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‘The FA Cup loves me’ – Southampton-slaying Iheanacho revels in Leicester City win



‘The FA Cup loves me’ – Southampton-slaying Iheanacho revels in Leicester City win

Kelechi Iheanacho has disclosed that the FA Cup loves him after his impressive run in the competition saw Leicester City qualify for the final at the expense of Southampton.

The Nigerian’s 55th-minute effort powered Brendan Rodgers’ men to a 1-0 win over Ralph Hasenhuettl’s side at the Wembley Stadium.

Iheanacho’s fine goalscoring form in the competition began in the fifth round when his goal sent Brighton and Hove Albion packing from the FA Cup.

Against Manchester United, the 24-year-old found the net on two occasions to set up a date with the Saints.

When asked about his run of form in the oldest tournament in England, the former Manchester City wonderkid told BT Sport : “I think FA Cup loves me and I love the FA Cup.”

The Super Eagle’s heroics not only sent the King Power Stadium outfit to their first FA Cup final since 1969, but it fetched him the man-of-the-match award.

Nevertheless, he claimed the accolade is for the entire team because the result is more about the collective than individuals.

“We did it together – the team. Without the team we couldn’t do it, it’s not a one-man show,” he continued.

“I am happy with the way we played together, we stick together at the end and I was at the right place at the right time.

“We are in the final now and we are very happy.”

Jamie Vardy played a key role in Iheanacho’s goal and for the umpteenth time, the Nigerian talked up his partnership with the former England international, while explaining the need to work hard to sustain his newly found form.

“I have been saying it since, the partnership between me and Jamie is outstanding. He got the pace, he got everything, he is a great player; he set up the goal,” he added.

“I have been unlucky in the past few years but it’s working out really well now and I need to keep working hard to go to the next level.”

Leicester will face off against Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 15 at Wembley.

Before then, the Foxes return to action in the Premier League on Thursday at home to West Bromwich Albion.

For Southampton, they will be hoping to pick themselves up for their next outing on the road to Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.

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Athletics’ Sergio Romo pulls down pants during substance check



Athletics' Sergio Romo pulls down pants during substance check

MLB pitchers aren’t taking kindly to the league’s new foreign substance rules.

Athletics pitcher Sergio Romo seemed particularly annoyed that the umpires performed a substance check on him Tuesday night.

After working a one-run seventh inning for Oakland, the umpire beckoned for Romo to come over for the check. Romo responded to the moment by tossing his hat and glove to the ground and whipping his belt off.

MORE: Rays’ Wander Franco homers in first MLB game

Then came Romo’s final act. He pulled his pants halfway down to prove that he wasn’t harboring any illegal substances.

Romo certainly made his point, but Dan Iassogna, the umpire checking him, didn’t seem too bothered by his high jinks. In fact, the umpire flashed a smile at Romo, who the broadcast described as “heated.”

Romo wasn’t alone in being bothered by the substance check on Tuesday. Max Scherzer was checked for foreign substances three times in the first four innings of the Nationals-Phillies game and became increasingly irritable with each examination. He directed his rage at Phillies manager Joe Girardi, who was later ejected for jawing at Scherzer. The checks didn’t seem to faze the three-time Cy Young winner too much; he earned the win, pitching five innings while giving up just a run and striking out eight.

Needless to say, these antics will be fairly common as MLB attempts to implement these rule changes on the fly.

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Nationals’ Max Scherzer feuds with Phillies’ Joe Girardi over substance checks



Nationals' Max Scherzer feuds with Phillies' Joe Girardi over substance checks

MLB’s new sticky substance rules are already causing havoc, and resulted in a feud between Nationals ace Max Scherzer and Phillies manager Joe Girardi on just their second day since being implemented.

Scherzer was checked for foreign substances three times in his first four innings against Philadelphia. He came up clean each time. The Washington starter didn’t look happy about his first check of the game after the opening frame.

That said, all starters will be checked for foreign substances under MLB’s new protocols, so that was expected.

MORE: Wander Franco cranks three-run homer in first career game

What wasn’t expected was that Scherzer would be checked after the third inning as well. He finally drew the line when Girardi requested that Scherzer be checked in the middle of the fourth inning.

The feud between Scherzer and Girardi reached its boiling point in the fifth inning. Scherzer stared at Girardi on his walk back to the dugout after retiring the Phillies in order, and Girardi took exception to it. He came running out of the dugout yelling at Scherzer and was ejected while the pitcher mocked him from a distance.

Be prepared to see more of these mini squabbles and frequent substance checks. Managers have the right to have the opposing pitchers checked, so they will likely take advantage of this as baseball implements this major rule change on the fly.

Though the Scherzer-Girardi feud was amusing, it’s certainly not a feather in MLB’s cap. If anything, it’s a bad omen that the league’s hastily made protocol changes could result in more conflicts, slowdowns and controversies as umpires figure out how to properly deal with them.

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Rays’ Wander Franco hit game-tying homer in first MLB game, and Twitter loved it



Rays' Wander Franco hit game-tying homer in first MLB game, and Twitter loved it

Welcome to Major League Baseball, Wander Franco.

The top prospect in baseball made his long-awaited Rays debut on Tuesday night in an effort to help the team snap a six-game losing streak. Almost immediately, the move paid dividends.

Franco walked in his first plate appearance, but made a lot of noise in the fifth inning. With the Rays trailing 5-2, Franco hit a three-run homer off Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez to tie the game.

Franco drove the slightly low slider 362 feet and helped Tampa Bay come from behind in a critical game against Boston. The Rays owned a half-game lead over the Red Sox atop the AL East entering play on Tuesday.

MORE: Four things to know about Rays prospect Wander Franco

The 20-year-old became the youngest player to homer in his first game since Jurickson Profar did so on Sept 2, 2012, with the Rangers.

He also is the youngest member of the Rays to homer since B.J. Upton in 2004.

The blast inspired many reactions from MLB Twitter, as fans and analysts alike were excited to see Franco deliver on the hype immediately.

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