There will be plenty of tension on the pitch in Sunday’s eagerly anticipated fixture.Barca will be keen to further cement their domestic hegemony over Madrid and extend their gap over them to 18 points, which would be the biggest gap they have ever held over their rivals.Zinedine Zidane’s side can avenge December’s humiliating 3-0 home defeat by Barca by snapping the Catalans’ Liga record of 42 games without defeat.Zidane has already angered Barca by declaring his side will not give the newly crowned champions a guard of honour before kickoff, a gesture the Catalans did carry out in 2008 when Madrid had won the title.Sunday’s game is also the first ‘Clasico’ since 2008 to take place after the title race has been decided.Real have had a disappointing Liga campaign and could finish third for the first time in four years. But their domestic woes has not stopped them from storming into the Champions League final with a 4-3 aggregate win over Bayern Munich. In contrast Barca crashed out of Europe to AS Roma in the quarterfinals.Madrid will play Liverpool in the final in Kiev on May 26, when they will be targeting a record-extending 13th European Cup. They will also be looking to become the first team since Bayern Munich in 1976 to win the trophy three years in a row.Madrid captain Sergio Ramos believes winning Europe’s top prize again could trump Barca’s achievements on the domestic front.“Barca have had a great year, they have won two trophies and they deserve credit for that but winning the Champions League is equivalent to those two or even more,” Ramos said.He also confirmed his side would follow Zidane’s orders to deny their rivals a guard of honour.“What Zidane says is gospel. We’re making too much fuss out of all this. Barca have the title, which is what they wanted, but there will be no guard of honour, full stop,” he said.Elsewhere, Valencia can seal their return to the Champions League by clinching fourth spot if they win at local rivals Villarreal on Saturday.Getafe, Sevilla, Girona and Real Sociedad will continue to fight for seventh spot and a place in next season’s Europa League, with three points separating the four teams.Malaga, Las Palmas and Deportivo La Coruna have already been relegated.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram La Liga and King’s Cup champions Barcelona will be flying high when they host Real Madrid on Sunday in the ‘Clasico’ but their arch rivals will be feeling equally smug after reaching the Champions League final for a third year in a row.After clinching a seventh league title in 10 years last Sunday, Barcelona’s only incentive is to finish the La Liga season without losing a game.Third-placed Real’s motivation, however, is to leapfrog Atletico Madrid, who hold a four-point advantage but have played one more game.
As the 19th edition of the National Sports Festival is scheduled to begin today in Abuja, all appears not to be well within the camp of Edo State.The state’s contingent left Benin City for Abuja yesterday with disquiet within the camp as athletes and officials complain of shoddy treatment in the run up to the Festival.Just like the discordant tunes playing out from the various camps of several states contingents, poor funding and ill-preparation appear to be the sing-song of most teams heading to the festival postponed for six years since Cross River State could not raise the needed funds to host it. Insiders in the Team Edo camp revealed that funding has been the major issue as coaches had to personally fund the training and preparation of their athletes following non-release of funds by the state government.One of the coaches spoken with complained bitterly of how he had to use his meagre resources to feed and take care of athletes under his watch.“It is totally unacceptable for this to be happening. How can a state that says it wants to win the festival act this way? How can they completely abandon athletes and officials like this? Were it not for the commitment of some of us, we would not even be in a state to compete at the festival,” the angry coach who did not want his name in print told reporters yesterday before departing for Abuja with his athletes.One of the top athletes confirmed the position of his coach, stressing that it was very sad that despite their readiness to win laurels for the state, athletes had been treated shabbily by the state.“We are sad the way we are being treated by the government. We have been left without food and medication. Were it not for our coaches who have been fending for us, using their own money, things would have been worse,” the athlete told THISDAY.He said the sorry state of preparation is surprising to him and his colleagues particularly as they know the seriousness Governor Godwin Obaseki attaches to the Games especially as he has signaled the intention of the Edo State Government to host the next edition of the festival in 2020.“Something is wrong somewhere. We don’t understand what is happening. Our Governor is not only interested in us doing well at this festival; he is also interested in hosting the next edition of festival. So, why would he allow us to be so badly treated?” the athlete wondered.Despite the poor treatment meted to them, the athletes and officials are still upbeat about their chances at the games.“We are not going to let the way they have treated us deter us from our determination to win laurels for the state. Our coaches have prepared us the best way they can given the circumstances. We are appealing to our governor to come to our rescue. We know he is a good man and means well. Let him rescue us from this difficult situation,” a female athlete said.The newly appointed Chairman of the Edo State Sports Commission (ESSC), Godwin Dudu-Orumen could not be reached for his reaction on the sad situation painted by the coach and athletes.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
The freshmen class of 2016 has fewer international students and more females than last year’s class, according to the 2012-13 Freshman Profile and Admission Information, released by USC’s Office of Admissions on Monday.Other differences between this year’s and past profiles include an increase in applicants, which rose from 37,210 to 46,104 students, as well as a decreased yield, from 34 to 33 percent.Students and the admissions office attribute the greater number of applicants for spaces in the 2012-13 freshmen class to USC’s transition to the Common Application, an undergraduate college admissions application that gives students one succinct application platform for more than 400 universities.Kirk Brennan, USC’s dean of Undergraduate Admission, said that the increased applicant pool can be explained by the rising prestige of the university.“We had more applicants because of a combination of factors,” Brennan said. “USC is earning recognition among students. The university is gaining superstar status.”Some freshmen, like philosophy, politics and law major Paige Schwimmer, see USC’s reputation as the main cause for the rise in number of applicants.“It’s everyone’s first time applying to college, so the ease of the Common App versus the old system doesn’t affect us,” Schwimmer said.The profile also details an increase in the number of high schools represented.International diversity, however, fell slightly among students in this year’s freshman class. International representation dropped from 15 to 10 percent of the overall incoming class.“Unfortunately, nobody can deny that the events of April 11 had an impact on our international students,” said Brennan, referring to the off-campus deaths of two USC students in April. “Though these incidents are isolated, they may not seem so to international families.”Competition might have also been a factor in the smaller amount of international students in the freshman class.“We compete for some of the top students in the world,” Brennan said.“USC is becoming more attractive to students, and the university is doing a great job of reaching out to them to self-perpetuate themselves. There is more interest in USC every single year,” said freshman Bob Overing, a communications major.The admissions office released a statement on their website following the profile, noting that “Most [USC] freshmen come from the top 10 percent of their high school class. USC receives applications from every state in the U.S. and almost one hundred countries, resulting in an unusually bright, talented and diverse student body.”