“I am very disappointed,” Ramsey said. “We had a spell where we could, at least after the first goal, stopped the flow and stopped the tide. “There’s nothing to explain it, apart from that we’re in this position because of those key moments. We really need to do better in those situations.” QPR did rally after half-time but it was a matter of too little, too late due to their embarrassing first-half collapse. “The opportunity for me was to come in and try the best to turn things around,” Ramsey said. “The squad is the squad, we’re going to work with the players that we’ve got. “I am hoping nine games is enough, that’s all that I’ve got, so we’ll go for it as best we can. “The players believe in it. The players downstairs are disappointed, they’re not bickering and moaning at each other. Press Association QPR boss Chris Ramsey says there is still belief in the QPR dressing room that they can beat the drop despite falling to yet another defeat at Crystal Palace. “Yeah, some people are disappointed and some people are obviously voicing their opinions about how disappointed they are, but they’re still unified, as you’ll find. “They’re still unified in what we’re trying to do and all we can do really is to keep fighting.” The visitors’ only highlight on a miserable afternoon in south London was Phillips’ outstanding long-range strike. Just as the match was petering out, the winger took aim and rifled past Eagles goalkeeper Julian Speroni from 43 yards, earning applause from both sets of fans. “To be honest with you, it was a great strike but a tap-in or a 40-yarder, it made no difference,” Ramsey said. “Two of their goals were tap-ins and I’d rather have two tap-ins than one of those.” While Ramsey found it hard to get excited about Phillips’ goal, with Palace all-but assured victory when it went in, counterpart Alan Pardew was far more appreciative. “No one was going to save that,” the Eagles boss said. “That was a freak goal. “From 25 or 30 years on a training ground, I can’t remember seeing a better goal on the training ground let alone on a match day. It puts it into context. “I remember David Beckham scoring the goal here (against Wimbledon in 1996) and from a technical point of view Phillips’ one was better because it was a real, outstanding hit. He can be very proud of that.” It was not just Phillips rolling back the years, as Pardew heaped praise on Zaha and Yannick Bolasie after their electrifying displays. “I wouldn’t say they were the best wingers in the country, but they’re exciting,” he said. “There’s two flaws in their game, really. One – they don’t score enough goals and two – being disciplined in their defensive duties. “They are two areas we’ve worked hard on but their individual talent, the way they go past players and lift it over their heads, that’s purely from within and what they’ve learned in how they’ve been brought up. “They were fantastic, so exciting in the first half – a kind of throw back. “(Former Palace boss and ex-Manchester United winger) Steve Coppell would have been pleased today – I hope he was watching because it was like a Steve Coppell game today.” Five points from 12 top-flight matches makes grim reading for all those connected to Rangers, who on Saturday paid the price for their embarrassing first-half capitulation. Wilfried Zaha, James McArthur and Joel Ward all struck as Palace ran amok as half-time approached – goals which proved decisive as the hosts ran out 3-1 victors, with Matt Phillips’ goal of the season contender a mere consolation.
Balele said that the decision to cancel the match contravened the Nigeria National League law that stipulated that teams be given two-week notice in advance before a game can be postponed. He said they were only notified of the postponement of the league 48-hours to the game.Balele vowed that Katsina who are in Group A 1, would defy the order by going to Gombe to play Gombe United in A 2 for the match even if there is nobody in the stadium.He said he could not approach Governor Aminu Masari for money again to honour a replay after tax payers’ money had already been released for the match.“My players are already in Abuja after leaving Katsina. We planned to sleep in Jos on our way to Gombe, and they are saying there is no match because the league is on hold. Why are they changing the rule? We have asked Katsina Government to provide us money to go to Gombe and can’t now go back and ask for another money because the match is cancelled. There will be a day of reckoning, “he raged.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram The Special Adviser on Sports to Katsina State Governor, Aminu Balele Kurfi, has joined issues with the Nigeria National League for putting off the league till May 28. The action resulted in the cancelling a scheduled fixture between Katsina United and Gombe United.Katsina United were already on transit in Abuja en-route Gombe, when they were told that the fixture billed for this Saturday had been put off.The short notice enraged Balele, who in a fit of anger described the decision as ‘unacceptable’.
Portugal will edge closer to the knockouts should they beat Morocco in their second Group B game in Moscow.Portugal defender Pepe said it was a “privilege” for the country to have a player like Cristiano Ronaldo after the Real Madrid star’s dazzling display against Spain on Friday.Ronaldo scored a hat-trick, including an 88th-minute free-kick, as the European champions rescued a point late on in a pulsating 3-3 draw in their opening Group B match last weekend.”The most important thing for our team is for Cristiano Ronaldo to be well,” Pepe told reporters at the Luzhniki Stadium ahead of Wednesday’s clash. “He’s very happy to be here with us and every match it’s a privilege for us Portuguese to have a player such as him.”Morocco manager Herve Renard admits it could be difficult for his side to contain Ronaldo as the North African nation look to bounce back from their 1-0 defeat to Iran. He said: “Even if you want to draw up plans for Ronaldo, he always finds a way out or makes a difference or puts his team back on the right track.”He’s absolutely exceptional. Perhaps that word isn’t even strong enough but you have to do everything to stop him.”Team newsAll 23 players took part in Portugal’s final training session ahead of their clash at the Luzhniki Stadium. Andre Silva is expected to take the place of Goncalo Guedes up front, while Joao Mario could be in line to start.Morocco boss Renard is expected to name an unchanged side to the one that faced Iran on Friday.Match stats Morocco beat Portugal 3-1 in their only previous encounter, in the group stages of the 1986 World Cup. It was Morocco’s first win at the tournament.Portugal’s only defeat against African opposition at the World Cup came against Morocco in 1986 (1-3) – they’ve won two and drawn one of their subsequent three games against them.Portugal talisman Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against Spain in their opening match, making him just the fourth player to score in four separate World Cup tournaments, after Uwe Seeler, Pele and Miroslav Klose.Cristiano Ronaldo has also scored in eight consecutive major tournaments (World Cup, European Championships, Copa America) for Portugal, the first player in history to do this – the previous record holder was Zizinho, who scored in seven consecutively.Morocco’s Aziz Bouhaddouz scored an own-goal against Iran in their opening match, becoming just the third substitute to score an own-goal in a World Cup match, after Laszlo Dajka in 1986 (Hungary v USSR) and Petit in 2006 (Portugal v Germany).