Arsenal’s Europa hopes to be tested by Swedish minnows

first_img0Shares0000Ostersunds’ Nigerian forward Alhaji Gero (L) celebrates scoring with Iranian midfielder Saman Ghoddos during the Europa League group F match against Athletic Bilbao in Ostersund, Sweden on October 18, 2017 © TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP/File / Robert HENRIKSSONNYON, Switzerland, Dec 11 – Arsenal’s hopes of Europa League glory will be tested in the last 32 by Swedish minnows Ostersunds, ironically coached by the only English manager left in European competition and founded in the same month Arsene Wenger took over the Gunners.In the draw made Monday, the Gunners were pitched against the central Swedish club coached by Graham Potter, who played for Southampton in the Premier League as part of a long career that saw him win one under-21 England cap and make 307 Football League appearances. Now 42, Potter led Ostersunds — created in October 1996 when three local clubs (Ope IF, IFK Ostersund, Ostersund/Torvalla FF) merged — to the Swedish Cup last season, having taken the side from the Swedish fourth division to the top flight in six seasons.Far from being intimidated, Ostersunds seemed ecstatic with the draw, their English manager freely admitting his outfit would not be favourites against Wenger’s Arsenal, currently sitting fifth in the Premier League.“I think it’s really cool to go home to England and meet one of the best teams in the Premier League,” said Potter, who first signed for Ostersunds in 2010.“Now we are really underdogs,” he added in a report in Swedish on the club’s website.The club, who claimed a shock win over Galatasaray in the second qualifying round and then finished second in a group featuring Athletic Bilbao and Hertha Berlin after only losing one game, reported that Potter looked delighted as he and the club chairman realised who they had been drawn against.“Jubilation in Ostersund, OFK meet Arsenal in the next round,” the club said on Twitter.Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic face Roberto Mancini’s ambitious Zenit St Petersburg, who beat Rangers in the 2008 UEFA Cup final.“It’s never easy playing in Russia,” Celtic’s Olivier Ntcham tweeted.Celtic dropped out of the Champions League, as did Napoli and RB Leipzig, who will meet each other in what appears to be the toughest draw of the round.Lyon, who are desperate to get to the final which will be played at their own stadium, will face Villarreal, while AC Milan will face Ludogorets of Bulgaria.The first legs will be played on Thursday, February 15, with the return matches a week later.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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Silver lining of shootings

first_imgBy Shelly Leachman STAFF WRITER A teacher’s frantic 911 call. A SWAT team surrounding a high school. Kids fleeing their campus, screaming, gunfire ringing out inside. It’s been more than eight years since the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, but the images and sounds of the tragedy are forever disturbing. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityEventually, though, some positive messages emerged from that horrific day: the importance of tolerance and compassion. And those lessons have spawned an inspiring school program that just arrived in Torrance. Named for Columbine victim Rachel Scott, whose many journals and other writings form the basis of the program, Rachel’s Challenge aims to curb school violence by promoting kindness. Just weeks before she was the first student killed on campus April 20, 1999, Rachel wrote in an essay, “I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then they will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness will go.” She added that her theory “may seem like a fantasy that can never be reached,” but, she urged, “test them for yourself.” Rachel was among 12 students and a teacher killed by fellow students Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris that day. Another 24 were wounded. The killers had been bullied by other kids and left behind evidence that they targeted anyone who slighted them at the school. Rachel’s call to action hit Torrance High School on Tuesday, when Rachel’s Challenge was made to students and adults alike in four separate sessions with Scott family friend Andy McClure. Now the largest school- assembly program in the country, Rachel’s Challenge was started by the Scott family about a year after her death. The primary message? The tiniest gestures can have the biggest impact. “You don’t need to cure a disease. You don’t need to cross the Grand Canyon for someone else,” McClure told the students. “You just need to do the little things.” “It was very touching,” ninth-grader Michele Coughlin, 15, said later of the somber presentation, which mixed news footage of the Columbine shootings and Rachel Scott’s funeral with audio of desperate 911 calls from that day and voice-over readings from Rachel’s diaries. “I think it’s a great idea,” she added of the challenge. “I think more people should do it, and maybe we wouldn’t have such a big problem with everybody judging other people.” Choosing positive influences. Keeping a journal of one’s own dreams and goals. Practicing small acts of kindness. Telling people that they are loved. Embracing differences instead of judging them. Those are the five tenets of Rachel’s Challenge and, by Tuesday afternoon, several hundred students had signed a massive banner, pledging to try to observe them all. Stepping back after inking her own name, ninth-grader Kiana Sagun, 13, said what resonated most with her was the idea of tolerance. “You shouldn’t judge people by looking at them,” she said. “It’s better to love than to hate people. You should have a positive attitude.” Hoping to spread that attitude across the school district, the Torrance Council of PTAs is working on expanding the program into every Torrance Unified high school by early next year. “Columbine is no different than Torrance ? and that kind of tragedy could happen anywhere,” said council President Tish Carney, who saw a Rachel’s Challenge presentation at a summer convention and was determined to bring it home. “Kids need to remember, to stop thinking that anyone is of less value than they are. No one is of less value than anyone.” Words to live by, said McClure, especially for Rachel Scott, who was a unifying figure on her campus – and has become a nationwide symbol since her death. “She believed in compassion and kindness, and that’s why we’re doing this,” he explained following the first of his four Torrance sessions Tuesday. “We’re into changing cultures, not just the climate. The whole issue is to effect change.” [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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SOUTH DAKOTA TO CRACK DOWN ON SEAT BELT VIOLATORS

first_imgSouth Dakota’s Highway Patrol is cracking down on motorists who don’t buckle up.When conducting a traffic stop, state troopers will issue a seatbelt citation to all unrestrained occupants in accordance with South Dakota law in addition to enforcement action on the primary traffic violation.The new directive began December 7th.Colonel Craig Price, the superintendent of the Highway Patrol, says nearly 72 percent of the Patrol’s 9,000 contacts with those not wearing seatbelts in 2015 resulted in a written citation.Price says in the last five years, 62 percent of all South Dakota fatalities in motor vehicle crashes were not wearing seatbelts.last_img

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