Tag Archives: showdown

Dortmund hoping Champions League history repeats itself

Dortmund hoping history repeats itself as they take on Malaga for place in Champions League semi-finals

By
Darren Witcoop

PUBLISHED:

12:55 GMT, 3 April 2013

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UPDATED:

13:02 GMT, 3 April 2013

Borussia Dortmund will still remain dark horses to win the Champions League, but the omens might just be in their favour if they can progress beyond Malaga in the quarter-final showdown.

Dortmund have given up the ghost retaining the Bundesliga title with runaway leaders Bayern Munich destined for the trophy.

But in Europe, it is a different matter all together.

Star man: Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski helped knock out Shakhtar Donetsk in the last-16 tie

Star man: Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski helped knock out Shakhtar Donetsk in the last-16 tie

Masked man: Dortmund defender Marcel Schmelzer will be forced to wear a mask in Malaga

Masked man: Dortmund defender Marcel Schmelzer will be forced to wear a mask in Malaga

There is little doubt Dortmund, who have already knocked out Manchester City, are an emerging team under highly-rated manager Juergen Klopp.

Now Malaga, another of the season's surprise packages, stand in their way of a semi-final place.

Dortmund's only ever win in Spain came in the same season when they won Europe's biggest club competition in 1997.

A coincidence or destiny Only time will tell.

No panic: Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp and Brazilian defender Felipe Santana are in relaxed mood ahead of the last-four tie

No panic: Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp and Brazilian defender Felipe Santana are in relaxed mood ahead of the last-four tie

But Klopp claims Dortmund's 2-1 bruising win over Stuttgart on the weekend, which took its toll on his players, was ideal preparation for the first-leg challenge that lies ahead.

'We got manhandled', he said.

'At times I was worried about the health of my players.

'But it was a good preparation for the Champions League game in Malaga, because they fly into challenges with just as much intensity.'

Despite their underdog tag, Malaga, the Qatari-backed side who were in Spain's Second Division just five years ago, will not just roll over.

Top job: Manuel Pellegrini has defied the odds to lead Malaga into the quarter-finals

Top job: Manuel Pellegrini has defied the odds to lead Malaga into the quarter-finals

The money might have dried up at this cash-strapped club but they have still punched above their weight this season.

As well as reaching the last eight of the Champions League, they are also in the hunt for a top-four finish in La Liga although UEFA have banned them from playing European football next season due to outstanding debts.

'Nobody gave us a chance at the start and yet the players have responded so well,” said coach Manuel Pellegrini.

'We eliminated Porto and that represented a huge achievement for the side. We don't want our run to end here.'

Prized possession: Isco is wanted by Europe's leading clubs

Prized possession: Isco is wanted by Europe's leading clubs

Dortmund will be favourites to progress but they have been hit with injuries.

Marcel Schmelzer will need a face-mask but is likely to play, despite breaking his nose against Stuttgart.

Jakub Blaszczykowski has travelled but is struggling to overcome a groin injury.

Midfielders Sven Bender and Kevin Grosskreutz (ankle) are doubts and Mats Hummels is certain to miss out.

Robert Lewandowski, who has scored 13 goals in as many games, will lead the line and will be supported by Mario Goetze and Marco Reus.

In contrast, Malaga have few injury worries.

Portuguese winger Eliseu has been ruled out with a knee ligament injury but defender Diego Lugano is likely to return.

Ignacio Camacho and Duda are also back in contention after serving suspensions and star striker Isco will start.

Jeremy Lynch and Billy Wingrove football freestyle skills

Flicking hell! Is this the best football freestyle video on the internet

By
Gerard Brand

PUBLISHED:

15:14 GMT, 28 February 2013

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UPDATED:

15:17 GMT, 28 February 2013

Never mind Cristiano Ronaldo's endless stepovers, Ronaldinho's dummy pass or even the Cruyff turn… England have finally produced the sort of skill that can rival Rory Delap's long throw.

Billy Wingrove and former Britain's Got Talent finalist Jeremy Lynch have teamed up as 'The F2' to showcase their finest footy skills, and the world has taken notice.

Choreographed: Jeremy Lynch and Billy Wingrove show off their sublime freestyle skills

Choreographed: Jeremy Lynch and Billy Wingrove show off their sublime freestyle skills

The F2 freestyle

The pair opened the show at last year's Ballon d'Or ceremony, showing more creativity than your average boy in his garden with his mate filming on a mobile phone.

As well as packing videos full of mesmerizing skills, flicks and even a few first-time volleys, the tricksters are looking to teach young players the skills they have developed over time.

After being inspired by watching a Nike commercial in 2000 with Edgar Davids and Denilson, Lynch won the hearts of a nation by reaching the final showdown of the popular reality TV show in 2008.

Lynch has also filmed videos with the likes of Christiano Ronaldo, Robinho, while Wingrove has been a professional freestyler for a decade.

And after South Korean freestyler Mr Woo toured the world showing off his skills for nearly two decades, there will definitely be a market for the pair to break into.

The pair's DVD 'Learn Football Freestyle' is for sale through their website for 9.99.

VIDEO: Freestyle duo Jeremy Lynch and Billy Wingrove show off their skills

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Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 3 (Agg 2-4) – match report: Cristiano Ronaldo scores twice to reach Copa del Rey final

Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 3 (Agg 2-4): Ronaldo sends Jose's men into Copa del Rey final on miserable night for Messi

PUBLISHED:

21:53 GMT, 26 February 2013

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UPDATED:

22:13 GMT, 26 February 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid cruised to a 3-1 win against their clasico rivals Barcelona to send Jose Mourinho's team into the Copa del Rey final.

The Portuguese star gave the visitors the lead when he scored a penalty in the 13th minute, which he earned after being brought down Gerard Pique, before he doubled their advantage just before the hour mark.

Raphael Varane headed in a corner in the 68th minute to put the tie beyond doubt but there was still time for a late consolation from Jordi Alba.

Madrid won the semi-final 4-2 on aggregate and set up a final showdown with either Sevilla or city rivals Atletico Madrid.

Star: Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals as Real Madrid beat Barcelona 3-1 at the Nou Camp

Star: Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals as Real Madrid beat Barcelona 3-1 at the Nou Camp

MATCH FACTS

Barcelona: Pinto, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Jordi Alba, Sergio, Xavi (Alcantara 74), Cesc (Villa 60), Pedro (Tello 71), Iniesta, Messi.

Subs not used: Valdes, Mascherano, Adriano, Song.

Goals: Alba 89.

Real Madrid: Diego Lopez, Varane, Ramos, Coentrao, Khedira, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ozil (Pepe 79), Xabi Alonso (Essien 84), Arbeloa, Higuain (Callejon 70), Di Maria.

Subs not used: Adan,Kaka, Benzema, Modric.

Goals: Ronaldo 13, 57, Varane 68.

Att: 90,002.

Referee: Undiano Mallenco.

Latest La Liga results, fixtures and table

More to follow

Cynical: Ronaldo was brought down by Gerard Pique in the penalty area in the 13th minute

Cynical: Ronaldo was brought down by Gerard Pique in the penalty area in the 13th minute


Lead: Ronaldo sent Jose Manuel Pinto the wrong way to open the scoring from the spot

Lead: Ronaldo sent Jose Manuel Pinto the wrong way to open the scoring from the spot

Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

Hostile: The Portuguese star was targeted by supporters with lasers


Gap: Ronaldo followed up Sami Khedira's effort to double Madrid's lead in the second half

Gap: Ronaldo followed up Sami Khedira's effort to double Madrid's lead in the second half

Gap: Ronaldo followed up Sami Khedira's effort to double Madrid's lead in the second half

Cruising: Raphael Varane rose highest to head home from a corner and put Real 3-0 up

Cruising: Raphael Varane rose highest to head home from a corner and put Real 3-0 up

Delight: Varane celebrated his goal with manager Jose Mourinho

Delight: Varane celebrated his goal with manager Jose Mourinho

Delight: Varane celebrated his goal with manager Jose Mourinho

Too little, too late: Jordi Alba scored a late consolation for Barcelona

Too little, too late: Jordi Alba scored a late consolation for Barcelona

Downbeat: Lionel Messi looked dejected as Madrid cruised past Barcelona

Downbeat: Lionel Messi looked dejected as Madrid cruised past Barcelona

Lionel Messi

Scouting: Sir Alex Ferguson and his United assistant Mike Phelan were in the stands at the Nou Camp

Scouting: Sir Alex Ferguson and his United assistant Mike Phelan were in the stands at the Nou Camp

Phil Taylor to play Raymond van Barneveld in World Championships semi-final

Barney and Taylor in fine form as they prepare for semi-final showdown

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 28 December 2012

Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld will play their third match on the PDC World Darts Championship stage when they clash in a blockbuster semi-final on Sunday.

'The Power' romped to a 5-0 win over an out-of-sorts Andy Hamilton after Barney demolished Simon Whitlock 5-1 on Friday night at Ally Pally.

Taylor was in a ruthless mood as he dropped just two legs against the 2012 runner-up while Van Barneveld averaged 102.32 as he continued to make light work of a tough draw, following his 4-0 whitewash of Gary Anderson in the previous round.

In top form: Phil Taylor thrashed Andy Hamilton 5-0 in the quarter-finals

In top form: Phil Taylor thrashed Andy Hamilton 5-0 in the quarter-finals

The 15-time world champion pounced on a hatful of missed doubles from ‘The Hammer’ as he won the first six legs to take a two-set lead.

Hamilton finally registered his first leg when he held throw at the start of the third set before Taylor responded with a 78 checkout to level at 1-1.
And ‘The Power’ took advantage of Hamilton’s misfortune in the next leg as he broke the throw after ‘The Hammer’ came agonisingly close to a 146 checkout. Taylor then continued his dominant form as he wrapped up the set 3-1 before another clean sweep in the fourth set.

Hamilton then won his second leg of the match at the start of the fifth set but it wasn’t long before normal service was resumed for Taylor as he reeled off the next three legs to seal an emphatic whitewash.

Off his game: Hamilton missed some key doubles

Off his game: Hamilton missed some key doubles

He told Sky Sports: ‘It wasn’t easy but he just kept missing doubles. That game was all about finishing and Andy just kept letting me in. I knew if I could put him under pressure he was missing doubles. You’ve got to bully him, that’s what Andy does to other people.’

Van Barneveld said he no longer fears the 15-time world champion but Taylor said: ‘I think he does, why would he say it otherwise I’m not going to get into a slanging match with Barney because it is the semi that everyone wanted. If he doesn’t fear me then I’m going to have to make him.’

The man with the unenviable task of denying Taylor a 16th world title is Van Barneveld, who cast a spell over ‘The Wizard’ with a clinical performance.

The first three legs all went against throw with Van Barneveld edging 2-1 ahead. Whitlock had a chance to force a deciding leg but a missed 84 checkout let the Dutchman in to hit his favourite double 18 and take a high-quality first set 3-1.

Meaning business: Raymond van Barneveld eased into the semi-final with a win over Simon Whitlock

Meaning business: Raymond van Barneveld eased into the semi-final with a win over Simon Whitlock

Barney’s imperious start continued as he checked out 86 in the first leg of set two before a magical 135 checkout in the next leg broke ‘The Wizard’s’ throw. The five-time world champion hit double 10 in the next leg to seal a 2-0 lead before the Aussie fought back.

Whitlock won the third set 3-2 as all legs went with throw before breaking throw to lead 1-0 in the fourth. But Van Barneveld broke back with a 112 checkout before winning a pivotal deciding leg with an 86 checkout to go 3-1 ahead.

And the match was all but over as Barney broke at a crucial time in the fifth set to take a commanding 4-1 lead. With the set level at 2-2, Whitlock had the throw in the deciding leg with a chance to move just one set behind, but it was the Dutchman who hit double four to put himself on the brink of a semi-final place.

End of the road: Whitlock's World Championship was brought to an end by Van Barneveld

End of the road: Whitlock's World Championship was brought to an end by Van Barneveld

Barney knew the importance of that break as tears of joy started to run down his face. The five-time world champion had the throw in the next set and he checked out 91 on Whitlock’s throw before closing out the set 3-0 and the match 5-1.

He told Sky Sports: 'When I knew I was playing Simon I thought it was going to be a 5-4 or 5-3 game. Simon has a good record against me but that was a different Van Barneveld. I won the Grand Slam and believed in myself and thought “just play the board, not the opponent”.’

When asked about his emotional cry at the end of the fifth set, Barney said: ‘I’ve had so many times when I was missing so many doubles and it meant so much for me that that dart went in to win that set. I was so emotional there because I’ve put so much time and effort in.’

'I’m not scared,’ said Van Barneveld about playing Taylor in the semis. ‘I want to play the best players in the world.’

The two remaining quarter-final matches will be played on Saturday night and they are every bit as mouth-watering as Friday’s double header.

Reigning champion Adrian Lewis plays red hot Dutchman Michael van Gerwen with a repeat semi-final against James Wade on the cards. ‘The Machine’, who led Lewis 5-1 before losing 6-5 last year, takes on Wes Newton.

Lewis Hamilton predicts Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso "epic contest"

Hamilton predicts 'epic contest' between Vettel and Alonso in Brazil title showdown

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UPDATED:

18:45 GMT, 21 November 2012

Lewis Hamilton is relishing this weekend's fight to the finish for the Formula One world title between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has no doubts Hamilton would also have been in contention going into Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix had his team not underperformed and let down the 27-year-old.

Sunday's victory in the United States underlined just what Hamilton and the team are capable of as he conjured a stunning drive.

Special guest: Fernando Alonso rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday

Special guest: Fernando Alonso rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday

Special guest: Fernando Alonso rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday

Instead, it is a duel between Vettel and Alonso as both men aim to become a three-time champion, with the duo separated by 13 points.

Addressing the title fight, Hamilton said: 'It’s a very finely poised battle, and neither Sebastian nor Fernando can afford to relax for a moment.

'They are both fantastic drivers, and both have driven superbly all season.

'Now we’ll see who takes the final honours – I hope it’s an epic contest.'

For Hamilton, it is a case of what might have been as McLaren have been plagued by pit-stop issues and unreliability at various stages this season.

Whitmarsh is aware of what must be done over the winter, even though Hamilton will not be with the team in 2013 given he joins Mercedes at the start of the year.

'We’ve underperformed, we haven’t done a good enough job in a number of different ways,' said Whitmarsh.

Yours to lose: Sebastian Vettel is 13 points clear of Alonso in the drivers' championship with one race left

Yours to lose: Sebastian Vettel is 13 points clear of Alonso in the drivers' championship with one race left

'We’ve done some good things, we had a quick car, but we haven’t nailed it in the way I would like this year, which is something we have to take stock of.

'We have to get better with everything we do, which is something we aim to do during the winter and target an epic season next year.'

For now, with one race remaining at the end of his six years in F1 with McLaren, Hamilton would love to go out with back-to-back wins.

Although claiming Sunday’s win in Austin was the 'ultimate high' as he again had the team smiling as they wore their rocket-red victory tops post-race, naturally the racer in him still wants more.

Hat's amazing: Lewis Hamilton won in Austin for McLaren last weekend but his title race is over

Hat's amazing: Lewis Hamilton won in Austin for McLaren last weekend but his title race is over

'Brazil has been the scene of some epic races for me during my time at McLaren and, for many reasons, this weekend will be a very big race for me,' said Hamilton.

'I nearly won the title here in 2007, clinched it on the final turn in ‘08 and drove like crazy to finish on the podium in ‘09.

'But I’ve never won, and that’s what I’ll be aiming to do this time around.

'As my final race behind the wheel of a McLaren, I vow to the whole team that I’ll give it my all on every single lap.

'My win in Austin last week was one of the races of my life, and I’d love to take victory in Brazil this weekend to give the team the perfect farewell present.'

St Louis Rams v New England Patriots: American football fans in Wembley for NFL clash

Touchdown Wembley! Supporters (and cheerleaders) brave the cold for NFL clash

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UPDATED:

17:25 GMT, 28 October 2012

American football fans have descended upon London as the NFL makes its annual pilgrimage to Wembley.

Supporters braved the cold snap engulfing Britain with tens of thousands of fans descending on the home of English football for the sixth consecutive year.

London calling: Thousands of NFL fans have descended on Wembley for the International Series showdown

London calling: Thousands of NFL fans have descended on Wembley for the International Series showdown

Braving the cold: Cheerleaders strut their stuff ahead of the Wembley clash

Braving the cold: Cheerleaders strut their stuff ahead of the Wembley clash

The International Series is a firm fixture on the British sporting calendar and Wembley is expecting a full house for Sunday night's eagerly-awaited game.

St Louis Rams – who prior to this season had won just 15 games in five years – will play the New England Patriots.

Game on: The Patriots and Rams are contesting the sixth NFL game at Wembley

Game on: The Patriots and Rams are contesting the sixth NFL game at Wembley

Strictly Come Dancing: The Rams' mascot dances with cheerleaders before the NFL clash

Wish you were here: The Rams' mascot dances with cheerleaders before the NFL clash

The Patriots are making their second visit to Wembley after seeing off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009.

But they've suffered a disappointing start to the new season, losing three of their opening four games.

Taking to the stage: Boris Johnson addresses the crowd (below) before Katherine Jenkins sings the British National Anthem

Taking to the stage: Boris Johnson addresses the crowd (below) before Katherine Jenkins sings the British National Anthem

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

Any advantage the Patriots might be hoping to get out of their experience of beating the Buccaneers 35-7 is dented by the turnover in their roster.

Only 13 of the 53-man roster of three years ago are still with the Pats, testament to ever-changing nature of NFL teams.

Cheer we go: The NFL clash has attracted a full-house at the home of English football

Cheer we go: The NFL clash has attracted a full-house at the home of English football

Cheer we go: The NFL clash has attracted a full-house at the home of English football

Coach Bill Belichick is still the man in charge, but earlier this weeke he acknowledged that Sunday night's experience would be new to the vast majority of his players.

'I'm not sure how many of our players now were on that trip but I would say not a whole lot,' he said.

'There's been a decent amount of turnover since then. But you know, the experience for those of us that went, you have some idea what to expect. There's something to be said for that.'

Serena Williams beats Maria Sharapova WTA Championships final

Revenge is sweet for Serena as Sharapova crumbles in WTA Championships final

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UPDATED:

17:41 GMT, 28 October 2012

Serena Williams continued her good run of form over Maria Sharapova to beat the Russian in straight sets and win the final of the WTA Championships in Istanbul.

Williams has now won 10 of the 12 meetings between two of the biggest names on the women's tour and has now avenged her 2004 defeat to Sharapova in the final of the same tournament by taking a 6-4 6-3 win.

Sealed with a kiss: Serena Williams celebrates her win over Maria Sharapova

Sealed with a kiss: Serena Williams celebrates her win over Maria Sharapova

Serena Williams holds the trophy after winning the final of the WTA Championships

The 31-year-old American also lost in the Wimbledon final showdown with Sharapova in the same year but never looked in trouble as she won inside an hour and a half in Turkey.

The success saw Williams win her third WTA Championships title and was her seventh title of a highly successful 2012.

Stretch: Sharapova had little answer to Williams in the final in Istanbul

Stretch: Sharapova had little answer to Williams in the final in Istanbul

There was better news for Russia in the double's tournament as qualifiers Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova completed a weekend of upsets to beat the second seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka.

Kell Brook targets Ricky Hatton showdown

Brook eyes British blockbuster against Hatton after snubbing Bradley showdown

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UPDATED:

14:03 GMT, 25 September 2012

Kell Brook has paved the way for an all-British world title showdown with Ricky Hatton next year.

The Sheffield welterweight, who
faces Hector Saldivia in Sheffield on October 20 in the final eliminator
for the IBF world title, comprehensively outpointed Ricky's brother
Matthew in March.

Impressive: Kell Brook is unbeaten in 28 fights

Impressive: Kell Brook outpointed Ricky Hatton's brother Matthew

And with the senior Hatton making his comeback in Manchester in November, Brook admits he would jump at the chance to complete the double.

'I will be watching Ricky Hatton's comeback with great interest as a fight against him next year would be an absolute blockbuster for British boxing,' he said.

'When I fought his brother Matthew you could see that the Hatton name still means a lot in boxing and we would fill a big stadium fighting for a world title.'

Brook, who is unbeaten in 28 fights, also revealed he turned down the chance to fight Timothy Bradley for the American's WBO title.

Blockbuster: Brook wants Ricky Hatton showdown

Blockbuster: Brook wants Ricky Hatton showdown

Bradley won a contentious decision against Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas in June and was prepared to defend the belt against the Brit.

But the 26-year-old opted to continue his journey towards the IBF strap.

'The Bradley fight was put in front of me but I believe the mandatory position in the IBF is the right move,' Brook added.

'Eddie [Hearn] has worked hard to get me into this position and providing I beat Saldivia, I'll be fighting for a world title at the start of 2013 and it will be on my terms.

'I would love that to be in Sheffield too and I know Eddie would do his best to get it here as it would be an amazing event.'

Craig Kopczak quits Bradford Bulls

Kopczak quits Bradford on eve of Catalan clash with prop set for legal showdown with Bulls

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UPDATED:

12:07 GMT, 8 September 2012

Craig Kopczak is set for a legal showdown with Bradford after quitting the Super League club on the eve of Saturday's game against Catalan Dragons in Perpignan.

The 22-year-old prop made himself unavailable for the last match of the regular season after terminating his contract.

Kopczak, who was on Friday named in Wales' squad for the end-of-season triangular tournament involving England and France, is under contract to Bradford until the end of 2013 but opted to resign when the club's takeover went through last weekend.

The player's agent, Martin Shuttleworth, confirmed Kopczak had taken legal advice, drawing on legislation used in the recent Rangers case, namely the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations 2006 (TUPE).

Quitting: Kopczak (centre) has left the Bradford Bulls

Quitting: Kopczak (centre) has left the Bradford Bulls

In a statement, Shuttleworth said: 'Craig was notified by the joint administrators by letter dated September 3, 2012 that his playing contract had transferred with effect from August 31, 2012 to OK Bulls Ltd.

'He then served notice on the administrators that he objects to the transfer of his employment under the relevant TUPE legislation.

'The net effect of having served the notice is that he is deemed to have resigned with effect from August 31, 2012 and his employment with the club is automatically terminated.'

It is thought the highly-rated Kopczak is on the wanted list of several clubs, with Wigan and Huddersfield understood to be among the front-runners.

Bradford's acting chief executive Gary Tasker believes Kopczak has been approached by rival Super League clubs, contrary to a gentleman's agreement not to do so, and says the matter has been put into the hands of the club's solicitor.

'I'm bitterly disappointed that the player has taken advice which has resulted in him leaving the group at this late stage of the season,' Tasker told the Bradford Telegraph & Argus.

'The major disappointment in this episode is that a young player on a good contract doesn't normally terminate it unless he is being offered better terms elsewhere.

'At a meeting of Super League clubs several weeks ago, the clubs agreed unanimously that they would not approach Bradford's contracted players.

'It would appear that a club has broken ranks and made the player a better offer. It's now in the hands of our legal advisors to resolve it.'

The Rugby Football League are expected to ratify the takeover by local restaurant owner Omar Khan early next week and will then decide on the process for determining whether the Bulls can stay in Super League.

US Open 2012: Andy Murray to fight Tomas Berdych from first point

Murray promises he'll take fight to Berdych from the very start in semi-final showdown

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UPDATED:

08:08 GMT, 7 September 2012

Andy Murray has vowed to be switched on from the first point when he meets Tomas Berdych in the semi-finals of the US Open on Saturday.

The Scot had been expected to face world No 1 Roger Federer in a rematch of their Wimbledon and Olympic finals but Berdych produced a stunning upset.

Murray looked set to be the victim of another shock when he trailed Marin Cilic by a set and 5-1 in their quarter-final on his bete noire, Louis Armstrong Stadium, but he pulled himself through, with more than a little help from a nervous opponent.

Last four: Andy Murray overcame a slow start to beat Marin Cilic in the quarters

Last four: Andy Murray overcame a slow start to beat Marin Cilic in the quarters

The good news for the third seed is he will certainly be on Arthur Ashe, where he has put in his two best performances of the tournament, especially in beating Canadian rising star Milos Raonic in the fourth round.

Murray managed largely to stay on a even keel mentally against Cilic despite his struggles – a legacy of the work he has done with coach Ivan Lendl – but he knows he must step things up if he is to reach a second consecutive grand slam final.

The Scot said: 'You never know exactly what's going to happen but I would hope that, going into the match on Saturday, I'll be in a good place mentally.

'I'll fight from the first point to the last. If I do that, I'll give myself a shot. But I can't afford to start like I did [on Wednesday night] – that's for sure.'

Murray's exploits in reaching his first Wimbledon final and then thrashing Federer to win Olympic gold have made him many people's favourite to win a maiden grand slam title here.

Dangerman: Czech Tomas Berdych has the power to beat any opponent

Dangerman: Czech Tomas Berdych has the power to beat any opponent

One advantage he will have over Berdych, which certainly would not have been the case against Federer, is experience.

This will be the Scot's eighth semi-final appearance at the last 10 grand slams, of which he has won two, while Berdych's only trip to the last four in that time came in his run to the Wimbledon final in 2010.

Indeed, the 26-year-old lost in the first round at the All England Club this year and then again at the Olympics but has well and truly turned his form around.

With his natural power and timing, Berdych is understandably confident in his abilities, and he said: 'If my game is well and I'm able to play my game, then I have a quite dangerous game to beat anyone.'

The other semi-final will be between defending champion Novak Djokovic and David Ferrer, who came through great matches against Juan Martin Del Potro and Janko Tipsarevic, respectively.

Meanwhile, Murray's victory over Cilic secured his place at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London in November.

The 25-year-old joins Federer, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in booking his spot for what will be a fifth consecutive appearance at the end-of-season showpiece for the Scot.