Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 2nd 2013 Contents LONDON---Closing in on the
Europa League final, Chelsea
midfielder Juan Mata seems ill
at ease in the continent s sec-
ond-tier knockout competi-
Chelsea dropped out of the
Champions League when its
title defense ended in the group
stage, and is yet to be assured
of a place among Europe s elite
next season by finishing in the
Premier League s top four.
"Chelsea is a club which
deserves to be in the Champions
League every season," Mata said
"We are in third position, we
have four games to go, against
the likes of Manchester United
and Tottenham, and I think we
can do (it) ... since we were out
from the group in the Cham-
pions League, every time I
watch the games I think it s a
Having started the season
with no plans even to be in the
Europa League, winning it
would at least enable Chelsea
to add to its trophy cabinet next
Going into the semifinal sec-
ond leg today, Chelsea holds a
2-1 lead over Basel thanks to
David Luiz s late free kick in
Switzerland last week.
"It s the kind of game that
can be risky for us," Mata said.
"If we don t go into it think-
ing about winning and defend-
ing well it will be difficult ... it s
very important to have a chance
to be in another European final.
"After winning the Champi-
ons League last season we have
another chance to win a trophy
that will be new to us, so it
means a lot, for the club and
In contrast to Chelsea, Basel
not only tops the Swiss league
but is through to the domestic
"Next to trying to win the
domestic league title again, the
Europa League is like a dessert
for us," Basel goalkeeper Yann
Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez
is wary of the threats posed by
a team that knocked out Pre-
mier League rival Tottenham in
"I am concerned but I am
not afraid," Benitez said.
"We know they are a dan-
gerous team, we know they are
strong and score goals away.
"But we know we have a
good team and are so close to
the final we have to be focused
and not make mistakes."
One concern is that Luiz,
Ramires, Ryan Bertrand and
John Obi Mikel are one booking
away from missing the final in
"The main thing is to win
and qualify for the final," Benitez
Like Basel, Benfica is also
chasing a treble, and needs to
overturn a 1-0 deficit at home
But the Portuguese side has
found it grueling to establish a
four-point lead at home with
three matches to go, and also
reaching the domestic cup final.
"We have no time to rest or
recover," coach Jorge Jesus said.
"It s really wearing us down,
but we re already in one final
and want to be in another ...
we ll need a full stadium, with
the fans willing us on to victory.
We ll need their help to give us
But striker Oscar Cardozo
insists fatigue is not affecting
"We re fine," he said.
"We have had many games
but we feel good for tomorrow
and I think we will all be 100
Benfica is trying to reach its
ninth European final, but Fener-
bache is seeking its first.
"It would be great for Turkish
football, for the club and for the
fans," striker Moussa Sow said.
"What we are achieving is
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, May 2, 2013
Chelsea's John Terry, centre left, and Juan Mata, centre right, tussle for the ball during a training
session at Chelsea's training ground in Stoke D'Abernon, England, yesterday. Chelsea will face Rubin
Kazak in a Europa League quarterfinal today. AP PHOTO
NEW YORK---ESPN says that it regrets the
"distraction" caused by one of its reporters
who described Jason Collins as a sinner after
the NBA centre publicly revealed that he was
Chris Broussard, who covers the NBA for
ESPN, had said on the air that Collins and others
in the NBA who engage in premarital sex or
adultery were "walking in open rebellion to God,
and to Jesus Christ." Broussard, a former reporter
for The New York Times, spoke during ESPN s
"Outside the Lines" programme Monday dis-
cussing Collins announcement.
In an article in Sports Illustrated, Collins
became the first male athlete in one of the coun-
try s four major sports to come out as gay.
ESPN s Josh Krulewitz said the network regrets
that a discussion of personal viewpoints became
a "distraction." The network offered its own view
of Collins news: "ESPN is fully committed to
diversity and welcomes Jason Collins announce-
ment," he said.
During his on-the-air discussion, Broussard
described himself as a Christian.
"I don t agree with homosexuality," he said.
"I think it s a sin, as I think all sex outside of
marriage between a man and a woman is."
Broussard, in an online message on Tuesday,
said that he had previously discussed his point
of view about homosexuality publicly.
"I realize that some people disagree with my
opinion, and I accept and respect that," he wrote.
"As has been the case in the past, my beliefs
have not and will not impact my ability to report
on the NBA. I believe Jason Collins displayed
bravery with his announcement ... and I have
no objection to him or anyone else playing in
Collins, in an interview with The New York
Times on Tuesday, noted that he is a Christian,
"This is all about tolerance and acceptance
and America is the best country in the world
because we re all entitled to our opinions and
beliefs but we don t have to agree," he said. "And
obviously I don t agree with his statement." (AP)
ESPN sorry for
on gay NBA player
Mata has Champions League blues as
Chelsea eye Europa final
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