Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 3rd 2017 Contents sports A55
Friday, March 3, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Atletico falters in game marked
by Torres' injury scare
MADRID---Atletico Madrid couldn't
manage more than 1-1 against
struggling Deportivo La Coruna
in a Spanish league match marked
by an injury scare involving striker
Fernando Torres yesterday.
Torres collapsed unconscious after
being hit in the head in a ball dispute
late in the game in La Coruna. Players
from both teams immediately rushed
toward Torres and desperately called
for medical help.
He was assisted for several minutes
before being taken away on a stretcher
to a hospital.
Torres sustained a head trauma when
he was hit from behind by a Deporti-
vo player just outside the area, Atletico
Florin Andone put the hosts ahead
early, and Antoine Griezmann equalised
for Atletico with a remarkable long-
range shot in the second half.
The result kept Deportivo one point
above the relegation zone, and dropped
Atletico 11 points behind leader Barce-
lona, which routed Sporting Gijon 6-1
Second-place Real Madrid, which
drew at home against Las Palmas 3-3
on Wednesday, is one point behind
SEVILLA 1, ATHLETIC BILBAO 0
Sevilla moved within two points of
the lead with Vicente Iborra's first-
half score at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan
Stadium. It was Sevilla's fourth win in
a row. AP
to Barcelona FC
MADRID---Luis Enrique's surprise
announcement has left Barcelona
surrounded by uncertainty.
Although the coach had been under
pressure and many expected him to be
replaced next season, few anticipated
he would reveal his intention to leave
with three months left and with the
team still contending for titles.
The announcement --- on the night
Barcelona regained the lead in the
Spanish league --- quickly turned the
focus away from team's recent success-
es on the field and brought attention
to its uncertain future.
Seconds after Luis Enrique said he
needed to rest and would not return
next season after three years in charge,
speculation began about who will be
the next coach for one of the most
dominant clubs in the last decade.
Here are a few things to know about
Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli is
among the top candidates to replace
Luis Enrique next season.
The 56-year-old Argentine coach
was sought-after by several clubs and
national teams after leading Chile to
its first Copa America title in 2015. He
eventually joined with Sevilla, and has
helped the club become a contender for
a league title for the first time in years.
Another rumored candidate is Er-
nesto Valverde, currently with Athletic
Bilbao. He led the Basque club to some
of its greatest successes recently, in-
cluding victory over Barcelona in the
2015 Spanish Super Cup, which gave
the club its first trophy in more than
Barcelona still has the chance to win
three titles before Luis Enrique leaves
--- the Spanish league, the Copa del Rey
and the Champions League, although
the latter is unlikely because it must
reverse a 4-0 first-leg loss to Paris
The 6-1 rout of Sporting Gijon on
Wednesday --- the team's fifth win in
a row --- left Barcelona one point ahead
of Real Madrid in the Spanish league,
a competition it won the last two sea-
sons with Luis Enrique. The Catalan
club will play Alaves in the final of the
Copa del Rey, which it also won the last
Luis Enrique's announcement caught
players by surprise, but club president
Josep Bartomeu was quick to say that
they will be motivated to help the club
win again before the coach leaves.
The squad learned of the decision
moments after the win over Sporting
Gijon at the Camp Nou.
"He told us about his decision be-
fore going out for the press conference,"
Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic said.
"The decision is clear and we have to
accept it in the dressing room. We want
to end the season successfully, enjoy
it as best we can."
Luis Enrique had been under pres-
sure since the humiliating loss to PSG
in the Champions League, which was
likely the team's worst defeat since he
took over from Gerardo Martino ahead
of the 2014-15 season. AP
Murray survives seven match
points in Dubai quarters
DUBAI---Andy Murray saved
seven match points before
beating Philipp Kohlschreiber
6-7 (4), 7-6 (18), 6-1 to reach
the Dubai Tennis Champion-
ships semifinals yesterday.
The second-set tiebreaker ---
31 minutes, 6 seconds long ---
produced all the high-intensity
drama tennis can offer, featur-
ing the seven match points for
Kohlschreiber before Murray
prevailed on an eighth set point.
"I have never played a tiebreak
that long ever," Murray said. "I'll
probably never play another one
like that again.
"I mean, I have been playing on
the tour for 11, 12 years now, and
nothing's been close to that."
The power, angles, and crafty
shot-making were so all-con-
suming in that tiebreaker that the
players, as well as umpire Renaud
Lichtenstein, neglected to realise
there was meant to be a change of
ends at 15-15, which took place at
The ATP said the 20-18 tie-
breaker was the sixth on tour since
1991. There have been no others
with more points.
Despite the loss, Kohlschreib-
er was all smiles after the 2-hour,
"Losing is always disappoint-
ing, but I'm not sad," he said. "I
played great tennis, one of my best
matches. We both played almost
the best tennis we can play."
Kohlschreiber couldn't keep the
momentum going against Murray
in the third set, which ended up
being one-minute shorter than
the second-set tiebreaker.
Murray is playing his first tour-
nament since losing in the Aus-
tralian Open fourth round and
overcoming a bout with shingles.
He leads Kohlschreiber 5-1 in ca-
Kohlschreiber, who is 0-10
against No 1-ranked players, re-
mains one match away from se-
curing his 400th career match
Murray will play Lucas Pouille
of France in the semifinals.
Pouille needed three match
points to defeat Russian qualifier
Evgeny Donskoy 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (2).
The first two match points came
on Donskoy's serve in the 10th
game of the third set.
Earlier, former top-10 star
Fernando Verdasco upset
fourth-seeded Gael Monfils 6-3,
7-5 in the quarterfinals.
Verdasco lost all three of his
previous matches against Mon-
fils, although it's been 3 1/2 years
since their last encounter.
"I tried to be aggressive but not
make too many unforced errors,"
Verdasco said. "He's one of the
best defenders in the game."
Verdasco served for the match
at 5-4 in the second set, but had
his serve broken at love. The
Spaniard won the next two games
to secure a semifinal berth. AP
Barcelona's coach Luis Enrique
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