BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer The Jersey Shore Carpenter Cup softball team coaches knew they had something special prior to the start of the competition that features allstar diamond squads from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Jersey Shore Carpenter Cup teammates (l-r) Brianna Murphy (Mater Dei), Bobbie Boehler (Raritan) and Samantha Strickland (Raritan) hold up the trophy the Jersey Shore girls won for capturing the Carpenter Cup championship at Franklin Roosevelt Park in Philadelphia. The Carpenter Cup is a tri-state competition (New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware) involving high school underclassmen. This was the second title in four years for the Jersey Shore team, which is made up of players from the Shore Conference. “Even before we played a game we could tell the girls were bonding,” said Aado Kommendant, an assistant coach for the Jersey Shore Carpenter Cup team. “Chemistry comes from winning, but (head coach) Tony Vidola said we had the reverse. We had chemistry before winning.” The Jersey Shore squad (made up of the best non-seniors from the Shore Conference) proved to be special and won the Carpenter Cup championship on June 29 at Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park in Philadelphia, Pa. The local all-stars defeated another New Jersey team, Olympic Colonial from South Jersey, 2- 1, in the championship game. Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Jersey Shore stars scored twice. Brianna Murphy (Mater Dei) singled and stole second. Zoe Otterman (St. John Vianney) bunted Murphy to third and beat the throw to first base. With two out, Cassidy Brzozowski (Howell) walked to load the bases. Erica Falvey (Middletown South) then delivered a two-run single to center for a 2-1 lead. In the top of the seventh, pitcher Sarah Bencivenga (Toms River East) needed just eight pitches to retire Olympic Colonial in order to give Jersey Shore its second Carpenter Cup crown in the last four years. The previous title came in 2007. Jersey Shore marched through the 16-team, double-elimination tournament undefeated at 5-0 and played the minimum number of games needed to win the crown. The all-stars defeated Mercer County, 1-0, in eight innings in their first game. That same day they also beat Burlington County, 8-3. In the third game, Jersey Shore beat SOL American Continental, 8-6, to advance to the winner’s bracket, where they defeated Olympic Colonial, 2-1, in the fourth game. Olympic Colonial fell into the loser’s bracket and eventually advanced to meet Jersey Shore in the championship game. Kommendant said Jersey Shore’s extra-inning win over Mercer County in the first game was critical to the team’s success. Teams do not want to fall into the loser’s bracket after one game because of the number of games that must then be played just to get to the championship game. “That was the key game for us,” he said.A gainst Mercer County, the international tiebreaker softball rules were in effect for the eighth inning, meaning that the inning began with a runner on second base. As the visiting team, Mercer was up in the top of the eighth and advanced its runner to third base with less than two out. A fly ball to right field looked like it might score the run, however, Otterman’s strong arm kept the runner at bay and the game remained scoreless. In the bottom of the eighth, Brzozowski started the inning as the runner at second base. She moved to third on Otterman’s bunt single and scored on an infield single by Linnette Siedler (Jackson Liberty). With pitchers not allowed to throw more than four innings, Jersey Shore went with the rotation of Jordan Weed (Toms River East) starting and Jen Retzer (St. John Vianney) closing. The plan worked for the first four games of the tournament. Because rain pushed back the tournament schedule, neither Weed nor Retzer were able to play in the final due to other commitments, so the coaches turned to Samantha Strickland (Raritan) and Bencivenga for the title game. All they did was combine for a no-hitter. “No one had better pitching than we did,” said Kommendant, in an understatement. Forty-five girls from Shore Conference schools tried out for the Carpenter Cup team and 17 made the squad that went to Philadelphia. The hardest part for the coaches was selecting the final 17 players. From the start, Kommendant said, the girls knew they were playing for more than themselves. “They realized they represented the entire conference, the other girls who had tried out, their high schools and themselves,” he said. The players also had something else going for them: all of them came from winning programs. “These kids are used to winning and playing in big games,” said Kommendant. This was the fourth year that Vidola (the head coach at Wall High School), Kommendant and Brad Hanson have coached the Jersey Shore all-stars and they know what it takes to be successful in the tournament. “The key to the roster in flexibility, having players who are good at multiple positions,” he explained. Brzozowski is an example of what Kommendant was talking about. She played centerfield for Howell High School and second base for the Jersey Shore squad. She recorded the final two outs of the championships game. In addition to Bencivenga, Brzozowski, Falvey, Murphy, Otterman, Retzer, Siedler, Strickland and Weed, the players who made up the 2010 Carpenter Cup championship team from the Jersey Shore were Sydney Canessa (Wall), Sarah Kirk (Manasquan), Sam Marchetti (Wall), Kendall Miller (Manasquan), Bobbi Boehler (Raritan), Lauren Saal (Howell), Kathleen Sharp (Toms River East) and Corey Schwartz (Toms River East). Vidola’s staff included Kommendant (the head coach at Raritan High School), Hanson (assistant coach at Wall), Edward Lowe (the head coach at Brick Township High School) and Joe Mason (assistant coach at Brick Township). The Carpenter Cup is 25 years old this year. It began in 1986 and was named for former Philadelphia Phillies owners Bob and Ruly Carpenter. The event was designed to be a vehicle for the best baseball players in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware area. In 2005 the Carpenter Cup expanded to include a softball tournament. The softball teams are made up underclassmen and the competition allows the players to display their talents in front of college scouts.
Raritan High School forward Michael Aaman and Colts Neck High School head coach Lou Piccola were honored by the Shore Basketball Coaches Association. Aaman, to no one’s surprise, was the Player of the Year in the Shore Conference while Piccola was chosen by his peers as the Coach of the Year.Aaman averaged a double-double this winter as he led the Rockets to a second straight division crown despite the loss of four starters from the 2010-11 season. Aaman is the school’s alltime leading scorer (1,330) among boys and also pulled down more than 1,000 rebounds. Piccola’s Cougars enjoyed their finest season with a single-season record 23 wins (23-4). The Cougars shared the B North title with Neptune after the two teams split their regular-season games. Colts Neck made the SCT final for the first time (losing to Neptune) and was beaten by Middletown North in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV championship game.The Cougars achieved this despite having the roster depleted by injuries.Colts Neck’s Hunter Wysocki, Middletown North’s Jason Huelbig, Neptune’s Ike Calderon and St. Rose’s Mark Kukoda are the All-Shore First Team.Manalapan’s Anthony Firkser heads the Second Team with Point Pleasant Boro’s Shaun Cooke, Manasquan’s Jimmy Walsh, Neptune’s Jaheem Woods and Jackson Memorial’s Brandon McDonnell.Aaman, headed to Wagner College, averaged 21.9 points and 16.3 points a game for the Rockets this year as they went 17-8 and defended their A Central Division crown.Wysocki was the go-to player for Colts Neck, averaging 17 points a game and graduating as the program’s all-time leading scorer.Huelbig led the Lions to the CJ IV title and a 25-win season while Calderon’s Scarlet Fliers won the SCT and Central Jersey Group III titles. Kukoda averaged 19 points and seven assists a game for the Purple Roses.As for the All-Division teams, Huelbig and Firkser head the All-North First Team with Freehold Township’s Casey Skieveski, Middletown North’s Eric Youncofski and Tim Frawley, and Christian Brothers Academy’s Kieran Hughes. Freehold Township’s John Horrigan, Manalapan’s Bryan Adams, CBA’s Jim Dengler and Middletown South’s James Dzugan are the Second Team picks. Freehold Township’s Brian Golub, whose team won the division title, was the A North Coach of the Year. Aaman heads the A Central First Team with Rumson-Fair Haven’s Jack Donnelly, Matawan’s Larry Smith, St. John Vianney’s Arick Sodini and Holmdel’s Christian Vikse. Second Team selections were: Holmdel’s Kyle Nodes, Red Bank Regional’s Seph Williams and Asim Jules, RFH’s J.J. Conklin and Shore Regional’s R.J. Bohnert. Holmdel’s Sean Devaney was the Coach of the Year. In B North, Wysocki was joined by teammates Sean O’Reilly and Brandon Federici on the First Team along with Calderon and Woods and Monmouth Regional’s Terrel Cox.Second-Teamers were Freehold’s Pat Mullin, Ocean Township’s Nick Gallombardo and Dan McGuckin, Neptune’s Fuguan MacDonald and Keith Kirkwood, and Long Branch’s Dwight Clarke.Long Branch’s Don Covin was the Coach of the Year.Keyport’s Alex Thompson was a First Teampick in B Central, and Mater Dei Prep’s Ryan Yetman made the Second Team. Colts Neck’s Piccola COY
Middletown High School South’s hockey team has stolen the thunder around town over the years, but Middletown High School North is making some noise this season in a 4-1 start.The Lions won their first four games, but they dropped a 5-1 loss to Freehold Township High School on Dec. 16 at Jersey Shore Arena in Wall when two starters were away with a travel team and the goalie suffered an injury.Prior to that, Middletown North rolled up a 21-8 goal-scoring margin while sweeping past Marlboro High School, Manalapan High School and Howell High School in a pair of victories over the traditionally strong Rebels.It’s not the level of competition a year ago, when Middletown North played the likes of powerhouses Red Bank Catholic High School and Brick Township High School while starting 1-3 and ending the season 7-14-1, but coach Matt Clemente sees some reassuring strides.“We were really young last year with five freshmen who played every game,” Clemente said. “We had no bench for them to learn. It was just, ‘Go out and play.’”“We’re looking forward to making noise in the Shore Conference. We’ve come out on fire,” said defenseman James Felice, one of the few seniors and one of three brothers on the team, along with sophomore Tim, a wing on the first line, and freshman Kevin, a backup forward. Sophomore Nick Kirch starts on defense with James.Five players graduated off last year’s team, including high-scoring Joe Dickinson, and the roster remains very young but a bit more experienced.How much they’ve grown will come to light this week when Middletown North plays Robbinsville High School on Dec. 19 at the Lawrenceville School and then a Dec. 23 game at 4 p.m. at Jersey Shore Arena against Christian Brothers Academy, Clemente’s alma mater before he went on to play junior hockey and then for Franklin Pierce College. Middletown North renews its Shore Conference A North rivalry with Middletown South at 6 p.m. on Jan. 6 at Jersey Shore Arena. Middletown South won last year’s games, first by a 6-3 score and then 13-4 at the Prudential Center. They may play again on Feb. 13 at the new arena in town, which is currently under construction and is nearing completion.“A lot of players have come into their own, like sophomore wing Tom Terranova and sophomore center Zach Gazette,” Clemente said. They’ll be on the second line with freshman Khristian Acosta, who Clemente said is one of the best shooters on the team.Joining Tim Felice on the first line is senior center Andrew Lipari, who leads the team with six goals, two of them shorthanded, and junior wing Scott Harker. They’ll look to make up for the loss of sophomore Craig Evans, the second leading scorer last season who is sidelined this season with a shoulder injury.“We’re getting scoring from everybody,” James Felice said. “The whole line is playing well together. And the freshmen are surprising.”Brendan Lipari, Andrew’s twin brother, is the goalkeeper. He had a .950 save percentage in the first four games. Penalty killing has been good, said Clemente, with only two shorthanded goals allowed in those first four games. The backup defensemen are senior Brad Bock and junior Jack Meyer, whose older brother, Rick, was a captain about four seasons ago and is playing in college these days with Manhattanville College.“It’s defense first. Lock it down and then the offense takes care of itself with the skills we have,” Clemente said. “The power play has really been clicking and that wins games. We’re very quick with a relentless forecheck and working the corners. It’s been pretty much a work in progress.”“It’s not the talent but how much work you put in and grinding out the wins,” the elder Felice said.Clemente only hopes that work in progress comes to full fruition soon. BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent
By Ian RansomFAVOURITE Fiorente prevailed in a furious sprint down the final stretch to win the A$6 million Melbourne Cup on Tuesday and deliver sweet redemption for controversial jockey Damien Oliver.Fiorente, runner-up to Green Moon last year, enjoyed a textbook ride in the gruelling two-mile handicap from three-time winner Oliver, who a year ago was embroiled in scandal amid an illegal betting probe.Oliver coaxed the six-year-old stallion to the front in the final 100 metres to beat British stayer Red Cadeaux by three-quarters of a length with Mount Athos finishing third.The win in the 153rd running of the Cup, one of the world’s richest races, was especially satisfying for 41-year-old Oliver, who only returned to the saddle in September after serving a 10-month ban for betting on a rival horse in 2010.His presence in last year’s race aboard Americain provoked much debate as news of his complicity in the illegal betting scandal swirled in the lead-up.Oliver was backed by Sydney-based trainer Gai Waterhouse on his return and he rewarded the grand dame of Australian racing with her first Melbourne Cup.In addition to last year’s heartbreak, Waterhouse also tasted the disappointment of runner-up finishes with Te Akau Nick in 1993 and Nothin Leica Dane in 1995.“Gai was one of the first people to get behind me when I came back,” an emotional Oliver, who rode 1995 winner Doriemus and Media Puzzle in 2002, said trackside.“There’s a lot of emotion going through my body right now.”Waterhouse hailed Oliver’s ride which saw Irish import Fiorente, carrying 55 kg from barrier five and backed into 6-1, edge ahead of the Ed Dunlop-trained Red Cadeaux in front of a heaving crowd of more than 100,000.“Didn’t he ride him a treat?” a glowing Waterhouse, wearing a necklace of huge pearls and a teal-coloured dress and hat, said trackside.“I think backing Oliver was the crux. I think it was what won us the Cup,” the 59-year-old later told reporters.Scotland-born Waterhouse, whose late father Tommy Smith won two Melbourne Cups and remains an icon of Australian racing, ended 20 years of frustration to win Australia’s most coveted racing trophy.“It ticks the best bucket-list … It’s a burning desire to win it,” said Waterhouse, who became only the second female trainer to win the Cup after the New Zealand-based Sheila Laxon’s 2001 triumph with Ethereal.“I could see he was picking up before the turn … Then the last 200 metres I knew he had it won.”Starting on barrier 23 in the 24-horse field, eight-year-old gelding Red Cadeaux was equal third-top weight with 56.5 kg and rated a 60-1 chance in a third tilt for the Cup.That he ran another gallant race will be little consolation to trainer Dunlop, who also missed out on a first Melbourne Cup for Britain when the same horse was beaten in a photo finish by French stayer Dunaden in 2011.The Luca Cumani-prepared Mount Athos came in third on Tuesday, leaving the Newmarket-based trainer still chasing the trophy after eight attempts.Dubbed ‘the race that stops a nation’, the Melbourne Cup has long shed its image as a showcase of Australian breeding, with only five of the field of 24 horses bred locally.The race’s soaring prize-money has also lured foreign trainers to spend small fortunes in bringing horses Down Under, and five from outside Australia and New Zealand have won the Cup since Irish trainer Dermot Weld’s breakthrough with Vintage Crop in 1993.Five of the nine foreign raiders in Tuesday’s field finished in the top eight, with Simenon, trained by Irishman William Mullins, placing fourth and Marco Botti-trained Dandino fifth.Australian property magnate Lloyd Williams was widely tipped to win a fifth Melbourne Cup as an owner of six horses in the field but was left disappointed as Fawkner was the pick of the bunch finishing sixth.Tuesday’s race had threatened to spiral into controversy when stewards probed race-day treatments to Dunaden and Waterhouse-trained Tres Blue.Dunaden was treated for an ulcer while Tres Blue had treatment for an irritated hoof. The horses were cleared to race but stewards will hold an inquiry later into both their stables later this week.The Cup ended on a sour note with French stayer Verema having to be destroyed after the five-year-old mare broke a leg and failed to finish.
Briton’s Lewis Hamilton won the Malaysian Grand Prix with a pole-to-flag victory ahead of Nico Rosberg on Sunday in a first Mercedes one-two since they returned to Formula One as a works team in 2010.The 2008 Formula One world champion easily pulled away from his rivals on a dry track with a three-stop strategy to win the race by 17.3 seconds, his 23rd career victory and first in Malaysia at the eighth attempt.“Incredibly happy, it’s my eighth year here (at Sepang) and finally I got that win,” the Briton told reporters after taking the chequered flag for his second win for Mercedes since he joined them last year and first points of the season.“Its quite special to get a one-two, I haven’t had many in my career, so that makes it even more special. A great day,” added the former McLaren driver.Rosberg, who won the season opener in Australia two weeks ago, started in third place but squeezed past quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel into the first corner and was able to keep the Red Bull at bay and stay top of the driver standings.It was Mercedes’ first one-two since 1955, their last year as a works team before 2010.Rosberg almost touched the wall as he took Vettel at the start and struggled to manage his rear tyres in the early stages as the two Germans remained close before the Mercedes driver pulled away over the closing laps.The second place finish moved him on to 43 points in the standings, 18 clear of Hamilton with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso third on 24 points after his second fourth of the season.Mercedes took the lead from McLaren in the constructors’ standings.“I had a really good start.. got away well and I thought Sebastian was going to put me into the wall but he stopped just before so thank-you for that,” Rosberg said.“My heart skipped a beat a little bit but it was OK. I was trying to chase Lewis but he was a bit too quick today.”VETTEL THIRDVettel finished third, 7.2 seconds behind Rosberg, for his first points of the season following an early retirement in Australia as he struggled to make an impact on the Mercedes pair without the rain that helped his qualifying bid on Saturday.Having endured a tricky time during off season testing, Vettel was delighted to make the podium.“Congratulations to them, they are bloody quick, the package they have is very, very strong,” Vettel told reporters.“For us there is mostly positives. It’s much better than what we expected during the winter.”Alonso was involved in a tight battle with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg in the closing stages before finally overtaking the German although he will be disappointed that once again the Ferrari looked well short of challenging the Mercedes duo.McLaren’s Jenson Button was sixth with Felipe Massa of Williams seventh just ahead of team mate Valtteri Bottas after the Brazilian refused to yield to his Finnish team mate despite team orders to do so.The row, at a circuit where team orders blew up into a major controversy last season at both Red Bull and Mercedes, threatened to cause friction for the coming races between the new team mates.McLaren’s Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen and Toro Rosso’s Russian newcomer Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top 10 of a race that suffered just a couple of light drops of rain despite concerns about possible thunderstorms.Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who was disqualified in Australia pending an appeal, missed out on points for the second race in a row after a disastrous third pit stop when he was in fourth.The Australian pulled away before his front left wheel was fully attached with engineers sprinting down the pitlane to push him back and fix the issue.Ricciardo was then given a 10 second penalty for the unsafe release but his chances of points were already over after he shredded a tyre and damaged a wing shortly before the stewards’ decision and he retired before the end.“Deep down I’m really disappointed but at the same time there’s a little bit in me which is happy because I think I’ve come out how I wanted to,” the Australian said of his start to the season.“I still want to improve but we’ve started off on the right foot. So for that I’m pleased. I know a little bit of luck will turn around soon and I’ll get my revenge and get some points.”
By Steve KeatingMICHAEL Phelps, the most decorated swimmer of all time, will come out of retirement next week, the clearest signal yet that he is getting ready to make an Olympic comeback at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.The American, who has not competed since the 2012 London Games, will headline an April 24-26 meet in Mesa, Arizona, with fellow Olympians Ryan Lochte and Katie Ledecky, USA Swimming said in a statemenT.Phelps’s return to the pool touched off a wave of excitement on social media that added more fuel to speculation that the 28-year-old is planning to compete in Brazil, but his longtime coach did little to fan the flames.“I don’t think anybody knows,” Bob Bowman told Reuters in a phone interview when asked if Phelps’ return to competitive swimming was a step toward swimming at the 2016 Olympics.“Certainly he has done some training and gotten into decent physical condition and thought it would be fun to try some racing and we will find out next week how that goes.“I don’t think we can really call it a comeback yet. We’ll see how next week goes and take it from there. But Rio is a possibility since he decided to consistently train.”Already the most decorated Olympian of all time, Phelps rejoined the US Anti-Doping Agency’s drug testing programme last November offering the first hint that he was considering a return to the pool in a bid for more Olympic gold.World swimming governing body FINA requires athletes to be tested for a minimum of nine months before competing in sanctioned events. Phelps was tested twice in the quarter ended September 30, according to data released by USADA.“He went through the nine-month probation period from FINA on the drug testing to get back into the competitive pool, so he is that serious about a comeback,” said Bowman.“But honestly we don’t have any expectations, we don’t know where he is, we’ll find out a lot more after Mesa and then we can really think about what might happen after that or won’t happen after that.Phelps retired from competitive swimming after winning four gold and two silver medals at the 2012 London Olympics to take his career tally to 22, 18 of which were gold.He had repeatedly said before the London Games he would not contemplate a comeback and consider a return to compete at what would be his fifth Olympics in Rio.Retired US swimmer Dara Torres, who has won 12 medals in five Olympics, was not surprised by news Phelpswas returning to competitive swimming, saying it was something she expected since the day he retired.“So funny because when he announced his retirement I went in Twitter and tweeted “who wants to bet MP (Michael Phelps) will come out of retirement for Rio?”, Torres told Reuters in an email. “And he tweeted me back and said ‘I will!’“You know I feel sorry for those swimmers who thought they had a better shot of winning a gold because Michael Phelps was retired.”The Arena Grand Prix in Mesa is the fourth stop of USA Swimming’s 2013-14 Arena Grand Prix Series, which provides the nation’s best swimmers six opportunities to face top-flight competition on U.S. soil.While Bowman had downplayed any suggestions Phelps was considering a return, he said he was now in full support of his comeback because the swimmer was doing it the right way and for all the right reasons.“He’s really enjoying it and that is why I am condoning his return,” said Bowman. “He is doing it for all the right reasons.“He doesn’t have anything to prove, his legacy is sealed forever and he is just doing it because he loves to swim.”
Manager Jurgen Klopp has urged his players to come out fighting and impose their never-say-die attitude in Thursday’s Europa League second-leg quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund (10.05pm) as they look to end their four-year trophy drought.Having led Dortmund to two Bundesliga titles and a Champions League final, Klopp will now hope to end the German side’s Europa League hopes and heads into the clash with a slight advantage after drawing the first leg 1-1 at the Westfalenstadion last week.“It’s always about being brave but especially with a high-quality team. If they get their confidence up you get smaller. You have to have your own moments. Every moment can impact confidence,” Klopp told reporters on Wednesday.“Forget about last week and we will face tomorrow night with a new attitude. We won’t be flying a white flag. Dortmund can play better but so can we. We need to do better tomorrow night.”Klopp played down the importance of the away-goal advantage and said his side would not settle for a goalless draw, even though that result would send them into the semi-finals.“Only at 0-0 is it an advantage. If we win, we don’t need it,” the charismatic 48-year-old said.Liverpool will be without captain Jordan Henderson and striker Christian Benteke but Klopp said he had no new injuries to contend with following their 4-1 Premier League win over Stoke City on Sunday.Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel meanwhile is confident his side can reach the last four despite Liverpool’s imposing home record against German opposition with the Reds unbeaten in 15 matches.“We can score away goals too, and we can score more than one,” said Tuchel, whose team effectively surrendered any hopes of chasing down Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga after twice conceding the lead in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Ruhr Valley rivals Schalke.“We are not frightened. We have been to a lot of places and scored and won,” he added, with Dortmund unbeaten in 18 games since the turn of the year.
By Brian HomewoodAS Roma suffered another European humiliation on Tuesday when they had two players sent off, lost 3-0 at home to Porto and missed out on the Champions League group stage.After drawing 1-1 in Portugal in the first leg of the playoff tie, Roma started as favourites but never recovered after Felipe gave the visitors an eighth-minute lead.They imploded completely when Daniele De Rossi and his replacement Emerson Palmieri were shown straight red cards either side of halftime.Monaco joined Porto when they beat Villarreal 1-0 after a late penalty by Fabinho sealed a 3-1 aggregate win, and Legia Warsaw, Celtic and Ludogorets Razgrad also qualified, although none of them won on the night.Ten-man Legia drew 1-1 at home with Irish part-timers Dundalk, but progressed 3-1 on aggregate to become the first Polish side to reach the group stage of Europe’s premier club competition for 20 years.Former European champions Celtic squeezed past Hapoel Beer Sheva 5-4 on aggregate despite a 2-0 loss in Israel and Ludogorets held Viktoria Plzen 2-2 away to secure a 4-2 aggregate win.Roma became the third successive Serie A team, and the sixth in the last eight seasons, to lose in the playoff round, leaving Italy with only two representatives – Juventus and Napoli – in Thursday’s group-stage draw.Roma have had their fair share of recent European disasters after losing 6-1 to Barcelona last season and 7-1 at home to Bayern Munich two years ago, but not even they could not have imagined how Tuesday’s game would unfold.Their initial confidence was shattered when Felipe headed Porto in front from Otavio’s cross but the real trouble began in the 39th minute when midfielder De Rossi was sent off for a high tackle on Maxi Pereira.Amid angry Roma protests, he was replaced by Palmieri who lasted only 11 minutes before he was dismissed for a shocking lunge.Roma goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny booked his place in rogue’s gallery with a reckless charge out of his goal which allowed Miguel Layun to slot Porto’s second into an empty net.Almost immediately, Jesus Corona turned his marker inside out before scoring the third.Dundalk, beaten 2-0 at home, made a brave effort in Poland and went ahead when Robert Benson thundered home an unstoppable volley in the 19th minute.The Irish side were given further hope when Legia’s Adam Hlousek was sent off in the 67th minute, but they were caught on the break as Michal Kucharczyk levelled in stoppage time, ending their dream.
By Steve Tongue and Ed DoveChelsea re-signed David Luiz and Premier League champions Leicester City broke their transfer record for striker Islam Slimani as Premier League clubs exceeded the one billion pounds barrier when the curtain fell on transfer deadline day.Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere completed an unexpected loan move to Bournemouth, while Tottenham Hotspur pipped Everton to Newcastle United’s Moussa Sissoko in a deal said to be worth 30 million pounds ($39.41 million).Fees paid by Premier League clubs passed one billion pounds for the first time, according to financial analysts Deloitte.That was inflated by the world record 89 million pounds that Manchester United paid Juventus for France midfielder Paul Pogba earlier in the window. United also got one of the close-season bargains in Zlatan Ibrahimovic who joined as a free agent.The highest fee on deadline day, reported to be about 34 million pounds, was paid by Chelsea for Brazil defender Luiz who had left the London club to join Paris Saint-Germain two years ago for 50 million pounds.Chelsea also completed the signing of Spanish left back Marcos Alonso from Fiorentina for 24 million pounds, making them the Premier League’s biggest spenders on the final day.Leicester were among 13 Premier League clubs to break their club transfer record, paying an initial 30 million euros ($33.47 million) to sign Sporting Lisbon striker Slimani. It was the third time they had set their club record in the window.France midfielder Sissoko appeared set for a move to Everton before Spurs nipped in to sign the player, having earlier completed a deal to bring Olympique de Marseille forward Georges-Kevin N’Koudou to White Hart Lane in a five-year deal.Manchester City, who splashed out millions on players such as England defender John Stones earlier in the widnow, were among the clubs trimming their squads on deadline day.Coach Pep Guardiola allowed England goalkeeper Joe Hart, Wilfried Bony, Samir Nasri and Eliaquim Mangala to leave on season-long loans.Mario Balotelli ended his miserable spell at Liverpool by joining Nice in a permanent transfer.Another England international, midfielder Wilshere, moved on loan to Bournemouth from Arsenal as he looks to get his career back on track after being plagued by injuries in recent seasons.All last day transfer dealsWALES STRIKER ROBSON KANU JOINS WEST BROMHal Robson-Kanu has joined West Bromwich Albion on a two-year contract. The 27-year-old striker, a free agent after leaving Reading at the end of last season, was a standout performers in Wales’s run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals.CHELSEA CONFIRM RE-SIGNING OF DAVID LUIZChelsea have re-signed Brazilian defender David Luiz from Paris St Germain on a three-year contract after two years in France.“I’m delighted to return to Chelsea. We had a fantastic story during my first time at the club and I want to help the team and Antonio Conte achieve a lot of success,” the 29-year-old told the club’s website.STOKE’S JOSELU JOINS DEPORTIVO ON LOANStoke City forward Joselu has joined Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna on loan until the end of the season.SISSOKO CONFIRMS SPURS MOVE ON TWITTERNewcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko said on his Twitter account that he had joined Tottenham Hotspur on a five-year contract.LAMBERT LEAVES WEST BROM FOR CARDIFFFormer Southampton and Liverpool striker Rickie Lambert has joined Cardiff City from West Bromwich Albion for an undisclosed fee.EVERTON SIGN VALENCIA ON LOAN FROM WEST HAMEverton have signed Ecuador forward Enner Valencia on a season-long loan from West Ham United, with an option to make the deal permanent.EMNES MOVES FROM SWANSEA TO BLACKBURN ON LOANBlackburn Rovers have signed forward Marvin Emnes from Swansea City on loan until January.WATFORD SELL ANYA TO DERBY COUNTYWatford wing back Ikechi Anya has completed a permanent transfer to Derby County.HULL SIGN MBOKANI ON LOAN FROM DYNAMO KIEVHull City have announced the loan signing of forward Dieumerci Mbokani from Dynamo Kiev. The 30-year-old spent last season on loan at Norwich City.WEST HAM PART WAYS WITH POYETWest Ham United have terminated the contract of midfielder Diego Poyet. The 21-year-old was signed from Charlton Athletic in 2013.LIVERPOOL ANNOUNCE ANOTHER LOAN FOR MARKOVICLiverpool have confirmed that Lazar Markovic will spend the rest of the season on loan at Sporting Lisbon. The 22-year-old Serbia international spent last season on loan at Turkish side Fenerbahce.NEWCASTLE SIGN ATSU ON LOAN FROM CHELSEANewcastle United have confirmed the signing of Ghana winger Christian Atsu on a season-long loan from Chelsea.CHELSEA’S PIAZON JOINS FULHAMBrazilian midfielder Lucas Piazon, 22, has joined English Championship side Fulham from Chelsea on loan until Jan. 15.SUNDERLAND SIGN MAN CITY CENTRE BACK DENAYER ON LOANManchester City have sent 21-year-old central defender Jason Denayer on a season-long loan to Sunderland.BURNLEY LOAN ULVESTAD TO CHARLTONBurnley have loaned midfielder Fredrik Ulvestad to third-tier side Charlton Athletic for the rest of the season.MCGEADY SWAPS EVERTON FOR PRESTON NORTH ENDEverton midfielder Aiden McGeady has joined Preston North End on loan for the remainder of the season.BOURNEMOUTH SIGN WILSHERE ON LOAN FROM ARSENALMidfielder Jack Wilshere has joined Bournemouth from Arsenal on a season-long loan, the Premier League clubs said.LEICESTER CONFIRM STRIKER SLIMANI SIGNINGPremier League champions Leicester City have completed the signing of Algeria striker Islam Slimani from Sporting Lisbon.A statement on Sporting’s website said Leicester had paid 30 million euros for the 27-year-old, with an additional five million in add-ons.Hart joins Torino on season-long loanArsenal splash out on Mustafi and PerezArsenal defender Chambers joins Middlesbrough on loanChelsea sign defender Alonso from FiorentinaArsenal’s Gnabry joins Werder BremenHull in double swoop for Mason and KeaneKodjia joins Villa in deal that may set second tier recordChelsea striker Remy joins Palace on season-long loanBarcelona swoop for AlcacerRosicky set for Sparta return – reportsBurnley sign Chelsea striker Bamford on season-long loanREACH LEAVES MIDDLESBROUGH FOR SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAYMiddlesbrough have sold 23-year-old midfielder Adam Reach to Sheffield Wednesday.SWANSEA SEND DEFENDER TABANOU TO GRANADA ON LOANSwansea City have loaned defender Franck Tabanou to Spanish club Granada for the rest of the season. The 27-year joined the Swans from St-Etienne in July 2015, but was loaned back to the French club after making three cup appearances.HULL SIGN MANCHESTER UNITED MIDFIELDER WEIRHull City have signed Manchester United midfielder James Weir on a three-year deal. The 21-year-old has featured once for United, coming on in their 3-2 win over Arsenal in February.WORLD CUP WINNER ARBELOA SIGNS FOR WEST HAMFormer Liverpool defender and World Cup winner Alvaro Arbeloa has joined West Ham United on a one-year contract. The 33-year-old Spaniard was a free agent after his contract with Spanish giants Real Madrid ended in June 2016.LIVERPOOL CUT BALOTELLI LOOSE AS STRIKER JOINS NICEMisfiring Italian striker Mario Balotelli has joined French side Nice on a free transfer, bringing an end to his unhappy stint at Liverpool, who signed him in August 2014 for 16 million pounds.BURNLEY LOAN DEFENDER LAFFERTY TO SHEFFIELD UNITEDBurnley’s Daniel Lafferty will spend the rest of the season in the third tier of English football after moving to Sheffield United on a season-long loan.NYOM LEAVES WATFORD FOR WEST BROMWest Bromwich Albion have signed full-back Allan Nyom from Watford on a four-year deal.BAPTISTE SWAPS MIDDLESBROUGH FOR PRESTON NORTH ENDMiddlesbrough defender Alex Baptiste has joined Preston North End on a season-long loan. The 30-year-old joined Boro in July 2015, but suffered a double leg break 20 minutes after making his debut in a friendly. He made his competitive debut for Boro in the League Cup against Fulham last week.ESPANYOL KEEPER LOPEZ JOINS SPURS ON LOANTottenham Hotspur have signed goalkeeper Pau Lopez on a season-long loan from La Liga side Espanyol. The 21-year-old will offer Spurs additional cover for Hugo Lloris, who is currently injured, and Michel Vorm.LEEDS SIGN MIDFIELDER O’KANE FROM BOURNEMOUTHIreland midfielder Eunan O’Kane has signed a two-year deal with Leeds United. The 26-year-old, who made 16 Premier League appearances for Bournemouth last season, represented Northern Ireland at youth level before switching to Ireland at senior level.SPURS SIGN NKOUDOU FROM MARSEILLE ON FIVE-YEAR DEALTottenham Hotspur and Olympique de Marseille traded players, with midfielder Georges-Kevin Nkoudou moving to London on a five-year deal and Clinton N’Jie joining the Ligue 1 side on a season-long loan.CHELSEA AGREE FEE TO SIGN LUIZ FROM PSGChelsea have agreed a fee with Paris Saint-Germain for the return of Brazilian international defender David Luiz, the Premier League club announced.British media put the fee for his return to Stamford Bridge at about 30 million pounds ($39.40 million) as new manager Antonio Conte moves closer to securing the extra cover in central defence he has craved since taking over.RED BULL SALZBURG SIGN WISDOM FROM LIVERPOOLAustrian club Red Bull Salzburg have signed defender Andre Wisdom from Liverpool on a season-long loan.The 23-year-old made 22 appearances for the Premier League club since making his debut in 2012. He spent last season on loan with Norwich City.SUNDERLAND JOIN PREMIER LEAGUE RECORD-BREAKERSSunderland became the 13th Premier League club to set a new spending high for a single player during the transfer window, by splashing 16 million euros on the Gabon international midfielder Didier Ndong from French side Lorient.JUVENTUS SIGN CUADRADO ON THREE-YEAR LOANWinger Juan Cuadrado has completed his return to Juventus on a three-year loan deal from Chelsea.The 28-year-old, who joined Juve on a season-long loan from the Premier League side in August last year, scored four goals in 28 league matches last season to help the Italian club to a Serie A and Coppa Italia double.RANGERS SIGN SENDEROS ON ONE-YEAR DEALGlasgow Rangers have signed Switzerland defender Philippe Senderos on a one-year contract. The former Arsenal and Valencia defender last played for Swiss side Grasshoppers before leaving at the end of last season.BLACKBURN SIGN MULGREW FROM CELTICBlackburn Rovers have signed defender Charlie Mulgrew from Celtic on a three-year deal.MAN CITY’S MANGALA MOVES TO VALENCIA ON LOANManchester City’s 25-year-old France defender Eliaquim Mangala has moved to Valencia on a season-long loan deal.He joined City from Porto in August 2014 but has struggled to establish himself after making 48 Premier League appearances under the club’s former manager Manuel Pellegrini.CHELSEA SIGN DEFENDER ALONSO FROM FIORENTINAChelsea have signed left back Marcos Alonso from Italian top-flight club Fiorentina on a five-year contract.The 25-year-old Spaniard is no stranger to English football, having played for Bolton Wanderers from July 2010 to July 2013. He also spent five months on loan at Sunderland in 2014.GALATASARAY COMPLETE DE JONG SIGNINGGalatasaray have signed midfielder Nigel de Jong from Los Angeles Galaxy on a two-year contract.The 31-year-old featured 18 times in Major League Soccer this season, having moved to the club from AC Milan in January following previous stints with Manchester City, HSV Hamburg and Ajax.STOKE SIGN DUTCH DEFENDER MARTINS INDIStoke City have signed Dutch defender Bruno Martins Indi from Porto on a season-long loan with an option to make the move permanent. The 24-year-old made 23 appearances in the Portuguese league last season to help Porto finish third in the standings.LAZIO SIGN ALBERTO FROM LIVERPOOLLazio have signed midfielder Luis Alberto from Premier League side Liverpool. Alberto, who joined Liverpool from Sevilla in June 2013, spent the last season on loan with La Liga side Deportivo La Coruna.BURNLEY SIGN HENDRICK FOR CLUB-RECORD FEEBurnley have broken their transfer record for the second time in the transfer window to sign Ireland midfielder Jeff Hendrick from second-tier Derby County on a three-year contract.The 24-year-old, who scored twice in 32 Championship appearances for Derby last season, played in all four of Ireland’s games at Euro 2016, helping them reach the last 16.MIDDLESBROUGH SIGN TRAORE FROM VILLAMiddlesbrough have signed winger Adama Traore for an undisclosed fee from second-tier Aston Villa on a four-year contract. Villa confirmed that Boro’s 28-year-old Ghanaian midfielder, Albert Adomah, had moved in the opposite direction.SUNDERLAND SIGN NDONG FROM LORIENTSunderland have signed midfielder Didier Ndong from Lorient on a five-year deal. The 22-year-old made 46 appearances for the French Ligue 1 side since joining them in January.WERDER BREMEN SIGN GNABRY FROM ARSENALWerder Bremen have signed Arsenal midfielder Serge Gnabry, the German club said. Gnabry joined Arsenal in 2011 but played only 10 league games in five seasons.NASRI JOINS SEVILLA ON LOANSamir Nasri has left Manchester City for Sevilla on a season-long loan. Like goalkeeper Joe Hart, who joined Torino on loan earlier, the former French international midfielder does not feature in new manager Pep Guardiola’s plans.HULL SIGN KEEPER MARSHALL FROM CARDIFFHull City have signed goalkeeper David Marshall from Cardiff City on a three-year contract.BONY COMPLETES LOAN MOVE TO STOKEStoke City have signed striker Wilfried Bony from Manchester City on a season-long loan. Bony, 27, has been a bit-part player at City since signing from Swansea City in January 2015, with Argentina’s Sergio Aguero leading the line at the club.ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE SPENDING CROSSES BILLION POUNDS – DELOITTESpending by Premier League teams has already broken last season’s record and has also exceed 1 billion pounds ($1.31 billion) before the close of the transfer window, according to financial analysts Deloitte.The clubs overtook last season’s total summer outlay of 870 million pounds, the report added.STOKE SIGN KEEPER GRANT FROM DERBYStoke City have signed goalkeeper Lee Grant from Derby County in a loan deal that will run until January. Grant has made 186 appearances in all competitions for Derby over the course of two spells.HART JOINS TORINO ON SEASON-LONG LOANTorino have completed the signing of goalkeeper Joe Hart from Manchester City on a season-long loan.The 29-year-old will hope for a fresh start after falling down the pecking order behind Claudio Bravo and Willy Caballero under new manager Pep Guardiola.BESIKTAS SIGN SWISS MIDFIELDER INLERBesiktas have signed Swiss midfielder Gokhan Inler from Leicester City, the Turkish side have said. The clubs did not reveal the terms of the contract or financial details.