Tag Archives: relief

Neil Warnock won"t be missed by referees – GRAHAM POLL

Bully Warnock behaved like a spoilt kid in a supermarket… I'm glad he's gone

By
Graham Poll

PUBLISHED:

21:41 GMT, 4 April 2013

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 4 April 2013

Top-flight referees up and down the country will be breathing a sigh of relief at the prospect of Neil Warnock delivering on his threat to retire from management.

Warnock has been the bane of referees’ lives; almost imploding on the touchline when a throw-in went against his team and never failing to blame the official whenever his team lost.

He used to try to justify these attacks by claiming he was a qualified referee. Well, taking the exam is one thing but unless you are officiating matches regularly, you are not a referee.

Firebrand: Neil Warnock (right) protests his dismissal to Graham Poll (centre) in 2006

Firebrand: Neil Warnock (right) protests his dismissal to Graham Poll (centre) in 2006

Firebrand: Neil Warnock (right) protests his dismissal to Graham Poll (centre) in 2006

Bully: Sportsmail's Poll beileves Warnock at times behaved like a spoilt child

Bully: Sportsmail's Poll beileves Warnock at times behaved like a spoilt child

Of course, Warnock and I have
history. He was the manager at Old Trafford when his Sheffield United
side lost 1-0 to Arsenal in an FA Cup semi-final in April 2003.

According to Warnock, that defeat was
my fault, of course. I was also the referee who dismissed Warnock at
Bramall Lane in 2006 when the Blades were playing Leeds United.

Warnock should have been celebrating
his team winning promotion, which would allow him his first opportunity
to try his methods at the top level; where, of course, he has never
succeeded.

Instead, after a tackle from a Leeds
player, I heard him shout out to one of his team: ‘Next time break his
legs,’ referring to Gary Kelly.

I asked him to leave the technical
area, and he was suspended from the touchline for three games, two of
which would be his first in the Barclays Premier League.

Regular: Warnock would remonstrate with officials when things went against him. Here, as QPR manager during their match against Middlesbrough in 2010

Regular: Warnock would remonstrate with officials when things went against him. Here, as QPR manager during their match against Middlesbrough in 2010

Seriously An as Sheffield United manager after a match against Reading in 2005

Seriously An as Sheffield United manager after a match against Reading in 2005

A friend of mine is a Leeds fan and
went up to Elland Road for the game against Millwall. He and his son
could only laugh at Warnock’s antics that day.

And this is the point.
Warnock became a pitied parody of his former self — referees appeared to
allow his tantrums to go unchecked as they became less and less
effective.

The once-feared bully, who
successfully led teams to play-off glories, had become more like a badly
behaved child in a supermarket. Observers walked past shaking their
heads in disbelief at the sad spectacle.

It has become patently clear in his
later career that the aggressive and outdated approach to management
simply didn’t work in the top flight. Indeed, his powers seem to have
been on the wane for some time, with Leeds’ mid-table position only
serving to disguise the precarious position of the club from which he
has walked away.

Spoilt: Poll is glad Warnock's antics will not be a part of the game any longer

Spoilt: Poll is glad Warnock's antics will not be a part of the game any longer

Referees, fans and — most importantly — footballers just didn’t react in the same way to his smart-alec persona.

Back in April 2003 after that
semi-final defeat, Warnock came into my dressing room to have his
customary complaint; he came into referees’ rooms after virtually every
game.

He ended his tirade by stating to
fourth official Alan Wiley and me that he looked forward to retirement
as he would no longer have to put up with officials like us.

The feeling was mutual, but both of
us retired well before our sell-by date expired. I wonder if, when
reflecting on what has been a successful managerial career, Warnock will
be able to say the same.

Roberto Mancini demands victory at Aston Villa

Defeat at Villa would be no laughing matter for Man City, warns Mancini

By
Andy Hampson, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

10:52 GMT, 2 March 2013

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UPDATED:

12:02 GMT, 2 March 2013

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has told his players their impressive win over Chelsea counts for nothing if they fail to beat struggling Aston Villa on Monday.

The champions have responded well since a dismal defeat at Southampton all but ended their hopes of retaining their Barclays Premier League crown last month.

City thrashed Leeds in the FA Cup and deservedly overcame then third-placed Chelsea 2-0 but leaders Manchester United remain in complete control of title race.

Is that you, Joe Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart sports some fancy dress for Comic Relief

Is that you, Joe Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart sports some fancy dress for Comic Relief

In on it: Midfielder Gareth Barry strikes a pose for the cameras

In on it: Midfielder Gareth Barry strikes a pose for the cameras

Support: Jack Rodwell and his team-mates are promoting Red Nose Day by sporting Eighties wigs

Support: Jack Rodwell and his team-mates are promoting Red Nose Day by sporting Eighties wigs

Nice do: Right back Pablo Zabaleta shows off his three noses and a suspect haircut

Nice do: Right back Pablo Zabaleta shows off his three noses and a suspect haircut

Mancini's men next travel to struggling Villa knowing any they cannot afford to let the intensity drop.
The Italian said: 'For us, it will be important. If we don't beat Aston Villa, it is like we didn't do anything against Chelsea.

'For this reason it is important to beat Aston Villa and afterwards continue to go.

'The season is not finished. It is impossible we can think it is finished now.

'There are 11 games to the finish. It is our job to play all the games 100 per cent and try to win always.'

City and Mancini, of course, have experience of chasing apparent lost causes having memorably fought back to pip United to the title on goal difference last season.

Mancini said: 'I was not strong in mathematics in school, but with 11 games to play – 33 points – everything is possible.

'Last time we won the title from six games to go, eight points (behind). I think everything is possible.'

City captain Vincent Kompany seems unlikely to return to action at Villa Park.

The Belgium defender has missed five games since suffering a calf injury in the FA Cup fourth-round win at Stoke just over a month ago.

It had been hoped the 26-year-old could return against Chelsea but the problem has lasted longer than expected and Kompany has also had trouble in his opposite calf.

Mancini has not yet ruled him out for Monday but the cup quarter-final against Barnsley next week is now looking a more realistic comeback target.

One giant leap: Hart puts in some work in training earlier this week

One giant leap: Hart puts in some work in training earlier this week

Weight of expectation: Joleon Lescott powers through his session at the Carrington gym

Weight of expectation: Joleon Lescott powers through his session at the Carrington gym

Mancini said: 'Vinny is getting better in this moment.

'We hope we can recover him for the next game. We will try for Aston Villa for Monday but it is difficult because he did not train with the team, he trained with the physio.

'We hope for the FA Cup. The calf is a difficult injury because you think you are okay and then you have a problem. The calf is a strange injury.'

Former Villa midfielder Gareth Barry should be fit to face his old team after two games out with an ankle injury.

Mancini said: 'He has trained with the team the last two days and I think he will be ready.'

Meanwhile, the City players pitched in to do their bit for Comic Relief. Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Jack Rodwell and Barry donned suspect Eighties haircuts and put on red noses to show their support for the cause.

Carlton Cole and Darron Gibson have red cards overturned

The ref was wrong… TWICE! Cole and Gibson have harsh red cards from Taylor overturned on appeal by FA

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UPDATED:

15:39 GMT, 27 December 2012

Carlton Cole and Darron Gibson will be available for their clubs this weekend after both today had red cards rescinded by the FA.

Each player had been sent off by Anthony Taylor in similar circumstances during Everton’s victory at Upton Park last Saturday but David Moyes and Sam Allardyce were instantly united in the opinion that the decisions were wrong.

It is believed to be the first time in English history that a referee has had two of his red cards from the same game wiped out.

Taylor is now set to return in Sunday's live TV match between QPR and Liverpool.

Harsh: Carlton Cole was sent off for raising his boot in a challenge

Harsh: Carlton Cole was sent off for raising his boot in a challenge

Cole and Gibson faced the prospect of
each missing three matches after being dismissed for violent conduct for
high challenges against Leighton Baines and Mark Noble respectively.

But West Ham and Everton will breathe a
huge sigh of relief after the FA ruled in favour of the players and
judged Taylor, who was absent from Premier League Boxing Day fixtures,
to have acted incorrectly.

Lunge: Darron Gibson was then dismissed for a similar offence

Lunge: Darron Gibson was then dismissed for a similar offence

Cole, who has been in superb form for
West Ham in the absence of injured Andy Carroll, will now travel with
the squad to Reading on Saturday, while Gibson, who is key to Everton’s
midfield, will be free to play at home to Chelsea on Sunday.

Cole scored the opener against Everton
but was then red carded with the scores at 1-1. Allardyce felt the
dismissal changed the game as the hosts lost 2-1. Gibson was sent off in
injury time for a near identical foul.

Blame game: Referee Anthony Taylor was the centre of attention after his decisions which were criticised by both managers

Blame game: Referee Anthony Taylor was the centre of attention after his decisions which were criticised by both managers

Moyes said after the match: ‘I didn't
think either were red cards and we'll appeal. I'll have a word with Sam
about appealing as well. I thought it was a case of two players honestly
going for the ball.’

Allardyce added: ‘It had a massive
effect but we will appeal immediately. In Carlton's case you are looking
at a player who has put his foot up and you say “Has he meant to do it
Has he done it on purpose” I didn't think Gibson's was a red card
either.’

An FA Statement read: 'The FA can confirm that red cards shown to both Carlton Cole and Darron Gibson have been rescinded.

'Their three match suspensions have been withdrawn immediately and written reasons will be provided at a later date.'

Disgusted: Sam Allardyce and David Moyes were appalled by the decisions

Disgusted: Sam Allardyce and David Moyes were appalled by the decisions

Allardyce welcomed the decision and said justice had been done.
'I am delighted that we have probably got a bit of justice as it deserved to be turned around,' he said.

'There was never any doubt in my mind. While you can say the foot was high, it was a genuine attempt and Carlton kept his eye on the ball. It's a really good outcome for us.

'The way he is playing at the moment, he would have been a massive loss for us. He's been outstandnig up front for us since Andy Carroll got injured and we didn't want to miss a player of so much importance for these three very important games – Reading away, Norwich City at home and a big FA Cup third-round tie with Manchester United.

'To have him back and available is a big boost for us.'

Royal Trophy 2012: Ryo Ishikawa could make the difference in Brunei

Japan's superstar Ishikawa could be the difference in Asia's bid to topple Europe in Royal Trophy

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UPDATED:

15:48 GMT, 15 December 2012

The first thing that set Ryo Ishikawa apart from the other golfers at the Royal Trophy, Ryder Cup stars and all, came during the tournament’s opening ceremony.

Each player was introduced to polite and respectful applause. Then came Ryo, and suddenly the room was not filled with dignitaries and journalists but squealing teenagers.

Ishikawa attracts a fanatical following from his homeland of Japan wherever he plays across the globe. Whenever he takes to the course there are as many photographers as paying spectators following his every move.

Eyes on the prize: Ishikawa struck two outstanding shots in the fourballs

Eyes on the prize: Ishikawa struck two outstanding shots in the fourballs

Young, squeaky clean, good looking but entirely unthreatening… as a colleague here in Brunei put it, Ishikawa could well be described as the Justin Bieber of golf.

But, like when asking anyone over the age of 16 what their favourite Bieber song is, mention Ishikawa and most golf fans’ faces will turn blank.

To be fair to Ryo, his music does not make a proportion of the public want to pull their own fingernails out. Although it must be said we’ve never heard him sing. Let’s keep it that way.

So what’s all the fuss about Well, apart from the boyband looks, he donated his earnings on tour in 2011 to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief fund, plus an additional 750 for every birdie he made during the year. So he’s a nice boy – but is he a top-class golfer

The Ishikawa frenzy erupted when he became the youngest ever winner on the Japan Golf Tour aged just 15. Now 21, Ryo has won another 10 titles but only last month ended a barren run of two years without a victory. He has also never made his presence felt at any of the major championships, beyond the sizable boost to the local economies provided by the ever-present, and ultimately disappointed, throng of Japanese tourists.

Joining the scrum following Ishikawa during his fourball match at the Royal Trophy on Saturday, there were encouraging signs early on.

Up for grabs: The Royal Trophy was on display as Ye Yang tees off

Up for grabs: The Royal Trophy was on display as Ye Yang tees off

A wedge approach into the par-four first was accompanied by a long, posed follow-through – the equivalent of the ‘save for the cameras’ in football – as the ball flew straight at the flag and stopped four feet from the pin.

Ishikawa is known as ‘the Bashful Prince’ back home, but this was a showman working the crowd in a way the rather arrogant Prince, of musical fame, would approve.

But it was not to last. The putt shaved the hole leaving Ishikawa flabbergasted. A stunning approach to the fifth was a rare highlight in a round consisting mainly of piercing drives but sloppy iron play.

Despite being 50 yards longer off the tee than one of his opponents, Francesco Molinari, he was unable to match the two-time Ryder Cup veteran’s precision into the greens.

Then he started to falter off the tee too, splashing down in the lake with an ugly slice on the eighth, and began to find fairway bunkers with ease.

As Duran Duran might have sung, his name is Ryo and he likes playing from the sand. Ishikawa and fellow Japenese Yoshinori Fujimoto found themselves two holes down to the Molinari brothers at the turn and wilting in the stifling tropical heat.

All looked lost, but Fujimoto had other ideas. Sleeves pulled up, in the manner of Andy Roddick, over his impossibly square shoulders, he started firing at pins and sparked life back into the contest. And then, the moment we’d all been waiting for.

Raptures: Ishikawa received a warm reception in the opening ceremony, a much louder applause than Ryder Cup stars such as Miguel Angel Jimenez

Raptures: Ishikawa received a warm reception in the opening ceremony, a much louder applause than Ryder Cup stars such as Miguel Angel Jimenez

With his playing partner in trouble after driving towards the beach on the 549-yard long 15th, an under-pressure Ishikawa launched a lusty blow off the tee before firing a laser-guided missile into the green. His ball finished nine feet from the pin and the putt was sunk for an eagle three, the first of the week on any par-five here.

The fire was lit in Ishikawa’s belly and he followed that with another belter into the green at the short 16th.

Fujimoto’s birdie meant he did not need to complete his own near-certain two. After finding sand off the tee on the 17th, he blasted his approach out of the bunker to 10 feet. The Molinaris missed longer birdie putts and the match was over, the Japanese winning three up.

It wasn’t the most polished performance and it remains to be seen whether he can succeed under such an intense media glare. Helping Asia to come from a point behind and beat Europe in Sunday’s singles here may also be beyond his powers.

He takes on Henrik Stenson tomorrow.

But with two of the most fabulous blows you will ever see in any golf tournament across the globe, this young superstar won a new admirer.

If Ishikawa really is the Justin Bieber of golf… then I’m a Belieber.

Demba Ba talks stall with release clause set to kick in at Newcastle

Ba contract talks stall with Newcastle braced for striker's 7.5m release clause to kick in

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UPDATED:

11:45 GMT, 3 December 2012

Newcastle striker Demba Ba is yet to be persuaded to sign a new deal as the January transfer window looms.

Sportsmail understands the 27-year-old Senegal international has rejected the club's latest offer as they attempt to negotiate out the release clause contained in his initial contract.

Despite concerted speculation during the summer, no potential suitor activated the 7.5million get-out which could have lured the former West Ham frontman away from St James' Park.

Deal or no deal: Demba Ba (right) has not agreed a new contract at Newcastle

Deal or no deal: Demba Ba (right) has not agreed a new contract at Newcastle

However, while supporters heaved a sigh of relief that last season's leading scorer would be staying on Tyneside, manager Alan Pardew revealed that the clause would become active once again next month.

The Magpies have been locked in negotiations with Ba's representatives for some time, but there is understood to be a significant gap between the wage deal the former are prepared to offer and that which the latter are willing to accept.

Newcastle are hopeful that the player, who has scored eight times this season, is happy to stay and he too has given little indication that he is looking to leave.

Pardew will hope for a breakthrough if he is to avoid a month of waiting anxiously to see if the former Hoffenheim player will remain within his grasp by the end of it.

In the meantime, he will hope Ba and compatriot Papiss Cisse can find the goals to fire the club out of their current Barclays Premier League slump as they head into Monday night's home clash with Wigan looking to avoid a fifth successive defeat.

John Terry out for three weeks

Terry out for three weeks as Chelsea boss Di Matteo breathes sigh of relief

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UPDATED:

14:28 GMT, 16 November 2012

Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo received a boost with the news that John Terry will only be out for three weeks following his collision with Luis Suarez in last weekend's draw against Liverpool.

The Chelsea captain was carried off on a stretcher at Stamford Bridge and there were initial fears he could be out for a long time.

Terry hurt his knee after falling awkwardly in the accidental collision with the Reds striker.

Committed: John Terry and Luis Suarez went flying into each other at Stamford Bridge

Committed: John Terry and Luis Suarez went flying into each other at Stamford Bridge

Nasty: Terry's leg bent as he went down following the clash with Suarez

Nasty: Terry's leg bent as he went down following the clash with Suarez

Di Matteo said 'With JT, we're looking at approximately three weeks. Fortunately, it's not as bad as we first thought. It's an MCL (medial cruciate ligament) strain.

'On the one hand we're obviously pleased it's not as bad as first feared. On the other hand we're disappointed we're losing him again after he just got back.

'It's a crucial period of the season for us, too. So that's a shame. It will depend on the progress of his rehab. We'll do everything to speed it up, but it depends how he reacts as well.'

Worry: Terry looked to be in agony as he lay on the ground at Stamford Bridge

Worry: Terry looked to be in agony as he lay on the ground at Stamford Bridge

Terry had given Chelsea the lead against Brendan Rodgers' side before Suarez pounced with the equaliser.

The former England captain had just returned to action after serving a four-match ban for using racist language towards Anton Ferdinand in a match against QPR last year.

Meanwhile, Di Matteo played down talk of Frank Lampard leaving Chelsea for China following reports the veteran midfielder was in talks with Guizhou Renhe over a January move.

Concerned: Roberto Di Matteo was alarmed as Terry left the pitch on a stretcher

Concerned: Roberto Di Matteo was alarmed as Terry left the pitch on a stretcher

The Italian said: 'Not as far as I'm aware, but there'll always be speculation about Frank. There were rumours about the MLS as well. I'm not aware of any dialogue.'

On whether the 34-year-old will be offered a new deal in west London, Di Matteo said: 'I hope so. But ultimately that's between the player and the club to agree a new arrangement.

'I'm not aware how the discussions are going at the moment. If there's a willingness from both sides, he will remain with us. I don't know (for how long). That's for them to arrange.

'He's been a fantastic player for us over a decade, so it would be nice for him to finish his career here. I can't put a figure on that at the moment.'

Started so well: Terry headed Chelsea in front against Liverpool

Started so well: Terry headed Chelsea in front against Liverpool

The best moustaches in sport

The Saturday debate: Which sportsman has sported the best moustache

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UPDATED:

23:51 GMT, 2 November 2012

To celebrate Movember, the moustache-growing charity event, Sportsmail asked: who has the best tache in sport

Mike Dickson: Tennis Correspondent

Rollie Fingers was the baseball relief pitcher with a great name and a moustache to match. While playing for the Oakland Athletics in the 70s, the future Hall of Famer cultivated a classic handlebar number in order to win a $300 bonus offered by owner Charles O. Finley to whichever player could grow the best. So many players tried that they became known as the Moustache Gang. Fingers kept it his whole career.

A head-turner: Rollie Fingers

A head-turner: Rollie Fingers

Dominic King

Graeme Souness. Not only was Souness a formidable midfielder, he was once the owner of the best moustache in Liverpool’s history. While a mere puff of wind would blow the bum fluff off Gary Neville’s chin, a hurricane wouldn’t have budged the undergrowth above Souness’s lip. Provided the perfect partner for his curly perm. Unbeatable.

Model moustache: Graeme Souness in his pomp

Model moustache: Graeme Souness in his pomp

John Edwards

This is a tough one between Australia’s cricketing legends Merv Hughes and David Boon. Both fearsome sights, but, applying Aussie rules, necking 52 tinnies (cans of lager, to the uninitiated) on a flight from Sydney to London in 1989 just tilts this battle Boon’s way. Good call.

I am the walrus: David Boon

I am the walrus: David Boon

Joanna Rowsell: Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist and Sportsmail columnist

In cycling, there is only one answer — America’s David Zabriskie. It’s not only a fantastically big moustache, he has a goatee beard underneath to match. Not good for aerodynamics but he certainly pulls it off in the style stakes!

Aerodynamic asset David Zabriskie

Aerodynamic asset David Zabriskie

Chris Foy: Rugby Correspondent

Merv Hughes. It has to be Big Merv, by a landslide. As a fixture of an Australian team with an abundance of facial hair, he was head, shoulders and top lip above the rest. Captain Allan Border couldn’t compete, while David Boon was good, but not good enough for me. Do an internet image search for Hughes and the first predicted phrase is ‘Merv Hughes moustache’. Case closed.

Costly: Merv Hughes insured his moustache during his playing days

Costly: Merv Hughes insured his moustache during his playing days

Andrew Magee

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Mark Spitz has this in the bag. When he turned up to the Olympic pool sporting his fine facial hair, every other swimmer was shaving theirs to save precious milliseconds. The American told a Russian coach it helped deflect water from his face and made him swim faster. The following year, every Russian male swimmer had a moustache.

Iconic: Mark Spitz poses with the seven gold medals he won at Munich

Iconic: Mark Spitz poses with the seven gold medals he won at Munich

Ian Ladyman: Northern Football correspondent

Johnson Wagner. It’s one thing trying to look like a porn star and another modelling yourself on Tom Selleck. But a combination of both That’s the look that the US golfer has been rocking this year on tour. And, frankly, he looks absurd.

Not a winning look: Johnson Wagner

Not a winning look: Johnson Wagner

Peter Hanson beats Rory McIlroy to win BMW Masters

McIlroy fails to catch Hanson as Swede edges out Ryder Cup team-mate in Shanghai

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UPDATED:

11:51 GMT, 28 October 2012

Just a month after failing to win a point at the Ryder Cup – and being left on the sidelines for three of the five sessions – Peter Hanson had the sweetest win of his career on Sunday.

The 35-year-old Swede just held off world No 1 Rory McIlroy to take the BMW Masters title in Shanghai against a field that also included nine more of his European team-mates from Medinah.

With Luke Donald coming third and Ian Poulter fourth it was a week dominated by members of Jose Maria Olazabal's side, but Hanson was the one to come out on top.

Peter Hanson

Peter Hanson

Main man: Peter Hanson beat Rory McIlroy by one shot to win the BMW Masters in Shanghai

BMW Masters in Shanghai

Click here for final standings

/10/28/article-2224291-15B99DBB000005DC-683_634x443.jpg” width=”634″ height=”443″ alt=”Better luck next time: Hanson (right) with McIlroy after the Swede won in Shanghai” class=”blkBorder” />

Better luck next time: Hanson (right) with McIlroy after the Swede won in Shanghai

Race to Dubai standings

1 Rory McIlroy 2,766,222
2 Peter Hanson 2,106,534
3 Justin Rose 2,044,670
4 Branden Grace 1,669,984
5 Louis Oosthuizen 1,532,375
6 Francesco Molinari 1,474,414
7 Graeme McDowell 1,452,423
8 Luke Donald 1,445,831
9 Ernie Els 1,426,399
10 Paul Lawrie 1,410,431

World No 25 Hanson's par save from 15 feet preserved the gap, but there was still a possibility of a play-off when Hanson's approach to the 471-yard last came down in rough above a bunker.

He thought he might be entitled to a free drop because of a plugged lie, but was refused it and after doing well to chip to 10 feet he breathed a sigh of relief when McIlroy's 15-foot birdie attempt just missed.

That left Hanson with two putts for his sixth European Tour win – the last came with a closing eagle in Holland last month – and he took them.

'Rory made a tremendous effort and put quite a bit of pressure on me – his second to the 15th was true class,' Hanson added.

'He gave me a bit of a cushion early on (McIlroy missed two four-foot par putts) and I was maybe a little too defensive at the end, but it all worked out.

'My short game used to be my weak part, but I've been working on it and my putting has really improved.'

Marching on: Hanson held his nerve on the final day to maintain his lead in Shanghai

Marching on: Hanson held his nerve on the final day to maintain his lead in Shanghai

In Chicago Hanson was angry to be left out all day Saturday and he said the following week that he might not be sending captain Olazabal 'that many Christmas cards'.

But the pair chatted last week and are back on good terms.

'I was a bit disappointed,' Hanson said, 'but there's no feeling of revenge or wanting to show everyone now. It's a team effort and we ended up winning it.'

McIlroy is staying in China, but only for a one-day head-to-head against Tiger Woods – joint fourth in Malaysia today after a closing 63.

The rest of the week is being spent with his tennis star girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki in Bulgaria – she is playing a tournament there – but he returns to Asia for the Singapore Open and his defence of the Hong Kong Open.

Those events will give the 23-year-old the opportunity to clinch the money list double before the race-ending World Tour Championship in Dubai on November 22-25.

Not his day: McIlroy reacts after missing a put as he has to settle for second place

Not his day: McIlroy reacts after missing a put as he has to settle for second place

'I'm happy with how I played, but a little disappointed,' McIlroy said. 'I missed a few opportunities on the front nine and it was too little, too late.

'I wanted to make him work for it and it would have been nice to hole the putt on the last, but it wasn't to be and Peter deserved it.'

A closing birdie by Donald for a 66 enabled him to deny Poulter, who had a 65, a share of third place, while there were no fewer than nine of the Ryder Cup side in the top 15.

Justin Rose, now down to third on the 'Race to Dubai', tied for sixth, Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell were joint 11th and Lee Westwood and Nicolas Colsaerts finished in joint 14th.

'It just shows we had a strong team,' Donald said.

Poulter added: “The board is full of Ryder Cup players, which you would expect.

'The guys are still on a high – and rightly so.'

Great Britain 1 Spain 1 – hockey match report

Team GB 1 Spain 1: Dutch up next in hockey semis after nervy draw ends in controversy

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UPDATED:

22:17 GMT, 7 August 2012

Olympics 2012

Great Britain's men breathed a huge sigh of relief after securing a nervy draw with Spain on Tuesday night to reach the Olympic semi-finals for the first time since a Sean Kerly-inspired side won gold in 1988.

But there was huge controversy as Spanish coach Daniel Martin accused the officials of making biased decisions which cost his side a chance to progress at the hosts' expense.

Controversy: Spain accused the officials of making biased decisions towards Team GB

Controversy: Spain accused the officials of making biased decisions towards Team GB

Twice in the final minute New Zealand
umpire Simon Taylor gave a penalty corner to Spain only for British
players to react angrily and persuade Taylor, after consulting fellow
umpire John Wright, to change his mind.

Each time the Spaniards protested
just as vehemently and when the final claxon sounded they surrounded
Taylor to remonstrate, with Martin running on to the pitch, too.

'First I want to apologise that my
captain (Ramon Alegre) is not here, but he feels that he would break
rules if he came and spoke,' Martin said afterwards.

'Second, I'd like to congratulate Great Britain, although the result was not given to them fairly.

'The FIH (International Hockey
Federation) need to take this very seriously, because it cannot happen
that an international official changes his decision twice just because
he is surrounded by the opposition players.

Sticking it to them: GB will now go on to face Holland in the Olympic semi-final

Sticking it to them: GB will now go on to face Holland in the Olympic semi-final

'If the president of FIH (Leandro
Negre, a Spaniard) does not give a public explanation of what has
happened, there will be very serious consequences. We are in a
tournament with clear favourites and these countries are being favoured.
That's all I have to say.'

Video replays suggested the correct
call was eventually made on each occasion, but Martin said: 'They could
have been the right decisions, but the umpires have stopped Great
Britain from qualifying with the right honour. The decisions have been
taken in the wrong way.'

The previous 70 minutes had been
nerve-shredding for Britain as the Beijing silver medallists, who
boasted players named Fabregas and Xavi, hit back from a goal down and
threatened until the final whistle to claim the win they needed.

But Britain hung on for the point
that secured second place in Group A behind Australia. They meet
third-ranked Holland on Thursday night.

Not happy: Spain felt hard done by by the officials after two late claims for a penalty

Not happy: Spain felt hard done by by the officials after two late claims for a penalty

With GB's women also reaching the
final four – they face Argentina on Wednesday night – this is the first
time both British hockey teams have progressed from the group stages at
an Olympics.

Britain drew first blood four minutes
before half-time as Ashley Jackson got his fifth goal of the tournament
with a low swept penalty corner.

Spain hit back after the break,
though, and within a minute Eduard Tubau forced goalkeeper James Fair
into an excellent save. Britain responded and hit the woodwork twice
from a penalty corner, but as the minutes ticked down, Britain betrayed
their anxiety.

They conceded a penalty corner with
16 minutes left and Pau Quemada drove a pinpoint shot into the bottom
right corner of the goal.

The last minute was frenetic, with
Taylor signalling for those two penalty corners to Spain, only to
reverse the calls under protest. The crowd counted down the final
seconds in unison and then roared when the torture was over.

Gareth Bale escapes serious injury after Charlie Adam challenge

Relief for Villas-Boas as Bale escapes serious injury after Adam challenge

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UPDATED:

21:42 GMT, 30 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Andre Villas-Boas breathed a huge sigh of relief with the news Gareth Bale has escaped serious injury from Charlie Adam's controversial tackle.

But the Portuguese has called on the Scotland midfielder to apologise for the challenge that left Bale in a protective boot.

Tottenham were left fearing the worst on Saturday after the Liverpool midfielder went in hard on Bale, injuring the Wales winger's left ankle during the 0-0 pre-season draw in Baltimore.

Back in training: Gareth Bale jogs during a practice session at Red Bull Arena in New York

Back in training: Gareth Bale jogs during a practice session at Red Bull Arena in New York

Bale had a precautionary scan last night to determine the full extent of the injury, but the Spurs forward took part in light training yesterday ahead of tonight's clash against New York Red Bulls.

'Needless to say, we are extremely relieved Gareth has not been seriously injured,' said Villas-Boas.

'There is previous history between the two players on the challenge that was done I think three years ago.

Down in pain: Bale reacts in agony after a tackle by Adam

Down in pain: Bale reacts in agony after a tackle by Adam

'Adam being called a coward It’s Gareth speaking and he felt strongly after the match bearing in mind the player didn’t go to him to apologise for what was considered a difficult and nasty challenge.

'The words came out of his mouth and I’m sure he said it in full consciousness.' He added: 'Will we take it any further We are discussing it within the club but in my opinion, the matter is dealt.

'But it would be extremely human for Charlie to come out with an apology. But you can’t force people to say anything and we will have to wait and see.'