Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 27th 2015 Contents A60
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, May 27, 2015
WARSAW---In today s Europa
League final, Sevilla can make his-
tory in more ways than one.
Not only is the club aiming for
a record fourth title in the compe-
tition, a victory over Ukrainian
underdog Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
would next season give Spain five
teams in a single edition of the
Champions League for the first
Starting this season, the Europa
League winners will earn a Cham-
pions League place as part of a
UEFA plan to rekindle interest in
its second-tier competition.
To have five teams in the world s
biggest club competition---including
a possible winner when Barcelona
faces Juventus in the June 6 final---
would mark a dramatic turnaround
since Spain s dismal failure to defend
its World Cup title last year.
"This year, there s a very impor-
tant prize," Sevilla defender and
captain Fernando Navarro said.
"Can you just imagine if we get a
trophy and next year we can have
Sevilla in the Champions League?
That would be a two-fold reason,
even more motivation to try and
Sevilla narrowly missed out on
the Champions League via La Liga,
trailing fourth-placed Valencia by
a single point. Perhaps unsurpris-
ingly, Sevilla coach Unai Emery
backs UEFA s rule change. "This is
a good decision that was taken, it s
an added motivation. It improves
on the Europa League," Emery said.
"The Champions League, it s an
extra step (for Sevilla)."
However, the reigning champion
would lose the chance to become
the first club to win the competition
three times in a row.
Should Dnipro win today, Ukraine
would have a third representative
in the Champions League after
Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donet-
sk.So far, England is the only nation
to have fielded five Champions
League teams in one season. Liv-
erpool failed to qualify for a defense
of its 2005 title, but was entered
by UEFA for the qualifying stages.
The rules were then changed to pre-
vent this happening again.
Dnipro aims to give fans
'a bit of happiness'
With their home country torn
apart by conflict, the players of sur-
prise Europa League finalist Dnipro
Dnipropetrovsk say they are simply
focusing on providing fans with "a
little bit of happiness."
This season has proved a fairytale
for Dnipro, which has reached its
first European final against reigning
The Ukrainians knocked out more
favoured teams such as Ajax and
Napoli on the way, even though the
conflict means they have not been
allowed to play any of their Euro-
pean games at home in
"Now in Ukraine, because there s
a war going on in the east, people
are without emotions, they re dev-
astated," team captain Ruslan Rotan
said yesterday. "Maybe if we win
... we ll be able to bring even a little
bit of happiness to these people.
But politics has nothing to do with
it."Today, "we re playing for
Ukraine," midfielder Valery
Fedorchuk said, adding that even
to reach the final was a huge
achievement. "We re just dreaming
of playing ... It s a festival for us."
Rotan also revealed that Dnipro
players have been funding trips to
the final for fans after Ukraine s
ravaged economy and a collapse in
the value of the country s currency
made it hard for supporters to travel
to Warsaw. (AP)
Neuer, forward Thomas Mueller and
midfielder Toni Kroos have been
left out of Germany s squad for the
upcoming friendly against the Unit-
ed States and the European Cham-
pionship qualifier against Gibral-
tar.The three key members of Ger-
many s World Cup-winning team
are being rested after a busy season,
according to coach Joachim Loew.
In addition, Neuer has "several
injuries" that need to be treated over
the upcoming weeks, Loew said. The
coach wants Mueller and Kroos to
be ready for key qualifying matches
in the fall. Defender Benedikt
Hoewedes is out with an ankle injury,
while forwards Marco Reus and Julian
Draxler are on call. Both have injury-
plagued seasons behind them.
Midfielder Patrick Herrmann could
make his Germany debut. He was in
the squad once in March 2013 but
did not play.
Germany plays the United States
in Cologne on June 10 and then trav-
els to Faro, Portugal, to face Gibraltar
three days later.
Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots against Golden
State Warriors center Andrew Bogut (12) during the second half in
Game 4 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals Monday
night, in Houston. Rockets won 128-115. AP PHOTO
Rockets stay alive
...beat Warriors 128-115
HOUSTON---Houston s James
Harden scored a playoff career-
high 45 points while Golden
State s Stephen Curry suffered
a scary fall as the Rockets led
from start to finish and beat
the Warriors 128-115 on Mon-
day to stave off elimination
from the NBA playoffs.
The Rockets scored 45 points
in the first quarter---equaling a
playoff record---to quickly get
on top. They were up by 22 in
the second quarter when league
MVP Curry landed on his head
in a nasty spill and missed about
12 minutes before returning.
Curry s first field goal after
returning was a 3-pointer that
got Golden State within six
points with less than 8-1/2 min-
utes remaining. But Harden, who
had 17 points in the fourth quar-
ter, scored the next seven points
as part of 10 straight by Houston
to push the lead to 114-98 and
effectively end it, cutting the
series deficit to 3-1.
Harden s match-winning per-
formance made up for a disap-
pointing output in Game 3.
"I always want to take it out
on my opponent in a good way,"
Harden said. "Just being aggres-
sive, taking shots, getting to the
basket, not really forcing any-
thing and allowing the game to
come to me."
Klay Thompson had 24 points
and Curry added 23 for Golden
State, which had been looking
to secure its first trip to the NBA
Finals since 1975 after routing
Houston 115-80 on Saturday
night to take a 3-0 lead in the
The Warriors will try again at
home in Game 5 tonight.
Houston bounced back from
a 3-1 deficit to the Los Angeles
Clippers in the conference semi-
finals. But they face a much big-
ger challenge in this series, as
no team in NBA history has won
a playoff series after trailing 3-
0. Houston s Dwight Howard
had 14 points and 12 rebounds,
and received a flagrant 1 foul
early in the third quarter after
throwing an elbow at Andrew
Bogut s head. He would be sus-
pended by accumulation of fla-
grant foul points if the NBA
upgrades it to a flagrant 2 after
"I hope not," Howard said
when asked about that possi-
bility. "But there s nothing I can
do about it at this point. It s
never my intention to hurt any-
body on the floor. My reaction
was to try to get him off me,
but I can t react that way."
The Warriors made 20 3-
pointers and Houston had 17 to
set an NBA record for most 3-
pointers combined in a playoff
Curry was injured after he
jumped in the air as Trevor Ariza
was about to go up for a shot.
Ariza saw him and stopped
abruptly, causing Curry to be
upended in midair when he
crashed into Ariza s shoulder.
His head hit the court and it
propelled him up and back onto
the floor where he remained for
Curry looked dazed as he was
attended to before slowly getting
up and walking off the court.
"It was all minor stuff com-
pared to how it looked," Curry
said. "But I ll get some good rest
and be ready to go. Since it hap-
pened to now, nothing has got-
Ariza didn t realize who it was
that sailed over him until the
play was over.
"I was just trying to pump
fake and get somebody off their
feet," Ariza said. "I didn t know
that he flipped over ... it wasn t
intentional or anything like that."
Sevilla looks to
Neuer, Mueller, Kroos left out of Germany squad
CARDIFF---Wales has included
Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale
in its 23-man squad for a European
Championship qualifier against
Group B leader Belgium.
Midfielders Aaron Ramsey and
Joe Allen have also been named in
the Wales team, which is unbeaten
after five games in qualifying for
next year s tournament in France.
Both sides have 11 points but Bel-
gium leads the standings on goal
difference ahead of the match at the
Cardiff City Stadium on June 12.
Wales manager Chris Coleman,
who is looking to take his team to
its first major international tourna-
ment since the 1958 World Cup in
Sweden, says the match is "the
biggest home game in the last 10
MADRID---Spain coach Vicente del
Bosque included two newcomers in
his squad yesterday for upcoming
internationals against Costa Rica
Sergio Rico, a 21-year-old goal-
keeper, and 25-year-old midfielder
Aleix Vidal were both added to the
squad on Tuesday. Both play for
Sevilla, which will play in the Europa
League final today.
Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago
Alcantara was left out because he is
still recovering from a muscle injury.
Spain will play a friendly against
Costa Rica on June 11 in Leon, Spain,
and a European Championship qual-
ifying match at Belarus three days
later. Spain is second in Group C with
12 points, three points behind Slo-
vakia. Del Bosque said training will
start on June 8, allowing players from
clubs still involved in competitions
time to join the squad.
Barcelona s players have the busiest
schedule ahead, with the Copa del
Rey final against Athletic Bilbao on
May 30, followed by the Champions
League final against Juventus on June
6 in Berlin.
Spain coach Del Bosque picks two newcomers
Bale named in Wales team for qualifier against Belgium
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