By tim morris Staff Writer Harry Reed jumped back into the Modified points race with his win in the annual 70-lap Coors Light Classic at Wall Stadium Saturday night. It was the third win of the year for the Freehold driver and moved him closer to Jimmy Blewett of Howell in the standings. The week before, Reed had finished back in the pack, after his engine blew, damaging his title hopes. But he’s back on track after his big win. Reed was in control of the race from the start and dominated. He took the lead on the first lap and never relinquished it. First, it was Barnegat’s Tom Mauser, who provided the challenge, and in the final laps, it was Howell’s John Blewett III making the run at him. However, Reed never gave his pursuers any hope for a win, as he weaved his way through lapped traffic and increased his lead with each lap. Blewett III held on for second with Mauser third. One day before celebrating his 21st birthday, Jimmy Blewett finished fourth and held onto his points lead. Curtis Truex Jr. of Mayetta was fifth on the line. Neptune’s George Andretta won his fourth straight Pro Stock feature, when Farmingdale’s Rob Williams spun out in turn two, leaving the door open for Andretta. Williams appeared headed for the checkered flag in the extra-distance 50-lap event, before spinning out on the 36th lap. That left Andretta, second at the time, in the lead, and with three straight wins under his belt, the Neptune driver knew what to do with the lead. Farmingdale’s Jim Vogt was second at the line, followed by Charlie Kremer III of Toms River, John Therkildsen of Matawan and Jim McLaughlin of Englishtown in third through fifth place. Williams recovered to take sixth place, while points leader Chas Okerson of Freehold was ninth. Farmingdale’s John McCormack grabbed his second checkered flag of the season and padded his points lead in the Street Stock division. McCormack spent most of the 50-lap race moving up through the field. He didn’t seize the lead until 15 laps were remaining. He clung to the lead over the final 14 circuits with Shannon Mongeau of Manasquan, the early race leader, second. Third place went to Kenny Matlack with Ron Frees of Brick fourth and Beachwood’s Bill Vanderveen, fifth. It was an opportunistic Brian Worth, who was in the right place at the right time in taking the 20-lap Truck Series main event. Worth, of Brick, was in third place behind leaders Steve Naylor of Absecon and Jerry Stanzione of Keansburg, as the laps were counting down. Naylor and Stanzione were battling hard for the win, when they locked bumpers and slowed. That gave Worth an opening, and he took it, charging to the lead with just a couple laps remaining. Naylor and Stanzione did recover to take second and third with Kenny McGowan and Chris Olcott of Linwood fourth and fifth. Chris Kilbride of Colts Neck was sixth. Hacketstown’s Jason Rochelle won his fifth Legend Cars feature with Shawn Emmons of Farmingdale second in the 20-lap race. Mike Tidaback of Little Falls was first in the 25-lap Three-Quarter Midgets feature with Dough Sherwood and Tim Iulg second and third. It’s Banner Night at Wall Stadium this Saturday night. The Legend Cars will be featured this week with a double-points 30-lap headliner. This will feature a time trial at 6:30 p.m. All of the other stock car divisions will run their regular distance features starting at 7. New Egypt Speedway Veteran Billy Pauch of Frenchtown won his ninth Modified feature of the year at New Egypt Speedway Saturday night, while Whitehouse Station’s Sam Martz celebrated his first-time win in the companion Future Winner’s race. Pauch found the track surface to his liking, as he won his fourth straight 30-lapper. “We could run the top or the bottom, everywhere on the track,” said Pauch. “I’ve got to thank Rick Grosso [track prep person] for that.” John Koczon was in control early in this race, while Pauch snaked his way through traffic. A restart on lap 21 gave Pauch the opportunity to take the lead, and he took full advantage of it, speeding by Koczon and then holding on to take the checkered flag again. Keith Hoffman was second with Kenny Brightbill, third, Rick Grosso Jr. and Freehold’s Eddie Bohn, fifth. In the 20-lap Future Winners event opened to Modified drivers who have never won a race at the Central Jersey track, it was Martz who secured his first-ever win in a blanket finish over Fred Dmuchowski and Grosso Jr. Martz won $500 for the win plus a trophy and champagne. Rich Scagliotti of Bound Brook battled all race long with Mike Toth before getting the checkered flag in the 20-lap Sportsman final. Chris Wasson was third, Dave Hoffman, fourth and points lead Matt Papiez, fifth. Howell’s Mike Reutter Jr., was eighth. Cranbury’s Al Cheney III continues to own the Street Stock Division, extending his points lead with his sixth win of the campaign. However, it wasn’t easy as he needed to make a gusty last-lap pass to beat Mario Page to the finish line. Carol Whitehouse was third followed by Rich Page II and John Hewitt. Lightning Lap awards for the quickest lap in a feature went to Pauch (18.269), Toth (19.279) and Cheney (20.957). This Saturday night, it’s the kids who will take to the track for the Big Wheel Challenge. It’s youngsters 10-and-under. The speedway will present its regular full card of stock car action as well.
JERRY WOLKOWITZ Brookdale’s Marissa Busch gets set to toss a strike during the Jersey Blues’ game against Catonsville, Md., Friday in Lincroft. Smith sparking offense; pitchers DeVincenzo, Busch are sharp By tim morris Staff Writer The beauty of softball to Brookdale Community College softball coach Bo Scannapieco is that it is played every day. “The redeeming part of the game is that you can come back the next day,” he said. “You don’t dwell on a bad game because you have a game the next day.” Last week, the Jersey Blues demonstrated just what Scannapieco meant. On Friday afternoon, playing in conditions more suited for the Green Bay Packers, the Jersey Blues dropped a doubleheader to Catonsville, Md., in Lincroft, 5-2, 9-6. The blustery, numbing weather, which included some snow showers, was hard enough to put up with, but the way the Jersey Blues played was even more forgettable for Scannapieco. However, in the redeeming nature of the sport that the head coach referred to, Brookdale bounced back on Saturday and Sunday to win a pair of doubleheaders that put the double losses behind it and end the week with a fine 19-8 record. “The girls showed me a lot,” Scannapieco said. “Overall we had a good week. “I think we’re fine,” he added. “With our injuries we haven’t been at 100 percent, but we’re 19-8 and undefeated in the region.” Brookdale’s comeback was sparked by pitchers Marissa Busch and Dara DeVincenzo, who tossed back-to-back shutouts of Del-Tech Station, 6-0, 7-0, on Saturday. Busch fired a one-hitter and Allison Cenci helped the Blues jump on top early with a two-RBI double in the very first inning in Lincroft. DeVincenzo held Del-Tech to five hits and Amanda Smith continued her red-hot hitting at the top of the lineup with a pair of hits and an RBI in the second game. Kim Roessner added an RBI double. The Blues took to the road on Sunday and the bats woke up as they crushed Luzerne (Pa.), 16-0 and 15-2. DeVincenzo improved to 8-4 on the season in the first game where Brookdale slammed 22 hits. Smith had a pair of doubles and, more importantly, Cenci and Busch both left the park with home runs. In the nightcap, Roessner improved to 4-0 as Jen Thompson provided the home run power in this one. “As the weather gets warmer, I think our hitting will get better,” said Scannapieco. “I think we’ll become more consistent.” Brookdale, which had been relying on a lot of hit-and-run and bunting for its offense, welcomed the power surge against Luzerne. Smith, an all-American last year, has been the perfect lead-off hitter. She was 6-8 in Sunday’s doubleheader. With 39 hits and 20 base-on-balls, she has reached base safely 59 times in 27 games. She is batting .450 and has an on-base percentage well over .500. Tiffany Kenney has been BCC’s RBI leader with 23. She hit a pair of home runs and is batting .442. Cenci has 20 RBIs and two home runs along with a .318 average, while Sarah Otto is at .374 with 16 RBIs. Roessner has 18 RBIs to go along with a .350 batting average. Katy Pusz is batting .406, Ilana Machado and Allison Krilla are at .320. Even with the offense picking up, Scannapieco knows the team’s bread-and-butter is its pitching. “I think we are going to have to pitch to win it (Region XIX) this year,” he said. DeVincenzo and Busch have been outstanding all season and ranked in the top five in the country in earned run averages. DeVincenzo, last year’s Region XIX Most Valuable Player, is 8-4 with an ERA of 1.70 after posting her fifth shutout of the season against Luzerne. Busch, a freshman, is 7-4 with a 1.24 ERA, four shutouts and two no-hitters. Roessner is at 4-0 with a 3.06 ERA. With the exception of the Catonsville game, Brookdale has played very good defense behind its pitchers. Otto at third and Smith at shortstop are solid on the left side of the infield. Catching has been upgraded with Machado. Scannapieco has depth behind the plate with Stefanie Bird and Roessner both capable backstops. Krilla and Pusz head the right side of the infield at second, and Roessner is at first when not pitching or catching. Center fielder Cenci anchors the outfield defense. Brookdale will host Gloucester Saturday in a big Garden State Athletic Conference and Region XIX game. Gloucester figures to be one of the teams that Brookdale will have to beat if it is to win a seventh straight region title. The region tournament will again be at Brookdale May 10-11.
BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer Expectations are high for state BY TIM MORRISStaff Writer Chris Horel (above) and Justin Wheat (l) are just two of several outstanding runners who return this year to help the Colts in their pursuit of a national championship. The Colts entered the season ranked fifth in the nation and are hoping to earn a return trip to the Nike Team Nationals. The Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) cross country team has been laying low this fall. However, it’s hard to stay out of sight when you are ranked No. 5 in the country and No. 2 in the Northeast Region. Tom Heath’s Colts, the top team in the state, will make their 2005 debut on Saturday at the Shore Coaches Invitational at Holmdel Park. It is the first time this year that the team’s top seven runners will be in action at what is the first big meet, statewide, of the season. PHOTOS BY CHRIS KELLY staff There is a very good reason for CBA’s late start this fall — namely the Nike Team Nationals (NTN) outside Portland, Ore., Dec. 3. The team championship made its debut last year and CBA finished 11th. With their top four runners returning, the Colts have every intention of returning to the championships and is the big reason why they are ranked No. 5 in the nation. With the national meet stretching the season into December instead of the third week in November, Heath made the decision to start CBA’s competitive year later. He avoided running his top harriers in dual meets (CBA has done just fine extending its national record for consecutive wins with a 4-0 mark) and used the month of September for added training. “If you run a race, you lose four days of training,” he said. “The two days before the race, race day and the day after.” Having competed at the NTN last year, the Colts know the course and know they have to run differently. “It’s a hard course to play catchup on,” Heath said. “We have to learn to get out fast and push the pace.” The Colts are more than ready to shake off the racing dust and get at it on Saturday, but Heath knows the delayed start will have an impact on his team’s performance at Holmdel. “The first race won’t be perfect,” he said. “There will be some flaws, we’ll make some mistakes. By the second race, we should be OK.” That second race will be the Manhattan Invitational at New York City’s famed Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx on Oct. 8. There is every reason to believe this could be a very special year for the Colts. The lineup is stacked. Seniors Chris Horel, Kevin Rogers, Justin Wheat and Greg Leach have vast national experience and were CBA’s top four runners at the Meet of Champions last year. Horel, the Parochial A state champion, finished fifth at the Meet of Champions, earning First Team All-State honors. He ran a 16:07 at Holmdel and should join the select group of runners who have broke 16:00 at the park. “Chris Horel looks incredible,” said Heath, who doesn’t dish out praise lightly. The Colts lineup was made more formidable by the addition of sophomore Brendon Pierson, who has cracked through to the top five already. In the spring, he broke the state freshman record for 800 meters. The potential is there and he has not had any trouble handling the longer 5,000-meter distance. Mike Lee, a senior, and juniors Anthony Pellegrino (top seven last year), Chris Lombardi and Taylor Zorski are vying for the sixth and seventh spots on the team. These Colts have already made a name for themselves by breaking the school’s time trial records. Saturday, they get to show their wares for the first time. Despite the lofty ranking, Heath is very much aware that his team hasn’t qualified for the Nike Team Nationals. “We’re not there yet,” he said. To qualify, the Colts have to be ranked first or second in the Northeast Region, and if not, they must try and get in via the wild-card route that goes to four teams from across the nation. For the NTN, the country is divided into eight regions with the top two teams filling 16 spots. The final four are open to wild cards. CBA’s biggest test will be Oct. 8 at Van Cortlandt Park. The region’s top-ranked team, New York state’s Fayetteville-Manlius is expected to be there. “I have to make sure that they are ready to go at Manhattan,” Heath said. “That is the key.” Rocket teams perform well at Cougar Invitational The third annual Cougar Invitational, held at Bucks Mill Park in Colts Neck, proved to be quite a showcase for three of the top cross country stars in the state — all of whom just happen to be members of the Colts Neck program. Junior Craig Forys, junior Ashley Higginson and the superb freshman Brianne Jackucewicz proved to be as good as advertised, dusting the field in their respective races. Forys started the season, a season he plans on concluding with an MOC title, running a 15:56 to win the boys large school race. He was the only runner under 16:00 on the Buck Mill Park layout, and was followed by Brick Memorial’s Andrew Brodeur (16:12) and a trio of East Brunswick harriers. Soreness in his hip delayed Forys’ season debut until the Cougar Invitational and the state champion at 1,600 meters showed that he’s still ahead of the pack. “I was hurting pretty good,” said the Cougar junior. “It was my first race back and it was great getting that feeling back.” Meanwhile, the girls large school race was dominated by the duo of Jackucewicz and Higginson. As Jackucewicz, the highly touted Colts Neck freshman, and teammate Higginson, last year’s indoor Meet of Champions (MOC) 3,200-meter champion, shadowed each other, they gave everyone a preview of what to expect in cross county in 2005. They are probably the best tandem in the state. Saturday, they didn’t break a sweat as both dipped under Higginson’s 2004 meet and course record (18:52). The win went to Jackucewicz in 18:42, with Higginson backing off at the line to place second (18:43). Jackucewicz and Higginson led an impressive effort by the Cougar girls, who won the Large School championship handily, 27-92, over Paramus with Brick Township third (117). In the small school races, the Raritan High School harriers performed well, with the boys claiming fourth place and the girls third. Junior James Curran was the top finisher for the boys, crossing the line in 17:53, good for 11th place overall. Manchester’s Alexander Cuesta won the race in 16:44, setting the pace for his team’s win with 41 points. Next to finish for the Rockets was senior Elias Roman (18:27, 19th place), followed by junior Anthony Mazza (18:50, 27th) and sophomore Ryan Milligan (18:51, 28th). As for the Raritan girls, they were led by junior Christina Altland’s third-place finish in 19:45, which was well behind the first two finishers, Samantha Stadt (18:54) and Michelle Farrell (19:37) of Pearl River. Senior Jennifer Curran also ran well, taking sixth place with a time of 19:54. She was followed by junior Allison Murphy (22:23, 25th), junior Michelle Rost (22:43, 28th), senior Christine French (23:45, 38th), and freshmen Hannah Fulton (23:50, 39th) and Briann Lentine (23:54, 40th). As a team, Raritan scored 96 points, well behind winner Pearl River (28) and second-place Red Bank Catholic (47).
The Saturday in the Park 5K Run will be on Sept. 1, at 9 a.m., rain or shine. This annual race is now in its 14th year at Holmdel Park. The race is a three-mile scenic route welcoming runners and walkers alike who will be taking steps to build awareness throughout New Jersey to benefit the following charities: Epiphany House of Asbury Park and Long Branch, Spring House of Eatontown and Providence House which serves all of Ocean County to provide shelter, counseling and education to women and their families. Jersey Shore Running Club, the largest running club in New Jersey, is dedicated to both running and the community. It sponsors this race along with many other organizations. If you would like to be a sponsor, donate or want more information about the race, please contact Penny Hinck, race director (732) 571-2162 or visit www.saturday inthepark5k.org. The Lincroft Knights Travel Baseball Club is looking for competitive level players for its fall season teams. Games are played on Saturday. All 11U/new 12U players must be born after April 30, 1995. All 12U/new 13U players must be born after April 30, 1994. For more information, please call (732) 213-8216 or email email@example.com. Samantha Eltringham and Jessica Laddaga, along with teammates from Middletown High School South varsity cheerleading squad, recently attended a NCA Summer Cheerleading Camp. The camp was held at Rutgers University with over 700 cheerleaders in attendance from the surrounding states. The National Cheerleaders Association (NCA), The National Dance Alliance (NDA) and Cheerleader&DanzTeam (CDT) are all divisions of the National Spirit Group (NSG). The National Spirit Group, founded in 1948 by L.R. Herkimer, hosts camps, championships and events for over 180,000 cheerleaders and dancers each year. As part of the four-day camp curriculum, the National Cheerleaders Association selects award winners at each of the over 1,200 camps it administers around the world each summer. There are awards given for individual as well as team accomplishments. Samantha and Jessica received the following individual awards: All-American Nominee – Outstanding individuals who display strength in cheer motions and technique, leadership ability and/or overall attitude at camp. All-American Team Member- The most prestigious award in cheerleading today. Participants vying for All-American status are judged on motion technique, jumps, tumbling, spirit and enthusiasm, voice projection and overall crowd appeal. These individuals are eligible to perform at various NCA Special Events such as the Thanksgiving in Paradise halftime show in Honolulu, Hawaii, and/or halftime during the FedEx Orange Bowl. A one-pitch co-ed softball tournament in the Middletown area will be held on Sunday, Oct. 7. Entrance fee is $300. Food, beverages and entertainment will follow and proceeds will benefit cerebral palsy research. For more information, call Jim at (732) 708- 1661 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org The Jersey Shore Gators (Monmouth County) are looking for a few experienced travel baseball players to complete their roster. New 13U (boys born after April 30, 1994). Regular season games will be played in CJBL fall league. Tryouts will be held through the week of Aug. 20. For more information or to register for tryouts, call (732) 219-9501 or email NJShoreGators@aol.com.
Cannon Sport& Social Club seeks new teams and/or individuals over the age of 21 to play in its Saturday afternoon Colts Neck flag football league set to begin Aug. 27. All ability levels are welcome, and the emphasis is on having fun. Visit www.cannonsportnsocial.com for additional information or email Scott Cannon at email@example.com to reserve a spot in the league. The deadline is Aug. 15. The seventh annual Century for the Cure Bike Ride will be held Sept. 10. Registration is now open for the one-day 100-mile ride that will start at 6 a.m. at Camp Riverbend in Warren Township. Proceeds from the event will benefit cutting-edge research and programs at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. There are also 40- and 80-mile routes available, as well as the option to raise money without participating in the race as a “virtual rider.” Participants can register online at www.centuryforthecure.com. Volunteers to staff the event also are being sought.
By Justin PalmerJAPAN rekindled the belief and the fire that helped them stun South Africa to crush rudderless and ragged Samoa 26-5 on Saturday and stay in contention for the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.A dominant performance from Eddie Jones’ side left the Brave Blossoms with hope of reaching the last eight for the first time as they head into their final Pool B match against the United States next Sunday.Refreshed from a 10-day break after defeat by Scotland, Japan showed that their opening victory over the Springboks was no flash in the pan, with their forwards more than a match for the big but disorganised Samoans.Jones said he had got his team selection wrong when they lined up to face the Scots four days after causing the biggest upset in World Cup history and he named the most experienced Japan side ever for their third pool match.The changes paid off. With quick recycled ball and smooth handling in the backline another feature of their play, Japan deservedly led 20-0 at halftime.The majority of points stemmed from Samoan indiscipline, which was routinely punished by referee Craig Joubert and the boot of fullback Ayumu Goromaru.Joubert’s patience with the Pacific Islanders was already wearing thin, having ordered forwards Faifili Levave and Sakaria Taulafo to the sin bin in quick succession, when he awarded Japan a penalty try after 23 minutes for yet another indiscretion in the scrum.Samoa, who felt the full force of a Springboks backlash in a 46-6 defeat last week, barely got out of their own half in the opening 40 minutes. They had little time with the ball and, one burst from Tim Nanai-Williams apart, offered no real attacking threat.The pressure from Japan told again just before halftime, when right wing Akihito Yamada spun and launched himself over the line in the corner, with Goromaru kicking a difficult conversion.Samoa had to go for broke after the break but there was little change in momentum.Japan were all over their frustrated opponents in the set piece, used the ball more intelligently and Goromaru, the leading scorer in this tournament, stepped up when asked to slot over the penalties to put the game out of sight.The loss of concussed try scorer Yamada was a blow to the red and whites but they never let up and Samoa’s only try, from centre Paul Perez, was little consolation for Stephen Betham’s well-beaten side.
Russian hammer thrower Sergei Litvinov believes the country’s athletes will be given a lifeline by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to compete at next month’s Rio Olympics.Sport’s highest court is set to rule by Thursday on the country’s suspension from track and field and Litvinov is confident CAS will overturn the ban in time for the Games.“From a legal point of view, we have very good chances,” the 30-year-old told Reuters ahead of the Aug. 5-22 Olympics.Litvinov, who won bronze at the 2014 European Championships, would be one of Russia’s biggest hopes for a medal in Rio but with three weeks to go he still does not know if he can compete.The sport’s world governing International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) banned Russia’s track and field athletes last year after a World Anti-Doping Agency report uncovered systematic state-sponsored doping within the country.The ban was extended last month, ruling Russia’s athletes out of the Games, subject to an appeal by the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) to CAS.At the end of June, Litvinov wrote a letter to IAAF president Sebastian Coe, asking him to explain the criteria needed for Russian athletes to compete in international events.“My letter wasn’t directly addressed to Coe, but was more to those living in the West,” said the athlete, who trains just outside Moscow and is coached by his father Sergei Litvinov, who won gold at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul in the hammer.“People should understand just how absurd our situation is. I think this letter helped. I got through to people that we need help (from),” he said.Litvinov does not think the IAAF’s actions are “politically motivated” but said it was impossible even for clean athletes to show they are not part of the Russian system.“There is a big attack taking place on Coe and his organisation. They are trying to save their reputation by taking tough actions against Russia,” he said.On July 10, the IAAF’s Doping Review Board turned down applications from 67 Russian athletes to compete internationally as “neutrals”. Only long jumper Darya Klishina, who is based and tested in the United States, got approval.“The IAAF’s decision on July 10 admitted that no one will be able to defend the reputations of those sportsmen who are clean,” he said.“There is no way we can try to show that we are not part of this system. They don’t care how and where the doping tests were taken. The IAAF is always using the same excuse. It’s really quite funny.”LAST CHANCERussia’s last chance is in the hands of CAS, who will rule by Thursday on whether they will be able to compete.“Being clean in legal terms gives us very good chances of getting a positive verdict,” Litvinov said.“To be honest there are a lot of emotions at the moment and I hope that the CAS lawyers will look into this case from a professional legal point of view and without showing any emotion. This is what everything will depend on,” he said.Litvinov accepted that doping had become a “serious problem” in Russian track and field over the last few years.“The situation has grown over time. We had athletes before who were ready to talk a lot about doping, like the discus thrower Darya Pishchalnikova,” Litvinov said.Olympic discus silver medallist Pishchalnikova got a 10-year ban in 2013 after failing a drugs test for the second time.“It was only a matter of time before it (widespread doping) would have been exposed. If it had not been whistleblower Yulia Stepanova, then it would have been someone else. She just pulled the trigger. I don’t think she should be blamed,” said Litvinov.Former drug cheat Stepanova’s revelations helped expose the massive doping problem in her country and the middle-distance runner left Russia and went into hiding after disclosing the issue. She has since been allowed to compete as an individual.“We at last need to change our policy towards anti-doping,” added Litvinov. “There is not a widespread condemnation of doping in Russia and we tend to protect them (drug cheats) more than we condemn them.”In the 2008-2009 season, the Rostov native competed for Germany. However, he has no regrets about returning to Russia in order to compete for the country of his birth.“My family are in Russia and my son was born here. Everything that happens is for the better and I never planned to return to the West,” added Litvinov, who hopes to win a bronze or silver medal in Rio if he is allowed to compete.
Manchester United’s quest for a first Europa League title will continue with a semi-final clash against Celta Vigo after the draw was made on Friday.Ajax Amsterdam will take on Olympique Lyonnais in the other semi-final, with Ajax and Celta playing the first legs at home on May 4.The return fixtures will be played on May 11 and the final in Stockholm on May 24.United and Celta have never met. Lyon and Ajax have faced off four times in the Champions League group stage, with the Dutch side winning twice and the clubs drawing twice.
Bougainville men who raised their provincial flag since day one of tournament met their fate going down to Kimbe 1-nil in the grand final on Sunday.In the women’s grand final, Kimbe upset NBPOL Kumbango 1 nil in extra time after both were locked at nil all, at fulltime.Kimbe men will now join Momase leg winners, Almami, with runner-up Morobe Football Association and Southern leg winners, Hoods and runner-up Kamali, for the Besta FA Cup finals to be held in Lae in September.In the women’s division, Kimbe and Port Moresby Soccer Association booked a spot to travel to the Morobe capital to meet Morobe Football Association.The remaining Besta FA Cup qualifier is the Highlands leg currently being held in Kundiawa Town, Simbu Province.(Story and picture: PNG Football Association)
Pragmatic, difficult to beat, spearheaded by talismanic forwards and led by veteran, battle-hardened coaches — few teams have as much in common with each other as Uruguay and Portugal who meet in a World Cup round of 16 tie on Saturday.The match may not have the makings of a goal feast but still promises to be a fascinating battle between two teams who repeatedly punch above their weight and who are a mirror image of each other.The South Americans, who won all three of their first round games to top their group, have so far been the impressive of the two and are the only team yet to concede goal at the tournament in Russia.Portugal, meanwhile, muddled through their group with draws against Spain and Iran and a fortuitous win over Morocco but that is unlikely to bother their grizzled coach Fernando Santos, who is always happy for his team to be considered the ugly ducklings.Santos, 63, is at his second World Cup, having led Greece to the last 16 four years ago.The former electrical engineer has also coached Portugal’s top three teams, had several spells with Greek clubs and crowned his career by leading Portugal to the European championship title two years ago.His opposite number Oscar Tabarez, a one-time school teacher, is remarkably at his third World Cup in his current stint with Uruguay. Like Santos, the 71-year-old, who is battling neuropathy, has also won a continental title, the Copa America in 2011.Both teams boast forwards who divide public opinion despite their goalscoring prowess.Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 85 goals in 153 appearances, although when he plays for his country there is sometimes a feeling that he is both the problem and the solution and many perceive his goal celebrations as arrogant.At the other end is Uruguay’s Luis Suarez with 53 goals from 101 games but numerous controversies behind him including an nine-game international ban for biting Italy Giorgio Chiellini four years ago.Both teams use their attacking weapons sparingly.Tabarez, who has coached Boca Juniors and AC Milan during his time, has always preferred to build him teams from the back, often arguing that tiny Uruguay does not have the resources to play flowing, attacking football.That has begun to change with a new generation of midfielders but, even so, Uruguay are still very far from adopting anything that could be described as a cavalier approach.Santos has never made any apologies for his no-risk policy.“I can’t understand the idea of a team that loses but delivers a great game,” he said before the tournament. “It makes me confused.”