Gareth Bale scored yet another brilliant last-gasp winner to move Tottenham up to third after a cracking London derby in which they edged West Ham 3-2 at Upton Park. Press Association Bale, like Parker, was subjected to jeers from the home fans, but he had stunned the West Ham faithful with the opener after 12 minutes. The Welshman gained a yard on James Collins and another two Hammers defenders before firing across Jaaskelainen into the back of the net. Spurs were made to pay thanks to Carroll’s second goal of 2013. Parker put in an ill-advised two-footed challenge on Carroll in the box and referee Howard Webb pointed to the spot. The former Newcastle striker picked himself up and smashed the ball past Hugo Lloris. West Ham still had the majority of possession and they made it count with their second just before the hour. Cole timed his run to perfection, gaining two yards on Steven Caulker before slotting past Lloris and removing his shirt in a wild celebration. After 76 minutes, the Hammers failed to deal with Bale’s free-kick, a melee ensued in the box, but Sigurdsson held his nerve to poke past Jaaskelainen from close range. Then with 10 seconds left, Bale picked himself up after being flattened by a tackle, collected the ball off Tom Carroll and let fly with an audacious 25-yard bullet that beat Jaaskelainen. Jussi Jaaskelainen rolled back the years to keep the Hammers in the game for most of the clash, but there was nothing the 37-year-old could do to stop Bale’s blistering 25-yard shot flying in to the top corner with just 10 seconds remaining. Bale put Tottenham ahead in the first half, but Andy Carroll scored a penalty after being brought down in the box by former Hammers midfielder Scott Parker, who was booed throughout. Joe Cole thought he had grabbed the Hammers a morale-boosting win, but substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson equalised and Bale provided the killer blow in the final minute.
Incheon: South Korea’s under-23 national football team players returned to a heroes’ welcome on Monday after winning the gold medal at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia.The 20-player team, led by head coach Kim Hak-bum, received a warm welcome from hundreds of fans at Incheon International Airport. The players and coaching staff took a group photo with their gold medals before they disbanded, reports Yonhap news agency.South Korea defeated Japan 2-1 in extra time to claim their Asiad men’s football title. Lee Seung-woo and Hwang Hee-chan scored a goal apiece at Pakansari Stadium in Cibinong, south of Jakarta.”We earned a good result because of our players’ hard-working effort,” Kim said. “We want to thank our football fans for supporting us.”Three wild-card members — Son Heung-min, Hwang Ui-jo and Jo Hyeon-woo — were pivotal for South Korea’s gold medal run. Son was the captain of the team, while Hwang finished the Asian Games as the top scorer with nine goals. Jo conceded only two goals in the five matches he played.”The three players did more than what they were supposed to do,” Kim said. “They really lead their young teammates well.”With the gold medal, the 20 players are now exempt from their compulsory military service that is about two years long. They can now take a basic four-week training program for the service.Among the Asian Games members, eight players will have to continue their international duty as they also received a call-up from the senior national team. IANS
NEW ORLEANS — Even before the suspensions of six players last week, Ohio State was going to be faced with questions about its 0-9 bowl record against the SEC when it arrived in New Orleans. Now, the Buckeyes will attempt to diffuse the controversy surrounding Tattoo-gate in addition to their winless streak against the SEC. The streak has taken on a life of its own, mainly because of OSU’s recent national title game debacles against Florida and LSU. Senior defensive back Jermale Hines said the Buckeyes’ struggles against the SEC stay with them no matter how much they would like to forget about their past. “It’s always something in the back of our minds because it’s real,” Hines said. “The last couple outings we got destroyed by SEC teams.” Offensive guard Bryant Browning takes a different approach when it comes to the streak: ignorance. “I really haven’t watched too much of that kind of stuff” in the media, Browning said. “You can’t really worry about what people say. We’ve got to focus on ourselves.” Tonight OSU will face off against Arkansas in the 77th Allstate Sugar Bowl, nearly 32 years to the day that the Buckeyes were handed their first bowl game defeat at the hands of an SEC team. On Jan. 2, 1978, Paul “Bear” Bryant’s Alabama Crimson Tide destroyed the Woody Hayes-led Scarlet and Gray, 35-6. The players, including Browning, have echoed the sentiments of OSU coach Jim Tressel, who has implored them to remain focused on the task at hand. “We know if we go in and play any team in the nation and we play our best game, then we’ll come out on top,” Browning said. “We’re just working hard to try to do whatever it takes so that when Jan. 4 comes around we’re at our best.” That may be easier said than done against an Arkansas passing offense ranked third in the nation. Junior quarterback Ryan Mallett has led the Razorback attack, throwing for 30 touchdowns and 3,500 yards in back-to-back years. Although the Arkansas offense will be pass-heavy, it can also run the ball effectively with sophomore running back Knile Davis. When OSU faced Florida in 2007 and LSU in 2008, it went up against balanced offenses and gave up a combined 79 points. The winless streak against the SEC may be very real, but at least one OSU player doesn’t believe in the “SEC speed” theory, which fans and pundits alike claim gives the SEC the ultimate advantage on the playing field. “As far as the speed thing goes, I never have thought that that was the difference-maker,” said senior wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher. “People don’t just get slower when they come to the Big Ten.” Senior kicker Devin Barclay is looking forward to the opportunity to disprove the doubters, and reminds everyone that OSU is playing Arkansas, not the ghosts of SEC past. “We’ve really got to focus in on doing our thing. Obviously the games in 2006 and 2007 … we remember those games — they sting still, and they were against SEC teams. (But) they weren’t against Arkansas,” Barclay said. “There’s always been the press saying that we can’t compete against these SEC teams. It’s going to feel good to prove them wrong.”
Senior guard Aaron Craft (4) goes up for a layup. OSU won against Illinois, 62-55, Jan. 23. Credit: Kaily Cunningham / Multimedia editorA win’s a win.For the No. 17 Ohio State Buckeyes, that’s all that really matters after beating Illinois, 62-55, to put a stop to a four-game losing streak.“We try to do our best to put the losing streak behind us. This game wasn’t about that. It was about trying to come out and find a way to be better than Illinois and that’s our only goal in this game,” senior guard Aaron Craft said after the win. “We wanted to find a way to get better before this game in practice and watching film and we were able to do that. We were a tougher basketball team down the stretch than we have been, and that’s what matters.”A three-point play by junior forward LaQuinton Ross followed by a 3-pointer by senior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. (his fourth of the game) and free throws down the stretch helped secure the win for OSU.“I think it was just everybody being connected tonight. I think we had…it was a lot of togetherness tonight. You see guys jumping up and down, you see fans jumping up and down. We was able to get our crowd into it. It felt good to be playing back at home, too. Having that support for you from the crowd,” Ross said. “I think it was just a group effort tonight, everybody did what they had to and pitched in.”Both teams struggled offensively early on, combining to make just five field goals in the opening nine minutes of play.Smith Jr.’s second 3-pointer of the game gave OSU the lead, 24-23, with 57 seconds remaining in the first half, but a dunk on the other end by Illini junior center Nnanna Egwu helped give Illinois the lead at the break.The Buckeyes had as many field goals (seven) as they did fouls in the first half.OSU was able to gain momentum in the second half thanks to a 9-0 run that was topped off by a 3-pointer by junior forward Sam Thompson. That gave the Buckeyes the lead, 40-34, aided by four turnovers in six possessions by the Fighting Illini.Illinois (13-7, 2-5) would not go away quietly though, as it would make back-to-back 3-pointers to stay in the game.Craft would answer with a 3-pointer shortly thereafter, but two baskets by Illinois redshirt-senior guard Joseph Bertrand and a layup by junior guard Tracy Abrams tied the game at 46.Ross would bury a three from the wing, though, and a steal by Smith Jr. lead to a layup by junior guard Shannon Scott that gave OSU a five-point advantage with 3:31 left.The Buckeyes (16-4, 3-4) were able to make enough plays late to hold off Illinois for the win.“I’m just so excited for my team right now. Got a chance to see guys smiling and I miss that,” Smith Jr. said after the win. “As a senior on this team, obviously you want to see your team smiling as much as possible. I can tell you, prior to this game there was no smiles, there was no laughter. There was none of that. Guys were kind of in their shell. And now I feel like everybody’s out now and I’m just looking forward to going forward and playing the next game with a lot of confidence.”Ross led the way for OSU with 18 points, but Smith Jr. wasn’t far behind with 16 of his own. Craft finished with 11 points, six rebounds and five assists.“I think this. Did we play perfect? No, we did not,” OSU coach Thad Matta said. “The thing I liked was I loved our energy on defense. I thought we played extremely hard. I thought we got back to rotating, seeing things the way we need to see them. And that was something going in…you know offensively, first half I’m just like, ‘here we go again.’ When (junior center) Amir (Williams) missed the dunk I’m like ‘maybe this isn’t supposed to be.’ But to the kids credit they had a different look in their eye down the stretch and give the (Schottenstein Center) a ton of (credit). I mean that crowd was as energetic as it could be and really helped us.”Bertrand scored 19 for Illinois in the loss.Next up, the Buckeyes are set to host Penn State (9-10, 0-6) Wednesday at the Schottenstein Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
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