Paco Buyo: “That title is ours and UEFA must recognize it”

first_img-They had several days of travel.-Yes, the club took the opportunity to set us up for a Tour. First we played a friendly match in Chile and, if memory serves me right, after the game with Boca we also met River Plate before returning to Spain. And I do not forget the atmosphere of the Bombonera. For them it was like playing the Champions League final.-Did they take it seriously?-It was enough to see the faces of the players and Menotti’s protests to the referee to condition him. La Bombonera was almost bursting and they didn’t stop singing. When they went 2-0, which at the time gave them the title, they celebrated it like crazy. Fortunately, Luis Milla scored a great goal after a corner and the Cup was for us. We have that pride. There was only one edition but it was for Madrid.-Boca made them suffer.-Do not believe it. What happens is that Menotti’s famous bilge of spaces had an ally with the line judges. I remember up to three or four heads-up with their goalkeeper who invalidated us for non-existent playing. With the VAR we would have surely won that return game as well.-Well, that title is not officialized by UEFA.-Well, UEFA will watch the video of the Buenos Aires match and you will see that it was serious. Boca gave up his life because winning an international title against Real Madrid gives much international prestige. And they did not succeed because we were better, that title is ours and they must recognize it. What is not understood is that Barça recognize the Fair Cups, which at the beginning were a selection of the city with mixed Barça and Spanish players. This Ibero-American Cup must be recorded in the minutes for a sense of sports justice. We earned it on the field against a great rival.-And the following year, with Valdano as coach, they won the League after four years of drought-Yes, and we put Cruyff’s Dream Team 5-0. That League is the one we enjoy the most. Madrid should never be considered finished … Francisco Buyo (Betanzos, 13-1-1958) It was an institution in Real Madrid’s goal. With him came four of the five leagues in a row won by the Quinta del Buitre team. The start of the 90s was more complicated, but He wanted to remember with AS that Ibero-American Cup won at Boca Juniors de Menotti. -What memories do you have of that title won by Madrid?-Well, these were not easy times for us. We had already lost that League and from the Recopa we had eliminated the PSG of Ginola and Weah. We had also had the change of coach, after the dismissal of Benito Floro for that defeat in Lérida.-Uff, the one that was mounted was very famous.-Yes, it was hard for everyone. The coach paid for the broken dishes but it is clear that we had a more quality squad than the results said. Del Bosque arrived and we were comfortable working with him, but we knew he was interim because in the newspapers it had already been reported several times that the president (Ramón Mendoza) was negotiating for Jorge Valdano to be our coach for the following season.-And suddenly they are told that you have to face Boca de Menotti for a trophy called the Ibero-American Cup.-Yes, and although it was new and lacked tradition, we understood that it was an opportunity to give them a joy at the end of the course. It was May and our only chance of winning anything was that Cup. And beware, it was Boca Juniors that came from winning the Libertadores and being the best team in South America. And Menotti, with all his fame behind.-In the first leg of the Bernabéu they won 3-1 but the atmosphere was soulless.-It had rained all day and the fans were discouraged by the latest results. But when a player puts on the Real Madrid shirt all the games are transcendent. In fact we got 3-0 playing very well, with the entry of several youth players in the second half such as Morales or Fernando. But a redhead of them (MacAllister) scored a goal near the end and that made it a little difficult for us when we returned in Buenos Aires.last_img read more

Mbappé: a league of trouble

first_imgAnd since there are not two without three, there was a third public rifirrafe between the two. This, the most obvious. It was against Montpellier on February 1. PSG won 0-5, Mbappé had scored the fourth goal and in the 69th minute Tuchel replaced him with Icardi. The star again did not hide her anger at the change. The German came to grab his face to explain, but the striker did not want to know anything and ended up leaving the bench with a brief discussion. Asked about this incident, Tuchel was clear: “I am the coach, this is not tennis, this is soccer.” After this altercation, Leonardo, Parisian sports director, had to go out and organized a meeting to three to iron out rough edges. An encounter revealed by Le Parisien, which hinted that the relationship between player and coach was about to finally explode. Mbappé has the ambition to become the best player in the world and did not understand how being the jewel in the club’s crown, as they insisted the previous summer to appease him, the coach changed him on a recurring basis. A behavior that was criticized in France, accusing him of having ‘Neymarized’. The meeting between club, coach and footballer cooled spirits and served to sign a truce that lasted until the coronavirus crisis stopped the league in France and has ended up giving the title to PSG. The third league followed by Mbappé with PSG and, without a doubt, the most convulsive.Madrid, attentive and hopefulAnd while, Real Madrid remains attentive to what happens in Paris with his platonic love. Because Mbappé, 21, is the great objective of the entity of Concha Espina, who had set himself the next summer to hit the rush in the signing and continue to approach him, but that will postpone it to 2021 due to this coronavirus crisis and its effects on economies. Efforts will focus on taking crack next year, one before his contract ends (2022). PSG is aware of the scenario and knows that in Madrid they trust that the player does not renew and thus push the French club into a negotiation. But, as AS publishes this Wednesday, the French position is iron: it does not sell. Leonardo, PSG’s sports director, prefers that he leave free in 2022 rather than accept an offer in the summer of 2021, for whatever amount. A position that the player environment does not like, that continues to fulfill its part of not prolonging his contract … This background sea and an injury (he lost six games) largely conditioned the start of the league for Mbappé (a goal in the first two months), who took the pedal stroke and was reunited with his exuberant version. But in December the public friction with Tuchel began. In just three days, the star and the coach staged their differences twice. On December 4, against Nantes, the Frenchman was upset when he was replaced by Icardi in the 78th minute, with 2-0 in favor and after having scored one goal of the victory. On December 7, against Montpellier and with the victory in his pocket (1-3), Tuchel decided to remove him from the field in the 90th minute after scoring a goal and giving an assist. The player’s face reflected his discontent and again showed his anger. Tuchel approached to greet him, but Mbappé made an objection to him and did not even want to look at him … PSG was officially proclaimed champion in France on Thursday, after the FFF’s decision to end the season and use the point ratio to determine the final ranking. Third title in a row for the club chaired by Al-Khelaifi and also, therefore, for Kylian Mbappé, who also finishes as the championship’s top scorer (18 goals), tied with Ben Yedder. This title is the snap to a league that for the striker has been marked by controversy. His public disagreements with his coach, Thomas Tuchel, were frequent and evidenced a tension between the two that required the club’s intervention to put on cold cloths.The campaign started with the echo of the words that Mbappé spoke at the closing gala of the previous season, claiming more gallons in a team in which Neymar continued to monopolize the media spotlights and the pampering of Al-Khelaifi and Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, owner of the club. “I think it is time to take more responsibility. Perhaps in Paris I will be happy, but perhaps in another place also with a new project. If I talk about this again it is too much. It was the message I wanted to send “he concluded. The public complaint of one of its stars did not sit well with the club. “The players will have to do more, work more (…) They are not to please themselves. And if they don’t agree, the doors are open. Ciao! I no longer want star behaviors “, Al-Khelaifi warned in France Football. Days later, he wanted to close any open door to the controversy: “Mbappé stays at 200%.”center_img FRANCK FIFE & nbsp; (AFP) ‘); return false; “class =” item-multimedia “>Tuchel grabs Mbappé’s face, against Montpellier.FRANCK FIFE (AFP)last_img read more

Parchmnent working hard to secure gold in Rio

first_imgDespite the “unpredictable” and highly technical nature of the 110-metre hurdles, 25-year-old Hansle Parchment believes he has enough experience and confidence to upstage his main rivals and win Jamaica’s’ first-ever gold in this event at this year’s Rio Olympics in Brazil.”Everyone is potentially a medal winner, it (110m hurdles) is a very unpredictable event and anyone can win,” said Parchment, adding “very, very difficult in my discipline. Sometimes you are very relaxed and that’s when you are running faster, sometimes you tense a bit and that’s when you slow down. So it’s unpredictable.”He first crafted his hunt for supremacy with gold at the 2011 World University Games.Parchment is now Jamaica’s most successful hurdler, courtesy of an Olympic bronze medal from the 2012 London Olympics and silver at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, last year.”You don’t know when you will run fast. You just have to work on your technique and set goals each time, and go with God,” he continued.With regard to this summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he said of his target: “Gold. I am aiming for the highest, once I am healthy.”I am working really hard and I feel I can be among the top three,” he told The Gleaner.13-SECOND BARRIERThe former University of the West Indies athlete also holds a place in local history as the first Jamaican to break the magical 13-second barrier.”I am very positive, I feel good, and remaining healthy is the main aim for this season. Once I can keep healthy, I will perform very well and I am really looking towards the Olympics this year, I think it will be great for a lot of people,” Parchment said, while tipping himself to medal.Coached by the legendary Fitz Coleman, Parchment has already achieved what former outstanding Jamaican hurdles giants like Keith Gardner and Maurice Wignall before him did not.He, however, maintains not taking anything for granted.”I work tirelessly on getting my technique better each year. With this hard work that I am putting in, I want to give some really great performances this year.”last_img read more

Arnett beat MoBay United in Red Stripe Premier League

first_imgArnett Gardens FC registered a come-from-behind 2-1 victory against Montego Bay United (MBU) in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) top of the table football match at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex in Trench Town yesterday. Montego Bay took the lead when the RSPL’s leading marksman, Owayne Gordon, fired home his season high 16th goal past Arnett’s custodian, Peter Harrison, in the 21st minute. However, the home side fought back and scored twice inside two minutes. Kenniel Hyde swerved a kick from 25 yards past Romaine Bowers in goal for MBU in the 43rd minute. Then veteran striker Leon Strickland headed home in the 45th minute. MoBay United started well with some beautiful build-ups from Gordon, Dino Williams and Cory Hylton and took the lead when Williams threaded a perfect pass to Gordon, who finished off the play beautifully. However, Arnett gradually took over and scored two goals in the closing minutes of the first half for a good win that pushed them into second position on 57 points, three off leaders Portmore United (60) and ahead of MBU, on 54 points, in the race for the $1 million incentive awarded to the team that completes the preliminary stage of the league on most points. Two rounds remain. “I’m proud of the team coming from behind today (yesterday) to beat MoBay United. We also had some players out but the other players stepped up,” Jerome Waite, head coach of defending champions Arnett, told The Gleaner. The veteran coach was also confident that his team would retain the title. “We are here to retain the title,” he declared. On the other hand, MBU’s head coach, Paul ‘Tegat’ Davis who was also head coach at Arnett – had high praises for his team’s effort. “It was a pretty good game as we had seven players out. We went ahead and the players put out their best and now we will win the Premier League,” Davis, who is also a former national striker disclosed. Arnett Gardens 2 MoBay United 1 Boys’ Town 0 Humble Lion 1 Harbour View 1 FC Reno 1 Portmore United 1 Waterhouse 0 Rivoli United 0 Tivoli Gardens 1 UWI FC 1 Cavalier SC 0 Yesterday’s Resultslast_img read more

NORWICH CITY VS MAN UNITED

first_imgNORWICH (4-2-3-1)RUDDY,PINTO, MARTIN,BASSONG, OLSSON,HOWSON, O’NEIL,REDMOND, HOOLAHAN, BRADY,JEROMEUNITED (4-2-3-1)RASHFORD,MARTIAL, ROONEY,LINGARD,SCHNEIDERLIN,CARRICK,ROJO, BLIND, SMALLING, VALENCIA,DE GEANorwich are back in the relegation zone after losing 1-0 at Arsenal last Saturday and though they have a game in hand over rivals Newcastle, they trail them by two points.They face a Manchester United team bidding to finish in the top four. They drew with Leicester on Sunday but Manchester City’s defeat at Southampton means the Louis van Gaal’s men are four points behind their neighbours with a game in hand.United have scored only 19 goals away from home and need one more from either this game or next week’s trip to West Ham to avoid setting a club record. Their previous fewest number of away goals in the Premier League is 21, set last season.And they have managed just 17 wins, two short of their record fewest Premier League wins, set in the 2013-14 campaign.Norwich, though, have lost 20 league games – only relegated Aston Villa (26) have lost more. And the Canaries have lost 11 and draw two of their last 15 league games. Leaving them with a desperate fight for safety.last_img read more

Tony Becca: English FA had to punish Costa

first_img MAN AT WAR Today, in Jamaica, and as it is in the world, football is the most popular sport. It is almost everybody’s sport and, although it is not yet competitive on the international scene, it is the sport of the people. Today, football is considered the “beautiful game” all around the world. Football, however, is running the risk of not being the “beautiful game”, the sport that Matthews and company, Pele and company, Maradona and company, and Messi and company, with their swaying hips, the dip of a shoulder, their deft movements from side to side, their passing, their acceleration, and their accurate shots, turned into the “beautiful game” for all to enjoy. Nobby Styles of England attempted it in the World Cup of 1966. He roughed up Pele of Brazil so much that England’s victory will forever be marred by the memory of his assault, and particularly in the last World Cup in Brazil, Luis Suarez of Uruguay, Liverpool, and later Barcelona, was punished for violent, unprovoked, and unbecoming behaviour on the field, for conducts which are considered dangerous to opponents. Diego Costa, however, from Spain and Atletico Madrid and now of Chelsea, is gradually earning for himself a reputation, not as a striker with the skills as a footballer worthy of making defenders and goalkeepers, tremble in fear at the sight of him, but as Chelsea’s one and only hit man. Last year, in his first season with Chelsea, Costa, was welcomed, as much as possible, everywhere he played. His skills were amazing. He was quick, he controlled the ball nicely, and his shots to goal were accurate and deadly. He was strong, He stood his ground regardless. He was a team man. This season, however, he is like a changed player. He has been like a man who is unsure of himself. He plays the man instead of the ball. He goes to ground every time an opposing player passes close to him. In fact, many times, he seems to be trying to get himself fouled and, like almost every footballer these days, seeking the attention, and action, of the referee. Last week Saturday, he was a man apparently obsessed, or possessed. He seemed intent on getting someone from the opposing team sent off, and he did succeed. The match against Arsenal was a fairly rough one, and in one play, Costa and Laurent Koscielny went up for the ball, Costa had both hands all over the face of the Arsenal defender, his left hand attacking his neck, and then he chested him to the ground before the referee, Mike Dean, got involved. By that time, Gabriel Paulista of Arsenal also got involved. He and Costa had a scuffle. After they were parted, the referee had a talk with them and the play was restarted. Costa continued his antics, however. He baited Gabriel and got Gabriel to back-kick him as he close-marked him. Costa then gesticulated and pointed to the referee, and the referee came over and showed Gabriel the dreaded red card. Gabriel deserved the card for getting involved and for retaliating. That is the way of football. It seemed strange, however, that Costa, the man who started it all, the man who chested Koscielny to the ground, and the man who kept seeking the attention and the interference of the referee, got away scot-free. Once upon a time, when I was boy and cricket was king in Jamaica, football was a distant second, or third, probably behind track and field, in the pecking order. Those were the days of Stan Matthews, Alfredo Di StÈfano, and Ferenc Pusk·s, before the days of Pele, George Best, Johan Cruyff, and Franz Beckenbauer, and also before those of Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo, the maestros who transformed the once “ugly game” into “the beautiful game”. Those were the days, in Jamaica, also before the coming of men like Leighton Duncan and Winston Chung, who, in the 1960s, founded Cavalier and Santos, before the days of Neville Glanville and Russell Bell, who championed community football in Jamaica and got rid of club football, and before the days which saw the formation of teams like Elletson Flats, Duhaney Park, Rollington Town, Bull Bay, and the now forgotten House of Dread, which lasted for one season. Those were the days also of Reno, Wadadah, and Violet Kickers, Black Stars, Port Morant United, and a host of others that sprung up all over the country. There were also men like Jackie Bell and Dennis Ziadie, who, like Duncan, dreamed of Jamaica’s participation in the World Cup of football, who believed in the Brazilian way of playing football. Jackie Bell and Ziadie, like Duncan, had many “fights” with Glanville and Russell Bell over their respective ideologies of the structure of football. Jackie Bell and Ziadie died in a motor vehicle accident in Mexico in 1986, minutes after watching their beloved Brazil in action in the World Cup finals. MOST POPULAR SPORT Costa, who looked like a man in a war instead of a football match, who looked ready to take on anyone who came in his way, never did anything worthwhile on the football pitch. It seemed as if it was his job to get under his opponents’ skin and nothing else. Although it does not help Arsenal, who went on to lose 2-0, the Football Association (FA) has rescinded the three-match ban on Gabriel and it has issued a three-match on Costa instead. That is good. Costa deserves the FA’s attention, especially after all the referees seemed unconcerned all season, and especially that Mike Dean, on Saturday, appeared to turn a blind eye on Costa and his shenanigans. Regardless of what Costa, and Chelsea’s JosÈ Mourinho, had to say about the FA’s intervention, if this had gone unpunished, if such behaviour had been allowed to continue happening and nothing was done about it, the football pitches around the world were destined to become like war zones. Costa had no right to do what he did, and he must not be allowed to undo what Matthews, Pele, Maradona (even with his “hand-of-God” behaviour), Messi, and Ronaldo have done for football, now recognised the world over as “the beautiful game”. The FA has shown that it has some teeth. As far as I know, however, Mike Dean is not blind. His faculties all are intact, and he should share the blame. He also should answer to the FA for attempting to destroy “the beautiful game”.last_img read more

St George’s drub St Jago 3-0 in ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup

first_img – Kingston College 5, Haile Selassie High 1 – St George’s College 3, St Jago 0 Group I – 1:00 p.m. Denham Town vs Innswood – 3:00 p.m. Camperdown vs Hydel Both matches will be played at the Constant Spring field. TOUGH GAME AHEAD Yesterday’s Results Having scored what could well turn out to be a contender for goal of the season in the ISSA-FLOW Manning Cup, St George’s College’s captain, Shevon Stewart, declared, “I want this Manning Cup,” following their 3-0 win over St Jago High in Group J action yesterday at the Constant Spring field. His team is now in pole position to qualify for the semi-finals, with an acid Kingston College test in their way. Should St George’s draw, they would advance, but should KC win then the compact and red-hot group could be decided on goal difference. Stewart, in the 39th minute of play, scored a thing of beauty and brilliance to break the deadlock. He piled one defender, dribbled around one, and then two, then caressed the ball past an advancing Webston Pennant in goal. The build-up started along the right side of play from a long ball from Ronaldo Watson. St Jago then went a man down when Maleke Miller received his second yellow card of the match, and subsequent marching orders for a late challenge on Alex Marshall. Marshall later made an exquisite strike, which he scooped over the advancing goalkeeper in the 79th minute to make the score 2-0. Youngster Ronaldo Watson scored his first goal of the season in the 82nd minute to round out the 3-0 scoreline and his school’s second victory over St Jago so far this season. “I am glad I picked up the scoring at this time, the time when it is needed most. I haven’t won the Manning Cup yet, and I am aiming to win this one in my final season,” Stewart told The Gleaner. He has scored 14 times this season. His head coach, Neville ‘Bertis’ Bell, said: “They came hard today, but we came to play. We now expect a tough game against Kingston College. We haven’t won a title yet, so we know there is still a whole lot of work to be done and we will do our best to reach the final.” Meanwhile, KC drubbed Haile Selassie High 5-1 in the day’s 1:00 p.m. game. Dashawn Donaldson (fourth), Rashawn McKinson (29th, 62nd) and Nathan Jones (45th, 48th) scored for KC, while Hamish Smith scored Haile Selassie’s consolation. Today’s gameslast_img read more

WI Women urged to improve fielding

first_imgDURBAN, South Africa (CMC):Assistant coach Ezra Moseley, has said that West Indies Women need to improve heading into the Twenty20 series against South Africa, despite winning the just concluded one-day international series.The Caribbean side beat the Proteas Women 2-1 in the three-match series in East London, but Moseley said that the performance was not up to their usual standards and pointed to the fielding as one area that needed enhancing.”It’s always good to win a series away from home although in my opinion, I don’t think we played to the best of our ability,” the former West Indies seamer said.”I was satisfied because it’s always nice to win, but we left Barbados saying we were going to look to win all three, but there were things that happened along the way. We had the captain (Stafanie Taylor) getting injured for the last game, and also the Knight sisters (Kyshona and Kycia) were out for most of the series and only Kyshona played.”We were happy in the end to win 2-1, but there are certain areas we need to brush up on. Our fielding during the tournament was not up to good standards, so that is something we have to work on going forward into the T20s and also into the World Cup.”West Indies Women will turn their attention to the three-match T20 series, which bowls off at Kingsmead today.last_img read more

Campbell boosts Scorpions ahead of tough clash

first_img It also put Jamaica to within a point of qualification of the semi-finals, with two return-leg group matches to go. Their next matchup will be today against the Pride, who defeated them in their first meeting with their final group game being against ICC Americas. Campbell, who at the start of the tournament was struggling with the bat while opening, the innings, but after three matches was pushed down the order to number six, in identifying where the team came up well, pointed to their efforts in the field. “We just stuck with our plans as we weren’t necessarily getting quick wickets, and it turned around the game.” Campbell, who is also vice-captain of the team, in the meanwhile, was happy with his returns and said that he was looking forward to their next match. “I am very happy with my performance. It has been going well as this is my third innings at number six, and I have got two good scores. I even wanted to be at the end, but unfortunately, that did not happen. But the contribution was good enough.” He added: “I also thought we bowled really well. Jerome Taylor and all the guys. It was a very good effort. We have Barbados next, and definitely, that will be a tough game. We just need to continue to stick to our plans.” SCOREBOARD JAGUARS A Fudadin run out 57 R Chandrika run out 13 R Reifer c Taylor b Campbell 54 *L Johnson c Powell b McCarthy 3 S Chanderpaul c Taylor b Campbell 17 C Barnwell lbw b Campbell 0 S Jacobs st Walton b Campbell 4 +A Bramble c Miller b Powell 39 V Permaul c wkp Walton b Taylor 30 D Bishoo run out 0 R Beaton not out 1 Extras: (lb6, w11) 17 TOTAL: (all out, 49.4 overs) 235 Fall of wickets: 1-34, 2-124, 3-129, 4-147, 5-147, 6-164, 7-165, 8-224, 9-226, 10-235. Bowling: Taylor 10-1-44-1 (w3), Leveridge 6-2-26-0 (w2), Powell 6-0-32-1 (w2), Jacobs 2-0-14-0 (w1), Miller 10-0-55-0, Campbell 10-0-43-4 (w3), McCarthy 5-0-15-1. Result: Scorpions won by 20 runs. Man-of-the-Match: John Campbell. Extras: (lb4, w13) 17 TOTAL: (all out, 49.4 overs) 255 Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-39, 3-129, 4-154, 5-182, 6-229, 7-239, 8-245, 9-254, 10-255. Bowling: Reifer 8.4-1-38-4 (w4), Beaton 8-1-33-2 (w5), Jacobs 8-0-54-0, Permaul 8-0-44-0, Bishoo 7-0-37-0, Barnwell 10-0-45-2 (w4). Man-of-the-Match, batsman John Campbell, has described Jamaica Scorpions’ victory over Guyana Jaguars in return-leg action of the WICB Regional Super50 as a major boost in their quest to qualify for the semi-finals of the tournament. Jamaica led by 42, and a four-wicket haul from Campbell defeated Guyana by 20 runs in the contest, which was played at Kensington Oval. Electing to bat, the Scorpions first posted 255, with Campbell playing second fiddle to United States-native, opener Steven Taylor, who got 86, and AndrÈ McCarthy, who made 45. The Robert Samuels-coached unit then returned to limit Guyana to 235, with Campbell, bowling part-time off-spin, getting good support from fellow part-timer, McCarthy, one for 15 off five overs, and all-rounder Rovman Powell, one for 32 off 6.4. “It’s a big boost for us beating Guyana twice,” stated Campbell. “It was a crucial win as basically, it could be described as a final whereby we knew that if we had won, we would have all but knocked them out of the semi-finals.” The victory, which was Jamaica’s fourth in six outings with the other two ending in defeats, also maintained their position of second in Group B behind tournament co-hosts Barbados Pride. CLOSE TO QUALIFICATION SCORPIONS +C Walton c Jacobs b Reifer 6 S Taylor run out 86 J Blackwood c Jacobs b Reifer 5 A McCarthy c Beaton b Barnwell 45 D Thomas c Bishoo b Barnwell 17 J Campbell run out 42 R Powell c Jacobs b Beaton 24 D Jacobs c (sub) Hetmyer b Beaton 3 J Taylor b Reifer 8 *N Miller c and b Reifer 1 R Leveridge not out 1last_img read more

Sharapova makes first US match appearance since drug ban

first_img787 earthquakes recorded in 24 hours due to restive Taal Volcano Sharapova played for the Orange County Breakers in their season-opening match against the defending champion San Diego Aviators at the La Costa Resort and Spa. It was Sharapova’s first appearance in the U.S. since testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.She returned to the court in April and played three tournaments in Europe. In her first event, the Russian star reached the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix semifinals. A thigh injury prevented Sharapova from competing in the grass-court season that ended at Wimbledon on Sunday. But now she’s fit and ready for a summer run, hoping to cap it at the U.S. Open.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’“It’s nice to have a schedule again and something that I really miss, having a tournament on the schedule and a calendar and knowing what I have to prepare for,” Sharapova said.When her initial two-year ban was reduced to 15 months, some questioned if Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam champion, was given beneficial treatment. Marcosian mode: Duterte threatens to arrest water execs ‘one night’ LATEST STORIES Missile-capable frigate BRP Jose Rizal inches closer to entering PH Navy’s fleet “As someone who is 30 years old, I achieved enough to call it a day. But there’s something deeper. It’s more than just the sport. It’s something I’ve done all my life and my career. I wanted to continue that. That’s where my focus is and not much else.”Sharapova said her schedule leading to the U.S. Open will include another WTT appearance and WTA Tour stops at Stanford and Toronto. She declined to predict how she would fare at the U.S. Open, the year’s final Grand Slam event.“It’s not something that I think about; it’s not part of my job,” she said. “Just because I have to be realistic that I haven’t played in a long time. With the injury, it was almost like a two-year break for me. The importance and significance of every tournament is much more in my mind than what I can or cannot do at the U.S. Open.”Which brought her back to the WTT and the La Costa Resort and Spa, where she won twice when it was WTA Tour stop.“This was a great little addition to my schedule,” she said. “I hadn’t actually planned on playing World Team Tennis but I just thought I could use the bonus matches as I like to call them. Play in front of the crowds and come back to places that I’ve competed at before.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Russia’s Maria Sharapova celebrates her victory against Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit during their quarterfinal match at the WTA tennis tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, Friday, April 28, 2017. (Bernd Weissbrod/dpa via AP)CARLSBAD, Calif. — Maria Sharapova is realistic as she tries to regain her form after a 15-month drug suspension.“I think no road is easy,” Sharapova said Sunday before a World Team Tennis match.ADVERTISEMENT View comments MOST READ IT happens: Facebook sorry for Xi Jinping’s name mistranslation Duterte’s ‘soft heart’ could save ABS-CBN, says election lawyer LIVE: Sinulog 2020 Grand Parade “I served the suspension period and I think there’s not much more that I could add to that,” Sharapova said.Ken Macdonald, one of Sunday’s spectators, welcomed her return.“She’s good for women’s tennis,” Macdonald said. “She deserves a second chance.”But Sharapova also hears her detractors claiming she got a pass. Sharapova, one of the world’s most recognizable female athletes, said that she’s answering her critics by showing up.“I think just by doing what I do, and that’s playing tennis,” she said. “That’s what I wanted to do from the very beginning. I’ve done it. I’ve always had the choice of not doing it. I have had a lot in my career. I’ve had the support.ADVERTISEMENT End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend Lakers overcome Ball’s injury to beat Mavs, reach title game Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks PLAY LIST 01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Malacañang open to creating Taal Commissionlast_img read more