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Ronaldo’s glorious hat-trick leaves Spain wondering



Ronaldo shines as Portugal draws with the mighty Spain.

Early Portuguese strike sets the tone of the half

Only after three minutes of the start of the match, Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo won a penalty for his team. Ronaldo smartly ran Nacho on the left edge of the box, beating him with a step-over. Nacho, furious, rather absent-mindedly, dangled a leg and brought the Portuguese superstar down. The referee was a little too close to the two players to miss the action and immediately awarded a penalty to the Portuguese side.

GOAL (Ronaldo 4 pen): Ronaldo doesn’t miss many penalties, at least not on international stage, and he surely wasn’t going to miss this one: De Gea tried to put Ronaldo off but it didn’t work. Ronaldo ignored him and slapped a penalty into the right side of the net with De Gea going the wrong way.


Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring from the penalty spot. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images.

For the next few minutes, a chain of Portuguese attacks followed: a couple of chances created by Ronaldo for his striker Fernandes and Guedes, all in vain, and a chance Ronaldo failed to convert. The fierce Portuguese attacks left the Spain defenders wondering for a little while until Diego Costa put his boots to work.

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GOAL (Diego Costa 24): The goal came from a long ball by Busquets, which Pepe could only head up in the air while being flattened by Costa. From there Costa picked up the loose ball, threw a couple of defenders aside and dragged a fine low shot past Patricio from 18 yards. They went to VAR to see if there was a foul on Pepe, but it wasn’t overturned.


Diego Costa fires in the equaliser. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

As soon as Diego Costa scored the goal, a whole new Spanish team was seen on the pitch. Chance over chance was created and the Portuguese defenders found themselves in trouble then and again. If it wasn’t for Isco’s pole-hitting record, Spain would’ve taken the lead within minutes of Diego Costa’s magical goal. Pressure really does a team bad, except Ronaldo, of course.

GOAL (Ronaldo 44): Ronaldo, teed up in the D by a short pass from Guedes, drilled a left-foot shot straight at De Gea. It was well struck but should have been a routine save. Instead it slithered through De Gea and into the net.


Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his second. Photograph: Stuart Franklin – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

A Portuguese, rather Ronaldo’s, half. Will he be able to complete his 51st hat-trick?

Spain turns things around, but just for what seemed like a second

A slow and calm running of the second half was interrupted by a free-kick awarded to the men in white. A free-kick that cancelled Ronaldo’s both goals.

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GOAL (Diego Costa 55): Iniesta was fouled 30 yards from goal in a central position. David Silva took a short free-kick with Koke and clipped the ball beyond the far post, where Busquets towered over his man to head back across goal. Diego Costa reacted fastest and stabbed the ball in from six yards.

diego 2

Diego Costa of Spain celebrates with team-mates after scoring his second. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Only three minutes after Diego Costa’s close-range blast, Nacho found the net from far out for Spain.

GOAL (Nacho 58): This will be one of the goals of the tournament, even if we play until 2027. A defensive clearance hit Carvalho and rebounded towards the edge of the box. It bounced up awkwardly for Nacho, who cut across the bouncing ball to swish a spectacular shot across Patricio and in over the far post. The technique was perfect, with the ball whistling just above the ground all the way into the net.


Nacho celebrates after scoring Spain’s third. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

A couple of quick changes followed Nacho’s curving bullet: Portugal’s Joao Mario replaced Bruno Fernandes, Ricardo Quaresma replaced Bernardo Silva, and Spain’s legend Andres Iniesta gave way to Thiago Alcantara.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s frustration only peaked in the time that followed as Spain consistently blocked Portuguese attacks giving little to no space to the Real Madrid star. One attack was good enough to be written about: A long ball from Cedric invites Ronaldo to hare behind the defence. He is about to shoot or clatter into the outrushing De Gea on the edge of the box when Pique comes from the side to make a superb tackle. Goal kick.

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Ronaldo wasn’t going to give up so soon, though.

GOAL (Ronaldo 88): It was a glorious free-kick, curled around the wall and into the corner. That is astonishing. Before the free-kick, he was inhaling and concentrating as if he was about to take a penalty, not a free-kick from 25 yards. His mental strength is off the charts.


Cristiano Ronaldo scores with a sublime free-kick. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

FINAL SCORE: Portugal 3-3 Spain





Honda, Toyota halt production in Pakistan

Industry sources expect a significantly large dip in sales at the end of the year. It may be recalled that the industry was expecting to increase its sales to half a million units by 2022.




KARACHI, Pakistan: Honda Atlas Cars Pakistan (HACP) and Indus Motor Company (IMC,) which produces Toyota models in Pakistan, have decided to shut down production for 10 days and eight days, two days every week, during this month respectively amid rising prices due to imposition of strict new, higher taxes in the budget and steep currency devaluation in the recent weeks.

A Pakistan Suzuki Motor Company spokesperson told media outlets that his company, too, is thinking of making a decision along the same line and will announce what has been decided in the next few weeks after analyzing sales trend and flow of booking orders during the present month of July.

Reportedly, HACP and IMX made their decisions to scale down production after extremely poor sales in the first 10 days of the current month.

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“Our inventories from the last month and the first 10 days of July have grown rapidly because of steep increase in car prices after currency devaluation as well as imposition of Advance Customs Duty (ACD) on all our imports and Federal Excise Duty (FED) on assembled cars, leaving us with no option but to shut down the plant to cut production. If the present trend holds, we expect our sales to drop to less than 30,000 units this business year (April 2019-March 2020) from over 48,000 units last year,” a senior executive of HACP elaborated.

An IMC official also gave the same reasons for “observing eight no-production days” during July. “It is a very serious situation for the local car manufacturers who are piling up inventories,” he said. But he did not give the size of inventory his company has built so far, saying the production cuts could increase next month if sales do not pick up.

The sales have been on the decrease for the last three months as total car and light commercial vehicles (LCV) volume contracted by 5pc to 17,561 units in June from a year ago. Overall, the car and LCV sales plunged by 7pc during the last fiscal year to 240,335 units from the previous year. The impact of implementation of 5pc ACD on all raw materials and parts used by the local assemblers and imposition of 2.5-7.5pc FED from July 1 has started resulting in further decline in sales.

Industry sources expect a significantly large dip in sales at the end of the year. It may be recalled that the industry was expecting to increase its sales to half a million units by 2022.

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Questioning Team India’s sportsmanship post England loss

India’s suspicious performance against the scarred England has raised a lot of eyebrows, so much so, several experts and former players are accusing India of tarnishing the spirit of the wonderful game that is cricket.




India’s suspicious performance against the scarred England has raised a lot of eyebrows, so much so, several experts and former players are accusing India of tarnishing the spirit of the wonderful game that is cricket.

Winning and losing is, of course, a part of the game where you win some and you lose some but losing intentionally so to hurt another team’s qualifying chances is making not only a mockery of the contest, but also putting the game that we love so much to absolute shame.

India’s snail-paced chase against England has become an unwanted debate held at almost every match that followed the much controversial match. India’s world class batsmen including the ICC Number 1 batsman Virat Kohli and now four time World Cup 2019 centurion Rohit Sharma could only manage to score 28 runs in the first ten overs chasing a mammoth target of 338 and then when the Indian team somehow managed to level the scoring run rate and the Indian side was well in sight of an east victory, the heroics of former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav made sure that India fell short of the total scoring only 39 off 31 balls in the death overs.

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Commentators Nasser Hussain and former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly were left surprised with neither looking to push the tempo. “I am completely baffled. What’s going on! This is not what India needed. They need runs. What are they doing? Some Indian fans are leaving now. Surely they must want to see Dhoni go for his shots, even if he slogs it off in the air. It’s a World Cup game, top two sides, give it a go! Indian fans would want their side to do a little bit more. They want their side to go down with a fight. Risk it to win it,” said former England captain Hussain during the last 10 overs.

Ganguly, too, failed to figure the plan at play despite India having five wickets in hand. “I don’t have an explanation for that. You asked me the question but I can’t explain these singles. It’s also the length and the bounce that has deceived the Indian batsmen. You can’t be chasing 338 and still have 5 wickets in the end. It’s about mindset and the way you look at the game. The message had to be clear: no matter where it comes and no matter where the ball lands you have to find the boundary. A dot ball at this stage!,” said Ganguly.

Speaking on Star Sports after the match, Ganguly told that the intent was lacking from Indian batting in the first 10 and last 6 overs.

“The first 10 overs and the last 6 overs left a lot to be desired. Hopefully they will go back and reflect because they have been in excellent form this WC. The intent was not good enough. I would have been more happy if India were 300 all-out. This situation can happen again and they will have to find different ways to succeed in the first and last 10 overs,” said Ganguly.

All in all, India have done what they have done and Pakistan have been kicked out of the competition after England’s convincing victory over New Zealand. India, a proper all round team  of this World Cup, have qualified for the semifinals with Australia, New Zealand, and England but they surely have lost the respect of millions of cricket fans after their condemnable stunt at Edgbaston last Sunday.

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AB de Villiers to take part in Pakistan Super League 4

After the glittering success of the first three editions of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), it will be returning with an even bigger fourth edition. PSL has garnered international repute among all the leading cricket leagues around the world and though the league is nearly half a year away from the ground, it has still succeeded in spreading its excited tails.



AB de Villiers

LAHORE, Pakistan: After the mammoth success of the Pakistan Super League (PSL,) the league organizers are planning to return even bigger with edition four scheduled to be held early next year. PSL’s success has made it one of the top cricket leagues in the world and as it expands, it is claimed, by sources close to the league’s organization body, that some of the most famous cricketing faces will feature in the next edition.

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The new season promises to reach the epitome of grandeur and with more than five months remaining in the PSL season 4 kickoff, big names are already showing consent to be part of the league. The latest sensation deemed to be a possible addition to the league is the dynamic and athletic Proteas star AB de Villiers. Multiple reports have confirmed that former South African skipper has agreed to be part of the 4th edition.

His arrival was already hinted twice by the PSL official Twitter account and they spiced it up with a post saying “Kaun aa raha hai (Guess who is coming!)” While a majority of fans had already guessed De Villiers as possible latest signing by PSL, the organizers are yet to officially announce it. “He’s coming to PSL,” confirmed a source to “As we speak, he is available for around three weeks, you can say around 7 matches,” the source added.

A great addition to the PSL

Regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time, AB de Villiers holds many batting records and, surely, one to add value to the Pakistan Super League. Moreover, there are some serious rumours as well about South African star would be part of the Lahore Qalandars at PSL.

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It is anticipated that AB de Villiers will replace Brendon McCullum as skipper of Lahore Qalandars. In the interim, there are ongoing talks with the Australian duo of David Warner and Steven Smith, which looks to be headed in a positive direction.

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