Manchester United goalkeeper Tim Howard was forced to relive the worst moment of his career as Chelsea booked a League Cup final date with Liverpool with a 2-1 win at Old Trafford on Wednesday. \nDamien Duff's 85th minute winner represented the perfect 42nd birthday gift for Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, whose side ended Sir Alex Ferguson's proud record of never having lost a semifinal in nearly two decades in charge of United. \nBut for Howard, whose late error allowed Porto to knock United out of the Champions League on Mourinho's last visit to the Theater of Dreams, it was another night to forget. \nAfter Ryan Giggs had cancelled out Frank Lampard's first-half goal for Chelsea, United were looking the more likely winners as the tie -- goalless after the first leg -- headed towards extra time. \nBut the home side were left shell-shocked when a Duff free-kick from close to the right touchline was allowed to curl into the far corner of the net with Howard rooted to his spot in the center of the goal. \nThe American international's error against Porto cost him his first-team place. On this occasion however he was absolved by Ferguson, who instead pointed the finger at his central defenders. \n"I thought the defenders have every chance to attack it and they have let it bounce into the corner of the net," he said, admitting that he thought United were on course for victory. \nThe nature of Chelsea's victory was particularly cruel for Howard as it was his reflex save with his right boot that had kept United in the match just before Giggs's stunning equalizer. \nAny doubts about the significance of the encounter were dispelled by a glance at the team sheets. \nFor United, Roy Keane was making his first appearance in the League Cup since the 2003 final while Giggs, Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville were all turning out for the first time in the tournament this season. \nChelsea underlined their determination to earn a shot at the first trophy of the Roman Abramovich era by recalling first-choice goalkeeper Petr Cech and deciding not to give striker Didier Drogba a rest. \nIt was United who started the brighter of the two sides but the slick build-up work of Sir Alex Ferguson's men had failed to yield a single clear chance by the time Lampard put Chelsea ahead.
China wants to unite its 1.4 billion people through soccer, while also using the sport as “a bridge to work with the rest of the world,” Chinese Football Association secretary-general Liu Yi told reporters in an interview published yesterday. Liu spoke about what lies behind the country’s push to become a major soccer power by 2050. Under Chinese President Xi Jinping — who is described by state media as an “avid soccer fan” — the world’s most populous country has grand plans to host and even one day win a World Cup. Liu spoke about “using football to motivate the whole nation.” “Football is
‘JOB NOT DONE’: The outfielder, who hit a homer and stole two bases, said that players ‘have to be good at all aspects of game all the time and not take plays off’ Los Angeles outfielder Mookie Betts put himself in rarefied company with a standout performance in the Dodgers’ Game 1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in the 116th World Series on Tuesday. Betts sparked the Dodgers’ four-run fifth inning with a walk and two stolen bases, joining Babe Ruth as the only players in World Series history to record such an inning. After walking to lead off the inning, Betts stole second base. After Corey Seager walked, Betts reached third on a double steal, giving the Dodgers runners on second and third with one out. Betts took an aggressive stance off the bag
TENNIS Federer eyes Australia Roger Federer is practicing pain-free after undergoing two knee surgeries this year and said that he expects to return to the circuit at the Australian Open in January. The 39-year-old Swiss reached the semi-finals at Melbourne Park at the start of the year, but missed the rest of the season after undergoing a second arthroscopic procedure on his right knee. “I’m on the right track,” he told German-language magazine Schweizer Illustrierte. “I’m gradually coming back, but I’m going to take my time and don’t want to put any pressure on myself. I will only take part in a
Marcus Rashford once again sank Paris Saint-Germain after netting the decisive goal in a 2-1 Champions League win in the French capital. Rashford, who scored the winning spot-kick when United knocked PSG out two seasons ago, drilled home a low shot three minutes from the end, which won a thrilling Group H contest at a near-empty Parc des Princes. United had taken the lead in the 23rd minute when Bruno Fernandes slotted home from the spot at the second attempt, but Anthony Martial inexplicably headed Neymar’s corner into his own net 10 minutes after the break. The rest of the match was an