Premier League: Paul Pogba’s impact against Tottenham proves Man United don’t have luxury of easing him back into proceedings

It turns out, two outstanding midfielders can actually work well in the same team. Who knew?

The unnecessarily hyped query over whether the returning Paul Pogba could play alongside Manchester United’s newest hero in Bruno Fernandes was dealt a clear, and predictable, answer at the Tottenham Stadium on Friday night.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side came away from north London with a valuable point to stretch their unbeaten run in all competitions to 12 games and even looked good value for a win during the closing stages of the encounter.

Former Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho unsurprisingly set up Tottenham – boosted by the returns of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min – to frustrate the visitors and strike on the break. With more than a little help from David De Gea as well as some suspect defending from skipper Harry Maguire, the Portuguese’s game plan appeared to be a success when Steven Bergwijn struck against the run of play in the 27th minute.

United had dominated possession but their struggles to break down teams that defend deep persisted despite the efforts of a lively Fernandes playing as the number 10.

The away side did have chances to score in the first half – Rashford drew a fine save from Hugo Lloris – but it was only upon the introduction of Pogba from the bench just past the hour mark that they really began to turn the screw.

The Frenchman slotted in behind Fernandes and alongside Scott McTominay and the tempo of United’s play was elevated almost instantaneously.

They had two top class playmakers prodding at Tottenham’s waning resolve and it was only a matter of time until they broke through.

Pogba was the architect of the equaliser, squaring up Eric Dier on the edge of the box before dribbling his way

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Still with a lot to prove, Adiwang wants former champ next

Team Lakay’s Lito Adiwang celebrates his latest win. INQUIRER PHOTO/TRISTAN TAMAYO

MANILA, Philippines — Lito Adiwang knows he still has a lot to prove despite being considered as among the fast rising stars in ONE Championship.

And there’s no better way for Adiwang to continue and make a name for himself than to challenge and beat a former world champion.

“I want to test my ground game against an elite grappler, and that guy is [Yoshitaka] Naito,” said Adiwang, the No. 5 strawweight contender.

“He’s an excellent grappler, and you know he will try to force you to play his game on the ground. That’s why it’s a perfect test for me.”

The 27-year-old Adiwang faces his biggest challenge yet in Naito, who is the second-ranked contender in the class.

Naito is known for grappling, which Adiwang is wary of.

Adiwang, though, is determined to show that Team Lakay fighters are also capable of holding their own on the ground.

“I want to prove to everyone that we in Team Lakay are not just strikers and that we continuously work on our ground game,” said Adiwang, who hasn’t lost in his last six fights including a 2-0 record in his first two fights as part of ONE’s main roster.

“I want the fans to appreciate the hard work that we’re putting in each day to improve our skills on the ground. I won my last two fights via submission, but there are still a lot of negative comments saying that I only won on the ground because I took on strikers.”

Adiwang aims to continue that trend.

“I am confident with the hard work that I put in. And I am confident I have what it takes to submit a submission artist.”


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Mike Plania on stunning Greer: ‘This will change my life’

The Philippines’ Mike Plania celebrates after his 10-round fight against Joshua Greer Jr. at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. Plania upset the heavily-favored Greer by majority decision in their 120-pound catchweight bout. Photo from Top Rank

MANILA, Philippines — Handed with the biggest break of his career, Mike Plania made the most out of it with a stunning win over the heavily-favored Joshua Greer Jr. on Wednesday at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

The unheralded Filipino fighter accepted the bout with just less than a month to prepare, but proved it was enough time to upset the No. 1 ranked WBO bantamweight contender and introduce himself to the boxing world.

“This will change my life,” Plania, who won the 120-pound catchweight bout by majority decision, told boxingscene.com through a translator. “I’ve been dreaming about this since I was a kid, and now God gave me a chance.”

Plania (24-1, 12 KOs) dropped Greer (22-2-1, 12 KOs) twice in the first and sixth round with snapping left hooks.

When the first knockdown came, Plania had thought he was already on his way to a quick surprising victory.

“I thought that he wouldn’t stand up anymore. But I was still focused and kept relaxed because you never know, anything can happen in boxing.”

With the resilient Greer applying the pressure starting in the seventh round, the 23-year-old Plania, instead, faced anxious moments in weathering a late storm.

“I was tired,” Plania said, “but not too tired. I just adjusted my game plan.”

The 26-year-old Greer, whose bid for a world title shot took a huge blow, offered no excuses following the “heartbreaker” of a loss.

“There’s no excuses from me. Mike Plania was just the better man. He was the smarter man in the end,” Greer told ESPN.

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