Five debutants start for Black Stars

first_imgFive players get to make their Africa Cup of Nations debut after being named in Ghana’s starting line up to face DR Congo in Group B on Sunday.Kick off is at 15:00 (17:00GMT).Goalkeeper Fatau Dauda, Jerry Akaminko, Mubarak Wakaso, Albert Adomah and Christian Atsu all start for the Black Stars at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.Kwadwo Asamoah will continue at left-back for Ghana as Akaminko partners John Boye in central defence.Captain Asamoah Gyan leads the line for Ghana.Ghana line up: Fatau Dauda, John Paintsil, Kwadwo Asamoah, John Boye, Jerry Akaminko, Derek Boateng, Albert Adomah, Agyemang Badu, Asamoah Gyan, Mubarak Wakasu, Christian Atsu.last_img

Hearts, Kotoko Super Clash, deadlocked

first_imgThe Porcupine Warriors Kumasi Asante Kotoko fought back in superb fashion to share the spoils with bitter rival Accra Hearts of Oak in Ghana’s Super Clash.Hearts needed a win badly to allay fears of relegation that keep knocking at their door and there was no bigger motivation than beating arch rivals Kumasi Asante who for years have made the Accra Sports Stadium their fortress.Winful Cobbinah set the hugely packed Accra Sports Stadium alight and the Phobians in party mood when his low ball from his cultured left foot left Soulama in post for Kotoko clearly beaten after 26 minutes.And it was Hearts who were to increase the tally but Obed Ansah’s decision to lift the ball over the last Kotoko defender instead of laying a simple pass to his left meant the Porcupine Warriors would clear their lines.That left Coach David Duncan livid from the touch line, shaking his head and when Hearts returned from recess without Ansah, one of their best performing players in the first half, one may assume that the singular act of over exuberance on the part of the diminutive midfielder may have cost him the final grueling 45 minutes.But it was the visitors who started the game more composed and within ten minutes of play they won two corner kicks and a dozen other free-kicks all of which were criminally wasted. Helegbe came close but his effort took a ricochet of the bar.And when the Phobians took over the game, Kotoko looked emasculated. Moro Abubakar in a man-of-the-match performance combined beautifully with Obed Ansah in midfield and Mahatma in attack but the Kotoko defence was resilient.In one of those breathtaking build-ups, Mahatma cleverly set Ansah up just at the edge of the 18 yard box but Ansah’s strike from his weaker left foot went miles away from the post.Hearts went into recess looking buoyed and more confident. At least for the first half, they won the psychological battle engendered by a fanatic crowd who will curse at every mistake and cheer at every skill.Kotoko returned with vigour. Michael Helegbe and Seidu Bancy kept the Hearts defence busy with some surging runs on the left flank. It was only a matter of time for the equalizer to come and when it did, goal keeper Tetteh Luggard made little effort to save the situation. The Hearts goal keeper’s failed attempt to parry a deep cross from the left, meant Helegbe will leap higher than two Hearts defence men for a glorious header and an important equalizer in the 69th minute.With a quarter of an hour left, Duncan brought in the bulky striker Gilbert Fiamenyo who tormented the Kotoko defence. His blistering strike from the 18 yard box shook the woodwork but there was nobody to connect the rebound.The former Hearts of Lions striker again had his goal bound header cleared from the goal line but it was the Phobians who would be happy going home with a point thanks to Richard Mpong who failed to connect a last gasp Kotoko effort.Mpong in a classic counter attack, left the Hearts defence hugely exposed but the striker’s cheeky flick whisked agonizingly wide.One all it ended at the Accra Sports Stadium, a result which will make the two sides look back and rue the many chances missed.last_img read more

Yu Darvish makes a big first impression with his new team

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error ATLANTA >> Legend has it everything is bigger in Texas. After getting their first up-close-and-personal look at Yu Darvish, the Dodgers might believe it.“It’s impressive how big he is,” Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said after overseeing Darvish’s first bullpen session with his new team Wednesday afternoon. “He is a young man who’s put together very well – a very powerful arm and body. You can look at film all you want to. It’s another thing to see him with your own eyes.”Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had the same first impression of Darvish, listed at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds.“He’s more physical (than I expected),” Roberts said. “You see him on TV. You see the No. 11. Obviously he’s got a great presence about him. Then when you get in front of him, yeah, he’s very physical.” Darvish looms very large indeed in the Dodgers’ hopes to make good on their promising regular season with an accompanying World Series title. Their acquisition of the Japanese right-hander has made anything less a potential disappointment – a lot of pressure for the 30-year-old Darvish who also has to arm himself for his own looming free agency.“I try not to think about. Just focus on what I do,” Darvish said through his interpreter, dismissing the topic of pressure quickly.The only concerns Darvish would acknowledge involved a desire to fit in with his new team.“It’s an honor to be here and play for such a good team having such a great season,” he said, following his bullpen session as he met the media for the first time since the trade. “Obviously, this is my first time being traded in the middle of a season so I was worried if I could blend into the clubhouse and everything. But the guys have been great and I feel very comfortable and I’m looking forward to playing for the first time.“You join a new team in the middle of the season and just come in and do whatever you want to do? I don’t want to be that guy. So I’ll do everything I can to be a good teammate because I know it’s important.”center_img At least one teammate was preparing the way for Darvish weeks ago.“At the All-Star Game when I was talking to (Clayton Kershaw), he told me, ‘I’ll be waiting for you in three weeks,’ and it actually happened,” Darvish said. “It’s pretty amazing.”Darvish is scheduled to make his first start for the Dodgers on Friday against the New York Mets.Tipping pointDarvish has not pitched well recently – a 5.81 ERA over his past eight starts, including 10 runs in 3 2/3 innings in his most recent start last week – but Honeycutt said he did not get into that with Darvish during his bullpen session Wednesday. Honeycutt did study some video of Darvish in anticipation of his arrival.“It’s way too early to give a man with his pedigree too much advice right now,” Honeycutt said. “When he gets his pitches to the areas he’s supposed to, he’s still been dominant. He’s just been making maybe a few more mistakes than he has in the past, mainly to the left-handers with some fastballs that maybe have not gotten to the area that he wanted.“But again, when he puts the ball in the zone that he should, makes good pitches, it’s still quality stuff.”There have been reports – acknowledged by Darvish himself – that the right-hander might be compounding his problems by tipping his pitches. Roberts said there have been no discussions with Darvish about that yet. Honeycutt deferred to a higher authority.“I’ll leave that to the expert – Mr. Utley, our team expert – to break him down from that standpoint,” Honeycutt said.Utley is renowned for his abilities in baseball’s dark arts – sign stealing, pitch tipping and the like. He said he was aware of the reports about Darvish.“That’s the word on the street,” he said. “But I don’t necessarily believe everything I read.”Asked if he had done any independent research to see if he could detect something in Darvish’s delivery, Utley smiled and walked away.AlsoDodgers left-hander Rich Hill was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for July. Hill was 4-0 with a 1.45 ERA, 40 strikeouts and five walks while allowing only 19 hits in 31 innings.Outfielder Brett Eibner’s experiment with pitching for Triple-A Oklahoma City never got beyond the stage of throwing in the bullpen and it won’t. Eibner was shut down with a sore arm in June then returned to play some in the outfield earlier this month. He underwent Tommy John surgery this week.last_img read more