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File: In this Tuesday May, 20, 2014, file photo Oscar Pistorius outide the HIgh Court in Pretoria, South Africa. Presiding Judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to announce her verdict in Pistorius' murder trail after scrutinizing evidence Thursday and Friday given by 37 witnesses in a court transcript running to thousands of pages in a drama that has played out over six months. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)Your Top Plays for Today: AP's Sports Guide

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Sport | The Guardian
last updated: Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:19:18 GMT2014-10-01T19:19:18Z

Basel v Liverpool: Champions League live! | Scott Murray

34 min: Manquillo in a lot of space down the right with Balotelli waiting for a delivery in the middle. But the right back chunks his cross, which bobbles harmlessly into the hands of Vaclik.

32 min: Two penalties in the other match in this group. Both have been taken by Cristiano Ronaldo, but only one has been scored. Real Madrid are at least now level against Ludogorets.

30 min: A first sparkle by Markovic, who nearly achieves something down the inside left in combination with Coutinho, but a couple of fancy flicks arent enough to fashion space for a shot. Liverpool are soon coming back at Basel, Henderson latching onto a loose ball to the right of the Basel D and firing for the bottom left, but his shot is scuffed and hits the offside, sleeping Markovic.

28 min: The busy Embolo feeds Elneny down the left. From the corner of the Liverpool box, Elneny looks to fire a rising heatseeker into the top right. Itd have been a spectacular one, but it sails well wide right. Liverpool were opened up again, though. Basel are completely in charge, without being rampant. And without Mignolet having to make a save, it should be said.

26 min: Gerrard has quite rightly had the set-piece rights taken away from him. Coutinhos free kick is barely better, easily cleared, and Manquillo blooters an awful shot from distance miles over the bar for three of the rugby-style points.

25 min: Serey Die can be a clumsy bugger sometimes. Now hes bundling over Balotelli down the right, with the Liverpool player going nowhere. Free kick, which has to wait as somethings been thrown onto the pitch from a stand full of Basel fans behind the goal. A cigarette lighter, maybe. The referee makes sure its all recorded officially, and we play on.

23 min: Liverpools defence down the Basel right is a risible shambles. I have no idea what Jose Enrique is up to, or indeed where he is. Gonzalez was hanging around waiting for the pass thatd send him clear, but didnt receive it. That would have been a one-on-one had Frei seen his team-mate there. Instead the balls shuttled to the left of the Liverpool D, where Elneny attempts to curl home into the top right. Its on target, but theres no power, and Mignolet claims well. Basel look dangerous every time they come forward, only to repeatedly either choose the wrong pass or miscontrol.

21 min: Good pressing by Balotelli down the left, and Basel give up possession. Coutinho looks to break into the box, but hes upended by a clumsy lunge from Serey Die. Free kick. Can Gerrard do any better this time? No. His delivery is way too high, and easily claimed by Vaclik. A few seconds before that little period of play, there was minor scare in the Liverpool area, with the ball dropping towards Strellers feet in space to the left-hand side of the box, but Manquillo was on hand to whip the ball clear.

19 min: Balotelli earns a free kick with a decent turn into not much space down the right touchline, Schar the guilty man. Gerrards curled free kick doesnt beat the first defender. Thats abysmal.

18 min: Enrique allows Gonzalez another acre of grass down the Basel right. Again the winger cant control, and a chance for a shot at Mignolet is spurned. Basel are right on top here.

16 min: Basel are playing three at the back now, Gonzalez being an attacking player. Hes nearly set free into the Liverpool box by a delightful crossfield scoop from Embolo, who was afforded a little too much time 25 yards from goal in the middle. But the ball clanks off Gonzalezs shin and out of play, with Enrique miles out of position. Liverpool actually, replies Patrick Crumlish (5 mins). Just thought it was ironic of light of this mornings piece.

13 min: Streller looks dangerous again, advancing on the Liverpool box after Gerrard is caught sleeping 25 yards from goal. Hes let the ball run under his foot while yawning and scratching his arse. Very poor. Strellers low shot is blocked by Skrtel, who is putting himself about to good effect for Liverpool right now. Thats yet another corner, but Mignolet claims this one without too much fuss.

10 min: Gonzalez comes on for the stricken Safari. Streller goes on a stroll down the inside-right channel and wins yet another corner, this time off Skrtel. The set piece is another nonsense - Basel have wasted all three so far, putting no pressure on Liverpools poor defence whatsoever - but that was a very dangerous looking run by Streller.

8 min: Real Madrid are a goal down at Ludogorets. Basel still havent got their sub on for Safari. Corner for Liverpool down the right. Gerrard takes. The balls cleared easily enough, and Sterling goes haring after Hamoudi, who is attempting to break upfield quickly. Sterling bundles his opponent over with much cynicism, and is booked for his trouble.

7 min: Embolo wins a corner of Enrique down the right, having come first in a foot race to a loose ball. Xhaka hoicks a useless set piece straight through the box. Liverpools infamously rickety defence has yet to be tested.

5 min: Safari has pulled something in his right knee, chasing a ball down the right with Balotelli not particularly near him. He wont be able to continue. Hes currently getting helped off the pitch. Adam Lallana is finally fulfilling his boyhood dream of sitting on the bench during a Champions League match, then, observes Patrick Crumlish, who may or may not be a season-ticket holder at St Marys.

2 min: To be fair, Liverpool clear the corner easily enough. Theyre soon on the attack themselves, and Manquillo zips a low cross into the Basel box from the right. Suchy miskicks, leaving Sterling with only Vaclik to beat. He hits the base of the left-hand post, then slots the rebound away into the bottom right. A 2013/14-style fast start for Liverpool? Nope, because Sterling was a yard offside as Manquillo crosses. Thatll give a stuttering team succour, though.

The hosts get the first half underway. Theres a lovely bouncing buzz in St. Jakob-Park. Basel winning a corner through Hamoudi down the left within 20 seconds keeps the crowd going. The balls also hit Jose Enrique on the back during this opening 20-second period, so dont expect Liverpool to be too convincing at the back tonight. You werent expecting them to be too convincing at the back, were you.

The teams are out! The Champions League theme is parping out of the public address system. Lines are formed and hands are shaken. Basel are wearing their famous rotblau shirts, later ripped off by some chancers from Catalunya ...

Basel make three changes from the side hammered 5-1 by Real Madrid, with leading scorer Breel Embolo preferred up front to Paraguayan Derlis Gonzalez and Walter Samuel out injured: Vaclik, Xhaka, Schar, Suchy, Safari, Die, Frei, El-Nenny, Embolo, Hamoudi, Streller.
Subs: Vailati, Zuffi, Delgado, Gashi, Kakitani, Gonzalez, Calla.

Liverpool leave out Alberto Moreno and Adam Lallana:Mignolet, Manquillo, Lovren, Skrtel, Jose Enrique, Henderson, Gerrard, Markovic, Sterling, Balotelli, Coutinho.
Subs: Brad Jones, Toure, Lambert, Moreno, Lallana, Lucas, Borini.

Liverpool first played FC Basel on a landmark night for the football club: the 100th European fixture at Anfield. The game turned out to be ever so slightly nondescript, a 1-1 Champions League group-stage draw in September 2002 which Liverpool probably deserved to win. But its the return fixture which everyone remembers, an absurd 3-3 draw just over two months later at St. Jakob-Park, Gerard Houlliers side falling three goals down within half an hour, before staging an improbable second-half comeback which wouldnt be quite enough to keep them in the competition. Basel advanced instead. Looking back now, that abortive Champions League campaign was the beginning of the end of Houlliers reign, as Liverpool were also given an awful chasing home and away by Valencia, managed by one Rafael Benitez. Funny how things work out.

Basels 2002 humiliation of Liverpool - and especially a listless Steven Gerrard, who was hooked at half time in favour of Salif Diao (!) - came as something of a shock back then. Liverpool had made the quarter finals of the Champions League the season before, while it was the Swiss clubs first appearance in Europes premier competition since 1980. The balance of power isnt quite the same today. Liverpool are feeling their way back to the big time after a five-year absence, while Basel made the round of 16 last season. During Liverpools absence, Basle have beaten Chelsea twice and Manchester United once in the Champions League, and seen off Tottenham Hotspur in the Europa League to boot. All things considered, Liverpool could do worse than make off with a point after another 3-3 draw tonight, thats for sure.

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NYT > Sports
last updated: Wed, 01 Oct 2014 04:10:18 GMT

On Soccer: Champions League May Help Sweden’s Malmo Separate From the Pack
In Europe’s lesser leagues, qualification for the Champions League means an infusion of cash and concerns for its domestic rivals.

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last updated: Sat, 27 Sep 2014 12:40:28 EDT

Messi scores 400th goal
It's a landmark that most players can only dream of, but for Lionel Messi it was only a matter of time.

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Fox Sports Top Stories RSS feed merging with Breaking News
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last updated: Wed, 01 Oct 2014 14:00:00 GMT

Marsh’s fitness checked before Test
CRICKET Australia will assess Mitch Marsh’s fitness ahead of his Test debut after he suffered hamstring tightness in his last match.

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last updated: Wed, 1 Oct 2014 11:40:27 PDT

Pirates edge Braves to clinch playoff spot
Gerrit Cole retired the final 17 hitters he faced, and the surging Pittsburgh Pirates clinched a spot in the playoffs with a 3-2 win over the free-falling Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night.

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Belichick gives same answer five times: 'We're on to Cincinnati' -

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Happy Blackout Day
If for some crazy reason you aren’t fired up yet, I’ve got you covered right here. First, some scenes from last year… Intros: Seconds before first pitch: “The Greatest 90 Seconds in PNC Park History” The last out: (And here’s the full game if you have a couple hours to kill) It will be tough […]

If for some crazy reason you aren’t fired up yet, I’ve got you covered right here.

First, some scenes from last year…


Seconds before first pitch:

“The Greatest 90 Seconds in PNC Park History”

The last out:

(And here’s the full game if you have a couple hours to kill)

It will be tough to top what happened in this game one year ago. The combination of the end of the 20 year playoff drought and an instant elimination game is gone, and (hopefully) that will never need to be replicated again. But there’s no doubt Pittsburgh is still going to bring it. The standard for a playoff atmosphere has been set – it will be another sea of black, an army of towels and jolly rogers (and #HunterPenceSigns). I have no idea how people will attempt to chant Madison Bumgarner’s name but I’m sure there will be endless attempts at it. Regardless of whether or not there is a chant, people better be on their feet at every key moment, screaming their heads off, and, doing as much as they can to get the Bucs going if/when they need a boost.

We’ve broken the game down as follows:

You can do all the analysis you want, but with one game, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen. These are two pretty evenly matched teams (same win total, same run differential). The Giants probably have the edge on the mound, but the Pirates have the boost of home field.

Details for those headed to PNC Park:

  • The game is on ESPN; Baseball Tonight will be on site and starts at 5:30 on ESPN2 (moves to ESPN at 7).
  • Federal Street closes at 10 AM; there will be a block party of sorts starting at 4:30 PM
  • Riverwalk opens at 5:30, gates open at 6
  • All fans will receive a black rally towel
  • Pregame ceremonies start at 7:30; first pitch at 8:07
  • Maddie Georgi will perform the National Anthem
  • Kent Tekulve will throw out the first pitch – his first public appearance since his recent heart transplant.
  • North Shore garages/lots open at 4.

Pumped up yet?

Do you believe? 


Original article: Happy Blackout Day

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