lampard dispatched his second penalty in as many England games to seal the points

Clinical: Frank Lampard dispatched his second penalty in as many England games to seal the points

'I don't think you can pin it all on
anxiety. It is a long group and this was not an easy game, so it was
good to get a point.'

Ukraine coach Oleh Blokhin was not his usual controversial self after the game but did feel that his team could have won.

He said: 'I can't imagine a better
start, we created lots of problems for England and we had really good
chances, particularly in the beginning.'

Montenegro took over top spot in Group H on goal difference following their 6-0 away thrashing of whipping boys San Marino.

Poland are third in the table – also with four points – following their 2-0 home win over Moldova.

Captain Jakub Blaszczykowski led Poland from the front, scoring one goal and setting up the other.

Blaszczykowski put the home team
ahead with a penalty in the 33rd minute after Lukasz Piszczek was
brought down by midfielder Arthur Patras.

Jakub Wawrzyniak then made the game safe after heading in a cross from the skipper.

The Poles are level with England on
points and coach Waldemar Fornalik said: 'We will have to get stronger
for the England match.'

It"s all tweet and sour for embarrassed Hamilton after Button eclipse

It's all tweet and sour for embarrassed Hamilton after Button eclipse

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 1 September 2012

Lewis Hamilton was forced into an embarrassing climb-down after taking to Twitter to vent his displeasure at being eclipsed by his team-mate Jenson Button, who produced a stunning qualifying display here to register his first pole for McLaren.

Hamilton, by contrast, had to be content with eighth, although he was promoted to seventh thanks to a five-place grid penalty for Mark Webber, after Red Bull were forced to replace his gearbox.

Climbdown: Lewis Hamilton made a bit of a twit of himself

Climbdown: Lewis Hamilton made a bit of a twit of himself

Blaming the decision to run an old spec rear wing for his lack of pace, Hamilton tweeted: 'Damn, WT F!! Jenson has the new rear wing on, I have the old. We voted to change, didn't work out. I lose 0.4 tenths just on the straight.'

Seconds later he added: 'Nothing I could do. Now it's about picking up every point I can from there. Jenson should win easy with that speed.'

Tweet surrender: Hamilton's tweets

Tweet surrender: Hamilton's tweets

Hamilton then tweeted that his use of the acronym 'WT F' had been a joke, claiming it was another example of Ali G style humour.

Given that the last time he tried a similar gag was his infamous, 'Maybe it is because I am black' gaff at the Monaco Grand Prix last year, Hamilton should have known better.

The fact his tweets were swiftly deleted suggested that someone at McLaren did not find the matter amusing, while they bore little resemblance to the team press release, in which Hamilton claimed the decision to run the old wing had been 'a collective choice'.

Pole star: Jenson Button

Pole star: Jenson Button

Speaking later alongside Button and McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, Hamilton claimed the disappearance of the tweets had been prompted by his desire to 'rephrase some things I said'.

Hamilton then professed his desire to do everything he can in today's Belgian Grand Prix to help his team-mate to victory.

The irony is that all the pre-race talk had been about Button becoming a support act to Hamilton, who he trails by 41 points.

While Hamilton was busy with Twitter, Button was sat in the top three press conference expressing his delight at finally hooking things up on a Saturday qualifying. 'This is close to winning a grand prix for me, it has been so long,' said Button who is competing in his 50th race for McLaren and whose last pole came in 2009 at the Monaco Grand Prix.

'Sundays have been good over the last few years, but Saturdays have not gone perfectly. I have a style which makes it difficult to make the car work in qualifying but, when it does, I get pole.'

Kamui Kobayashi of Sauber was second, but Pastor Maldonado of Williams was demoted from third to sixth for blocking Force India's Nico Hulkenberg.

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel will start 11th, while Michael Schumacher was 13th in his 300th grand prix.

Chelsea pursuit of Victor Moses shows rules need changing, say Wigan

Change the rules! Martinez blasts transfer window chaos after Chelsea's pursuit of Moses

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UPDATED:

11:17 GMT, 17 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

The Victor Moses transfer saga has led Wigan manager Roberto Martinez to call for the transfer window to only be open during the off-season.

Lactics chairman Dave Whelan voiced his displeasure at Chelsea's interest in his 21-year-old forward, accusing the Champions League winners of 'messing about' in their pursuit of him by failing to meet his asking price of 10million.

Until such a valuation is met, Whelan will not entertain allowing Moses to leave the DW Stadium, leaving Martinez with a delicate matter on his hands.

Impasse: Victor Moses has been chased by Chelsea throughout the summer

Impasse: Victor Moses has been chased by Chelsea throughout the summer

With over two weeks to go until the transfer window closes, he knows it could only take one phone call to prise one of his key assets away from him and, as a result, he would like to see all business wrapped up before the season begins.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's campaign opener which – by a twist of fate – is against Chelsea, he said: 'I don't like it, I have expressed many times that I don't agree with the transfer window going on while there are official games.

'I have always said that. I do feel there is a need for a transfer window, it is beneficial, but I don't think it helps when it is open when you are playing official games.

'It happens everywhere, it gives you
uncertainty and I don't think that helps the game. The players are
footballers but they are human beings.'

Fury: Roberto Martinez wants the transfer window to be changed

Fury: Roberto Martinez wants the transfer window to be changed

Moses is in Martinez's squad for the Chelsea game, despite the Spaniard knowing a performance akin to the ones he produced in the second half of last season could be the arm-twister the London club need to meet Whelan's demands.

He has no qualms with picking the player, though, having told him to be proud of Chelsea's interest.

'For Victor it's been an exciting summer,' he said. 'I spoke with him and told him he should be very proud, as a footballer at 21, to get the interest he has had. It's something to be happy and extremely proud about and is a football compliment.

'But, if you don't meet a valuation, it becomes paper talk and speculation. He is a young man and he knows what he did from December to the end of the season was a great level of performance.

'He can take it on to the next level and I am very excited to have Victor at Wigan, and I hope we can keep him for many years to come. Victor is fit and available for the squad and that's what matters.'

FC Toronto 1 Liverpool 1: Adam Morgan rescues Reds

FC Toronto 1 Liverpool 1: Reds youngster Morgan rescues Rodgers in first game

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UPDATED:

23:05 GMT, 21 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Brendan Rodgers first game in charge of Liverpool ended in stalemate as a goal from England youth striker Adam Morgan rescued a draw here in Toronto.

Magnificently billed as a decider in the World Football Challenge, the grandiose title did not reflect the status of the game and Rodgers made no secret that his first 90 minutes in charge was simply a fact-finding mission.

Still, no manager enjoys losing and it need a poacher’s goal from Morgan, an Academy graduate who has enjoyed a prolific strike rate at age-group levels, to cancel out Quincy Amarikwa’s opener and ensure that Rodgers’ big day was not spoiled.

My ball: Liverpool's Suso, left, skips past Toronto FC's Matt Stinson and Aaron Maund

My ball: Liverpool's Suso, left, skips past Toronto FC's Matt Stinson and Aaron Maund

MATCH FACTS

Liverpool (first half 4-3-3): Jones: Wisdom, Sama, Carragher, Enrique: Aquilani, Spearing, Adam: Ibe, Ecclestone, Pacheco.

Liverpool (second half 4-3-3): Gulacsi: Flanagan, Skrtel, Wilson, Robinson: Adorjan (Lucas 74mins), Shelvey, Suso: Cole, Morgan, Sterling.

Subs: Lucas, Smith, Ward, McLaughlin

Goal: Morgan (69)

The first half, in terms of action, was instantly forgettable. Eager to give a good account of themselves, Toronto were all hustle and bustle, keeping their shape and harrying their more exalted opponents whenever they lost possession.

Sitting on Liverpool’s bench with his arms casually resting behind him, Rodgers was simply happy to soak up the action that was unfolding in front of him; only rarely did he feel compelled to leap from his pew to exhort some orders or bark his displeasure when a move broke down.

Quite frankly, the result did not matter a great deal. What Rodgers was most concerned about was seeing how players such as Charlie Adam and Alberto Aquilani fitted into his system or how young talents like Jordan Ibe, Andre Wisdom and Dani Pacheco would fare.

Of all the midfielders Liverpool possess, it would seem that Adam’s position is vulnerable and few would dispute that he will struggle to hold down a regular spot going forward. Though he showed some nice passes, more will be required in the coming weeks to impress Rodgers.

Midfield battle: Charle Adam is tackled by Toronto FC's Doniel Henry

Midfield battle: Charle Adam is tackled by Toronto FC's Doniel Henry

For Aquilani – who conjured up Liverpool’s first shot on target after 44 minutes – there is also an element of doubt about whether he will be around for when Barclays Premier League business resumes and if an offer were to arrive from Italy, Liverpool would certainly consider it.

Yet the feeling persists that there is a top class player waiting to come out of Aquilani. He looks the part; he can pass and score goals when in the mood and has the elegance to slot in to the stylish way Rodgers wants to play. Seeing how he progresses these next few weeks will be intriguing.

A sentiment, of course, which applies to Liverpool as a collective. They created the best chances of the opening 45 minutes but the closest they came to poking their noses in front was a blocked shot from Pachecho and a header from Nathan Ecclestone, which sailed wide.

First one out of the way: Brendan Rodgers applauds the fans as he walks off

First one out of the way: Brendan Rodgers applauds the fans as he walks off

Rodgers made wholesale changes after the break – he fielded a completely new and largely youthful 11, with Joe Cole and Martin Skrtel the only recognised ‘seniors’ – but shuffling the pack did not bring about instant dividends.

In fact, the opposite was true. Toronto took the lead after 58 minutes when Amarikwa pounced after goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi has failed to hold on to a stinging drive from Sergio Camargo. As Amarikwa ostentatiously celebrated, a shake of the head from Rodgers confirmed it was a poor goal to concede.

Parity, however, was restored within 10 minutes. Raheem Sterling, the young winger for whom Liverpool have such high hopes, darted into the area and his cross-cum-shot was gobbled up by the 18-year-old Morgan from close range.

No spare seats: Liverpool and Toronto play in the World Football Challenge at the Rogers Centre

No spare seats: Liverpool and Toronto play in the World Football Challenge at the Rogers Centre

With obtaining fitness the overriding priority, Rodgers took the opportunity to give Brazilian midfielder Lucas his first run out since last November and the Brazilian was given a warm ovation from the crowd. His introduction was significant as he will play a big role for Rodgers.

What Lucas could not do, however, was inspire a winning goal. The game petered out tamely and now it is on to Boston for Rodgers and Company, where they face AS Roma on Wednesday night before finishing their tour in Baltimore next Saturday against Tottenham.

Andrew Strauss again fails to silence his critics as pressure mounts on England skipper

Strauss again fails to silence his critics as pressure mounts on England skipper

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UPDATED:

19:22 GMT, 21 April 2012

Andrew Strauss says he hates his
players having to come out and defend him over his position in the
England side and his right to lead it.

After his second failure in two LV
Championship innings against Durham at Lord's yesterday, he might be in
for a little more displeasure yet.

No one is seriously saying that
Strauss, winner of Ashes series at home and away and driving force
behind the transformation that culminated in England reaching the No1
world ranking, will not be back here on May 17 shaking hands with his
West Indies counterpart Darren Sammy.

Bad run of form: Andrew Strauss is bowled by Graham Onions

Bad run of form: Andrew Strauss is bowled by Graham Onions

It is just that, after the winter he has suffered with the bat, everyone is concerned that he finds the form that would render any assertion to the contrary as absurd as he and England, and the vast majority of supporters and observers, believe it should be.

His duck on the opening day of his season was bad enough. But facing just two balls from Graham Onions before hearing the rattle behind him were nothing by which to judge his current state.

His effort made even more uncomfortable viewing, however, as his six runs took 25 balls, of which only a handful located any part of the bat and only a couple the middle of it.

Tearing it up: Graham Onions in action

Tearing it up: Graham Onions in action

His first contact with the ball steered it towards Callum Thorp in the gully and had the Durham man held it Strauss would be starting a fortnight's gap in Midddlesex' fixture list with a pair to his name.

Onions, who finished with six for 45 as Middlesex's first innings collapsed, demonstrated how lucky England are to have him in the wings. But Strauss, by his own admission, needs runs before the Test summer starts.

Weight of the world: Andrew Strauss has plenty on his mind

Weight of the world: Andrew Strauss has plenty on his mind

With no cricket between now and May 3 for him to play and a maximum of four more innings every knock that goes by without them from now on will only serve to turn largely imagined pressure into the real thing.

Elsewhere, while Kevin Pietersen's 64-ball IPL century may have been what 'dreams are made of', Ravi Bopara will be hoping that his four and three-quarter hour 117 against Yorkshire is the beginning of the end of his England nightmare.

Supporters of the Essex batting all-rounder will not need reminding nearly five years have passed since his Test debut, against Sri Lanka in Kandy, nor that he has played a total of just 12 Tests.

This time last year, despite opting for the opportunity to press his claims with early season Championship runs ahead of a lucrative IPL contract, the place in England's Test XI vacated by Paul Collingwood went instead to Eoin Morgan, the Middlesex left-hander who had done the exact opposite.

But after missing the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle with a side strain, his unbeaten 117 out of Essex's 199, with 18 fours, should have settled the issue, especially with Morgan, out of favour with England after his poor series against Pakistan in the UAE, marooned in India with a Kolkata Knight Riders franchise who have thus far chosen not to pick him.

Not only did Bopara produce the runs that England are looking for, the fact that he carried his bat from 24 for 2 in response to Yorkshire's 246 demonstrated the kind of application they have waited so long to see.