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Will a California bill give players a slice of college sports' $14bn pie?

The Guardian

California’s governor is on the verge of signing the Fair Pay to Play Act, which promises to end the exploitation of student-athletes by the multibillion-dollar college sports industry

This week LeBron James, Bernie Sanders and countless other heavy hitters lent their support to a monumental bill in California that, if passed, could forever alter the business of collegiate athletics and the entire American sports landscape. SB 206 (also known as the Fair Pay to Play Act) would permit collegiate athletes in the state, which include schools like USC, UCLA, UC Berkeley and Stanford, to seek payment for use of their name, image or likeness.

The NCAA, the governing body for college sports in America, has long prohibited its student-athletes from earning any semblance of profit associated with their skill set or name cache. Meanwhile college sports are a $14bn industry, and the NCAA reported a staggering $1.1bn in revenue generated last year, thanks in large part to the unpaid labor of its athletes.

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September 15th 2019, 5:39 am

Tyson Fury survives Otto Wallin scare to stay on course for Wilder rematch

The Guardian

Tyson Fury stayed on course for a hotly anticipated rematch with Deontay Wilder after outpointing Otto Wallin on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

The 31-year-old heavyweight from Manchester overcame a flat opening, a gruesome cut and a fearless challenger to dominate the second half of the 12-round fight, winning a unanimous decision by scores of 116-112, 117-111 and 118-110. (The Guardian had it 116-112 for Fury.)

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September 15th 2019, 2:09 am

Tyson Fury v Otto Wallin: lineal heavyweight championship – live!

The Guardian

Bryan will be here shortly. In the meantime let’s check in with Tyson Fury ahead of tonight’s heavyweight scrap.

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September 14th 2019, 10:50 pm

Europe stay level-headed as Hall and Boutier dig deep in Solheim Cup

The Guardian

• Europe and US tied 8-8 with 12 individual matches to go
• Georgia Hall and Céline Boutier win after trailing by four shots

Catriona Matthew can take solace from the fact golf is not played on paper. Bare statistics heavily suggested a gap in quality in favour of the United States over Europe in the 16th Solheim Cup, meaning the hosts’ best hope of an upset seemed to rest in building a useful lead before the singles. The depth of US talent, it has been assumed, will shine through in that Sunday format.

Matthew and Europe have been afforded no such leeway. A fourball session on Saturday afternoon won two and a half to one and a half by the US means the visitors will feel the more comfortable about an 8-8 tie with 12 individual jousts remaining.

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September 14th 2019, 7:50 pm

Skateboarder Sky Brown, 11, takes bronze at worlds with eye on Olympics

The Guardian

Sky Brown, the 11-year-old British skateboarding prodigy who is on track to become the youngest female to compete at the Summer Olympics in 50 years, won bronze at the world championships in Brazil on Saturday.

Japan’s Misugu Okamoto, who is 13, took first at the skateboarding park world championships in Sao Paolo with a score of 61.17, beating out countrywoman Sakura Yosozumi (60.00).

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September 14th 2019, 5:34 pm

Toronto Raptors introduce line of team-branded hijabs in fan outreach

The Guardian

The Toronto Raptors say a new line of team-branded hijabs is part of an effort to be more inclusive to fans of all cultures.

The team’s parent company, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, unveiled the Nike Pro hijabs emblazoned with the team logo in a social media post Friday. The Raptors say they are the first NBA team to offer an athletic hijab for Muslim women.

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September 14th 2019, 3:34 pm

Teemu Pukki strikes again to seal Norwich’s shock win over Man City

The Guardian

Norwich served up the shock of the Premier League season so far as they deservedly beat the champions in thrilling style.

A late drive from Rodri, his first goal for Manchester City, was not enough to peg back the Canaries, who had led from the 19th minute. Daniel Farke’s side, ravaged by injury and with three points from their first four games, played with a confidence and a quality that very much belied their position near the foot of the table.

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September 14th 2019, 3:04 pm

Barcelona v Valencia: La Liga – live!

The Guardian

Valencia arrive at the Camp Nou in a state of turmoil after their owner, Peter Lim, decided to axe head coach Marcelino García Toral just days before their visit to Barcelona. Marcelino has been replaced by the former Spain Under-21s manager Albert Celades, but even against a Barcelona side on the same number of points after an equally slow start to the season, a win for Los Ches under these circumstances would appear unlikely.

Marcelino’s exit ends an ugly power struggle with Lim, but given the veteran coach had returned a level of stability to the club the fans will probably wish there had been a different victor.

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September 14th 2019, 2:31 pm

Marcus Rashford’s early penalty edges blunt Manchester United past Leicester

The Guardian

The good news for Manchester United is that they have rediscovered their winning habit. They won this game despite missing a number of key players with injury and, for that alone, Ole Gunnar Solskjær can probably accept the fact their performance never got any higher than six out of ten – lots of huffing and puffing, but none of the old panache.

Leicester certainly had enough of the ball to believe they ought to have extended United’s winless sequence to four matches. Ultimately, though, Solskjær and his players can reflect on a decent afternoon’s work bearing in mind Leicester have ambitions of their own to break into the Premier League’s top four this season.

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September 14th 2019, 12:31 pm

Norwich City v Manchester City: Premier League – live!

The Guardian

Norwich make four changes to the team named for the 2-0 defeat at West Ham. Sam Byram, Ibrahim Amadou, Kenny McLean and Alex Tetty come in for Christoph Zimmermann, Moritz Leitner, Tom Trybull and Max Aarons.

Manchester City make three changes to the side that swatted aside Brighton 4-0. Kevin De Bryune and Riyad Mahrez drop to the bench, making way for Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan. The injured Aymeric Laporte is replaced by John Stones.

Norwich City: Krul, Byram, Amadou, Godfrey, Lewis, McLean, Tettey, Emi, Stiepermann, Cantwell, Pukki.
Subs: Hanley, Heise, Drmic, Fahrmann, Srbeny, McGovern, Idah.

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Gundogan, Rodri, Silva, Bernardo Silva, Aguero, Sterling.
Subs: Bravo, Gabriel Jesus, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Mahrez, Joao Cancelo, Foden.

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September 14th 2019, 12:01 pm

Sadio Mané double gives Liverpool comeback win after Newcastle scare

The Guardian

There are days when you have to admire the ominous power in the opposition ranks and take your punishment. This was one of them for Steve Bruce. His Newcastle team were belligerent, committed and disciplined at Anfield, they even took the lead, and they were still cut apart by the brilliant precision of Liverpool’s supreme attack. All Bruce could do was smile as the Kop celebrated with their old song about his big fat head.

Sadio Mané struck twice and Mohamed Salah once as Liverpool recorded a 14th consecutive Premier League win and extended their unbeaten run to 22 league games, their longest sequence under the management of Jürgen Klopp. Both strikers were indebted to sublime assists from Roberto Firmino, who started the day on the bench as the Liverpool manager utilised his resources to telling effect. Jetro Willems’s thumping early strike for Newcastle and the hosts’ initial difficulties were long forgotten by the time Salah sealed victory for the Premier League leaders late in the second half.

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September 14th 2019, 10:24 am

Manchester United v Leicester, Wolves v Chelsea: clockwatch – live!

The Guardian

It’s an absolutely gorgeous day in London, and I hope wherever you are. Here is some blue sky in Wolverhampton:

Well, this looks intriguing. A crackerjack bounty of fixtures including two top-flight matches between members of Ye Olde Big Six and teams who fancy their chances of catching them. “There are teams that quite rightly will be competing and have ambitions to get in there, so that’s challenging for all of us,” says Frank Lampard, whose Chelsea side host Wolves. Damn straight.

The Football League will no doubt be full of fun, but it lacks a standout bingo fixture. Championship leaders Swansea host Nottingham Forest. With Huddersfield playing Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow, Stoke know they will clamber off the bottom, temporarily at least, if they get something out of their home game against sixth-placed Bristol City. Down in League Two Stevenage, who finished last season with five wins in six unbeaten games, have just dumped their manager after four defeats in seven winless matches and will hope to get back on the point bike against Carlisle.

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September 14th 2019, 8:57 am

Taking on England at the Rugby World Cup is strange for me – but USA are ready | Will Hooley

The Guardian

Will Hooley was brought through the youth ranks with England but now relishes joining his ‘rugby family’ on the biggest stage

It’s 2005 and the camera is glaring in my face. I’m 11 years old and taking part in CBBC’s Jonny’s Hotshots, about to meet my rugby hero and England World Cup winner, Jonny Wilkinson. I was that kid who watched every World Cup game. I admired the likes of Jonah Lomu in 1999, relished the pace of Takudzwa Ngwenya in 2007 and applauded the masterclass of Dan Carter in 2015. Every tournament has its iconic moments and performers but, at the tender age of nine, it was Wilkinson’s drop goal in 2003 that inspired me to want to be a rugby player and to go to a World Cup. And now here I am, preparing to play in the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. It’s an extraordinary feeling.

Dreams, for many of us, are about to become reality. Pride is running deep through my family, such is the honour of representing the USA on the world’s biggest stage. For me the memories of watching England at World Cups come to a stop. “They” have now become the opponent. Friends I have played with or against now become the enemy. God Save the Queen is now the Star Spangled Banner.

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September 14th 2019, 8:26 am

'Nine surgeries, 20 concussions': Rob Gronkowski reflects on toll of NFL career

The Guardian

Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who announced his retirement in March, said in an interview that he absorbed about 20 concussions in a lifetime on the gridiron.

Gronkowski, 30, told CBS News correspondent Reena Ninan that he would only allow a future son to play football after educating him about the suffering he endured during nearly a decade in the trenches.

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September 14th 2019, 6:57 am

Ashes 2019: England v Australia, fifth Test day three – live!

The Guardian

15th over: England 45-0 (Denly 24, Burns 16) Another win from Denly against Lyon, dancing successfully for a third time in two overs, slotting him through extra cover for another boundary. It convinces the spinner to jump to a more defensive setting around the wicket. England’s openers in very good nick here, Paine’s change bowlers both under pressure. They cannot throw it away.

14th over: England 41-0 (Denly 20, Burns 16) An important day too for Siddle, who wasn’t able to dry up the runs on the first day. That’s pretty much his job description; Paine needs him today. Burns keeps the board ticking with one to square leg straight away. Siddle is right on the mark to the right-hander, finding the inside edge from a good length then cramping him up on middle stump. A fine response from the opener though, pushing through point across the square for a risk-free three. Burns defends the final ball from around the wicket.

“Hammond’s 905 (11th over) won’t be reachable after Australia knock England over for 125,” says Mac Millings. Usually, I’d agree with that. But maybe, just maybe, today they put in a shift? From a statistical perspective, that’s what I want, leaving Smith as many runs as possible for his inevitable (and first) fourth-innings ton.

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September 14th 2019, 6:57 am

History makers: the origins of Japan’s 150-year love affair with rugby

The Guardian

Japan has been enjoying rugby long before the World Cup arrives on its shores but its history is blurred by urban myths

On 31 March 2016, an urgent call went out from the president of the rugby section of the Yokohama Country & Athletic Club. The guest speaker at a gala dinner at the club planned for 2 April had pulled out and a replacement was needed. The problem was this was no ordinary dinner. It was the centrepiece of a weekend celebrating 150 years of rugby in Japan, which arrived in the country five years before the creation of the Rugby Football Union.

More of the emergency stand-in later but fast forward to last week as Japan kickstarted its buildup to the World Cup with the unveiling of a memorial plaque in Yokohama’s Chinatown area, close to where the then Yokohama Foot Ball Club held its first meeting.

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September 14th 2019, 6:57 am

Liverpool v Newcastle United: Premier League – live!

The Guardian

A view inside the changing room. This is the home team’s inner sanctum. It’s a bit busy, isn’t it? Sensory overload. It’s on-brand, if nothing else. But this picture does allow us to exclusively reveal that Liverpool will be playing today in red shirts. Newcastle, sources close to the club have intimated, will wear black and white.

Liverpool make two changes from the Burnley game a fortnight ago. Roberto Firmino and Jordan Henderson are encouraged to rest on the bench, recovering from their recent efforts for Brazil and England. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, making his 50th appearance for the club, and Divock Origi step up.

Newcastle make just one change from their last game against Watford. Jonjo Shelvey returns to Anfield, replacing the injured Sean Longstaff.

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September 14th 2019, 6:57 am

Serena Williams won't break Margaret Court's record - and that's OK

The Guardian

She is the greatest women’s tennis player of all time and deep down even her biggest critics know it. Wanting it to be beyond any plausible argument is merely completism

Anyone who’s followed the women’s tennis tour closely over the last year wasn’t too surprised when Serena Williams came up short in the US Open final against Canadian ingenue Bianca Andreescu in her latest bid to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 major singles titles. The only question entering Saturday’s match, same as last year’s championship showdown against Naomi Osaka, was whether a wildly talented youngster in her first grand slam final could hold her nerve against a champion twice her age. And, same as last year, it wasn’t long before it was obvious Andreescu could.

Williams, who has won grand slams in her teens (one), 20s (12) and 30s (10, a record), but has been stuck on 23 titles – one behind Court – since the 2017 Australian Open, has reached the final in four of the seven majors that she’s entered since coming back from the birth of her daughter, failing to win a set in any of them. She turns 38 at the end of the month and is no longer so far ahead of the pack that another title feels inevitable. This is how sports work.

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September 13th 2019, 8:04 pm

Antonio Brown set for New England Patriots debut despite rape lawsuit

The Guardian

Antonio Brown is eligible to play Sunday when the New England Patriots visit the Miami Dolphins.

Brown, the subject of a civil suit by his former trainer alleging rape and sexual assault, was under consideration for the Commissioner’s Exempt List, according to USA Today. But commissioner Roger Goodell will not enact his authority in the matter at this time.

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September 13th 2019, 8:04 pm

Héber: from partnering Firmino in Brazil to replacing David Villa in NYC

The Guardian

Heber played alongside ‘Alberto’ Firmino in his teens before spells in Armenia and Croatia earned him a move to New York

By Joshua Law for Yellow & Green Football

Héber didn’t have to think twice. He had received a phone call from Srecko Juricic, sporting director of Croatian club HNK Rijeka, who told him that New York City FC were preparing to make a bid. “I said I’d go,” recalls the Brazilian forward. “The scout from New York City went to Rijeka and showed me the project. It was an easy decision.” Six months on, it is not one he regrets. Héber has scored 14 goals in 17 starts in MLS, including a spectacular late winner against local rivals New York Red Bulls in August, and confirmed himself as this season’s breakthrough star.

Héber’s move to the US is is just the latest step in a winding and sometimes difficult career that has taken him from the Amazon to New York via the Brazilian lower leagues and the outer reaches of European football. He seems delighted with his new club. “The league is really good, the infrastructure is great, the stadium is always full,” he says.

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September 13th 2019, 8:04 pm

Canelo Álvarez scaling two weight classes in bid for Sergey Kovalev's title

The Guardian

Canelo Álvarez will move up two weight classes to challenge Sergey Kovalev for the WBO light heavyweight championship on 2 November at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the Mexican boxer announced on Friday.

Álvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs), who is coming off a close but uncontroversial points win over Daniel Jacobs in a middleweight championship unification fight on Cinco de Mayo weekend, will take aim at a world title in a fourth division after negotiations for a much-anticipated third fight with nemesis Gennady Golovkin fell through.

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September 13th 2019, 8:04 pm

Australia fume after Fiba Basketball World Cup double-overtime defeat to Spain

The Guardian

Andrew Bogut will likely be investigated for a foul-mouthed post-game spray while Boomers assistant coach Luc Longley was also fuming after the Europeans beat Australia 95-88 in a double overtime World Cup semi-final heartbreaker.

Spain trailed by 11 against the Boomers in Beijing but, just like in the Rio Olympic bronze medal game three years ago, rallied and went ahead courtesy of a dubious foul – on Bogut – in the final seconds.

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September 13th 2019, 8:04 pm

Tampa Bay Buccaneers use goal-line stand to stuff Carolina Panthers

The Guardian

When Cam Newton left the shotgun and began creeping toward the line of scrimmage, Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves knew exactly what was coming.

The Bucs sniffed out a fourth-and-one play from the two-yard line with Hargreaves shoving Christian McCaffrey out of bounds with 1:22 left to preserve a 20-14 win over the Carolina Panthers and cap off a terrific defensive performance on Thursday night.

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September 13th 2019, 8:04 pm

Cristiano Ronaldo can draw line under superstar era with international record | Barney Ronay

The Guardian

Cristiano Ronaldo has Ali Daei’s unheralded milestone in sight, which would suitably crown a unique type of brilliance

Famously, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il only ever played one game of golf. In 1994 state media reported Kim had picked up a club for the first time at the country’s only golf course. Happily he took to the sport instantly, completing his debut round in a world-record 38 under par with 11 holes in one. At which point he announced he was retiring from golf and would never play again.

It is of course a terrible blow for golf to lose such a talent, and tantalising to imagine just how good the Supreme Commander Of The People’s Army could have become. Worse, there is no recording of the round, just the sworn testimony of his 17 bodyguards that it definitely, like, happened. Plus of course Kim had a wide brief of other interests to cram in, among these composing six full opera scores, all of which are, according to state records, “better than any other in history”.

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September 13th 2019, 8:04 pm

Federal officials investigate sex abuse in US Olympic organizations

The Guardian

Federal investigators are looking into the way the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee and national governing bodies of Olympic sports handled sex-abuse allegations, people with knowledge of the investigations told the Associated Press on Friday.

The investigations, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, come in the aftermath of the Larry Nassar sex-abuse cases that led to massive turnover at USA Gymnastics and the USOPC. The Journal, citing people familiar with the investigations, reported that the investigation were wide-ranging and involved grand jury subpoenas that were sent to the USOPC and the US Center for SafeSport – the organization formed in 2017 to handle sex-abuse cases in the Olympic world.

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September 13th 2019, 8:04 pm

Belichick ensures everything with the Patriots is always different. Except winning

The Guardian

The most fearsome franchise in US sports won it all again last year – and, based on early evidence, they’ve somehow managed to improve

Another year, another week, another big win for the Patriots. It doesn’t matter if the coaching staff is ripped apart, or if the greatest tight end to ever play the game walks away before he even turns 30, or if big-time contributors from last year’s championship team leave during free agency, or if the quarterback is 42 bleeping years old. If it weren’t so thrilling, it would be exhausting.

Sometimes the Patriots start slowly. They can be sluggish through the early months of the season. Bill Belichick likes to experiment, always with an eye towards December and January: he’s not playing for October. But sometimes everything slots perfectly into place. His teams coalesce into a juggernaut from the get go. After their 33-3 thumping of the Steelers on the opening Sunday of the 2019 season, it looks like it will be the latter.

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September 13th 2019, 8:04 pm

Jadon Sancho the difference as blunders mar England’s 5-3 win against Kosovo

The Guardian

It was a wild and eccentric evening and, for Gareth Southgate, a mix of satisfaction and confusion. His players had scored five times in the first half, yet how could he be entirely happy when it was difficult to remember the last time England’s defence appeared so accident-prone? Or another game, certainly in their recent past, when they have sieved so many poor goals?

The bottom line, taking the positive view, is that England won again at the top of Group A and that means they will pass the 10-year mark since the last time they lost a qualifying match, against Ukraine in October 2009. Jadon Sancho celebrated his first international goals, Raheem Sterling maintained his sparkling form and Harry Kane enhanced his scoring statistics again. Kane is now level with Bryan Robson in the list of all-time England scorers, with 26 goals, though he passed up the chance to catch David Platt in 12th position when his second-half penalty was saved – and that in itself was a measure of how England produced the unexpected at times.

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September 10th 2019, 5:22 pm

England v Kosovo: Euro 2020 qualifier – live!

The Guardian

Meet tonight’s opponents. Kosovo face England for the first time in their history this evening. They make two changes to the side named against the Czechs, with Florent Muslija and Valon Berisha stepping up. Goalkeeper Arijanet Muric, on loan at Nottingham Forest from Manchester City, and Huddersfield defender Florent Hadergjonaj both start.

Related: Kosovo's dream team is ready to inspire a more hopeful future | Nick Ames

No surprises there. England boss Gareth Southgate makes three changes to the team that swatted Bulgaria aside on Saturday. Jadon Sancho comes in for Marcus Rashford up front, while the full backs are rotated: Trent Alexander-Arnold replaces Kieran Trippier, while Danny Rose makes way for Ben Chilwell. James Maddison and Tyrone Mings sit on the bench, hoping to make their debuts tonight.

Related: Tyrone Mings targets St Mary’s as ‘fitting’ venue for England debut

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September 10th 2019, 2:03 pm

'Some days I hate the NBA': Kevin Durant reflects on relationship with basketball

The Guardian

Kevin Durant, one of the NBA’s best – and most polarizing – players has spoken about his ambivalent feelings towards the league.

The 30-year-old left the Golden State Warriors this summer after his attempts to lead them to a third successive NBA title ended in a ruptured achilles that is likely to see him sidelined for the entirety of the new season. But it is the end of his time with the Oklahoma City Thunder that was most on his mind in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Tuesday.

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September 10th 2019, 1:04 pm

California passes bill that would allow college players to make money

The Guardian

The California assembly has passed legislation to let student athletes make money, setting up a confrontation with the college sports’ governing body, the NCAA, that could jeopardize the athletic futures of programs at sporting powerhouses in the state, such as USC, UCLA and Stanford.

The bill would let college athletes hire agents and be paid for the use of their name, image or likeness. And it would stop universities and the NCAA from banning athletes who take the money. It would not, however, require colleges to pay athletes a salary.

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September 10th 2019, 12:03 pm

Emile Heskey: ‘I was on the floor and started crying. Then I found a barber’ | Jamie Jackson

The Guardian

The former England striker talks about homesickness in Liverpool, falling asleep during Gérard Houllier’s meetings and picks his favourite player from the ‘golden generation’

Emile Heskey exudes a Zen-like calm whether discussing criticism of his goalscoring or recalling crying. The former Liverpool and England striker is at the Alderley Hotel in Cheshire to discuss his new book, Even Heskey Scored. The title was chosen because, he laughs, this is “what everyone said”.

Yet if his career numbers are low for someone who played most of his career as a No 9 – seven goals from 62 caps, 110 in 516 Premier League games – his 53 assists in the top flight is a clue to his real worth. The figure stands at only two fewer than the vaunted master-creator Paul Scholes. And when Heskey’s seventh place in the all-time appearance chart is factored in, alongside a 21-year, seven-club career that ran from 1995 to 2016 and took in Leicester City, Liverpool, Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic, Aston Villa, Newcastle Jets, and Bolton Wanderers, there is further evidence of why he was so successful.

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September 10th 2019, 12:03 pm

Iranian female football fan who self-immolated outside court dies

The Guardian

Death of Sahar Khodayari, facing prison for trying to enter stadium, provokes outcry

An Iranian female football fan has died a week after setting herself on fire outside a courtroom, after learning she may face six months in prison for trying to enter a stadium, a news agency reported on Tuesday.

Sahar Khodayari’s death immediately ignited an outcry in Iran, where women are banned from football stadiums, although they are allowed to watch some other sports, such as volleyball.

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September 10th 2019, 10:32 am

Football appears too self-important to bother itself about climate emergency | Louise Taylor

The Guardian

Choosing to stage Euro 2020 in 12 different countries is a decision that seems to be lacking in common sense

Imagine a series of outline maps spanning England, Europe and, perhaps even, the world. They feature clearly highlighted contours and country boundaries but the neatly printed place names that customarily adorn atlases and globes are missing.

It is safe to assume that, asked to fill in the blanks and pinpoint specific towns and cities, a lot of people might make some embarrassingly bad guesses. But what price football fans proving the geographically literate exceptions?

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September 10th 2019, 7:30 am

Football transfer rumours: Kosovo striker on Tottenham's radar?

The Guardian

Today’s fluff is sleep deprived

Having made excitable noises all summer about how lovely life would be in Spain at a big club like, say, Real Madrid, Christian Eriksen could be forgiven for feeling a bit down in the dumps as he continues to ply his trade under the slate grey skies of north London. But, if he can hang on just one more season, it looks like the sparky Tottenham playmaker’s Spanish dream could come true. You see, it says here that Madrid would rather save themselves bucketloads of cash by allowing Eriksen’s contract to run down and nab him on a free transfer on 1 July 2020.

It would still make little sense, mind, given they already have Eden Hazard around to provide some creative juice in the No 10 role but we’re talking about Madrid here, who once bought a very different type of Dane, Thomas Gravesen, to add unnecessary mayhem to their midfield. Getting Eriksen on a free would be the financially sound thing to do, though, the kind of prudent approach you wouldn’t normally expect from Los bombastic Blancos.

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September 10th 2019, 7:30 am

Vettel's errors show he needs to regroup as Ferrari prevail at home | Giles Richards

The Guardian

Struggles look ominous for Ferrari leader as teammate Charles Leclerc went past him in the F1 drivers’ championship

His title hopes long gone, after a disastrous race in Monza, Sebastian Vettel now faces a battle just to beat his teammate. Charles Leclerc’s win put him ahead of the German into fourth. Vettel’s problem is that his touch seems to have deserted him. Much was rightly made of his unsafe return to the track but Vettel’s long-term issue was illustrated by the spin that precipitated it. The unforced error in losing the rear at Ascari was yet another mistake to add to the others that have increasingly blighted his performances.

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September 10th 2019, 6:59 am

Is MLS blessed with brilliant attackers ... or terrible defenders?

The Guardian

Goals are up this season in MLS and players such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic are thriving. But are they just feasting on easy pickings?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s 50th game in Major League Soccer came earlier this month. The LA Galaxy suffered a soul-crushing 4-3 defeat to the Seattle Sounders, conceding in the 89th minute, but not before their Swedish frontman had contributed a goal and an assist, bringing his tally in his first 50 league appearances to 55 combined goals and assists.

Ordinarily, this would be an unprecedented achievement, but Ibrahimovic’s productivity had already been all but matched by Josef Martinez and Carlos Vela who both managed 54 combined goals and assists in their first 50 MLS games. These are three very different players playing for three different teams, but as a trio they are setting a new standard.

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September 10th 2019, 4:43 am

Lutz's monster field goal sends Saints to last-gasp win over Texans

The Guardian

Wil Lutz made a 58-yard field goal as time expired to lift the New Orleans Saints to a 30-28 victory over the Houston Texans on Monday night in a game that had three scoring plays in the final minute.

58 YARDS.
ICE IN HIS VEINS.
WIL. LUTZ. pic.twitter.com/3za5pOsr2W

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September 9th 2019, 11:39 pm

‘Warrior’ Andy Ruiz Jr expects ‘same result’ from Anthony Joshua rematch

The Guardian

The Mexican shocked with his victory in June and says there will be ‘no friends’ and ‘no respect’ when the pair meet again

Andy Ruiz Jr knows. Knows people sneer that he got lucky in June when his left fist clattered into Anthony Joshua’s temple like a wrecking ball, discombobulating not only his opponent but the millions watching. Knows that many in the trade believe he has got lazy since becoming the first Mexican to win a world heavyweight title. Knows, too, that most expect his Cinderella reign to end as abruptly as Buster Douglas’s did after he shocked Mike Tyson.

But as Ruiz begins training camp for his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight rematch against Joshua in Saudi Arabia on 7 December, he insists he is even hungrier now. “I’m still a nice guy,” he says. “I still respect Anthony Joshua. I’m still a fan of what he has done in boxing. But inside the ring, as I’ve told him, there’s no friends, there’s no respect, it’s just me and you, trying to rip each other’s face off. In my eyes, when I’m in the ring I feel he’s there trying to take my kids’ Cheerios, their fruit juice. That’s what gives me the extra motivation.”

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September 9th 2019, 6:05 pm

Northern Ireland battle but Germany’s Halstenberg and Gnabry strike

The Guardian

Out of the jaws of a major predicament and national questioning, Germany appear to be back in business. Joachim Löw’s side recovered from the shock defeat on Friday by the Netherlands in Hamburg to carve out a slender victory against a luckless Northern Ireland, now dislodged from the summit of Group C. Marcel Halstenberg fired home the killer goal three minutes into the second half, before Serge Gnabry added a clincher in added time.

Northern Ireland’s urgency was, at times, tremendous. Conor Washington went close to putting them ahead on a couple of occasions but such bright moments only proved to be symptomatic of their own frustration.

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September 9th 2019, 5:05 pm

US Open win shows hard-working Rafa Nadal is not finished yet | Kevin Mitchell

The Guardian

Admirable Spaniard has always played in Roger Federer’s long shadow but he is still capable of generating his own light

Rafa Nadal has never taken his talent for granted. Of the three players who have defined his era, he is the most humble. So, as he stands on the verge of surpassing Roger Federer’s 20 majors and drawing away from the 16 owned by Novak Djokovic, he knows that beating one of the hunting pack, Daniil Medvedev, to win his fourth US Open was significant in more ways than one.

Sunday’s teeth-grinding five‑setter, which he could have ended way before its eventual four hours and 50 minutes duration, proved to everyone – including the winner – that, at 33, he has the will to continue.

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September 9th 2019, 4:05 pm

Primoz Roglic moves clear as Jakob Fuglsang wins Vuelta a España stage

The Guardian

Primoz Roglic tightened his grip on the Vuelta a España, while Jakob Fuglsang earned a solo triumph in stage 16 on Monday.

Related: Dylan Groenewegen wins another Tour of Britain stage but Trentin leads

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September 9th 2019, 3:05 pm

Euro 2020 qualifying: Northern Ireland v Germany, Scotland v Belgium and more – live!

The Guardian

Northern Ireland top Group C after taking maximum points from their opening four matches and are yet to taste defeat this year, though the reality is they have not faced opposition as formidable as Germany since November. Under Michael O’Neill, they have made a habit of making life difficult and inflicting the odd upset or two, making light work of Norway and Czech Republic since reaching the round of 16 at the last Euros. Also in action are Scotland, where the mood is considerably gloomier given Steve Clarke’s side have the unenviable task of entertaining, according to the Fifa rankings, the best nation on the planet. The grimmer news for Scotland? Belgium have won their past five meetings without conceding a goal. “We have to be defensively organised, but you also have to have a threat,” Clarke said. “There’s no point thinking we can camp down for 97 minutes.”

Avoiding defeat at Windsor Park would go some way to helping Northern Ireland secure a qualification spot ahead of the Netherlands, who overcame Joachim Löw’s side last time out. “We are in a group of three with Holland and Germany, which is a nice play to be,” said O’Neill. A bout of flu has bogged down some of the German camp, with Ilkay Gündogan among those missing for what, on the face of it, is an intriguing tie. “Northern Ireland are amazingly robust, they play a lot of long balls,” Löw said. “They will sit deeper and we will not have much space, so we need to think of something tactically.” The captain, Manuel Neuer, added: “It is not ideal for us to be playing an away game in Belfast right now. They have won all their games so far and it is always difficult to score goals against such opponents.” So, is there any stopping this Northern Ireland side? We will soon find out.

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September 9th 2019, 2:05 pm

US Open talking points: big three chase history as Andreescu amazes | Tumaini Carayol

The Guardian

Medvedev is waiting in the wings, but it’s still all to play for between Djokovic, Federer and Nadal, while a new challenger has shown the mentality Serena Williams needs to rediscover

Novak Djokovic arrived in New York with a shoulder injury, then Roger Federer suffered a stiff neck against Grigor Dimitrov. No matter. Rafael Nadal was there to represent the big three and to take his 19th grand slam title, putting him one behind Federer. So much is on the line in these last years of their careers and each final seems to be laced with more historical significance than before. Had Nadal finished off Federer in the 2017 Australian Open final, he would already be the leader. Had Federer won one more point against Djokovic this summer at Wimbledon, he would have fended off his two rivals for just a little longer. In the end, none of this matters. They have faced each other so frequently over the past 14 years that by now, everyone already knows who they consider the best and no outcome will change minds. But it sure makes for a good story.

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September 9th 2019, 12:14 pm

USA beat Brazil to reach 2020 Olympics and Fiba World Cup quarter-finals

The Guardian

The first mission for Team USA is complete: the Americans are going to the Tokyo Olympics. And now the Fiba World Cup quarter-finals await.

Kemba Walker and Myles Turner each scored 16 points, and the Americans earned a top seed for the quarter-finals by beating Brazil 89-73 on Monday in the final second-round game of the tournament.

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September 9th 2019, 12:14 pm

Typhoon leaves England stranded at airport amid World Cup travel chaos

The Guardian

England’s World Cup quest got off to an inauspicious start amid the chaotic fallout from Typhoon Faxai, with the squad stranded at Narita International Airport for five hours.

Related: Eddie Jones leaves no stone unturned in preparation for the unexpected | Robert Kitson

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September 9th 2019, 10:00 am

Rafael Nadal cherishes moment at US Open as clock ticks on golden career | Tumaini Carayol

The Guardian

The veteran was emotional after winning his fourth title at Flushing Meadows and knows that, at 33, his time may soon be up

Moments after one of the great grand slam finals of his career, Rafael Nadal sat exhausted in his seat as endorphins and adrenaline coursed through his body. Overhead on the big screen of Arthur Ashe Stadium, footage of all 19 of his triumphs played out one by one. The Spaniard stared upwards and thought of all the obstacles and injuries he had overcome, and then he wept.

Nadal’s fourth US Open title marks another crowning achievement to an incredible year. He is now 27-1 in his last five events, with titles in Rome, Roland Garros, Montreal and New York, and is now the frontrunner to finish the year as world No 1.

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September 9th 2019, 9:30 am

Football transfer rumours: Luís and Skriniar to Manchester City?

The Guardian

These rumours will turn if you want to

Despite recruiting midfield bulwark Rodri for a club record £62.8m in July, Pep Guardiola may renew his interest in Benfica’s Florentino Luís. The Lisbon-born 20-year-old has a €60m release clause in his contract and was previously linked with a move to the Etihad Stadium in April. With Aymeric Laporte facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines recovering from the knee injury he suffered against Brighton, Pep may make another move for Inter defender Milan Skriniar in January. His initial advances for the Slovakian 24-year-old were rebuffed by the Serie A side this summer.

Related: Watford sack Javi Gracia and reappoint Quique Sánchez Flores

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September 9th 2019, 7:24 am

The Dolphins are built to lose. And it looks like their players hate it

The Guardian

Miami are taking a leaf from the Cleveland Browns’ playbook and are building for the future. But some of their players are understandably annoyed

Week one of Miami’s 2019 Tankapalooza was either a rousing success or an epic fail, depending on your perspective.

The Dolphins were hammered by the Baltimore Ravens 59-10 in their season opener. It is hard to be this bad. The Ravens racked up 643 total yards, with the Dolphins gifting 64 of them on nine penalties. In a two-decade franchise run of stanky football, this was the stankiest.

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September 9th 2019, 4:26 am

New season, same Patriots: New England crush Steelers on Sunday Night Football

The Guardian

The New England Patriots trolled the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday and then blew them out Sunday night.

A day after the acquiring former Steelers malcontent Antonio Brown, the defending Super Bowl champions showed they might not even need him, getting 341 yards and three touchdown passes from 42-year-old Tom Brady to beat Pittsburgh 33-3.

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September 9th 2019, 12:21 am

Lewis Hamilton wants a ‘talk’ with Leclerc after Monza F1 incident

The Guardian

• Hamilton squeezed by Ferrari driver in Italian Grand Prix
• ‘There was a rule put in place, and it wasn’t abided by’

Lewis Hamilton has called for consistency in penalty decision-making in Formula One, after he felt Charles Leclerc had not obeyed the rules during his victory at the Italian Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver insisted Leclerc, who took his second win for Ferrari at Monza, had deserved the success but also said he may speak to the Monegasque driver in private about what had happened on track.

Related: Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc delights Italian F1 GP crowd with Monza win

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September 8th 2019, 11:37 pm

Rafael Nadal beats Daniil Medvedev in US Open final to claim 19th major title

The Guardian

In a final that had pretty much everything, Rafael Nadal turned back the challenge of the dazzling young Russian, Daniil Medvedev, in five sets here on Sunday night to win his fourth US Open and edge to within one slam of Roger Federer’s collection of 20.

But what a struggle it was. Medvedev, in his first grand slam final and not having won a five-setter in four attempts, announced his arrival with a performance of the highest daring; Nadal, the king of long-haul tennis, sent the message that, at 33, there is life in his legs and his heart yet.

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September 8th 2019, 11:37 pm

NFL round-up: Jackson torches Dolphins, Mahomes still brilliant and Browns stutter

The Guardian

Nine minutes into the season, Lamar Jackson had fans booing his hometown team. The south Florida native looked unstoppable from the start on Sunday, and tied a franchise record with five touchdown passes to help the Baltimore Ravens humiliate the Miami Dolphins and rookie coach Brian Flores, 59-10.

The Ravens set a franchise record for points in the first half, and an NFL record for points in the first half of an opener, taking a 42-10 lead at the break. They broke franchise marks for points and total yards with 643.

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September 8th 2019, 5:01 pm

US Open men's final: Rafael Nadal v Daniil Medvedev – live!

The Guardian

Bryan will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s Kevin Mitchell on today’s final:

Not for the first time, John McEnroe stirred the game into debate when he asserted that Roger Federer may finish his career with fewer grand slam titles than Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. “Who would have thought that possible?” the walking quote asked on air shortly before Nadal stilled the robust challenge of the 23-year-old Italian Matteo Berrettini on Friday night to reach the final of the US Open for the fifth time, against Daniil Medvedev on Sunday.

The Spaniard has won three of his 18 majors on this court, Federer has won five of his 20 here – in a row, the last of them 11 years ago – and Djokovic, the world No 1, has lifted three of 16 at Flushing Meadows. Federer and Djokovic have left town: the Swiss spent and hurting with a bad back, the Serb forced to quit with a shoulder injury.

Related: Rafael Nadal wary of in-form Daniil Medvedev in race for ultimate prize | Kevin Mitchell

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September 8th 2019, 3:17 pm

Bianca Andreescu sees a remarkable vision come true at US Open | Tumaini Carayol

The Guardian

The Canadian teenager capped a meteoric rise this year with victory over Serena Williams in the final at Flushing Meadows

Before every tournament she plays and every move she makes, Bianca Andreescu sits down, closes her eyes and visualises exactly how the results will end in her favour. It has become one of the keys to her success, something she never fails to mention as people continue their attempts to make sense of one of the most astonishing breakthroughs in recent years, which culminated in the 19-year-old’s 6-3, 7-5 win against Serena Williams in the US Open final on Saturday.

Such is the Romanian-Canadian’s commitment to thinking and speaking her successes into existence, she celebrated her triumph at the Orange Bowl in 2015, one of the most prestigious junior tournaments in the world, by writing herself a replica US Open prize-money cheque. Each year, she would update the cheque in line with the yearly prize money hike, refreshing her motivation for another season ahead. After she finally held the real thing, all $3,850,000 of it, she thought back to four years earlier and cried.

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September 8th 2019, 3:00 pm

Euro 2020 qualifying: Sweden v Norway, Finland v Italy and more – live!

The Guardian

Finland Hradecky; Vaisanen, Toivio, Arajuuri, Uronen; Lod, Lappalainen, Kamara, Granlund; Pukki, Schuller.
Italy: Donnarumma; Izzo, Bonucci, Acerbi, Emerson; Barella, Jorginho, Sensi; Chiesa, Immobile, Pellegrini.

Greece: Barkas; Bakakis, Manolas, Papastathopoulos, Tsimikas; Samaris, Bouchalakis; Fetfatzidis, Vrousai, Masouras; Koulouris
Liechtenstein: Büchel; Rechsteiner, Malin, Kaufmann, Goppel; Büchel, Meier, Hasler, Wieser, Salanovic; Gubser

Roll up, roll up! Thought this would be a pleasantly football-free Sunday? I’m afraid not. Because if you somehow managed to miss the quartet of edge-of-the-seat Euro 2020 qualifiers this afternoon (sample scoreline: Georgia nil, Denmark nil), there remains another four such matches to take us through the evening.

There could be goals galore in Helsinki, where the visit of Italy brings together two of qualifying round’s tightest defences. No, really: both sides are spearheaded by one of Europe’s more in-form strikers: Norwich sharpshooter Teemu Pukki has scored four in three for Finland, five in four for his club, while Andrea Belotti netted twice against Armenia on Thursday and is averaging a goal a game for Torino this season.

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September 8th 2019, 2:26 pm

Australia retain the Ashes after England fail to save fourth Test at Old Trafford

The Guardian

• Australia 497-8dec & 186-6dec; England 301 & 197
• Tourists take 2-1 lead with one Test to play

Australia have retained the Ashes after beating England by 185 runs in the fourth Test, meaning that they have an unassailable 2-1 series lead going into the final Test at the Oval. The result means Australia will retain the urn for the first time since the 2002-03 tour and recorded their third Ashes victory in four meetings.

Related: Ashes 2019: England v Australia fourth Test, day five – live!

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September 8th 2019, 2:16 pm

Serena Williams not giving up the fight to equal Margaret Court’s record

The Guardian

American has lost her past four slam finals but still has the fire inside to win No 24, the same as Court

If anything can lift Serena Williams to one more slam, it might be the roar of the crowd. It was as loud here on Saturday night in appreciation of her losing effort as it has been for any of her six triumphs in New York since 1999, among the 23 grand slam titles that have garlanded her career.

Related: Bianca Andreescu stuns Serena Williams to win US Open final

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September 8th 2019, 2:16 pm

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc delights Italian F1 GP crowd with Monza win

The Guardian

• Valtteri Bottas second with Lewis Hamilton third for Mercedes
• Leclerc follows up win in Belgium but Sebastian Vettel struggles

Charles Leclerc survived an onslaught from Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to win a thrilling Italian Grand Prix. Hamilton hustled Leclerc during a remarkable spell of wheel-to-wheel action at Monza – but the young Monegasque excelled to keep the world champion at bay and register his second win in as many weeks and Ferrari’s first on home soil in nine years.

With 11 laps remaining, Hamilton then made a mistake at the first corner in his pursuit of Leclerc, falling off the road and allowing Bottas, his Mercedes teammate, to take second. On fresher tyres, Bottas took over from Hamilton in his pursuit of Leclerc but crossed the line eight-tenths shy of the Ferrari star.

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September 8th 2019, 10:56 am

F1: Italian Grand Prix – live!

The Guardian

Inevitably, the Ferrari ‘home passions’ stuff is being ramped up …

Pre-race reading:

What with it being the 50th anniversary of Jackie Stewart’s famous win at the Italian grand prix, our man in Monza, Giles Richards, had a chinwag with the great driver the other day. Read what he said here:

Related: Jackie Stewart’s glorious 1969: ‘I had a fantastic team around me’

Related: Charles Leclerc on Monza pole for Ferrari as qualifying ends in farce

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September 8th 2019, 8:26 am

Inter’s Romelu Lukaku is the latest victim of ultras’ warped loyalty | Nicky Bandini

The Guardian

Racism is deep-rooted among far-right fans, as the forward discovered when his own supporters defended Cagliari abuse

Romelu Lukaku has adapted quickly to life in Serie A, scoring in his first two games for Internazionale. Sadly, he received a similarly swift introduction to some of the worst elements of Italian football culture. Targeted with monkey chants during the win at Cagliari, he was then addressed with an open letter from a group of his own club’s ultras insisting he ought not to interpret such abuse as racist.

“You have to understand that Italy is not like many other north European countries where racism is a REAL problem,” said the statement, published on Facebook by a group who occupy the second tier of the Curva Nord at Inter’s San Siro home. “In Italy we use some ‘ways’ only to ‘help our teams’ and to try to make our opponents nervous, not for racism but to mess them up.”

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September 8th 2019, 7:56 am

Charles Leclerc on Monza pole for Ferrari as qualifying ends in farce

The Guardian

• Hamilton (2nd) and most of top 10 miss out on hot lap
• Stewards reprimand Sainz, Hülkenberg and Stroll

Having long styled itself the “pinnacle of motorsport”, Formula One somehow contrived instead to reach a positively unedifying nadir during qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc delighted the tifosi by taking pole but he did so not with the dramatic theatrical flourish Monza deserves but rather by being the quickest driver in what was ultimately an ignominious farce. Yet there was little to amuse here in what was also condemned as worryingly dangerous.

Related: Jackie Stewart’s glorious 1969: ‘I had a fantastic team around me’

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September 8th 2019, 7:56 am

Ashes 2019: England v Australia fourth Test, day five – live!

The Guardian

31st over: England 78-4 (Denly 42, Stokes 1) Cummins has another right-hander to hassle with the ball that cuts back in, having got Stokes with one nicking away. Bairstow is the new batsman, and there’s a hefty appeal against him as the ball comes off his thigh pad, bounces before it reaches the cordon, and spins away to elude keeper and slip for four leg byes. Those extras don’t go against the bowler, so it’s a wicket maiden for Cummins. He gets a huge standing O from the crowd at long leg when he goes to the fence to field.

There will be no miracle! Stokes has walked! Back of a length from Cummins, the ball decked in. Stokes was trying to leave, couldn’t get the bat up out of the way, and it takes a little inside edge still in the backlift through to Tim Paine! It almost takes the corner of the toe of the bat. The Australian captain rolls across to the leg side to take the ball, then bounds up and is jubilant. Umpire Erasmus says no, but Stokes tucks his bat under his arm and goes off! The Ashes surely, surely, are gone for England as well.

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September 8th 2019, 7:56 am

Gurning lackeys, actors and presidents – tennis is in thrall to players’ box parade | Tim Lewis

The Guardian

Razzle-dazzle and tittle-tattle in the best seats enhance the wow factor but detract from on-court idiosyncrasies

When James Haskell, the former England bruiser, announced recently he was swapping the rugby pitch for the MMA octagon, he explained that an inspiration for the switch was Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. “I was only thinking during Wimbledon that I wonder what it’s like to be an individual sportsman at the highest level,” he said, “when you have to look after yourself and don’t have teammates to fall back on.”

It’s true, a court can be a lonely place. Which is probably why the top players all speak so highly of the teams behind them. No victory speech is complete without thanks for the coach, physiotherapist, psychologist, chef, stringer, clothing sponsor and a respectful genuflection to their opponent’s counterparts. The TV cameras have picked up on these relationships to ramp up the drama. An Andy Murray winner is followed inevitably by a cutaway to his wife, Kim, fist pumping or his mum, Judy, grinding her teeth and looking steely.

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September 8th 2019, 7:56 am

Rafael Nadal wary of in-form Daniil Medvedev in race for ultimate prize | Kevin Mitchell

The Guardian

Victory in the US Open final would put the Spaniard just one major title behind his great rival Roger Federer

Not for the first time, John McEnroe stirred the game into debate when he asserted that Roger Federer may finish his career with fewer grand slam titles than Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. “Who would have thought that possible?” the walking quote asked on air shortly before Nadal stilled the robust challenge of the 23-year-old Italian Matteo Berrettini on Friday night to reach the final of the US Open for the fifth time, against Daniil Medvedev on Sunday.

The Spaniard has won three of his 18 majors on this court, Federer has won five of his 20 here – in a row, the last of them 11 years ago – and Djokovic, the world No 1, has lifted three of 16 at Flushing Meadows. Federer and Djokovic have left town: the Swiss spent and hurting with a bad back, the Serb forced to quit with a shoulder injury.

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September 8th 2019, 12:03 am

Euro 2020 roundup: France find it easy after Albania anthem embarrassment

The Guardian

• 4-1 win for world champions follows Stade de France PA gaffe
• Portugal get campaign on track with 4-2 win in Serbia

A weakened France side scored four goals for the fourth time in five Euro 2020 qualifiers as the Group H leaders swept aside Albania 4-1.

Their superior goal difference in head-to-head matches with Turkey and Iceland is what is keeping the world champions in first place as all three teams are level on 12 points.

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September 7th 2019, 9:48 pm

Bianca Andreescu stuns Serena Williams to win US Open final

The Guardian

• Canadian 19-year-old holds nerve to triumph 6-3, 7-5
• Williams loses her fourth grand-slam final in a row

Serena Williams, so strong of limb and spirit, could not disguise her inner frailty when she stumbled at the tape in the US Open final, and tennis embraced another new teenage champion, Bianca Andreescu, who took an hour and 40 minutes to win 6-3, 7-5 on her grand slam final debut.

It was a match of uneven quality but festooned in unalloyed drama and much history. It also crowned the best first appearance in the tournament decider since Venus Williams lost to Martina Hingis in the 1997 final.

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September 7th 2019, 6:30 pm

Harry Kane hits hat-trick in England’s demolition of blundering Bulgaria

The Guardian

Naturally, Gareth Southgate would never be so presumptuous, three games into England’s qualifying group, to assert that his team’s participation in Euro 2020 is virtually assured. The rest of us, however, can probably start to consider it a fait accompli. An argument could even be made that they were virtually guaranteed a place as soon as the draw was made.

Their latest victory certainly left the impression that there is a drowsy inevitability about England’s progression. Harry Kane added another three goals to his portfolio, scoring the second hat-trick of his international career. England have accumulated 14 goals from three qualifiers and Raheem Sterling has scored seven times in his past seven internationals.

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September 7th 2019, 4:55 pm

Serena Williams v Bianca Andreescu: US Open women's final – live!

The Guardian

Here’s a look at how today’s finalists compare. The nearly 19 years between Andreescu and Williams is the largest age difference ever in a women’s grand slam final, eclipsing the previous mark set by 1991 US Open finalists Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles, who were born 17 years and 45 days apart.

The pair met once before at last month’s Toronto final when Williams retired with a back injury trailing 1-3 after just 19 minutes.

Hello and welcome to today’s US Open women’s final between Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu. It’s a cracker of a championship match between the six-time US Open champion, who’s bidding for a 24th major title to tie Margaret Court atop the all-time leaderboard, and the hottest young player on the WTA tour, who is aiming to become the Canadian woman to win a grand slam in the Open era and the first teenage major champion since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 US Open.

We’re a little more than a half hour from the start of today’s match. Plenty more to come between now and then!

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September 7th 2019, 3:59 pm

Oakland Raiders release star wideout Antonio Brown amid melodrama

The Guardian

The Oakland Raiders have granted disgruntled receiver Antonio Brown’s request to be released a day after he was fined for an outburst at practice toward general manager Mike Mayock.

Brown had posted on his Instagram account Saturday morning that he’s not angry but wants the “freedom” to disprove his skeptics.

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September 7th 2019, 1:13 pm

England v Bulgaria: Euro 2020 qualifier – live!

The Guardian

Gareth Southgate speaks: He tells ITV that Jesse Lingard has been sent home with some manner of illness and will not be considered for Tuesday’s game against Kosovo.

He is then asked about his decision to opt for experience over youth. “We’re always looking at training and at the opposition, to see what’s going to be needed for the game,” he says. “We have to win football matches, it’s not a case of just giving people caps. If we can blood young players as well, we’ve always tried to do that.”

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September 7th 2019, 11:53 am

Ashes 2019: England 301 all out against Australia in fourth Test, day four – live!

The Guardian

12th over: Australia 35-3 (Smith 6, Head 7) Head gets off the mark with a lofted square drive to the boundary off Archer, who moves back over the wicket in response. He is consistently over 90mph now, and an edge from Head falls just short of Stokes in the slips. The resulting single means he has one delivery at Steve Smith, the first in this innings. Smith defends it nicely.

“Afternoon Rob,” says Kim Thonger. “I incorrectly indicated to Geoff Lemon earlier that nobody in Madrid has heard of Steve Smith. We have now encountered two very nice Australians who of course HAVE heard of Steve Smith but we struck a bargain with them. We kept supplying them with red wine and didn’t talk about Brexit and in return they didn’t gloat about his batting average. Storm warning. Brace yourself Barcelona, Jimmy and Donna Dean from Perth, Western Australia are heading your way in mid-season form off their long run up!”

11th over: Australia 28-3 (Smith 6, Head 0) A short ball from Broad follows Smith and hits him on the glove. It deflects towards backward short leg, so Head sets off looking for a run. Smith sends him back, and the throw whistles past Archer, who had backed up at the bowler’s end, to the boundary. Four runs to Smith. But he’s having a really tough time against Broad, who beat him twice outside off stump during another brilliant over. He has quietly had a superb series.

“Joe Burns,” says Pete Salmon. “Sixteen Tests, four 100s, four 50s, average 40.10 (Bancroft 26.23, Harris 29.50), last Test 180 v Sri Lanka. Presumably on his couch in Queensland knocking off a last beer before bedtime... Ridiculous before the first Test, ridiculouser now, don’t you think?”

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September 7th 2019, 10:37 am

Wallabies ease past Samoa in Rugby World Cup warm-up

The Guardian

David Pocock made a successful return as the Wallabies bade farewell to Australia with a 34-15 victory over Samoa at Western Sydney Stadium on Saturday in their final match before the Rugby World Cup.

Flanker Pocock, sidelined by injury for most of the year and playing his first match since March 8, captained the home side in place of the rested Michael Hooper and managed 58 minutes before making way for fresh legs.

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September 7th 2019, 8:37 am

Juan Manuel Correa placed in induced coma one week after fatal F2 crash

The Guardian

Juan Manuel Correa, the driver seriously injured in a Formula 2 crash which killed Anthoine Hubert in Belgium last weekend, has been placed in an induced coma.

Correa is in a critical but stable condition after being diagnosed with acute respiratory distress syndrome. The Ecuador-born American broke both his legs and sustained spinal cord damage after the 160mph accident last weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.

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September 7th 2019, 7:16 am

Mexico hand sluggish USA heavy defeat in friendly

The Guardian

Javier Hernández scored after US newcomer Sergiño Dest was nutmegged in the 21st minute, Érick Gutiérrez and Uriel Antuna added late goals and Mexico mauled the United States 3-0 in a friendly on Friday night for their biggest victory margin over their rivals in a decade.

Mexico took total control of the match after an even first 20 minutes. Gutiérrez scored the second goal in the 78th, a minute after entering, following a poor clearance by US goalkeeper Zack Steffen. Antuna, another late substitute, added an 82nd-minute goal on a counterattack.

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September 6th 2019, 11:58 pm

Rafael Nadal overcomes early Berrettini resistance to reach US Open final

The Guardian

Rafael Nadal reached his fifth US Open final – and third grand slam final of the year – beating the big-serving Italian Matteo Berrettini in straight sets on Friday night. He will now start as favourite on Sunday against the game’s latest “bad boy”, Daniil Medvedev, to draw within one major of Roger Federer’s record of 20.

It took the 33-year-old Spaniard two hours and 34 minutes to humble Berrettini, 7-6, 6-4, 6-1, which probably was the examination he needed to prepare for Medvedev, the fifth seed who beat Grigor Dimitrov 7-6, 6-4, 6-3.

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September 6th 2019, 11:04 pm

US Open men's semi-final: Rafael Nadal v Matteo Berrettini – live!

The Guardian

*Nadal 1-0 Berrettini (* denotes server)

Rafa serves first. We see Berrettini’s big forehand early as he sends down a winner to pull a point back at 30-0. John McEnroe thinks he should take an example from the New York Mets, who are playing just across the road tonight, and swing for the fences (except, unlike the Mets, he should make contact). A comfortable hold for the Spaniard despite Matteo’s winner.

Berrettini has described Nadal as “the greatest fighter ever in this sport” but he has a few weapons of his own, namely his big forehand and serve. He’s sent down 66 aces at Flushing Meadows this tournament and 111 forehand winners. These two have never met on court before either, so there’s always the surprise factor. On the other hand, Rafael Nadal is Rafael Nadal.

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September 6th 2019, 7:55 pm

Serena Williams out to overcome 2018 US Open meltdown against Andreescu

The Guardian

One year on from her career low point against Naomi Osaka the former champion takes on yet another prodigy

Not since Muhammad Ali roamed boxing in the 60s and 70s has there been an individual sporting psychodrama to equal that generated by Serena Williams.

Three weeks short of her 38th birthday (which she does not celebrate because of her Jehovah’s Witness faith), Williams is hurled into another anniversary she cannot avoid when she revisits the scene of probably her most anguished experience. It is a year since the great American left Arthur Ashe Stadium in tears, a broken champion who could do little but surrender to her own frailties and the rock-solid tennis of Naomi Osaka, a teenager who would rise further then fall in the almost inevitable narrative of their sport.

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September 6th 2019, 6:53 pm

Euro 2020 qualifiers roundup: Malen and Netherlands stun Germany

The Guardian

• Netherlands claim first win in Germany in almost 17 years
• Belgium, Austria and Croatia win comfortably

Donyell Malen enjoyed a dream debut for the Netherlands after his goal helped give the Dutch their first win in Germany for almost 17 years.

The 20-year-old PSV Eindhoven forward struck 11 minutes from time in Hamburg before Georginio Wijnaldum sealed a 4-2 victory which puts Ronald Koeman’s side right back in contention in Group C qualifying for next year’s European Championship. Not since November 2002 had Holland beaten their neighbours in their own back yard. That day they enjoyed a 3-1 success thanks to goals from Patrick Kluivert, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

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September 6th 2019, 6:53 pm

US Open men's semi-final: Daniil Medvedev v Grigor Dimitrov – live!

The Guardian

Hello and welcome to our coverage of the first men’s semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer sorry Daniil Medvedev and Grigor Dimitrov.

The question at the start of the tournament was how to solve a problem like breaking the hegemony of the Big Three. Now we have two-thirds of the answer: wait for Djokovic to be cut down by a shoulder injury in the last 16 and then let the man formerly known as Baby Federer take out the actual and ailing Federer over five sets in the quarter-finals. Of course Rafael Nadal is still standing, and is looking in ominous form before his semi-final later against the brave or perhaps foolhardy Matteo Berrettini, but Medvedev or Dimitrov will have to leave that last part of the problem until another day. First they must face off for a place in their debut grand slam final.

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September 6th 2019, 3:50 pm

Brown set to play for Raiders after summer of frostbite, fallouts and fines

The Guardian

Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden said star wide receiver Antonio Brown is back with the team and is expected to play the season opener after a run-in with general manager Mike Mayock had put him in jeopardy of being suspended.

Gruden spoke briefly at the beginning of practice on Friday and said the plan is for Brown to play Monday night at home against Denver. “Antonio is back today,” Gruden said. “We’re really excited about that and ready to move on. He’s had a lot of, obviously, time to think about things and we’re happy to have him back and I know Raider Nation is excited about that, too.”

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September 6th 2019, 3:07 pm

Chester Williams, South Africa’s 1995 Rugby World Cup hero, dies aged 49

The Guardian

• Former wing suffered reported heart attack
• Williams was part of Springbok team which beat New Zealand in final

The World Cup-winning South Africa wing Chester Williams has died from a heart attack at the age of 49, South Africa Rugby has announced. Williams was the only black player in the Springboks squad as they claimed the world title in 1995. He scored four tries against Western Samoa in the quarter-finals before tasting glory in the final win over New Zealand.

The Paarl-born player represented Western Province and Golden Lions at province level, as well as Super Rugby side the Cats. After retiring in 2001 he coached the South African sevens team - known as the Blitzboks - and took in spells with the Ugandan and Tunisian national teams. He had most recently been working for the University of the Western Cape as head rugby coach.

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September 6th 2019, 2:37 pm

Euro 2020: Germany v Netherlands, Scotland and Wales in action – live!

The Guardian

Scotland’s Steve Clarke speaks, and he seems rather relaxed. “Russia are decent but we think we’re pretty decent as well,” Clarke says. “If the lads can show me what they’ve shown me in training, I’ll think we’ll be OK. We have to be positive. It is always important but we need to make sure that our front three are pushing right on and trying to get a bit of momentum in the game. It’s always key how you defend and Liam [Cooper] has got good experience, he’ll slot in there instead of Scott McKenna. Oli [McBurnie] is a young man, he had a big move in the summer and he’s determined to show everyone how good he is.”

England Under-21s are level-pegging with Turkey at half-time: Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah, who is on a season’s loan at Leeds, opened the scoring, converting Phil Foden’s low cross from close range before Dogukan Sinik equalised, slotting beyond Bournemouth’s Aaron Ramsdale. Talking of English goalkeepers ...

Related: Is English goalkeeping heading towards a golden era? | Alex Hess

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September 6th 2019, 2:37 pm

Vuelta a España: Roglic extends lead as Pogacar takes thrilling 13th stage

The Guardian

• Slovenian duo’s breakaway at summit takes victory
• Roglic now two minutes ahead in overall standings

Primoz Roglic extended his overall lead in the Vuelta a España as fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar took victory on a thrilling but brutal stage 13 in Cantabria.

Having reeled in Nairo Quintana with four kilometres to race on roads that reached up to 25% gradient, Roglic and his compatriot powered to the finish at Los Machuchos to end up almost 30 seconds ahead of his nearest rival. Alejandro Valverde.

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September 6th 2019, 12:49 pm

Ashes 2019: England v Australia fourth Test, day three, rain delay – live!

The Guardian

“England’s top order play the Slough roundabout from the original series’ opening credits,” says Mick Collins on our earlier topic. “Everyone gets a turn.” Excellent. Would you believe I took my girlfriend to Slough for a Bank Holiday last year? With Dulwich Hamlet playing there, I couldn’t help myself. Took her to Pizza Express (Beer Express) for lunch. We’re still together and she is now pregnant with our first child. Wonders truly never cease.

“I would really like some cricket,” pleads Jane Evans. “Amusing as all the OBO chat always is. It’s my birthday on Sunday. Please may I have an Australian win? I have my English brother-in-law the World Cup for his birthday in August.”

“The next Australian captain should be Marnus,” suggests Anthony Noel, “who will do a Graeme Smith and get the job early in his Test career and keep on doing it for a decade. Wonder how many English captains he’ll see off?”

I truly hope they don’t do that to him. The story of Steve Smith should be etched into the brain of board members forever.

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September 6th 2019, 7:31 am

Caster Semenya starts 'new journey' after joining football team

The Guardian

The two-time Olympic 800m gold medallist Caster Semenya appears to be preparing for a career outside of athletics after joining a women’s football club.

The 28-year-old is currently appealing against a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport which approved the IAAF’s introduction of a new testosterone limit for female athletes. The governing body introduced the rule change because it argues female athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD) - such as Semenya - have “a competitive advantage”.

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September 6th 2019, 7:31 am

Grigor Dimitrov’s US Open resurgence to be tested by fast-rising Medvedev

The Guardian

The Bulgarian’s return to form has been dramatic but his semi-final opponent has emerged from the NextGen pack as the best player outside the big three

After Grigor Dimitrov’s breathless five-set upset of Roger Federer on Tuesday night, one question stuck in the mind: has there ever been a greater turnaround in a single tournament? Twelve months ago Dimitrov stood handsomely in the top 10, yet over the following year his form turned to dust. He fell 70 spots from eighth to 78th. He struggled with shoulder injuries. Only six weeks ago at a small warm-up tournament in Atlanta, the 28-year-old lost to the 405th-ranked Kevin Kim.

Related: Rafael Nadal flexes muscles to reach semis and remain on course for fourth US Open title

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September 6th 2019, 7:31 am

Helmets don't eliminate concussions. It's time for the NFL to ditch them

The Guardian

The league’s brain trauma epidemic needs radical solutions. If recent changes aren’t protecting players then we need to rethink the game’s fundamentals

One of the dumbest storylines of the NFL preseason was Antonio Brown and his banned helmet. The whole saga stunk of a marketing ploy, a soap opera built for the Instagram age. Yet beneath all that fluff, there was a topic worthy of discussion. If the league is serious about reducing traumatic brain injuries, should players wear helmets at all?

The biggest misconception about football helmets is that they prevent concussions. They don’t. Helmets protect the skull. Concussions are caused when the brain moves inside the skull; helmets do little if anything to prevent the brain from rattling inside the skull. Helmets are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

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September 6th 2019, 5:59 am

Green Bay Packers smother Chicago Bears to take victory in NFL season opener

The Guardian

The Packers used the Bears’ usual trademark, a staunch defense, and just enough from Aaron Rodgers on Thursday night to kick off the NFL’s 100th season with a 10-3 victory over their archrivals.

A lack of action in the preseason clearly damaged both offenses, and Rodgers at times looked uncomfortable in the attack designed by new coach Matt LaFleur. But he is a two-time league MVP, and he hit Jimmy Graham in the second quarter for the only touchdown of the game.

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September 6th 2019, 1:12 am

Bianca Andreescu bears down on big points to reach first US Open final

The Guardian

Bianca Andreescu was outplayed for extended stretches on Thursday night in her US Open semi-final against Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic.

But the 15th-seeded teenager from Ontario was able to summon another level when it mattered most in a 7-6 (3), 7-5 victory at Arthur Ashe Stadium to reach the final in her first appearance at Flushing Meadows.

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September 6th 2019, 12:10 am

Serena Williams overwhelms Elina Svitolina to reach 10th US Open final

The Guardian

A spectacular sunset settled over Manhattan as Serena Williams, reluctant to embrace the evening of her own glowing career, blazed again to reach the final of the US Open, where psychic bruises from her meltdown in losing to Naomi Osaka a year ago have just about healed.

She beat the fifth seed Elina Svitolina, 6-3, 6-1, to get there, and there was palpable relief in her voice when she said courtside, “There were long games in the first set. She’s such a good player, two semis in a row. This is the biggest stadium for tennis on the whole planet, and I think of it that way. It’s such an honour for me and my opponent to play here.”

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September 5th 2019, 9:25 pm

Diego Maradona returns to coaching with Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata

The Guardian

Argentina’s Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata have confirmed Diego Maradona as their new manager. The club sit 18th in the Argentinian Superliga and are in danger of relegation. This will be Maradona’s sixth stint as a club manager and his third in Argentina’s top flight.

Maradona’s contract runs until the end of the current season. “With his last two teams, he succeeded in consolidating a clear and competitive playing style,” said the club in a statement.

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September 5th 2019, 6:37 pm

Serena Williams v Elina Svitolina: US Open women's semi-final – live!

The Guardian

Who is Elina Svitolina?

A few basic facts:

Good evening all.

Will we see another Serena Williams rout? Another Serena Williams meltdown?

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September 5th 2019, 6:37 pm

Anthony Joshua defends desert fight and points to Saudi Arabia ‘reforms’

The Guardian

• Joshua says he wanted Andy Ruiz Jr rematch in New York or UK
• ‘There’s pressure, being an ambassador for boxing’

Anthony Joshua, touching down briefly in New York, desperately wanted to return to the scene of the crime to reclaim his world heavyweight titles but he has settled instead for meeting his conqueror in Saudi Arabia, where crime takes on an altogether different meaning.

In the city where Andy Ruiz Jr stopped him in seven rounds in June, Joshua explained on Thursday why the rematch is not taking place at nearby Madison Square Garden, or Cardiff or London – and why he is comfortable going to Saudi Arabia.

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September 5th 2019, 5:51 pm

F1’s Lando Norris admits he is still shaken by death of Anthoine Hubert

The Guardian

• Frenchman Hubert died in an F2 crash in Belgium
• Norris finds it hard to reassure his family of his safety

Lando Norris has admitted that the death of Anthoine Hubert last week had an impact that still affects the McLaren driver and his family. Norris also conceded that even his confidence in reassuring his mother and father as to his safety had been shaken.

Hubert was killed in a high-speed accident during an F2 race on 31 August. Soon afterwards, Norris who is only 19 and in his rookie season in F1, said the incident had left him shaken. As he prepared for the Italian Grand Prix this weekend, he revealed how hard it had hit him and particularly his father, Adam, who attends every race.

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September 5th 2019, 3:02 pm

Australia’s Steve Smith hits double century to turn screw on England

The Guardian

Australia 497-8 dec; England 23-1
• Smith out off Jack Leach no-ball after reaching century

It is that man again. Currently he averages 147.25 in the series and the parallels with Bradman are no longer delivered with a wry grin. Steve Smith has done it again. He is never beautiful, but he is brilliant and forever mesmerising, especially during his increasingly eccentric post-delivery antics. Then he resembles one of the great mime artists as he demonstrates – very occasionally – how he has just received an excellent delivery that has beaten his outside edge or – more frequently – how he might have clipped that ball a little squarer to score four runs rather than one.

Related: Ashes 2019: England finish day two on 23-1 after Australia dominate – as it happened

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September 5th 2019, 3:02 pm

Raiders reportedly suspend Antonio Brown after 'screaming match' with GM

The Guardian

The increasingly fractious relationship between the Oakland Raiders and their star wide receiver Antonio Brown has reportedly led to an altercation between the player and the team’s general manager.

ESPN reported on Thursday that the Raiders have suspended Brown before he has even played a regular season game for the team. According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Brown became involved in a “screaming match” with Raiders GM Mike Mayock in front of the rest of the team. Although the argument did not become physical, Brown is reported to have threatened to hit Mayock before saying “fine me for that”. Rapoport says Mayock was unhappy that Brown posted a letter from the Raiders to Instagram that detailed $53,000 in fines imposed on the receiver for infractions such as missing a team training camp. In the post Brown wrote: “When your own team want to hate, but there’s no stopping me now devil is a lie. Everyone got to pay this year so we clear.”

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September 5th 2019, 2:20 pm

Euro 2020: Republic of Ireland v Switzerland, Romania v Spain – live!

The Guardian

Italy have indeed won 3-1, though it could have been better: they had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside in the last minute.

Meanwhile in Romania, the following teams have been announced for the host nation’s first meeting with Spain since Euro 1996:

Romania: Tatarusanu, Benzar, Nedelcearu, Chiriches, Grigore, Tosca, Deac, Marin, Stanciu, Puscas, Keseru. Subs: Maxim, Stefan, Anton, Bordeianu, Rus, Adrian Paun, Chipciu, Andone,
Andrei Radu, Hagi, Nita, Grozav.
Spain: Arrizabalaga, Jesus Navas, Llorente, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Fabian, Busquets, Saul, Rodrigo, Alcacer, Ceballos. Subs: De Gea, Nunez, Hermoso, Parejo, Gaya, Pau Lopez, Thiago, Carvajal, Oyarzabal, Suso, Sarabia, Rodri.

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September 5th 2019, 2:20 pm

Vuelta a España: Philippe Gilbert's Bilbao brilliance earns stage 12 win

The Guardian

Philippe Gilbert powered to victory on stage 12 of the Vuelta a España, while the race leader, Primoz Roglic, retained the red jersey.

The Deceuninck-Quick Step rider Gilbert, who was not selected for the Tour de France, broke away on the last of three steep third-category climbs before holding off the chasers during a dramatic descent into Bilbao.

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September 5th 2019, 1:29 pm

Gareth Bale says he is very happy to be called ‘the golfer’ at Real Madrid

The Guardian

• Bale says golf keeps him calmer and gives him a break
• Troubles at Madrid not the worst time of his career, he insists

Gareth Bale has admitted he is more than happy to be nicknamed the “golfer” at Real Madrid, following a comment Thibaut Courtois made about him this year, and has defended his passion for the sport he was photographed playing while his club were competing in a pre-season tournament.

The Welshman, speaking before Friday night’s Euro 2020 qualifier at home against Azerbaijan, gave the impression that he wastes no energy thinking about his critics and said that those seeking the reasons behind the bitter breakdown in relations at his club this summer “need to ask Real Madrid”.

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September 5th 2019, 12:17 pm

Fiba World Cup: USA stroll past Japan with Antetokounmpo lying in wait

The Guardian

Jaylen Brown scored 20 points, Kemba Walker added 15 and Team USA finally got to enjoy an easy night, rolling past Japan 98-45 in the Group E finale at the Fiba World Cup.

The US are accustomed to blowout wins, particularly when they have NBA players, hadn’t enjoyed one yet in six games against international competition this summer. The biggest victory margin before Thursday was 21 in the World Cup opener against the Czech Republic, and the US came into the group finale with a plus-59 scoring differential in four exhibitions and two World Cup games. This one, two days after the Americans needed late-game heroics to beat Turkey 93-92 in overtime, was drama-free.

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September 5th 2019, 10:59 am
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