About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi: We’re serious about Coppa Italiaby Carlos Volcano9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLazio coach Simone Inzaghi says he’ll select a strong line-up for their Coppa Italia tie with Novara.Lazio meet Novara today in the round of 16.”Tomorrow’s match is going to be important and there is a place in the quarter-final up for grabs,” said Inzaghi.“We have always achieved good results in the Coppa Italia and want to continue that trend in the current campaign. The lads are in good shape and returned from vacation with a lot of motivation. We’ll put in a great performance, because our objective is to keep pushing hard in this tournament.“Over the last two years, we played in the Final and the semi-final. We know Novara are going to take this seriously and I want my team to take it seriously too, as we want to do well at all costs.”
About the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your say Sir Alex Ferguson hails ‘absolute legend’ Wengerby Ansser Sadiq16 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has gushed praise on his old rival Arsene Wenger.The two set the standard in the Premier League in the 1990s and early 2000s.Despite being bitter rivals in those years, Ferguson and Wenger have developed mutual respect in their later years.And Ferguson was not afraid to speak out in praise of Wenger, as the Frenchman received recognition at the Nordoff Robbins charity award dinner.Ferguson said via video: “The career you had as a manager at Arsenal was absolutely fantastic – an absolute legend.”I loved the competition against you. “We had some great times and it’s wonderful you’re getting this award tonight. “So good luck, my blessing [is] with you.”
The Ohio State wrestling team went into the weekend looking to salvage the remainder of its season and upset No. 19 Illinois and No. 4 Minnesota. It failed on all counts. The Buckeyes fell to the Fighting Illini, 21-12, on Friday. After the loss, the team boarded a bus back to Columbus to get ready for its dual with Minnesota. In that dual, the Buckeyes fell, 31-9. “There is just too many tough people in this sport to not be prepared to walk on the mat,” OSU coach Tom Ryan said. “They’re young people and they’re learning, and sometimes you have to hurt real bad to learn, and hopefully that one stings.” After Friday’s loss at Illinois, the Buckeyes did not arrive in the Columbus until about 4 a.m. Saturday. But they were already in the gym at 2 p.m., preparing for the Golden Gophers. Redshirt sophomore captain C.J. Magrum, 184 pounds, said it was difficult to come back on such little sleep, trying to maintain weight and get prepared for a second dual in less than 24 hours. “We got in at 4 (a.m.), and it was hard to go to sleep for some reason,” Magrum said. “Plus the fact we had to keep our weight down before the match, that was the worst part. You know guys were coming in to practice today at 2 (p.m.) with not a lot of sleep. Plus you’re cutting five pounds before your match.” Magrum faced two tough opponents last weekend. On Friday, he defeated Illinois redshirt freshman Tony Dallago, 3-1, but lost to Minnesota redshirt freshman Kevin Steinhaus, who is ranked No. 8 in the 184-pound weight class. Some matches that night ended controversially. During the 149-pound match between OSU redshirt freshman Mike Fee and Minnesota redshirt freshman Danny Zilverberg, Fee appeared to injure his right knee, and yelled in pain. The late stop by the referees for the injury time allowed for Zilverberg to score two points on a reversal. Ryan was upset with the referees and heckled them from the bench. After he shouted his complaints, the referees gave him a warning. Ryan approached the referees during a break after the match to discuss what happened. Ryan said after the match he might have gone too far. But, while Ryan said Fee should have been protecting his own health and knee, the referees did not make matters better. “I went a little crazier than I needed to,” Ryan said. “Our guys got to protect his knee better when he feels it happening. It’s your job to protect it; it’s the official’s job to protect it. We didn’t do it. It just adds to the entire frustration and poor preparation of the group.” Senior captain Colt Sponseller, 165 pounds, won both of his matches, defeating Illinois sophomore Conrad Polz, 3-2, and Minnesota redshirt sophomore Cody Yohn, who is the 11th-ranked wrestler at 165 pounds. Sponseller, the No. 7-ranked wrestler at 165 pounds, improved to 17-3 and notched his sixth straight victory. “Well I think Colt Sponseller, he’s in the same group, the same workouts; he never steps backwards,” Ryan said. “He’s always a positive here; he’s always been. It’s the way he represents us. It’s the way he prepares for competition.” Sophomore captain Ian Paddock suffered an injury Friday night against Illinois junior Bernard Futrell in his 16-6 major decision loss. In his place, redshirt freshman Jacob Vaughan made his first-ever varsity start for the Buckeyes on Saturday. Vaughan faced a tough challenge and started strong, leading 5-4 after the first period. However, his opponent, Minnesota redshirt freshman David Thorn, took the match, 19-11. Vaughan, though disappointed with his loss, was excited to get the start. He said he had found out he would get the start Saturday because if he had known Friday, he would not have been able to sleep. “I was so excited to wrestle today, and nervous,” Vaughan said. “Once I realized I wasn’t going to throw up, I started relaxing a little bit.” Vaughan will get the next two starts at 133 pounds, as Paddock will miss the remainder of the regular season with an injury. Redshirt freshman Peter Capone, 197 pounds, had the highlight of Saturday’s dual, pinning Minnesota redshirt senior Joe Nord at 2:30 in the first period. The Buckeyes will head to Madison, Wis., to take on the No. 3 Badgers at 2 p.m. Sunday. Ryan said the goal for his team for the rest of the season is one thing: “Fight.”
Defensive line coach Larry Johnson talks during an interview on National Signing Day Feb. 5 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editor Co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chris Ash talks with media on National Signing Day Feb. 5 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorWhen Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer gets into recruiting mode, it isn’t all about the players. He finds a way to woo coaches, too.After the departures of co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Everett Withers and defensive line coach Mike Vrabel, Meyer had two vital positions to fill on a defense that allowed an average of 377.4 yards per game and ranked No. 47 in the country.Now after hiring two new coaches — both of whom spent time at rival schools — Meyer said he is pleased with his new hires.“We replaced (Vrabel and Withers) with Larry Johnson and Chris Ash, but a couple of comments with those gentlemen we hired. First, they wanted to be here, they both had very, very good jobs and they wanted to be here,” Meyer said to the media Wednesday.Johnson, who takes over as defensive line coach after 18 years with Penn State, inherits a unit that is set to return all four starters and helped spearhead the country’s ninth ranked running defense.Johnson said he can’t wait for a chance to work with the group of players.“Just watching from afar and watching it on videotape, I think it’s a very talented young group,” Johnson said Wednesday. “I can’t wait to get my hands on them. I’ve had two chances to watch them and I’m like a little kid. It’s like I’ve got some new toys to play with. I’m really excited to impart my wisdom to these guys and see how they respond.”Junior Michael Bennett, sophomores Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington and freshman Joey Bosa totaled 24 of OSU’s 42 sacks this past season.Meyer said he took notice of Johnson when putting together his initial staff at OSU, but didn’t hire him at the time because of Vrabel.“Larry Johnson is a guy (I have) had great respect for (for) many years,” Meyer said. “Made a phone call two years ago when I was hired here in December whatever year that was, I called Larry. We discussed Ohio State, but then I made the decision to hire Mike Vrabel. We just didn’t have a spot. Noah Spence’s dad called and said Larry (Johnson) would like to talk to you about a position … And the communication was great. We went and met in Indianapolis … and it was a no-brainer on our end.”Although Johnson’s pedigree as a coach is impressive, his abilities as a recruiter find a way to be noticed.Johnson said it is his “brand” that allows him to recruit players well.“I think obviously it’s my niche but I think the brand that I have is, I’m a teacher, I’m a fundamental development kind of guy,” he said. “I want to develop players into outstanding people and players and I think that all goes together.”Although the defensive line heads into 2014 with momentum, the Buckeyes’ secondary — which is now headed by former Arkansas defensive coordinator and secondary coach Chris Ash — doesn’t have quite the same hype.The unit finished the year ranked No. 112 in the country with an average of 268 yards per game and also loses four regular contributors in redshirt-senior safeties Corey “Pitt” Brown and C.J. Barnett, senior safety Christian Bryant and redshirt-junior cornerback Bradley Roby.Meyer said it is Ash’s job to work on the pass defense.“He’s got a serious responsibility. That’s to improve our pass defense. He’ll be in charge of the entire back end of our defense,” Meyer said.Ash — who was named co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach upon his arrival in Columbus — said Wednesday he understood what Meyer wanted out of him as a coach.“When we met first, he discussed his vision for the defense and what he wanted to see when the film was turned on … There has been a great tradition of outstanding defenses here at Ohio State, (but) the last couple years it just wasn’t to the level that they wanted. Coach wanted to make some changes and go a different direction,” Ash said.Ash added that he expects his team to play one way: at full throttle.“Well, you play fast, you play with reckless abandon, you’re fast, you’re physical, you throw your body around. You play without hesitation,” Ash said. “There’s no confusion, you know exactly what you’re doing. You can react to your key and there’s only one speed: it’s full speed. And that’s the way we gotta play.”In each of his last two seasons at Wisconsin, before he took the job at Arkansas for what ended up being his lone year there this past season, Ash coached defenses that finished in the top 20 in passing yards allowed per game.Even with the new additions to the coaching staff, Meyer said he plans on taking a more involved role in the defense in the coming seasons.“I’m going to be more involved than I ever have been, just to make sure that we get up to standard at Ohio State on (the) defensive side of the ball with emphasis on pass defense,” Meyer said.The Buckeyes are scheduled to get their 2014 season underway Aug. 30 against Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.But before the season kicks off, there are some things the coaches need to learn about being a part of the OSU program.“There’s so much to learn. I walked in the first day and someone said, ‘Hey coach, no blue pens,’ and I didn’t know that,” Johnson said. “So there’s a lot of little things that I’ve got to learn pretty fast when you’re talking the team up north … As far as football and all those things, that’s easy. The learning (of) the ins and outs of Ohio State football, that’s the challenge for me.”But even with all of the new things he has to learn, Johnson said at least one aspect of the change is a plus.“My wife said I look good in red, so that’s a good start.”
Senior defender Hunter Robertson (6) passes the ball upfield during the OSU vs. Penn State game on Tuesday. Credit: Ris Twigg | Assistant Photo EditorThe No. 6 seed Ohio State men’s soccer team hits the road and looks for revenge against the No. 3 seeded Spartans in the first round of the Big Ten tournament at 1 p.m. Sunday at DeMartin Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan.The Buckeyes (7-9-1, 3-5-0 Big Ten) enter the matchup riding an eight-game losing streak, which started against the Spartans, as Ohio State lost 5-1 on Oct. 1. In their last game of the season, the Buckeyes fell 2-0 to Wisconsin.Head coach John Bluem thought the cause of the loss came from self-inflicted mistakes by the team.“I think what we learned most from that game is that our own mistakes is what really killed us,” Bluem said. “Immediately after tying the game up, before halftime we allowed another goal which kind of killed us. In the second half, I don’t think we had the attitude and the mental capacity to come back from that mistake.”The Spartans (11-2-3, 5-0-3 Big Ten) are coming off of a 1-1 tie against Indiana and are undefeated at home this season (5-0-2). The five in-conference wins were the most in program history.Senior forward Nate Kohl believes the loss earlier in the season to the Spartans was not an accurate representation of Ohio State.“We’re going to Michigan State and it’s not an easy place to play, but I believe that if we play at our very best I think we can beat them,” Kohl said. “I mean the game we played earlier in East Lansing this year, I don’t think it was the character of our team. A 5-1 loss wasn’t Ohio State soccer, we’re going to come out and we’re going to be ready to play.”The Buckeyes are led offensively by junior midfielder Abdi Mohamed, who has 11 points (three goals, five assists), and freshman forward Joshua Jackson-Ketchup, who has seven points (three goals, one assist). But scoring will not be easy against junior goalkeeper Jimmy Hague, who was the first-ever Spartan to win Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year.Ohio State will take on a tough Spartan defense, which ranks second in the nation in shutout percentage (.643) and 11th in team goals against average (.667).The Spartans are led offensively by junior forward Ryan Sierakowski, who has 17 points (seven goals, three assists), and junior forward Dejuan Jones, who has 16 points (six goals, four assists). The Buckeyes hope to return starting sophomore goalie Parker Siegfried, who is 7-5-1 on the season.The Buckeye defense is holding opponents to 1.24 goals per game, but Siegfried allows just .90 goals per game and has picked up seven shutouts.Senior defender Hunter Robertson is embracing the Buckeyes’ underdog role and thinks it can play to their advantage. “Every year I’ve played in the Big Ten tournament there has always been some upsets,” Robertson said. “They thrashed us the first time, but I think this time if we can bring more intensity into the gameplay, be more physical, and if we can get one or two on them we can win the game.”Even though it’s single-game elimination, Robertson has confidence in his team to push through the adversity presented to them.“One game at a time, if you lose you’re out that’s the mindset right now,” Robertson said. “If we lose this game it’s my last game playing at Ohio State and I really don’t want that to happen, so I’ll do whatever I can to prevent it.”Robertson is one of three Ohio State players in the past 10 years to start in over 80 matches. He wants his senior year to continue and to have the chance to set the school record for most starts in program history, which would only be possible if the Buckeyes make it to the National Championship game.“If you would have told me that I was going to have that many starts when I first came in, I probably would’ve laughed and told you that you were crazy,” Robertson said. “I feel very humble and appreciative of every opportunity the coaches have given me and this has been, by far, the best experience of my life and I hope I can drag it out for as long as possible.”
Ipswich Town have signed Jordan Graham from Wolverhampton Wanderers on a season-long loan.The winger is hoping his move to the Sky Bet Championship side will help rediscover his love for football.Graham has returns to Portman Road on loan from the Premier League new boys, having spent a similar temporary spell in Suffolk while an Aston Villa player in 2013/14.He has played just 28 games of senior football since then, though, with serious knee injury in 2016 halting his progress.“It’s been quite a tough couple of years for me and there hasn’t been much enjoyment in that time,” Graham said, according to East Anglican“I was doing really well before I got such a severe injury, which knocked it out of me for quite a while.”Premier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…“I also want to be enjoying football and recapturing my love for it again. Coming here is the first part of achieving that. It has been difficult but Wolves know me and they know I play my best football when I’m happy.”“I find it hard when I’m not enjoying the environment I’m in. Being here with a few familiar faces that I know quite well and getting back to training and working hard, hopefully playing week in and week out, my best football will come back and everything will be alright again.”Graham is excited to be part of Paul Hurst’s squad and believes the style the new Ipswich boss is trying to play will suit his game, with the Blues sitting bottom of the Championship in no way putting him off.“I like what the manager is trying to do here, the way he is trying to play. It is quite a bit different from what Mick (McCarthy) was doing over the past few years here, so it was never going to happen straight away.