Month: January 2020

Tony Becca: Two sides of an upset

first_img After winning the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon, Williams was gunning for the US Open and four Grand Slam titles in a calendar year and she was a cinch to win it, especially with Maria Sharapova of Russia pulling out before hitting a ball and with Victoria Azarenka of Belarus falling by the wayside. All the talk was about Williams becoming the first to do so since Steffi Graf in 1988, especially as the two players who stood in her way were Vinci and Flavia Pennetta, two Italians, two childhood playmates who had never ever contested a Grand Slam final. One was 32 years old, the other was 33, one ranked number 43, the other ranked number 26. With Pennetta winning her semi-final by upsetting the tournament’s number two seed, Simona Halep, in straight sets in the first semi-final and awaiting the winner of the second semi-final, Serena, coming in with a record of 33 successive Grand Slam victories, took on Vinci, who had never even won a set against her and whose season record was 20 wins and 20 losses. Winning the first set 6-2, and easily at that, it seemed as if Vinci was doomed to lose one more time. Williams appeared way above her class. And when Williams raced to a 2-0 lead in the third set, it was, or so it seemed, all over for Vinci. Out of the blue, however, Vinci made her move. Using a mixture of different speeds on her shots, slices, pushes at the net and delicate drop shots, Vinci outfoxed Serena, destroyed her rhythm and won the set at four. tactics working gunning for US Open The 2015 US Open tennis tournament which ended at Flushing Meadows in New York last Sunday was an occasion to remember, especially for those who love or enjoy the excitement of an upset. First off, Novak Djokovic of Serbia defeated Roger Federer of Switzerland, probably the finest player of them all, who also boasts a record of 17 Grand Slam titles – to win the men’s singles and his 10th Grand Slam title; and second, the surprise, or the upset, of Serena Williams in the women’s singles. Federer played well, especially for a 34-year-old, but in the battle of the number one-ranked player versus number two-ranked player, Djokovic, the number one, played a little better and deserved his victory in four sets and the US$3.3 million winner’s prize, although Federer looked threatening for a while. The match of the tournament, however, was the women’s semi-final match between Williams of the USA, the world’s number one, the defending champion, and the favourite by far for the title, and Roberta Vinci of Italy. With the emotions of Serena coming to the fore in that set, however, screaming, stomping and pointing, Vinci remained cool until, at 3-3, at 40-40, she smiled at Serena’s antics, obviously feeling satisfied that her tactics were working. She then won a point after a long rally and then gestured dramatically to the fans to cheer for her also. It was interesting. One player behaving as if she should not be in such a fight, as if she was ordained; and the other player fighting and enjoying every moment of the duel for the US Open title and the winner’s prize money. Vinci broke Williams by winning the next point, held serve at 5-3 and then held serve at love to create one of the biggest upsets in the history of the game. “I don’t want to talk about how disappointing it is for me,” said Williams afterwards, the Grand Slam finalist on 25 occasions and winner 21 times, only one short of Graf. “If you have any other questions, I’m open for that.” Vinci, however, who later lost to Pennetta in the final, was head over heels at her performance and had the 20,000-plus fans cracking up with laughter during post-match interview. “How do you feel after such a historic performance?” she was asked before the fans, minutes after the Serena match. “This is an amazing moment for me,” said the 300-1 underdog. “I am in a dream, I beat Serena. I am in the final of the US Open.” “Did you have a plan for the match?” “No. Just play. Don’t think about Serena. Just enjoy yourself. Get the ball in court, and run, and run.” The next day, Vinci lost in the final in straight sets to Pennetta. She was not as tricky and not as good as she was against Williams. Probably she was not as motivated, or not as intoxicated as she was for the match of her life. She lost easily. She was, however, still smiling and still laughing. She had defeated Williams, a champion, the champion and arguably the best of all time. Vinci had her day in the sun. The day she defeated Serena Williams at the US Open, the day she will forever remember. Sports fans, tennis fans especially, will never forget her, or her celebration as the miracle unfolded, both for her play, her tactics and for her wonderful words which followed her amazing upset.last_img read more

Oral Tracey: West Indies cricket hurting

first_imgThe teary-eyed outburst by West Indies cricket legend, Sir Garfield Sobers, has provided one of the most touching moments in the recent troubled history of West Indies cricket. The man who is widely regarded as the greatest all-round cricketer to have ever played the game was sharp, precise, and prudent with his prognosis of what is fundamentally going wrong currently with West Indies cricket. Unlike most of the region’s countless experts and analysts, Sir Garfield never sought refuge in denying the reality. He did not seek to go the easy route of blaming the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and its succession of inept administrators for the rapid and continuous decline of West Indies cricket. Sir Garfield’s observation was much more heartfelt, honest, and on point. With the admission that the fundamental problem crippling West Indies cricket, right now, is the fact that the current players in the region are not genuinely committed to the West Indian cause, but were more interested in using the West Indies team as a stepping stone towards playing in the lucrative Indian Premier League and we assume other Twenty20 cricket leagues. In fighting back the tears, Sir Garfield made the not-so-subtle comparison between the attitude of the players when he represented the West Indies and that of the current crop of players. With his voice cracking under the emotions of the moment, Sir Garfield said: “I never made a single run for myself, I made all the runs for the West Indies.” The legend concluded that if the mindset of West Indian players doesn’t change, the regional team will continue to struggle for a long time and that many countries will surpass the West Indies. With his eyes glistening with tears, Sir Garfield said of all this: “It hurts.” Not only did it hurt Sir Garfield to utter those poignant words, I suspect it hurt many cricket fans all over the world to see the kind of pain that West Indies cricket has inflicted on this international legend and hero of the game. The passionate honesty was impressive by the man who, for many years, held the world record for the most runs scored in a Test innings (365) before it was broken by Brian Lara. He clearly was not among the emotional dreamers who continue to envisage getting back to that elusive space on the top of world cricket after eventually turning that endless corner. There was a tone of finality, a feel of painful resignation in what Sir Garfield said and how he said it. The tears suggested an acknowledgement that West Indies cricket has passed the point of no return. The 79-year-old legend provided a rational and balanced encapsulation of what is the most recent game-changer in the demise of West Indies cricket. In a context where too many people across the Caribbean maintain their emotional hold on the myth of a West Indies resurgence, based on the belief in the much-used clichÈs that if only the governance structure of the regional board should change, or the board was more transparent and administrators were more efficient, then West Indies cricket would rise again. Personally, I feel honoured to be in the same mental space as the legendary Sir Garfield Sobers as it relates to the worsening demise of our cricket. We absolutely see what has happened and is still happening to West Indies cricket and we are not afraid to face and accept it.last_img read more

Motie impresses as Jaguars tighten grip

first_img SECOND-INNINGS RESPONSE GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC): Emerging leg-spinner Gudakesh Motie unleashed his best bowling effort in only his second first-class match, as Guyana Jaguars continue to stamp their authority over Leeward Islands Hurricanes on the third day of their second-round match in the Regional First Class Championship at the National Stadium at Providence here yesterday. Motie, 20, produced a six-wicket haul that destroyed the Hurricanes’ first innings for a paltry 85 runs, 334 runs short of Guyana’s mammoth first-innings total of 419 for nine declared. However, half-centuries from Nkrumah Bonner and Daron Cruickshank inspired a courageous fight back, lifting the visitors to 215 for three in their second innings, after Jaguars enforced the follow-on. Still, Leewards trail by 119 runs with seven second-innings wickets in hand, and are likely to play for a draw when the match enters its final day on Monday. The visitors were unable to recover from their overnight score of 48 for four, and only succeeded in adding 37 runs before losing the remaining six wickets ahead of the lunch break. Motie, the former West Indies under-19 player, picked his way through the Leewards’ fragile batting line-up, snatching up two wickets when the score was on 26, and another two with the score on 84, to finish with six wickets, conceding 20 runs from 13.2 overs, seven of which were maidens. Opener Sherwin Peters, with a top score of 28, and Captain Steve Liburd, who scored 23, were the only batsmen to score more than 11 runs. Facing a huge first-innings deficit, Leewards gave a better account of themselves in the second innings, which started before lunch. LEEWARDS TRAIL BY 119 RUNS A carefully compiled 57 from Cruickshank, an aggressive 58 from Bonner and three half-century partnerships scripted a solid second-innings response. A stubborn opening stand of 50 between Peters (39) and Shane Jeffers (31) was an early indication that Leewards had not yet thrown in the towel. Jeffers was severe on Ronsford Beaten, but the Guyanese pacer got his revenge by uprooting his stump to end the opening stand. Cruickshank batted for 11 minutes, faced 83 balls and scored nine fours before he was trapped lbw to Motie. He and Peters consolidated with a second-wicket stand of 65. Bonner, who has already hit nine fours and a six for his unbeaten 58, and Orlando Peters, 25 not out, have already compiled 80 runs for the third wicket.last_img read more

Cameron positive about WICB rebranding, commercialisation

first_imgHead of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Dave Cameron, is hoping that the creation of a new commercial entity for the regional body will over time transform its economic fortunes. The entity, which, according to Cameron, is to be filled with suitable and qualified individuals, will, among other things, seek to implement income-generating activities, including the acquisition of sponsorships and the striking of television broadcast deals. “We have just created a new commercial arm of the WICB and have hired Pitch International,” says Cameron. “The real aim of this is to ensure that we move away from the sociopolitical issues we have at the WICB and have a company that is fully geared at commercialising West Indies cricket.” He added: “We have also changed the name of the WICB – again, too much (negative) history, and baggage – to Cricket West Indies.” Cricket West Indies, Cameron said, is to largely focus on governance and management-related issues. The organisation’s commercial arm, Cameron highlighted, will be similar to that of the International Cricket Council (ICC) which, in recent years, instituted the ICC Business Corporation to carry out its corporate functions. The Jamaican business executive, in expressing confidence about the new ventures, also said that the compilation and duties of the commercial entity will be revealed shortly. “We will not release the names at the moment, but I am sure you will hear very, very soon,” he said. Meanwhile, reporting on the financial state of the WICB, Cameron said the organisation, for the first time in a while, has realised a US$3.5m surplus, and the hope is that this trend will continue. “As of September 30, 2015, the WICB has recorded a surplus in excess of three-and-a-half million US dollars, unaudited,” he said. “This is the first time, I can remember, that we have ever done that.”last_img read more

Taylor fails twice but Thunder are on top

first_imgHOBART, Tasmania (CMC):West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor suffered a rare double failure with the bat, but her Sydney Thunder did enough to win twice in the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League here yesterday.In the first game of a doubleheader at the Kingston Twin Ovals, Thunder beat Brisbane Heat by five wickets in the first game and returned to defeat Hobart Hurricanes by eight runs in a night encounter.Both Thunder and Hurricanes sit top of the standings on 14 points with identical 7-2 records, but Thunder hold the edge courtesy of net run rate. Chasing an uncomplicated 95 for victory against Heat, Taylor was dismissed for a first-ball ‘duck’ as the visitors stumbled to 20 for three in the fifth over.However, Naomi Stalenburg stroked 42 and captain Alex Blackwell an unbeaten 32 in a 60-run fourth-wicket partnership which rescued the innings.Heat had earlier fallen for 94 all out off their 20 overs, with 19-year-old left-arm spinner Maisy Gibson taking three for 14.Taylor claimed one wicket for six runs from two overs of off-spin.In the second game at Bellerive Oval, Taylor managed just eight as Thunder reached 135 for seven off their 20 overs after opting to bat first.Stalenburg was again among the runs with a cavalier 37 off 16 deliveries, including five fours and two sixes.In reply, Hurricanes were restricted to 127 for eight off their 20 overs, with Taylor’s West Indies teammate Hayley Matthews scoring 11.Captain Heather Knight top-scored with 26.Taylor produced a crucial spell, picking up two for 27 from four overs, to help cripple the Hurricanes run chase.last_img read more

JCSA moves for dissolution of INSPORTS board

first_imgJamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA) First Vice-President Robert Chung says it is moving for a dissolution of the board of directors at the Don Anderson-led Institute of Sports (INSPORTS).Chung says the INSPORTS board’s refusal to restore administrative director Ian Andrews’ signing power, despite instructions from the permanent secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Finance, plus continued breaches in the said matter, has forced its hand, and it has started putting its case together.He also said the board is yet to provide any evidence of wrongdoing by Andrews, whose authority was unconstitutionally downgraded.”We have started to put together our case that the Government dissolves the board. There is nothing else we can do as a union, but put forward our case to say these are the things that we are seeing and that they are in breach of the public-sector governance, so we are asking that the board be dissolved and a new board put in place because something has to give,” Chung informed The Gleaner.”There will be review of the material this Friday … . We have to cross the t’s and dot the i’s when it comes to the legal requirements,” he noted. “It takes a little time to do that, maybe another week, as we have to be sure of what we are doing, as we are not making any mistakes. We have solid grounds and the Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA) does not move until we have solid grounds,” he stated.INSPORTS is in a bind because of the impasse.Staff and creditors of the government-run agency are being significantly impacted as health benefits and personal deductions for staff, which have been signed by Andrews, are not being co-signed by Anderson or any other board member.Also, some creditors who have rendered services in various sports development programmes carried out by the government organisation cannot be paid, as Anderson refuses to co-sign the cheques with the administrative director.compensationOnly recently, one creditor, Edward Cooke, filed for compensation by the agency through his lawyer, for monies ($619,000) owed by INSPORTS.In separate interviews pertaining to both issues, Anderson declined to comment directly, noting that he would be careful in his assessment.In the meantime, Chung said the board has stepped out of bounds.”… We are seeing that the board is doing some things that are in breach of government policy in dealing with public entities and there is nothing before for us to represent him (Andrews) on. And a public entity (INSPORTS) is not able to function properly and give the Jamaican people what they are paying for,” he divulged.”Here is an organisation that is supposed to develop sports at the grassroots level … because Jamaica is doing very well in sports and we want to be able to continue that and the only way we can continue that is to have an organisation like this (INSPORTS) performing effectively and efficiently.”This (board’s action) is killing the tree from the root,” he said.last_img read more

Cause for celebrations and concern

first_imgThe Carifta Games are still as right for the young track and field athletes of the region as they were first staged in 1972. As seen last weekend, Carifta still gives the future stars of Caribbean track and field their first experience of international competition. It’s an invaluable first step on the way to the top.For so many, including the dominant Jamaican teams, it’s a maiden voyage into competition beyond their own shores into airline travel, different cuisine and unfamiliar stadia. It was a master stroke when the Barbadian Austin Sealyformulated the event in 1972. Now, as it was then, it’s like international competition 101.The Carifta Games also presents data for regional track and field administrators to learn from. While the sprints in both the Under-18 and Under-20 age categories had enough entries to require a preliminary round, that wasn’t the case in other events. While that wouldn’t be a surprise in the 1500m, 3000m and 5000m, there were no heats in the girls’ Under-20 800 metres, the 4x100m and 4x400m for boys and girls in both the Under-18 and Under-20 categories and in most of the hurdling events.Five girls faced the starter in the 400-metre hurdles for Under-18 girls, with four in the Under-20 version. This is startling, given the bright history in a discipline where Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados have produced high-class exponents. It was worse among the boys, with the corresponding numbers being five and three. Here the region has recently produced champions like Jehue Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago and Bahamian Jeffery Gibson.Four girls came to the blocks in the Under-20 100-metre hurdles and five young men came to contest the Under-20 110m hurdles.In the field, only three girls are listed as participants in the Under-20 high jump. This is in contrast to an apparent Caribbean upswing in the event. Just last year, Levern Spencer won this event at the Pan-American Games, with her St Lucian compatriot, Jeanelle Schepper, taking the NCAA title for the University of South Carolina. Earlier in March, the Barbadian Akela Jones cleared 1.98 metres in the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) indoors as part of the heptathlon. Jones also won the individual high jump as well.If those numbers represent ongoing trends, and in many cases they do, then the region has lots of work to do.Jamaica may be able to take care of itself. Thanks to the ISSA Boys and Girls’ Championships, our high schools pursue excellence in a wide range of athletic disciplines. Even here, there are long running weak spots in the jumps, throws and middle and long distance disciplines. The rest of the region doesn’t have Champs and needs help to spark development. Some, like St Vincent and the Grenadines, don’t even have a synthetic running track.Maybe that’s why Jamaica is becoming attractive to junior athletes from the region. They can’t wait until development comes to their island home. So they instead come to the place where, because of Champs, development is far more advanced. It’s a fair guess that they will keep on coming.n HUBERT LAWRENCE has made notes at track side since 1980.last_img read more

Hi-five for Jamaica athletes

first_imgThere were five wins for Jamaican athletes at the Jamaica International Invitational (JII) meet at the National Stadium on Saturday night, with the Stephen Francis-coached Janieve Russell and Elaine Thompson leading the way with big wins, while there were also wins for Kemar Bailey-Cole, Asafa Powell, and Javon Francis.There were also top-three finishes for Jamaican females Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby, Novlene Williams-Mills, Danielle Williams, and Stephenie-Ann McPherson.A finalist in the women’s 400 metres hurdles at last year’s World Championships in Beijing, China, Russell ran a well-controlled race and hit top form in the latter stages to get by early leader Leah Nugent of the United States, to win in a personal best of 54.61 seconds, the second-fastest time this season. Ristananna Tracey finished strongly for second in a season best 55.31 seconds, while Nugent was third in 56.24.”I am feeling extremely happy after my performance, knowing that I did a PR so early in the season, and this has set the tone for the rest of the season. (The) fast time was not on my mind as I ran to the instructions of my coach, to take it easy, as I went out a bit slow and finished strong at the end as the objective was to finish among the top three, and this is telling me and Jamaica that something special will happen this year as for the first time, I am running injury-free early, and I am very excited,” said Russell.Thompson, the World Championships 200m silver medallist, defended her JII 100m title with a big performance, clocking a wind-aided 10.71 seconds (+2.4 metres per second wind reading). American English Gardner was second in 10.85 seconds, with third going to Trinidad and Tobago, Michelle Lee-Ahye, in 10.98 seconds.Defending champion Shaunae Miller of The Bahamas, the world leader in the women’s 400m, cantered away from rivals to win the 200m in 22.14 seconds (+2.2 mps), with McLaughlin-Whilby second in 22.70, and the United States’ Shalonda Solomon third in 22.80 seconds.NO START FOR SHELLYJamaica’s World and Olympic champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who was expected to compete, did not start in the event.Billed as the female race of the meet, the women’s 400 did not disappoint. It was close going all the way before 2014 winner and last year’s second-place finisher Francena McCorory of the United States won in 50.52 ahead of Williams-Mills, 50.87, while McPherson placed third in 51.20.Competing in her first race at home since winning the 100m hurdles World title a year ago, Williams, in a blanket finish, was nipped for third in 12.55 seconds. The United States pair of Brianna Rollins, 12.52 and Queen Harrison (12.54) took first and second, respectively.Among the men, Bailey-Cole, who was missing from the track most of last year due to injury, won a close 100m in 10.01 seconds. The United States’ Mike Rodgers was second in 10.03, with local Julian Forte third in 10.06.”I am happy going into the Trials this year as I didn’t have a win on my mind as I just came out to see where I am because of the hamstring injury I had, but definitely, this win has really boosted my confidence for the remainder of the season,” said Bailey-Cole.Powell led from the start and took the men’s 200 metres in 20.45 seconds.Beejay Lee of the United States was second in 20.52, the same time done by third-place Jamaican Rasheed Dwyer.Francis closed the show by winning the men’s 400m in a season best 44.85 seconds, getting the better of Vernon Norwood of the United States (45.00) and Kevin Borlee of Belgium, 45.17.Earlier, there was a vintage performance from World Junior 400m hurdles champion Jaheel Hyde. He upstaged his more senior rivals, only to be edged out by Bahamian Jeffrey Gibson (48.96).Hyde clocked a season best 49.16 seconds, with experienced American Bershawn Jackson third in 49.29 seconds.- R. G.last_img read more

‘I know I can get better’ – VCB seeks improvements as she focuses on 2017

first_img MAIN FOCUS Despite an endearing career which began with gold medals at the World Youth Championships in1999, eight-time Olympic medallist Veronica Campbell-Brown maintains a hunger to keep improving. The veteran athlete, though failing to win an individual medal at the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil, has no plans to quit just yet. “Not right now,” she said when asked about retirement. “I am focusing on 2017. After 2017, I will re-evaluate and see. I am taking it one year at a time,” said the decorated sprinter. “Right now, my main focus is staying healthy and training hard and preparing for next season. I am just taking it one day at a time and just push myself as hard as I can, and just hope for a great 2017,” she told The Gleaner at a ceremony for the country’s Olympic and Paralympics athletes at the National Indoor Sports Centre last Saturday night. Ahead of next year’s IAAF World Championships, Campbell-Brown, a three-time World champion, is taking things step by step. “The first step is to make the Jamaican team, so that is my main focus, then go from there,” stressed Campbell-Brown, who is coached by her husband, Omar Brown, who was also her schoolmate at Vere Technical. “We know each other since high school, and so he understands me well and I understand him well, so it’s working out well,” she reasoned. The 34-year-old athlete holds personal bests of 10.76 seconds in the 100m and 21.74 seconds for the 200m. “I know I can get better, I don’t know what God has in store and He has been directing my path. I just need to take care of what I need to do; I have a lot of things to improve on as an athlete,” she pointed out. “Although I have been doing this for so long, I still have stuff that I see I can improve on and if I can really get those things done then I can do better,” she said. The athlete, who has numerous accolades and titles, is the second woman in history to win two consecutive Olympic 200m events after Barbel Wockel of Germany. “Last year overall was a good year. I can’t complain, I have to give thanks for everything. “I just know I have a lot of things to work on going forward, and that is always good when you finish your season and know that you have stuff to improve and to improve performances,” Campbell-Brown summarised. She added that she started last season well, but hit some roadblocks. She intends to get back to the top of her game soon. “I didn’t get the result I wanted, but that’s why I say it’s a good place to start and know exactly how to take care of things to move forward,” she emphasised. Meanwhile, Campbell-Brown who will be one of four athletes including to be honoured with statues at the National Stadium over the next two years, said she is elated. “That’s awesome, that is an extraordinary accomplishment. I give God all the glory for that, and I thank all the people for making it possible, all those who have supported me over the years and seen it fit for me to be honoured in that way,” she explained. The other athletes who will be recognised with statues are Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Asafa Powell.last_img read more

City get the better of Arsenal

first_imgMANCHESTER, England (AP): Raheem Sterling capped a rousing second-half comeback by Manchester City with the winning goal as Arsenal squandered a lead to lose 2-1 for the second time in five days in the English Premier League on yesterday. The England winger collected Kevin De Bruyne’s sensational cross-field pass before cutting inside and driving home a low finish in the 71st minute at Etihad Stadium. Arsenal led through Theo Walcott’s fifth-minute strike – another goal that raised questions about City’s defensive frailties – before Leroy Sane equalised in the 47th with his first goal for City. While City moved back to within seven points of first-place Chelsea, Arsenal dropped nine points off the leaders at the end of a week in which Arsene Wenger’s team also lost after being 1-0 up at Everton on Tuesday. “We were caught cold in the second half and we dropped physically,” Wenger said. City have reacted to a 4-2 loss at Leicester last weekend, which led to fierce criticism of coach Pep Guardiola’s tactics, with two wins this week to revive the team’s title challenge. Guardiola’s side dominated the second half after playing it without a recognised striker, with Raheem Sterling – a winger who was up front in the first half – was sent out to the right flank. LOOKING UP With Fernandinho back from a three-match suspension next week against Hull, Sergio Aguero only banned for one more game and Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus joining in January, things are looking up for City again. “The victories give a lot of confidence in the mind of the players in what we are trying to do,” Guardiola said. “I am so happy for the fans. They stayed until the 94th minute, normally they go with 10 minutes left.” What will concern Guardiola, though, was the manner in which his defence was opened by Arsenal for Walcott’s goal. Hector Bellerin was allowed to power up the field unchallenged from right back and pass the ball to Sanchez, who had dropped deep to also find space between City defence and midfield. Sanchez’s reverse pass located Walcott between two defenders and the winger composed himself before slipping a low shot past goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. Guardiola decided not to play John Stones for the second straight game, preferring Nicolas Otamendi and Aleksandar Kolarov at centre back; and City were often too open in defence, while their build-up play was slow from the central midfield in the first half. It was a different story after half-time, with Arsenal unable to pick up City’s floating midfielders. One of them, Silva, clipped a first-time pass over the top for Sane – who may have been slightly offside – to race clear and sidefoot home for a first goal in his 13th appearance for City. Sane was denied in a one-on-one opportunity by Petr Cech, who tipped aside De Bruyne’s deflected shot. De Bruyne was growing in influence and it was his stunning pass that set up the winner. Guardiola praised the “quality and the vision from Kevin to make an exceptional pass. “Seven points is still a huge distance from a team who made 11 wins in a row,” Guardiola said, referring to Chelsea. “(We need to) be there as much as possible and wait for the opponent to fail.”last_img read more