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  • Lyudmila Karachik has scored prolifically for Bunyodkor and Uzbekistan
  • She talks about being inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Karachik is eager to fire Uzbekistan to the 2023 global finals

If an Ironwoman Footballer award existed in football, Lyudmila Karachik would certainly be a contender for it. The 25-year-old, indeed, hasn’t missed a single match since joining Bunyodkor in 2018, managing 77 goals from 68 appearances in all competitions. Notably, Karachik finished as the leading markswoman in last season’s Uzbekistan league with a record 42 goals.

That wasn’t, however, achieved without sacrifice. Karachik got injured in last year’s Uzbek Women’s Super Cup against Sevinch and was on the point of asking to be substituted. Despite the pain caused by the injury, however, she kept playing and scored the match-winning goal.

Her perseverance has been demonstrated again this year. Despite the difficulties presented by COVID-19, Karachik has managed to maintain her fitness and form. She bagged a brace in this year’s Uzbek Women’s Super Cup on 31 May as Bunyodkor registered a comfortable 4-1 victory over Sevinch yet again.

“The virus has made life hard for every one of us,” the in-form striker told “But I have kept working hard. I was aware what preparation it required for us to defend the Super Cup title. And I was happy to see that my efforts paid off and we lifted the trophy.

“Needless to say, it was down to the collective efforts of the entire team. We all worked hard during lockdown and we readied ourselves for the competition. We put in our best performances against strong opposition and we won.”

Karachik has loved football since an early age. So much so that, when her parents called her in off the streets, where she would kick the ball around with boys, she would ignore them.

“I was so fond of football and was very focused on playing,” she said. “And it was impossible to tear me away when I was kicking a ball.” (laughs)

Just as every youngster has an idol, Karachik’s is none other than Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I have followed Ronaldo’s play on TV since childhood,” she said. “I am always amazed by what he is capable of on the pitch – his technique, speed and, above all, his attitude towards work.

“He is always working the hardest in training, so it is no surprise that he has accomplished so much in football. He has been an inspiring figure for me all these years.”

Karachik’s precocious talent was first noticed by Khushbegi, who recruited her as a 15-year-old. The next year she was spotted by the then Uzbekistan U-19 coach Elmira Gulamova, who called her up. By playing for her country, Karachik’s career turned over a new leaf.

“She has changed the course of my life,” Karachik said of Gulamova, now her coach at Bunyodkor. “She saw my potential and offered me the chance of playing for the national [youth] team and then Bunyodkor.

“She helped me improve from an amateur player to a professional footballer. She has encouraged me to become a better player all these years. She is my mentor in not only football but life.”

Karachik made fast progress with the Uzbekistan youth team and was promoted to the senior squad the following year. She has since hit 21 goals in 28 internationals.

Karachik scored three times during qualification for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018, before netting two goals in Asian qualifying for the next Women’s Olympic Football Tournament. Uzbekistan failed to reach both of those competitions, but Karachik is hopeful for the future.

“We have gained good international experience,” she said. “We have improved by playing against stronger opponents. We have realised that we have to improve in both physical and technical terms if we are to compete against Asia’s best teams.”

The decision to expand the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ to 32 nations for the 2023 edition in Australia and New Zealand heightened Karachik’s hopes of playing on the most prestigious platform of all.

“Scoring for my country is special – emotions always go off scale when you find the back of the net in an international game,” she said. “It gives you incredible pride.

“We all dream of going to the Women’s World Cup. We will strive to go through the qualification campaign so we can see our national flag in the Women’s World Cup. We have everything necessary to achieve it: desire and hard work. But perhaps we need that extra ounce of luck. For me, it would be the highlight of my career and I will do whatever I can to achieve it.”

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Neetu David to lead new Indian women’s selection committee

Neetu David, the former India left-arm spinner, has been appointed as the chairperson of the new women’s national selection panel, with former cricketers V Kalpana, Arati Vaidya, Mithu Mukherjee and Renu Margrate the others in the panel.

ESPNcricinfo understands that no clear tenure has been defined for the new selectors yet, but their first assignment would likely be to select the squads for the upcoming three-team Women’s T20 Challenge, slated to be held from November 1-10 in the UAE alongside the IPL 2020 playoffs.

The BCCI had put out an advertisement on their website inviting applications in January. In it, while the criteria were listed – the age limit was 60, international playing experience was mandatory, and the candidates should have been retired for at least five years – no details of the tenure of the new appointments were provided, and there was no update in the board statement issued on Saturday.

It, however, remains unclear as to who selected the new selectors.

According to the board’s constitution, the Apex Council is required to direct the BCCI to choose the selectors, and then the panel is “to be appointed by the BCCI at the Annual General Meeting [AGM], on such terms and conditions as may be decided by the Apex Council from time to time”. In the case of the latest appointments, it’s worth noting that the BCCI had postponed its September 30 AGM indefinitely because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In late July, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had told ESPNcricinfo that the board “will start making the appointments [in due course of time]” because there was no cricket on, and the lockdown had meant no proper meetings at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai.

“It is going to take some time because this needs following of protocol as interviews will need to be taken by a committee as per the BCCI’s new constitution, and this will have to be cleared by them, and it’s very difficult to do it without a face-to-face meeting,” he had said. “Since there is no women’s cricket at the moment till October, I think we will get it done before that.”

Central zone’s David was appointed the chief of the panel on account of her seniority over Kalpana (south), Vaidya (west), Mukherjee (east) and Margrate (north), the usual rule with such appointments.

David, arguably the best female spinner to have played for India, took 182 wickets in her international career, 41 in ten Tests and 141 in 97 ODIs, between 1995 and 2008. She continues to hold the world record for the best innings figures in women’s Test history, her 8 for 53 against England in Jamshedpur in November 1995 still the only instance of a woman picking up eight wickets in a Test innings.

The previous selection panel, led by Hemlata Kala, was handed an extension in October last year and officially finished its term on January 22, after the final of the quadrangular series featuring India A, India B, Thailand and Bangladesh in Patna. Members of the panel, though, were in Australia for the T20 World Cup in February-March.

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Pavelski Ties Game in 3rd, Stars fall in Game 4 in OT

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No U.S.-born player has scored more playoff goals than Joe Pavelski. No player has put more pucks in the net during a single postseason this late in his career.

That may not be enough for Pavelski and the Dallas Stars, who are in a deep, deep hole in the Stanley Cup Final.

Pavelski scored twice, including the tying goal midway through the third period, but the Stars lost 5-4 when Tampa Bay scored on a power play 6:34 into overtime of Game 4 on Friday night inside the NHL bubble in Edmonton. The Lightning have a 3-1 series lead.

Tampa Bay’s third power-play goal of the game was set up after a disputable tripping penalty called against Stars captain Jamie Benn.

“I disagree with the call, but it’s out of our control. Just move on,” Stars defenseman John Klingberg said.

The Stars, who have given up six power-play goals in three consecutive losses since winning the series opener, didn’t have too much time to fret over that call or the loss. Game 5 was set to start only 21 hours later in the first back-to-back in a final since 2009.

“It’s two guys going for a loose puck. That’s a hockey play, that’s what I saw,” interim head coach Rick Bowness said, adding he had watched the replay a couple of times. “They’re hooking us and we’re fighting through the hook.”

Overtime began with a 4-on-4 after both teams had penalties with 29 seconds left in regulation, and the Stars called timeout after a holding penalty against Tampa Bay gave them a 4-on-3 advantage for 66 seconds. They got only one shot on goal in that span.

“It’s a good opportunity in overtime. We’ll take that every chance we get,” Pavelski said. “You’d like to capitalize. We’ve done it in the past in this run, and failed to do so tonight.”

Pavelski has 60 career postseason goals, matching Joe Mullen for the most by a U.S.-born player. That is tied for 32nd overall on the all-time list, and not quite halfway to Wayne Gretzky’s record 122.

When he scored in the first period to give the Stars a 2-0 lead, Pavelski broke a tie for second-place among American skaters. He had been tied at 58 with Mike Modano, who was on the Stars’ only Stanley Cup championship team in 1999.

“Keep it. Next question,” Pavelski said when asked about the record.

After the first 13 seasons of his career with the San Jose Sharks, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Final four years ago as their captain, Pavelski signed a three-year contract with Dallas in free agency last summer. Wanting another chance to win a championship, his final decision came down to the Stars or the Lightning.

Pavelski has 12 goals inside the bubble, the most ever in a single postseason by a player 36 or older. He had 14 goals in 67 regular-season games for the Stars.

Tyler Seguin, who had two assists and was in front of the goal when Pavelski’s turnaround shot in the third period ricocheted off the goalie and a defender, said the Stars were fortunate to have a quick turnaround.

“I believe in this team, I believe in the boys. I know we’ve got another level,” Seguin said.

“We’ll bounce back. I have full faith in our hockey club. It’s an unfortunate way to lose that game the way we battled back,” Bowness said. “We’re going to play tomorrow like we did tonight.”

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Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Travieso Arce 3: Fight card, start time, how to watch, live steam

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Two of the most popular Mexican boxers in history will face off for a third time in exhibition action on Friday at Las Torres de Tijuana Hotel in Tijuana when Julio Cesar Chavez meets Jorge “Travieso” Arce. Chavez’s son, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., will also be in action on the card, though the former middleweight champion will be fighting at a level lower than may be expected for a former world champion with 51 career victories.

Chavez Sr. is arguably the greatest Mexican boxer in history, retiring with a record of 107-6-2 after a career that saw him win world championships in three weight classes. Arce may not have reached the same “all-time great” status as Chavez Sr., but was one of Mexico’s most popular fighters during his career, compiling a 64-8-2 and world titles in three weight classes while being one of the best action fighters of his era. The fight will be a three-round exhibition bout.

Chavez Jr. (51-4, 33 KO) has been one of the most controversial fighters of the modern era, struggling with weight and drug testing issues through his career, but did have a run with the WBC middleweight title. He’ll be battling Mario Abel Cazares (11-0, 5 KO) in light heavyweight action. Cazares turned professional in 2015 and has 10 wins over men with losing records, the lone fighter with a winning record on his ledger being Eduardo Tercero, who entered the fight 9-8-1.

How to watch Chavez vs Arce

Date: Friday, Sept. 25 | Start Time: 10 pm ET
Location: Las Torres de Tijuana Hotel — Tijuana, Mexico
Stream: DAZN (Spanish broadcast only)

Chavez vs. Arce card

  • Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. vs. Julio Arce, exhibition
  • Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Mario Abel Cazares, light heavyweights
  • Yamileth Mercado vs. Irasema Rayas, featherweights
  • Bryan Flores vs. Carlos Encinas, middleweights
  • Misael Gracia vs. Jose Alejandro Burgos, super flyweights
  • Karim Arce vs. David Martino, super bantamweights
  • Jose Luis Castillo Romero vs. Misael Isai Ponce Galaz, featherweights

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