Advantage Mazembe after away draw in final


first_imgBlida, Algeria | AFP | Reluctant favourites TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo are poised to win the CAF Confederation Cup after drawing 1-1 at Mouloudia Bejaia of Algeria Saturday in the first leg of the final.Jonathan Bolingi, one of four Congolese in the Mazembe starting line-up, converted a late first-half penalty to give the visitors a 1-0 half-time lead at Stade Mustapha Tchaker in Blida.Bejaia captain and playmaker Faouzi Yaya equalised midway through the second half direct from a free-kick before wasting a good chance to win the match.The second leg is next Sunday in Congolese mining city Lubumbashi and a goalless draw will give Mazembe the trophy for the first time after finishing runners-up three seasons ago.Although Mazembe have won nine CAF titles — including five Champions League successes — French coach Hubert Velud disowned the tag of favourites before the first leg.He insisted the title-decider in the African equivalent of the Europa League was a “50-50 affair” after two close-fought group games between the clubs.Mazembe forced a 0-0 draw in Algeria last July and won the return match 1-0 thanks to a goal from Zambia captain Rainford Kalaba.Bejaia began with nine Algerians plus Malian Soumaila Sidibe and France-born Chad international Morgan Betorangal. Apart from four Congolese, Mazembe fielded three Zambians, two Malians and two Ivorians.New Algeria coach Georges Leekens from Belgium was among a large, noisy crowd in the 37,000-capacity stadium as Bejaia dominated early territory and possession.Mouloudia, competing in the Africa for the first time this year, had a chance to take the lead on 20 minutes when they got behind the Mazembe defence.But Betorangal only got a timid poke at a low cross and goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo smothered the ball.Mazembe went ahead on 43 minutes after sloppy defending by Sofiane Baouali allowed Roger Assale to break through and he was fouled by goalkeeper Chamseddine Rahmani.Bolingi, the son of a former DR Congo goalkeeper, scored his fourth Confederation Cup goal of the season with a spot-kick into the corner of the net.Yaya fluffed a chance to equalise early in the second half before levelling on 66 minutes with a free-kick that drifted over the defensive wall and high into the net.A weak back-header by Salif Coulibaly seven minutes later offered Yaya a chance to score again, but he shot straight at the onrushing Gbohouo.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Ravens and Chargers both chasers as they meet Saturday


first_imgWhen they meet Saturday night in one of several intriguing games in the penultimate week of the NFL season, the Ravens and Chargers will be chasers. By Sunday night, they could be leaders.Baltimore (8-6) trails Pittsburgh (8-5-1) by a half-game in the AFC North. The Chargers (11-3) are tied with Kansas City for the AFC West lead — and the conference’s best record — but the Chiefs hold the tiebreaker.So the winner will be in solid position for the playoffs; LA already is in. Plus, the Steelers and Chiefs have very difficult road tests. Baltimore, ranked 12th in the AP Pro32 poll, is a 4½-point underdog at the No. 2 Chargers, who have had an extended rest after a sensational comeback win at Kansas City on Dec. 13.CHARGERS, 27-24 AP NFL✔@AP_NFL “They’re playing outstanding football,” Ravens safety Eric Weddle said of his former team. “We’ve got everything in our hands, as do they, so it’s going to be an amazing game, one that will define where our season goes from there.” KNOCKOUT POOL: Baltimore struggled a bit but then “Lamared” the Bucs. Next up, try TENNESSEE.No. 27 Cincinnati (plus 7) at No. 16 ClevelandHard to believe we’re going with Browns as our top choice. We are.BEST BET: BROWNS, 23-13No. 20 Green Bay (minus 1) at No. 29 New York JetsTempted by Houston and Seattle, but see this as …UPSET SPECIAL: J-E-T-S, 20-17No. 5 Los Angeles Rams (minus 14) at No. 32 ArizonaRams’ offense needs to wake up for 60 minutes. This is the time.RAMS, 40-10No. 8 Pittsburgh (plus 5 1-2) at No. 1 New OrleansSaints’ offense needs to wake up for 60 minutes. This is the time.SAINTS, 34-24No. 6 Houston (plus 2 1-2) at No. 15 PhiladelphiaSuch a huge game for both sides. In Foles we trust.EAGLES, 24-23No. 3 Kansas City (minus 2 1-2) at No. 10 SeattleChiefs could go from No. 1 seed to wild card, especially if they lose here.SEAHAWKS, 26-24No. 23 New York Giants (plus 9 1-2) at No. 9 IndianapolisColts believe they are playoff bound. Giants won’t get in way.COLTS, 30-20No. 18 Washington (plus 10) at No. 14 Tennessee, SaturdayTitans believe they are playoff bound. Redskins won’t get in way.TITANS, 22-15No. 24 Tampa Bay (plus 7) at No. 11 DallasDallas came back to Earth last week, should soar this week.COWBOYS, 26-13No. 25 (tie) Buffalo (plus 13) at No. 7 New EnglandNo more road nightmares for Patriots, who are 6-0 at Foxborough.PATRIOTS, 30-23No. 13 Minnesota (minus 5 1-2) at No. 25 (tie) DetroitWild-card spot could depend on win here for Vikings.VIKINGS, 26-14No. 4 Chicago (minus 3 1-2) at No. 28 San FranciscoNiners won’t be intimidated by Bears’ D after handling Seahawks’ D.BEARS, 17-13No. 22 Atlanta (plus 3) at No. 19 CarolinaRon Rivera deserves better than what players have delivered. Dan Quinn, too.PANTHERS, 21-20No. 21 Denver (minus 2 1-2) at No. 31 Oakland, Monday nightLast home game in Bay Area for Raiders?BRONCOS, 19-13No. 30 Jacksonville (plus 4 1-2) at No. 17 MiamiAt least it should be sunny for this one.DOLPHINS, 23-20___2018 RECORD:Last Week: Against spread (7-8-1). Straight up (9-7)Season Totals: Against spread (110-101-8). Straight up: (145-77-2)Best Bet: 5-10 against spread, 10-5 straight upUpset special: 8-7 against spread, 7-7-1 straight up___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/tag/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL Pro Football Writer @wilner88 picks Saturday’s Ravens-Chargers game and other matchups with playoff implications. Read the story: http://apne.ws/f2sgp75  Twitter Ads info and privacy See AP NFL’s other Tweets 11:30 PM – Dec 19, 2018last_img read more

Mount Sentinel sets lofty goals for B.C. High School A Girls Volleyball Championships


first_imgBy Bruce Fuhr, The Nelson Daily SportsAre you ready for some volleyball?The Mount Sentinel Wildcats had better be ready to bring their A-game to the B.C. north or else.Because the head coach is not at all keen to watch from the sidelines when the Cats begin play at the B.C. High School A Girl’s Volleyball Championships beginning Thursday in Prince George.‘Happy to be at the provincials better not be our goal,” said Mount Sentinel coach Joe Moreira an emphatically.“I have made this very clear during our preparation,” Moreira added. “We are not going to PG, spend $4000 to watch other teams compete.“While we can acknowledge that we are young and had to work very hard to advance from our zone, we now need to re-set our goals and mean it. I don’t think we are ready to beat the top 4 teams, but after that we must be prepared to grovel for every point.”Mount Sentinel embarks on the marathon road trip Tuesday, traveling to Kamloops during day one of the trek.Wednesday the Cats complete the 15-plus-hour trip to Prince George in preparation of Thursday’s opening round games.The Cats, seeded 11th in the tournament, open up against tenth-ranked Houston Christian.Mount Sentinel then meets ninth ranked Cedar of Vancouver Island before concluding the power-pool draw against 12th Ebenezer of Smithers. Teams then enter the playoff round Friday before the medal round games Saturday.“We are not going to intimidate anyone with thundering kills, but our ball control often substitutes for power,” said Moreira when asked about the secret to the Cats success.“There is no mystery to what this team needs from every player to be successful; sustained ball control and tough serving.”Mount Sentinel enters the tourney with a young team of players.Still Moreira believes a quarterfinal date is not out of the question for the Cats.“Yes, it is realistic, but it will require more than just showing up in a Mount Sentinel uniform,” he said.Kootenay top seed Golden, the team lost to in the zone final, enters the tourney ranked second in the 16-team field.Elkford, the third team from the Kootenays, is ranked 15th.sports@thenelsondaily.comlast_img read more