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Commonwealth Games: England’s strong start paves way for victory over Malawi

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England continued the defence of their Commonwealth Games title with a 66-41 victory over Malawi on Saturday afternoon.

Jess Thirlby’s outfit started much faster than they had done against Trinidad & Tobago the day prior.
Eleanor Cardwell and Stacey Francis-Bayman both thrived after being handed starting roles and a 35-20 half-time lead set England on their way.
Following half-time changes, the home side stuttered during a drawn third quarter before reasserting themselves quickly after the last break and creating another comfortable final scoreline.
England now have a rest day before returning to court on Monday against Northern Ireland. In the earlier match, Scotland fell to a 83-30 defeat at the hands of the Australian Diamonds.
Thirlby opted to make changes to her starting seven for this second pool match, including a new shooting combination.
Helen Housby dropped to the bench with Eleanor Cardwell, who shot 30 from 30 as a replacement on day one, combining with Jo Harten. Jade Clarke shifted out to centre, while Stacey Francis-Bayman was handed the wing defence bib to link up with Layla Guscoth and Geva Mentor.
Francis-Bayman and Cardwell both made instant impacts.The former picked off the first interception of the match and the latter maintained her 100 per cent accuracy throughout the quarter. In fact, Cardwell wouldn’t miss a shot until just before half-time.
As the opening 15 minutes progressed, Guscoth and Mentor consistently added to Francis-Bayman’s work.
The intensity of the pressure they put on shooters Joyce Mvula and Mwai Kumwenda forced errors, while 17 penalties against the Malawi Queens overall handed England plenty of ball to work with.
A 19-9 quarter set England on their way and an unchanged line-up ensured the home team continued where they left off during the second quarter.
Malawi amended their personnel and the arrival of a shorter goal attack Jane Chimaliro, helped them to get their own scoreboard moving but turnovers against them still proved to be costly.
Thirlby made changes at the interval, introducing Housby at goal attack and keeping Laura Malcolm at centre after her arrival shortly before half-time.
Clarke returned at wing defence with Francis-Bayman moving back a position to goal defence.
Malawi produced a couple of early errors in the quarter before they really settled and clicked at both ends.
Towera Vinkhumbo’s move out to goal defence was a profitable one. Kumwenda and Mvula, back together on court again, found their groove, while England lost theirs in their attacking goal third.
Malcolm couldn’t see options in front of her, a couple of missed shots again came off the arm of Housby and the connection between her and Harten didn’t look as telepathic as it has been in previous seasons.
Malawi rattled England, took a 12-8 lead in the quarter and went on to draw it 13-13.
Cardwell arrived back on court for the final quarter, being put in at shooter alongside Housby. Imogen Allison worked well fresh on court at wing defence and the whole team used the first few minutes to really reassert themselves.
England’s foot went back on the gas for the remained for the final 15 minutes and that ensured they will take a positive feeling into their rest day and next match against Northern Ireland on Monday.

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Olise’s late strike gets Palace point against United

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Michael Olise has helped Crystal Palace get a point against Manchester United in their 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park Stadium on Wednesday night.

The midfielder’s late strike in extra-time, 91′, levelled the game against United, who had controlled the lead since the 43rd minute of the first half after Bruno Fernandes’ fine finish put the Red Devils ahead just before the break.

A relentless Olise scored from a free kick with a left-footed shot to the top right corner. The equalising goal saw United’s dream of replacing defending EPL champions City in the second place on the league table, fade away, as they remain third with 39 points, having played a game more than City.

Crystal Palace remains in 12th place with 23 points.

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Atletico Madrid head coach speaks on leaving Atletico Madrid

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Atletico Madrid head coach, Diego Simeone, has insisted that nobody has personally told him to leave the club.

Rumours have persisted that Simeone, 52, could be set to end this 11-year stay at Atletico Madrid at the end of the season.

However, the Argentine has now stated that no one at the club has asked him to quit the La Liga giants.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Atletico Madrid’s Copa del Rey tie with Levante on Wednesday night, Simeone said when asked about reports suggesting he would leave the club at the end of the season: “No one has personally asked me to leave.”

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However, having already been eliminated from UEFA Champions League and sitting 13 points behind leaders Barcelona in the La Liga table, the Copa del Rey is Atletico Madrid’s last realistic opportunity for a trophy this season.

It has been a disappointing campaign for Simeone’s side, as they sit fourth in the league.

Simeone added, “The boys are enthusiastic to reverse this situation that we have experienced since the break and prior to the World Cup. It’s been a regular to a bad season. For me, there is growth after the break, hopefully, we will continue in that line.”

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EPL: Frank Lampard won’t run away – Shaun Wright-Phillips

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Former Chelsea player, Shaun Wright-Phillips has backed his former teammate, Frank Lampard to stay at Goodison Park and turn things around.

Wright-Phillips said his former team-mate does not run away from challenges such as Everton is facing now but would face them squarely

Lampard is in danger of being sacked any moment from now after yet another defeat on Friday.

Everton crashed out of the FA Cup on Friday after they were beaten 3-1 by Manchester United at Old Trafford

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Frank Lampard has now led Toffees to six defeats in their last seven matches and they have also crashed out of the Carabao Cup and are currently 18th in the Premier League.

“Frank Lampard has always been a player and a person that won’t run away from things not going well,” Wright-Phillips told the BBC.

“He is the type of person to try and solve it or try and make the situation a lot better…”

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