The three Greek teams that will compete in this year’s Europa League Group Stages found out their opponents in today’s draw. Olympiacos was paired with APOEL, Young Boys, and Astana. PAOK will play Fiorentina, Slovan Liberec, and Qarabag while Panathinaikos will face off against Ajax, Standard Liege, and Celta.As expected, Olympiacos was given the “easiest” group in the Europa League due to their seed in pot 1. The Greek Champions will play in Group B against Young Boys (SUI), Astana (KAZ), and Cypriot Champions APOEL. Without a doubt, if Olympiacos finds their European form of the previous seasons they will not only progress to the Round of 32 but will win the group. APOEL will have the “first say” in qualifying out of the groups along with Olympiacos. The Greek Champions will play their first match away to Young Boys on September 15th. For Olympiacos’ full schedule click here.PAOK will be content with today’s draw as they were placed in Group J along with Fiorentina (ITA), Slovan Liberec (CZE), and Qarabaq (AZE). PAOK was seeded in pot 2 and was expected to be paired with a “major” European Club, in this case Fiorentina. The Italians will be the favorites to advance as group winners with PAOK having the upper-hand to progress in second. However, Slovan Liberec and Qarabag will prove to be tough opponents if PAOK underestimates the two sides. The Dikefalos tou Vora will host Fiorentina on the first matchday on September 15th. For PAOK’s full schedule click here.Seeded in pot 4, Panathinaikos received the “toughest” draw from the three Greek Teams. The Prasini will play in Group G along with Ajax (NED), Celta (ESP), and Standard Liege (BEL). The group looks to be very even on paper with Ajax deemed favorites to win the group. Standard Liege will be a tough opponent with their vast European experience, but a good Panathinaikos can overcome the Belgian side. The Trifylli was unfortunate to draw Celta from the 3rd pot, looking as the “toughest” team from the other possible opponents. Although they are not a “big” name in European football they play in one of Europe’s top leagues and will also be a contender to progress from the Group Stages. Panathinaikos will play Ajax in Athens for the opening game in Group G. For Panathinaikos’ full schedule click here. Source: AGONAsport.com (Facebook – Instagram)TweetPinShare0 Shares
Mohammad Kaif announced his retirement from all forms of competitive cricket on Friday, on the 16th anniversary of the historic NatWest Series win.On July 13 2002, Kaif played an unbeaten knock of 87 as India chased down an imposing total of 326 to beat England by two wickets in the NatWest Series final.The 37-year-old took to Twitter to announce his decision, almost 12 years after he last played for the Indian team in which he stood out as much for his acrobatic fielding as for his effective lower-order batting.”I’m calling it a day and announcing my retirement from all first-class cricket. It made sense to do so on July 13. Each of our professional lives is defined by one moment more than any other, 16 years ago today, July 13 2002, was that moment for me, at the NatWest Series Final at Lord’s. It seems apt to bid goodbye on this day,” wrote Kaif.When I started playing Cricket,the dream was to play in the India Cap one day.Have been very fortunate to step on to the field & represent my country on 190 days of my life. Today is an apt day for me to announce my retirement from all competetive Cricket. Thank you everyone pic.twitter.com/HzKZDWgXBoMohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) July 13, 2018Kaif played 13 Tests and 125 ODIs for India. He was a part of the Indian team that reached the World Cup final in South Africa. Along with Yuvraj Singh, Kaif was among the stars to emerge from the U-19 India stable after leading the Colts to a maiden Junior World Cup triumph in 2000.advertisementKaif, who has won the Ranji Trophy for UP, last played first class cricket for Chattisgarh.Kaif will always be remembered as being one of the finest fielders that India has ever produced.You’ve chosen the best day to announce your retirement, @MohammadKaif. Those memories are still fresh in our minds. May Lord bless you with more and more success, just like the one at Lord’s back in 2002. My best wishes to you always. pic.twitter.com/4vMeVKjyfySachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) July 13, 2018Congratulations on a fantastic career Kaif. You can be very proud of your efforts and my best wishes to you and your familyVVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) July 13, 2018Well done on ur career bhaisaab @MohammadKaif you were the one who changed the mind set of the fielding in Indian cricket.even though I would have liked u to stay slightly behind on d 30yard circle bT I knew u had d best intention;) Wish you all d luck for ur future endeavoursIrfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) July 13, 201813-07-02 a new era of Indian power cricket began.13-07-18 the hero of that game retires.Thanks @MohammadKaif for being a great friend and a loyal lover of this game which connects us all.Wishing you all the happiness and success in life ahead.Good luck.Bhai shab pic.twitter.com/UvQke0lYamHarbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) July 13, 2018During the five years that he was an India regular, it was his electric reflexes inside the 30 yard circle, especially the cover region, that made him special.Along with Yuvraj Singh at point, Kaif formed the backbone of Indian fielding during the time Sourav Ganguly led the Indian cricketing renaissance. One of the fittest cricketers of his time, a batting average of 32 in 125 ODIs, with only two hundreds, don’t tell the story of Kaif’s fighting abilities coming at No 6 or 7 with only few deliveries to play.In his 13 Test appearances, Kaif logged 2753 runs at an average of 32.01, including two hundreds and 17 half-centuries.An apt day to make this announcement pic.twitter.com/F97vuKaoKAMohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) July 13, 2018Apart from his Lord’s knock, Kaif’s hundred against Zimbabwe in the Champions Trophy 2002 will also remain in memory as he lifted the team from the dumps after the top order found itself back in the pavilion for less than 100 on the board.However, issues with his technique made him vulnerable against top quality pacers, something that was exposed thoroughly during the 2006 tour of South Africa.He never played for India again but remained a quality player in domestic cricket leading UP for many years.He finished with 7581 first class runs with 15 hundreds across 129 matches.Kaif is already a cricket analyst and a respected hindi commentator.(With PTI inputs)
Chelsea Giroud has found his ‘perfect club’ after trading Arsenal for Chelsea Chris Burton 16:35 2/15/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Glyn Kirk Chelsea Olivier Giroud Premier League The France international striker was allowed to cross London on transfer deadline day and claims to already be feeling at home at a “massive club” Olivier Giroud believes he found the “perfect club” when he made a deadline day move from Arsenal to Chelsea.The France international striker was forced to wait until late in the winter transfer window before seeing his future resolved.A move away from Emirates Stadium had been mooted for some time, and eventually all of the pieces fell into place as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang linked up with the Gunners and Michy Batshuayi departed Stamford Bridge for Borussia Dortmund. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Giroud is delighted to have joined a team of proven winners and has vowed to give his all to the ongoing pursuit of more major honours.The 31-year-old frontman told the Blues’ official website: “Chelsea was the perfect team for me, the perfect club.“It’s the Premier League, it’s the club which has won the most titles in the last 10 years, it’s a massive club. I’m very proud and happy to be here.“People want you to wear the shirt and give the maximum. I know I will have to be efficient, assist sometimes, score sometimes.“We don’t have too much time for integration but I feel very good and the boys have been very good to me.”Defending champions Chelsea have seen their Premier League crown slip, with Manchester City dominating the battle for domestic supremacy in 2017-18.Antonio Conte’s side are, however, still in the hunt for FA Cup glory, a top four finish and another Champions League triumph – with a heavyweight tie against La Liga giants Barcelona awaiting at the last-16 stage of that competition.“We’re going to take the games step by step,” added Giroud.“Firstly we want to qualify in the FA Cup and then we have three big games to come, Barcelona in the Champions League and then the two Manchester clubs away, that’s why we need the confidence high. We need to keep it up and build momentum.”Chelsea returned to winning ways in their last outing against West Brom, with Giroud contributing his first assist as the Blues got back on track after a recent wobble.