Celtic 1-4 Sparta Prague: Neil Lennon laments ‘lack of hunger and application’

Neil Lennon insists “it won’t happen again”

Celtic’s “lack of hunger and application” was “unacceptable” in their 4-1 home defeat by Sparta Prague, manager Neil Lennon has said.

Lennon admitted his side’s hopes of qualifying from Europa League Group H have “probably” been ended.

And he vowed to change the “culture” among his players and that it could be achieved “very quickly”.

“This is definitely a turning point – it won’t happen again, that’s for sure,” Lennon said.

“We can’t accept that and the players know that as well. I can’t defend the players. I’ve tried to over the piece, but I can’t defend them tonight.”

It was the first time Celtic have lost three consecutive home games in 30 years – and the first time they have lost three consecutive home Europa League matches.

They now sit bottom of Group H, two points behind Sparta and six adrift of leaders Lille, who stunned AC Milan 3-0 in Italy.

Asked if he agreed it was an embarrassing defeat, Lennon said: “Yes, of course.

“Lack of application, lack of hunger and that’s not us, so there has to be a culture change and I’ve got to change it quickly and the players need to change quickly as well because that’s totally unacceptable for a club of our standing.

“It is an accumulation of things. We need to get back to showing a bit more humility and start working harder on the training ground.”

‘You can turn it around quickly’

The defeat by the Czech Republic league leaders came after a 2-0 win over Aberdeen in the delayed 2019-20 Scottish Cup semi-final and Lennon admitted “I don’t know where” the poor performance came from.

“We had a good day on Sunday, had a really good week, but the hungrier team won and that’s not us,” he said. “We were well prepared for the game, but as the manager I have to take responsibility obviously, but the players have to look at themselves as individuals.”

Lennon is hoping to lead his side to an unprecedented quadruple domestic treble by winning last season’s Scottish Cup and end the current season with a historic 10th consecutive Scottish league title.

He thought the defeat by Sparta was “up there with one of the poorest” results during his two spells as Celtic manager but insisted: “I’ve had bigger challenges than this. It feels like a big challenge because it’s present, but I’ve been over far worse than this.

“It is something you can turn around very quickly and it’s something I’ll be hellbent on doing in the next couple of days.”

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Cristiano Ronaldo laments another positive coronavirus test, preventing Champions League clash with Lionel Messi

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo has mocked the positive coronavirus test that will sideline him from the eagerly awaited duel with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in the Champions League.

Ronaldo was left out of the Juventus matchday squad for the Champions League game this morning, more than two weeks after the 35-year-old superstar initially tested positive for COVID-19.

The Italian side missed its biggest name, losing 2-0 in the group-stage clash with Barcelona, as rival Messi netted a 91st-minute penalty to punctuate the win after Ousman Dembele’s 14th-minute opener gave them an early lead.

The quarantined Portuguese striker, who reportedly has no symptoms, posted a dismissive message both on Twitter and Instagram, where he added a comment about the swab test that confirmed he still carries the virus.

“PCR is bullshit,” he wrote in reference to the polymerase chain reaction test widely used to detect positive coronavirus cases.

His post, which he later deleted, was criticised by Paolo Ascierto, a doctor at a Naples hospital who has often intervened on issues relating to COVID-19.

Messi and Ronaldo haven’t clashed at the Champions League since 2011.(Reuters: Albert Gea)

“He was wrong in using those words,” Dr Ascierto was quoted as saying in Italian media.

“The swab test is the only way, as of today, to tell if an individual is positive. It is something serious, not a joke.”

Perhaps to show he was feeling fine, Ronaldo also posted a video message of himself jogging on a treadmill in his Juventus kit, cheering on his team.


Ronaldo’s absence delayed the latest showdown between him and Messi, the pair who have shared being named the world’s best player in 11 of the past 12 years, although this year’s award was not handed out due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Portuguese last met Messi in the Champions League in a 2011 semi-final, when Ronaldo was at Real Madrid. Messi dominated and his team went on to lift the trophy.

Ronaldo has missed Portugal’s Nations League match against Sweden, two Serie A games against Crotone and Verona and the Champions League opener at Dynamo Kiev, which Juve won 2-0.


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Turning 100, a Former Spanish Soldier Laments the Curse of His Birth Year

CARDEDEU, Spain — Andreu Canet turns 100 next month. And his birth year, as it turned out, was a curse.

Having been drafted into Spain’s Republican army at 17, he is now a rare survivor of a contingent of about 27,000 soldiers dubbed the “baby bottle conscription.” They were all born in 1920 and called up by the Republican government in 1938 to replenish the army’s ranks as it prepared a last-ditch attempt to stop Gen. Francisco Franco from winning the country’s civil war.

This July, as he has done every year for the past three decades, Mr. Canet made his annual journey to a peace monument built on hilltops near the Ebro river — the site of a major counterattack launched by Republican troops in July 1938. The already difficult pilgrimage was made even harder by the pandemic. And for the first time, he said, he was the only one who turned up on the day of the commemoration.

“Perhaps I’m in fact the only one left alive by now,” he said wistfully.

Mr. Canet’s story is just one chapter in a civil war legacy that Spain is still trying to come to terms with.

In September, the government led by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez presented a draft bill aimed at reviving and extending a 2007 law to facilitate the opening of more than 2,000 mass graves scattered across Spain and to identify the remains of those inside. Most are believed to have died during or just after the war, which took place from 1936 to 1939.

The government also wants to close down any venture or institution that glorifies Franco’s dictatorship, and to revamp the giant underground mausoleum from which his remains were exhumed last year and transferred to a cemetery where his family already had a crypt.

Looking back on the war, Mr. Canet said he was utterly unprepared for battle when he was drafted at 17.

“We had to bring our own clothing and a blanket, and I fought in my espadrilles because my family was simply too poor to afford shoes,” he recalled in a recent interview in his apartment in Cardedeu, about 25 miles northeast of Barcelona. “We got zero training and zero instructions about what we would be doing, and I, of course, had never seen the Ebro until I was told to get across it.”

Their crossing of the river, which slices across northwestern Spain, enabled the Republicans to regain some of the territory that Franco had conquered. But under heavy bombing by German and Italian planes flown by his fascist allies, the Republican advance soon ground to a halt, and the fighting turned into the war’s longest, largest and most deadly battle.

While historians have offered different numbers, most estimate a death toll of at least 20,000 soldiers from both sides during the nearly four months that the battle endured. Once the Republican forces were pushed back across the Ebro, Franco secured his victory, which then paved the way for a dictatorship that lasted until his death in 1975.

Mr. Canet, whose 100th birthday is Nov. 30, said he could still vividly remember both the trench warfare that followed the treacherous river crossing and the aftermath of the conflict. He spent the first part of the postwar period in a military hospital recovering from typhoid, which he probably caught while stationed on a rat-infested islet in the middle of the Ebro.

“The rats kept crawling over my face when I was trying to sleep,” he said.

He shunned any notion of heroism and said that his military promotion, eventually to the rank of sergeant, reflected more a shortage of officer candidates than his own merits.

“When we captured our first hill,” he recalled, “what I really remember is how tired and thirsty I was, being even forced to drink my own urine, and how little sense of pride there was when so many others had already died.”

He teared up when recalling the cruelty of some of his commanders, who once threatened to shoot him for falling asleep during a night watch.

After surrendering to Franco’s troops, Mr. Canet was conscripted again — but this time into military service in Franco’s army. His battalion, based in the northern city of Burgos, was filled with defeated Republicans.

“The war had been horrible,” Mr. Canet said, “but so then was my military service under officers who hated us, while suffering the humiliation of marching through villages where children spat at our feet.”

And although Mr. Canet was the only one who showed up for this year’s commemoration, Víctor Amela, a writer who recently published a book about the conscription, said the veteran was probably not the only surviving member of the “baby bottlers.” Mr. Amela estimates that there are about a dozen survivors left, most of them living in the Catalonia region.

He said that the monument near the Ebro, erected in 1989, had been financed by former soldiers and their families because “the Spanish state has sadly refused to look back and confront the legacy of our civil war, let alone offer an apology to a bunch of children who were forced to fight in it.”

The “baby bottle” conscription showed “the most miserable side of a very ugly war,” Mr. Amela said, as most of the enlisted teenagers came from poor families without the personal connections that allowed others to avoid the draft. “I feel that it is a crime that a government sent 17-year-olds to an almost certain death, in full knowledge of how superior Franco was by this late stage of the war.”

Once Mr. Canet finally returned to civilian life in late 1943, he worked in a factory that made fountain pens and then set up his own shop in the entrance hall of one of Barcelona’s subway stations, where he sold and repaired pens, lighters and watches.

Until he grew more frail, Mr. Canet said, he enjoyed visiting schools to tell children about the experiences of the “baby bottle conscription” in hopes of keeping the soldiers’ memory alive.

But he is unimpressed by the government’s latest attempts to set right the historical record of the war.

“It just all feels too late,” he said. “The current generation has no idea what the war was really like, and no government has actually ever done anything for us.”

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2020 Federal Budget: Property industry laments missed chances

The property industry has had a mixed response to Tuesday’s Budget.

Property professionals have lamented Tuesday’s Budget for its missed opportunities and have questioned government growth estimates.

But they have lauded a focus on jobs.

Barry Plant chief executive Mike McCarthy said after talk early this year hinting the federal government might work with the states to ween them off “this drug called stamp duty” no provisions emerged to do so on Tuesday.

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“There’s a need to get people back into jobs and employment, so the Budget is hopefully a step in the right direction,” Mr McCarthy said.

“But it’s a missed opportunity for the government to have worked to find a way to transition from this drug called stamp duty.”

Mike McCarthy, director, Barry Plant.

Barry Plant chief executive Mike McCarthy has described a key “missed opportunity”.

The industry is lobbying for states to swap upfront stamp duty tax payments, worth about $41,250 for a $750,000 median priced Melbourne home, for annual property tax payments as used in the US.

Mr McCarthy said removing the upfront expense would drive additional sales as people stopped living with what they had and looked for a home that better suited their needs.

Confirmation of an additional 10,000 First Home Loan Deposit Scheme places for new home builds announced ahead of the budget was a boon that might help encourage first-home buyers and confidence in the market, he added.

One of the nation’s biggest real estate firms, the Ray White Group, lauded the Budget’s FHLDS scheme expansion, saying it would help encourage new home sales.

Modern apartments architecture under construction

It is hoped the new FHLDS places will spark more apartment construction and sales.

Managing director Dan White said he hoped the apartment sector in particular would benefit after a difficult 2020.

Property Council of Australia chief executive Ken Morrison welcomed measures such as personal income tax cuts, hefty infrastructure investment and support for hiring employers.

“However, the Budget papers also expose a key risk to economic recovery: the population x-factor,” Mr Morrison said.

“The delayed population restart assumed in the Budget papers presents a key risk to Australia’s recovery and the forecasts presented in the Budget.”

Property Council of Australia chief executive Ken Morrison has questioned funding estimates.

He pointed to projections Australia’s population would decline by 22,000 people in the 2021-22 financial year before rebounding the next year.

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That decline leaves a gap in foreign students and migrants that made it unclear how the government would return the nation to dwelling investment growing 7 per cent in the 2021-2022 financial year.

“It’s not clear how this can be achieved in the same year that net overseas migration is forecast to be negative,” Mr Morrison concluded.

The Australian Institute of Architects also warned the Budget fell short in stimulating new construction projects, putting one of the nation’s biggest employers at risk.

Institute chief executive Julia Cambage said the industry was predicting a “dramatic and widespread stalling and slowdown of work”.

“As research from the Commonwealth Government’s own National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) shows, residential construction has the second largest economic multiplier of all the 114 industries that make up the Australian economy,” Ms Cambage said.

“Housing, jobs and increased economic activity go hand-in-hand.

“The 2020 Federal Budget is very much one of housing hits and misses.”

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‘We need to be a much more ruthless club’: Goodwin laments Dee-saster

“We’ve put ourselves in a position now where we’ve got to rely on other results,” Goodwin said.

“As a club, I think we need to become a much more ruthless club, and really grow up and start to perform in these type of games. This is a great position for our club to be in, to experience this again after last year, but we need to start becoming more mature as a club and more unconditional in the way we go about our business.

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin.Credit:Getty Images

“It’s everyone in the club. I’ve always said this, we’re in this together. We’re trying to change shape as a footy club. To do that it takes a whole collective group of people to do that. We’re in this position, where we are, and we get the opportunity to continue to help shape that, but we can’t have results like tonight. I think when teams are really unconditional in the way they go about their footy, the way they go about their business, day in, day out, your method will stack up and you’ll get results, and we’re just not quite there yet.”

The Dees have matches to come against Greater Western Sydney and Essendon, but will need other teams above them to falter to even have a chance of making the eight.

“We need to put in better performances in all phases of how we play. Too often tonight, the variation and inconsistency across all phases of our game was off,” Goodwin said.

“There’ll be a level of frustration I’m sure amongst our supporters, fans and everyone aligned, but we’re going to work incredible hard to make sure we put together some strong performances in the last couple of weeks.”

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UN agency laments summer’s ‘deep wound’ to Earth’s ice cover

The United Nations weather agency says this summer will go down for leaving a “deep wound” in the frozen parts of the planet after a heat wave in the Arctic, shrinking sea ice and the collapse of a leading Canadian ice shelf

GENEVA — The United Nations weather agency says this summer will go down for leaving a “deep wound” in the cryosphere — the planet’s frozen parts — amid a heat wave in the Arctic, shrinking sea ice and the collapse of a leading Canadian ice shelf.

The World Meteorological Organization said Tuesday that temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as fast as the global average, provoking what spokeswoman Clare Nullis called a “vicious circle.”

“The rapid decline of sea ice in turn contributes to more warming, and so the circle goes on and the consequences do not stay in the Arctic,” Nullis said during a regular U.N. briefing in Geneva.

The weather agency said in a statement that many new temperature records have been set in recent months, including in the Russian town of Verkhoyansk. The town, located in Siberia above the Arctic Circle line, reached 38 degrees Celsius (100 F) on June 20.

“What we saw in Siberia this year was exceptionally bad, was exceptionally severe,” Nullis said. She noted a heat wave across the Arctic, r ecord-breaking wildfires in Siberia, nearly record-low sea ice extent, and the collapse of one of the last fully intact Canadian ice shelves.

“The summer of 2020 will leave a deep wound on the cryosphere,” the World Meteorological Organization statement said, pointing to a “worrisome trend” of floods resulting from the outburst of glacier lakes that are becoming “an increased factor of high-risk in many parts of the world.”

In late July, an 81-square-kilometer (30-square-mile) section of Canada’s Milne ice shelf broke off, reducing the total area of the ice shelf by 43%, the weather agency said.

The consequences include the loss of a rare ecosystem, possible acceleration of glaciers sliding into the ocean and contributing to sea level rise, and creation of new “drifting ice islands,” it said.

The WMO is preparing to release on Sept. 9 a report on the impact of climate change on the cryosphere.


Follow AP’s climate coverage at https://apnews.com/Climate

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Coach Simon Goodwin laments defensively ‘disappointing’ Melbourne Demons

“Most of the day it [defence] was looking vulnerable and in the third quarter it just broke open.

“We got beaten in most areas to be frank.

“As the game went on we let ourselves down in turnover. There wasn’t a lot to like in the way we played today.

“I thought we got beaten in all phases of the game and the most disappointing thing was our defence.”

Melbourne had won three games on the trot coming into the contest but dropped out of the top eight because of the loss. The Bulldogs replaced them in that finals spot.

Goodwin said former captain and veteran Nathan Jones was withdrawn minutes before the bounce because of quad tightness in the warm-up, replaced by Mitch Hannan.

Tom Sparrow broke his collarbone in the third term and Goodwin said if he needed surgery he would miss the rest of the season.

Goodwin said it was a blow to lose the game after a strong three weeks.

“They [Western Bulldogs] were very good at getting the ball to the open side of the ground and producing very good things, from kick ins and also from the back half,” he said.

“That’s very unlike the way we have been playing.

“It’s disappointing for our footy club. We worked hard to get ourselves into this position, we knew the importance of the match.”

Luke Beveridge lauded his side’s ability to learn from their first half mistakes and surge ahead of the Demons in the third quarter.

“The balance of the ball movement helped us defend a little bit better. Across all three lines we really stepped up our work,” Beveridge said.

“It was terrific to see some of the lads take control and everyone jumped on board.


“There was an instruction to make better decisions as [opposed] to turn and go when you’re not sure what’s ahead of you.

“There were times in that second quarter when we went to their numbers rather than ours because we got a rush of blood.”

Beveridge singled out Josh Bruce and Mitch Wallis for praise. Bruce moved into the ruck with Tim English having lighter duties there off the back of an injury scare last week.

“We mixed the roles up and thought Brucey was instrumental as our first ruck … he really influenced the game after that,” he said.

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Buckley laments tennis match after Magpies loss

“We believed it had been covered off, we thought it had been ticked off and that was including the fact that two people … you can play with people outside of the hub but not at that time of the week and it has to be immediate family or housemates,” he said.

“And even earlier in the week you can exercise … with an immediate family member, with someone outside of the hub, but you can’t play tennis with them.

“There are some situations where it’s OK and some where it’s not with different people at different times so it still is a little bit … it’s really clear but it has shifted and changed over time.

“I’d be frustrated if I was [a supporter] in lockdown then something like this happened. Look I’ve got an understanding of that, I don’t have a leg to stand on. It was a lack of due diligence by me and follow up and should have known better, should have checked again before we’d gone.

“I just had a really expensive game of tennis during the week.

“We all understand there’s only a handful of COVID cases in WA … the health risk is not a concern. [But] I have a responsibility to adhere to the rules and regulations of the AFL. In 2020 hub protocols are a part [of that].

“We’re privileged to continue working and the players, staff, families are making sacrifices in some shape or form to be able to keep the industry going.

“I’m not bitter and twisted about it at all, I don’t find it onerous as such. I feel grateful to be in the position I am in and we’re in.”

The coach said the Pies lack of aggression around the ball was the main reason for the loss to Fremantle.


“We have lacked a bit of an edge in the last couple of weeks. The last two games we have really haven’t been as aggressive as we usually are,” Buckley said.

“Not aggressive enough, not hungry enough to stick those tackles.

“They were more intent across the board than we were, which is a concern for us because we pride ourselves on that.

“In the end it is an mental and emotional challenge. There’s a physical challenge in quick turn around between games but we’ve been humbled in that area.”

The Pies play Sydney on Thursday, their second game in four across 14 days.

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Red Bull laments ‘brutal’ F1 nightmare

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has admitted that leaving the Austrian GP empty-handed “feels pretty brutal” after Max Verstappen and Alex Albon both hit problems on a nightmare start to the team’s F1 title quest.

Verstappen was running second before his electrical failure while Albon made contact with Lewis Hamilton when challenging for that position before retiring from the race himself, leaving Red Bull with zero points.

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Asked about the positives from the race, Horner told Sky F1: “That it’s over.”

While Red Bull, who have been talking up a title challenge throughout F1’s long pre-season, couldn’t match Mercedes’ pace in Austria, Horner believes they had a chance of winning the 2020 opener before those issues.

“(We were) in a position to challenge for victory with both Max early on — because we got the (medium) tyre call right there and he would have had a really positive afternoon — and then for a second time with Alex,” he said.

“To come away with zero points in what is going to be a shortened season, feels pretty brutal.”

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Horner and Albon were both unhappy with Hamilton for his role in the pivotal Turn Five incident, but Verstappen’s early DNF was arguably more disappointing.

“Mercedes were very quick in that first stint but then they turned the engines down after that first stop,” added Horner.

“As soon as they did that they came back to our straight-line speed.

“I think Max on that different strategy could have really played out well for him.

“We’ve got some pace to find this week before next weekend, some work to do, and of course we’ll try and come back in a week’s time and do a bit better.”

This article first appeared on Sky Sports and was reproduced with permission

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