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Sheff Utd 3 – 2 Blackburn

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Tommy Doyle took matters into his own hands to ensure he will emulate his
grandfathers by playing at Wembley after firing Sheffield United into the FA Cup
semi-finals with a stunning injury-time winner against Blackburn.

The Manchester City loanee has watched video footage of his paternal grandfather Mike Doyle and maternal grandfather Glyn Pardoe playing at the national stadium for City in the late 1960s and 1970s and he will now join them after his 25-yard thunderbolt earned a dramatic 3-2 quarter-final win at Bramall Lane.

His strike completed a late turnaround as United were heading out, trailing to goals from Ben Brereton Diaz and Sam Szmodics, which came either side of Sam Gallagher’s own goal, until the final 10 minutes.

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Sheffield United’s Tommy Doyle scored the winner in second-half stoppage time

Oli McBurnie got the Blades level in the 81st minute before Doyle’s heroics booked a first FA Cup semi-final spot for the Blades since 2014.

It was harsh on Blackburn, who have still yet to play at the new Wembley, but they will now focus all their attention on their Championship promotion push.

Paul Heckingbottom’s second-placed side are in an even stronger position in the league and the boss said in the build-up to the game that this has the potential to be one of the biggest weeks in the club’s history.

They had the early ascendency and created a fine chance to open the scoring in the eighth minute.

James McAtee raced on to John Egan’s defence-splitting pass, but never looked confident to score, with his shot well saved by Rovers goalkeeper Aynsley Pears.

George Baldock celebrates at the final whistle as Sheff Utd overcome Blackburn to book Wembley place
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George Baldock celebrates at the final whistle as Sheff Utd overcome Blackburn to book Wembley place

But it was Blackburn that took a 21st-minute lead after they were awarded a penalty following a VAR check.

It did not seem obvious at the time, but Gallagher’s shot hit the outstretched arm of Jack Robinson and referee Tim Robinson awarded the spot-kick after checking the pitchside monitor. Brereton Diaz fired home from 12 yards for his 14th goal of the season.

The Blades’ response was swift and they levelled six minutes later.

A cleared corner fell to Max Lowe 25 yards out and his fierce effort was going wide until it hit the knee of Gallagher and was diverted into the far corner, leaving Pears a helpless onlooker.

The second half began in end-to-end fashion, with both sides having chances to go in front.

Blackburn Rovers' Ben Brereton Diaz reacts to a missed chance
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Blackburn Rovers’ Ben Brereton Diaz reacts to a missed chance

The hosts’ best opening came in the 57th minute as a stray pass from Lewis Travis again sent McAtee through on goal, but another weak finish saw Pears save with his legs. And that miss looked like it might prove pivotal as three minutes later Blackburn did go ahead.

Lowe’s poor touch in a dangerous position saw Gallagher claim possession. He slipped Szmodics in on goal and there was no mistake as the midfielder fired into the bottom corner.

The visitors sniffed glory and Ryan Hedges was inches from killing the game, but his low shot hit the inside of a post and rolled along the goal-line before going to safety.

Oli McBurnie celebrates his equaliser against Blackburn
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Oli McBurnie celebrates his equaliser against Blackburn

The Blades were hardly banging the door down in search of an equaliser, but one came out of nothing in the 81st minute. McBurnie shrugged off two challenges in the area before rolling a smart finish into the far corner.

It was one-way traffic after that and Doyle completed the turnaround in fine style in the first minute of injury time as he fired home a thumping effort, which Pears could not keep out.

What’s next?

Victors Sheffield United next face a trip to Norwich while Blackburn will visit Birmingham City. Both Championship ties take place on April 1, kick-off 3pm.

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England Women: Sarina Wiegman recalls goalkeeper Hannah Hampton and defender Esme Morgan | Football News

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Sarina Wiegman has handed recalls to Hannah Hampton and Esme Morgan while uncapped Lucy Parker also returns to the fold as the Lionesses prepare for back-to-back fixtures against Brazil and World Cup co-hosts Australia in April.

Dropping out from February’s squad are the injured Emily Ramsey along with Lotte Wubben-Moy, Katie Zelem and Ebony Salmon.

Chelsea forward Fran Kirby continues to be absent as she recovers from a knee injury, while Bethany England also misses out despite scoring five goals in six appearances for new club Tottenham.

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Katie Zelem has been omitted from Sarina Wiegman’s latest England squad

Wiegman said: “We are getting closer to the World Cup and I can’t think of two better games to assess our progress. After these games, there will be less than three months until we fly to the tournament and we must make every second on and off the pitch count.

“For us as a technical staff this will be the last chance to see the players within our England environment before we come together for the final preparation phase in June. And these two matches will be two real tests to see where we are at.”

The Lionesses have not faced Australia since October 2018 when Kirby scored in a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage.

The last meeting with Brazil was in October 2019 at the Riverside Stadium when Debinha scored twice for the visitors, before England’s late consolation in a 2-1 defeat.

England squad in full

England's Chloe Kelly celebrates after scoring her second goal against Belgium
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Chloe Kelly has been in excellent club form for Man City this season

Goalkeepers: Mary Earps, Sandy MacIver, Ellie Roebuck, Hannah Hampton

Defenders: Millie Bright, Lucy Bronze, Jess Carter, Niamh Charles, Alex Greenwood, Maya Le Tissier, Esme Morgan, Lucy Parker, Leah Williamson

Midfielders: Laura Coombs, Jordan Nobbs, Georgia Stanway, Ella Toone, Keira Walsh

Forwards: Rachel Daly, Lauren Hemp, Lauren James, Chloe Kelly, Jess Park, Alessia Russo, Katie Robinson

Upcoming fixtures

April 6: England vs Brazil – kick-off 7.45pm, Women’s Finalissima (Wembley Stadium)

April 11: England vs Australia – kick-off 7.45pm, friendly (Gtech Stadium)

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Anthony Barry: Chelsea and Bayern far apart in agreeing compensation for assistant to join Thomas Tuchel’s staff | Football News

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Chelsea and Bayern Munich remain far apart over agreeing compensation for Anthony Barry to join Thomas Tuchel’s coaching staff.

Bayern have approached Chelsea about taking their assistant coach after Tuchel expressed an interest in bringing him into his new set-up.

Chelsea have made their position and expectations clear to Bayern for Barry to be released from his contract, and nothing has yet been agreed between the clubs.

But amid the uncertainty, Barry and Chelsea have agreed that he will not attend Cobham until the situation is resolved either way.

Chelsea have a list of potential replacements should he ultimately leave for the Bundesliga champions.

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Speaking at his first press conference since becoming Bayern Munich boss, Tuchel said he wasn’t expecting to be in his position, but believes his squad is one of the most talented groups in Europe

The Chelsea players return to training on Tuesday following international duty ahead of their clash with Aston Villa on Saturday at Stamford Bridge.

Barry is a highly thought-of coach who has also worked with Robert Martinez and the Belgium national team, the Republic of Ireland team under Stephen Kenny, and Paul Cook at Wigan Athletic before joining Chelsea in 2020.

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WPL has changed landscape of women’s cricket forever, says Phoebe Graham | Cricket News

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The WPL has changed the landscape of women’s cricket forever says Thunder player and Sky Sports blogger Phoebe Graham, as she reflects on bumper contracts, big crowds, high-pressure games and Mumbai Indians winning the title…

​​​What a tournament the Women’s Premier League has been.

High scoring, exceptional overseas talent and great crowds. India put on a spectacular competition which not only captured their nation but the globe.

After the inaugural auction weeks before the tournament, we knew the WPL was going to be a showcase event. Overnight, it became the highest-paid franchise tournament in women’s sport with the best players in the world up for selection.

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Smriti Mandhana was bought for £340,000 by Royal Challengers Bangalore in the inaugural WPL auction

India’s Smriti Mandhana (£340,000) and Australia’s Ashleigh Gardener (£320,000) were the highest earners. That life-changing money is more than their national contracts and showed the direction of travel women’s cricket is going in.

Having just come back from a pre-season tour to Dubai and Mumbai with North West Thunder, I was lucky enough to attend two WPL games. The sheer number of fans in the stadium and the noise that they were making took my breath away.

At the Dr DY Patil Sports Academy Mumbai, we watched a group game with 35-40,000 fans. The atmosphere was electric – you could feel the energy before even walking into the stadium. It added an extra level of pressure and intensity, one that only India can provide.

That pressure and intensity is exactly what the women’s game needs.

This tournament helps grow India’s domestic game and adds to the heritage of Indian cricket but also provide overseas cricketers a heightened stage to perform on and be a catalyst for growth for women’s cricket globally.

Mumbai Indians win Women's Premier League (Getty Images)
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Mumbai beat Delhi by seven wickets in Sunday’s final at Brabourne Stadium

‘WPL will stimulate growth for other leagues’

The level of energy and excitement added to Sunday’s final.

Delhi Capitals posted a low-scoring total of 131-9. Their strong top order crumbled under pressure with soft dismissals for Shafali Verma, Alice Capsey and Jemimah Rodrigues.

It could have been a roll over without a last-wicket stand of 52 between Shikha Pandey and Radha Jadav but with runs on the board in a final, low-scoring totals can often cause headaches.

Mumbai Indians looked in trouble at times and it ended up being a nail-biting game going down to the last over. Nat Sciver-Brunt was the star of the show, playing a beautiful and timely innings of 60 off 55 balls to get her team over the line.

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Check out Issy Wong’s incredible hat-trick for Mumbai against UP Warriorz in the WPL Eliminator

What an achievement for Mumbai! English stars Sciver-Brunt and Issy Wong have become rockstars overnight, while Charlotte Edwards adds to her silverware collection as one of the most successful women’s coaches of all time.

This experience for players to play under such intense pressure and in front of big crowds and big expectations is second to none. It will dramatically improve India’s national team and overseas talent such as Wong and Sciver-Brunt will shine.

The WPL will stimulate growth for other leagues as well, like the PSL and in the Caribbean, and we will also see the impact on player choice. For example, the Australians can enjoy the break in their schedule in August or play in The Hundred.

The WPL is the most lucrative women’s tournament in the world and the sheer investment has changed the landscape of women’s cricket forever. It’s such an exciting time for the game and I can’t wait to see how it evolves over the next few years.

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