Dhaka, Dec 19 (AP/UNB) -Wanted: A coach to restore Manchester United to its former status as a major force in European soccer.
It was a task that proved beyond even Jose Mourinho.
United brought an end to Mourinho's turbulent 2½-year spell at the storied English club by firing him on Tuesday, an inevitable move that follows a pattern of bitter endings at the Portuguese coach's recent teams.
"Be careful," Mourinho said to reporters and photographers through the open window of a car that whisked him away from the city-center hotel where he lived throughout his time at United.
Indeed, these are worrying times for both United, which is arguably at its lowest point since the departure of long-time manager Alex Ferguson in 2013, and Mourinho, whose illustrious coaching career is at a crossroads as critics question if his abrasive approach, on and off the field, still suits modern-day soccer.
United said it will not hire a permanent replacement for Mourinho until the offseason. The club will soon appoint a caretaker manager for the remainder of the season and a page on United's website suggested it will be former striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Under a video of Solskjaer celebrating after scoring the winning goal for United in the 1999 Champions League final, a post read : "Solskjaer becomes our interim manager, 20 seasons after clinching the Treble with THAT goal at Camp Nou..."
No official announcement has been made, however.
The end for Mourinho at English soccer's most prestigious club came two days after a 3-1 loss at fierce rival Liverpool, the latest reminder of just how far United has slumped behind the top teams in the Premier League and Europe.
It was a result that left United sixth in the Premier League, 19 points off the lead after 17 games and, perhaps more significantly, 11 points off the top four in the race to secure Champions League qualification for next season. It is United's worst 17-game start to a league campaign since the 1990-91 season.
"The club would like to thank Jose for his work during his time at Manchester United and to wish him success in the future," United said in a three-line statement released after Mourinho was told of his fate in a face-to-face meeting with executive vice chairman Ed Woodward.
United won two titles in Mourinho's first season — the English League Cup and the Europa League — but failed to capture a trophy in his second season, although runner-up spot in the league was its highest finish since Ferguson left.
Mourinho has historically encountered problems in his third season in charge at clubs he has managed, and it was no different at United.
His relationship with Paul Pogba, United's record signing at $116 million and the marquee arrival in Mourinho's reign, appeared broken following a spat that started in the offseason.
Pogba, who hasn't started for United in its last three games, wrote on Instagram "Caption this!" alongside a picture of him smirking in a post published soon after the announcement of Mourinho's departure. It was quickly deleted.
Mourinho has also publicly criticized other players, including Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial, during his reign. By the end, it felt as if Mourinho was unloved and increasingly alienated.
Tellingly, the only public message from a United player in the hours following Mourinho's departure was that post by Pogba.
Mourinho, who oversaw the outlay of $470 million on players while at United, also appeared to have a fractious relationship with Woodward especially since the club's board failed to back his wish to sign a central defender in the offseason. United has already conceded more goals in the league (29) than it did in all of last season.
Then there was United's pragmatic and often-ponderous style of play under Mourinho that always seemed at odds with the team's preference down the years for free-flowing, attacking play. Mourinho's approach and tactics appear out of date and have been bypassed by younger, more forward-thinking managers.
After Sunday's loss at Anfield, Mourinho said his players were brittle and couldn't cope with the intensity and physicality of Liverpool — historically United's biggest rival. United also lost 3-1 to neighbor Manchester City in the league in recent weeks in another display that highlighted the team's demise.
A serial winner of trophies throughout his coaching career — his title haul currently stands at 25 — Mourinho arrived at Old Trafford in 2016 as a supposed quick fix for United following its struggles after the retirement of Ferguson three years earlier. David Moyes, Ferguson's hand-picked successor, and Louis van Gaal departed after 10 months and two years, respectively.
Mourinho lasted only marginally longer. He was at United the same length of time as he was in his previous job at Chelsea, when he was also fired just before Christmas in 2015 in his third season after accusing his players of "betraying" him.
In his six major coaching stints — at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Chelsea again and United — Mourinho has only lasted more than three years once. That was in his first spell at Chelsea.
Having signed a new contract with United in January until June 2020, the Portuguese coach will reportedly receive compensation of 24 million pounds ($30 million).
Whoever replaces Mourinho — former United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been linked with the caretaker position — will take over a team that reached the last 16 of the Champions League, where it will play Paris Saint-Germain over two legs in February and March. The interim coach's priority will be to claw back that massive deficit to the top four and try to qualify for the Champions League — the minimum requirement for big teams like United at the start of every season.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is among the favorites with British bookmakers to take over on a full-time basis.
"We know a lot of rumors happen," Pochettino said Tuesday. "But it's not my business what happens in another club now. I'm so focused on delivering my best job, our best job, in this club."
In some of Mourinho's final public comments as United manager, he said "for sure we are going to finish in the top six ... but the better we can get is fourth position." It smacked of a lowering in standards that he used to criticize other managers of having.
By the end, the old magic that marked Mourinho out as one of the greatest coaches of his generation had gone.
Wellington, Dec 19 (AP/UNB) — Sri Lanka batsmen Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews continued their courageous effort to save the first cricket test against New Zealand on Wednesday.
After rain delayed the start of play on the final day, at lunch the 274-run partnership between Mendis and Mathews had allowed Sri Lanka to erase all but nine runs of the deficit it labored under at the end of the first innings.
Mendis, who resumed at 116 not out, was 141 and Mathews, resuming at 117 not out, had moved to 120. Sri Lanka was 287-3, closing in on an overall lead with seven second-innings wickets remaining.
Rain delayed the start of play at the Basin Reserve by 90 minutes, allowing only an hour before lunch and returning just before the scheduled break to steal another over from the day.
Forecasts suggest the rain will become persistent and heavy during the afternoon, potentially aiding Sri Lanka to pull of one of the greatest escapes in test history.
Trailing by 296 runs after New Zealand made 578 in reply to its first innings of 282, Sri Lanka slipped to 20-3 in 12 overs before stumps on the third day.
Sri Lanka's position seemed hopeless and it seemed inevitable New Zealand would complete a win sometime on day four which would give it a 1-0 lead in the two-test series.
But Mendis and Mathews became the first batsmen to bat through an entire day in a test in New Zealand in a superb stand which will be responsible more than the rain for allowing Sri Lanka to save the match.
Tuesday was also the first full day in a test match anywhere in the world for almost a decade in which a wicket hasn't fallen.
Mendis' and Mathews' innings have been almost identical in quality and duration. By lunch, Mathews had batted 450 minutes — 7-1/2 hours — and Mendis eight minutes longer.
Mendis was slightly more willing to play his in the short passage of play possible before lunch, adding 25 to his overnight score while Mathews added three.
The New Zealand bowlers remained at a loss to devise means to separate the pair. Tim Southee had bowled 25 overs at a cost of 52 runs with eight maidens without looking threatening.
Dhaka, Dec 18 (UNB) – Bangladesh Army emerged men’s champions in Victory Day Kabaddi Tournament beating Bangladesh Police by 37-29 points in the final here on Tuesday.
In the women’s group, Bangladesh Ansar clinched the title beating Bangladesh Police by 24-23 points in a keenly contested final in the afternoon.
General Secretary of Bangladesh Kabaddi Federation Habibur Rahman, Deputy Inspector General of Bangladesh Police, was the chief guest in the day’s final and later distributed the prizes among the winners.
Dhaka, Dec 18 (UNB) – Brothers Union Club will play Sheikh Russel KC in the first semifinal of the 13-team Walton Independence Cup Football Tournament 2018 at Bangabandhu National Stadium here on Wednesday (Dec 19).
The match will kick off at 4:30 pm.
State owned Bangladesh Television will telecast the match live while Bangladesh Beter will broadcast the running commentary of the match.
In the other semifinal on Thursday, defending champions Dhaka Abahani Limited will face newcomers and big budgeted Bashundhara Kings at the same venue and time.
The Gopibagh outfit Brothers Union booked a seat for the semifinal eliminating formidable Arambagh KS by 4-3 goals in tiebreaker after a 3-3 draw in the stipulated period of the 1st quarterfinals. Brothers Union reached quarterfinal as Group C runners-up with only two points from two matches.
Sheikh Russel KC smartly qualified for the semifinal eliminating stronger Chattogram Abahani Limited by 2-0 goals in the 2nd quarterfinals. They also booked a seat for last eight as Group D runners-up with two points from two outings.
Holders Dhaka Abahani Limited moved into the semifinal of the Independence Cup Football Tournament eliminating Saif Sporting Club by a solitary goal in the 3rd quarterfinals last Thursday.
With the day’s feat, Dhaka Abahani are now poised for a 2nd major soccer title in the ongoing season after clinching Federation Cup Football crown last month.
New sensation Bashundhara Kings made a semifinal berth beating Rahmatganj MFS by 3-2 goals in tiebreaker as the 4th quarterfinals after two teams finished with 2-2 goals in the schedule time. They advanced to quarterfinal as Group D champions securing four points from two encounters.
Dhaka, Dec 18 (UNB) - Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) clinched the men’s title of the Victory Day Handball Tournament outplaying Bangladesh Police by 32-9 goals in the final at Capt (retd) M Mansur Ali National Handball Stadium here on Tuesday.
The winners clearly dominated the first half by 14-3 goals. Taju Hasan scored 10 goals for the winners while Mahbubul netted five goals for the losers.
Bangladesh Ansar lifted the women’s crown of the meet beating BJMC (Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation) by 23-14 goals after leading the first session by 13-7 goals in the final at the same venue Tuesday afternoon.
Ismat Ara contributed six goals for the winners while Rupa also scored the same for the losers.
Taju Hasan of the champions BGB was adjudged the best men’s player while Alpana of Bangladesh Ansars clichéd the best women’s title.
Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakka (RAJUK) Chairman Mohammad Abdur Rahman witnessed the day’s final as the chief guest and distributed the trophies. General Secretary of Bangladesh Handball Federation Asaduzzaman Kohinoor was also present on the occasion.