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NFL officials' main concern appears to be preserving the illusion of infallibility

The Guardian

The league has given officials a chance to take a second look at pass interference calls this season. The new rule has only caused more controversy


Let’s get this out of the way first: there’s no way a non-call ended up costing the Houston Texans the game on Sunday. The Texans ended up losing to the Baltimore Ravens 41-7 for a number of reasons, the most obvious being that Lamar Jackson threw for four touchdowns. Still though, there’s every reason for the Texans to be upset that NFL officials refused to make a clear pass interference call despite the benefit of reviewing the play.

The play in question came when Baltimore cornerback Marlon Humphrey grabbed Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in the end zone to break up a pass. Although the ruling on the field was an incomplete pass, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien challenged the call. Despite being about as clear cut of an example of defensive pass interference as one will find, the officials – as has been the norm since the NFL gave coaches the ability to challenge PI – declined to penalize the Ravens. If O’Brien had successfully challenged, the Texans would have had a first down on the Baltimore one-yard line, pretty much the ideal situation for them to pick up seven points. Instead, the team lost a time out and they failed to score.

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November 18th 2019, 5:03 am

Daniel Ricciardo labelled an 'idiot' after Brazil GP incident

The Guardian

Daniel Ricciardo has been labelled a “fucking idiot” by Haas driver Kevin Magnussen on his team radio after the Australian caused a collision during the incident-marred Brazilian Grand Prix.

Ricciardo tried to overtake Dane Magnussen down the inside of turn four but their cars made contact with the Haas driver spinning off the track.

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November 17th 2019, 7:11 pm

Kyle Busch wins season finale to claim his second Nascar title

The Guardian

Kyle Busch emerged from the Joe Gibbs Racing juggernaut as Nascar’s latest champion, winning his second title on Sunday after two teammates were slowed by pit-road gaffes.

Busch won the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway to snap a 21-race losing streak and beat Gibbs teammates Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr, as well as rival Kevin Harvick, for the Cup. Busch won the 2015 title and joins seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson as the only active drivers with multiple titles. “Ol’ two-timer out there,” crew chief Adam Stevens radioed. “I’m proud of you buddy.”

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November 17th 2019, 7:11 pm

NFL round-up: Prescott and Jackson star in wins for Cowboys and Ravens

The Guardian

Dak Prescott threw for 444 yards and three touchdowns, while Ezekiel Elliott added a pair of TDs as the visiting Dallas Cowboys kept pace in the NFC East with a 35-27 victory Sunday over the short-handed Detroit Lions.

Prescott completed 29 of 46 passes, while surpassing 400 yards for the third time this season, and Michael Gallup caught nine passes for 148 yards as the Cowboys (6-4) remained in first place.

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November 17th 2019, 5:11 pm

Stefanos Tsitsipas fights back to overcome Dominic Thiem and secure ATP Finals

The Guardian

• Greek becomes youngest winner of event since 2001
• The 21-year-old wins 6-7 (6), 6-2, 7-6 (4)

Three years ago, Stefanos Tsitsipas arrived in London as a wide-eyed teenager, happy to offer his services as a hitting partner for Dominic Thiem, whom he knew a little. They got to know each other a lot better on Sunday night, spending two hours and 35 minutes together in front of a capacity crowd here as the 21-year-old Greek became the youngest winner of the ATP Tour Finals since 2001.

He looked gone midway through the final set before forcing a second shootout to win 6-7 (6), 6-2, 7-6 (4). “I do not know how I played so well in the second set, breaking him twice,” Tsitsipas said. “It was an excellent set for me. It was frustrating to play with such nerves in the third.

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November 17th 2019, 5:11 pm

England’s late flurry of goals put gloss on win in first trip to Kosovo

The Guardian

England have cut a swathe through their Euro 2020 qualifying group, advancing to the finals on the back of a run of free-scoring and expressive performances and, once again, they had too much for lowlier ranked opponents here.

It was a display of control from Gareth Southgate’s young team, which was marked by Harry Winks’s first-half goal – his first in an England shirt – and glossed by a late surge that showed how ruthless they can be when they find their connections.

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November 17th 2019, 2:55 pm

Max Verstappen wins Brazilian Grand Prix after late Vettel and Leclerc crash

The Guardian

• Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly finishes in surprise second
• Hamilton third but investigated after banging into Alex Albon

Max Verstappen won the Brazilian Grand Prix as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc crashed out following a dramatic late finish.

Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly finished a surprise second after he took advantage of Lewis Hamilton banging into Alex Albon in the closing stages, denying the Red Bull driver a first podium.

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November 17th 2019, 2:25 pm

Stefanos Tsitsipas v Dominic Thiem: ATP Finals final – live!

The Guardian

Pierre Hugues-Herbert and Nicolas Mahut just beat Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus to win their first ATP Finals title, another important victory to their incredible resume. They have now won the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open, ATP Finals and Davis Cup together. All eyes will be on the Olympics next.

2018:
2019:
@p2hugz & @nmahut have won the #NittoATPFinals without dropping a set!

: @TennisTV pic.twitter.com/ANrwxqG2un

Roger Federer was frustrated with his own performance in yesterday’s defeat to Tsitsipas, but he had some positive words for his conqueror.

I look across the net, and I thought that he played really well. He took the ball early. I know he does that. I thought I returned actually pretty good on the first serve. Second serve of breakpoints and stuff, I guess there were better moments, but for the most part I wasn’t quite getting into the rallies the way I wanted to.

Well, I think I have to credit him for pushing me to not playing at the level I was hoping to today.

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November 17th 2019, 12:49 pm

Kosovo v England: Euro 2020 qualifier – live!

The Guardian

I think it’s fair to say that this is not the reception England are used to receiving when they play away:

The Kosovo manager, Bernard Challandes, seems quite impressed by this England team:

We know exactly against who we will play and we have seen in the last game and all this campaign, England has the best potential offensive in the world now. For me, it’s the first favourite for the next European Championship, with this offensive potential. It’s an advantage for us to play here. There’s a big, big enthusiasm behind the team. People are very proud of the team. Unfortunately we have only 13,000 spectators, but I think the players of Kosovo have a good feeling with the support, and that can help, particularly today. We never lost here, but we never played against such a team as England also.

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November 17th 2019, 11:49 am

Brazilian Grand Prix: F1 – live!

The Guardian

We’ve got two races of this season still to go, but next season is already underway. Can anyone show Lewis Hamilton that they’ll close the gap, never mind best him over the stretch?

Max Verstappen might just have the talent, and he’s getting closer to having the car. His Red Bull has carried him to pole, and a decent winter in the factory will at least put him in with a chance when it all goes off again.

But, in the meantime, he’ll fancy himself today. He was about to win Interlagos last term until, hilariously, Esteban Ocon tried to unlap himself and ended up shunting the leader off the track. Ahahahahahahaha! Excuse me. Words and handbags were later exchange, and we can only hope for more of the same today.

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November 17th 2019, 11:35 am

Philippe Albert: ‘Keegan would buy fish and chips and the drinks for our Newcastle team’

The Guardian

The former Newcastle defender on Asprilla, that goal against Manchester United and working as a greengrocer after football

“When we travelled back to Newcastle from London, we often had five or six hours to kill on the coach. On the way Steve Watson used to bring videos and Viz comics. Even if we didn’t understand everything, Kevin and the whole team were always laughing. On the way back, before we got on the motorway, Kevin used to stop the coach at a petrol station, go and buy some drinks out of his own pocket and bring them back for the team: red wine, white wine, lager, water, soft drinks. Then, when we passed a certain place on the M1, he would buy us all fish and chips.”

Related: Pierre van Hooijdonk: ‘I told Ron Atkinson he was a pub manager’

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November 17th 2019, 8:51 am

Gerard Piqué says revamped Davis Cup is ‘project of my life’

The Guardian

The Barcelona defender and his company Kosmos Tennis have invested in giving international sport’s oldest team event a World Cup-style overhaul. It starts in Madrid on Monday

It is a wonder Gerard Piqué can accommodate all his activities in any 24-hour day. Or answer his phone. When we finally get around to talking after a few false starts he is voluble and polite and determined to make the revamped Davis Cup in Madrid next week a success, whatever the sceptics say.

This past week Piqué trained and played with Barcelona (against Cartagena to raise money for flood relief in the Mercia region), kept an eye on the assets of his global investment company as well as prepared for the “project of my life”, the relaunch of the oldest team event in international sport.

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November 16th 2019, 9:11 pm

Euro 2020 roundup: Croatia survive Slovakia scare to join Germany in finals

The Guardian

Germany, Croatia and Austria all sealed their places in the Euro 2020 finals with wins on Saturday, while a draw in Northern Ireland also confirmed qualification for the Netherlands.

Croatia’s 3-1 win over Slovakia means they top Group E, but the 2018 World Cup finalists got a scare when Robert Bozenik put the visitors ahead after 32 minutes in Rijeka. Two goals in four minutes from Nikola Vlasic and Bruno Petkovic settled the hosts’ nerves near the hour mark, before Ivan Perisic sealed victory with a spectacular finish, volleying into the top corner on the stretch with 15 minutes to play.

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November 16th 2019, 9:11 pm

Dominic Thiem defeats Alexander Zverev to reach final of ATP Finals

The Guardian

• Austrian wins 7-5, 6-3 to continue brilliant form in tournament
• Thiem now faces Stefanos Tsitsipas in final

Related: Stefanos Tsitsipas overcomes Roger Federer to reach final of ATP Finals

Dominic Thiem continued his formidable march to the summit of tennis in a season in which he has truly come of age, outperforming his good friend Alexander Zverev 7-5, 6-3 to reach the title match of the ATP Finals. He will face Stefanos Tsitsipas as the next generation settles at the top of the sport.

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November 16th 2019, 5:40 pm

Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa airlifted from stadium after 'very serious' injury

The Guardian

Tua Tagovailoa injured his hip while being dragged down by tacklers late in the first half on what was likely his last series and No 4 Alabama went on to bear Mississippi State 38-7 Saturday in a game that might have cost the Crimson Tide its star quarterback.

Related: Colin Kaepernick’s NFL-organized workout is a sham with only one winner | Etan Thomas

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November 16th 2019, 5:40 pm

Upset at NFL, Colin Kaepernick moves scheduled tryout

The Guardian

Upset at what he called preconditions imposed by the National Football League, quarterback Colin Kaepernick moved his scheduled tryout on Saturday away from the Atlanta Falcons training facility.

The former starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers is seeking a return to the NFL three years after his protests against racial injustice roiled the sport. Kaepernick, 32, accused the NFL of not acting in a forthright manner in organizing the workout and said the tryout would be held at another Atlanta location later on Saturday.

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November 16th 2019, 5:40 pm

Max Verstappen takes pole for Brazilian GP with Lewis Hamilton in third

The Guardian

• Dutch driver secures his second pole position of the season
• Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel qualifies in second spot

Max Verstappen took pole for the Brazilian Grand Prix, claiming the top spot for Red Bull with a superb lap to deny Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who was second. Lewis Hamilton was in third.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was in fourth but will receive a 10-place grid penalty for taking a new engine. Valtteri Bottas was fifth for Mercedes in front of Red Bull’s Alexander Albon.

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November 16th 2019, 3:51 pm

Colin Kaepernick’s NFL-organized workout is a sham with only one winner | Etan Thomas

The Guardian

The disingenuous decision to organize a last-minute workout for Kaepernick brilliantly creates a no-lose situation that will extricate the NFL from the PR catastrophe it made for itself

The NFL’s decision to organize a private workout for Colin Kaepernick on Saturday in Atlanta is not what it looks like on the surface. Mostly it feels like a guy inviting an old girlfriend to dinner and getting her hopes up at the thought of reconciling when he really has zero interest other than ending the relationship on good terms. He wants her to think he’s a good guy so she tells all her friends that he isn’t the lying and manipulating pig they all know him to be.

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November 16th 2019, 3:51 pm

Stefanos Tsitsipas overcomes Roger Federer to reach final of ATP Finals

The Guardian

• Greek wins 6-3, 6-4 in titanic semi-final encounter
• Tsitsipas: ‘Beating him is the biggest honour I could have’

Stefanos Tsitsipas, looking eerily like a young Roger Federer, reached the ninth final of his young career by beating the game’s most enduring champion 6-3, 6-4 for a place in Sunday’s deciding match in the ATP Tour Finals.

The 17-year age differential between them is the biggest in the 50-year history of the event and a pointer to the power shift in the game. He saved 11 of 12 break points in a match that see-sawed for most of the hour and 36 minutes it held the packed stadium entranced. It was not a classic but nonetheless memorable for its mistakes and missed opportunities.

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November 16th 2019, 2:33 pm

Vincent Kompany: ‘You never learn as much as when you get your arse kicked’

The Guardian

The former Manchester City captain – ‘100% Congolese, 100% Belgian, 100% Manc’ – on the ‘beautiful adversity’ of his new challenge at Anderlecht, racism and Brexit

“Every chapter in my life has started with a setback and a struggle,” Vincent Kompany says, “but there has been success or glory at the end. That doesn’t come by doubting yourself. It doesn’t come by giving up in difficult circumstances. Quite the opposite. It’s learning and staying calm in adversity. There is such a beautiful side to adversity.”

Kompany’s eloquence and intelligence light up a drab Monday morning in Manchester as we begin an interview that is unlike any other I’ve done with a footballer. The former Belgium and Manchester City captain, who now works as a player-manager at his boyhood club, Anderlecht, addresses systemic racism and the bleak rise of populism. He talks about Brexit, the lessons of vulnerability in his last season at City and the spatial awareness of Pep Guardiola.

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November 16th 2019, 6:29 am

Finland seal historic Euro 2020 place with victory over Liechtenstein

The Guardian

• Teemu Pukki double secures first major finals appearance
• Norway keep their hopes alive with 4-0 win over Faroe Islands

Teemu Pukki scored twice as Finland beat Liechtenstein 3-0 to book a place at Euro 2020 and reach the finals of a major tournament for the first time in the country’s history.

Jasse Tuominen put the Finns ahead after 21 minutes before Pukki converted a penalty early in the second half and wrapped up the points with their third goal 15 minutes from time. The win secured second spot in Group J for Finland with 18 points, six behind section winners Italy.

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November 15th 2019, 3:33 pm

The NFL cares more about optics than actions in its fight against dirty play

The Guardian

The failure to suspend Damarious Randall for the gruesome hit that preceded Myles Garrett’s outburst shows the NFL cares most about the perception of combating violence

The NFL indefinitely suspended Myles Garrett on Friday after the Cleveland Browns star defensive lineman removed Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet and smashed it into Rudolph’s head on Thursday night. Garrett will miss at least the remainder of the regular season and the postseason if Cleveland manage to qualify. The league also suspended Steelers offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey three games and Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi one game for their roles in the brawl and fined the teams $250,000 apiece.

Related: NFL hits Browns' Myles Garrett with indefinite ban for helmet attack

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November 15th 2019, 3:33 pm

Rafael Nadal overcomes Stefanos Tsitsipas after epic struggle

The Guardian

• New world No 1 edges out Greek in three close sets
• Nadal must wait on ATP World Tour semi-final place

This was a fight Rafael Nadal did not desperately need – having already secured the world No 1 ranking when Novak Djokovic fell to Roger Federer on Thursday evening – but one he fought with heart and guile to win 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-5 over two hours and 52 minutes of often spellbinding struggle against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Yet victory guaranteed nothing. The immediate prize was a long wait to see if Daniil Medvedev could ease the Spaniard’s way through to the ATP World Tour semi-finals by beating Alexander Zverev in the evening match.

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November 15th 2019, 1:47 pm

‘Our art and his art’: inside Cirque du Soleil’s show dedicated to Messi | Sid Lowe

The Guardian

Show’s female Chilean freestyler and captain of Barcelona Women on the project expressing Messi’s career through performance and their hopes for women’s sport

‘The email said: ‘You’ve been chosen for Messi10’ and I started to cry,” Catalina Vega says. “I looked at it again: ‘Wow.’” Sitting alongside her, Vicky Losada asks: “Had you ever done anything as big as this?”

The circus is empty now but for the occasional stagehand wondering through. On the way in, a woman from wardrobe passes carrying a tiny jacket in lurid colours with huge shoulder pads and a No 10 on the back. It’s quiet, late morning, 10 hours until the circus starts, but this place is still imposing. A huge marquee, a blue stage, 3,000 seats rising around it, spotlight on, nowhere to hide. It is big.

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November 15th 2019, 1:47 pm

NFL hits Browns' Myles Garrett with indefinite ban for helmet attack

The Guardian

Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was suspended for at least the rest of the regular season and postseason by the NFL on Friday for using a helmet “as a weapon” and striking Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head.

His violent outburst in the final seconds of Thursday’s nationally televised game against the Steelers landed him the longest suspension for a single on-field infraction in league history. Tennessee’s Albert Haynesworth was suspended five games in 2006.

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November 15th 2019, 1:47 pm

Chess: Magnus Carlsen to meet top teens in pursuit of record unbeaten run

The Guardian

The world No 1 can reach 111 classical games without losing at the fifth round of Tata Steel Wijk aan Zee in January

Magnus Carlsen, the world champion, will face five opponents aged 21 or younger when he bids for a record eighth victory at Tata Steel Wijk aan Zee in January. The traditional Dutch tournament at the small windswept North Sea town is by general consensus the best all-play-all annual event on the chess calendar and the invited entry for its 2020 version is bold and imaginative.

Fabiano Caruana, the world No 2, and Wesley So, who crushed Carlsen 13.5-2.5 at Fischer Random earlier this month, are in the field, but many dedicated fans will be watching Alireza Firouzja, who at 16 is receiving rave reviews comparing the Iranian teen to the legendary attacking genius Mikhail Tal. Jeffery Xiong, 19, the No 1 US junior, also has a breakthrough opportunity.

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November 15th 2019, 11:47 am

Rafael Nadal v Stefanos Tsitsipas: ATP World Tour Finals – live!

The Guardian

First set: Rafael Nadal *2-2 Stefanos Tsitsipas: A much stronger hold from Tsitsipas there, easily levelling the match to love. He crushed a really nice angled forehand at 15-0, then Nadal badly dumped a backhand slice attempt into the net. Tsitsipas closed it out with a big unreturned serve.

The joys of round robin tennis.

Nadal will be knocked out of the ATP Finals if he loses to Tsitsipas this afternoon.

If Nadal wins, then he will knock out Daniil Medvedev but must hope that the Russian beats Zverev later. Nadal would then go through as group winner to play Federer tomorrow.

Erm... got it?

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November 15th 2019, 9:46 am

Premier League 2019-20: team of the season so far

The Guardian

Liverpool’s full-backs, the beating hearts of Chelsea and Sheffield United and an evergreen striker make our leading XI

The biggest compliment that can be paid to the Leicester goalkeeper is that he has gone unnoticed this season. The 33-year-old has kept goal with quiet authority as Leicester’s defence has become the stingiest in the league, conceding only eight times. Ederson might have been a more obvious choice but the Brazilian has not been as assured for Manchester City this season. Schmeichel has been error-free and solid with his distribution. An honourable mention should go to Ben Foster who has made some wonderful stops while being overworked at Watford.

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November 15th 2019, 5:28 am

Thierry Henry's Montreal landing tips MLS's rep as managerial incubator

The Guardian

Patrick Vieira and Jesse Marsch are exponents of Major League Soccer’s growing reputation as a proving ground for young managers, a path Henry hopes to follow in Montreal

He was the right man at the right time for the New York Red Bulls. Having just moved into their jewel of a new stadium in Harrison, New Jersey, they needed something to capture new fans and a local media market which had somewhat lost interest. The signing of Thierry Henry fit the bill, with the legendary striker not just going on to become one of the most influential figures in RBNY’s history, but Major League Soccer as a whole.

Related: Zlatan Ibrahimovic's legacy hard to define as he bids Hollywood farewell

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November 15th 2019, 4:43 am

Forget a Super Bowl slump. The LA Rams have a Jared Goff problem

The Guardian

The defending NFC champions have wedded themselves to a kind-of-sort-of OK quarterback they’re paying like a superstar and the consequences could be far-reaching

The Rams have a Jared Goff problem. At 5-4, in the toughest division in football, the upstart darlings from a year ago are in danger of missing the playoffs.

Sunday’s loss to the Steelers was the most disappointing yet, for Goff and the team. As in last year’s ugly Super Bowl loss, Goff turned into a puddle of panic. He was in a terrible state. His eyes flicked around the field. If he didn’t feel real pressure from an immediate free-rusher, he imagined it. Rarely has fear been so visible in a quarterback’s face. Defenders know; his teammates too.

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November 15th 2019, 4:43 am

Shocking brawl mars Cleveland Browns' win over Pittsburgh Steelers

The Guardian

The Browns were seconds away from a season-changing win when Myles Garrett lost his composure in a moment of rage rarely seen on an NFL field.

Garrett tore off Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet, wildly swung it and hit the QB in the head, a shocking act that will likely result in a lengthy suspension for Cleveland’s star defensive end and perhaps cost the Browns any chance of making the playoffs.

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November 15th 2019, 2:57 am

Roger Federer delivers masterclass in win over Novak Djokovic at ATP finals

The Guardian

• Federer beats Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 in London
• Swiss advances to semi-finals of ATP Finals

Between meekly losing his opening match against Dominic Thiem and then being constantly reminded this week of one of the most heartbreaking moments of his career, his bitter defeat by Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, Roger Federer had plenty of reason to doubt as he prepared to face Djokovic on Thursday night.

Instead, the 20-times grand slam title winner produced a breathless exhibition of serving and aggression to reach the semi-finals of the ATP Finals with a 6-4, 6-3 win. It ended a four-match losing run against his great rival, his first win since 2015.

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November 14th 2019, 9:50 pm

Dodgers' Cody Bellinger, Angels' Mike Trout win Most Valuable Player honors

The Guardian

Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout has overcome injury and tragedy to win his third AL MVP Award.

Trout got 17 of 30 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America revealed Thursday night. Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros was second with the other 13 first-place votes. That duo combined for all the first- and second-place votes.

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November 14th 2019, 8:09 pm

Harry Kane hears echoes of the past and rockets past Finney and Shearer | Barney Ronay

The Guardian

Striker rises to sixth on England’s all-time scorers’ list on a night to remember the present rather than the past

Over to you then, Harry. From the flames of the Sterling affair, the dark talk of vendettas and humps and all the rest of it; from all this England found a moment of cold, still calm at Wembley.

Never mind that they also found opponents so astonishingly poor the Montenegrin defence seemed at times to be putting on a highly crafted, beautifully choreographed piece of physical comedy.

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November 14th 2019, 6:20 pm

Sonny Bill Williams steps into unknown but Toronto mission is no ‘holiday’

The Guardian

• Former All Black keen to grow rugby league in North America
• ‘I want to help prove to people these guys are here to stay’

Sonny Bill Williams thrives on a challenge but as he took in his surroundings on Thursday even he was quick to admit this was a whole new world. “That makes it so exciting because I believe in this project,” the Toronto Wolfpack signing said.

Seldom does rugby league attract the attention of the opposite code, but when you combine a player of Williams’s profile with a league franchise as unique as Toronto, it is not difficult to see why this move has the sporting world talking. By his own admission it is likely the final chapter of an outstanding cross-code career.

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November 14th 2019, 5:33 pm

Novak Djokovic v Roger Federer: ATP Finals – live!

The Guardian

Well! Is the playing field finally level? These two meet tonight having both lost to Dominic Thiem, while Rafael Nadal was beaten by Alex Zverev then only just sneaked by Daniil Medvedev. It’s taken years and skipped a generation – we’ve seen the false dawns of your Griggsys, your Nickys, your Miloses and the rest – but finally, aged 127, 109 and 106 respectively, the big three are losing big matches to children. Quite how tennis copes with that, I’ve not a clue – for a decade, it was the best sport in the world in terms of how good its greatest were, and it’s inconceivable that these will be anywhere near them – but we’re good for a change, and it looks like we’re getting one.

Whoever wins tonight will join Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-finals, with Zverev and Medvedev fighting over the final sport tomorrow. I’d be buzzing for that if I wasn’t replete with buzz for this – we don’t know how much more of these boys we’ve got, so it’s our duty as human beings to wade right into them while we can. Yalla yalla!

Related: Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer face off with Wimbledon memories fresh

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November 14th 2019, 2:29 pm

Berrettini hails ‘unbelievable season’ after beating Thiem at ATP Finals

The Guardian

• Big-hitting Italian lifts game to beat Austrian 7-6 (3), 6-3
• Thiem finds world No 8 too lively over an hour and quarter

Whether it was his own lassitude or his opponent’s fighting spirit that spoiled Dominic Thiem’s spotless progress to the semi–finals of the ATP Tour Finals, the Austrian had to concede that Matteo Berrettini was too good for him in two sets here on Thursday afternoon.

Having become the first player to beat Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer back-to-back at this tournament, Thiem found the world No 8 – a Finals debutant at 23 who lost his two opening matches – too lively over an hour and a quarter.

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November 14th 2019, 2:17 pm

James Wiseman, potential No 1 pick in NBA draft, declared ineligible by school

The Guardian

Freshman James Wiseman has withdrawn his lawsuit against the NCAA and Memphis, and the university has declared him ineligible while officials work to resolve the case.

“The University supports the decision, as it believes it is in James’ and the men’s basketball team’s best interests to resolve his eligibility issue expeditiously through the NCAA process,” Memphis said in a statement released Thursday morning.

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November 14th 2019, 1:29 pm

England v Montenegro: Euro 2020 qualifier – live!

The Guardian

Montenegro are in town! And England have a chance to gain the point that would secure the place at Euro 2020 that was in doubt right up until the format of this competition was revealed. As if that’s not enticing enough, this is also England’s 1000th match! No other country has played so many! That’s a heritage to be proud of and there’s no harm in taking a moment to think of all the players who have contributed a thread or two to this wonderful international footballing tapestry, from Segar Bastard to Harry Kane MBE via Joe Gaetjens, Antonio Rattin, Jim McCalliog, Jan Tomaszewki, Diego Maradona, David Gualtieri, Oyvind Leonhardsen, Mladen Petric and Mario Mandzukic. If there’s anyone else you believe deserves a mention, please don’t hesitate to say so. You might even spare a thought for Raheem Sterling, dispatched to the naughty step this week but not forgotten.

Ultimately, though, today is about the here and now and, um, the future: Gareth Southgate is expected to send out a youthful lineup to signify his optimism that England are on the verge of radically improving that success rate of one trophy per every 1,000 matches.

Related: England unrest, Bale v The World and tweeting – Football Weekly Extra

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November 14th 2019, 1:29 pm

VAR: more details for fans but no change to Premier League pitch monitor policy

The Guardian

• Monitors will continue to be used sparingly in Premier League
• ‘Ensuring the pace and tempo of football remains important’

Pitchside monitors will continue to be used only sparingly during English top-flight matches, the Premier League has announced.

The league has been in discussions with the refereeing body the Professional Game Match Officials Board and said on Thursday afternoon that the existing policy on pitchside monitors would remain broadly the same.

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November 14th 2019, 11:41 am

Megan Rapinoe calls for more investment in US women's game

The Guardian

Two-time World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe has been at the forefront of the US women’s national team’s fight for gender pay equity but the fiery forward has told Reuters she also hopes for more investment in the domestic league and better pay for club players.

Earlier this month, the National Women’s Soccer League announced new compensation guidelines for 2020, including a nearly 20% increase in the overall salary cap as well as allocation money allowing teams to invest in some players above the maximum salary.

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November 14th 2019, 11:41 am

Thierry Henry appointed head coach of MLS club Montreal Impact

The Guardian

• Former Arsenal and Barcelona striker signs two-year contract
• ‘I have always had an eye on this club and now I’m here’

Thierry Henry has been appointed as head coach of Major League Soccer club Montreal Impact. The former Arsenal and Barcelona striker has signed a two-year contract, with the option of a further season, following an unsuccessful stint in charge of Monaco which ended in January.

Henry finished his playing career in MLS, scoring 51 goals in 122 appearances for the New York Red Bulls from 2010 to 2014.

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November 14th 2019, 10:11 am

The real Diego Maradona comes to life in Mexico in captivating series | Ed Vulliamy

The Guardian

When the Argentina legend went to manage a Mexican second division side in drug- and gang-ravaged Culiacán, many feared the worst, but a revealing documentary shows him thriving

Diego Maradona tears a piece of paper, then again, until it is in shreds. On a screen opposite, the team he manages are minutes from victory in the first leg of a final tie – yet his stare is within. Maradona has been sent off for arguing with the fourth official, needlessly but because he cares – passionately.

“I told him there was an elbow to the head,” he reflects aloud. “The San Luís trainer told me to shut my mouth. I said: ‘Really? Do you know how many games I’ve played?’ I’m not perfect. No one’s perfect. Sometimes I’m confronted by things I can’t control. But be clear: I’m a good man. I want to improve football, for the good of people.”

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November 14th 2019, 8:12 am

Will the Nets ever really be Brooklyn's team? It's complicated

The Guardian

The borough’s first sports team since the Dodgers left during the 1950s represents to Brooklynites both a hip alternative to the dismal Knicks and a symbol of gentrification and erasure

The Uber driver squinted through his glasses at the rearview mirror after I’d finished a phone interview. He had to ask: Do you work in media? Was that someone criticizing Barclays Center? Yes. His assumptions from what he overheard confirmed, he had a take. No, Barclays Center is actually good.

Keble Jackson, a 42-year-old Brooklyn Nets fan, spent the rest of the 20-minute ride conversing about his point. He would’ve been vivid even if he didn’t have his old childhood haunts to gesture at as he drove down Eastern Parkway into Prospect Heights, his lifelong home. To the left, he’d rap with friends near the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch. To the right, there’s a well-kept building that once was a drug house that sits not too far from the Grand Army Plaza fountain, where the neighborhood’s kids swam in its dirty waters. When he turns right down Flatbush Avenue, he mentions how parents use to make their children stand on certain parts of the street, where they could get a view of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower’s clock to learn how to tell time. That sight is now crowded by high rises and condos.

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November 14th 2019, 4:26 am

Ibrahimovic's legacy hard to define as he says goodbye to Hollywood

The Guardian

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has picked up and left LA Galaxy after a season and a half, but what legacy has North America’s most headline-worthy player since Pelé left behind for MLS?

In his own not-so-humble words: “now go back to watch baseball.” Because a league without Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not a league worth watching, at least according to the man himself who confirmed his exit from the LA Galaxy and Major League Soccer with a typically brash social media post on Wednesday. The show is over, or at the very least it has packed up and left Hollywood.

Related: 'I came, I saw, I conquered': Zlatan Ibrahimovic leaves LA Galaxy

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November 14th 2019, 4:26 am

Astros’ Justin Verlander, Mets’ Jake deGrom win second Cy Young Awards

The Guardian

Justin Verlander has a second AL Cy Young Award – and a clear path paved toward Cooperstown.

Verlander beat out teammate Gerrit Cole in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America revealed Wednesday night. Verlander got 17 first-place votes to 13 for Cole, who became a free agent after the season.

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November 13th 2019, 10:36 pm

'I came, I saw, I conquered': Zlatan Ibrahimovic leaves LA Galaxy

The Guardian

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has thanked LA Galaxy for making him feel “alive again” before instructing the club’s fans to “go back to watch baseball” now he has played his last MLS game for them.

The Swedish striker will end a two-year spell at club when his contract expires in December. Ibrahimovic scored 52 goals in 56 games for Galaxy after leaving Manchester United in March 2018, but his final match ended in defeat with Galaxy losing to Los Angeles FC in the MLS Cup play-offs conference semi-finals.

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November 13th 2019, 5:16 pm

Sam Kerr’s watershed move and the start of the new normal for women's football | Samantha Lewis

The Guardian

Chelsea’s signing of the Matildas striker should herald a push towards further investment by clubs and leagues

When Sam Kerr poked a reluctant toe at her first football at the age of 12, having been forced by her parents to abandon her first love – Australian rules – after coming home from a boys’ match with a black eye, few could have predicted the frustrated forward would sign for one of the biggest clubs in the world just over a decade later.

Rumours have swirled for months about Kerr’s European destination, particularly after Greg O’Rourke, the head of the W-League, confirmed she would not be returning to her home-town club Perth Glory for the 2019-20 season.

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November 13th 2019, 4:27 pm

Rafael Nadal battles back from the brink to beat Medvedev in thrilling style

The Guardian

• World No 1 saves match point and wins 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-6 (4)
• Nadal admits: ‘I was super lucky’ after dramatic comeback

Rafael Nadal arrived in London with a new wife and an old abdominal injury, his mood turning angry and dark when he had to deny that either were in any way linked to each other or his form on the court, a suggestion that hovered on the outer edges of good taste and credulity. He was not a happy Spaniard.

However, the boyish smile returned with interest when he came from 1-5 down in the third set to beat the languid young Russian Daniil Medvedev in one of the great comebacks of his long career.

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November 13th 2019, 1:59 pm

Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva banned for one match over Mendy tweet

The Guardian

• Silva also fined £50,000 and sent on education course
• Portugal midfielder set to miss Chelsea match on 23 November

Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva has been suspended for one match, fined £50,000 and ordered to complete face-to-face education after a tweet he sent to teammate Benjamin Mendy was deemed to have constituted an “aggravated breach” of the Football Association’s rules on social media behaviour because it appeared to reference the French left-back’s race.

The Portugal midfielder posted pictures of Mendy as a child alongside the mascot for Spanish confectionery firm Conguitos on 22 September. He immediately deleted it but was charged by the FA last month.

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November 13th 2019, 10:10 am

Chelsea Women pull off major coup in signing Australia striker Sam Kerr

The Guardian

• Chelsea beat rivals to land striker on two-and-a-half year deal
• Kerr has won five consecutive golden boots in US and Australia

Chelsea have beaten a host of top European clubs to the signing of the Australia striker Sam Kerr on a two-and-a-half year deal.

After Kerr announced she would not be returning to Perth Glory in Australia’s W-League, having finished the NWSL season with Chicago Red Stars, European teams, including the Champions League holders Lyon, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, were linked with the record-breaking forward.

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November 13th 2019, 10:10 am

David Villa to retire: 'It's better to leave football before football leaves me'

The Guardian

Spanish striker David Villa says he will retire in January. The 37-year-old will finish his career with Vissel Kobe in January of next year at the close of the league season in Japan, ending the career of Spain’s top scorer in international play.

Related: David Villa's understated majesty is a model for a modern superstar | Barney Ronay

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November 13th 2019, 9:52 am

Rafael Nadal v Daniil Medvedev: ATP Finals group stage – live!

The Guardian

First set: Rafael Nadal *3-3 Daniil Medvedev: The level has risen over the last few games, and that was an excellent hold from Medvedev. Some big forehands but also incredible defence at 30-0, chasing down a forehand far off the court and getting himself back in the point with his trademark forehand slice ‘squash shot’. Good work.

Most people don’t know Nadal as a great volley player, but he is one of the best singles players in the forecourt. He is particularly so good at moving forward behind the correct shot. That’s why it was so jarring to see him struggle there against Zverev on Monday.

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November 13th 2019, 9:52 am

It's good Don Cherry is gone. It'll be better if his successor represents today's Canada

The Guardian

The problematic pundit’s sacking was long overdue. Now’s the time for Rogers Media to replace him with a truer reflection of Canada’s wonderfully diverse hockey scene

Every Saturday night for the last 37 hockey seasons, Canadians have been subjected to a segment called Coach’s Corner featuring belligerent former NHL coach Don Cherry, who’s been accompanied by the more pacific Ron MacLean since 1986.

Related: Hockey pundit Don Cherry fired by Sportsnet over xenophobic poppy rant

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November 13th 2019, 9:52 am

Top-ranked Kentucky dealt historic upset at home by unheralded Evansville

The Guardian

Sam Cunliffe scored 17 points, including two free throws with 6.8 seconds remaining, and Evansville stunned No 1 Kentucky 67-64 on Tuesday night.

KJ Riley added 18 points as the Purple Aces – coached by Walter McCarty, who won a national title with Kentucky in 1996 – pulled off the biggest upset in program history with their first win over a No 1 team in three tries.

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November 12th 2019, 9:59 pm

NFL invites all 32 teams to private Colin Kaepernick workout in Atlanta

The Guardian

The NFL has informed all 32 of its teams that a private workout will be staged for free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick on Saturday in Atlanta, according to a league memo obtained by ESPN.

The pro day-style event will include an on-field workout and interview session, similar to workouts common for collegiate prospects during the run-up to the NFL draft. Teams will be permitted to send scouts, or the video footage to be made available to any club which requests it.

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November 12th 2019, 6:41 pm

Gareth Southgate was right to lay down marker over Raheem Sterling | Barney Ronay

The Guardian

An England manager has nothing but mystique and soft power. If they don’t use it they become irrelevant

Happy thousandth everyone. Another month, another England landmark. Welcome to the 1,000th overblown mini-drama to enliven an otherwise deathly international break.

Congratulations are due on all sides. First to Raheem Sterling for instigating a significant but far from terminal training-ground bust-up. Second to the Premier League, the world’s greatest sporting soap opera, for granting us this spin-off episode and finally to the FA for “announcing” the incident on a slow Monday evening, electrifying the buildup to an inevitable 2-0 [Kane 2 (1 pen)] home win against Montenegro.

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November 12th 2019, 3:51 pm

Czech Republic v England: women's international football friendly – live!

The Guardian

1 min: After pre-match huddle to check everyone is suitably peeved, England declare themselves ready to begin. The Czechs kick off ....

The teams file out on to the pitch, where they are greeted by heavy rain and a very light scattering of spectators. Anger levels must be rising among England’s players.

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November 12th 2019, 2:21 pm

Will Margaret Court’s presence inspire Serena Williams to equal her record? | Kevin Mitchell

The Guardian

The 50th anniversary celebration of Court’s calendar grand slam in Melbourne in January would be a fitting moment for Williams to win that elusive slam No 24

When Margaret Court threatened to boycott the 50th anniversary of her grand slam sweep at the 2020 Australian Open in January – envious of the accolades that are heaped on her compatriot, Rod Laver – another legend far away surely allowed herself a smile.

If Court and Serena Williams, from different backgrounds and with very different sensibilities, have anything in common but the racket talent that raised them to global adulation in careers of vastly different eras, it is a sense of grievance. Champions are like that, different from the herd. They are obsessed with winning. Winning everything. All the time. And, more than that, they demand applause for their greatness, because they judge themselves to be worth it. Where others might see arrogance, they see only proper recognition.

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November 12th 2019, 2:21 pm

Novak Djokovic v Dominic Thiem: ATP Finals – live!

The Guardian

And here is Kevin Mitchell on Margaret Court and Serena Williams. An ominous reminder that still have two weeks of the season left yet the Australian Open is already creeping up on us. Yikes.

Related: Will Margaret Court’s presence inspire Serena Williams to equal her record? | Kevin Mitchell

Some stats for you.

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November 12th 2019, 2:21 pm

F1 reveals plans for net-zero carbon footprint and sustainable products

The Guardian

Formula One has pledged to deliver on an ambitious programme to address the global climate emergency by going carbon neutral within 11 years.

The sport has committed to a plan that not only ensures it has a net carbon impact of zero by 2030 but will also adopt policies to make all grands prix fully sustainable by 2025. Both are bold targets that will not be easily met for a sport which produces 256,000 tons of CO2 each season while transporting 10 teams and equipment to 21 races and with the global calendar set to expand.

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November 12th 2019, 1:48 pm

Roger Federer overpowers Matteo Berrettini to warm up for Djokovic clash

The Guardian

• Swiss bounces back from Thiem defeat at ATP World Tour Finals
• Berrettini beaten 7-6 (2), 6-3 in 78 minutes at the 02 Arena

Roger Federer warmed up for his hugely anticipated rematch with Novak Djokovic on Thursday by blunting the power of Matteo Berrettini on the third day of the ATP World Tour Finals. The young Italian, who scraped into the last eight at the last minute, could not live with a Federer playing near his peak to win 7-6 (2), 6-3.

On Thursday the stakes rise considerably. Djokovic, who opened his account brilliantly on Sunday, will suspect – but not say – that Federer might be carrying residual psychological damage after failing to convert two championship points against him in the Wimbledon final four months ago.

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November 12th 2019, 1:36 pm

Don Cherry offered job by Russian hockey team to 'talk whatever he thinks'

The Guardian

Don Cherry might not be out of work for long.

One day after the iconic Canadian hockey pundit was fired by Sportsnet for xenophobic remarks made on Saturday night’s Hockey Night in Canada telecast, a Russian team has publicly recruited Cherry to come aboard as a TV analyst.

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November 12th 2019, 12:03 pm

Andy Murray puts health and happiness over titles as he eyes Davis Cup return

The Guardian

• Former world No 1 confident of ‘playing at a high level’
• ‘The reason why I’m playing is because I love it’

Andy Murray believes his surprise victory in Antwerp last month showed that is able to consistently “play at a high level” as he sets his sights on the Davis Cup and then the Australian Open in January.

The former world No 1 was speaking after a chaotic October in which his four-week tournament run across two continents culminated in a victory in Antwerp over Stan Wawrinka. A few days after he returned from Belgium, Murray’s wife, Kim, gave birth to their third child, a son.

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November 12th 2019, 10:50 am

From Piqué and Ramos to Bridge and Terry: international bust-ups

The Guardian

Sterling and Gomez are far from the first players to have been involved in a contretemps with a teammate on national duty

Most of the time their tongues were wedged in their cheeks, but there were moments when daggers were drawn — and within the Spanish national team there were genuine concerns about the relationship between Gerard Piqué and Sergio Ramos. Rivals for their clubs, they were partners for their country. Except that a lot of the time people questioned whether Spain was Piqué’s country, and that dimension always lingered in discussions of the players’ relationship. It was driven of course by the often bitter battle between their clubs, with Piqué more than prepared to attack Madrid and that tension sometimes taken to the national team. At least — and this is the key — by the comically partisan media. This was the battle for years, an obsession. Not that they ever came to blows, or even close. Often it was a game. Ramos summed it up when he responded to one Piqué remark by saying: “Coming from Iniesta, it would annoy you, but it’s Piqué and we all know it’s part of the show with him.”

After one game Pique claimed that “in the directors box at the Bernabéu sit the people who pull the strings in this country”. To which Ramos replied: “They have more to answer there than us”. When Ramos was sent off in a clásico, he walked past Piqué and said: “Go on, keep talking.” Afterwards Piqué insisted it was a “clear red, but they’re so used to referees letting them get away with it”. Very different characters, if perhaps not quite as different as they would like to think, they were actually a brilliant partnership and they got on better than many people liked to imagine. One day when Spain wore white, like Real Madrid, Ramos sidled up to Piqué and said: “White looks so good on you that you’re lost for words.” Sid Lowe

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November 12th 2019, 10:03 am

The 49ers-Seahawks has been reborn, with one major casting change

The Guardian

Monday night’s instant classic between Seattle and San Francisco had all the hallmarks of the rivalry’s 2011-14 zenith, only defensive talisman Richard Sherman has switched sides

Monday night’s instant classic between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks hearkened back to the days of the storied 2011-14 rivalry between these two NFC juggernauts. Tough battles. An electric stadium. Winning franchises. There was one big difference, though. Richard Sherman, one of the game’s best defenders, has switched sides.

Related: Seattle Seahawks hand 49ers first loss on Jason Myers' last-second field goal

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November 12th 2019, 7:17 am

England drop Raheem Sterling for Euro qualifier over clash with Joe Gomez

The Guardian

• Forward to miss Montenegro game after ‘disturbance’
• Gareth Southgate: ‘Emotions from Sunday’s game were still raw’

Raheem Sterling has been dropped for England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro on Thursday after a bust-up with Joe Gomez at St George’s Park.

Emotions were still running high on Monday afternoon following Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Manchester City 24 hours earlier and the title rivalry spilled over into the England camp. City’s Sterling and Liverpool’s Gomez were involved in a heated clash towards the end of the match at Anfield and both players had to be separated again after reporting for international duty.

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November 12th 2019, 1:11 am

Seattle Seahawks hand 49ers first loss on Jason Myers' last-second field goal

The Guardian

Jason Myers kicked a 42-yard field goal after Chase McLaughlin missed a kick earlier in overtime, and the Seattle Seahawks handed the San Francisco 49ers their first loss of the season with a 27-24 victory on Monday night.

Myers gave Seattle (8-2) its second straight overtime win after Russell Wilson got the Seahawks into position with an 18-yard scramble on third-and-3. After being iced by a timeout, Myers delivered one week after missing two field goals and an extra point, putting Seattle right in the thick of the NFC West race with San Francisco (8-1).

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November 12th 2019, 1:11 am

Alexander Zverev makes it sixth time lucky against Rafael Nadal at ATP Finals

The Guardian

• Zverev beats world No 1 Nadal 6-2, 6-4
• Stefanos Tsitsipas defeats Daniil Medvedev 7-6 (5), 6-4

They call it stormy Monday – except in the literature for the ATP Tour Finals, which labelled day two “momentous” – and so it proved, calamitously so, for Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal.

The fourth iteration of the season-ending tournament, 50 years after it began in an art museum in Tokyo, has a year to run in London to close out 11 years of extraordinary revenue churning before it moves to Turin in 2021. And, although there have been some low-key performances in recent years at the fag-end of the longest season in sport, the event is winding down on the southern reaches of the Thames in a stylish swirl of surprises and quite lovely tennis.

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November 11th 2019, 5:50 pm

Hockey pundit Don Cherry fired by Sportsnet over xenophobic poppy rant

The Guardian

Longtime Canadian hockey pundit Don Cherry has been fired by Sportsnet for on-air remarks about what he believes are new immigrants not honoring the country’s fallen soldiers.

“Sports brings people together - it unites us, not divides us. Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday night’s broadcast, it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down,” Sportsnet president Bart Yabsley said in a statement on Monday. “During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for.

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November 11th 2019, 5:38 pm

Genesis, Revelation … Exodus: has Guardiola reached City endgame? | Barney Ronay

The Guardian

Guardiola is generally in one of three phases of engagement – it is tempting to conclude we are in this third stage now, that the Pep exodus has begun

This is the end, beautiful friend. Or rather, it may just be a vision of it. Watching Pep Guardiola capering on the Anfield touchline on Sunday – skinny legs splayed, arms flailing, black quilted jacket bouncing about like an angry rubber ball – was at least confirmation of one thing. Manchester City’s manager remains an extraordinarily agile and sprightly 48-year-old footballing obsessive.

Beyond that it was hard to interpret this reaction to a third Premier League defeat as a sign of good health, stability and plans for the future falling neatly into place. Instead Guardiola seemed oddly isolated, out there operating without restraint, still in the field, a manager who may just have entered the next phase in a familiar career parabola. So much so it is tempting to ask another question. Will he actually be back at Anfield for another league game?

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November 11th 2019, 3:48 pm

High time that Nike and the IAAF did the right thing by athletes | Sean Ingle

The Guardian

The stars of track and field need a powerful and independent union to protect them from abuse from the sportswear giant and the mismanagement of the governing body

What more can one say about Nike except that in a hotly contested field it once again leads the way in being the biggest hypocrite in global sport?

It urges women to Dream Crazier, throwing the spotlight on female stars who have shattered barriers and inspired the next generation, while also telling others, such as Allyson Felix and Alysia Montaño, that they will pause or reduce their contracts when they get pregnant.

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November 11th 2019, 3:04 pm

Rafael Nadal v Alexander Zverev: ATP Finals group stage – live!

The Guardian

So, who will win? The head-to-head suggests that Nadal enjoys this match-up greatly, and it is difficult to bet against Nadal considering how well he has played. He has now won 30 of his last 31 matches (the ATP doesn’t count walkovers), including the French Open, US Open and two Masters 1000 events.

However, despite the head to head, Zverev theoretically seems to match up very nicely against Nadal. His height and supreme backhand mitigate most of the effects of Nadal’s heavy topspin and swinging lefty serve. Indeed, Zverev has actually acquitted himself pretty well in their meetings, with both of their meetings on hard court going to a deciding set. He really should have won their last meeting when he led by a break in the final set of last year’s Rome final. Having the ability to defeat Nadal is only half of the battle.

Hello! Welcome to day two of our coverage from the ATP finals at the O2 Arena in London. Earlier today, Stefanos Tsitsipas finally made his mark on his bitter rivalry with Daniil Medvedev, winning 7-6(5) 6-4 to score his first win in six tries.

Now, we turn to the one question that dominated the build-up to this tournament: will Rafael Nadal be ready? After a small abdominal tear forced him out of the semi-finals in Paris a couple of weeks ago, Nadal didn’t start serving again until late last week. He has improved with each passing day in practice this week and, by all accounts, he looked comfortable in his final session earlier today.

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November 11th 2019, 3:04 pm

Charles Rogers, second overall pick in 2003 NFL draft, dies aged 38

The Guardian

Charles Rogers, the Detroit Lions wide receiver chosen second in the 2003 NFL draft after a prolific career at Michigan State University, has died aged 38.

The Detroit Free Press confirmed Rogers’ death on Monday after a number of his former teammates paid tribute to him on social media. Several of his former coaches said he was suffering from liver disease and cancer.

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November 11th 2019, 11:45 am

The man who changed the world of sports mascots forever

The Guardian

Mascots were quite dull until Dave Raymond came along. He changed that, winning friends – and an enemy – along the way

You probably know Dave Raymond. Or, at least, if you’ve paid any attention to sport and particularly American sport over the last 40 years or so, you know Dave Raymond’s work.

Not on the field, though: just to the side. For 15 years, Raymond was the man inside the suit of the Phanatic, the Philadelphia Phillies anarchic giant green mascot, the mascot upon whom most mascots since have been based. And after hanging up the furry suit, Raymond became essentially a mascot consultant: the chances are that if you’ve heard of a mascot in North American sports, he’s the brains behind it.

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November 11th 2019, 11:04 am

The sensational Lamar Jackson is coming for it all

The Guardian

Most Valuable Player? The Super Bowl? It seems nothing is out of reach for the Baltimore Ravens’ second-year phenomenon

What Lamar Jackson is doing is warping our perception of football. Jackson put on a show against the hapless Bengals on Sunday, cementing his status as the MVP front-runner. Jackson became the first quarterback in NFL history to finish two games in the same season with a perfect passer rating (on a minimum of 20 attempts), and was so good even the Bengals fans were moved to chant “M-V-P” as he left the field.

The Ravens as an organization deserve credit for handing their entire football operations over to this once-in-a-lifetime talent. Never have we seen such a smooth, efficient runner. Jackson is unique aesthetically and statistically.

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November 11th 2019, 9:43 am

Manchester City ‘much better’ side but the luck is with Liverpool, says Rodri

The Guardian

• Midfielder feels City could have won at Anfield on Sunday
• We are in November, there are a lot of games left’ says Spaniard

Rodri has claimed Manchester City were “much better” than Liverpool despite Sunday’s 3-1 defeat at Anfield and that everything is going the way of the league leaders.

Related: Liverpool’s symmetrical full-backs have turned them into world leaders | Barney Ronay

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November 11th 2019, 7:25 am

The secret behind the Seattle Sounders' MLS dynasty? Efficiency

The Guardian

Major League Soccer’s original super franchise has made an understated, under-the-radar efficiency their calling card – and it served them well en route to their improbable second title

On the statistics alone, Toronto FC had the edge in Sunday’s MLS Cup final, claiming 65% of possession, attempting 408 passes in the attacking third compared to the Seattle Sounders’ comparatively low tally of 184 and registering just as many total shots (16) as their Pacific Northwest hosts. The Sounders are a team with a track record of going against the numerical grain, though.

Related: Opportunistic Sounders see off Toronto FC for second MLS Cup title in four years

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November 11th 2019, 4:54 am

Carli Lloyd hits again as imperious USA overwhelm Costa Rica in 2019 finale

The Guardian

Carli Lloyd and Morgan Brian scored in the first 10 minutes and Lynn Williams came off the bench to add a pair of second-half goals in the United States’ 6-0 victory over Costa Rica on Sunday night at TIAA Bank Field in the Americans’ final match of the year.

The US were 20-1-3 in 2019, finishing with a 23-match unbeaten streak.

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November 11th 2019, 12:46 am

Dalvin Cook powers Minnesota Vikings to prime-time road win over Cowboys

The Guardian

Dalvin Cook ran for 97 yards, including the go-ahead touchdown on fourth down, and had 86 yards receiving to set up three other scores, helping the Minnesota Vikings beat the Dallas Cowboys 28-24 on Sunday night.

Cook, the NFL rushing leader, easily outplayed two-time rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott as the Vikings (7-3) beat a winning team on the road for the first time in almost two years. Minnesota was 0-9-1 in its previous 10 such games.

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November 11th 2019, 12:15 am

Opportunistic Sounders see off Toronto FC for second MLS Cup title in four years

The Guardian

Sometimes cup finals are settled with a moment of brilliance, a sprinkling of stardust that will never be forgotten. And sometimes, someone just sticks out a knee.

The Seattle Sounders are MLS Cup champions after a 3-1 win over a Toronto FC side who looked the better team for long periods of Sunday’s final until they were doomed by a deflection.

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November 10th 2019, 6:40 pm

NFL round-up: Lamar Jackson dazzles as Baltimore Ravens rout Bengals

The Guardian

Lamar Jackson threw for three touchdowns in a near-perfect passing performance and added a sensational 47-yard scoring run, Marcus Peters got his third pick-six of the season – this one off rookie Ryan Finley – and Baltimore won its fifth in a row, routing winless Cincinnati.

The Ravens (7-2) followed their eye-opening victory over the previously unbeaten Patriots by quickly pulling away from the NFL’s last winless team.

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November 10th 2019, 6:40 pm

Miami's Dion Waiters has 'panic attack' after eating weed gummies, reports say

The Guardian

Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters did not suit up for Friday’s game against the Lakers in Los Angeles after experiencing what ESPN reported as a “panic attack” on the team plane after taking a THC-infused edible.

According to the report, published Saturday night, Waiters received medical treatment upon the plane’s landing in Los Angeles and did not attend the game. He was listed as out due to illness.

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November 10th 2019, 5:10 pm

Broadcaster sorry for hockey pundit Don Cherry’s comments on immigrants

The Guardian

A Canadian broadcast company has apologized for hockey commentator Don Cherry’s remarks about what he believes are new immigrants not honoring the country’s fallen soldiers.

The 85-year-old Cherry, who has been criticized in the past for his outspoken conservative politics, seemed to single out new immigrants in Toronto and Mississauga, Ontario, where he lives, for not honoring Canada’s veterans and dead soldiers. He said he didn’t see immigrants wearing poppies to honor the country’s fallen on Remembrance Day, which will be observed on Monday.

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November 10th 2019, 2:36 pm

MLS Cup final: Seattle Sounders v Toronto FC – live!

The Guardian

What time is kickoff?

Never a simple question when you’re talking about a U.S. soccer broadcast, which mimics other U.S. sports by having a pregame show for its pregame show.

Good afternoon to the East Coast, good morning to the West Coast, good caffeinated overnight to Australia and much of Asia, and good evening to those in Europe who watched Liverpool beat Manchester City and are hoping for a closer game here.

Funny thing about that -- MLS is a league of salary cap-enforced parity, and yet we have the same two teams in the final for the third year in the last four.

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November 10th 2019, 2:24 pm

Roger Federer v Dominic Thiem: ATP Finals group stage – live!

The Guardian

Do check out Kevin Mitchell on Djokovic’s swift victory earlier today.

Related: Flawless Novak Djokovic swats aside Matteo Berrettini in ATP Finals

Novak Djokovic will be watching this match keenly. Here is the Serb’s assessment of Thiem earlier today:

I think he was mentioning earlier in the week that this has been probably his best season, winning at home in Vienna, and of course that was a very important win for him. Indian Wells. We know how good of a player he is on clay. He’s been proving that he can play equally well on other surfaces.

He’s already established top-5, top-10 player. We don’t need to talk about his qualities. Quality is great. His dedication and professionalism and hard work ethics is fantastic, and he’s a really nice guy. So all positive things about him.

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November 10th 2019, 2:24 pm

Fabinho opener leaves Man City fuming and helps Liverpool go eight points clear

The Guardian

There had been little more than millimetres in it during the previous two meetings of English football’s current powerhouses. Remember John Stones’s goalline clearance for Manchester City at the Etihad last January in his team’s 2-1 Premier League win or when Kyle Walker did the same at the very end of the Community Shield at the beginning of this season? City would squeak to victory that day on penalties.

Related: Liverpool 3-1 Manchester City: Premier League – live reaction!

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November 10th 2019, 2:06 pm

Flawless Novak Djokovic swats aside Matteo Berrettini in ATP Finals

The Guardian

• Serb takes little more than an hour to see off Italian 6-2, 6-1
• Roger Federer faces Dominic Thiem on Sunday evening

The last time we saw Novak Djokovic in London he was wearing down Roger Federer in the longest final in Wimbledon’s history. On Sunday he returned and spent a mere 62 minutes opening his campaign to finish the season as the world No 1 for the sixth time.

Related: France claim Fed Cup after decisive doubles win by Garcia and Mladenovic

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November 10th 2019, 12:54 pm

Marcus Rashford inspires Manchester United to simple win over Brighton

The Guardian

This was as entertaining a Manchester United display as there has been under Ole Gunnar Solskjær. Midway through the second half the manager was regaled with the song that pleads not to “take my Solskjær away” in recognition of the verve and vibrancy on show.

Afterwards he was thrilled. “Our best performance of the season, you can go back to Chelsea [4-0] but today the reaction after they scored was fantastic,” the Norwegian said. “Sometimes this season when you get one up how we didn’t [go on] end up five, six, seven, we don’t know but today was exhilarating, entertaining and great to see the boys enjoy themselves.”

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November 10th 2019, 12:54 pm

Rúben Neves fires spectacular opener as Wolves triumph over Villa in derby

The Guardian

On Thursday Nuno Espírito Santo ordered Rúben Neves to do extra shooting practice after the midfielder fluffed a penalty here in the Europa League. In the 41st minute of this West Midlands derby, Neves demonstrated the value of that fine-tuning by firing the ball into the net from over 20 yards. That gave Wolves a deserved lead and Raúl Jiménez, after thrilling work by Adama Traoré, struck in the the 84th minute to confirm the win that propelled Nuno’s team to eighth in the table despite a stoppage-time goal by Trézéguet. So much for Wolves’ season being undermined by their Europa League exertions.

“This was our 24th match of the season and we have always competed in every one – that is not easy to do,” said Nuno, praising his team’s consistency in the face of a gruelling schedule.

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November 10th 2019, 12:54 pm

Wolves v Aston Villa: Premier League – live!

The Guardian

53 mins: Coady goes down injured and removes his left boot. No one comes to treat him and he puts it back on, tying his laces tightly. This update will win my Pulitzer.

51 mins: Traore receives the ball in space for the right, makes a dart for the box, holds it up and then thwacks a shot from 16 yards and it ricochets off the bar and away. That is probably the hardest I’ve seen a ball hit this season. Jimenez then dribbles the ball from a similar position and toe pokes a shot wide from 20 yards.

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November 10th 2019, 10:21 am

Liverpool v Manchester City: Premier League – live!

The Guardian

Hello world!

And welcome to the first leg of this season’s Premier League title play-off! Both teams will I’m sure be looking forward to a bit of genuine competition, away from the 36 mildly glorified irritant friendlies which occupy the majority of their domestic attentions. Whoever wins this one will carry an advantage into the second leg, scheduled for the weekend of 4 April, though the nine-point deficit City will be lumbered with should they lose, coupled with Liverpool’s ongoing refusal to be beaten by anyone under any circumstances, might make that one immaterial.

Related: Mahrez penalty miss leaves Liverpool and Manchester City at impasse

Related: Liverpool and Mohamed Salah put thrilling end to Manchester City’s run

Related: Liverpool’s stunning first-half salvo leaves Manchester City’s hopes on rocks

Related: Georginio Wijnaldum gives Liverpool deserved win against Manchester City

Related: The Joy of Six: great Liverpool v Manchester City matches | Scott Murray

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November 10th 2019, 10:21 am

France claim Fed Cup after decisive doubles win by Garcia and Mladenovic

The Guardian

• Garcia and Mladenovic overcome Barty and Stosur 6-4, 6-3
• Final was tied at 2-2 before decisive doubles encounter

France claimed their first Fed Cup title in 16 years on Sunday in a doubles decider against Australia in Perth.

Related: ATP Tour Finals: Novak Djokovic eyes history but threats old and new lurk

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November 10th 2019, 8:03 am

YouTuber KSI wins boxing rematch against rival Logan Paul

The Guardian

Briton wins six-round cruiserweight bout in LA against fellow YouTube personality

Britain’s KSI has won his six-round cruiserweight boxing fight against fellow YouTube personality, the American Logan Paul, in Los Angeles.

The fight at the Staples Centre was won by the Watford man in a split decision by 55-56, 57-54, 56-55. The pair first fought last year in Manchester but a “majority draw” was declared after six rounds.

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November 10th 2019, 4:02 am

Sheffield United’s George Baldock seals draw against limp Tottenham

The Guardian

For Tottenham Hotspur this proved to be a case of one step forward and two steps back. After Wednesday’s 4-0 victory over Red Star Belgrade came a result and a performance to suggest that all remains unwell with Mauricio Pochettino’s men. They were outfought and outplayed by a Sheffield United side who left north London with much to cherish but also a sense of injustice given this proved to be another occasion when VAR made its presence felt in maddening fashion.

The visitors thought they had cancelled out Son Heung-min’s 58th-minute goal when, on the hour, David McGoldrick converted Enda Stevens’ cross at the back post. There appeared nothing wrong with the strike but then came that now common uncertainty and dread. Referee Graham Scott had his finger to his ear, the large screen said the goal was being checked by VAR and then, after a delay of 3mins 47secs, came the verdict – no goal. Why? Because Jonathan Moss, the VAR located at Stockley Park, deemed John Lundstram’s big toe had been offside in the build up. Yes – big toe.

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November 9th 2019, 5:50 pm

Trump swaps baseball boos for cheers at Louisiana-Alabama football game

The Guardian

Donald Trump found comfort in the Deep South on Saturday, as college football fans cheered the nation’s top two teams – and him.

Related: Sessions 'hostage tape' 2020 ad lauds Trump, the man who humiliated him

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November 9th 2019, 5:18 pm

Jamie Vardy takes Leicester second to pile pressure on Unai Emery’s Arsenal

The Guardian

The last time Leicester played a league match in such a downpour they scored nine goals. There was never any chance of that happening here, yet in moving Leicester up to second place in the Premier League the Jamie Vardy and James Maddison double that won the points for the Foxes was arguably just as valuable.

Related: Sheffield United’s George Baldock seals draw against limp Tottenham

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November 9th 2019, 3:48 pm

Richarlison lifts Everton’s spirits and punishes struggling Southampton

The Guardian

The dark clouds that loomed over the Everton manager, Marco Silva, may have subsided but the pressure has not abated but rather intensified on Ralph Hasenhüttl, whose Southampton side are in grave trouble. The outlook for the Saints is considerably gloomy given defeat here means they have now lost six of their past seven Premier League matches. This was yet more anguish for disenchanted Southampton supporters, who have not seen their team record victory on home soil since April. Hasenhüttl grimaced as Richarlison struck the winner and, up in the director’s box, food for thought for Katharina Liebherr, the former majority shareholder who remains on the club’s board.

This victory hoists Everton up into mid-table but Southampton remain in a precarious predicament, a point off the foot of the table with eight points from their opening 12 matches. For so long, Southampton’s turgid buildup play matched the terse atmosphere in the stands. They recovered from an abysmal first-half when Danny Ings cancelled out Tom Davies’s opener but Everton kept knocking in pursuit of a winner, and found one when Richarlison volleyed in Djibril Sidibé’s cross late on.

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November 9th 2019, 12:43 pm

ATP Tour Finals: Novak Djokovic eyes history but threats old and new lurk

The Guardian

Serb will only end the year as No 1 for a record-equalling sixth time if he survives a brutal showdown in London

Novak Djokovic, who enthusiastically embraces the concept of the privilege of pressure, should hold his nerve in London over the next seven days to finish the year as No 1. However, he will know he has been in a fight by the end of it.

Fresh from winning his 34th Masters title in Paris and still trailing Rafael Nadal in the rankings by 640 points, he opens the last Tour event of the season, the Nitto ATP Finals against Matteo Berrettini on Sunday afternoon.

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November 9th 2019, 12:13 pm

Leicester City v Arsenal: Premier League – live!

The Guardian

The 3pm kick-offs are done and dusted. Sheffield United are up into fifth place after their 1-1 draw at Tottenham Hotspur; Arsenal have been nudged down to sixth. But the Gunners can reclaim fifth spot if they avoid defeat here. Leicester meanwhile can leapfrog Chelsea and Manchester City to move into second spot with a win.

It’s Remembrance Sunday tomorrow. The poppy will grace Leicester’s famous blue shirt ...

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November 9th 2019, 12:13 pm
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