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Chelsea vs Manchester City – Match Preview

 

The biggest clash of the weekend takes us to West London as Chelsea play host to Manchester City, a couple of weeks ago this could have been billed as a fixture with very high stakes in terms of this season’s title race.

However, that billing will have been downgraded slightly by the fact that Chelsea have lost two of their last three league outings, while that dip in form has also seen them cede some serious ground to the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool.

Maurizio Sarri’s men come into this game lying fourth in the Premier League table and you could almost argue that their hopes of winning a second championship in three years are over before the turn of the year.

That is because they find themselves already 10 points behind this weekend’s opponents City and when you consider that Pep Guardiola’s men are still unbeaten this season, it then begs the question as to how a gap of that size can be bridged.

One way to go about it would be to pick up all three points on Saturday evening, but with City in the mood they are in as of late that is a task that is easier said than done. Especially when you consider Chelsea’s recent dip in form.

Their plight was certainly helped on Wednesday as they were handed a defeat by promoted side Wolves at Molineux. Previous to that game the EFL Champions had only picked up a single point out of 18 that were available.

And it looked as if their winless streak was to continue when the Blues went ahead through England international Reuben Loftus-Cheek. However, Nuno Esiprito Santo’s men dug deep and found the kind of performance they were displaying in the opening months of the campaign.

Two quick fire goals for the hosts turned the game on its head as Chelsea looked toothless in attack once more. That defeat may well push Maurizio Sarri into the transfer market next month as Alvaro Morata continues to struggle in the final third.

There have however been no such issues for Manchester City as they continue to set the pace this season, Tuesday night saw them travel to Vicarage Road to face Watford and although it was a tougher contest than previous editions, they still beat the Hornets by two goals to one.

It was a game that displayed just how much strength in depth this City side have, Guardiola has never been afraid to ring the changes and especially with so much football on the horizon this month it proved a smart decision.

There is every possibility that City could start the game lying second in the table, something that will manifest should Liverpool get the better of Bournemouth earlier in the day. Should that happen then it will give the defending champions extra impetus in this fixture.

Not that they will necessarily need it as they seem ready to crush any opponent that dare stands in their way. Chelsea will undoubtedly offer a sterner test than most, but the end outcome will be the same and that is another win for Manchester City.

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In-form Bournemouth Face United Test

The Premier League action gets underway early this weekend and we have a tremendous game to look forward to on the south coast as Bournemouth host Manchester United.

This is a massive game for both teams at the Vitality Stadium.  A win for Bournemouth would see them cement their place in the top six and move 6 points clear of Manchester United.  A win for the Red Devils would move them level with Bournemouth and a chance of closing in on the top four.

Bournemouth come into this match having defeated Norwich 2-1 in the League Cup on Tuesday night. While the League Cup will not be a major priority for Eddie Howe, keeping momentum going ahead of this game was important and the Cherries did just that by winning the match.

The victory means Bournemouth have won five and drawn one of their last six games in all competitions.  Adding to the victory over Norwich in the League Cup was a win over Blackburn Rovers.  Bournemouth have also defeated Crystal Palace at home in the Premier League plus Watford and Fulham away.

The only dropped points in their last four Premier League matches has come at home against Southampton in the local derby and the game ended 0-0.

Trends show Bournemouth have lost just one of their last twelve matches at home in all competitions and have remained undefeated in each of their last nine at the Vitality Stadium.

Manchester United got back to winning ways last weekend as they defeated Everton 2-1 at Old Trafford. The pressure was back on Jose Mourinho following the disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Juventus in the Champions League and his players responded with a win.

The shock of conceding that last minute goal to Chelsea appears to be out of their system and the performance at Stamford Bridge will give the fans some hope they can take maximum points from this game.

Trends show, despite not being great form, Manchester United have lost just one of their last seven Premier League games.  However, they have failed to win their last two away from home, losing 3-1 at West Ham United and drawing 2-2 at Chelsea.

Both teams have scored in each of Manchester United’s last six Premier League games and clean sheet seems to be a long way off for the Red Devils.

Looking ahead to the team news and Bournemouth could still be without former Manchester United striker Joshua King who has missed the last two games with injury.  Every other player is fit and available for Eddie Howe.

Manchester United travel south without the injured duo of Marouane Fellaini and Diogo Dalot.  However, Marcos Rojo and Alexis Sanchez are available and should be part of the squad.  Romelu Lukaku will be hoping to start having been on the bench last week.

Bournemouth are in great form and the home fans will be looking forward to seeing their team test themselves against Manchester United.  However, Mourinho’s men remain tough to beat and could come away with a point from a draw with both teams scoring.

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Chelsea quietly winning games in the Premier League

 

While Liverpool top the Premier League table going into the first international break of the campaign, Chelsea have also won all four of their top-flight games under new head coach Maurizio Sarri.

On Saturday afternoon, Sarri’s team recorded a 2-0 win over Bournemouth through second-half goals from Pedro and Eden Hazard. No doubt the Blues were not at their best, but they are quietly picking up the points.

Italian boss Sarri has a very specific style of play labelled by the press as ‘Sarri-ball’. It was highly successful at Napoli, helping the club from Naples push perennial champions Juventus close for the Scudetto in recent years.

Sarri has stated in the past that it may take time for his players to get accustomed to his system and for him to instil his ideas into the Blues squad. Considering his players are not accustomed to his system, they have been picking the points up anyway.

Chelsea may not have been that convincing this season, but good teams win even when they are not playing well. In fact, the cliché goes that good teams win if when are playing poorly.

The international break may have come at a bad time for the team from the capital, as they have built up some momentum, results-wise anyway.

Sarri’s team face Cardiff and West Ham in their next two top-flight games before a potential testing home game against title-rivals Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. The Italian head coach was brought in to get Chelsea back into the top-four, then attempt to challenge for the Premier League title.

However, if the Blues continue in their current vein of form, they may mount a realistic title challenge in his Sarri’s debut campaign. The former Napoli boss may not win the title in his debut campaign like his predecessor, but the Blues definitely seem like a bigger threat to reigning champions Manchester City this season.

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Japan vs Senegal Preview and Predictions

When the draw was made for the 2018 World Cup, Japan and Senegal were not given much hope when they were placed in Group H alongside Poland and Colombia.

However, as the teams enter the second round of matches on Sunday, it’s the two underdogs who lead the group and one of them could secure a place in the Round of 16 with a win.  It would be a remarkable achievement, especially for Japan who entered the tournament with very little hope of doing well.

Japan started the 2018 World Cup with a tough looking fixture against Colombia.The South American team were strongly fancied by many to not only win the match but to go on and top the group.

However, some poor defending led to a handball in the penalty area and Colombian midfielder Carlos Sanchez was sent off for handball.  Shinji Kagawa made no mistake from the spot and Japan led 1-0 early in the first half.

Colombia played well to come back into the game and equalised from a clever free-kick before half-time.  In the second half, Japan made the extra man tell and they started applying more consistent pressure to the Colombia goal before scoring the winner from a corner.

It was a dream start for Japan and they will come into this match full of confidence having secured 3 points in the group.

 

Senegal started their World Cup campaign having seen all the other African nations lose their matches. The pressure was on Aliou Cisse’s team but they came up against a Poland team who offered very little in way of an attacking threat.

 

Despite having European qualifying top scorer Robert Lewandowski in their ranks, Poland did not play with any urgency in attack and Senegal took advantage.  The first goal for Senegal came via a deflection and the second was as a result of individual mistakes by Polish players.

Senegal were not great but did not need to be and won the match without playing brilliant football.  If they can up their level of performance in this match, Senegal will believe they have the quality to win the match and possibly secure a place in the Round of 16.

Team news and Japan are likely to stick with the team which started against Colombia.  That means a place in attack for Yuya Osako, with top scorer Shinji Okazaki being forced to settle for a place on the substitutes bench.

Senegal will also be reluctant to make any changes to their starting XI.  Sadio Mane is the main threat in attack but Moussa Sow and Keita Balde will be hoping to feature at some point during the 90 minutes.

This is a tough match to call but Senegal have the better individual talent and that could be what makes the difference in this game.  Both teams could find the back of the bet but Senegal have the quality to win the match.

Japan vs Senegal Predictions:

Over 2,5 goals

BTS: yes

 

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Colombia vs Japan Preview and Predictions

Colombia kickoff their World Cup campaign as Group H favourites.

The Colombians are packed with talent and boast the 2014 World Cup Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez.

Colombia are more than just Rodriguez, however. Striker Radamel Falcao is coming off of another strong club season. Four years ago in Brazil, Falcao wasn’t 100 percent fit. This time he will be healthy and it will make Colombia even more dangerous in front of goal.

Colombia manager Jose Pekerman oversaw the team’s quarterfinal run at the last World Cup. Topping the group will give the Colombians a good chance of repeating their previous feat.

While Colombia are the favourite to win the group, the four teams that make up Group H are a hodgepodge of sides. It can’t be denied that Colombia will have two much more difficult matches against Poland and Senegal. Japan’s form has been dreadful in recent months and the national team has been in chaos.

Japan have been in tatters this year. The national team dismissed manager Vahid Halilhodzic in April after yet another disagreement. He was replaced by former Japanese international Akira Nishino. The team’s results under Halilhodzic were decent and the Japanese topped their qualifying group. Nishino hasn’t done as well as Japan lost two of three World Cup warm-up friendlies.

Nishino does have quality in the team, but it lacks what Colombia possess. Japan have former Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa ready to pull the strings in midfield. He will be paired with defensive midfielder and captain Makato Hasebe. While the midfield should be strong for Japan, the striker corps is unproven. Shinji Okazaki is a hardworking player but his finishing can be an issue. He does have 50 international goals in 113 games.

Colombia are expected to play a 4-2-3-1 formation. Falcao will play as the No. 9 while Rodriguez will be the No. 10 playing behind him. Most interestingly, Pekerman is set to play Yerry Mina and Davinson Sanchez in the centre of defence. It will be a pairing of two very young centre-backs. Mina is just 23 and Sanchez is 22. It may turn out to be a bold decision from the manager.

Just 10 of the 23 players called up for Colombia featured at the 2014 World Cup. Although the squad has some different names, the quality may be greater than it was four years ago. Colombia will kickstart their tournament with a big win over Japan and set themselves on the path to the quarterfinals.

  • Colombia Over 1.5  Goals
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Sevilla and Liverpool tough to separate

On Tuesday night, Sevilla host Liverpool at the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium in Group D of the Champions League, as the pair look to move one step closer to a place in the knockout stages.

The visitors are currently top of the group but are just one point clear of the home side. A Sevilla victory could change the complexion of the group. Spartak Moscow in third spot could still qualify from the group.

The home side heads into this clash on the back of a weekend 2-1 win over Celta Vigo in La Liga. However, their recent record in the Champions League is a mixed one, as they have won two, drawn two and lost one of their last five European outings.

In their last Champions League game, Eduardo Berizzo’s side recorded a 2-1 win over Spartak Moscow after the Russian side had hammered the Andalucian’s 5-1 in the reverse fixture.

The Spanish side have a good recent home record in the Champions League, as they have won six of their last eight games while suffering just one defeat.

Liverpool heads into this clash in high spirits following four consecutive victories in all competitions. Jurgen Klopp’s team have been impressive in those recent victories, scoring at least three goals in all four wins.

The Reds are unbeaten in eight games in Europe’s elite competition. However, four of those unbeaten games have finished in draws, including the reverse fixture.

Liverpool’s games in this competition have been high scoring of late, with over 2.5 goals scored in five of their last six outings.

The Merseysiders recent Champions League form has been mixed, but they are four games unbeaten on their travels in the competition.

The reverse fixture showed that these two teams are evenly matched and Sportseconds predicts that this game will finish all square.

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Liverpool 3 Southampton 0: Record-breaking Salah blows Saints away

Liverpool defeated Southampton 3-0 in the Premier League to seize on Tottenham’s north London derby defeat, as Mohamed Salah broke a Robbie Fowler record and Philippe Coutinho shone on his return to the starting XI.

Egypt international Salah struck twice in the space of 10 first-half minutes to put the hosts firmly in charge against the lacklustre Saints.

In doing so Salah, signed from Roma for a club-record fee in June, notched the ninth goal from his first 12 Premier League appearances on Merseyside, surpassing Liverpool’s previous best of eight from 12 set by Fowler in 1993.

The ex-Chelsea attacker’s exploits have helped to disguise the defensive failings of Jurgen Klopp’s side, although they were not at risk of being exposed by the toothless away team at Anfield on Saturday.

Coutinho, named in the side from kick-off after recovering from a thigh injury, set up Salah’s second and scored the third himself in a performance that demonstrated the continuing importance of a player targeted heavily by Barcelona in the off-season.

And the victory, Liverpool’s fourth in succession in all competitions, means they are just one point behind fourth-placed Champions League qualification rivals Spurs, who lost 2-0 at neighbours Arsenal earlier in the day, as Klopp’s attention turns to the crunch away match against Sevilla on Tuesday.

The visitors almost gifted Liverpool the lead in the ninth minute, as Virgil van Dijk’s mistake, Cedric Soares’ missed clearance and a Fraser Forster fumble saw the ball fall to Salah, but the Egypt international’s shot was deflected wide.

Another error prompted Liverpool’s opener to arrive in the 31st minute and this time Dusan Tadic was to blame, the Serbia international losing possession after attempting to dribble the ball clear following a corner.

A quick exchange of passes after the turnover saw Georginio Wijnaldum tee up Salah, who curled a brilliant strike into the top left corner from 20 yards.

Southampton’s defence were found badly wanting for the second goal 10 minutes later.

Coutinho glided forward unopposed and prodded a clever pass into the area, which Salah raced on to and slid between the legs of the helpless Forster.

Southampton enjoyed a rare sight of goal six minutes into the second half, Sofiane Boufal cutting into the area from the left but seeing his shot blocked by the massed ranks of the Liverpool defence.

Coutinho went close four minutes later, dribbling directly at goal and shooting narrowly wide with Forster scrambling.

The England international shot-stopper was left with no chance five minutes later. He did well to parry a fierce Roberto Firmino strike from a tight angle on the right side of the penalty area, but the rebound fell kindly to Coutinho, who steered home a cool finish to put the result beyond any doubt.

Key Opta stats:

– Liverpool have won three consecutive Premier League games for the first time in 2017, having last done so in December 2016 (a run of four wins).
– This was Jurgen Klopp’s first victory over Southampton in the Premier League (W1 D3 L1), meaning he has now won against 21 of the 23 teams he has faced in the competition – only against Manchester United (4) and Newcastle United (3) has he failed to win.
– Mohamed Salah has netted nine goals in the Premier League this term; the most by any Liverpool player in their first 12 appearances in the competition.
– Southampton have scored only nine goals in the Premier League this term; their fewest after 12 games of a top-flight campaign since 1998-99 (also nine), when they finished 17th and avoided relegation by just five points.
– Philippe Coutinho has been directly involved in 14 goals in his last 15 appearances for Liverpool in the Premier League (10 goals and four assists).
– Indeed, the Brazilian (31) is now the player with the third-most assists for Liverpool in Premier League history, with only Steven Gerrard (92) and Steve McManaman (58) having made more.

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NHL roundup: Flames knock off Blues

CALGARY, Alberta — Kris Versteeg scored the go-ahead goal with 5:31 left in the third period as the Calgary Flames skated to a wild 7-4 win over the St. Louis Blues on Monday night.

Versteeg one-timed a pass from Troy Brouwer past St. Louis goalie Jake Allen to cap off a stretch of four goals — two by each team — in a span of 2:43. Mark Jankowski scored twice and set up one for Calgary. Sam Bennett and Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist each.
Micheal Ferland and Michael Frolik (empty-netter) also scored for the Flames, who finished their seven-game homestand with a 5-2 record. Matthew Tkachuk had two assists.
Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice for the Blues. Alexander Steen and Jaden Schwartz had a goal and an assist each. Paul Stastny had two assists, and Allen finished with 30 saves.

Hurricanes 5, Stars 1
RALEIGH, N.C. — Teuvo Teravainen scored three times in the opening 9:44 of the third period for his first career hat trick as Carolina extended its point streak to five straight games by beating Dallas.
Carolina, 3-0-2 in its last five, rebounded from a 4-3 overtime loss Saturday night to Chicago in which it surrendered a pair of two-goal leads. Teravainen notched the natural hat trick in his 212th career game.
Meanwhile, Dallas saw its six-game winning streak against Carolina snapped and has now been outscored 22-11 in the third period this season.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — J.T. Brown scored the decisive goal and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 on Sunday night at Honda Center .
The Lightning (14-2-2) tallied once on the power play to complete their California sweep with their fourth win in a row while extending their road win streak to six games. Tampa Bay avenged a 4-3 loss to the Ducks at home on Oct. 28.

The Ducks (7-7-3) got spectacular goaltending from John Gibson in the 35-save loss. Anaheim has won only one of its last six games, with two overtime losses.
Tampa Bay went ahead 2-1 at 7:18 of the third on Brown’s first goal of the season. Ryan Callahan poked a puck free of the Anaheim defense behind the Ducks net. Chris Kunitz passed it to Brown in the left slot. He fired a wrist shot into the top corner past Gibson’s catching glove.

Capitals 2, Oilers 1
WASHINGTON — T.J. Oshie scored the only goal during the shootout to give Washington the win over Edmonton.
Oshie went first during the shootout and beat Edmonton goalie Laurent Brossoit through the five-hole. Washington’s Braden Holtby shut down the Oilers during the shootout period to give the Capitals their fifth win in six games.
The Oilers broke the scoreless tie 92 seconds into the third period when, during a scrum in front of Holtby, Capitals forward Alex Chiasson deflected the puck into his own net. Jujhar Khaira got credit for the tally for Edmonton. Defenseman Dmitry Orlov beat Brossoit glove-side to even the score at 1-1.

Devils 7, Blackhawks 5
CHICAGO — Miles Wood had a hat trick and New Jersey erased a three-goal deficit to beat Chicago.
The 22-year-old winger scored a pair of first-period goals and finished off his four-point night with his third goal early in the third period. A four-goal second period allowed the Devils to build a 6-4 lead. Taylor Hall’s goal with 7:45 remaining in the period gave New Jersey its first lead of the night after the Devils entered the second trailing 4-2.
Brian Gibbons extended the lead to two goals with 2:55 remaining in the second. Chicago got within 6-5 when Patrick Kane scored on the power play with just 2.7 seconds remaining in the period.

Sharks 2, Kings 1
LOS ANGELES — Joel Ward scored the decisive third-period goal and Martin Jones made 26 saves as San Jose defeated Los Angeles.
San Jose won its second straight game and six out of its last seven contests. Melker Karlsson registered the other Sharks goal. San Jose evened the season series at one game apiece.
Los Angeles lost its second consecutive home game and has lost consecutive games for the first time this season. Dustin Brown scored the Kings’ lone goal. Jonathan Quick made 31 saves.
It was the first regulation loss for Los Angeles when leading after two periods

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Azerbaijan overcome pressure to rally to comprehensive victory over Hungary

2017 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women
Baku, Azerbaijan, September 22, 2017. The hosts from Azerbaijan had a little bit of a rusty start to their matchup with Hungary as they obviously felt the pressure resulting from the home debut but they eventually got rid of it – and they did so in style!

After coming from behind in the opening set, they rallied to a comprehensive 3-0 victory (25-23, 25-14, 25-16) over Hungary to get proceedings underway in Pool A of the 2017 women’s EuroVolley. They provided something to cheer about not only to a raucous home crowd, but also to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, who paid a visit to the National Gymnastics Arena on the opening day of the historic tournament co-hosted by Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Hungary vs. Azerbaijan 0-3 (23-25, 14-25, 16-25)

After a furious start by the home side, who were obviously extra motivated to please the 4,500+ crowd in attendance at the National Gymnastics Arena, Hungary rapidly found their rhythm to lead the way almost from the beginning to the end of the opening set. Azerbaijan’s reception looked way too shaky for the hosts to be able to develop their game and this resulted in a five-point advantage for the visitors at the second technical time-out. However, Azerbaijan suddenly woke up and stormed back to 18-19 – after finally getting rid of the pressure they inevitably felt while making their debut at a historic #EuroVolleyW on home soil. The hosts eventually levelled the score at 22-all, as the noise inside the hall was getting louder and louder. A crosscourt by Polina Rahimova flipped the charts around and Azerbaijan crowned their comeback with success as they cashed their second set ball (25-23).

After overcoming their initial troubles, Azerbaijan found their game and much to the delight of their State President, Mr Ilham Aliyev, who was closely watching the match from the stands, they put on a real show in the second set. Rahimova looked almost unstoppable and Hungary could not do much to stand the physical prowess of their opponents despite the loud cheers coming from a small group of Hungarian fans in attendance. Azerbaijan’s success in the second set was a pure formality – and it eventually turned into reality at 25-14 following another kill by Rahimova.

The early stages of the third set were far less one-sided with Azerbaijan leading by one point only at the first technical time-out. However, slowly but surely Azerbaijan opened a comfortable gap (17-12) and the home team’s show continued until Kseniya Poznyak sealed a 25-16 win passionately celebrated by a jubilant home crowd and by President Aliyev as well.

Quotes

Rita Bokorne Liliom, team captain of Hungary: “The first set was what we wanted to achieve, to have this kind of focus for the whole game, but at 16-11 we started to lose concentration and thinking that this may not be the right position for us. From that moment on, we wanted to come back, but they were always a step or two steps ahead of us. As for the next match against Poland, we are going to try our best; we will not put our heads down but keep playing.”

Alberto Salomoni, head coach of Hungary: “We started very well and made it very difficult for Azerbaijan. We had a good strategy and the girls did great in executing that strategy from the very start. Unfortunately, we lost that first set. If we had won it, this would have completely changed the game. After we lost the first set, Azerbaijan were calmer and with the weapons they have like Rahimova and Mammadova they put us in a difficult situation. I would not say we started to play bad – Azerbaijan started to play better. We are the underdog also in the next match and we will do just the same – make it difficult for the opponent and take the chance when we have such a chance.”

Kseniya Poznyak, player of Azerbaijan: “The first set was very difficult for us. We could not find our rhythm and made many mistakes. Towards the end of set, however, Shafagat Habibova had a good run from the service line and we eventually changed the course of the game. We are now celebrating but already thinking about our second match in the pool against Poland. We must play better than we did today and we will be trying to do so.”

Famil Aghayev, assistant coach of Azerbaijan: “Our start was a rusty one, because the players have been waiting for the entire summer for the European Championship to come. It was not a terrific game for us but we fought for every point. Now we are happy but we need to do better in the next matches.”

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Hungarian basketball player signed to Barcelona

At last, it was announced on Tuesday that after a summer-long wait, Ádám Hanga has just been signed to Barcelona. Sportseconds reports that thus the best Hungarian basketball player is now part of a top team.

Finally, Barcelona managed to sign Ádám Hanga, for whom an offer has already been made in the middle of this summer at Saski Baskonia. However, at that occasion, Hanga’s team decided to keep the Hungarian basketball player.

Despite this, Barcelona did not give up and following a long negotiation managed to get him to switch teams. At the beginning of the summer, it seemed as though Hanga would get into San Antonio Spurs, this way Hungary would have another player in the NBA.

At the briefing on Tuesday, Hanga’s manager said that this is the signing of the year in the Spanish basketball championship. Barcelona worked six weeks on signing Hanga, which is telling of how talented the Hungarian player is: it is very rare for such a successful club to spend so much time on a Hungarian sportsman.

Hanga spent some time in the US in July, and that trip made it clear that he could not sign to the Spurs. The next goal was to be able to stay in Spain and to be signed to the Barcelona. San Antonio Spurs drafted Hanga, now 28, first in 2011, when he was still playing for Albacomp, Székesfehérvár.

It was obvious that he wasn’t ready for the NBA, but he stepped up his career and was signed to a smaller team in Spain, to Manresa, in 2011. He picked up the pace quickly, and even though he wasn’t a base member of the team right at the beginning, his performance was outstanding in his first matches.

The improvement of his defence skills has begun then, and later it turned out that he is able to play on other posts too: he’s a good point guard, defenseman and scorer.

Hanga was able to get used to a more aggressive style in this team. He needed only one year to become good enough for the Spanish league and to become a more and more important member of his team. He also had to learn that he is not expected primarily to score, but rather to block the opponent’s game.

Defence is not the most spectacular part of basketball, yet Hanga proved that he’s a good entertainer with his alley-oops and rushes. On many occasions, his moves were considered to be the most beautiful in the championship.

The Spurs were keeping a close eye on Hanga, who convinced the club leaders that he is worth their time with his basketball skills and personality. This got him to several Spurs summer camps, where his skills were always improved. A strong expectation was from him to gain more muscle. At the end of the 2012/13 championship, Manresa dropped out, which further pressed Hanga to continue elsewhere.

His next team became the Euroleague Laboral Kutxa, but his summer knee operation and the recovery process forced him to miss out on several months, leaving him in a difficult situation from which he had to build himself up again. However, when winter came, he was back in the game again, facing even tougher opponents in the Euroleague.

During the next season, he was ‘lent’ to Avellino by Laboral, so he played in the Italian Championship. Here, he was a defence specialist, but he was able to enjoy a freer game.

All this time, he was building his reputation. In the spring of 2015, he played again in Spain, but he gave his best in the next season. He was able to rank higher in the Euroleague and during the championship as well, in the latter becoming the best defence player. Prior to the next season, he played well in a successful Europe Championship qualifying round, thus he’s participating in a world event with Hungary again after 18 years.

Hanga proved himself in Saski Baskonia (previously named: Laboral), becoming captain and gaining popularity in Spanish media. He even became the best defenseman of the Euroleague and was voted into the first five players of the Spanish championship at the end of the year. No wonder that one of the best Spanish basketball teams wanted to get hold of him.

The Barcelona was an 18-times champion, 23-times cup winner and 2-times Euroleague winner. Hanga is going to have an important position in the team, the fact that the Barcelona paid 400 thousand euros for him further accentuates that. Regarding his salary, the Hungarian player will get 7,5 million EUR for three years. He is deserving of this sum, however.

His average was 11.9 points, 4 rerounds, and 2.4 assists last year in the Spanish championship. With these scores, he tops all of the Barcelona scorers and small forwards. Ironically, Barcelona’s and Hanga’s first match in the Spanish league will be against Baskonia.