Manchester, Sep 20 (AP/UNB) — If Manchester City wants to finally win a first Champions League title, it will have to start taking the competition a bit more seriously — on and off the field.
Surrounded by swathes of empty seats in the Etihad Stadium, City's players were humbled 2-1 by Lyon in a sloppy and apathetic display at the start of their European campaign Wednesday.
Banned from the touchline and unable to communicate with the bench, City manager Pep Guardiola did fill one seat in the stands and he saw his Premier League champions easily picked apart by the French visitors and not pressing with the usual intensity.
"We felt under threat every time we lost the ball and sometimes that brings the confidence a little bit lower," said City assistant manager Mikel Arteta, who was in charge on the bench in Guardiola's absence.
Errors by midfielder Fernandinho led to both Lyon goals, typifying how careless City was against a team that finished third in the French league last season and was even held to a draw at the weekend by 10-man Caen.
When a pass by the Brazilian midfielder was intercepted around the halfway line, Lyon charged forward. Nabil Fekir sent in a cross from the left that evaded Fabian Delph's swinging legs, allowing Maxwel Cornet to slot it home in the 26th minute. Delph held his head in his hands as the consequences of his mistake became clear.
City's troubles deepened when Fernandinho was caught in possession again. Memphis Depay set Fekir on a run and the forward doubled Lyon's lead in the 43rd by striking from the edge of the penalty area through the legs of John Stones.
"When we were in possession he helped our team to get up the pitch and was also fouled quite a bit as well," Lyon coach Bruno Genesio said. "He led us."
In the offseason it appeared Lyon would lose Fekir to Liverpool until talks over a 60 million euro ($70 million) transfer broke down.
"Nabil showed our captain is back," Genesio said. "I know that I can count on him absolutely."
It was clear how much City was missing the vision and composure on the ball of midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, who is sidelined until November with a right knee injury.
Perhaps the only reason for City to feel aggrieved in the first half was Gabriel Jesus being denied a penalty when he was tripped by former Manchester United defender Rafael da Silva just before Depay scored.
"To concede two goals like we did is very frustrating," Stones said. "We came in at halftime a bit deflated I think. But we picked ourselves up and we came out second half fighting and played a better second half."
But the improvement wasn't sufficient.
City pulled one back in the 67th when Bernardo Silva scored from substitute Leroy Sane's cutback. But the attacking threat was too patchy from a City side that won the Premier League with a record 100 points only four months ago, and are widely seen as one of the big favorites in this season's Champions League.
With Hoffenheim and Shakhtar Donetsk also in Group F, City appeared to have one of the kinder draws but is now playing catch-up.
Celebrating a decade under Abu Dhabi ownership, which allowed City to assemble a squad for more than $1 billion, the Champions League is the one big prize the club has yet to win.
And now City has become the first English side to lose four consecutive Champions League matches, following defeats in the round of 16 and quarterfinals last season.
The club's fraught relationship with Europe's premier competition was clear again before kickoff.
The Champions League anthem was again booed by the crowd — reflecting to ongoing bitterness over UEFA sanctioning the club for breaching spending rules — and the team often fails to sell out group-stage games. Even owner Sheikh Mansour doesn't make the trip from the United Arab Emirates where he is deputy prime minister.
"I wouldn't like to make excuse," Arteta said. "We had this type of crowd in the Champions League before and we were able to win the game."
Dubai, Sep 20 (AP/UNB) — India was rarely tested in a dominating eight-wicket win over traditional rival Pakistan in their group match of the Asia Cup Wednesday.
At Dubai International Stadium, captain Sarfraz Ahmed's decision to bat first after winning the toss backfired when a disciplined Indian bowling attack wrapped up the Pakistan innings for a meagre 162 in 43.1 overs.
India's reply was led by its rampant captain Rohit Sharma, who raced to 52 in just 39 balls and added 86 runs in 13 overs with Shikhar Dhawan for the opening stand. They achieved the target in the 29th over, losing just the two openers.
The result was inconsequential as both teams have already qualified for the round-robin Super Four stage following wins in their respective opening group matches against Hong Kong.
If India's opening bowling attack was sensational — Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah gave away just four runs and removed the two openers in the first five overs — the opening batsmen dazzled the sold-out crowd with their positive intent and a flurry of strokes.
"We were disciplined right from the start," Sharma said. "It was a great game for the bowling unit, especially since we knew it won't be easy in these conditions. We stuck to our plan and did what we had planned to do on this surface. The wickets in the first couple of overs were very important because of the quality of their batting. We didn't want to make things easy for them."
Sharma smashed six boundaries and three sixes, and was particularly severe on seamer Usman Khan in the bowler's fourth over. He hooked a bouncer for six, followed by a stylish pull off a no-ball on one leg for a four to the fine-leg boundary. He then pulled the free-hit delivery deep into the stand behind mid-wicket for another six.
Sharma departed soon after reaching his half-century, misreading the first ball from spinner Shadab Khan and getting bowled off his pads.
Dhawan, who scored 127 in India's opening win over Hong Kong, wasn't exactly a silent partner and he too played some audacious shots before cutting Faheem Ashraf straight into the hands of Babar Azam at backward point four runs short of a half century.
Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik (both unbeaten on 31) then saw the defending champions home.
Earlier, a third-wicket partnership of 80 between Azam (47) and Shoaib Malik (43) could not put Pakistan on the path to recovery.
Azam was bowled with the score on 85 after he tried to step out to left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav and missed the line completely, and the next four wickets could only put together 56 runs as they struggled against the flattish off-spin bowling of part-timer Kedar Jadhav.
Bumrah, coming back into the team after getting a rest against Hong Kong on Tuesday, did not give away a single run in his first two overs, and his partner Bhuvneshwar Kumar reaped the rewards as the suffocated Inam-ul Haq and Fakhar Zaman fell to ambitious shots.
Kumar later returned to remove the tailender Hasan Ali and finished with figures of 3-15 in seven overs. Jadhav also took three wickets for 23 in nine overs.
Pakistan coach Micky Arthur acknowledged that his side was outplayed in all departments of the game.
"We were below par today," he said. "What was very disappointing was that we batted outside our roles. It's not Imam's role to run down to Bhuvneshwar Kumar and try to hit him over the top. If Fakhar gets out that way, it's OK. Other batsmen needed to take responsibility. To have 158 dot balls out of 258 faced is just not good enough."
There was a bit of scare for India when all-rounder Hardik Pandya needed to be stretchered off the field after injuring his lower back while bowling the 18th over of the inning.
India made two changes to the team that won against Hong Kong, with Bumrah and Pandya coming in for Shardul Thakur and Khaleel Ahmed. Pakistan fielded an unchanged eleven following their eight-wicket win over Hong Kong on Sunday.
Dhaka, Sept 19 (UNB) – Vietnam earned a highest margin 14-0 goals victory over all losers Bahrain in their 2nd Group F match of the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship at the Bir Shrestha Shaheed Shipahi Mohammad Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur Wednesday afternoon.
They dominated the first half by 10-0 goals.
With the convincing victory in the day’s 2nd match, Vietnam maintained their all-win record to share the top slot with hosts Bangladesh securing full six points from two matches scoring 18 goals each without conceding any to topple Lebanon, who went down to the 3rd slot due to poor goal difference securing six points from three matches.
Earlier in the day’s first match, hosts Bangladesh also maintained their all-win record in the group outplaying Lebanon by 8-0 goals in their 2nd match after thrashing another gulf nation Bahrain 10-0 in their opening group match.
In the day’s match, Sajeda Khatun and Shamsun Nahar Jr struck two goals each while Anai Mogini, Tohura Khatun and Rozina Akhter scored one goal each for Bangladesh while Maria Slim scored a suicidal goal for Lebanon.
Standing of the Group F till Wednesday (tabulating under match played, win, draw, loss, goal for, goal against, goal difference and points)
Teams M W D L GF GA GD Pts
Bangladesh 2 2 0 0 18 0 18 6
Vietnam 2 2 0 0 18 0 18 6
Lebanon 3 2 0 1 14 11 3 6
UAE 2 0 0 2 3 10 -7 0
Bahrain 3 0 0 3 0 32 -32 0
Dhaka, Sept 19 (UNB) – The Polar Ice Cream 25th School Handball Tournament for Boys and Girls, under the auspices of Bangladesh Handball Federation, will begin on Thursday at Shaheed Capt (retd) M Mansur Ali National Handball Stadium here with Scholastica Uttara taking on Motijheel Govt. Girls High in the opening match.
State Minister for Youth and Sports D rBiren Sikder will inaugurate the meet at 12 noon. Shah Masud Imam, CEO of the meet’s sponsor Dhaka Ice Cream Industries Ltd (Polar Ice Cream), will be a special guest.
A total of 36 schools -- 20 teams in the boys group and 16 teams in the girls group -- will compete in the meet.
Tournament sponsor is providing Tk 610,500 for the boys’ competition and Tk 577,600 for the girls’ competition.
Dhaka, Sep 19 (UNB) - Shahin Chess Club clinched the title of the Marcel 2nd Division Chess League after the final round at Bangladesh Chess Federation hall-room on Wednesday.
Shahin Chess earned unbeaten 14 game points from eight rounds while Dhaka Knights Chess Club finished runners-up with 13 points.
In last round, Shahin Chess played a 2-2 draw against Masud Sports Chess Club while Dhaka Knight also played out a same margin draw against Learning Chess Academy.
Securing equal 11 points each, Learning Chess, Masud Sports and Dhaka Chess Club placed from the 3rd to 5th place respectively.
Securing 10 points each, Bangladesh Police, Crescent Club, 64 Squares Chess Club and Elegant International Chess Academy finished from 6th to 9th respectively.