Eagles have a division crown in their sights

first_img BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer Middletown High School South field hockey headed into this week needing to win one of its two games to capture the Shore Conference Class B North crown. Coach Bill LaFalce’s Eagles, 8-3-1 on the campaign, were slated to visit Neptune yesterday and visit Holmdel this afternoon. Middletown South downed Neptune 1-0 in the teams’ first meeting and lost a one-goal game to Holmdel. The Lions don’t exactly roar offensively with just 15 goals in 12 matches, but they find ways to win thanks to a defense that has yielded only nine goals. Junior goalie Kelly Harris has been outstanding, compiling seven shutouts to go with a 0.75 goals against average. “It seems like every game has been a one-goal game,” LaFalce said. “Our offense has been inconsistent at times, but they’re starting to put things together. If we can score a few more goals, particularly when the tournaments start, that will take some of the pressure off our defense and make us a very tough team to beat.” Middletown South’s strength on the field is in the middle where senior Maura Jane McCall teams with juniors Amy Knudsen and Brittany Murray for a formidable threesome. McCall leads the team with six goals, while Knudsen and Murray have helped control the tempo. Junior fullbacks Samantha Levinson and Samantha Rohlander have played well in front of Harris, and Beth McLaughlin, a freshman, has stepped in as sweeper and played well. The Lions have already qualified for the Shore Conference Tournament and are all but in for the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III tourney. With six games remaining before the Oct. 24 cut-off, Middletown South needs just a win or a tie to qualify. Teams must be at .500 or better to qualify. “We have our sights set high,” LaFalce said. “We have three of the best midfielders in the Shore, and our defense gets the job done. This team is capable of playing with the best, and they’ll get their chance in the tourneys. First things first though. We’re not looking beyond this week. We want the conference.” Notes… While the Eagles’ postseason bids are all but locked up, a trio of local teams have their work cut out for them if they hope to be at the .500 mark at the Oct. 24 cut-off. The St. John Vianney Lancers entered Monday’s game with Red Bank regional in desperate need of a win at 4-5-1, and have just two scheduled games left before the Oct. 24 cut-off (Neptune and Ocean). SJV needs to win two of three to qualify for the tournament. The Holmdel Hornets entered yesterday’s game with Monmouth Regional at 7-5, and will take on Middletown South today. From there, they have two scheduled games remaining before the cut-off (Manasquan and Rumson), needing just one win in four games to assure themselves of a state tournament bid. Keyport, at 5-5-1 entering yesterday’s game with Henry Hudson, has three games left before the cut-off and needs a pair of wins to secure a spot. BY WARREN RAPPLEYEAStaff Writer last_img read more

Middletown Babe Ruth 16U girls enjoy summer

first_imgThe Middletown Babe Ruth Girls Softball 16U All-Star Team has been active in recent weeks, competing against teams from all over the state of New Jersey. In three tournaments during this time, the team has managed to place third in the New Jersey Babe Ruth 16U State Tournament, reached the semifinals of the Middletown Summer Classic, and brought home a first-place trophy from the Howell Heatwave Tournament. These accomplishments are in spite of the fact that most of their competition has been elite travel teams with players hand-picked from many different towns, leagues, and schools, while all of Middletown’s girls play for Middletown Babe Ruth and 80 percent of Middletown’s team are students at Middletown High School North. Middletown High School North’s sophomore class is the core of the team, with as many as nine representatives on the team. This group is headed by Nicole Pinero, who is tied for the team lead with a .455 on-base percentage while playing left field, and had the game-winning hit in the bottom of the seventh inning in the finals of the Howell Heatwave Tournament. Jessica Fiore handles all the catching duties and leads the team with a .439 batting average. Casey Crist has been the winning pitcher in all of the team’s wins, including the final of the Howell Heatwave Tournament. Liz Herzog is tied for the team lead in runs scored and plays right field. Britney Carpenter plays first base and is tied with Pinero with a .455 on-base percentage. Caitlin Zitzman starts at third base and is hitting .320 from the second spot in the order. Other North sophomores contributing to the team’s success in limited roles are Nicole Quiceno, Ashley Foster and Kara Kelsey. Jenna Lougee, Middletown North’s lone junior class member, is the team’s shortstop and is hitting .381 for the summer. North senior Cara Piasecki batted .538 and leads the team in extra base hits in only four games, while fellow senior Kelly Crist was solid in a replacement role during the state tournament. The team is also represented by three other local high schools. Aubrey Cefalo, of Red Bank Catholic, plays center field and is batting .442 from the leadoff spot and is tied for the team lead in runs scored. She has been key to many of the team’s wins, while Henry Hudson Regional junior Aubrie Park plays second base, has a .400 on-base percentage, and also pitched no-hit relief during the state tournament. Another starting pitcher, Rebekah Weiner, is a junior at The Ranney School in Tinton Falls. The team is coached by Richard Crist and Jeff Lougee, and assisted by scorekeeper Audrey Herzog.last_img read more

Hawks put their dancing shoes on once again

first_imgBY DOUG McKENZIE Staff Writer BY DOUG McKENZIEStaff Writer DOUG McKENZIE Monmouth head coach Dave Calloway and his players celebrate their placement in the NCAA Tournament with nearly 600 friends and fans at the Rebecca Stafford Student Center on Sunday, For the most part, the Monmouth University basketball team said all the right things after finding out they’d be playing in the play-in game for the NCAA tournament. After defeating Fairleigh Dickinson in thrilling fashion in last Wednesday’s Northeast Conference Tournament final, the Hawks earned their third trip to the Big Dance in the last six years, and were hoping for an opening-round game either tomorrow or Friday. Instead, they learned on Sunday that they’d be playing Hampton University, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion, in last night’s play-in game at the University of Dayton (a neutral-floor site), with the winner to play the Minneapolis Region’s top seed, Villanova, Friday in Philadelphia. While a crowd of nearly 600 people gathered at the Rebecca Stafford Student Center on Sunday to watch the selection process unfold celebrated the announcement, one Hawk player was not afraid to share his true emotions. Monmouth’s fiery yet well-spoken leader, senior co-captain Chris Kenny, was the only one to voice his disappointment over the selection. “I think the committee’s nuts, to be honest with you,” he said. “I don’t know how they took Southern University [as the No. 16 seed in the Atlanta bracket] over us. They may have the better RPI, but we had a much better strength of schedule and play in a much better conference We should be the team to play Duke [in the first round].” Asked whether the perceived slight would leave the Hawks entering last night’s game with a chip on its shoulder, Kenny affirmed the notion. “Absolutely,” he said “I think it’s fair to say that.” Despite his disappointment with the selection, Kenny was still all smiles on Sunday, as he and his teammates basked in the glory that comes with returning to the NCAA Tournament. “It was just starting to sink in, but now that we’ve reached Selection Sunday, I’m right back in a dream world,” Kenny, a CBA graduate, said. “As a sophomore, I think I took it for granted a little bit, so I just hope the younger guys are appreciating all of this. It’s just so special.” As for last night’s game, the overall feeling around the student center was that the Hawks would emerge victorious. The Hawks entered last night’s game somewhat familiar with their opponent, having beaten Hampton (16-15), 64-52, at the season-opening Paradise Jam Tournament in the Virgin Islands in 2003. In that game, Monmouth trailed by 16 at the half only to stage a strong comeback in the second half, fueled by a switch to a matchup zone defense, to get the win. That experience could only help the Hawks last night. “We kind of figured out where we were going, and we’re excited and ready to go,” said head coach Dave Calloway. “We started working on some things [Sunday] in practice, with an eye toward this game. We beat them two years ago, so we have an idea how they’re going to try and attack us. We got a good start in practice [Sunday]. “This is a great opportunity and is special for our team, especially for our seniors who get a chance to go back for the second time.” Monmouth junior Marques Alston was unfazed by the selection, choosing instead to celebrate the opportunity the Hawks have been given. “I don’t care,” Alston said about the Hawks’ placement in the tournament. “I’ve been saying that the whole time. We’re blessed to be playing in this tournament regardless. I’d love to [get a chance to] play [Villanova], because I think we can show our toughness. I look forward to the challenge. We worked hard to get here.” As to whether or not getting a win in the play-in game would help the Hawks’ chances against Villanova, Calloway wasn’t sure. “I don’t think it’s an advantage or a disadvantage to be playing Tuesday,” the coach said. “There are positives and negatives to it, and we’re just going to concentrate on the positives. “We’re the only show in town on Tuesday, the only game on TV. And we’ve had some success on ESPN in the past.” “I think we’ll benefit from playing on Tuesday,” Kenny said. “I’m pretty confident that we’ll go out and get that win. “We are a legitimate team whether we’re in the play-in game or not. We’re a tournament team, and all we can do is go out there and play like it.” Regardless of the outcome of last night’s game, it’s been a special couple of weeks for the Hawks. The win over FDU on Wednesday at the Rothman Center was one of the more exciting games of the entire Championship Week. FDU’s Bernell Murray missed the front end of a one-and-one with 8.3 seconds left after Monmouth’s Dejan Delic made two free throws to bring the Hawks to 48-47 with 8.5 seconds remaining. Alston rebounded the miss and fed senior co-captain Tyler Azzarelli, who quickly got the ball to Kenny streaking down the court. Kenny scored on a driving layup with two seconds to play to give the Hawks the lead. “We called a ‘scramble,’ which basically means ‘Just go,’ ” Calloway said. “My thinking was, why let the defense get set up? We weren’t going to a better shot than we would in transition.” After a time-out, Fairleigh Dickinson was unable to get a shot off at the buzzer. Alston had 14 points and 10 rebounds to lead Monmouth (18-14), which became the first NEC team seeded lower than one or two to win the conference tournament since Mount St. Mary’s in 1999. Among the highlights of the game was a monster dunk from Alston over FDU’s 7-footer, Andrea Crosariol. Alston brought the visitors to their feet with 14:58 left when he faked out Gordon Klaiber on the wing and dunked over Crosariol and completed the three-point play to tie the score at 36 Shore Conference basketball fans are accustomed to seeing such explosive plays from Alston, who helped lead Neptune to the Tournament of Champions final in his senior year, along with Louisville’s Taquan Dean and Fairfield’s Terrance Todd. “That was big,” said Alston, the Most Valuable Player of the Northeast Conference Tournament. “I think that was the play that got everybody going a little bit. Then, when I was able to tie it with a free throw, it made a little statement to them.” So where does it rank in his own personal highlight files? “That’s in my top five,” he said with a smile. While the Hawks were hoping to earn a shot at Villanova tomorrow, they were also quick to point out the success they’ve already enjoyed this season. “This season has turned out great, but there have been a lot of bumps in the road,” Azzarelli said. “I had to miss 10 games [with a broken foot], and it was really a struggle. I had some down times, but the adversity is going to make all of this sweeter. “We’ve got seven different players who scored 20 or more points at one point this year, and that’s really kind of unheard of. That speaks for what kind of team this is. “Since my freshman year, when I came here from Florida, people have been asking me why I would come up here, come to New Jersey, and the answer has always been tough to come up with,” Azzarelli added. “Now I get to show them two rings. That’s answer enough.” For Azzarelli and Kenny, senior co-captains and roommates, this year’s championship run has been quite a cap on what were already satisfying careers at Monmouth. “It’s unbelievable,” said Kenny. “It’s just a great way to go out.” With a win last night, MU would have become just the second NEC team to win a play-in game, joining Robert Morris who did it in 1983. That is also the last NEC team to win a NCAA tournament game – a span which includes 26 games. The Hawks have had their chances to become the NEC’s first team to win a first-round game, but fell short in 1996 (Marquette), 2001 (Duke) and 2004 (Mississippi State). This time around, they’d need to upset a Villanova team that was ranked in the top five of the nation for most of the year. The Hawks entered last night’s game with Hampton hoping to prove they were slighted by the NCAA’s selection committee. With a win, they’ll have a whole lot more to prove on Friday in Philadelphia.last_img read more

Elite Football Combine Series coming to Wall Twp.

first_imgCollegiate Sports of America Inc. (CSA/PrepStar), the nation’s leader in recruiting services for college-bound student-athletes, will be presenting a nationwide series of approximately 40 combines for elite high school football players in 2007, including on Sunday, Jan. 14 at the Velocity Sports Performance Center at 1800 State Route 34 north (Building 3) in Wall Township. According to President (and former University of Hawaii All-American quarterback) Jeff Duva, these combines will be limited to approximately 100 of the best football players from each respective area. Duva started the nation’s first-ever college recruiting service back in 1981, and he also serves as the publisher of PrepStar Magazine, the top college football recruiting publication of its kind in the nation. Since the launch of his recruiting service 25 years ago, CSA has grown into the world’s largest company of its kind, with a national network of 93 recruiting franchises covering all 50 states, as well as international offices in Canada, Mexico, South America, Asia and Australia. “We will test and evaluate some of the top freshmen, sophomores and junior prospects from about 20 locations around the country,” said Duva. “We are planning this event to be both a testing combine to record the skills and abilities of these athletes, and at the same time it will be a great opportunity for them to be evaluated and considered as candidates for the preseason issue of PrepStar Magazine.” After the check-in process has been completed — which includes measurement of each student-athlete’s height, weight and wingspan — each participant will be tested with a position-specific group in the following tests: bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill, pro agility shuttle and 40-yard dash. For more information regarding CSA or this combine series, visit the company’s Web site at www.csaprepstar.com. You may also call them at (818) 225-7300, and ask for Vice President Jack Wright.last_img read more

Rutgers soccer roundup

first_img The Scarlet Knights, ranked 12th in the nation, took on the third-ranked team from Santa Clara University and the country’s top team from Stanford in a two-day span, losing both games, but proving their mettle in the process. On Sept. 15, Rutgers came within a few minutes of posting an upset of Santa Clara, as they clung to a 1-0 lead on a goal scored by senior Amanda Allessio, of Langhorne, Pa., in the 29th minute. They followed Allessio’s goal with a solid defensive effort, before giving up goals in the 87th minute and the 104th minute, falling 2-1 in double overtime. Santa Clara entered the game averaging 15 shots a game, but was held to just seven in regulation against RU. “We just played one of the top programs in the country,” said Crooks. “Now we feel like we’re one of the top programs in the country. The girls feel very good about themselves in spite of the results.” The very next day, the Rutgers women’s soccer team played the best team in the nation in the Stanford Invitational, but couldn’t come away with a win, falling 4-1 to the Cardinal. Even though they lost, the Scarlet Knights (4-2) felt they outplayed the Cardinal (6-0). “It was an odd game,” said Crooks. “We outshot them 11-9, but it was one of those matches where every shot they took managed to find its way in, and we didn’t finish our opportunities quite as well.” “Coming into [the] weekend, we felt we were capable of winning games at this level,” said the coach. “We played two very strong programs, and by playing them the way we did, now we know we can compete on this level.” The Scarlet Knights opened up Big East play on Friday, when they lost to Seton Hall, 1-0. The Scarlet Knights (4-3, 0-1) had their opportunities, but were unable to convert thanks to good defense from the Pirates (4- 2-1, 1-0) and a great game by goalie Amanda Becker (six saves). After a scoreless first half, Seton Hall’s Alli Donofrio picked up her second goal of the season in the 57th minute to give the Pirates the lead. In the 74th minute, Rutgers’ Alicia Hall (Port Republic) had a breakaway opportunity but the pass went right into the hands of goalie Becker. Domenique Esposito (Rivervale) had a free kick in the 84th minute that was also saved by the Seton Hall keeper. Sophomore Kristen Edmonds, joins Lang up front. Middletown North’s Jennifer Anzovino, also a sophomore, is another bigtime scoring threat for the Scarlet Knights, playing both at forward and in the midfield. Freshman Michelle Olivo, from Woodbridge High School, is another player Crooks turns to for offense, while senior Leia Rispoli, of South Brunswick, helps solidify the midfield. Junior Courtney Roarty, of Edison, sees time at forward, but also helps sure up what is a stellar defensive unit once again. BY DOUG McKENZIE Correspondent last_img read more

Sports Shorts

first_imgShore Shock Softball 12U is looking for catchers born in 1996 or 1997 for the 2009 softball season. Tryouts are being held evenings from January through March. For more information, contact Jim at 732-567- 6405 or via e-mail at [email protected] net. The team is based in central Monmouth County in the Bayshore area. Shore Shock Softball 14U is looking for players born in 1994 or 1995 for the 2009 softball season. Tryouts are being held evenings from January through March. For more information, contact Jim at 732-567- 6405 or via e-mail at [email protected] net. The team is based in central Monmouth County in the Bayshore area. Shore Shock Softball 16U is looking for players born in 1992 or 1993 for the 2009 Softball Season. Tryouts are being held evenings from January through March. For more information, contact Jim at 732-567- 6405 or via e-mail at [email protected] net. The team is based in central Monmouth County in the Bayshore area. Deweycheatumnhowe, the 2008 Hambletonian winner, has been selected as the New Jersey Standardbred of the Year for 2008 by the New Jersey Equine Advisory Board. The 3-year-old trotting colt, sired in New Jersey by Muscles Yankee, won 22 of his 25 career starts with purse earnings in excess of $3.1 million of which more than $2.2 million was earned in ’08. Deweycheatumnhowe won the Triple Crown races the Hambletonian and Kentucky Futurity as well as the World Trotting Derby and the Stanley Dancer Memorial. He won 17 consecutive races during his sophomore campaign. 13U travel baseball team playing in the Central Jersey area is seeking a pitcher born after April 30, 1995. Indoor winter training workouts will begin this month for spring travel baseball league, which will include tournaments. A few positions are still available as the team has a small roster of committed kids to maximize playing time for this competitive team. If interested, contact Les Kramsky at 732-239-6767 or [email protected] yahoo.comlast_img read more

United and Chelsea draw as Rooney saga bubbles on

first_imgWayne Rooney needs to break his silence in the next 48 hours and either commit to Manchester United or say he wants to leave the club, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Monday as he urged his top target to end the transfer saga.The London club have made two unsuccessful bids for the England striker and have not ruled out making a third with their pursuit of him coming after former United manager Alex Ferguson said in May that Rooney wanted to quit Old Trafford.Rooney played the whole of Monday’s 0-0 draw at home to the club chasing his signature with his manager David Moyes saying his performance on the pitch demonstrated his position on the matter without him actually needing to say it.“I think the person that started the story has to finish the story,” Mourinho told a news conference.“A club like us, a manager like me and the people that work in the club with me, we are not silly to try to get a player from a big club, a club that does not sell what they don’t want to sell, we are not silly to try something if somebody didn’t start.”Asked if he meant did he want Rooney, who has not commented on the matter publicly, to come out and say he wanted to stay or go, he replied: “Yes.”He added he would like that to happen in the next “24, 48 hours” as if Chelsea could not get Rooney they would sign someone else.Rooney, who was cheered by his own fans and Chelsea’s, who were singing “Wayne Rooney, we’ll sign you next week”, had the best goal-scoring chances in a poor game, including an attempt at an acrobatic volley in stoppage time.“I think his performance tonight said enough, he closed two or three people down in the corner and I think the crowd realised the work he did,” said Moyes, who has faced a barrage of Rooney questions since taking over the job last month.“He was desperate to score, you could see that by the way he nearly scored with an overhead kick in injury time. So I think his actions tonight showed what he thought.”DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCESChelsea’s bid to sign Rooney had added spice to this early season meeting between the two big guns and Mourinho had stoked the fire by suggesting before the game that Moyes should shoulder the blame for the forward wanting to leave after suggesting he was a second-choice striker.Despite calling for an end to the uncertainty over the future of Rooney, Mourinho did not quite finish courting him as he tried a flattery approach.“I think the most important thing is he played very well, he was a real professional, he played for his club, played for the club that pays him, tried to win, tried to score, he was fantastic,” Mourinho said.“After that if he wants to leave he has to say. Or he has decided now that he doesn’t want to leave anymore, it’s his problem but I praise him because he was fantastic.“He played a fantastic match under these difficult circumstances so I praise him.”As if to prove he was anything but second-choice, Moyes named Rooney in his starting line-up for the biggest test of his short United career so far and he was delighted with the result.“I was very pleased with his performance and I was very pleased with the reaction from the crowd,” said the Scot, who has repeated the ‘he is not for sale’ mantra whenever he has faced questions about Rooney.“But I’ve got to say I didn’t think it was unexpected … He’s been great in training, the way he’s trained and anyone who looks at him will notice he’s slightly leaner looking. He worked hard, he tackled, he chased when we needed it.”The transfer window shuts on Sept. 2 which means that whether Rooney adheres to Mourinho’s two-day deadline or not, the football world will get a definitive answer by then.last_img read more

Surprise packages take centre stage in Euro qualifiers

first_imgBy Brian HomewoodSURPRISE packages Northern Ireland, Iceland and Slovakia will all attempt to chalk up their fourth straight wins in the wildly unpredictable Euro 2016 qualifiers which resume over the weekend.Iceland, who have scored eight goals without conceding in Group A, travel to Plzen, the home of Pilsner beer, hoping to add to add the Czech Republic to their list of scalps after their improbable wins over Turkey, Latvia and the Netherlands.Northern Ireland, who sit proudly on top of Group F after wins over Hungary, Faroe Islands and Greece, visit Romania while Group B leaders Slovakia, who have already beaten Spain, visit Macedonia.With 23 teams out of 53 teams joining hosts France at Euro 2016, the qualifiers kicked off in September among concerns that it would be little more than a tedious formality for the traditional powers of European football.Instead, the likes of Germany, Spain and Netherlands seem to have been lulled into a false sense of security while the greater number of places up for grabs may have inspired hope in the 26 teams who have never qualified before.Germany were beaten by Poland last month while other upsets have included Albania’s win in Portugal and previously goal-shy Cyprus coming from behind to win 2-1 in Bosnia.The Czechs are determined to avoid being on the wrong end of another upset on Sunday against Iceland who emerged with a 2-1 win when the teams last met, in a World Cup qualifier in 2001.“We are going to practice things that should help us overcome an Iceland defence organised in two blocks,” said coach Pavel Vrba.“We are going to show our players what weapons Iceland used to defeat the Netherlands, Turkey and Latvia, and how to prevent them from doing the same against us.”Romania’s match against Northern Ireland on Friday also features two unbeaten sides who look capable of ending long absences from major tournaments.The Romanians have not played at a major finals since Euro 2008, while Northern Ireland have been absent since the 1986 World Cup, when they twice beat Romania in the qualifying campaign.Group C leaders Slovakia start as strong favourites to continue their run in Macedonia on Saturday, having never lost in six previous meetings to their opponents.Spain, who have six points, look to have a straightforward task at home to Belarus who will be under interim coach Andriy Zygmantovic after Georgi Kondratiev quit last month.Azerbaijan will also be under a caretaker coach as Makhmud Gurbanov leads them at home to Norway in Group H on Sunday following Berti Vogts’ resignation last month, the German calling it a day after six years following the 6-0 defeat to Croatia.Arguably the most attractive match is between Italy, enjoying a new lease of life under new coach Antonio Conte, and Croatia, who clash on Sunday in Milan after each winning their first three games in Group H.England are also hoping to make it four out of four matches when they host Slovenia in Group E on Saturday, the first meeting between the teams since the 2010 World Cup when England won by a single goal.The struggling giants all have seem to have straightforward-looking matches.Germany, with only four points from three games in Group D, are at home to newcomers Gibraltar on Friday while the Dutch, who have lost two out of three games in Group A, host Latvia on Sunday.Greece, who reached the last 16 at the World Cup and have only one point so far in Group F, face the Faroe Islands.last_img read more

Mignolet saves Vardy penalty as Liverpool beat Leicester

first_imgSimon Mignolet conceded and then saved a late penalty as Liverpool clung on for a 3-2 win over Leicester City in a pulsating Premier League clash at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.The Belgian keeper fouled Vardy with a mistimed fly-kick when desperately trying to clear his lines but, having been booked, got up to parry the England striker’s spot-kick as Liverpool clung on in a game where they twice enjoyed two-goal leads.Mignolet has now saved five of the past eight penalties he’s faced.“I count points, not penalty saves,” the goalkeeper said afterwards.The visitors dominated the first half and opened the scoring through Mo Salah’s far-post header from Philippe Coutinho’s cross a minute after the Egyptian missed a sitter. The goal was Salah’s sixth of the season.Coutinho looked back to his best and increased the lead with a curled 25-metre free-kick inside Casper Schmeichel’s post on 23 minutes but Liverpool conceded just before the break when Shinji Okazaki converted a knockdown despite strong appeals for a foul on the keeper.Goals flow at both ends whenever Liverpool play and no sooner had Jordan Henderson restored their two-goal advantage than Vardy headed Leicester’s second before spurning the chance of an equaliser.Even then, Leicester could have had another penalty when Can handled.last_img read more

Mata urges United to focus on strong finish after West Brom defeat

first_imgManchester United must recover quickly from their shock 1-0 defeat by West Bromwich Albion as they try to seal a second-placed finish in the Premier League and an FA Cup triumph, midfielder Juan Mata has said.United’s first loss at home in the league since December handed the title to rivals Manchester City with five games to spare. However, Mata believes the team cannot wallow in defeat as they prepare for Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur.“Second position was not done before the game,” Mata told United’s website. http://www.manutd.com “It was not done even if we won. It is even more important for the next games and we know we have to compete until the last week.“It’s been a long season but we need to make sure we can compete until the end, that we keep that second position and we fight for being in another FA Cup final and try to win it.”United lost 2-0 to Spurs when the two sides met in the Premier League at Wembley in January.Before their cup clash, United travel to 11th-placed Bournemouth in the league on Wednesday while Tottenham face Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday.last_img read more