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first_img BENCHED FOR THE GAME STOKE, England (AP): Louis van Gaal raised the prospect of quitting as Manchester United manager after Stoke condemned the club to a fourth straight loss for the first time in 54 years on Saturday. The 2-0 loss at the windy Britannia Stadium pushed United down to sixth place in the English Premier League, and van Gaal is sensing the pressure after barely 18 months in charge. “I can also quit by myself,” van Gaal said when asked if he had received assurances about his future from the club hierarchy. “That is something I speak to (vice chairman) Ed Woodward (about) by himself – not with you (reporters). “It is not always … the club has to fire or sack me. Sometimes I do it by myself. I am the one who wants to speak first with the board of Manchester United and with my members of staff and players – and not with you.” United was in disarray defensively in the first half when Memphis Depay’s horrendous defending allowed Bojan Krkic to score, and Marko Arnautovic powered in Stoke’s second goal from outside the penalty area. United captain Wayne Rooney watched it all from the sidelines after being dropped to the bench for the first time in a league match in almost two years. United came to life only in the second half after Rooney was brought on, but Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland thwarted any hopes of a comeback. “The circumstances were difficult – not only the circumstances, the wind, but also the pressure,” van Gaal said. “That is, in my opinion, the reason they don’t dare to play football (in the first half).” The losing streak started with Champions League elimination, and has also seen United drop out of the Premier League top four by losing to Bournemouth and Norwich. Win-less in seven matches, United have little time to recover their confidence, with a home match against Chelsea today. Asked if he would be in charge of the game, van Gaal said: “You will have to wait and see, but I think so.” “I try to do everything, but the pressure shall be, every match, higher and higher, and we have to solve that problem,” van Gaal, who has been in charge since July 2014, added. “It’s more difficult because I am now part of the four matches we have lost and people are looking at me.” A day after British astronaut, Tim Peake, displayed a Stoke flag on the International Space Station, the central England team was in a different orbit to United in the first half. Depay’s mind seemed to be on another planet when he sent a downward header back toward goalkeeper David de Gea in an attempt to clear Geoff Cameron’s deep ball. Depay, a winger in the right-back position, was unaware that Glen Johnson was primed to dart in and seize possession before crossing for Krkic, who took a touch then slotted the ball into the net in the 19th minute. “It was a bad goal to give away,” van Gaal said. If United’s players were fighting to save their manager’s job, they didn’t demonstrate it. Their response lacked any burning desire to end their slump. And the mission facing United became even tougher seven minutes later. Krkic’s free kick was blocked by the United wall, but the ball came back out to the edge of the penalty area and Arnautovic’s powerful strike beat De Gea. United was offering little in response, with Depay’s free kick parried by Butland, and Marouane Fellaini was offside as he tried to react. MISSED OPPORTUNITY United was spared further misery before the interval when Arnautovic ran onto Krkic’s through ball, but missed the target with his shot. As usual, on the United bench, there was little outgoing evidence of concern, with neither van Gaal nor assistant Ryan Giggs springing out of their seats to berate or inspire their team. Van Gaal’s about-turn came at half-time, when Rooney spent the break warming up before coming on to replace Depay. Rooney’s first significant contribution came after 20 minutes on the field, cutting the ball back for Fellaini six yards in front of goal, but rather than slamming the ball high into the net, Fellaini shot low and, lacking power, allowed Butland to make a diving save. In the closing minutes, Rooney, this time, set up Juan Mata, but, again, Butland made the vital save. And Butland also pushed Anthony Martial’s attempt round the post as Stoke completed a December double over Manchester clubs, having already beaten City. Stoke are three points behind United, which manager Mark Hughes used to play for. United are three points adrift of fourth-place Tottenham.last_img read more

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first_imgAlthough rice farmers in Hague, West Coast Demerara, are complaining of little improvement to several acres of rice fields, which are reportedly infested with bugs, the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) has confirmed that major improvements have been recorded since the agency intervened.This was related to Guyana Times by General Manager of the Rice Board, Nizam Hassan, on Thursday, while noting that there is evidence of such improvements.He however stated, “It is too early to say whether or not the crop will be of the standard when it is time for harvest, which should be just about four weeks from now”.According to Hassan, the discolouration which was first observed on the plants is now fading, as the plants are beginning to become greener, due to the treatment recommended by the GRDB and constant monitoring.One farmer, Ganga Persaud, who has 60 years of experience in the field said, “There are some improvements but not too much to be happy about. The rice, since GRDB officials from research came, they went there and they uprooted some plants and took some water samples and they looked at it and they strainedThe GRDB claims the discolouration has improved, as seen in this imagethe water and found some dead worms”.Persaud argued that the officials ‘routinely checked’ for the usual pests, something which he believes is not the real reason for the plants’ state. He said, “They did not look for is what they did not find”.The farmer said he believes the field has a soil problem. “There is a soil problem because of the three conditions the crop has to work with, the weather condition in water and mud”.He said he observed that most of the rice fields which are very low tend to attract the bugs.Persaud admitted that the GRDB has been monitoring the affected fields but still fear the bugs may get the best of the fields since other farmers have been complaining of the very same bug affecting their rice fields.The farmers initially claimed that some 120 acres of their lands were being affected by a termite infestation but GRDB later dismissed this claim, saying that advice was given to the farmers to drain the fields and apply systematic pesticides, but the farmers refused to do so.The GRDB said it determined that the farmer needed to drain the field, apply a systematic pesticide; in this instance, it was recommended that Pronto and Regional at the recommended rates be used.Hassan said a subsequent visit by the GRDB showed that the farmer had water weevils and had not been spraying with the required pesticide recommended by the team. The GRDB head claimed that the farmer also admitted to not draining his field despite being advised to do so and was, in fact, applying a contact insecticide instead, rather than a systematic pesticide. Based on a report compiledThe state of the rice field before GRDB’s interventionby an investigating team, dead water weevil larvae were found on the roots of some plants, the GRDB noted, adding that only one farmer, and 3.4 acres of rice fields, was presently affected.Guyana Times reported that close to 15 rice farmers were affected and lost much of their crop in the villages of Hague, Den Amstel, and several other areas.Omar Dhanny, a farmer who cultivates about seven acres of land at Hague, had said he and other farmers exhausted all efforts to address the situation, but to no avail.“This here affects me a lot, because this amount of rice here what damage for me, I already (gone) through all the doses of fertiliser and I already sprayed about six times. If you calculate, it is a lot of money, and nobody don’t know if we gonna get anything from the Rice Development Board,” he pointed out earlier this month.In recent years, farmers across the country have been earning reduced profits for their rice, especially with the collapse of the PetroCaribe (rice for oil) deal with Venezuela. Government has sought alternative markets such as Mexico and Panama. However, millers are delaying payments to farmers owing to challenges with ready access to payments from the foreign markets.last_img read more

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first_imgSALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Splash Brothers — Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson — provided the fast start, and the Golden State Warriors made it a quick finish to the second round.They’re four wins from another NBA Finals appearance, and so far nobody can slow them down.Curry scored 30 points, Thompson 21, and the Warriors completed a sweep of the Utah Jazz in their second round NBA playoff series with a 121-95 victory Monday night.“We have a lot of talent,” Curry said. “We never know who is going to have a hot night.“We try to move the ball, use each other to create open shots and when we do that, the ball is hopping and a lot of good things happen.”The defending Western Conference champions have won both their series in four games and now await the winner of the Rockets-Spurs series that is tied at 2-2.The Warriors kept pace with defending champion Cleveland in what has appeared like an inevitable third straight NBA Finals matchup. Both teams are 8-0 thus far.“Steph was Steph and we fed off him,” Warriors interim head coach Mike Brown said.Brown said before the game he hoped his team would get out to a fast start and the Warriors did exactly that. Golden State led 39-17 at the end of the first quarter after an onslaught from Thompson and Curry. They combined to shoot 6 for 8 in the opening period.Thompson finished with 21, Kevin Durant scored 18 and Draymond Green posted his third career postseason triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 25 points and Shelvin Mack chipped in 18.“The most important thing was we imposed our will on the game and we had the game at our pace,” Green said.Curry entered the game averaging 26.7 points in the playoffs, but Thompson had struggled against the Jazz. That ended Monday.Thompson rebounded from a six-point effort in Game 3 with back-to-back jumpers out the gate. Curry then drained consecutive 3s and the rout was on.The Jazz started 3 for 16 from the field as Golden State hit from all areas and finished shooting 57.1 percent in the first quarter.Curry picked up right where he left off after an 11-point fourth quarter in Game 3 with a 14-point first quarter. He, Thompson and Green combined for 29 points in that first 12 minutes.The Jazz tried to put off their vacation. They used a 14-0 run early in the second quarter, sparked by the suddenly active Dante Exum and Derrick Favors, to cut the lead to 10 points. Utah closed the half with a 12-2 run to trail 60-52 at halftime, but every time the Jazz made a significant run the rest of the way, the Warriors answered and pushed the lead back to double digits.The Jazz never led Monday and in three of the four games against the Warriors.Utah ended a four-year playoff drought. Hayward developed into an All-Star and Rudy Gobert became a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. The addition of veterans George Hill, Joe Johnson and Boris Diaw to the young corps of Hayward, Gobert, Favors, Hood and Joe Ingles turned into the team’s first second-round appearance since 2010.“It’s been a unique arc for us,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “The adversity that kind of continued to rear its head and the way these guys dealt with it. It was apropos tonight.“What happened, happened. We got blitzed.”Warriors coach Steve Kerr remains out after having a spinal cord leak procedure at Duke University on Friday. There is no timetable for his return. Kerr had back surgery about two years ago and has been dealing with complications. Brown took over as acting coach for Game 3 of the first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers.KAREEM COPELAND, AP Sports WriterTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more