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UEFA Champions League: Champions Real Madrid draw Dortmund, Tottenham in Group H

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first_imgTwo-time defending champion Real Madrid landed in a strong Champions League group with Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham, and APOEL in the 32-team draw on Thursday.Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo finished second to Dortmund in last season’s groups before lifting a third European title in four seasons.Tottenham, which should face its former star Gareth Bale with Madrid, was arguably the unluckiest of the record five English sides.Manchester United and Liverpool received favorable draws in the groups which begin play on September 12. The top two in each of the eight groups advance to the knockout rounds.United returns after a one-year absence to play top-seeded Benfica — which it beat at Wembley to win the first of its three European titles in 1968 — Basel, and CSKA Moscow.Liverpool landed with the weakest top-seeded team, Russian champion Spartak Moscow, plus Sevilla, and Maribor. Liverpool lost the 2016 Europa League final to Sevilla.AP PhotoBarcelona, which was in the second-seeded pot, landed with Juventus — a rematch of the 2015 final won 3-1 by the Spanish giant — Olympiakos and Sporting Lisbon.Neymar’s bid to win a first European title for Paris Saint-Germain will open in a group with five-time winner Bayern Munich plus Anderlecht and Celtic. Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti, a three-time Champions League winner as a coach, formerly led PSG.Chelsea, the last English team to win in 2012, was grouped with Atletico Madrid, Roma, and Azerbaijani newcomer Qarabag.The other newcomer, Leipzig, is in a balanced group with top-seeded Monaco, Porto, and Besiktas.advertisementShakhtar Donetsk heads another strong group with Manchester City, Napoli, and Feyenoord. Shakhtar continues to play home games away from Donetsk which is at the center of conflict between Ukraine government forces and pro-Russian separatists.Kiev’s Olympic Stadium will host the final on May 26 and could be an option to host Shakhtar group games.FULL DRAW:Group A: Benfica, Manchester United, Basel, CSKA MoscowGroup B: Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Anderlecht, CelticGroup C: Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Roma, Qarabag.Group D: Juventus, Barcelona, Olympiakos, Sporting LisbonGroup E: Spartak Moscow, Sevilla, Liverpool, Maribor.Group F: Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester City, Napoli, Feyenoord.Group G: Monaco, Porto, Besiktas, Leipzig.Group H: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham, APOEL.last_img read more

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India better than England at handling pressure: Sanjay Manjrekar

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first_imgFormer India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar has said that India are better than England at handling pressure ahead of the five-match Test series between the two cricketing giants.Manjrekar also said that it will be wrong to write off India, who are aiming to win their first Test series in England in 11 years, in the gruelling series starting at Edgbaston from August 1.India have suffered two massive blows in the form of injuries to pacemen Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. While Bhuvneshwar has been ruled out for the first three Tests, Bumrah will not be part of the playing XI in the first game.”I wish everyone was fit; it would have made for a great series. But with all these injury setbacks for India, England start as favourites.”Still, don’t rule India out, because if it gets tight, this Indian team has the capability to come out trumps. For when it comes to handling pressure, temperamentally this team, led and inspired by [Virat] Kohli, is far superior to the hosts. Temperamentally this is one of the best teams India have ever had. We saw evidence of that in their last Test, against South Africa at the Wanderers earlier this year,” Manjrekar wrote in his column for ESPNCricinfo.Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Wriddhiman Saha injuries raise several questionsManjrekar said Bumrah’s absence from the first Test was a massive setback but backed other pacers to do well.”Bumrah being unavailable is a massive setback for India. Yes, there is Mohammed Shami, who has the knack of turning the tide by suddenly getting three wickets in one spell. He is still the most gifted of all the current Indian seamers but he is a bit of a “blow hot, blow cold” kind of bowler, which does not help.advertisement”India’s bowling, if all their bowlers were fit, was going to be their strength on this England tour, a rare instance indeed where India’s bowling was going to outweigh their batting.”The former cricketer also compared India’s current overseas batting line-up to that of the 1990s.”Speaking of India’s batting overseas, in South Africa, England and Australia, it is now a bit like it was in the ’90s, dependent very much on one man. It was Sachin Tendulkar then, it’s Virat Kohli now,” Manjrekar wrote.For Australia, Virat Kohli is similar to Steve Smith: Pat CumminsManjrekar also said that KL Rahul has the potential to bat in overseas conditions.”On their last big stretch of overseas trips, from 2013 through 2015, India’s batting was more rounded, with M Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane being a great support cast to Kohli. Since then both Rahane and Vijay have dropped a few notches as batsmen, while Cheteshwar Pujara and Shikhar Dhawan have never been a force as batsmen overseas like they are in home conditions; in fact, both have lost their places in the playing XI during overseas series.”That’s why I believe KL Rahul has to be given all the support and opportunities possible, for he is potentially India’s next successful overseas batsman to partner Kohli with the bat. Dropping him in the final ODI in England was a big mistake for this very reason,” he said.Cannot let Ashwin fade away so quickly, says GangulyThe first Test will be followed by matches at Lord’s (August 9 to August 13), Trent Bridge (August 18 to August 22), The Rose Bowl (August 30 to September 3) and Kennington Oval (September 7 to September 11).last_img read more

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