Call to revamp research into sport’s links to dementia
New group led by Dr Judith Gates, wife of former player
The families of two of England’s 1966 World Cup winners, Jack Charlton and Nobby Stiles, are backing a new campaign to revamp sport’s approach to research into the links between dementia and repeated blows to the head.
The campaign is being co-ordinated by Dr Judith Gates, wife of the former Middlesborough centre-back Bill Gates, and has received the backing of Charlton’s widow, Pat, and Stiles’s son Rob and granddaughter Caitlin.
As athlete and administrator, I have seen how the Games unite people, which also means participants being politically neutral
Participating in the Olympic Games is an incredible experience for every athlete. But it is also humbling when you realise that you are part of something bigger. You are part of an event that unites the world. In the Olympic Games, we are all equal. Everyone respects the same rules, irrespective of social background, gender, race, sexual orientation or political belief.
The first time I experienced this magic was at the Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976. From the moment I moved into the Olympic Village, I could feel the Olympic spirit come alive. Living together with my fellow athletes from all over the world opened my eyes to the unifying power of sport. As athletes, we are competitors in sport, but in the Olympic Village, we all live peacefully together under one roof. Whenever Olympians meet, no matter where we are from or when we competed in the Games, this shared experience immediately becomes the topic of our conversations.
Liverpool ‘show solidarity’ with Manchester United player
‘It is a bit of a shame he has to do it but it is wonderful as well’
The Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has praised Marcus Rashford for showing the kind of leadership the UK government is failing to provide with his “absolutely incredible” campaign for free school meals. Klopp joked it was “tricky” to speak so highly of the 22-year-old England striker because he plays for arch-rivals Manchester United.
Flanker has won all the individual honours this season to put himself firmly in England contention and with a title in sight
There are three main reasons why a depleted Wasps still believe they can surprise the newly-minted European champions Exeter in this year’s Premiership final. The first is the fine run of form that has seen them lose only one of their last 13 matches. Equally significant, they feel, is the squad’s collective bond, further tightened over the past week by the club’s disruptive Covid-19 issues.
And the third? Anyone predicting last Christmas that a 23-year-old uncapped flanker from a club languishing in the league’s bottom three would scoop all of this season’s major individual honours would have been laughed out of the pub. Ten months later everyone knows about Jack Willis and English rugby has a bona fide new shooting star.
Exeter’s drive should give them edge against depleted Wasps
Wasps pack weakened in aftermath of Covid outbreak
At the end of the longest Premiership campaign on record there remains little sign of Exeter coasting towards the chequered flag. Last week’s Champions Cup success, if anything, has merely enhanced their appetite for success and Rob Baxter believes his players are ready to become only the sixth team to claim a European and domestic double.
Having kicked off this season more than 12 months ago and had their title push interrupted in the spring, Exeter are understandably keen not to waste all that hard work now. Add in the lingering memories of last year’s traumatic final defeat to Saracens and a cruelly-weakened Wasps pack, shorn of Simon McIntyre, Kieran Brookes, Brad Shields and Alfie Barbeary, and Baxter’s side will be devastated if they fall short.
Many people said Patrick Bamford was not cut out for the Premier League. Many people reckoned Aston Villa were about to climb to the top of the table for the first time in nine years. All those people were made to look idiotic as Leeds ran Villa ragged and clinched victory thanks to a wonderful hat-trick by their centre-forward. That took Bamford’s tally to the season to six goals from six league games and sent Marcelo Bielsa’s recently promoted team into third place.
Although Villa were aiming for the win that would give them the best start to a campaign in their 146-year history, the atmosphere before kick-off underlined the grimmer singularity of this season. For this was one of those matches where the absence of fans felt especially poignant. The first top-flight meeting between these two noble clubs since 2004 should have been enlivened by hollering throngs, but instead dear old Villa Park was all lit up but barren.
Darcy Graham and captain Brown score two tries apiece
Fraser Brown scored two tries on his first appearance as Scotland captain as Gregor Townsend’s side returned to action with an eight-try victory over Georgia. With Stuart Hogg aiming to complete a trophy double with the new European champions, Exeter, Brown was handed the armband on his 51st international appearance and marked the occasion by crossing twice after lineout mauls.
Georgia could not handle the driving maul and Hamish Watson and Stuart McInally both went over from the same source. Darcy Graham had opened the scoring early on and the Scotland backs weighed in as the game opened up in the latter stages.
Champions set for Super League play-offs after win
St Helens all but secured their place in the Super League play-offs after a comfortable victory against an under-strength Leeds Rhinos. With the new Challenge Cup holders only five days removed from their success at Wembley against Salford, only four of the side who played last weekend were present here for Richard Agar’s side.
The hosts were much too strong for a young, though spirited, Leeds outfit throughout, with a hat-trick for teenage centre Josh Simm among the seven tries they scored. The victory means a mathematical miracle will now deny the Saints a place in the top four; in contrast, Leeds sit just outside the play-off places following this defeat.
FA chairman initiated process and discussed breakaway threat
Suggested more big six money and was involved beyond spring
The Football Association chairman, Greg Clarke, is under increasing pressure to explain the accounts he has given about his role in the Project Big Picture proposals to reshape football, because of apparent inconsistencies with his actual degree of involvement.
Clarke set out his first, highly critical account in a public letter to the FA council on Tuesday 13 October, responding to the leak and publication of the plans in the Telegraph two days earlier. The proposals, to reserve key Premier League decisions to only nine “long term shareholder” clubs with six carrying a majority, reducing the Premier League to 18 clubs, more money for grassroots, and providing the EFL with 25% of joint Premier League and EFL net TV revenues, had been met with widespread denunciation. Clarke wrote that he had “participated in the early stages of discussions” then “discontinued his involvement” in late spring “when the principal aim of these discussions became the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a few clubs with a breakaway league mooted as a threat”.
Saturday 20 August 2011. Goals from Gabriel Agbonlahor, Emile Heskey and Darren Bent give Alex McLeish’s Aston Villa a tidy 3-1 win over Blackburn Rovers, and after two matches they find themselves top of the Premier League table. But the very next day, Manchester City win 3-2 at Bolton Wanderers, leapfrogging to the summit, and Villa have never been back there since.
They could end that long wait this evening. A draw tonight, at home to Leeds United, would be enough to send them to toppermost for the first time in nine years. However, brimful of confidence as the only team left in the Premier League with a 100 percent record, they’ll be looking for more than that. Having started with four successive wins for the first time since 1930-31, they could go one better than Pongo Waring’s old lot and make this the grand old club’s fastest start of all time.
Ireland will go top if they win by more than 10 points
‘Italy will have a shout in how we play,’ Andy Farrell said
The Ireland captain, Jonathan Sexton, has said what matters most is a victory against Italy, but unless it comes wrapped with a bonus point it will relegate their title aspirations to unlikely.
Ireland normally beat the Azzurri with something to spare in Dublin, winning by an average of almost 38 points in the past four Six Nations encounters, but if points difference comes to separate the champions from the runners-up they will need to emulate their 63-10 romp in Rome in 2017 before next week’s final round against France in Paris.
Dr David Hulse warned that Wada rules could be breached
Warning given to Richard Freeman and Sky managers in 2010
A former Team Sky doctor raised concerns in 2010 that new medical protocols introduced after a disappointing first season in professional cycling might breach World Anti-Doping Agency rules, a medical tribunal heard on Friday.
The hearing was read an email from Dr David Hulse, in which he warned Dr Richard Freeman, British Cycling head of medicine, Dr Steve Peters, and Team Sky’s senior managers that the use of multiple injections for intravenous recovery “would constitute a prohibited method”.
Algarve track offers a stunning setting for F1’s return to Portugal and one on which Mercedes drivers look the likeliest winners
The Portuguese Grand Prix, returning to the calendar after a 24-year absence, is revelling in its day in the sun. This Covid-enforced one-off race has been set on a magnificent stage; the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, nestling in the hills north of Portimão, presents a singular challenge, a test of finesse and old-school judgment that has been embraced by the drivers.
Portugal has hosted many a classic race: Niki Lauda’s title win in 1984, perhaps Ayrton Senna’s greatest performance in the wet in 1985, and Jacques Villeneuve passing Michael Schumacher the last time F1 was here in 1996 among them, but all were at Estoril. When finance dictated where F1 visited, Portimão, as the circuit is colloquially known, was never in the running but when coronavirus left the calendar in tatters and simply racing became imperative, Portugal in October made a lot of sense.
The West Ham midfielder on training in lockdown, his marathon-running mother and being called ‘the new Fellaini’
Sometimes people noticed the tall figure going through his training drills with help from his wife and young daughter. London had gone into lockdown and Tomas Soucek, who had joined West Ham at the end of January, needed to find somewhere to stay fit as he adjusted to a new reality in an unfamiliar city. “We went to Hackney Marshes, where there are 50 pitches in one place,” Soucek says. “It was incredible.”
The West Ham midfielder smiles. Lockdown brought challenges for everyone, forcing adjustments to the usual routine. For Soucek, the task was to be ready for whenever the Premier League season resumed. He did not mind being out in public. If people realised who he was, they waved. And if they happened to support West Ham, it was a chance to greet their new signing by putting their arms over their chest to make a crossed hammers sign, the club’s symbol.
Strong showings in the final stages over the weekend could secure a first Grand Tour win for the London-born Scot
In the last couple of weeks, Italian television commentators have grown to love Tao Geoghegan-Hart. It’s partly the attacking attitude which has put the 25-year-old London-born Scot in with a strong chance of becoming only the second Briton to win the Giro d’Italia, which finishes on Sunday, but it’s also his name. “Go-Go-Go Go-aghan” shouts one, with obvious love of the pun, each time the Team Ineos cyclist prepares to sprint out of the peloton.
The commentators aren’t the only ones struggling with his name. “Congratulations to the winner even if we can’t say what he is called…,” said the Twitter feed of one Italian team after Geoghegan-Hart took last Sunday’s mountain stage at Piancavallo. It was at that point, two weeks into the Italian Tour, that the young Scot – he claims the nationality through his part-Irish, part-Scottish father – first emerged as a potential race winner. Ironically enough, the two Britons who started the Giro as favourites, Geraint Thomas and Simon Yates, had earlier been ruled out of the race by, respectively, a crash and a positive Covid test.
Saturday’s meeting will be their first behind closed doors and rocky starts bring an element of fear for both clubs
Even after 118 years, 244 competitive games, 96 wins each, and 804 goals, there’s still room for something new, something different. Since Madrid CF and FC Barcelona first faced each other at the capital’s hippodrome in May 1902, tetanus jabs administered before taking the field, there have been police on the pitch, military in the dressing room and bottles in the air; streakers, protesters chained to posts, political demands and postponements; car bombs, poked eyes, broken legs and flying pigs. There have been fights too, and the finest football on the planet. What there still hasn’t been is a clásico played behind closed doors.
Track in advance talks with firms after high-profile backers quit
Racing set to continue with no crowds, including at Festival
The new season at Cheltenham opened in near-silence here on Friday, seven months after the packed stands on Gold Cup day in mid-March supplied one of the abiding images of the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic. There was no roar as the winners galloped up the hill and no acclaim as they entered the most storied winner’s enclosure in jumping, a foretaste of what seems sure to be a Festival without paying spectators next spring.
It will be a Festival without some familiar names too, as RSA and the Racing Post both dropped their long-standing sponsorships of Grade One novice chases at the meeting earlier this week. While Ian Renton, Cheltenham’s managing director, is confident that replacements sponsors will be signed up shortly, it did nothing to settle the nerves ahead of a season that promises to have as much uncertainty off the track as there is on it.
The Premier League has never seen a goal-laden start to the season like it, yet putting it all down to a lack of fans is debatable
Goals, goals, goals. 4-3. 5-2. 6-1. 7-2. Penalties. Lots and lots of penalties. In the 48 games of the season so far, the Premier League has seen 172 goals; an average of 3.58 per game. Liverpool, runaway title holders, have been thrashed 7-2 by Aston Villa, a team who avoided relegation by a tug of the shirt last time. Manchester City have shipped five at home. There were two 3-3 draws last weekend. The first 0-0 was on Monday, West Brom against Burnley. Written down that looks wrong – two wide eyes shocked at empty nets. And it was yours for £14.95 on pay-per-view TV.
The 3.79 goals per match average recorded this month is unprecedented in the modern era (all data from Nielsen’s Gracenote). The last time football in England was so prolific was in 1930-31, when an average of 3.95 goals were scored per game. 2019-20’s average was 2.9 goals. Why?
Who proved himself? Who is forever young? Who kept his eye in?
The Six Nations returns on Saturday, when Ireland play Italy in a game that was originally scheduled for early March. This is not the first time the tournament has been played so late in the year. Why were some games delayed until October in 2001?
Flights were cancelled when a volcanic eruption in Iceland caused a huge ash cloud to move across northern Europe
There was a referendum on Scottish independence in May 2001 and the British government did not want to “stoke national tension” by holding the Six Nations in the build-up to the vote
Travel was curtailed after the foot and mouth outbreak
The tournament was held later due to the timing of the Rugby World Cup that year
Which team remains unbeaten in this year’s Six Nations?
None of them
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored both goals for Milan as they beat Inter 2-1 in the derby at the weekend. No one has scored more goals in Serie A this season than Ibrahimovic. What age is he?
Scott McTominay put in a commanding performance for Manchester United against PSG. Why was it particularly impressive?
He left his boots in Manchester and had to wear a pair of mouldies instead
He played the first half “with only one eye”
He left the pitch for “a quick piss” midway through the match
He was excellent on the field and still found the headspace during half-tim to send a string of tweets that challenged the government about their education policy
Teófimo López showed the world what he can do on Saturday night, beating the all-time great boxer Vasiliy Lomachenko, who had only lost two of his previous 410 fights. López was born in Brooklyn and is based in the US, but which country did he represent at the Olympics four years ago?
There were six English teams in action in Europe this week. Which of them did not win?
Alun Wyn Jones will win his 148th international cap when he plays for Wales against France this weekend. Which other rugby union player has earned as many caps?
Lionel Messi was on the scoresheet for Barcelona in the Champions League this week, meaning he has scored in the competition for each of the last 16 seasons – every campaign since 2005-06. Who is the only other player to have scored in the Champions League in 16 different seasons?
Ruud van Nistelrooy
Borussia Mönchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram had some trouble getting past security at the San Siro before his team’s Europa League match against Milan this week. How did he convince the security guard that he was playing in the game?
He phoned his dad, Lilian Thuram, who played in Serie A for a decade and asked him to speak to the security guard
He grabbed a nearby football and did some keepie-uppies and tricks
He showed the security guard his Louis Vuitton wash bag and argued that no one other than a footballer would be silly enough to pay €1,000 for a handbag that holds deodorant and toothbrush
He Googled himself and showed the security guard his picture
Lewis Hamilton will be hoping to win his 92nd grand prix on Sunday and overtake Michael Schumacher in the all-time rankings. Where is the race? Clue: Hamilton has never won a grand prix here before.
Barcelona host Real Madrid on Saturday in the first clásico of the season. The clubs have been playing for more than a century but this will be their first game in an empty stadium. Which of the two teams has won more of their 244 competitive fixtures?
‘He would like to commit his future to the club for more time’
José Mourinho believes that Son Heung-min is ready to commit the remainder of his peak years to Tottenham. The 28-year-old forward, who has scored nine goals in his past six appearances, is under contract until June 2023 and, as such, there is no immediate urgency to tie him down for longer.
But Spurs always like to stay in control of key players’ situations and, in Mourinho’s words, it is “normal that the club tries to go from three [more years] to four or five or six” with Son.
Manager starts preparing in Germany on Tuesday for a future he will not be part of and must look beyond the old guard
In a sense the pandemic has done Phil Neville a favour by disrupting a narrative of pretty epic England decline. Defeat by the USA in the World Cup semi-finals in 2019 kicked off a disappointing seven defeats and one draw in 11 games.
The three victories featured a scrappy winner against a Portugal team currently ranked 26 places below them, a last-gasp goal from Leah Williamson against the Czech Republic and an 83rd-minute strike from Ellen White against Japan which was England’s only goal in their defence of the SheBelieves Cup in March. Neville was left with “a lot of self-reflection” after an “unacceptable” campaign in the US. However, as the squad boarded a plane home with Neville’s future being discussed in the back pages, unfolding on the front pages was likelihood of an imminent lockdown.
As F1 returns to Portugal for the first time in 24 years this weekend, we look back at five epic grands prix from the past
The Boavista street circuit in Porto hosted the first Portuguese F1 grand prix, posing a tough challenge over tramlines, drains and cobblestones, requiring bravery and finesse. It was a task made all the more tricky by a slippery track but Stirling Moss had its measure in the Vanwall. He and Mike Hawthorn, rivals for the title in this ninth of 11 meetings, tussled for the lead and swiftly opened a gap on the field. Moss was masterful past the pillar boxes and lamp posts and soon held the advantage, while Hawthorn looked to hold second with the brakes on his Ferrari not proving up to the task. A spin on the final lap almost ended his hopes. With the car stalled he leapt out to push-start it, but in doing so rejoined against the direction of the circuit and was disqualified. Moss, who had witnessed the incident, went to the officials making the case that Hawthorn had driven on the pavement not the track when he was going the wrong way. They accepted his argument and Hawthorn was allowed to keep his second place. At the end of the season Hawthorn beat Moss to the title by a single point. Moss never won the championship but his credentials as a gentleman and ambassador for fair play have never been in doubt.
The Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has torn into the club over their handling of the Lionel Messi contract situation, which resulted in the forward attempting to leave.
The criticism comes on the eve of the first clásico against Real Madrid this season and two days after the 33-year-old Pique signed a new three-year deal, with a vote of no confidence against the board also imminent.
The Dodgers outfielder can dunk, catch passes from a quarterback and bowl perfect games. Luckily for MLB, he stuck with baseball
Baseball is extraordinarily lucky to have Mookie Betts. It’s not just the fact that Betts is, once again, in the World Series and providing memorable highlights. It’s not even that baseball, trapped in a crisis partly of its own invention, was in desperate need of a player as exciting and charismatic as Betts to step up on its biggest stage. It’s also just the fact that as great as Betts is at baseball, and he’s otherworldly, we have so much evidence that he could do practically anything. He didn’t necessarily need the game.
Betts is arguably the most talented all-round athletes in America. When he is not busy making incredible game-saving catches in back-to-back playoff games, Betts happens to spend his time as a professional bowler and has rolled a perfect game (that’s 12 strikes in a row) at the World Series of Bowling. Like many gifted athletes, Betts played both baseball and basketball in high school, and his coach has said that he could have gone on to be a highly-rated point guard had he pursued the game in college. He can even dunk, which isn’t that impressive if you’re 6ft 8in like LeBron James but an incredible feat if, like Betts, you’re only 5ft 9in.
The best male players’ earning power has exploded in recent years; it’s those on fringes that must worry most about Covid-19
The gravy train has slipped into reverse for the first time in 20 years. Old cricketers are often asked when has been the best time to play the game. The stock answer is: “I’m glad I played in my era,” and the explanation generally includes: “More characters, more camaraderie, more beer, more fun … no bleep tests, no all-seeing mobile phones, no social media … and admittedly not much money.” My response, however, has generally been that this is the best time to be a professional cricketer – at least until 2019.
This cannot entirely be put down to my being a money-grabbing old curmudgeon, though there is no doubt that the modern professional cricketer at county as well as international level has been much better rewarded than those of three or four decades ago. Moreover the advent of central contracts in 2000 enabled our best cricketers to have a bit of security and, more significantly, a bit of respite in between their international commitments. It now seems positively neanderthal that Ian Botham in 1981 – when he was quite busy with England – played nine County Championship matches for Somerset and 18 one-day games.
It’s that Friday feeling for football managers. They will all be asked riveting questions over Zoom based around their team news, whether winning the next match is important and if Jordan Pickford meant to injure Virgil van Dijk. I cannot wait for the answers which I will relay to you lovely lot.
There is even a Friday night match as Aston Villa will look to continue their 100% record against Leeds. They could be clear at the top of the Premier League table tonight, which would be a fine achievement for Dean Smith, even if they will chased down over the weekend.
Exiled Iranian 17-year-old must wait until at least January for his next tilt at Norway’s world champion
Alireza Firouzja, the 17-year-old fast rising star of international chess, is currently improving at a rate which could even surpass landmarks set by the world champion, Magnus Carlsen, more than a decade ago. Firouzja’s second prize behind Carlsen at Stavanger last week was arguably already the best or second best performance in chess history by an under-18 player.
The snag for the teenager, who quit Iran because of Tehran’s policy of banning games against Israeli opponents, is that while there is an unprecedented boom in online tournaments, over-the-board play has shrunk to a catastrophic extent, by a margin of over 90% at almost all levels ranging from local chess club meetings up to open tournaments with masters and grandmasters.
Philadelphia win 22-21 after trailing 21-10 with 6:17 remaining
Eagles have won 21 of last 25 meetings with NFC East rivals
Giants QB Jones makes record 80-yard run in losing effort
Carson Wentz threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Boston Scott with 40 seconds remaining and the Philadelphia Eagles overcame an 11-point deficit in the final seven minutes to beat the New York Giants 22-21 on Thursday night.
Daniel Jones shook off a stumble that prevented him from an 88-yard touchdown run and had the Giants leading 21-10 following a two-yard pass to Sterling Shepard with 6:21 left.
Focus will be on First Nations people and Indigenous shirt
Team ‘not looking to make a political statement’
The Wallabies have ruled out taking a knee during the national anthem in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in next Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney after a unanimous vote by the players.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said the idea was discussed in their team camp in the NSW Hunter Valley and the team voted against becoming the first Australian team to do so.
Men’s team face sharp pay cuts in latest cost-cutting measures
First reduction since central contracts came in 20 years ago
England men’s cricketers face the prospect of their win bonuses being slashed in half and their pay reduced by around 15% under the latest round of cost-cutting measures in the sport. After losses of £100m this year and more pain expected in 2021, the England and Wales Cricket Board is in talks over the first reduction in money paid to England’s men since central contracts were introduced 20 years ago, with win bonuses expected to take the greatest hit.
As things stand the England team earn between £44,100 and £176,400 per Test win depending on where the opposition sit in a five-tier system drawn up by the ECB. For an outright series win they receive an additional bonus that sees the figure for one win multiplied by the number of matches played.
Europe continues to torment Neil Lennon and Celtic. The Scottish champions produced a rousing second-half display to threaten a comeback from two goals down against Milan but a rescue act proved beyond them. The Milan substitute Jens Petter Hauge broke clear in stoppage time to add a flattering touch to the scoreline. Milan were comfortably in the ascendency at half-time thanks to goals from Rade Krunic and the on-loan Real Madrid forward Brahim Díaz, but a change of shape and faces ignited a determined response from Lennon’s side. The substitute Mohamed Elyounoussi’s header brought late hope but, as Celtic pushed on, Hauge raced through an exposed home defence to douse it.
Aston Villa’s midfielder on anger in this week’s training, how he satisfies his obsession to improve and his England hopes
A masterplan. That is how Ross Barkley describes the approach that helped Aston Villa to thrash Liverpool 7-2 on his debut for the club three weeks ago. Judging by how things have gone for him and Villa so far, the same word could apply to his decision this month to join Dean Smith’s side on loan from Chelsea for the rest of this season. His two appearances have yielded two wins for Villa and two goals for Barkley. They look made for each other.
“I couldn’t have asked for it to go any better so far,” Barkley says. “The game against Liverpool was the perfect way to get up and running. When it was 5-2, we were all saying: ‘We can go for more goals here, they’re up for the taking.’ It could have been a lot more but 7-2 against the champions is a statement to everyone else in the league that we’re ready to kick on this season.”
José Mourinho had framed the beginning of Tottenham’s Europa League group stage adventure with trademark swagger. Holding three footballs in a photograph for Instagram, he posted that they signified the two Europa Leagues he already had in his pocket and the one he intends to go for this season. The shrinking violet’s record in the competition reads two entries and two trophies with Porto and Manchester United.
The manager is determined to lead from the front in his mission to harden the squad’s mentality, to browbeat his charges into becoming winners and, after the implosion against West Ham, this was more like it. The surrender of a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 had drawn the inevitable Spursy jibes but this was a performance of cutting edge allied to discipline against the team from Austria that had hammered Sporting Lisbon 4-1 in Portugal to get here.
Leicester took a while to get going but they eventually made a commanding start to their first European expedition since 2017, dispatching their Ukrainian visitors thanks to goals by James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Kelechi Iheanacho. Although they could have scored plenty more, this was a positive beginning to a Europa League group phase during which they will also face AEK Athens and Braga.
Shakhtar Donetsk’s sensational victory at Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday had served as a warning against underestimating Ukrainian visitors, and Brendan Rodgers’ lineup suggested that was not a trap into which he would fall. He made only two changes to the side that began Leicester’s last Premier League outing, with Maddison coming in to add creativity and Christian Fuchs slotting in at left-back. That was close to Leicester’s strongest available team given the injuries they have suffered.
In the spirit of togetherness, Arsenal might agree Mesut Özil was half right. The exiled playmaker had warmed to his armchair status, and offered an open show of the loyalty he feels has not been afforded him, in predicting his teammates would win 4-1. They never looked like running up a comparable score but did, eventually, have too much for a competent Rapid Vienna side.
When Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Héctor Béllerin were hauled from the bench just after the hour, Arsenal were deservedly behind to a Taxiarchis Fountas goal that Bernd Leno will not want to see again. They levelled swiftly through David Luiz and then the substitutes combined smartly for Aubameyang to score and get the starting XI out of a hole.
Vitaly Petrov criticised Hamilton over Breonna Taylor T-shirt
‘We should be including people who are with the times’
Lewis Hamilton has criticised the FIA for choosing Vitaly Petrov as a race steward for this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix. Petrov, who was the first Russian driver to compete in Formula One, has been critical of Hamilton’s strident anti-racism stance and his commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Petrov competed in F1 between 2010 and 2012 for Renault, Lotus and Caterham. After Hamilton wore a T-shirt bearing the words “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” at the Tuscan GP, Petrov was scathing. “For me, this T-shirt, on top of calling for everyone to kneel, was too much,” he said. “But to call on that in Formula One itself … I think half of the spectators didn’t even know what the shirt was about until it was explained to them.
A ‘number of Barbarians’ left team hotel without permission
RFU reviewing whether Sunday’s game can still go ahead
The Rugby Football Union has announced it is reviewing whether or not the England v Barbarians fixture, scheduled to take place at Twickenham on Sunday, can still go ahead after “a number of Barbarians players breached the agreed Covid code of conduct protocol”.
The RFU claims an unknown number of players left the team hotel without permission or informing organisers of their whereabouts on Wednesday evening. After their return, they were separated from the rest of the group in the bubble.
Only four recent regulars unavailable for Saturday’s game
‘We’ll be in a good position,’ says coach after Covid outbreak
The Wasps head coach, Lee Blackett, has urged his side to make the most of their Premiership final reprieve against Exeter on Saturday after lifting the lid on the emotional strain of the Covid-19 outbreak that threatened their place at Twickenham.
Blackett revealed that while he is without 11 players for the final because of either positive tests or close contacts having to isolate, only four of those have been involved in the past four matches. It is believed that while Malakai Fekitoa will miss out with a groin injury, the XV selected to face Exeter will be largely similar to the one that started the semi-final win against Bristol.
Chief executive hopeful for 2021 and move would be ‘last resort’
Jon Dutton ‘cannot envisage’ tournament behind closed doors
The chief executive of next year’s Rugby League World Cup has conceded the event could be pushed back 12 months to 2022 as a “last resort”, but insists the current plan is for the event to still go ahead as planned in England next autumn. With the sporting world still in limbo because of the effects of Covid-19, Jon Dutton has admitted the tournament organisers have had to implement a number of contingency plans.
The proposals includes postponing for a year, although Dutton insists this is a worst-case scenario. “We’ve got a number of different scenarios from here, from socially-distanced games all the way through to a postponement,” he said. “But we’re in the very best shape possible 12 months out from the tournament, given the environment and the world we find ourselves in.”
Dual Aintree winner walks out of stalls in Navan race
Popular chaser finishes a well-beaten sixth on comeback
The second Flat race of Tiger Roll’s illustrious career is unlikely to rate as even a footnote in future accounts of the dual Grand National winner’s career, as he could finish only sixth in the Flower Hill Maiden Stakes at Navan on Thursday having missed the break and raced detached from the rest of the field for the first half-mile of the 14-furlong race.
Having opened in the betting at 10-1, Tiger Roll set off as a 9-1 shot against several rivals with impressive Flat pedigrees. Sam Ewing, a 16-year-old apprentice rider who had earlier said he could not believe that he would be riding “one of the best horses ever”, passed three rivals in the home straight but Tiger Roll never threatened to lose his maiden status on the Flat at the age of 10. Ilmig, a gelding by the outstanding stallion Galileo from Jessica Harrington’s stable, took the spoils from the favourite Jesse Evans.
Yes, more football, and loads of it, too. First up, Arsenal are in action in Austria, Rangers are in Belgium and Dundalk are in, er, Ireland at home to Molde as the Europa League group stage gets under way in understated style. Then, a little bit later, there is another feast with Leicester hosting Zorya Luhansk, Celtic taking on Milan and Tottenham crossing swords with LASK, who finished second in the Austrian Bundesliga last season. Meanwhile, Wolfsberger, aka RZ Pellets WAC, as they are known for sponsorship reasons, entertain CSKA Moscow. For Arsenal, this is a fourth successive season in the competition, one they reached the final of last year but José Mourinho, as it goes, is the master of the Europa League. Well, he has won it the two times he has competed in it, with Porto in 2003 and Manchester United in 2017. Bodes well for Tottenham, for whom Gareth Bale could start.
Richard Riakporhe is between his morning training session and his afternoon hill run. The coronavirus pandemic has played havoc with the boxing calendar but he is staying focused. Having won his first 11 fights as a professional – as well as picking up the British and WBA Intercontinental titles along the way – Riakporhe knows his next outing in the ring could be an eliminator for a world title. He has been training at Loughborough University for the last few months and is feeling sharp. “Loughborough offers me unbelievable, state-of-the-art facilities all under one roof,” he says. “I have everything I need right here, all the equipment plus support from a huge range of specialists like nutritionists, trainers and performance analysts.”
This pristine environment is a far cry from where Riakporhe grew up in the Aylesbury estate in south London. With more than 7,500 residents, the Aylesbury was one of the largest housing estates in Europe. It was also one of the toughest. Tony Blair delivered his first speech as prime minister at the estate, telling the crowd that “the poorest people in our country have been forgotten by government” and that his party wanted to create a “new Britain with no no-hope areas”.
Jai Hindley wins explosive stage 18 of Giro in mountains
Wilco Kelderman takes over from João Almeida in pink
Jai Hindley and Tao Geoghegan Hart vaulted themselves within seconds of the pink jersey as the Giro d’Italia exploded on the slopes of the famed Stelvio.
Hindley nicked the stage 18 victory from the Londoner at the line while the Australian’s Sunweb teammate Wilco Kelderman took pink off the shoulders of João Almeida, but a dramatic day left the race delicately poised going into the final weekend.
Max and the pod are back to discuss how a Van Dijk-less Liverpool nudged past Ajax in Amsterdam. There’s forensic analysis of Pepe on Raheem Sterling, as Manchester City have a great second half against Porto.
Everton manager dismisses claims tackle was premeditated
James Rodríguez out as result of foul by Van Dijk
Carlo Ancelotti has dismissed Liverpool’s criticism of Jordan Pickford and insisted the challenge that injured Virgil van Dijk in the Merseyside derby was mistimed rather than malicious.
The Everton manager, who will be without James Rodríguez at Southampton on Sunday as a result of a foul by Van Dijk at Goodison Park, has come to the defence of the goalkeeper following a week of fierce criticism over the tackle that left the Liverpool defender with ACL damage.
Big jump in numbers cycling for leisure and home exercising
Vital importance of keeping gyms open stressed in key report
Nearly 12 million adults in England did less than 30 minutes of exercise a week between mid-March and mid-May, the latest Sport England Active Lives survey has found, with the spring lockdown causing “unprecedented” falls in activity levels.
The proportion of the population classed as inactive – meaning they did less than half an hour of walking or other activity a week – rose by 3.4m to 11.8m, an increase of 7.4%, with the poor, elderly, and ethnic groups hit particularly hard.
Liverpool centre-back remains a work in progress but his makeshift partnership with Fabinho just about kept Ajax out
It was hardly a first touch that was going to inspire confidence. Barely 70 seconds had passed at the Amsterdam Arena when Joe Gomez took possession on the left-hand side of his penalty area. Attempting to shepherd the ball back to his goalkeeper, Gomez suddenly felt the breath of an Ajax forward at his shoulder and appeared to panic slightly, with Adrián required to sprint forward and smash the ball out for a throw-in, colliding with his 23-year-old teammate in the process.
Teenager scored in Barcelona’s victory over Ferencvaros
Mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau joins criticism of ABC newspaper
Spanish newspaper ABC has issued an apology to Barcelona forward Ansu Fati after their match report compared his pace to that of a “black street seller” fleeing the police.
The 17-year-old put in an impressive display in Barcelona’s 5-1 victory over Ferencvaros on Tuesday night in the Champions League, scoring their second goal. However, the aftermath of the victory was soured by the paper’s description of the Guinea-Bissau-born Spain international.
From Coady to Klopp the game’s true voice can be captured by switching off the canned chants and cheers on television
Please do not rush there right now, but there is a video on YouTube consisting of eight hours of vacuum cleaner noise. It has been viewed, or listened to, more than 10 million times. Apparently people find it soothing, the logic being that a monotonous drone shields sensitive souls from the shock of unexpected sounds. There is little scientific support for this theory and no academic has confirmed publicly that it explains Steve McManaman’s commentary career, but we can probably say, if only because anyone likely to object will not hear us, that it is for similar reasons that some folks choose to watch matches these days with canned chants and cheers. There is comfort in the seemingly familiar.
Such people do not know what they are missing. Empty stadiums are a challenge that reveal much about players and coaches. How to fill the silence?
England’s coach has his favourites and one of his foibles is not always trusting Premiership form as a barometer
When Andy Farrell named his Ireland squad last week, attention focused not on who had been selected but on the scrum-half, John Cooney, who had been omitted after being on the bench for Ireland’s three Six Nations matches this year.
It was the same when Eddie Jones reshuffled the group of players he had assembled before Sunday’s match against the Barbarians at Twickenham. Rather than the call-up for two young players, Tom de Granville and Ollie Lawrence, the headlines were on Ben Spencer, another scrum-half who had been overlooked.
Chris Woakes benefited from taking a break from the game and England’s winter schedule will test how far cricket has come
It has been 15 years since England played in Pakistan, a stretch that feels, nowadays, more than half a lifetime ago. They may go back there again in January. Wasim Khan, the chief executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board, has invited them out to play three Twenty20 games in the new year. And given the efforts Pakistan made to help the England and Wales Cricket Board fulfil its own fixture list by touring here during lockdown in the summer, the ECB is bound to agree. The difficulty is England are also supposed to play two Tests against Sri Lanka around the same time, and have a five‑Test series against India lined up soon afterwards.
So it’s going to be a long, busy winter. And unless the ECB’s research department is about to announce some radical new advances in quantum mechanics, it may be that the only way through it is going to be for the ECB to send separate squads on simultaneous tours. It wouldn’t be the first time.
Former captain says protest runs risk of fans tuning out
Dane Haylett-Petty raised issue ahead of Bledisloe Cup
World Cup-winning captain Nick Farr-Jones has warned the Wallabies that fans will tune out if they take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Fullback Dane Haylett-Petty raised the prospect on Wednesday when he said the Wallabies would consider making the silent protest, possibly even before Saturday week’s third Bledisloe Cup clash with the All Blacks in Sydney.
Midfielder forced to fill void left by Virgil van Dijk
Fabinho’s acrobatic clearance off the line seals win
Jürgen Klopp believes Fabinho’s confidence and stature in the heart of Liverpool’s defence will continue to grow after the Brazilian produced a dominant display in the Champions League victory at Ajax.
In an open letter, an on-course bookmakers’ group has accused the BHA of not doing enough to get spectators back
A group which represents on-course bookmakers said on Wednesday that its members have become “the forgotten cog in the wheel that is the industry of horse racing”. The group also accused the British Horseracing Authority of being “more concerned with preserving behind closed doors status” than getting crowds back onto racecourses.
In an open letter to the BHA, the Racecourse Association and relevant government departments and ministers, Lynn Garritty, the chair of the Independent On-Course Bookmakers Group, also said that many racecourse bookies face imminent ruin if limited crowds are not allowed back onto tracks “at the earliest opportunity”. Garritty pointed to the “obvious success of two pilot events at Doncaster and Warwick, where it was proved beyond doubt restricted audiences can safely attend race meetings”.
Footballer and campaigner expresses disappointment as plea for free meals to be extended is voted down
Marcus Rashford, the England and Manchester United striker, vented his “despair” on Wednesday night as Labour’s plea for free school meals to be extended over the holidays to stop children going hungry fell on closed ears in government.
In an impassioned Commons debate, many MPs paid tribute to Rashford’s burgeoning campaign to end child food poverty.
The 33-year-old Chelsea goalkeeper, who is preparing for the Lionesses’ game with Germany next week, says she is helping her younger rivals adapt to international football
Carly Telford has had almost a year playing mother hen on international duty and as England prepare to face Germany on Tuesday the goalkeeper has reprised the role for the latest training camp.
At 33 the Chelsea player says she is “officially the grandma of the group” and with the 19-year-old Birmingham goalkeeper Hannah Hampton, Manchester City’s 21-year-old Ellie Roebuck and the 22-year-old Everton keeper Sandy MacIver under her wing, she is not wrong.
When required Manchester City moved into high-gear, pulling away from Porto as the second half wore on. For that Pep Guardiola deserves credit for a double substitution that introduced Phil Foden and Ferran Torres, the pair combining within minutes for the latter’s decisive third goal.
It meant City began their campaign in fine fashion and in a Group C also featuring Olympiakos and Marseille will surely be hard to stop.
To launch a Champions League campaign with an away win would satisfy Jurgen Klopp in normal circumstances. To do so after a hugely turbulent and damaging week, with the added bonuses of a clean sheet and change in fortune, was a reminder of the European pedigree that the Liverpool manager has at his disposal even without the injured Virgil van Dijk.
3,000 abusive messages sent to players during Project Restart
‘The time for talking has passed,’ says Akinfenwa
Raheem Sterling has called on social media companies to “show real leadership and take proper action” against online abuse after a study identified more than 3,000 explicitly abusive messages were sent to Premier League players during Project Restart.
The study – produced by the Professional Footballers’ Association in partnership with the data science company Signify Group and supported by Kick It Out – used machine learning systems to analyse messages sent publicly via Twitter to 44 black and ethnic minority current and former players, 39 from the Premier League, Women’s Super League and EFL and five from Serie A and the Bundesliga. It found that 56% of the discriminatory abuse was racist, with 43% of the Premier League players experiencing racist abuse during the six-week period in June and July.
Naser competed in Doha despite whereabouts failures
Olympic champion questions World Athletics and AIU
The backlash against the decision to drop doping charges against the world 400m champion Salwa Eid Naser has intensified with the woman she beat to gold last year and the World Anti-Doping Agency president expressing their “concerns”.
Naser ran the third fastest time in history when she beat the Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo in 48.14sec in Doha, with only the East German Marita Koch and the Czech athlete Jarmila Kratochvilova having gone faster. However, it later emerged that Naser was competing while an investigation into three whereabouts failures against her in the spring of 2019 was under way.
England’s death-bowling specialist on taking a knee, why Eoin Morgan is one of a kind, and inspiring the next generation
The number of cricket teams taking a knee before matches may have dwindled during the recent summer but for Chris Jordan, England’s death‑bowling specialist in Twenty20 cricket, the momentum behind its message of racial equality continues.
Jordan is busy playing for Kings XI Pujab in the Indian Premier League but on Wednesday took time out after training to speak to children at Camelot primary school in Peckham via Zoom as part of Chance To Shine’s Black History Month celebrations.
Another year, another tilt at the great unwinnable for Manchester City and Pep Guardiola. The group draw looks to have been pretty gentle for them, with Marseille (sixth in Ligue 1 after seven games), Olympiacos (second in the Greek Super League, albeit with a game in hand) and Porto (a distant second in Portugal’s Primeira Liga, having lost 2-3 at home to Maritimo earlier this month before drawing 2-2 at Sporting) their Group C rivals, but then group stages haven’t been much of an issue for them anyway, certainly under Pep Guardiola.
Their issue has been quarter-finals, and we’ve got a long time to wait until anyone needs to worry about those. The good news? “I have the feeling we are close,” Guardiola said, when asked about his team’s Champions League potential. The bad news? “Every season when I analyse when we go out, I have the feeling we are close.” Oh.
Two big calls made by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. The first everyone pretty much expected: Fabinho drops back from midfield to attempt to fill the boots of Virgil van Dijk. The second is a bit more of a curveball: 19-year-old Curtis Jones makes his full Champions League debut in midfield. He’s one of four changes to the XI named at Everton last Saturday, with Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner all coming into a new-look midfield, and Joe Gomez, a sub at the weekend, partnering Fabinho at the back. The captain Jordan Henderson drops to the bench; Thiago and Joel Matip are out injured.
Meanwhile there are some familiar names in the Ajax team: the former Premier League stars Dusan Tadic (Southampton), Daley Blind (Manchester United) and Davy Klaassen (Everton).
• Fly-half’s issue may force Eddie Jones to rejig backline • Captain Owen Farrell could move back to No 10
George Ford has emerged as an injury doubt for England’s Six Nations finale against Italy a week on Saturday, potentially forcing Eddie Jones into a overhaul of his midfield for the crucial trip to Rome.
Ford has been ruled out of the uncapped match against the Barbarians on Sunday with a pre-existing achilles problem and has withdrawn from the Teddington camp. It is understood England are confident that Ford will be fit to take part in the Autumn Nations Cup, which begins against Georgia on 7 November, but less so over the rescheduled Italy match.
João Almeida remains in maglia rosa after stage 17
Passo Stelvio awaits in a brutal test on Thursday
Australian Ben O’Connor won the 17th stage of the Giro d’Italia, a 203km mountain trek from Bassano del Grappa as João Almeida retained the overall lead at the end of a quiet day for the top contenders.
O’Connor gave the NTT team, who are looking for a sponsor next year, a much-needed win as he prevailed from the day’s 18-man breakaway ahead of Hermann Pernsteiner and Thomas de Gendt.
José Mourinho has 100% record in Europe’s second competition
‘It’s a big evolution from last season. We are a very exciting team’
Tottenham’s calamitous late collapse against West Ham on Sunday has not persuaded José Mourinho that there is any reason to be pessimistic about extending his 100% record in Europe’s second club competition – competed twice, won twice – as his side start the group stage of this season’s Europa League against Lask at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Thursday.
In their last game Spurs conceded three times in the last eight minutes to see a comfortable 3-0 lead evaporate, and it was put to Mourinho that those with long memories would consider such displays so typical of the club that they might be described as “Spursy”.
Gregor Townsend offers support to former Lions scrum-half
Laidlaw says head knocks contributed to him getting disease
Gregor Townsend has offered his support to Roy Laidlaw after the former Scotland and British & Irish Lions scrum-half revealed he has Alzheimer’s disease. The 67-year-old has decided to speak out in a bid to encourage others contending with memory loss to seek help.
He estimates he chalked up more than 500 games during a stellar career which spanned 17 years at his hometown club Jed-Forest and also saw him register 47 caps for Scotland and four for the Lions.
England and Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has locked horns with Tory MPs in a Twitter row over the footballer’s campaign to extend free school meals (FSM) to cover holidays.
Fresh from scoring Manchester United’s winning goal against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday evening, Rashford told his followers he would be paying close attention to the FSM vote in the Commons on Wednesday and “to those who are willing to turn a blind eye to the needs of our most vulnerable children”.
Özil ‘deeply disappointed’ not to be in Premier League squad
‘Loyalty is hard to come by nowadays,’ he writes on social media
Mesut Özil has hit out at a perceived lack of loyalty from Arsenal in a strongly worded statement after he was not included in their 25-man Premier League squad.
It marks an escalation in hostilities during the stand-off between Özil and his club, for whom he has not appeared since March. Özil is Arsenal’s highest-paid player but has been frozen out of Mikel Arteta’s side and the writing was on the wall for his hopes of featuring over the coming months when he was omitted from their Europa League list. He has met the same fate where domestic football is concerned and reacted with dismay in a message posted on social media.
The Dodgers pitcher is brilliant in the regular season and notoriously rocky in the playoffs. Watching him pitch well in the World Series is a joy
In the 178th postseason inning he’s pitched, facing the first batter of his 29 October start, the best pitcher this century allowed a hit.
It might have been nothing, early jitters for the Dodgers’ ace, that gradual settling that even the mightiest arms require. But in the case of Clayton Kershaw, a million minds worried that it might be more. One hit may lead to two, three – to sliders that don’t drop and curveballs that won’t curve and another of Kershaw’s fabled playoff meltdowns.
Ed Woodward says United want to help ‘football pyramid’
Manchester United suffered a £118.1m loss in revenues, down to £509m from £627.1m, for the financial year ending in June 2019, with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic a major factor.
The loss is an 18.8% downturn for the 12 months, with the last financial quarter showing a 38% reduction – £131.4m to £81.5m. The club estimates that £70m of revenue lost across the year can be attributed to Covid.
Depor, Spanish champions 20 years ago, are now in the third tier but at least have finally been able to welcome fans back to the Riazor
When at long, long last it comes, the roar rips right through you, taking you back to a better place. Suddenly there’s a release and in that moment all is right again. It’s just a goal, but it’s not. It’s the 97th minute and it’s the winner, dramatic and desperate, but that’s not it either. It shouldn’t be this good, maybe shouldn’t be good at all, but bloody hell it’s good. Time slips away, tension tears at them, and then it happens: the ball comes from the right and Eneko Bóveda heads it into the net. Deportivo La Coruña have beaten Salamanca on the opening day and there is an explosion, briefly returning everything to where it belongs.
This weekend, for the first time since March, football fans returned to stadiums in Spain. It is tentative, not welcomed by everyone with Covid-19 cases rising, and it is limited, just a small step forward. But it is something. Something big, as it turns out; bigger than you imagined. It is hard not to be carried along, not to get lost in the emotion, to share it. That sound, that feeling, that release: how we’ve missed it.
Remote but iconic Ayrshire course has been sidelined but a change in the White House could boost championship claims
How does golf explain Donald Trump? The truth is, it hasn’t really had to in the four years since he was elected as the 45th president of the United States. This may be Trump’s sport of choice and, yes, his courting of high-profile players has created the odd ripple, but golf managed to navigate itself to the position whereby tawdry episodes have largely been avoided. A World Golf Championship, once held at Trump-owned Doral in Miami, seamlessly shifted to Mexico City in 2017.
At this point, it hardly seems harebrained to predict a Trump election defeat in 2020. Somewhere, if admittedly not anywhere near the summit, in the pile of subplots to such an outcome, golf must feature. If Joe Biden takes his place in the White House, he has promised to “reassess” his country’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Former midfielder on 20 years as player, scout and senior academy employee at Arsenal, and that League Cup final
A couple of days after Steve Morrow had left hospital, a car pulled up outside his house and waited for him to finish packing his bags. It was driven by Ken Friar, the Arsenal life president, and before long it was dropping Morrow and his wife at the airport for a flight to Cyprus.
“The club had taken care of it all: a week or so out of the media spotlight at a secret location,” Morrow says. “There had been media outside my house, people contacting me, newspaper exclusives offered that I didn’t understand. It was all just a massive confusion.”
Tour warm-up set for same day as 2021 Premiership final
The British & Irish Lions have lined up a money-spinning Test against Japan next summer at Murrayfield before heading to South Africa to face the world champions.
Warren Gatland’s side will warm up on 26 June before departing for their series against the Springboks – in what will be only the third match on home soil in the Lions’ history – but will do so without Premiership finalists, who will be in action at Twickenham on the same day.
“Massive Attack star Robert Del Naja (aka 3D) was appointed as Forest Green’s art director last week. Have any other clubs got art directors or other random positions you would not associate with football? And are there any other musicians employed at clubs?” asks George Jones.
On the subject of musicians at clubs, an obvious start would be Elton John, who is still standing as Watford’s honorary life-president after an association stretching back to 1976. Though perhaps that is not quite in the spirit of the question, which is asking for more random appointments. Robin Clarke has one that fits the bill: “In 1979 Chile’s national team coach Luis Santibáñez appointed folk singer Pedro Messone as musical director for the Copa América. Given that General Augusto Pinochet was president of Chile at the time I imagine he kept it light. The squad sang together and did well in the tournament: Chile reached the final and lost to Paraguay.”
If season four of the US professional competition survives the coronavirus, it will kick-off without one of its founding teams
When Pat Guthrie was introduced to rugby union, in California in the 1990s, like many converts from American football he fell for it hard and fast. Soon he was working in the sport, producing and directing broadcasts for TV.
Club previously had 11 positive tests for coronavirus
Bristol had been on standby to take their place against Exeter
Wasps have been cleared to take part in Saturday’s Premiership final against Exeter at Twickenham after receiving no further positives in the latest round of Covid-19 testing.
Premiership Rugby has announced that Wasps will take their “rightful place” at Twickenham after an anxious wait following an outbreak at the club last week. Their hopes of facing Exeter were in the balance when four more positives were recorded on Monday – taking the total number to 11 – but having managed to contain the spread, Lee Blackett’s side have been given the green light by league organisers in conjunction with Public Health England.
United’s captain enjoyed a far happier game, while PSG’s star was booked for dissent on a dim night for the home side
How Manchester United must wish they could play Paris Saint-Germain every week. Of course, given the current mood within the game, one imagines the Glazers are probably sitting down with the relevant European stakeholders to make that prospect an imminent reality. Yet at a deserted Parc des Princes, United conjured up a triumph that in many ways more impressive than their great heist of 2019.
Nineteen months have passed since the remarkable 3-1 comeback victory that put United into the last eight and sealed Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s ascent to the permanent job. Nineteen months in which a good deal of water has passed under the bridges of the Seine. And yet, until Bruno Fernandes’s first-half penalty the last goal PSG had conceded at home in the Champions League was scored by United themselves. That was a measure of their achievement.
Burgess says police statement ‘circulated’ by wife Phoebe
Former player pleads not guilty to intimidation
NRL player-turned-coach Sam Burgess wants police to hand over the statement mentioned in a newspaper report on alleged gambling and drug use, a court has heard.
But police have so far refused, telling Moss Vale Local Court on Wednesday it is unrelated to current court proceedings about the former South Sydney captain’s alleged intimidation of his father-in-law.
Everton accused of ‘unacceptable’ approach to derbies
Club devastated over Van Dijk injury, says Wijnaldum
Liverpool’s fury at losing Virgil van Dijk was laid bare on Tuesday when Georginio Wijnaldum accused the goalkeeper Jordan Pickford of being “completely stupid” and Everton of a “completely unacceptable” approach to Merseyside derbies. A clearly seething Jürgen Klopp said he shared his players’ opinion.
The Liverpool manager and midfielder are in Amsterdam for the Champions League opener against Ajax on Wednesday but it was their Merseyside rivals who were the main focus – and target – of a combative press conference. Wijnaldum said Liverpool players endured a sleepless night on Saturday after Van Dijk damaged an anterior cruciate ligament and remain devastated four days on. The Netherlands international, a close friend of his compatriot, did not try to disguise the impact of the defender’s absence on Liverpool nor the feelings within the squad over what happened during Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.
At least Chelsea managed to stand tall at the back. Yet while there were no defensive calamities from Frank Lampard’s side, there was precious little inspiration at the other end. Low on creativity in the final third and short on fluency in possession, Chelsea made few chances and ended up with more questions than answers after a tough encounter with Sevilla.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær had been clear. The Miracle of Paris from two seasons ago, when his Manchester United team drove to a famous Champions League last 16 win here, was nothing more than glorious history. His players had to make a fresh statement, to produce a performance to inspire new hope.
How they did so and once again, it was Marcus Rashford that delivered at the death. In March 2019, it was his stoppage-time penalty that helped United through and in the driving rain at an empty Parc des Princes, it was his vicious low drive that fizzed past Keylor Navas to ignite his team’s group phase campaign.
Banking giant JP Morgan asked to seek finance for new league
Fifa dismissive, Uefa ‘strongly opposes’ plan for ‘boring’ format
Plans for a lucrative breakaway European Premier League involving top English clubs that would supersede the Champions League have been revived, with the banking giant JP Morgan being asked to seek financing for a new competition.
Liverpool and Manchester United have been approached to join the league, which would comprise 18 teams – including three more English sides and teams from Spain, Italy, Germany and France – and have no promotion and relegation, according to proposals reported first by the Spanish outlet Vozpopuli and by Sky News.
Australian has never let tennis rule her life and is as happy watching AFL at home as she is on court, but she will be back
Few sports have underlined their unimportance during this pandemic quite like tennis did in early October. As Roland Garros edged deeper into its first week, the top seed and tournament favourite Simona Halep was soaring. She ground through points, pumped her fist to the skies and demolished Amanda Anisimova to reach the fourth round. At that exact same moment 10,300 miles away in Queensland, Australia, the world No 1 and defending champion Ashleigh Barty was also on television, also pumping her fist. However, enclosed in her playing hand was a cool pint of beer, not a tennis racket.
The last time Barty played competitive tennis was at the Qatar Total Open in February, eight months ago. Barty decided initially to remain at home because of travel concerns stemming from Covid-19 but, as Australia grappled with the pandemic, the closed state borders meant she was unable to train with her coach, Craig Tyzzer. She chose not to defend her title in Paris.
Companies collapsed in wake of Team Wiggins failure
Situation ‘in no way affects Bradley’s personal solvency’
Bradley Wiggins has wound up two of his companies with debts of more than £1m after the failure of his defunct Team Wiggins team.
A report in Cycling Weekly revealed Wiggins Rights Ltd, the company set up to “exploit Wiggins’s name and image rights”, has entered liquidation with debts of more than £650,000. New Team Cycling Ltd, which was used to run Team Wiggins between 2015 and 2019, is also being liquidated – with debts of £587,008.
38-year-old Cech added as emergency goalkeeper cover
Özil and Papastathopoulos not included by Arsenal
Petr Cech has been included in Chelsea’s 25-man Premier League squad as emergency goalkeeper cover – but there is no place in Arsenal’s squad for Mesut Özil.
Cech, who is now a technical advisor at Stamford Bridge, is one of four goalkeepers included in Frank Lampard’s squad despite having retired from football last year. Cech’s last game was against Chelsea in the Europa league final which saw Arsenal lose 4-1 in Baku but he has also been playing in goal for ice hockey team Guildford Phoenix.
“Sometimes we feel like we have to score three or four each game,” Cesar Azpilicueta said before this match, which is on the one hand a savage indictment of the standard of defending that he has been a part of this season, and on the other hand extremely encouraging for neutrals. So far this season Chelsea have scored 3, 0, 6, 3, 1, 4 and 3, and conceded 1, 2, 0, 3, 1, 0 and 3. According to official Premier League statistics 13 players have been guilty of errors that led directly to goals so far this season and Chelsea are responsible for nearly 25% of them, and a third of the goals thereby conceded, with Kai Havertz and Thiago Silva on one apiece and poor Kepa Arrizabalaga on three (the latter was expected to start this game, but word is that Edouard Mendy will be fit). “I wouldn’t say my DNA is to be a natural attacking manager,” says Frank Lampard, disappointingly, but then he’s also the man who decided he needed Werner, Havertz and Ziyech as well as Mount, Pulisic, Abraham and Giroud, so believe what you want.
Sevilla however are disconcertingly solid. They have scored 1, 3, 1, 1, 0 in their five games so far this season, and conceded 2, 1, 0, 1, 1. Their defeat at Granada on Saturday was their first in the league since February. Interesting fact: Sevilla’s first two matches against English teams in European competition came in the 2005-06 Uefa Cup, a relatively brief 15 years ago, and were against Bolton and Middlesbrough. Enjoy your team’s success while it lasts, kids (if your team is enjoying success, obviously).
“We don’t have good memories.” Thomas Tuchel, there, trying his damnedest not to reminisce about the time his PSG side welcomed Manchester United to the Parc des Princes in March 2019. You’ll recall it, though, as United became the first side ever in the Champions League era to recover from a two-goal home first-leg deficit: two-goal Romelu Lukaku, Presnel Kimpembe’s arm, Marcus Rashford’s steely nerve, all that.
That historic comeback earned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his permanent gig at Old Trafford, and remains the high-water mark of his reign so far. United could do with a similar morale boost tonight, building on an impressive 4-1 win at Newcastle last weekend that went at least a little way to forgetting about that defeat by Spurs. A fast start to Group H would further steady the ship as Solskjaer looks to buy a little more time and space in which to work.