By Warren Rappleyea Staff Writer VERONICA YANKOWSKI A.J. Roque is back to lead an experienced Husky squad as they take the field against Monsignor Donovan on Saturday. An experienced senior-laden group that has been successful in the past should help make the Matawan High School football team a contender in the Shore Conference’s Liberty Division. The Huskies, 8-3 a year ago and third in the division, upset Carteret for the second year in a row in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II playoffs, before bowing to Manasquan in the second round. Matawan will have to do without all-purpose runner Tom Corley, who graduated in June, but fortunately for coach Joe Martucci, much talent remains. The multiple-I offense boasts quarterback A.J. Roque (6-0, 180), a senior who threw for 1,100 yards and 17 touchdowns and can also run the ball. And linebacker Jason Haskins (6-3, 235), the Huskies’ leading tackler the past two years, is back to lead the defense. Haskins has 302 career tackles and needs just 11 more to break the school record held by Martucci’s son, Joe Jr. The offense boasts a sizable line led by tackles Craig Erickson (6-2, 260) and John Fields (6-4, 270), and also includes guards Kevin Fredricks (5-11, 225) and Chris Keller (6-3, 255), along with center Dan Robinson (6-1, 235). Pete Zagorski (6-4, 230), a solid blocker who caught 15 passes a year ago, returns at tight end. Haskins will see double-duty as the fullback, where he teams with fleet tailback Jeremy Fountain (6-1, 195) in the backfield. The Huskies will employ seniors George Williams (5-7, 155) and Chris Coachman (5-7, 160), junior Mike McCormick (6-4, 285) and sophomore Jason Simmons (6-7, 210) as the split ends. “We should be very strong on the line, but we have newcomers at tailback and receiver,” Martucci said. “We’re looking for everything to come together, though, because we do have an experienced quarterback.” The line is a defensive strength as well, with Keller at one end and George at nose guard. Seniors Carl Hubbard (6-5, 295) and Jay Fries (5-11, 210) round out the front four. Haskins, Zagorski and Mike Trolian (6-1, 190) are the linebackers, with Williams, Coachman, Roque, and junior Jawan Brown (6-0, 205) in the secondary. Junior Eric Fertig (5-11, 175) and sophomore Shawn Gibbs (5-9, 175) will also see some action in the secondary; both double as reserve running backs. Martucci noted that special teams are another strong point. Good team speed will help provide coverage for Roque’s punts and kickoffs. Sophomore Chris Vaganas is the place-kicker. Matawan gets its first taste of action this Saturday when it hosts Monsignor Donovan in a 1 p.m. start. Following Saturday’s opener against Mon Don, the Huskies will travel to Wall to take on a powerful Crimson Knight team on Sept. 19, before taking on St. John Vianney on Sept. 25. Though Matawan will not be looking past anyone during the early part of their schedule, Martucci’s squad has certainly circled Oct. 11 on its calendar — the day they will travel to Manasquan to take on the defending state champions. By Warren RappleyeaStaff Writer Huskies projected to be one of Shore
When all else fails, the bluefish will never let you down. Bluefish fishing has been steady this year, with the average blues between 6 and 10 pounds. It’s that time of year to reflect back on what you do and what you need to do. Get the tackle box in order, put new line on those reels and get ready. Fall striped bass and tuna season is here. It’s like the playoffs. While this season was very fruitful, it has only just begun. Now is the time for the serious anglers to wrap up this year with some big fall bass action and offshore adventures. This is the time we all look forward to. Reserve the time and get your trophy. The Raritan Bay is loaded on the Staten Island side with peanut bunkers, and thousands of snappers below keeping them balled up. Great Kills Harbor is so thick with peanuts and snappers that one angler said you could probably walk on them. Porgies are also showing up along the shore. Any patch of rocks, piers or pilings along the beach, you can find them using sandworms. For a small fish, they put up a great fight on light tackle. Down South, Capt. Ed from NJSaltwaterfisherman. com reported last week that fluking has been shaky, to say the least. However, some anglers are beginning to pick up fluke in shallower water (40-50 feet) again off Spring Lake. Sea bass are showing up on the Sea Girt and Axel Carleson reefs. Anglers are starting to tangle with false albacore and Spanish mackerel, both by beach and boat. Japanese feathers and small Clark spoons will raise these warmwater fish. Surf anglers have the best chance to catch them with small diamond jigs or Hopkins with a fast retrieve. Big 8- to 12-pound alligator blues have once again invaded the suds. They can be taken with metals or mullet rigs with frozen/fresh mullet. By the way, there are good numbers of mullet being netted in the back bays and rivers in the area. Tuna fishermen have been smiling about the amount of yellowfin/longfin/bluefin that have been in the Hudson and Toms canyons. The back bays continue to produce snappers on lures and bait (spearing); weakfish on lures (pink Fin-S) and on bait (sandworms); and assorted other species on sandworms. Capt. Steve Purul of Barnegat Light reported the same forecast from the back bay. Fishing was a little inconsistent with the action. There seemed to be a rhythm that was hard to follow, with some trips doing very well and other trips not so much. Doug Muller with his wife, Gene, and their three boys were out to start the week with some action with weakfish, blues, and shad while grass shrimping. Regulars Jay Simmons and Joe Franke joined forces on an open boat adventure to score a nice mix of weakfish on plastics and grass shrimp. Later that same afternoon, Joe Holl with friend Dom were out for what the guys termed “Florida-like sea trout fishing,” where they scored nice weakfish casting to visible weakfish swirling on schools of bait. They ended the night with nonstop action at the inlet on plastics with blues to 1-5 pounds. Philip Engel with father-in-law Paul and his two young boys were out for a three-hour evening trip, and although the bites were nonstop and the hookup ratio was off, they still managed a nice mix of weakfish, blues and shad, keeping only the weakfish for dinner. Please send all your reports to [email protected] Fish On. Did you know? IGFA.org reports former NFLQB Boomer Esiason has announced the partnering of the Boomer Esiason Foundation (BEF) with the Redbone Celebrity Fishing Tournament Series event, the F.C.A. Montauk Slam in Montauk, Long Island, N.Y, Sept. 19-21. The annual two-day inshore tournament is expected to attract 80 anglers and celebrities, catch-and-release fishing for blues, stripers and footballshaped fish called false albacore (or albies), while at the same time helping to raise money for the BEF Scholarship Program for patients with cystic fibrosis. For more information on the Montauk Slam, please call the Redbone offices at (305) 664-2002. For more information on the Boomer Esiason Foundation, visit www.esiason.org, call Mike Hill at (212) 525-7777 or leave a message at 800-317- 5378. RON NUZZOLO Fish On
Matawan’s Quaran Jacobs orchestrates a double reverse play during a Pop Warner Mitey Mites game between Matawan and Freehold on Sunday in Freehold.
BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent Christian Brothers Academy’s Robert Cartas jumps over St. Augustine Prep School keeper William Birmingham during the Nov. 8 NJSIAA South A section semifinal played in Lincroft. The Colts won this game 5-0 and went on to win the state sectional title and eventually the Non-Public A state title, beating Delbarton, 1-0 in the championship game played Nov. 14 at The College of New Jersey in Ewing. The Colts finished 21-0, becoming the first team in school history to complete an undefeated season. JEFF GRANIT staff Dan Keane was convinced from the start of the preseason that this Christian Brothers Academy soccer team would the best ever. So did the players in the all-senior lineup, who knew that this season was the only chance for this group to reach new heights in the team’s longillustrious history of success.It certainly looked that way in the previous two NJSIAA Non-Public A tournament games when the Colts rolled past Gloucester Catholic, 6-1, and St. Augustine Prep, 5-0, going into the final game of the season on Nov. 14. But when the Delbarton School battled the Colts through a scoreless regulation, some may have feared that the bid for a state title and the only unbeaten, untied season in school history at CBA could be lost with one well-timed kick for a Delbarton goal. Those fears ended quickly when Zack Hicks served the ball to Scott Thomsen, who volleyed in the gameending goal inside the near post just 72 seconds into overtime as CBA ended its season 21-0. Hicks had come in from the left and found Thomsen on the right side of the field for his 12th goal of the season, into the right side of the net. It was Hicks’ 12th assist.Both teams had met in early September when Thomsen again put in the deciding goal in CBA’s 1-0 regular season victory. The CBA players well remembered that hard-earned game and a 3-1 loss to Delbarton in their opening game last fall before they went 18-1-1 the rest of the way.Thomsen had been hampered by a quad injury that limited his playing time late this season, but he had recovered in time to take the field for the biggest game of the season.Goalkeeper Steve Donato made it stand up with his 14th shutout as CBA outscored its opponents, 83-8.The 1998 team was the only other one under Keane’s coaching that was unbeaten, but it had two ties in a 20- 0-2 season, beating Delbarton in the state finals that year.“This is a rarity in high school soccer, to have all seniors — and just about all of our starters were back from last year,” said Keane early in the season. His squad last season had lost to St. Joseph’s of Metuchen in the NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public A semifinals on penalty kicks after playing to a 2-2 tie.“We knew this was a special group,” said Keane, who felt there wasn’t much left to say beyond what the group showed on the field. “They were together since freshman year and talented in all phases of the game from defense to midfield. You could see this was the best team in school history.”It was the fifth state title in 15 trips to the finals for CBA, which won it in 1992, 1998, 2000 and 2002, the last one over Don Bosco Prep. It also won the Shore Conference title, its first since 2004, in a 4-0 victory over Holmdel and went unbeaten for the second straight year in Shore Conference A North. Its last unbeaten season in A North prior to that was in 1998.Prior to the state championship, the Colts had perhaps their most dramatic victory in the Shore Conference semifinals, coming from behind to beat Rumson-Fair Haven, 2-1.And they did it with a unique 4-5-1 configuration that stacked a lot of the talent and strength in the middle. Bob Cartas, the lone forward, pumped in 15 goals. He had an opportunity in the first half of the state championship game, but Delbarton goalie Luke Rossi made a superb save.In center midfield, Thomsen was joined by Nick Villani and Chris Thorsheim, who had eight goals and 14 assists. Hicks and Mike Romano were on the outside. Romano had a header served by Hicks in the second half that went over the bar. Even midfielder Matt Jelinsky, a backup midfielder who pumped in seven goals, is a senior.Sean Leister was sweeper and Alex Lazzaro was stopper while Connor Reale and Dan Pizzimenti were the outside backs on a seemingly impenetrable defense that limited scoring chances by the high-level teams in tournament competition.But next year will be a total rebuilding season.“We will not be that good; a different team with different expectations,” said Keane. The only non-seniors on the roster were two juniors who were backup goalkeepers seeing only a little bit of action — Zack Tashjy and Chris Tatibone.“Right now, we’re not even thinking about that,” said Keane. “We’re going to be enjoying this one for a while longer.” Colts beat Delbarton to cap 21-0 campaign
Chad Freshnock is back on the field, brightening the outlook for the Middletown High School North football team as area squads qualified for this weekend’s NJSIAA playoffs.Freshnock rushed for 96 yards and two touchdowns as the Lions beat Freehold Township High School, 27-14, in Middletown Nov. 6. Connor Welsh, who had carried the load while Freshnock was injured, had 16 carries and 91 yards“That’s a big lift,” coach Steve Bush said of Freshnock’s return. “He is our best football player. We have so much more depth. He’s a weapon who can score from anywhere at any time.”The Lions improved to 6- 2 at the cutoff for the state playoffs and clinched their second straight winning season.Middletown North will have what Bush said is its first home playoff game since 1986 when it takes on Sayreville War Memorial High School (5-4) at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 in the North Jersey, Section II, Group IV tournament.Bush said the team needs to sharpen its defense over four quarters from what it showed against Freehold Township (4-5).“We’re trying to peak for the playoffs,” Bush said.The coach looks to continue the balanced attack he got with the throwing of quarterback Don Glenn, who passed for 258 yards and a touchdown.After that playoff game comes a Thanksgiving showdown against unbeaten Middletown High School South and the chance to be the spoiler again. On Nov. 6 Middletown South clinched a share of the Shore Conference A South Division championship when it rallied from a second-quarter deficit and beat Freehold High School, 38-7, behind Cole Rogers’ 212 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The Eagles need a victory over Middletown North on Thanksgiving to clinch the title outright for what would be its 17th division championship since 1986.Middletown North earlier in the season beat Manalapan High School, which put Middletown South (8-0) in position to take control of the division.Middletown South and St. John Vianney High School, which is also unbeaten, wrapped up No. 1 seeds in the state playoffs in their respective brackets, which guarantees home field all the way to the state championship games should they get there.Middletown South, which moved this year to North Jersey, Section II, Group IV, is home to West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North (5-4) at 7 p.m. Nov. 13. West Windsor- Plainsboro North has won its last three games.If Middletown South and Middletown North win their opening-round games, they will go head-to-head in the second round, which means they would play against each other on back-to-back weekends.St. John Vianney (9-0) hosts Donovan Catholic at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 in Non-Public, Group III. The Lancers wrapped up their regular season Nov. 6 with a 67-0 rout of Manasquan High School. St. John Vianney beat Donovan Catholic (3-5) in a 63-21 rout Oct. 24 That winner plays in the next round against the victor of No. 5-seed Red Bank Catholic High School at No. 4-seed Pope John Regional High School of Sparta. Matawan Regional High School, Keyport High School and Mater Dei Prep also qualified. Matawan rolled by Barnegat, 31-0, Nov. 6 as Makiya Caesar rushed for 152 yards and two touchdowns in the team’s sixth straight victory after three losses to open the season. Shawn Ramcheran ran back a punt 64 yards for a touchdown, Derrick Wiley rushed 30 yards for a touchdown and Adam Elliott kicked a 24-yard field goal for the Huskies (6-3), who clinched a playoff berth the previous weekend with a victory over Manasquan at the cutoff. Matawan, seeded No. 5, opens defense of its Central Jersey, Group III championship at No. 4-seed Hopewell Valley Central High School (7-2), which comes off a 17-14 victory over Northern Burlington County Regional High School.“It’s good to get out of the Shore,” said Matawan coach John Kaye, whose team is in good health after some key injuries early in the season led to the 0-3 start. “We don’t want to play Rumson, Red Bank and Ocean right away. All four Shore teams [in the bracket] are playing outside teams, and it’s interesting for us to play a West Jersey team.”Matawan has scored 30 or more points in its last five games behind the balanced passing of George Pearson and the running of Caesar, while the defense has shut out two teams this season.The winner of the Matawan game plays the winner of No. 8-seed Rahway High School at top-seeded Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School.Keyport (5-4) wrapped up its regular season with a 35-12 victory over Keansburg High School. Des Underwood rushed for 143 yards and scored three touchdowns, and Ky’Sun Pryor scored three touchdowns and rushed for 83 yards. Keyport clinched a playoff spot in its previous game, a 20-0 victory over Mater Dei.Keyport, seeded No. 7, plays at No. 2- seed Asbury Park High School in Central Jersey, Group I in its first appearance in the state playoffs since 2012, when it dropped its opener to Florence Township Memorial High School. The Red Raiders lost to Asbury Park, 28-21, Oct. 16 when Asbury Park scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to overtake Keyport.“They’re unbelievably athletic,” Keyport coach John Paczkowski said. “We have to gel and play hard — Keyport-style football. We need that from our offensive line and our fullback, Jay Hanson, who has been leading the way with the blocking.”The line includes Devon Keegan, Evan Smutz, Travis Alvarez, Erik Nellis, Matt Acuna and Zach Frick.Paczkowski also got word before the Keansburg game that his father, who was in hospice care the last two weeks, had passed away from cancer. Paczkowski credited his team for responding so well during his personal struggle, and he decided to coach the game against Keansburg.“As much as my mom and dad are family, this team also is a family,” Paczkowski said as he was making funeral arrangements for early in the week.The victor plays the winner of No. 6- seed Point Pleasant Beach High School at No. 3-seed Palmyra High School. No. 8-seed Mater Dei plays its Non-Public Group II playoff opener at top-seeded Montclair Kimberly Academy. That victor takes on the winner of No. 5-seed St. Mary’s High School (Rutherford) at No. 4- seed Hudson Catholic Regional High School. Mater Dei (3-6) comes off its fourth straight loss, 14-13, to Point Pleasant Beach. Marvin Pierre had a 2-yard run for Mater Dei, and Eddie Lewis returned an interception 94 yards for a touchdown. By WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel won the Italian Grand Prix at a canter on Sunday to move 53 points clear of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in the Formula One championship after six victories from 12 races.The triple champion, who celebrated his 32nd career win and third at Monza to boos from Ferrari fans, led from pole position with the possibility of rain – which never came – looking more of a threat than his rivals.Alonso finished runner-up – 5.4 seconds behind – with Red Bull’s Mark Webber, who is leaving Formula One at the end of the season, taking third place in his final grand prix on European soil to deny Ferrari’s Felipe Massa a place on the podium.It was Webber’s first appearance on the Monza podium.Vettel now has 222 points to Alonso’s 169, with Lewis Hamilton – last year’s Italian GP winner who finished ninth for Mercedes at the fastest circuit on the calendar – on 141 with seven races remaining.“Fantastic race,” said Vettel in a podium interview with former Ferrari champion John Surtees, to boos and whistles from the massed ranks of Ferrari faithful who flooded the pit straight with their red flags and shirts.“But you can hear the difference when you don’t win here in a red suit,” added the German, who had to manage a tyre problem in his first stint and mechanical worries in the closing laps.“We had problems with the gearboxes at the end, but I was OK because I had a good cushion and it was a fantastic win.”Vettel took the first victory of his F1 career at Monza for Toro Rosso, an Italian team, and Sunday’s reception was far less enthusiastic with Alonso left in no doubt that he was the crowd’s hero.“Second place is good, to have this podium ceremony which is the most spectacular podium of the year. Hopefully we’ll come back next year and have first place,” said the Spaniard, who had started in fifth place and behind Massa.“I think we extracted the maximum from the car,” added Alonso, who has stood on the Monza podium in all of his four years with Ferrari.The Brazilian, who was second at the end of the first lap with Alonso fourth, did his duty and let Alonso through without a fuss on lap eight once the Spaniard had passed Webber with a bold move that clipped the Red Bull’s front wing.Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg was fifth for Sauber with compatriot Nico Rosberg sixth for Mercedes and Australian Daniel Ricciardo seventh for Toro Rosso.France’s Romain Grosjean was eighth for Lotus, with Britain’s Jenson Button 10th to take a point for McLaren on a weekend in which the Woking team celebrating their 50th anniversary.Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen, who ended a 27-race streak in the points with a retirement in Belgium last month, had a first lap collision and suffered his second successive grand prix without a point after finishing 11th.Driver and constructor standings after the Formula One Italian Grand Prix at Autodromo di MonzaDrivers Points 1. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 2222. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1693. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1414. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 1345. Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 1306. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1047. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 798. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 579. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 4810. Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 36Constructors Points1. RedBull – Renault 3522. Ferrari 2483. Mercedes 2454. Lotus – Renault 1915. McLaren 666. Force India – Mercedes 617. Toro Rosso – Ferrari 318. Sauber – Ferrari 179. Williams – Renault 110. Marussia – Cosworth 0
By Nemanja BjedovTHE first match between AEL and APOEL was played in 1931, making the duel the oldest one in Cypriot football as the two sides go head-to-head on Saturday at 7pm in the second round of the national championship at the Tsirion Stadium in Limassol.“This is the first important match of the season for us against a very good team such as APOEL. We need to be very serious because this is a crucial game for us. Although it is only the second round of the league it will give us a good picture of our potential,” said AEL midfielder Georgios Eleftheriou.Defending champions APOEL have the upper hand in matches against AEL, with the Nicosia giants winning 33 times, while AEL have won 24 matches and 19 ending in a draw.“I hope we have a good match. We worked really well this week preparing for APOEL and we have our game plan and we should do well,” said AEL’s Brazilian defender Diego Gaucho.“We will do everything we can to record a victory and earn three points.”APOEL coach Paulo Sergio will not be able to count on influential Brazilian midfielder Gustavo Manduca and Tunisian Selim Benachour for the match as they are both out injured, while the duo are also doubtful for the Nicosia side’s first match in the Europa League group stage against Maccabi Tel Aviv on Thursday in Israel.Elsewhere, tonight at 8pm, Nea Salamina host newcomers AEK Kouklion, who upset AEK Larnaca on the opening day with a 2-1 victory, while Omonia take on Enosis Neon Paralimni in what should be one-way traffic at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia.On Sunday afternoon at 6pm AEK face Ethnikos Achnas in Larnaca, while Anorthosis meet cup holders Apollon Limassol at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium. Newly promoted Aris meet Doxa Katokopia in Limassol an hour later.Anorthosis coach Jorge Costa has selection problems as Yiannis Okkas, Valentinos Sielis and George Galamaz are all set to miss the Apollon test, with the visitors from Limassol coming to Larnaca wanting to maintain their confidence ahead of their Europa League group stage opener on Thursday at home against Turkey’s Trabzonspor.In the final match of Round 2, on Monday evening at 7pm, Ermis host Alki in a minor Larnaca derby at the Ammochostos Stadium.
Floyd “Money” Mayweather (48-0) will put his unbeaten record on the line when he steps into the ring to face Andre Berto in Las Vegas on Sept. 12 in what could be the final fight of his career, it was announced on Tuesday.Mayweather, who beat Manny Pacquiao in May in what was billed as the “Fight of the Century”, will risk his WBC and WBA welterweight world titles against the power-punching, two-time welterweight world champion Berto (30-3) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.A victory for Mayweather would match the record of the late heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano, who retired in April 1956 with an unblemished record of 49-0.“I’m ready to get back in the ring on September 12 and prove again to the whole world why I’m ‘The Best Ever,’” said the 38-year-old Mayweather.“I always bring my A-game and this fight against Andre Berto is no exception.“He’s a young, strong fighter who is hungry to take down the best. Forty-eight have tried before and on September 12, I’m going to make it 49.”Haitian-American Berto, who has lost three of his last six fights, sounded a confident note about finding the range against the elusive Mayweather, rated one of the greatest defensive fighters of all-time.“I’m coming to kick Floyd’s ass on September 12,” said Berto, 31, who has won his last two bouts.“Best believe that I plan to bring it to Floyd and I’m not concerned about what 48 other fighters have been unable to do. Somebody is getting knocked out and it won’t be me.”The match will be the sixth and final fight of a record-breaking deal between Mayweather and Showtime Networks, leading to speculation it could be the farewell match for the American.A world champion in five divisions, Mayweather made a reported $220 million from his unanimous decision over Pacquiao in what the most lucrative fight ever staged generating close to $600 million in revenue.Two other world championship fights are also planned for the pay-per-view telecast.Roman “Rocky” Martinez (29-2-2) will risk his WBO junior lightweight title in a rematch against the boxer he dethroned, four-time world champion Orlando “Siri” Salido (42-13-2).Badou Jack “The Ripper” (19-1-1) will make the first defense of his WBC super middleweight title against mandatory challenger “Saint” George Groves (21-2, 16 KOs).
Former Manchester United greats Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand lambasted their old team after they plunged to a 2-0 defeat at bitter rivals Liverpool in a Europa League last-16 first leg on Thursday.“It was shambolic … so bad,” Scholes told BT Sport after United were sunk by a first-half penalty from Daniel Sturridge and a 73rd-minute goal by Roberto Firmino. “Tonight was a disaster.“Liverpool had a way of playing. United? I didn’t have a clue what they were trying to do.“United have spent 250 million pounds (under manager Louis van Gaal) … they are sixth in the Premier League and have ended up in the Europa League,” added former England midfielder Scholes.“They should be competing with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich (in the Champions League). United didn’t need a new philosophy, they had one for 20-odd years that worked,” he added in reference to the 38 major trophies won under Alex Ferguson before he retired in 2013.Ferdinand, a former United and England team-mate of Scholes, was equally scathing of Van Gaal’s side.“The fairytale has gone,” he said. “The players he has let go, Angel Di Maria, Nani, Patrice Evra, Javier Hernandez, Shinji Kagawa, Danny Welbeck, Rafael, Darren Fletcher, are they worse than the players out there?“They are better than that team out there today, that’s the problem.”Van Gaal, who has been under fire for most of the season because of United’s poor results and a perceived lack of entertaining football, said Liverpool deserved their victory.“They played very good in the first half and we could not cope with their pressure,” the Dutchman added.“(United goalkeeper) David De Gea was fantastic but we conceded a cheap penalty and in the second half we changed the shape. We had much more contribution to the game but didn’t create enough.Liverpool’s 2-0 victory was payback for the fans, manager Jurgen Klopp said after the game.The show, he said, was a reward for supporters who had endured inconsistency since Klopp took charge in October.“It was a great atmosphere, I am so pleased for all of the people who have had harder times with us this season,” the former Borussia Dortmund boss told BT Sport television. “Tonight was the first part of paying them back.“The atmosphere was unbelievable, really great, and I want to say thank you to everyone involved. That was Liverpool how I knew it before I came here.“We were really good from the first second, everything was there but we could have scored more,” Klopp said.“That sounds crazy I know but we had the chances. In the end, 2-0, if you said this before the game, of course I take it.”
A Brazilian court has authorised the release of Ireland’s Kevin James Mallon, a director of sports hospitality company THG who was arrested on August 5 for the alleged illegal scalping of Olympic tickets, the local G1 news site reported.Mallon was being held along with the former head of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) Patrick Hickey, who is still detained in a Rio prison.Supreme Court of Justice (STJ) appeals court officials were not available to confirm the G1 story on Saturday.Brazilian police said earlier in August they uncovered emails between Hickey and THG executives discussing tickets they planned to sell at inflated prices, which would earn them as much as 10 million reais ($3.09m) in profit.On Friday, a source in the Rio state security services told Reuters that a Rio de Janeiro court will return the passports of three members of the OCI who will be allowed to leave Brazil.Meanwhile, Kenya has arrested three top members of its Olympic committee, a Reuters witness said, after mismanagement of the contingent nearly derailed the country’s participation in the Rio Games.The east African nation notched up its biggest ever haul of medals in Brazil but doping and organisational challenges had plagued its preparations in the run-up to the event.On Friday, chef de mission Stephen Arap Soi and assistant secretary of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) James Chacha were taken to a police station in Nairobi upon arrival from the Olympics, alongside the body’s Secretary General F. K. Paul, according to the witness.Another official, Chief Executive of Athletics Kenya Susan Kamau, told Reuters she too was questioned by police but shortly released.With six golds, as many silvers and one bronze medal, Kenya finished second only to the United States in the athletics table, making South America’s first Olympic Games its best outing so far.But its athletics pedigree has been tainted with up to 40 runners failing dope tests in the past four years.At the Games, Kenya’s Olympic committee sent home a sprinting coach after he was accused of posing as an athlete to doping testers. The coach said he had borrowed an accreditation pass to seek a meal in the athletes’ village.Kenya’s athletics manager was also sent home from the Olympics and is being detained while police investigate allegations that he had warned athletes before the Games about drugs tests in return for cash. He denies any wrongdoing.On Thursday, Sports Minister Hassan Wario said he had disbanded NOC-K and set up a committee to probe mismanagement. It will report its findings by September 30.