TNSL board hopes that at the conference level they will encourage more clubs to participate and then build the competition to the next level.Board member and PNG Football Association general secretary Dimirit Mileng said there’s a lot of talent in the grassroots competition and in the PNGFA sanctioned competitions.He said these young talents need to be exposed at the semi-professional level.“By playing in the conference format, we are not downgrading the level of competition but generating a competitive environment.“This conference format not only improves quality but develops quality through that process.“While we don’t want to compromise the quality, we felt that there’s enough quality out there to expand the competition by another four teams this season,” he said.Mileng said the competition is expected to be tough and the four top teams that will continue to the national league competition should give us the cream of football in the country.
The Stop N Shop Vipers will face a mammoth test as they look forward to grab their first win after their luckless game of round 1 against the Gulf Isapea’s last weekend.However, the Lae Snax Tigers after their bye in round 1 will have their first away round game as they prepare to meet the Vipers with a solid first game lineup.The Vipers having the advantage of the crowd may go up stronger than the last weeks close match against the Isapea’s as the Tigers will give a fresh start to their men in their first game of the 2016 playoffs.Moreover, the Round 2 draw is set as EPG Mioks will host the TNA Lions in Wabag as Bintangor Lahanis hosts the Kemele Wigmen in Goroka while Wamp NGA Eagles will visit Mendi to play PRK Muruks and the PRK Isapea’s will visit Minj to play against hosts Wahgi Tumbe while Vipers and Tigers meet in Port Moresby.
The original plan was for athletes to be housed in hotels but a lack of providers forced organisers to approach the Methodist Church of Samoa, who agreed to have the athletes stay at their Faleula compound.Pacific Games Council CEO Andrew Minogue believes the change of plan is a blessing in disguise.”It’s a big advantage actually to have all of the athletes in one place, like we had in Port Moresby (four years ago) and in New Caledonia in 2011. The last time the Games were here (in 2007) all the athletes were housed in schools around the town.”At Faleula everyone’s going to be together – logistically that makes the task easier for the organisers and also for some of the Chefs as well. Particularly for the bigger teams if they were in hotels they might have been split of two or three hotel properties (but) this time they’re all going to be together.”Chef de Missions from 13 of the 24 Pacific Games Associations spent three days in Apia this week and had a chance to get a look at the Games Village and competition venues first-hand.Andrew Minogue is confident Samoa will host a great Pacific Games and says the main focus is now on ensuring the venues are completed.”When you look around town that’s the most obvious thing because Apia Park, the aquatics complex and a couple of the other venues are being refurbished so, with four months to go, if you’re looking at all the Games sites that’s what you see.”You see some construction being done – there’s a new venue being constructed at Faleata for the netball and the badminton so yes obviously it’s a priority to make sure they’re finished.”Andrew Minogue said he expects the completed venues to be handed over to organisers sometime in June, which he says is more than enough time before thePacific Games gets underway on July 6.
Juergen Klopp revealed he spoke to Philippe Coutinho about Barcelona’s attempts to sign the Brazilian before the playmaker delivered a match-winning performance to help Liverpool win the Premier League Asia Trophy against Leicester City on Saturday.Coutinho has been the subject of a £70m bid by the Catalan giants, but Liverpool have said none of their key players is for sale ahead of the new season.And the Brazilian responded in impressive fashion, setting up Mohamed Salah for his side’s first goal before scoring Liverpool’s second as the Merseyside club notched up a second Hong Kong win in four days, beating the 2016 Premier League champions 2-1.“That’s not for you,” said Klopp when asked for the details of his conversation with the 25-year-old.“Of course we have spoken. We were seven days pretty much all the time together and we found a moment when we could speak.“Everybody knows Philippe Coutinho is a key player for us. I know he feels completely more than fine, comfortable in Liverpool. He loves the club, he loves the city. All of that is clear.“But that he’s able to play tonight in a very difficult moment in the pre-season, and after all the sessions, it’s good to see and it shows his big potential.”Liverpool won the four-team tournament after Klopp’s side came back from going behind to a goal from Leicester’s Islam Slimani after just 12 minutes.Salah’s deft header levelled the scores eight minutes later before Coutinho claimed the winner a minute before halftime as Liverpool followed Wednesday’s victory over Crystal Palace with success against the 2016 champions.In a game that was occasionally feisty, Klopp became embroiled in a touchline row with referee Bobby Madley, and after the game he called for greater protection for football’s creative players — echoing Crystal Palace manager Frank de Boer’s comments after his own side’s win over West Bromwich Albion earlier.“Football is a difficult game to whistle for a referee,” Klopp said. “I know all these things.“But these things are obvious for me, and that’s why I thought it would be nice if he could help the dribbling players a bit more because apart from the challenges, which everybody likes in football, these players make the difference, and these players bring people into the stadium.“And that’s why we have to look after them a little bit.”Klopp was delighted with his team’s performance over both games played this week in demanding conditions.“Winning both games is a big thing,” he said. “We saw that not everything is working as we wanted it but a lot of things are already there and were here over the week.“The boys did well.”
Sebastian Vettel won a tense Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday in a Ferrari one-two that stretched his Formula One championship lead over Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton to 14 points.The German, taking his fourth win of the season, took the chequered flag 0.9 seconds ahead of Kimi Raikkonen with Hamilton finishing fourth after sportingly surrendering third place to team mate Valtteri Bottas on the last lap.Bottas had let Hamilton past to attack the Ferraris, on the assurance that his team mate would hand back the place if he could not overtake, and Hamilton kept his word.The last Ferrari driver to win from pole position in Hungary was Vettel’s compatriot Michael Schumacher, who was dominant in 2004 and went on to win his seventh and last championship that season.Hungary was the last race before the August break, with nine of the 21 rounds remaining. Hungarian Grand Prix results1. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 1:39:46.7132. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari +00:00.9083. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Mercedes 00:12.4624. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 00:12.8855. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull – TAG Heuer 00:13.2766. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 01:11.2237. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso – Renault 1 lap8. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India – Mercedes 1 lap9. Esteban Ocon (France) Force India – Mercedes 1 lap10. Stoffel Vandoorne (Belgium) McLaren 1 lap11. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso – Renault 1 lap12. Jolyon Palmer (Britain) Renault 1 lap13. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) Haas – Ferrari 1 lap14. Lance Stroll (Canada) Williams-Mercedes 1 lap15. Pascal Wehrlein (Germany) Sauber – Ferrari 2 laps16. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber – Ferrari 2 laps17r. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Renault 3 lapsr. Paul Di Resta (Britain) Williams-Mercedes 10 lapsr. Romain Grosjean (France) Haas – Ferrari 50 lapsr. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull – TAG Heuer 70 laps(rank: r = retired, nc = not classified)Fastest Lap: Fernando Alonso,1:20.182, lap 69. Driver and Constructor Standings Drivers Points1. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 2022. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1883. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Mercedes 1694. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull 1175. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1166. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull 677. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India 568. Esteban Ocon (France) Force India 459. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso 3510. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Renault 2611. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams 2312. Lance Stroll (Canada) Williams 1813. Romain Grosjean (France) Haas 1814. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) Haas 1115. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 1016. Pascal Wehrlein (Germany) Sauber 517. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso 418. Stoffel Vandoorne (Belgium) McLaren 119. Jolyon Palmer (Britain) Renault 020. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber 021. Antonio Giovinazzi (Italy) Sauber 022. Paul Di Resta (Britain) Williams 0 Constructors Points1. Mercedes 3572. Ferrari 3183. Red Bull – TAG Heuer 1844. Force India – Mercedes 1015. Williams-Mercedes 416. Toro Rosso – Renault 397. Haas – Ferrari 298. Renault 269. McLaren 1110. Sauber – Ferrari 5
Cyprus football is entering a crucial period following Monday’s violent clashes at Limassol’s Tsirion stadium during and after the AEL v Apoel game. It is fortunate that there are no matches this weekend that can be classified as ‘high-risk’ but one can never underestimate the stupidity and recklessness of hooligans.Second-placed Anorthosis kick-off Round 16 of the championship with a trip to Limassol to face struggling Aris.Despite a recent drop in form the Famagusta side has still managed to pick up points even though in their last two games, they nicked them right at the death against so-called lesser opposition.Aris are going through a tough period, picking up just one point from their last four games, something that saw them drop into the relegation zone.However Aris skipper Markos Marangoudakis remains confident ahead of the clash saying: “Our confidence is sky high and we are sure that we shall get something out of this game.”The sleeping giants of Nicosia – Omonia – will play for the first time under their new Bulgarian coach Ivaylo Petev following the sacking of Pambos Christodoulou.This is Petev’s second spell in Cyprus, having coached AEL in 2013 where he lost the title on goal difference.His first opponents are bottom side Ethnikos Achnas, who are favourites for the drop and will need yet another Houdini act if they are to avoid relegation this season.Their poor form and lack of confidence was obvious when they got knocked out of the Cyprus Cup last Wednesday by second division side Othellos Athienou.Leaders AEK have a seemingly easy home game against Ermis Aradippou where their leading scorer Florian Taulemmeuse will be looking to add to his 15-goal tally, while third-placed Apollon should score a hatful against Olympiakos, whose form has also dipped in recent weeks.Apoel entertain Nea Salamina in Nicosia while the final weekend game is between in-form Doxa Katokopias and AEL.The final game of Round 16 will take place in Larnaca between Alki Oroklinis and Pafos FC on Monday evening.Saturday: Aris v Anorthosis (4.00), Ethnikos v Omonia (5.00), Apoel v Nea Salamina (7.00)Sunday: Apollon v Olympiakos (4.00), Doxa v AEL (5.00), AEK v Ermis (6.00)Monday: Doxa v Pafos FC (7.00)
“The greatest World Cup ever” got the final it deserved when a young, exciting France team swept aside Croatia with a pulsating 4-2 victory and performances that suggested a changing of the guard at the top of the sport.Antoine Griezmann finally lived up to the star billing his immense talent has long promised, and Kylian Mbappe became the first teenager to score in a final since Pele 60 years ago.Paul Pogba scored a scorcher and the showpiece was the highest-scoring 90-minute final since 1958.Croatia, a nation of just four million people, more than played their part but playing the French had been a match too far after they battled through three extra-time matches in a row – the equivalent of four games in 11 days.Host Russia had used the extravaganza to detoxify its global brand and enhance its reputation by breaking down a number of negative stereotypes, and showcasing itself as a nation that can host huge events and welcome tens of thousands of visitors.Soccer, too, can now use this World Cup to focus on the positive and on the future as the sport’s governing body FIFA seeks to put behind it the 2015 corruption scandals which scarred the organisation’s reputation.Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Brazil’s Neymar all left the party early, but the youthful France team, and others, showed enough in Russia to suggest there are characters who can step into those giants’ shoes.Gareth Southgate’s young England team also suggested a brighter future. The country had been seeking to reach the final for the first time since their home triumph in 1966, but fell to the Croatians in the semi-finals.More importantly, though, their honest, enthusiastic and down-to-earth approach was a million miles away from the jaded cynicism and paranoia which had hampered Englad’s previous campaigns.THE GREATESTRight from the opening match when Russia – the lowest-ranked nation to host the tournament (70) – beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 excitement built and, after Ronaldo got a hat-trick as Portugal drew 3-3 with neighbouring Spain, mumbles about this being the greatest World Cup started growing.The fantastic goals, upsets and late drama was unrelenting and by the time FIFA President Gianni Infantino made his address ahead of the final, he said it was indeed the greatest – and plenty of pundits, commentators and visitors to Russia agreed.France coach Didier Deschamps, captain of the 1998 side who won on home soil, became the third man to lift the World Cup as player and coach after Brazil’s Mario Zagallo and Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer.He might be forgiven for raving about the 2018 tournament.“I have never seen such a World Cup because there was a levelling at the top,” he said. “The small teams… arrived really well prepared.“I don’t know if it was a beautiful World Cup — there were crazy scenarios sometimes.”Beauty, though, is in the eye of the beholder and there was more than enough on show over the past month to suggest ‘the beautiful game’ is more than just a tired cliche for soccer.Certainly, there will be challenges ahead with the next World Cup being held in hot Qatar with the timng switched so the tournament runs over November and December 2022.But the emergence of new, exciting talent, the challenging of the old guard – champions Germany finished bottom in the group stage – and new technology in the form of VAR (Video Assistant Referee) technology wiping out almost all cheating, points to a bright future for the tournament and the sport.
Captain Luuk De Jong struck a late equaliser for PSV Eindhoven as they drew 2-2 with Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, a result that did little for either side’s Champions League ambitions.Hirving Lozano’s deflected effort gave PSV the lead after 30 minutes of the Group B clash but Lucas Moura equalised before halftime, and when Harry Kane headed Tottenham in front after 54 minutes the visitors looked in complete control.A moment of madness saw Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris sent off in the 79th minute, though, and a rejuvenated PSV grabbed a point with De Jong’s close-range flick.The result left PSV and Tottenham on one point from three games with Barcelona and Inter Milan already both on six before their meeting later on Wednesday in the Nou Camp.With both sides having lost to Barcelona and Inter Milan in their first two matches their was precious little margin for error for either in a rocking Philips Stadion.Tottenham, with playmaker Christian Eriksen restored to the starting lineup after recovering from an abdominal injury, settled quickly and Kane had a flurry of early chances, sending one header against the woodwork and firing another effort over.PSV went ahead though, with a goal Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld will not enjoy watching again.His careless pass gifted possession to Mexican Lozano and although Alderweireld did superbly to make a recovery tackle, Lozano’s shot deflected up and over Lloris.Tottenham responded with Davinson Sanchez having a goal ruled out but the north London side went in at the break deservedly level thanks to Moura’s deflected finish after good approach play by Eriksen and right back Kieran Trippier.Gaston Pereiro hit the woodwork for PSV just before halftime but after the interval Tottenham looked the more likely to kickstart their campaign.Eriksen was again the spark as Tottenham went ahead, this time linking with Son Heung-min down the left before curling a cross invitingly for Kane to head home from close range.Erik Lamela skimmed the crossbar with a shot as Tottenham continued to assert themselves, but with victory looking in the bag they allowed PSV off the hook.Lloris came charging out of his goal and took out Lozano – the French World Cup winning captain giving referee Slavko Vincic little choice but to brandish the red card.Worse was to follow for Mauricio Pochettino’s side as they conceded a soft late goal, failing to clear the ball before De Jong flicked the ball past substitute keeper Michel Vorm
Neymar has been replaced as captain of the Brazil national team for next month’s Copa America by Paris St Germain team mate Dani Alves, the country’s football federation (CBF) has said.The Copa America will be played from June 14 to July 7, with hosts Brazil, who have not won the title since 2007, taking on Bolivia in the opening match in Sao Paulo before facing Venezuela and Peru.“Daniel Alves will be captain of the Brazilian national team in the friendly matches against Qatar and Honduras and in Copa America Brazil 2019,” the CBF said in a statement.Right-back Alves, who has 138 caps for Brazil, was informed of his new role on Sunday. The 36-year-old has captained his country on four previous occasions, the last of which was a 1-0 friendly victory over Germany in 2018.Brazil coach Tite had named Neymar permanent captain a few months after Brazil’s World Cup quarter-final exit at the hands of Belgium last year, but has been under pressure to replace the 27-year-old due to his disciplinary issues.Neymar was banned for three matches by the French football authorities earlier this month for hitting a fan after PSG’s French Cup final loss to Stade Rennes, and was also reportedly involved in a dressing fracas with his PSG team-mates.Tite informed him on Saturday that he would not captain Brazil at the Copa America, the CBF said.
Police in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo said they had indicted the woman who accused football star Neymar of rape, charging her with fraud, extortion and slander, in what could be a major relief for the Paris Saint Germain striker.The former Brazil captain was accused of raping Najila Trindade in a Paris hotel room in May, but he alleged the encounter was consensual and prosecutors said in August they were dropping the case against him due to a lack of evidence.Sao Paulo state police also said in a statement they were indicting Trindade’s former husband, Estivens Alves, on fraud charges.The BBC reported Trindade’s lawyer as saying the indictment had taken him by surprise and that his client rejected the accusations.The case received worldwide attention and posed sponsorship headaches for Neymar, as well as hurting his international career.The former Barcelona and Santos forward always denied the accusations against him and released private chats and lurid photos he had exchanged with Trindade.