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EPL: Newcastle cut down 10-man Sheffield United

first_imgNewcastle dented Sheffield United’s bid to qualify for the Champions League as Joelinton scored his first Premier League goal since August in a 3-0 victory on Sunday.Steve Bruce’s side made the most after Blades defender John Egan’s second half dismissal at empty St James’ Park. Allan Saint-Maximin broke the deadlock moments after Egan’s second booking.Matt Ritchie doubled Newcastle’s lead.With the visitors in disarray, much-maligned Brazilian striker Joelinton ended his wretched run with his first goal in the league since he netted the winner at Tottenham on August 25.It was only Joelinton’s fourth goal of the season and will offer hope he could still live up to the fanfare that followed his £40 million ($44 million) move from Hoffenheim last year.Newcastle were playing for the first time since the March suspension of the top flight and the victory moved them 11 points clear of the relegation zone. For Sheffield United, the defeat was another blow to their European hopes after Wednesday’s 0-0 draw at Aston Villa.Chris Wilder’s team remain two points behind fifth placed Manchester United.Ritchie couldn’t find a way past Blades keeper Dean Henderson early on when his long-range shot was clawed away from the 23-year-old.Running onto Miguel Almiron’s defence-splitting pass, Joelinton was guilty of a comical miss when he scuffed his woeful shot straight at Henderson before falling flat on his face.The turning point came five minutes into the second half when the Blades were reduced to 10 men. Egan had been booked in the first half for arguing with Joelinton and the Brazilian was his tormentor again when the United defender tugged him back to earn a second yellow card.Five minutes later Newcastle took full advantage of their numerical superiority.Saint-Maximin had scored Newcastle’s winner at Southampton in their final game before the pandemic hiatus and the French winger was their hero again three months later.Ritchie’s cross should have been cleared but Enda Stevens completely missed the ball and it ran through for Saint-Maximin to fire past Henderson from close-range.RelatedPosts Arsenal reject £3m bid for Balogun Newcastle linked with Jordon Ibe Several Chelsea players test positive for COVID-19 – Media reports Billy Sharp headed just wide from George Baldock’s cross as the visitors pushed for an equaliser.But Ritchie finished them off in the 69th minute when he advanced unchecked to smash a superb strike past Henderson from 20 yards.There was even better to come for Newcastle in the 78th minute as Joelinton got on the scoresheet at last.Almiron’s cross picked out the unmarked Joelinton just yards from goal and even he didn’t miss.Tags: Chris WIlderJoelintonJohn EganNewcastleSheffield UnitedSteve Brucelast_img read more

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Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak is realistic about team’s goals

first_imgWith the transition from the championship or bust mentality of the Kobe Bryant era to the youth movement currently underway, the Lakers approach the new season with adjusted expectations.“There’s always going to be pressure to win, make the playoffs and win a championship. Every year that will be our goal,” Kupchak said. “But we’re realistic with where we are.” Realistically, this year is not about winning a championship. It’s about laying a foundation that will lead to one sooner rather than later.And the next six months is a critical part of that process.For the Lakers to truly take the necessary next step they must add high-end talent through free agency and trades. But before that happens, the young players they’ve assembled must develop into an attractive core.There isn’t enough money in the world to convince a Kevin Durant to invest the next five or six years of his career in a non-stable foundation.But D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle might entice him to come aboard if they show they can be an exciting group moving forward.The Lakers’ future success depends it.The upcoming season might reveal if they are — or aren’t.“I’d like our young players to prosper and show promise so we can develop a core going forward. That’s something to build on,” Kupchak said. “Off the top of my head, that’s D’Angelo, Julius and Jordan [Clarkson]. We want our core to develop so that the blueprint can follow that next step, which is to add more talent next year. Which brings us to the steady sound of basketballs bouncing off the floor from the nearby gym. It’s been a consistent hum for more than six weeks now, with youngsters like Jordan and Russell and Randle and Larry Nance Jr. and Anthony Brown and a mix of veterans spending their mornings and afternoons working out together.The long-timers at Lakers headquarters will tell you they don’t remember an offseason in which players spent so much time at the facility. There were plenty of days that the young Lakers beat staff members to the office, then stayed throughout the day honing their games.They were working on post development and intermediate games and conditioning. But they were also developing chemistry and pushing each other and reaching out to coaches for tips and advice and instruction.And throughout the building, the feeling of youthful excitement was unmistakable.And it rose all the way to Kupchak’s office overlooking the practice court.“We’ve not had this kind of activity every day in this building with the kind of energy for as long as I’ve been here,” Kupchak said. “Our coaches have been here and available to rebound. The players just show up. They’re all out there working and asking our coaches, ‘Can you work with me on this? Can you work with me on that? I’m not talking two or three guys. Every day for the last four or five weeks, we’ve had players out there. That’s encouraging”In the whole scheme of things, it might mean very little, of course.The Lakers either struck gold drafting Russell and Randle and Clarkson or they didn’t.And while the past six weeks did nothing to answer that critical question, it reveals quite a bit about who these young players are at their core.It’s one thing to be a tantalizingly talented young player.Quite another to be talented with a world-champion work ethic and an insatiable appetite to get better.While we can’t possibly know yet what Clarkson and Russell and Randle are in terms of NBA talent, it’s safe to say they have the work ethic part down pat.Kupchak said he can’t remember a young player who pushed himself as hard as Clarkson did this offseason, until pausing and saying Randle worked every bit as hard as his second-year teammate.In that respect, the Lakers struck gold.Now they have to turn work ethic into production.It won’t mean hoisting a championship trophy next June.But if it helps the Lakers lure a big-time free agent next July, it was a successful season. The unmistakable sound of basketballs bouncing off hard wood could be heard from the Lakers’ practice facility court Thursday. Inside an adjacent room, general manager Mitch Kupchak was holding his annual state of the Lakers address with local reporters. Training camp was a few days away. A new season beckoned. And Kupchak was laying out his thoughts.It wasn’t all that long ago he would have drawn a distinct line in the sand separating what he considered a successful Lakers season from a completely wasted one. Success meant hoisting a championship trophy in mid-June.A complete waste meant falling short of that objective. One or the other.Joy or pain.But that was then and this is now.• VIDEO: Kupchack on Lakers heading into preseasonAnd the relatively short passage of time in between has resulted in a world we don’t quite recognize but a reality we must soon grow accustomed to.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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