Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Leverkusen’s unbeaten run at 30 games in German Cup thriller
LEVERKUSEN, Feb 7: Bayer Leverkusen reached 30 games unbeaten in all competitions this season with a 3-2 comeback win over Stuttgart to reach the German Cup semifinals on Tuesday. Jonathan Tah’s 90th-minute header won the game and spared Xabi Alonso’s team extra time ahead of a league game Saturday against title rival Bayern Munich. On the sideline, Alonso jumped and punched the air in celebration. Leverkusen had twice recovered from a goal down. Stuttgart took the lead at a corner when Waldemar Anton got away from his marker Edmond Tapsoba and headed in at the far post. Midfielder Robert Andrich leveled the score early in the second half with a curling shot from around 20 metres into the top-right corner. Chris Führich restored Stuttgart’s lead in a move that began when Andrich gave away the ball, but Amine Adli leveled again for Leverkusen on the break from a through ball from Florian Wirtz, who also assisted Tah’s winner. It was the third time in Leverkusen’s last five games that it won a on a goal scored in the 90th minute or stoppage time. (AP)

Serie A confirms Inter coach Simone banned for match at Roma
MILAN, Feb 7: Inter Milan coach Simone Inzaghi will be banned from the touchline for his team’s Serie A match at Roma on Saturday. Inzaghi was booked for continuously straying outside his technical area during Sunday’s 1-0 win over Juventus. It was his fifth yellow card of the season and the Italian league’s sports judge confirmed on Tuesday that the coach had been handed a one-match ban. Sunday’s victory in the derby d’Italia saw Inter take a potentially decisive step toward the Serie A title as it sent Inzaghi’s team four points clear of second-placed Juventus, with a game in hand. “I’m really angry,” Inzaghi said about the booking Sunday. “Often I’ve deserved it but tonight no: it was a derby d’Italia, such an emotional match. “The players were impeccably behaved on the field and we tried to help everyone work well. Unfortunately I stepped out of the technical area, it’s a heavy booking, I’m disappointed but better me than one of my players.” (AP)

Three Indian trap shooters miss ISSF World Cup qualification
New Delhi, Feb 7: One more hit and three Indian Trap shooters would have been in the reckoning for a top-six finals berth but it was not to be on day two of the on-going International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Shotgun in Rabat, Morocco. Bhowneesh Mendiratta and Zoravar Sandhu shot scores of 118 to finish 16th and 19th respectively in the Men’s Trap qualifiers. The shoot-off mark for the sixth and final spot was 119. In Women’s Trap, Rajeshwari Kumari shot 113 to finish eighth where the sixth qualifying spot went at 114, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) informed on Wednesday. All six Indians therefore bowed out of medal contention in both events. Bhavya Tripathi (109) finished 17th while Manish Keer (106) was 22nd. Prhtiviraj Tondaiman, the third Indian in contention in the Men’s Trap was even further back in 57th with a score of 114. (IANS)

India’s para badminton stars eye Paralympic berths
Mumbai, Feb 7: Indian para badminton players Manasi Joshi, Mandeep Kaur and Palak Kohli have set sights on excelling in the World Championships to be held in Pattaya from February 20-25, as success there would propel them into the Paralympics later this year. India won a total of 21 medals in badminton from a historic grand total of 111 at the Para Asian Games in Hangzhou last year, with Manasi and Mandeep clinching a bronze each in singles. There was further success in store for both the shuttlers in the women’s doubles SL3-SU5 event, with Manasi bagging a silver medal with Thulasimathi Murugesan and Mandeep winning a bronze with Manisha Ramdass. “We all are going to be playing in the World Championships for which we are travelling on February 17. This is the final; this is the end of the Paralympics qualification year,” Manasi told PTI in an exclusive chat on a sidelines of an event organised by their sponsors Welspun, who focus on promoting female athletes. “The qualification process ends on March 31, from that day our rankings and the race to Paris will be frozen and that is why this World Championship tournament is important for all of us,” she added. (PTI)

India’s Davis Cup heroes, Nagal to headline Bengaluru Open
Bengaluru, Feb 7: Fresh from their Davis Cup win over Pakistan, four Indians including Ramkumar Ramanathan and N Sriram Balaji will be in action in the Bengaluru Open slated to be held from February 12-18. India’s top singles player Sumit Nagal, who opted out of the Davis Cup, will also be seen in action, having earned a direct entry by virtue of his 137th rank. The cut-off for the Bengaluru Open was 257. At the Australian Open last month, Nagal had knocked out world number 27 Alexander Bublik in the first round of the main draw. In the doubles, Ramkumar has partnered big-serving compatriot Saketh Myneni, while Balaji has teamed up with Germany’s Andre Begemann. Ramkumar and Myneni won the doubles title in 2022. World Ranked 78 Balaji and Begeman (WR 201) will be the third-seeded team in the 16-team draw with a combined rank of 279. Myneni (WR 107) and Ramkumar (WR 210) are the sixth-best team in terms of their combined rank of 317. The top-ranked team in the event will be of Frenchman Dan Added (WR 91) and Korea’s Yun Seong Chung (WR 167). They have a combined rank of 258. Dan has claimed 11 double challenger titles, winning eight of them last year. His partner Chung had won the Bengaluru Open doubles event last year with compatriot Yu Hsiou Hsu and would bid for his title defence. Niki Poonacha (WR 147), who made a winning Davis Cup debut in Islamabad against Muhammad Shoaib, has joined forces with compatriot Rithvik Choudary Bollipalli (WR 159). They have a combined rank of 306 and will be the fourth-seeded team in the ATP 100 Challenger event, which will be organised by Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association. The Indian Davis Cuppers’ participation will be an added impetus for the Bengaluru crowd especially after their victory in Islamabad, tournament director Sunil Yajman said in a statement. “The tournament will also provide the Indian and other top players the opportunity to earn key ranking points and move up the ATP charts,” he said. “This year competition will be very close considering a very strong field will be aiming for the title,” he added. (PTI)


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