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New Era Newspaper Thursday April 12, 2018

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22 SPORT Thursday, April 12 2018 | NEW ERA ‘No-one expected painful Barca defeat’ Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta was struggling to accept his side’s shock 3-0 defeat at AS Roma which knocked them out of the Champions League on away goals on Tuesday, while Sergio Busquets called the elimination the worst moment of his career. Barca’s passage into the semifinals looked assured 4-1 but they gave their worst performance this season at the Olympic Stadium and went out to goals by Edin Dzeko, a Daniele De Rossi penalty and a Kostas Manolas header. “It’s painful because no one expected this after the advantage we had but you realise what the reality of the Champions League is like when you do things badly, when you make lots of errors, when you don’t adapt to the game,” a visibly distraught Iniesta told reporters. The defeat saw Barca knocked out of the Champions for the third season in a row and derailed their hopes of winning the treble. elimination because we had a lot of hope for this season and once again it (the Champions League) has escaped us,” the “It’s a very big disappointment after the great season we have had. Right now we feel awful.” The Barca captain has hinted he may leave his lifelong club at the end of the season and move to the Chinese Super League which he said “makes this hurt even more”. Busquets was even more scathing than Iniesta in his criticism of the performance. “It’s a very tough night, a sad night and one to forget, we need to apologise to the fans for how we have fallen,” the “This is the toughest blow I’ve received in the whole time I’ve been at Barca because of how it happened.” F i v e - t i m e E u r o p e a n champions Barcelona were also stage last season at Juventus. “I would be lying if I said we could use this as a learning experience because last year we went out in a similar way,” added Busquets. “Our results in Europe in the last two years have been very bad, we have to change things if we want to win the Champions League again.” – Harm done… Andres Iniesta (right) was left hurt by Barcelona’s Champions League exit. Pep blasts referee as City crash out Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola blasted Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz and lamented decisions that cost his side dear after a 2-1 home defeat by Liverpool on Tuesday sealed a 5-1 aggregate champions. Guardiola was forced to watch the second half from the stands after being sent off for his protestations at the break as free-spending City’s dreams of conquering the were dashed for another season. City led 1-0 on the night at that stage after Gabriel Jesus’s secondminute opener, but the hosts felt aggrieved after Leroy Sane had a second goal wrongly disallowed for offside just before halftime. “It’s different to go in 1-0 at halftime to 2-0,” said Guardiola, who also believed Liverpool’s ruled out for offside. “When the teams are so equal the impact of these decisions is so big.” Mohamed Salah booked Liverpool’s place in the last four coolly chipped home his 39th goal of the season 11 minutes into the second half before Roberto Firmino on City for the first time in Guardiola’s near two-year reign. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed the maturity of his “The boys found a solution. We had these two or three moments it was easy for me and the boys to see the development of the game and that we are already through the whirlwind,” said Klopp. Liverpool trail City by 17 points in the Premier League, but have now beaten Guardiola’s men in three of their four meetings this season. “I really think they are the best team in the world at the moment Crying foul… Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. but I knew we could beat them,” added Klopp. “We should enjoy the moment. It was a while ago Liverpool was in the semis and I was in the semis and now we are there together.” Guardiola admitted beforehand that his side needed the “perfect” performance and the hosts got the perfect start as they opened the scoring after just 117 seconds. Liverpool were unhappy at Mateu Lahoz in what was to be the start of a controversial night for the Spaniard when Virgil van Dijk claimed he had been pushed by Raheem Sterling in the lead-up to the goal. The referee was unmoved, though, and with the Dutchman out of position, Fernandinho’s through ball found Sterling and his low cross was swept home by Jesus. Salah had been an injury doubt Liverpool were unable to spring the as City peppered the visitors’ box effort spin just wide and then rattled strike. added Guardiola. “(We) hit the post from Bernardo, but when you arrive you have to try to score the second goal.” The turning point came seconds later when Sane turned into an empty net after Loris Karius’s punch came back off his own player James Milner. at halftime to pull his protesting before embarking on his own rant at Mateu Lahoz that saw him watch the second half from the stands. City understandably failed to maintain the intensity of their decisive goal when he followed up after Ederson had denied Sadio Mane with a wonderfully-judged Nicolas Otamendi in the 56th minute. City’s terrible week after also blowing the chance to seal the Premier League title against local rivals Manchester United at the weekend was rounded off 13 minutes from time when Otamendi was caught in possession and Firmino slotted in off the far post. –Nampa/AFP

Thursday, April 12 2018 | NEW ERA SPORT 23 NCCS Pro Cycling to compete in Tour de Limpopo Focus ahead… NCCS Pro Cycling team cyclists seen here in action during a road race cycling challenge. Photo: Nampa Namibian lawn bowls team beats Zambia at Commonwealth Games WINDHOEK The Namibian women’s triples lawn bowling team won their last group match at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Queensland, Australia, after beating Zambia 19-9 on Wednesday. The team was grouped in Section B with New Zealand, Wales, Jersey and Zambia. The Na- triples match at the competition against their neighbours Zambia to with three points, having previously lost all their other group matches against New Zealand, Wales and Jersey. The women’s team consisted of Lesley Vermeulen, Sheena du Toit and Johanna van den Bergh. Meanwhile, the men’s fours sectional play team consisting of Graham Snyman, Carel Olivier, Douw Calitz and Willem Esterhuizen lost their last sectional match against Malaysia 11-14 also on Wednesday. They are currently third in the group with three points. Malaysia are top with nine points and Northern Ireland second also on nine points. Canada and Niue make up the other members of the group. Team Namibia is competing in boxing, cycling, gymnastics, Para-sports and triathlon at the games which are taking place between 4-15 April. – Nampa WINDHOEK The NCCS Pro Cycling team is ready compete in the inaugural four-day 2018 Tour de Limpopo in South Africa from 22 to 26 April. The race, which will be held in stages, will comprise the International Cycling Union (UCI) Africa Tour 2.2 stage elite race and a veteran’s tour that will follow the same routes as the elite race. The race is expected to start in the capital city of Polokwane, heading east to the town of Tzaneen, covering a total distance of 427,6 kilometre (km) with big climbs expected during the stages. Jacob Kiyola, NCCS Pro Cycling’s principal and communications manager, told Nampa on Tuesday that competing in the race will help their riders gain the muchneeded experience of international competitions as well as get UCI points, which will help them when qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. “We have been invited to the Tour de Limpopo by the organisers and for this year. As a team, we want to see how well we can compete with the best teams in South Africa,” Kiyola said. He added that they have assembled a team of riders from their stable and other teams because they want to expose the riders to greater competition, which will help them grow as riders. “Our goal while in Limpopo is to three, in the team events,” he said, adding that he is also hoping to have some of their riders in the top 10 of the individual riders’ general clas- NCCS Pro Cycling co-owner and manager, Ebben-Ezer Iita stated that the level of cycling in Namibia is at a lower level than that of South Africa, but their aim is to build a strong team that will, in the years to come, represent the country at international competitions. “If you look at our riders, like the upcoming ones, you can see they have the talent but lack the experience and we want to expose all these young athletes to this international competition so they can gain more experience,” said Iita. He added that the team will depart from Namibia on 19 April by road to enable them to arrive early and do some training before the competition. He added that they have learned from lessons of yesteryear when they travelled to competitions outside the country and their riders did not have enough time to train before the competition. The team will be comprised of Chipopeni Kashululu (captain), Jafet Amukushu, Marckernzy Eiseb, Xavier Renzo Papo, Danzel Dekoe and Gouws Wynandt. – Nampa

New Era

New Era Newspaper Vol 22 No 167