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Time change this week

first_imgIt is that time of year where we “Spring forward” and move our clocks ahead one hour.  Daylight Savings time makes its changes at 2 am this Sunday, March 8.last_img

Hazard puts Blues on brink of title

first_imgChelsea have one hand on the Barclays Premier League title after Eden Hazard knocked Manchester United out of the reckoning in the leaders’ 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge. Jose Mourinho’s third Premier League title and Chelsea’s first for five years could be just 11 days away after Hazard’s 38th-minute strike sent the Blues 10 points clear of second-placed Arsenal. Mourinho has taken a game-by-game approach to the season and will refuse to get ahead of himself, but win at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday week and Chelsea could be crowned champions at Leicester three days later. Arsenal would have five games to play, but the Blues would have an unassailable 16-point lead and clinch the self-proclaimed Special One’s third English championship following his successes in 2005 and 2006. United, who began the day eight points behind, dominated the opening period, but their only chance of note saw Wayne Rooney shoot narrowly wide. Hazard then showed why he is favourite for the PFA Player of the Year prize, netting his 18th goal of the season on the counter-attack following Oscar’s fine flick. The strike, seven minutes before half-time, shifted the momentum of the contest in Chelsea’s favour. Juan Mata has been influential in recent weeks, but he was unable to inspire United on his first return to his old stomping ground. Kurt Zouma, meanwhile, fully justified his inclusion in midfield in combating the considerable threat of Marouane Fellaini. United had reason to feel aggrieved when Ander Herrera was booked for diving when tripped by Gary Cahill in stoppage time. Referee Mike Dean ignored United’s penalty appeals and Mourinho and Chelsea were able to celebrate a significant triumph. Press Association Rooney started in central midfield to accommodate Radamel Falcao as one of three changes for injury-depleted United, while Chelsea made two changes following the win at QPR, with Zouma and Oscar coming in. Loic Remy was unable to return from his calf problem and Diego Costa (hamstring) is at least a week away from a comeback, so Didier Drogba continued up front for the Blues. With Herrera dictating play in holding midfield and Luke Shaw racing up the left, United penned Chelsea back in their own half and appeared not to miss Michael Carrick (calf) and Daley Blind (ankle). It was Chelsea who appeared to miss their absentees most early on and the visiting fans and goalkeeper David de Gea thought Rooney had scored from Shaw’s cut-back, but the ball veered narrowly wide before rippling the net from behind. United’s start was strong enough for their central defenders to wander forward, with Chris Smalling strolling into midfield before a wild pass and Paddy McNair – in for Phil Jones (ankle) – forcing a corner from his shot. Chelsea were playing on the counter, but Drogba’s pass towards Hazard, who was in a promising position, was intercepted. De Gea met a hopeful cross with his fist on the edge of the area, with the goalkeeper given the benefit of the doubt. The next contentious decision went Chelsea’s way as John Terry tackled Falcao, who had his back to goal. The ball went to Cesc Fabregas down the left and the masked playmaker fed Oscar, who exquisitely back-heeled the ball to Hazard. The Belgium forward surged into the left side of the area before slotting the ball under De Gea. United boss Louis van Gaal made his displeasure known to fourth official Craig Pawson, but his complaints fell on deaf ears and Chelsea were transformed from submissive to dominant, epitomised by another physical challenge from Terry on Falcao. Chelsea and Hazard came close to a second when Herrera gifted the ball to Nemanja Matic. Matic’s through ball released Drogba, who held off Smalling to get a shot away which De Gea saved. Hazard tried to acrobatically flick it in from an acute angle, but it hit the post. Another McNair shot from 25 yards was deflected and saved by Thibaut Courtois and Mata next went close from Shaw’s cross. Cahill blocked from Falcao, who had fired just wide, before United made changes in attack, with Mata and Ashley Young replaced by Adnan Januzaj and Angel di Maria. Falcao got behind Zouma to latch on to Shaw’s pass and struck the outside of the post. Herrera then went over just inside the box, with Cahill complaining. Rooney was among the United players to express his displeasure towards Dean, but the official ruled in Chelsea’s favour as the Blues moved within reach of the title. last_img read more

Practice places focus on limiting two impact players

first_imgRedshirt sophomore running back Vavae Malepeai is on track to surpass his 2017 season rushing yard total. (Tucker Judkins | Daily Trojan)USC took the practice field Wednesday ahead of Saturday’s matchup with No. 19 Colorado with two Buffaloes in mind: junior quarterback Steven Montez and sophomore wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr.Montez is a model of efficiency, as proven by his 11:2 touchdown to interception ratio this season. He has completed 75.2 percent of his passes, good for second in the nation despite attempting more passes than anyone else in the top five. The third-year starter doesn’t only rely on short passes either; his 9.3 yards per attempt ranks 14th in the FBS.“Now he’s been in the system for a little bit, you can really see his maturity within the offense,” defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast said. “He can make all the throws, and he makes a lot of plays with his feet as well.”Unlike Montez, Shenault came into 2018 as a relatively unknown player, but he’s made a name for himself early this season. He ranks third in the country in both receptions and yards — 51 and 708, respectively — and has added six receiving touchdowns. Shenault is a multifaceted threat, reflected in his four rushing touchdowns in just five games. His 749 total yards from scrimmage rank 11th in the nation, partially a result of a creative Colorado offense.“They line him up in a lot of different spots, they do a really nice job of covering him up,” Pendergast said. “I think the most impressive thing offensively that they do is multiplicity within their formations, and he’s a big part of that.”Coming off a 13-reception, 127-yard performance against Arizona State that featured four total touchdowns and earned him Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week, the Trojans will be hard-pressed to limit Shenault.Part of the Buffaloes’ offensive creativity comes from their use of trick plays and wildcat formations. Trick plays have burned the Trojans at times this year, most notably on a 71-yard touchdown run from UNLV during Week 1.“We just have to play with good eye discipline and control, and play them when they come,” Pendergast said. “They’ve got a really good package of trick plays, and they use multiple people in [them].”Although the calls may seem like a gimmick, players have full confidence in their coaches’ play-calling.“It’s a lot of eye candy no doubt, but coach [Pendergast] just says ‘keep your eyes on your luggage,’” freshman safety Talanoa Hufanga said. “We need to see where our guy goes, and make sure that we follow up. When the ball crosses the line of scrimmage, that’s when we know we have to attack.” Wednesday’s practice featured an emphasis on third down, which Helton said would be crucial against a talented offense like Colorado’s, especially with Montez’s ability to create outside the pocket at 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds.“You look at what he’s doing right now, escaping and creating, and not only running the ball and pulling it down, but actually finding his receivers,” Helton said. “We’re going to need to contain him and get off the field.”That also applied to the other side of the ball; Helton said that Colorado brings a variety of pressures on third down, and that protecting freshman quarterback JT Daniels could be a deciding factor.After a sloppy start to the season, the Trojans are looking to prove themselves in a matchup with a ranked team under the Coliseum lights.“We’re trying to get back to that Pac-12 Championship [game],” redshirt senior cornerback Ajene Harris said. “Every game is important, and we’re all aware of that. We’re just ready to compete.”Injury updateSophomore running back Stephen Carr did not attend practice due to a stomach illness. The staff held out redshirt senior center Toa Lobendahn with back spasms. Senior linebacker Porter Gustin is expected to be at full strength Saturday after recovering from an ankle injury.Senior linebacker Cam Smith left practice early with a tight hamstring. Helton said it was nothing serious, just a preventative measure. The staff also pulled Brandon Pili after the sophomore defensive lineman had his toe stepped on. Helton said they would get an X-ray as a precaution.last_img read more

Rio probe puts IOC back under Olympics corruption spotlight

first_imgLausanne, Switzerland | AFP |  The Rio 2016 cash-for-votes inquiry in Brazil has placed the International Olympic Committee under a fresh cloud of corruption less than a week before it is due to award the 2024 Games to Paris.Almost two decades after its image took a battering with the Salt Lake City 2002 bribery affair the IOC finds itself at the centre of a new scandal.It centres on Brazil’s Olympics chief, Carlos Nuzman, who Brazilian officials on Tuesday accused of being the “lynchpin” in a plot to bribe the IOC into awarding Rio de Janeiro last year’s Games.Former IOC member Nuzman was taken in for questioning with his passport confiscated and his house searched.Brazilian police say they are probing “an international corruption scheme” aimed at “the buying of votes for the election of (Rio) by the International Olympic Committee as the venue for the 2016 Olympics.”Rio won the right to hold South America’s first Olympics, beating off competition from Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago at a 2009 IOC Congress in Copenhagen.An arrest warrant was issued for Arthur Soares, a businessman who won lucrative pre-Olympics contracts from Rio’s government.One of his former associates was arrested in Rio and 11 properties were subjected to search and seizure raids. One of them was in Paris, French authorities said.Prosecutor Fabiana Schneider told a press conference that Soares, known in Brazil as “King Arthur,” allegedly bribed the son of disgraced Senegalese IOC member Lamine Diack before the 2009 vote in Denmark.Diack, who was head of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) at the time, had considerable influence over African votes on the IOC.Nuzman, Schneider said, had been the “lynchpin” between Soares and the son, Papa Massata Diack.– Credibility at risk –One seasoned Olympic observer told AFP on Wednesday the dramatic developments in Rio could prove a disaster for the IOC, depending on how the police inquiry evolved.“The IOC can currently defend that it was the action of a rogue group masterminded by the Diack family,” said Patrick Nally, the Briton who founded the IOC’s ‘TOP’ sponsorship programme. Share on: WhatsApp If however other IOC members are outed by having received similar payments from the Diack pot, and the claimed action regarding the Tokyo vote is evidenced, the IOC credibility will be in “tatters” as it will be going in the same direction as FIFA, with Salt Lake being seen as a mere “plaster over the cracks”, he went on to warn.“Taking Nuzmann down is one thing as it characterises that all the issues are Brazilian issues, naming more IOC members changes the matter significantly, but will the French with their Olympic trophy have the appetite to go further?”The IOC appeared to be taken by surprise by news of the extensive Brazilian police operation on Tuesday.“The IOC has learned about these circumstances from the media and is making every effort to get the full information,” an IOC spokesman said at the organisation’s headquarters in Lausanne.“It is in the highest interests of the IOC to get clarification on this matter.”Brazilian investigators have worked closely with a similar French probe into the vote buying and French officials, including well-known anti-corruption judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke, attended the raid on Nuzman’s home.A lawyer for Nuzman, Sergio Mazzillo, said his client “says he did not act in an irregular way, that he did nothing wrong during the campaign.”The charges swirling around Rio’s bid revive memories of the bribery scandal attached to the designation of Salt Lake City as the venue for the 2002 Winter Games.That led to 20 IOC members being either kicked out of the Olympics’ ruling body or pleading guilty to accepting bribes for votes.That affair led to the IOC rewriting the rule book on how it went out about awarding future Games.“Protecting the integrity of the candidacy process remains of the highest interest to the IOC as does identifying and punishing any infraction,” the IOC recalled this week.The IOC meets in Lima, Peru on September 13 to officially unveil Paris as the hosts of the 2024 Games with Los Angeles set to be attributed the 2028 Olympics.last_img read more