FOUR THINGS WE LEARNED: Morose Jose Mourinho and fantastic fans

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Things are looking pretty bleak for Jose Mourinho after a poor start to the season. (AFP)
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Updated 28 August 2018

FOUR THINGS WE LEARNED: Morose Jose Mourinho and fantastic fans

  • Can Mourinho hold on to his job at Manchester United?
  • Carlo Ancelotti picks up where Maurizio Sarri left off at Napoli.

LONDON: After another action-packed weekend across Europe, here is what we learned about the beautiful game over the past few days.

FOOTBALL FANS KNOW HOW TO PAY THEIR RESPECTS

When a tragedy happens the vogue nowadays is to dash to Twitter, pen 140 characters with the obligatory RIP hashtag and then, some cynics might say, leave it at that. Not so in football, which once again showed everyone how it is done when you do not merely pay lip service. Genoa fans watched the first 43 minutes of their home match with Empoli in silence as a tribute to the 43 people killed when a motorway bridge collapsed in the Italian city earlier this month. It was the club’s first game since a 200-meter section of the Morandi bridge suddenly fell. Fans had asked for “a deafening silence of 43 minutes, one for each child, worker, student, father or mother who are no longer with us today.”

JOSE MOURINHO’S TIME AT THE TOP COULD BE COMING TO AN END

It was not just the the stark reality of the 3-0 scoreline so much as what happened before and after the chastening defeat Tottenham dished out to Manchester United. Before it, Jose Mourinho decided that playing Ander Herrera as a center back, a position he had never played in before in more than 300 games, was the right thing to do. Who knows why he did this, but you do not have to be a cynic to suggest that perhaps the United boss was making a point to his paymasters who refused him the defender he so craved this summer. After the defeat the Portuguese had a mini-meltdown in the press conference, reminding everyone just how many trophies he has won. You get the feeling he is not so much trying to hang on at Old Trafford but also to top-level football. Who would want to take him on after this?

SARRI WHO?

Napoli have offered the only real challenge to Juventus’ dominance of Serie A over the past few seasons. Not only that, but they have done so playing an exciting attacking game, which was all about flair over fear of failure. That was supposed to be over following the departure of the side’s coach Maurizio Sarri to Chelsea this summer. But there seemed to be little changing of tone in the southern Italians as they came from 2-0 down to AC Milan to win 3-2 this weekend. Not only that, but it was a far from flukey victory. Napoli finished with three times more shots as Milan (24 to eight) and four times as many on target (eight to two). New coach Carlo Ancelotti who, unlike his predecessor certainly knows a thing or two about winning top-level silverware, has certainly picked up where Sarri left off. Can Carlo bring glory back to Napoli?

ALL IS WELL AT REAL

With the departures of both Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane compounded by a failure, so far, to replace the former star player, there were worries that Barcelona would once again get one over their rivals Real Madrid on the domestic scene. Just two games in, however, and all seems well at the Bernabeu. Two wins from two under Julen Lopetegui has seen the Spanish giants play with freedom and flair. Saturday’s 4-1 over Girona saw Gareth Bales score once again and Karim Benzema bag a brace. All that with World Cup stars Raphael Varane and Luka Modric son the bench. The reasons to be optimistic are easy to see.

 


Hatton leads interrupted Abu Dhabi second round

Updated 22 January 2021

Hatton leads interrupted Abu Dhabi second round

  • Tyrrell Hatton was on five under for the day with five holes remaining to put him atop the provisional leaderboard at 12 under
  • Overnight leader Rory McIlroy, one over for the day with four holes still to be completed, is five shots back and in a share of second

ABU DHABI: England’s Tyrrell Hatton led the Abu Dhabi Championship by five shots on Friday before fading light forced play to come to a premature halt with the second round due to be completed on Saturday.
Hatton was on five under for the day with five holes remaining to put him atop the provisional leaderboard at 12 under.
Romain Langasque was five shots adrift after 16 holes before conditions forced organizers to suspend the round.
Sharing provisional second with the Frenchman was overnight leader Rory McIlroy, who was one over for the day with four holes still to be completed. And two who managed to make it to the clubhouse, New Zealander Jason Scrivener and Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond.
Janewattananond and Scrivener were out early to finish their first rounds on Friday morning after Thursday’s fog delay of almost three hours forced them to play catch up.
Hatton is aiming for a fourth Rolex Series title in this event, the first of three tournaments being staged in the Gulf.
He began his second round one shot off his Ryder Cup teammate McIlroy after assembling a fine opening 65.
The 29-year-old followed up the two eagles he had made on day one with another from 22 feet on the second hole.
After dropping his first shot of the tournament at the next he hit back, producing a run of four birdies.
He was going in search of his tee shot into a bunker at the 14th hole when the siren sounded a premature halt to the round.
“I’m obviously in a great position at the moment,” he said.
“It was certainly tough out there, so I’m really happy to be five under.
“I held some nice putts and there were a couple of par putts toward the end of my round — nice to hold them and keep a bit of momentum going.”
On the prospect of a busy day at the office on Saturday, Hatton added: “It will be fine. I’ll just try and stay loose and see how we go.”
Langasque was almost celebrating the first hole in one of the new Race to Dubai season, his tee shot at the par three 15th whistling past the hole.
Defending champion Lee Westwood bogeyed the 13th and 14th before play was suspended to lie nine shots off the lead, with world number three Justin Thomas on the projected cut mark of one under.