Sunday, 31 May 2015

Lionel Messi double gives Barcelona Cup final win over Athletic Bilbao!


Lionel Messi scored an outrageous solo goal as La Liga champions Barcelona beat Athletic Bilbao to win the Copa del Rey and edge closer to the treble.


The four-time world player of the year lit up the Nou Camp when he evaded numerous challenges on the right wing and then surged into the area before firing home a firm, low shot.
 
Neymar tapped in his 38th goal this campaign, before Messi scored his 58th with the outside of his boot.


Inaki Williams headed in late on. That effort in the 79th minute was a small blip in an otherwise superb performance by Luis Enrique's side at their home, the Nou Camp.

A repeat display against Juventus in next week's Champions League final will almost certainly see them complete their second ever continental treble, having become the first La Liga side to do so in 2009.


On Saturday there were many fantastic moments of Barca interplay, but the highlight of the match, and maybe the Spanish season, involved just one player - Messi.


The 27-year-old Argentina forward started on the right and surrounded by Athletic players in the lead up to the opening goal, but managed to squeeze through a gap, sprint into the box, shift the ball past one more defender before striking a shot low past goalkeeper Iago Herrerin.


"Leo is spectacular, he is a star," said Neymar. "For me he is the best in the world and it is an honour to be part of this team with players of such quality."

If that was an individual goal of the highest standard, then Neymar's was a team goal of equal quality.
Quick passing around the area between Messi and Ivan Rakitic ended with Luis Suarez squaring the ball to Neymar to slot in. It was another goal for the Brazilian in what has been a superb debut season at Barcelona.


Messi scored his second of the night and his 58th this season with a stunning close-range finish after the break which meant he, Suarez and Neymar have now scored 120 goals in all competitions for the Catalan club this campaign.


Barca took a more relaxed approach in the last 15 minutes, and Athletic - 23-time winners of the competition - made the most of their opportunity when Williams headed in from six yards out.
Xavi came on as a late substitute in his final appearance for Barcelona at the Nou Camp. And the Spaniard, who will be ending a 17-year association, almost scored a fourth when his brilliant free-kick struck the post.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Magnificent Mumbai slay Super Kings, clinch IPL!

Mumbai Indians came up with a scintillating performance to win the 2015 IPL as they beat Chennai Super Kings by 41 runs in the final at the Eden Gardens on Sunday.

MS Dhoni's decision to field first backfired as Mumbai posted a daunting total of 202 to tighten their grip on the title.

Chasing 203, Chennai needed a flying start but openers Dwayne Smith and Mike Hussey were tied down by the Chennai bowlers.

Although Smith scored a half-century, the likes of Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo and Faf du Plessis failed to fire as the men in blue were crowned champions for the second time. 


On a night where Chennai had to do everything right, they faltered as their skipper although having won the toss was left to rue.

Earlier, displaying an awesome batting performance, Mumbai Indians posted a daunting 202/5 against Chennai Super Kings.  


Put in to bat, the Mumbai Indians built their innings around two partnerships, as they set an asking rate of 10.15 for Chennai on a flat strip.

A rollicking 119-run second-wicket stand between opener Lendl Simmons (68; 45b, 8x4, 3x6) and skipper Rohit Sharma (50; 26b, 4x6, 6x2) took the team to a position of solidity after the loss of opener Parthiv Patel in the opening over itself.

Kieron Pollard (36; 18b, 2x4, 3x6) and Ambati Rayudu (36; 24b, 3x6) then forged a 71-run partnership for the fourth wicket off only 40 balls to pile on the Chennai Super Kings bowlers' misery.


Caribbean Simmons, who has batted with his characteristic flamboyance through the tournament, opened up in the fourth over, picking up a four and six off Ravichandran Ashwin. A dozen came off the over.

Next he took on Ravindra Jadeja in the sixth over, plundering 14 runs.

Simmons reached his half century with a somewhat lucky shot, an edge, as Pawan Negi only managed to get his hands to the leather before it slipped out. The batsmen ran two, and Mumbai were 98/1 at the halfway stage.

The hundred came in 10.1 overs with Simmons disdainfully dispatching Jadeja to the boundary.

Rohit, who has always found Eden a happy hunting ground, went on the offensive from the word go, smacking Mohit Sharma for 16 runs in the second over, before unleashing some exquisite strokes during his stay in the middle.

Dwayne Bravo finally broke the partnership by foxing Rohit with a slower ball. Mumbai were 120/3 in 12 overs.

Simmons returned in the very next delivery, yorked by Dwayne Smith.

Trinidadian Pollard and Rayudu then came together and beat the bowlers to pulp on the foundation laid by Simmons and Rohit.

Pollard belted Nehra for 23 runs in the 17th over, that included three sixes and one boundary.

The match saw action in the very first over sent down by Ashish Nehra. Jolting the Mumbai Indians, diminutive open Parthiv Patel went back without bothering the scorer, victim of an outlandish fielding by Faf du Plessis.

The batsman went for a flick, but failed to execute it properly, and set off for a run as Plessis closed in on the ball at mid on. However, the South African displayed razor-sharp reflexes, as he dived, lost his balance, but still in one action managed to unsettle the bails.