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Update February 2019


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Australia wins opening Sydney SailGP races over Japan

 

F50 catamarans compete at the start during their SailGP race on the harbor in Sydney, Saturday, Feb. 16. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Sydney (AP) — Tom Slingsby and his Australia high-speed catamaran won the opening Sydney SailGP event, finishing first in four of the five fleet races and then winning the championship match race over Japan on Saturday.

Starting the second day a point behind the Japan boat skippered by Slingsby's fellow 2012 Olympic gold medalist Nathan Outteridge, Australia won Saturday's two fleet races.

The two boats were neck and neck in the early stages of the head-to-head final, but Australia pulled away to win by 37 seconds.

"It felt like he (Outteridge) was always there, he was always one mistake away and he was sitting there lurking. If we made that mistake, he would have pounced," Slingsby said.

"We learned from yesterday and we improved more than I could have even hoped we would. I couldn't be happier with how today went. I hold our team to a very high standard and they over-delivered, it was unbelievable."

The wind was mainly in the eight to 12 knot range for both days, not allowing the high-powered boats to get anywhere near their top speeds.

The pre-event suggestions that the Slingsby and Outteridge boats were favorites proved true, as none of the other four competitors managed a win.

"We don't need more of a rivalry than what we already have,'" Outteridge said. "Everyone was kind of expecting the two of us in that match race. We didn't quite get over them at the start. They were on form all day sailing really well and we missed a few little things here and there."

After the first of five events, Australia leads the standings with 48 points. Japan has 45. Britain, with skipper Dylan Fletcher, has 36, followed by China (skipper Phil Robertson) and France (Billy Besson) with 33 points each, and the United States, skippered by Rome Kirby, with 31.

SailGP is the sailing league founded by tech billionaire Larry Ellison and five-time America's Cup winner Russell Coutts. It features many of the world's top sailors racing 50-foot, wing-sailed catamarans that fly across the top of waves on hydrofoils.

Unlike in the America's Cup, all the boats are identical. Crews won't be allowed to make changes without approval of the measurement team.

The six teams will compete at five tour stops, with the finale being a winner-take-all, $1 million match race between the top two teams to crown the 2019 champion.

The tour next stops in San Francisco on May 4-5; New York on June 21-22; Cowes, England, on Aug. 10-11; and Marseille, France, on Sept. 20-22 for the final that will include the $1 million race.


City overcome stubborn Newport to reach FA Cup quarters

Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez, third left, scores his side's fourth goal during the English FA Cup fifth round soccer match between Newport County and Manchester City at Rodney Parade stadium in Newport, Wales, Saturday, Feb. 16. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Mattias Karen

Newport, Wales (AP) - Manchester City broke through Newport's stubborn defence in the second half to beat the fourth-tier side 4-1 in the FA Cup on Saturday, although the result wasn't as straightforward as the scoreline suggested.

Newport's hopes of an epic fifth-round upset were still intact when Padraig Amond pulled a goal back to make it 2-1 in the 88th minute. But Phil Foden replied instantly with his second goal of the game and Riyad Mahrez added an injury-time score, allowing City to advance to the quarterfinals to keep Pep Guardiola's side in the hunt for a possible four trophies.

Brighton and Millwall also advanced. Brighton beat second-tier Derby 2-1 while Championship side Millwall overcame AFC Wimbledon 1-0.

City's visit to South Wales had only one realistic outcome, but the win wasn't quite as simple as most expected.

City entered the game as the overwhelming favorites — especially after beating Chelsea 6-0 last weekend in the Premier League — but struggled to impose their usual attacking game on a pitch that contained more mud than grass in many places.

"It was the worst conditions I have played in," Foden said. "We had to show professionalism and keep the ball moving and they tired in the end."

Newport, with an annual wage bill that's less than one percent of City's, managed to reach the halftime break still at 0-0, and even created the best chance of the opening 45 minutes. City goalkeeper Ederson had to produce a stellar one-handed save to keep Tyreeq Bakinson's header at bay in the 14th minute.

But Leroy Sane, who hit the crossbar in the first half, finally created the breakthrough for City in the 51st. Sane ran onto a pass from Gabriel Jesus and fired a left-foot shot that hit goalkeeper Joe Day square in the face before spinning through his arms and into the net. The strike left Day with a bloody nose, and left Newport's chances in tatters as well.

Foden doubled the lead in the 75th with a solo goal after the teenager picked up the ball on the halfway line before charging forward and slotting a shot past Day.

Newport still managed to make it interesting when Amond seized on a defensive mistake to lob the ball over Emerson, but Foden quickly restored City's two-goal lead with a fierce left-foot shot into the net from inside the area. Mahrez added the fourth from the left side of the box in injury time, creating a scoreline that flattered the visitors.

"The first 20 minutes were difficult from throw-ins and long balls, and they are much better than us in those situations, but in the last 20 minutes we put the game into our hands," Guardiola said. "The home crowd was amazing. Winning here, I (understand) English football today better than ever and how tough the cup is in these conditions."

BRIGHTON HOLD ON

Brighton reached the quarterfinals for the second year in a row after holding off a late comeback attempt by Derby.

Brighton looked to be in complete control after taking a 2-0 lead at halftime, with Anthony Knockaert and Jurgen Locadia scoring for the Premier League side. But Derby threatened to make a comeback after veteran left back Ashley Cole — a seven-time FA Cup winner with Arsenal and Chelsea — scored his first goal in the competition in the 81st.

That made for a nervy last 10 minutes for the hosts, but Harry Wilson and Fikayo Tomori both shot wide for Derby to scupper any hopes of a comeback.

Knockaert opened the scoring in the 33rd minute by meeting a low cross in the area and sweeping a shot inside the near post, before Locadia doubled the lead on the stroke of halftime by firing in from close range after Yves Bissouma's effort had hit the post.

Cole responded with his first goal in English football in six years after Florian Jozefzoon went down under a challenge from Bernardo and the ball was cleared into the path of the former England defender. While his teammates appealed for a penalty, Cole calmly headed home.

MILLWALL THROUGH

Millwall also advanced after Murray Wallace's early goal was enough to see off League One strugglers AFC Wimbledon.

Wallace headed in a cross from Ryan Leonard in the fifth minute and the hosts had a number of second-half chances to add to the lead, but couldn't find a way past Wimbledon goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale for a second time.

It's the second time in three years the London club have reached the quarterfinals.


Shiffrin skis through sickness to 'sweetest' win of career

United States' Mikaela Shiffrin competes on her way to winning the women's slalom, at the alpine ski World Championships in Are, Sweden, Saturday, Feb. 16. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

Steve Douglas

Are, Sweden (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin couldn't breathe. She felt like she was suffocating. She had no energy, and self-doubt had set in.

Then came some words of encouragement from her coaches: "The reality is you have to push for 60 seconds. Everything else doesn't matter. Just 60 seconds."

They were the sweetest 60 seconds of her career.

Fighting off a lung infection, Shiffrin delivered her most resilient performance yet to capture the slalom title at the world championships and become the first Alpine skier — male or female — to win the same event at four straight worlds.

The drama added another layer of legend around a 23-year-old American who is on course to be the greatest skier of all time.

"I was just not feeling very good for the whole day," she said, her voice noticeably croaky, "except for the 60 seconds that it mattered."

After crossing the line, she collapsed to the snow for a while. She roused herself to get up only because she thought she was being disrespectful to the two skiers yet to come down.

First it was Anna Swenn Larsson, who finished 0.58 seconds behind Shiffrin to take silver. Then came first-run leader Wendy Holdener, who went round a few gates before going off the course.

Just like that, it was official: Shiffrin was a world champion for the fifth time — and the second time at these championships after winning the super-G on the opening day of competition in Are.

She barely had any energy to celebrate.

"A testament to her grittiness," Shiffrin's coach, Jeff Lackie, told The Associated Press, "and what she was able to accomplish in that second run was nothing short of incredible."

This was the kind of situation that Lindsey Vonn, Shiffrin's idol, used to revel in: Battling adversity, proving the critics wrong, coming from behind.

Now Vonn is retired , Shiffrin is center stage — the poster girl of Alpine skiing whether she likes it or not.

This is some way to kick off the post-Vonn era.

Shiffrin woke up on Saturday with a terrible cold, feeling sick, and with trouble just breathing. Rumors started to swirl about her feeling under the weather, and they were confirmed after the first run of the slalom in which she finished in third place — 0.15 seconds behind Holdener.

Shiffrin was suffering with a chest cold, her team said, and her energy levels were low. She watched her rivals — Holdener, Swenn Larsson, eventual bronze-medalist Petra Vlhova — in the first run and thought: "I don't know how much more I have to give, how much more I can push."

She said her illness might have taken away any nerves before the second leg, which — hours after the race — was just a blur to her. The most vivid memory she had was from halfway down the course, when she felt she "ran out of oxygen."

In fact, despite everything, the second run was close to perfection. It was the fastest by 0.62 seconds.

"Technically," said Livio Magoni, Vlhova's coach, "it's worth watching over and over again to learn from."

Tears flowed from Shiffrin after Swenn Larsson came down the hill to win Sweden its first medal of these championships. She cried at the flower ceremony, and again in media interviews afterward.

"I'm not sure why I was crying quite a lot more than I usually do, and it's quite embarrassing," Shiffrin said. "But it is emotional for a lot of reasons. I can't explain every reason right now. It would take much too long."

It's most likely down to the pressure she has been under, externally and from within, in a roller-coaster two weeks in central Sweden. First there was the high of the super-G gold, then her exchanges on social media in response to comments from Vonn and Bode Miller questioning her decision to skip the Alpine combined in favor of going to nearby Norway for training.

There was the relative disappointment of finishing third in the giant slalom — Shiffrin said it was an awesome result, even though she started out as favorite — and then this drama-filled day in the slalom.

In the end, she walks away from the championships tied with Ted Ligety as the American with the most gold medals at the worlds. In doing so, she moved ahead of Miller, another of her childhood idols.

With seven medals at the worlds, she is only one off the American record held by Vonn. Shiffrin has seven gold medals at the worlds and Olympics, and is up to 56 victories on the World Cup circuit — 26 behind Vonn and 30 off the all-time record of Ingemar Stenmark.

A reminder that Shiffrin is only 23, not yet considered at her peak .

After accepting a cough sweet to soothe her throat, Shiffrin was asked what made the unprecedented win in the slalom so memorable.

"In the moments that it counted, my team and I were able to focus on the true task and the reason we're here," she said. "That's something special."


Thomas, Scott share 36-hole lead at Riviera

Adam Scott, of Australia, hits his second shot on the ninth hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Saturday, Feb. 16, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

Doug Ferguson

Los Angeles (AP) — Justin Thomas and Adam Scott each completed rounds of 6-under 65 on Saturday and shared the lead when the second round finally ended in the rain-delayed Genesis Open.

Both played only six holes, finished when breakfast was still being served in the Riviera clubhouse, and were likely to play only a few holes of third round in what daylight was left.

They were a shot ahead of J.B. Holmes (69). Jordan Spieth (70) was three shots behind, while Tiger Woods finished with a birdie for a 71 and was 10 shots behind.

The start of the tournament was delayed seven hours because of rain. The plan was to complete the third round Sunday morning and keep the same groups for the final round immediately after.

Thomas and Scott were at 11-under 131.


Liverpool climb back atop EPL standings; United into 4th

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the English Premier League soccer match against AFC Bournemouth at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, Saturday, Feb. 9. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Mattias Karen

London (AP) — With fans growing increasingly nervous, Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp knew his players needed to make a statement about their title credentials against Bournemouth on Saturday.

They delivered just the right message with a rampant display in a 3-0 win at Anfield that not only put the team back atop the English Premier League standings but also showed that fears over another late-season collapse may be unwarranted.

"We wanted to show a reaction. It's our job not only to come through but to really perform and convince," said Klopp, whose team are looking for a first league title since 1990 but had let a seven-point lead to Manchester City slip away in recent weeks.

"Supporters get a little bit nervous for all sorts of reasons. That's not a Liverpool thing — it's a football thing."

Saturday's win was convincing indeed. After being held to two straight 1-1 draws, Liverpool rediscovered their attacking verve as goals from Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum essentially decided the game after just 34 minutes, and Mohamed Salah added the third in the 48th. If not for a number of missed chances in the second half, the scoreline easily could have been doubled.

The win means City, who took the lead on goal difference on Wednesday, must beat Chelsea on Sunday in order to prevent Liverpool from establishing another gap with a game in hand. Liverpool have 65 points from 26 games with City on 62.

Chelsea are also under heavy pressure going into Sunday's game after top-four rivals Manchester United and Arsenal won on Saturday.

United climbed above Chelsea into fourth with a 3-0 win at Fulham, while Arsenal are level on points with Maurizio Sarri's side after beating last-placed Huddersfield 2-1.

On a day where every game was preceded by a minute's silence for Emiliano Sala following the confirmation of the Argentine striker's death, Cardiff ended an emotional week with a crucial victory. The team moved out of the relegation zone by beating Southampton 2-1 thanks to Kenneth Zohore's stoppage-time winner.

Sala's body was recovered on Wednesday from the crashed plane that was taking him to Cardiff, after he signed for the Welsh club from Nantes in January.

"For Emiliano, I feel really proud that the lads have done him justice," Cardiff manager Neil Warnock said.

In other games, Watford beat Everton 1-0, Burnley won at Brighton 3-1, and Crystal Palace drew at home against West Ham 1-1.

Paul Pogba scored twice for United at Craven Cottage as the French midfielder continued his resurgence under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Pogba gave United the lead with a blistering shot from a tight angle in the 14th minute and converted a penalty for the third goal in the 65th, taking his tally to eight goals in his last eight league games.

And after sitting 11 points from fourth place when Solskjaer took over from the fired Jose Mourinho in December, United are firmly back in the hunt for a Champions League spot.

"That's what we wanted since Ole came. We talked about this, we want to be at the top, top four," Pogba said. "There is still a long way to go but we are there and we want to stay there now."

Arsenal haven't given up hope of finishing fourth either. Alex Iwobi and Alexandre Lacazette scored in the first half for the Gunners, who still haven't kept a clean sheet away in the league this season after Huddersfield pulled one back in injury time through an own goal by Sead Kolasinac.

The most dramatic finish came at St. Mary's though, where Southampton thought they secured a point when Jack Stephens equalized in injury time. But Zohore's close-range finish two minutes later handed Cardiff all three points — and consecutive top-flight victories for the first time since 1962.

Burnley also moved out of the relegation zone, with Chris Wood scoring twice for the visitors at Brighton.

At Vicarage Road, Watford substitute Andre Gray piled more pressure on Everton manager Marco Silva by scoring the only goal with a header in the 65th. That handed Everton a third straight league loss and subjected Silva to a chorus of taunting chants on his first return to Watford since he was sacked by the club last year after being approached by Everton.

Wilfried Zaha rescued a point for Crystal Palace, scoring an equalizer 14 minutes from time after Noble gave the visitors a first-half lead from the penalty spot.


6N: Ireland rebound to beat Scotland 22-13 at Murrayfield

Ireland's Jacob Stockade runs for the line to score his side's second try of the game against Scotland, during the Six Nations Championship rugby match at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland, Saturday Feb. 9. (Ian Rutherford/PA via AP)

Edinburgh, Scotland (AP) — Ireland kept alive their Six Nations title defence at Murrayfield by grinding down Scotland 22-13 on Saturday.

After being crunched by England on the opening weekend in Dublin, Ireland had to rebound far from home against a Scotland side confident they had the steel and flair to end Ireland's championship reign in the second round.

But after a breathless first half which the Irish edged 12-10, they scored a third soft try for some breathing room and their defence limited Scotland to just a penalty.

Ireland's game management was made easier by Scotland committing 15 handling errors, more than twice as many as the Irish. Scotland also lost three throw-ins. Unlike in the first half, the Scots couldn't get a foothold in the Irish 22 or sustain an attack.

Ireland's regulation win was given some shine by the comeback of flyhalf Joey Carbery, who was on after only 23 minutes when playmaker Jonathan Sexton came off for a head knock. Carbery almost immediately gave Scotland their only try from an intercept but he created the only try in the second half and kicked a penalty to deny the Scots even a losing bonus point at home.

Coach Joe Schmidt believed Sexton will be available for the next match at Italy on Feb. 24. He said Sexton failed a head injury exam after a heavy fall and a stamp. He was also relieved by the team's effort.

"There was definitely a rise in temperature, definitely a rise in energy, from last week," Schmidt said.

"Now we've got to make sure we kick on. We're relying on other people now (to win the championship), but the one thing we don't have to rely on other people for is how we approach things and how we perform."


Casey leads by 3 over Mickelson at Pebble Beach

Paul Casey, of England, follows his drive from the 18th tee of the Spyglass Hill Golf Course during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament, Saturday, Feb. 9, in Pebble Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Doug Ferguson

Pebble Beach, Calif. (AP) — Paul Casey was far away from all the antics and quietly put together another solid round Saturday for a 5-under 67 that gave him a three-shot lead over Phil Mickelson going into the final day of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Casey had four birdies over his last 10 holes at Spyglass Hill in a mixture of rain, sunshine and wind. He finished at 15-under 200, the fourth time on the PGA Tour had he has led going into the final round.

"I am having a blast," Casey said.

Mickelson was part of the celebrity rotation at Pebble Beach and put on a show on the back nine, stuffing a wedge to 3 feet on No. 13, and following with a 4-iron to 4 feet on the par-5 14th hole for eagle. He also made a tough save on the par-3 17th and shot a 2-under 70, giving him a good chance to match Mark O'Meara's record of five AT&T Pebble Beach titles.

Casey and Mickelson have done their best with so many shots to back pins, typically set to the highest point on the three courses to avoid any saturation from the hit-and-miss rain.

"The little half-shots to get back to some of these pins, a lot of guys struggle with and it's been a strength of my game," Mickelson said. "So I've been able to make a few more birdies on some of these holes."

The weather again was hit-and-miss, though the tournament managed to get in 54 holes.

It started under a blue sky with patches of clouds that soon took aim at the Monterey Peninsula, dropped temperatures by some 10 degrees and brought enough rain to make it tougher than usual.

That's not what stopped Jordan Spieth.

He was tied for the lead after a birdie on the par-3 fifth hole and remained in range of Casey until Spieth pulled his tee shot so badly on the 13th hole that he didn't know where it was until it was spotted 140 yards behind where he was looking, under a cluster of trees. He wound up making double bogey, and then after a three-putt bogey from the wrong side of the 17th green, Spieth pulled his tee shot into the ocean on the 18th hole for another double bogey and a 74. He went from being in the mix to eight shots behind.

"It was going to bite me at some point," Spieth said. "I didn't necessarily deserve to be a couple under par at the time, and so it ended up kind of haunting me there. ... I drove the ball well the last two days, and then today my driver just didn't behave at all. It was a 150-yard spread on either side and that's not good around Pebble Beach."

Lucas Glover had a birdie-bogey finish at Monterey Peninsula for a 1-under 70 and was at 11-under 204, along with Scott Piercy (69 at Spyglass Hill).

Casey was recently in the news for a tournament he didn't play, the Saudi International, a new event on the European Tour that came under scrutiny for Saudi Arabia's human rights record and the recent killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

He was on the original list of commitments without his approval, and said he was never going. Casey is an ambassador for UNICEF and has the logo on his golf bag, which he displayed on an Instagram post to confirm he was not playing.

"I stand firm on what I said," Casey said.

He is more interested in what he can accomplish Sunday at a tournament that, with reasonable weather and an enjoyable amateur partner, he has come to enjoy. Casey is playing with Don Colleran, the chief sales officer for FedEx. They have a four-shot lead in the pro-am.

But 54-hole leads have not been friendly to him. Casey is 0-3 with the lead going into the final round on the PGA Tour, losing three-shot lead two years ago at the TPC Boston when Rory McIlroy shot 65, and a four-shot lead last summer at the Travelers Championship when Bubba Watson closed with a 63. He also lost a two-shot lead in the 2017 Tour Championship to Xander Schauffele.

All three times, Casey shot a final round of 2 over or worse.

Now he has Mickelson, who three weeks ago finished one shot behind in the Desert Classic. Mickelson had consecutive bogeys as the wind and rain were at its worst along the coastal holes of Nos. 9 and 10, and then recovered brilliantly.

The wind was strong enough off the Pacific that he had only a 4-iron into the 14th, and it never left the flag, leaving a tap-in eagle.

"I thought anything in the 60s was going to be a heck of a round, and I was one shy," Mickelson said. "But I've got a good chance going into tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it."


England finally dig in and reach 231-4 on Day 1 of 3rd test

England's Jos Buttler plays a shot against West Indies during day one of the third cricket Test match at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in Gros Islet, St. Lucia, Saturday, Feb. 9. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

Gros Islet, St. Lucia (AP) — Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes were unbeaten on half-centuries as England wore down the West Indies to be a healthy 231-4 at stumps on the first day of the third cricket test on Saturday.

England have already lost the series 2-0, but finally dug in against a bowling attack minus captain Jason Holder, who has been banned from the test for his team's slow over-rate in the three-day second test in Antigua.

Ironically, Holder's replacement, Keemo Paul, removed both openers and was the only bowler with two wickets.

Stokes, whose availability was in some doubt because of a bruised right heel, was a fortunate 62 not out, and Buttler was 67 not out. Their unbeaten partnership of 124 started in the middle session and handled three overs of the new ball.

West Indies stand-in captain Kraigg Brathwaite made England bat, and they broke the opening stand in the 17th over when Keaton Jennings guided Paul to the slips after taking 42 balls for 8.

Paul then bagged Rory Burns lbw on middle stump, after the opener scored 29 off 103 balls.

Joe Denly, playing his second test, made 20 off 50 balls before he was lbw to Shannon Gabriel.

When captain Joe Root nicked one behind on 15 from 54 balls, he was out to Alzarri Joseph for a third straight time.

Joseph also dismissed Stokes caught and bowled on 52 in the 70th over, but long after Stokes left the pitch he was summoned back when video showed Joseph no-balled.

After all the balls absorbed in the first half of the day, Stokes and Buttler handled the tiring West Indies attack with little other bother.

Stokes reached his 17th test half-century, and first on this tour. He has six boundaries.

After given life by the no ball, he helped England pass 200 and Buttler reached his 13th half-century in the same over. He's hit nine boundaries.


6N: Ireland toppled in Dublin by England 32-20

England's Kyle Sinckler, centre, runs at Ireland's Josh van der Flier, left, and Bundee Aki during the Six Nations rugby union international between Ireland and England, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Feb. 2. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Foster Niumata

Dublin (AP) - England are back and their reputation restored after upending Ireland 32-20 in the defending Six Nations champions’ Lansdowne Road stronghold on Saturday.

Following their worst championship finish in 31 years, England opened this campaign eight-point underdogs to the mighty Irish, but subdued the home side with aggressive defense and stealthy tries to win in Dublin for the first time in six years.

Ireland were unbeaten in 14 home matches in the Six Nations since 2013, and, overall, on a national-record 12 successive home wins since 2016, including a first home defeat of New Zealand only three months ago, after which they were regarded as the world's best rugby team.

But New Zealand, and England coach Eddie Jones again in the buildup, warned Ireland it was harder being the hunted than the hunter.

As the hunters, England were ruthless. They hadn't scored a try in Dublin in eight years, and bagged one after just 94 seconds. Ireland settled down, but England finished the first half stronger and continued to stress Ireland to the point where they earned a bonus-point four tries.

Ireland were limited to two tries, one at the death when England were already celebrating in a stadium quickly draining of Irish fans.

In a game of only four line breaks — two each — England's line speed was the more impressive and consistent. The Irish were given no room or time to breathe, and couldn't even count on free errors by England, who conceded just eight penalties.

"The intensity at which we played pleased me most," Jones said. He added, "We're nowhere near our best. We're looking forward to playing better than that — and we will."

Green jerseys were scythed down and Irish playmaker Jonathan Sexton, world rugby's best player in 2018, was reduced to shaking his head and conceding England's fourth try.

Meanwhile, England forwards Billy and Mako Vunipola, playing a test for the first time since June, and Manu Tuilagi, making his first Six Nations start in six years, battered the Irish line, softening it up so the tries were shared by backs Henry Slade, Jonny May and Elliot Daly.

Prop Mako Vunipola led England's personal tackle count with 25, followed by flanker Mark Wilson with 21. Slade led the backs with 11 as England thwarted Ireland attempts at momentum with 14 turnovers.

"That is a reality check about the physicality that will be required to be successful in this World Cup year," Ireland coach Joe Schmidt said.

"England collectively delivered a simmering physical intensity. It was a suffocating place to be out there. It's a challenge to all our confidence."

England welcome France to Twickenham next weekend, while Ireland have to try and regroup in Scotland.


Sarri gets immediate response from rampant Chelsea

Chelsea's Gonzalo Higuain celebrates with Chelsea's Ross Barkley after scoring his side's fourth goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Huddersfield Town at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Saturday, Feb. 2. (AP Photo/ Alastair Grant)

Steve Douglas

London (AP) - This time there was no need for Maurizio Sarri to get mad with his players.

The Chelsea manager could instead sit back and enjoy their performance in a 5-0 win over Huddersfield that lifted them back into the top four in the English Premier League on Saturday.

Doubles from Gonzalo Higuain — his first goals since joining on loan from Juventus — and Eden Hazard helped Chelsea bounce back from two straight league losses that jeopardized their Champions League qualification hopes and left Sarri wondering where to turn next.

After losing to Arsenal 2-0, Sarri questioned the attitude and temperament of his players. After losing at Bournemouth 4-0 on Wednesday, he locked them in a dressing room and demanded answers.

The response? Chelsea's biggest win of the season, albeit against a team in last place in the league and surely heading to the second tier.

"Today is all positive," Sarri said. "We played a full 90 minutes, defended very well, so it was a very good match but we need consistency now. We have to continue to play with the same mentality in all the matches.

"I hope in the future we will not need a lost match to find the right mentality."

While Chelsea still have plenty of work to do to secure a top-four spot, especially with a resurgent Manchester United just five points back in sixth with a game in hand, Tottenham are looking more and more safe.

A title challenge is looking increasingly possible, too, after a 1-0 win over Newcastle that lifted the team into second place.

SON THE SAVIOR

Tottenham has Qatar to thank for staying in the title race.

Son Heung-min had an earlier-than-expected return from the Asian Cup after South Korea was beaten by eventual champion Qatar in the quarterfinals. Since he has been back in England, Son has scored in both of his league games, the 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Watford in midweek and now the win over Newcastle.

Son's shot from the edge of the area looked harmless, but it went through the grasp of Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka and into the middle of the goal in the 83rd minute.

He played the full match, just like he did against Watford, after which Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said Son was very tired and had cramp.

"He works so hard, he pushes, and never gives up — he tries, tries, tries, tries," Pochettino said. "His effort, with or without the ball, is always very regular and consistent and that is the most important.

"Sonny is like a battery that you have — you work, work, work until the battery is gone."

It was Tottenham's third straight victory in the league, with the winning goal in each of the games — against Fulham, Watford and now Newcastle — coming in the final minutes.

Tottenham moved a point ahead of City, who play Arsenal on Sunday, and four behind Liverpool, who visit West Ham on Monday.

SILVA'S STRUGGLES

If Sarri was the manager under pressure coming into this weekend, that mantle has shifted firmly to Everton's Marco Silva.

Jeers accompanied the final whistle at Goodison Park as Everton lost at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-1, a week after exiting the FA Cup at the hands of second-tier Millwall. Everton are in ninth place and majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri isn't getting a return from his $350 million of investment over the past two years.

The game was delayed for three minutes after a black cat strayed onto the field. "Sign him up," disgruntled Everton fans chanted.

Goals by Ruben Neves — from the penalty spot — Raul Jimenez and Leander Dendoncker allowed Wolves to consolidate seventh place in an encouraging first season back in the top flight.

SALA TRIBUTE

Cardiff's players paid tribute to the team's missing striker, Emiliano Sala, in beating Bournemouth 2-0.

After scoring the first of his two goals, Bobby Reid raced to the home dugout with his teammates and they held up a T-shirt adorned with Sala's image — and Cardiff's fans responded with applause.

There was a period of reflection in honor of Sala before kickoff, when both sets of players joined arms around the center circle. Before that, both captains carried out bouquets of flowers and Cardiff's supporters held yellow, white, and light blue squares, paying tribute to the Argentine.

A plane carrying Sala and pilot David Ibbotson disappeared from radar last week over the English Channel. The flight was going from the French city of Nantes to Cardiff, where Sala was set to start playing for his new club.

Enough money has been raised online to allow Sala's family to fund a private search, after an official rescue operation for the light aircraft was called off with authorities saying there were unlikely to be any survivors.

FINALLY A PENALTY

Burnley were awarded a penalty in the Premier League for the first time in nearly two years. It earned the team a last-gasp draw against Southampton.

Ashley Barnes converted the spot kick in the fourth minute of injury time to secure a 1-1 draw for Burnley. It kept both teams unbeaten in the league in 2019.

Burnley had gone 68 league matches without a penalty stretching back to April 2017.

Crystal Palace won at home over next-to-last Fulham 2-0, and Brighton and Watford drew 0-0.


West Indies humble England by 10 wickets and win test series

West Indies' captain Jason Holder celebrates the dismissal of England's James Anderson during day three of the second Test cricket match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua and Barbuda, Saturday, Feb. 2. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

Antigua (AP) — The West Indies won their first test cricket series against England in 10 years after steamrolling the second test in three days on Saturday.

England were routed for 132 in their second innings and the West Indies knocked off the 14 runs needed for a 10-wicket victory on a dramatic day at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

The test series was clinched 2-0 with a match to spare.

The West Indies completed their first innings only in the morning, Darren Bravo the last man out after facing 215 balls for 50. But he helped his side to a 119-run lead on a dodgy pitch.

England, after making 187 in their first innings, needed to show some grit. But the English attacked instead of digging in and were routed for 132, leaving the West Indies needing 14 runs for the victory.

John Campbell cracked a six over midwicket off James Anderson for the winning runs, and he and fellow opener Kraigg Brathwaite joined their team in a lap of honor.

Bravo had already faced 165 balls and made only 33 when play resumed on Saturday.

But with help from captain Jason Holder (18), and tailenders Kemar Roach (6), Alzarri Joseph (7) and Shannon Gabriel (1 not out), Bravo reached his 17th test half-century before he was stumped.

Joseph's commitment to the cause was also noted. His mother, Sharon Joseph, died on Saturday before play began.

Alzarri Joseph also bowled, taking 2-12 off seven overs, including the prize of England captain Joe Root for the second time in the match. Joseph added a catch.

"Alzarri's mum passed away, so we rallied around each other, we wanted to do it for her," Holder said. "For Alzarri to be involved, credit to him and his family."

England were OK until opener Rory Burns was out to Holder for 16 on 35-1. Then the wickets came regularly, four of them bowled, and two to lbw, as fast bowlers Holder (4-43) and Roach (4-52) held their lines and lengths. Roach was named man of the match for his eight wickets in total.

Jos Buttler top-scored with 24.

"I thought as a bowling group we've performed well but the batting hasn't been up to it," Root said.

The third and final test starts next Saturday in Saint Lucia.


Rickie Fowler shoots 64 for 4-shot lead at Phoenix Open

Rickie Fowler waves after making a birdie putt on the fifth green during the third round of the Phoenix Open PGA golf tournament, Saturday, Feb. 2, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

John Marshall

Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP) — Rickie Fowler had the lead heading into the final round last year at the Phoenix Open, only to see the title slip through his grip for a second time.

He will have a big cushion in his third bid to win the championship following a stellar display of golf.

Fowler had eight birdies in a 7-under 64 on Saturday at TPC Scottsdale to take a four-shot lead over Matt Kuchar into the final round.

Fowler opened with four birdies in six holes and navigated a difficult two-putt on the par-4 18th hole to reach 20-under 193.

Now it's time to finish it off.

"This one is definitely high on the list, another being Torrey Pines," Fowler said. "I would say between here and there, those would be the two highest on the list other than a major."

Kuchar shot a bogey-free 65 to put himself in position for his third victory of the wraparound PGA season. He has been par or better in all 19 rounds this season, winning the Mayakoba Classic and Sony Open.

Justin Thomas, who started one behind Fowler, shot 65 and was five back of his friend and desert roommate.

Branden Grace and Byeong Hun An were at 13 under on a day golf said goodbye to one of its most distinctive voices.

Saturday's third round was the broadcasting finale of NBC lead golf analyst Johnny Miller's career.

Miller followed a Hall of Fame playing career with three decades of calling it the way he saw it, regardless of what the players thought of him. Wanting to spend more time with his family, the 71-year-old Miller decided to call it quits after the Phoenix Open, where he won twice to help earn the nickname "Desert Fox."

NBC played multiple tributes to Miller during Saturday's coverage and on-course announcer Roger Maltbie's voice cracked as he talked about his friend.

"I appreciate the people out there. I do my commentating for you," Miller said. "I'm glad you accepted my form of commentating, which was not normal. It was a little rough at first, but it's just been a pleasure, the friendships I've made."

Fowler had the 54-hole lead at last year and fell flat in the final round, shooting 73 to finish six shots behind champion Gary Woodland. He also lost in a playoff in 2016.

Fowler put himself in position for a third run at the title with a superb round of golf.

He had a one-shot lead over Thomas after closing with four birdies for a 6-under 65 in Friday's second round. Fowler made an eight-foot birdie putt on 18 to reach 13 under and quickly added to it on Saturday, dropping in an 18-foot birdie putt on the par-4 first hole.

Fowler, who shot 64 in the opening round, added birdies on Nos. 3, 5 and 6 to reach 17 under, but had a par putt lip out after he hit into the greenside bunker at the par-3 seventh. He hit his approach to two feet for birdie at No. 9, turning in 4-under 31, and followed a birdie at the difficult 11th with a two-putt birdie on No. 13.

Fowler reached 20 under with a birdie on the short par-4 17th for a nice cushion heading into what's expected to be a rainy final round.

"I've done a good job of kind of everything this week," he said. "Nothing's standing out as super special, just playing solid golf and when I've gotten into trouble, being able to get up and down most of the time."

Playing in the group ahead of Fowler, Thomas and Grace, Kuchar had three birdies for a 3-under 32 on the front nine and rolled in a nine-foot birdie putt on the 167-yard 12th hole. He two-putted for birdie on the par-5 13th and made a five-foot birdie on 15 to reach 16 under.

Kuchar missed a good opportunity on No. 17, sliding a six-foot birdie putt past the hole, but finished with a nice save from the greenside bunker on No. 18.

"It would be amazing to get three wins this early," Kuchar said. "It had been a number of years since I found the winner's circle, so to have gotten two in this year has been amazing."

It may take an amazing round of golf to catch Fowler.


UAE tries to thwart Qatar Asian Cup final debut with protest

Qatar's forward Almoez Ali eyes with ball during the AFC Asian Cup semifinal soccer match between United Arab Emirates and Qatar at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, Jan. 29. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Rob Harris

Abu Dhabi, UAE (AP) - After being denied a spot in Friday's Asian Cup final by Qatar, the host United Arab Emirates has launched a late challenge to get its regional rival disqualified by alleging it fielded ineligible players at the tournament in a protest that carries political undertones.

The complaint adds another layer to Qatar's politically-charged progress to the final of the continental soccer showpiece in the UAE, which is part of a quartet of countries boycotting Doha diplomatically and politically.

There was an angry reaction from the home crowd in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday as the UAE was routed in the semifinal, with shoes thrown at Qatari players after striker Almoez Ali scored the second goal in a 4-0 win.

The UAE soccer federation has now questioned whether Ali, with a tournament-leading eight goals, and Bassam Al-Rawi meet FIFA's nationality requirements to play for the 2022 World Cup host nation having been born outside Qatar. Al-Rawi was suspended for the semifinal because of bookings but would be in line to play in the final.

"The Asian Football Confederation has received a protest from the United Arab Emirates FA regarding the eligibility of two Qatar players," the governing body said in a statement on Thursday. "This protest will now be reviewed in line with the AFC regulations."

The ultimate sanction would see Qatar having to forfeit the match as a 3-0 loss, according to AFC rules, which would disqualify it from playing Japan on Friday in the final.

Players can feature for the national team other than your birthplace if you comply with FIFA's requirements. Those include having a biological parent or grandparent born in the country or having lived continuously for at least five years in the country after the age of 18.

The 21-year-old Al-Rawi, who also played for Qatar at the Under-21 World Cup in 2015, is the son of a former Iraq international. The 22-year-old Ali is widely listed to have been born in Sudan, but that could not immediately be verified.

By winning the hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup in 2010, Qatar has had a long time to try to find the players to ensure it has a competitive team. The team's ranking has fluctuated between No. 78 and No. 112 in the last decade and never managed to qualify for a World Cup.

Both Ali and Al-Rawi are graduates of the state-of-the-art Aspire training academy in Doha that has been used to develop young talents, many of which were born outside Qatar, a nation of only about 330,000 citizens.

FIFA referred all comments to the AFC. Qatar team spokesman Ali Salat did not reply to messages about the eligibility questions over players. Coach Felix Sanchez at the news conference ahead of the final only said he was "not concerned at all."

With Qatar having a point to prove about its footballing ability, Sanchez was more willing to talk about the landmark of the small Gulf nation contesting a first-ever Asian Cup final.

"(If) we get a result that gives us the trophy, of course, this will be a biggest achievement in the (country's) football history," Sanchez said. "It will mean that a lot of things have been done in the right way. In the last years, this group of players worked in the right direction with the right mentality to be in the top of the competition.

"(It) doesn't matter what happens tomorrow, we are feeling very proud about them, because they are showing very high level in this competition playing against top teams. So, we are going to try to make people in our country tomorrow happy again and try to make history."

Victory would perhaps be all the sweeter for the Qataris coming in one of the nations that have severed all ties with them over accusations they support extremist groups. Qatar denies any backing of terror groups.

Having blocked off direct travel to Qatar since June 2017, the UAE made no exemptions even to smooth the journey of the country's Asian Cup team. Qatar had to take a circuitous route via Kuwait lasting more than five hours to make an air journey that can be done directly in around an hour.


West Indies in control vs England after 1st day of 2nd test

England's James Anderson, bottom, is bowled by West Indies' Shannon Gabriel during day one of the second Test cricket match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua and Barbuda, Thursday, Jan. 31. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

Antigua (AP) — England's hopes of a big response against West Indies were ruined when the tourists were dismissed for 187 on the first day of the second test on Thursday.

After an easy victory in the first test, West Indies looked to be in firm control again after reaching 30 without loss before stumps in reply.

Home captain Jason Holder chose to bowl on a lively pitch at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and saw the clatter of wickets interspersed with a series of nasty blows that left both England's egos and bodies bruised.

Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Sam Curran and Ben Foakes were all rapped hard on the gloves, the latter unable to keep wicket as a result, while top-scorer Moeen Ali was clattered on the helmet by Shannon Gabriel.

Only Jonny Bairstow (52) and Moeen (60) negotiated conditions well enough and the prospect of a series-deciding defeat appeared high as the tourists trudged off without landing a blow in response.

Holder happily inserted England after winning the toss and saw his side pick up four wickets before lunch. Rory Burns was the first, held low at second slip pushing inconclusively at Kemar Roach.

It was Roach who sowed the seeds of England's match-defining 77 all out in Bridgetown and he took 4-30 here.

Debutant opener Joe Denly survived a highly precarious lbw shout on nought and eked out six runs before the day's worst dismissal. Chasing a short, wide loosener from Alzarri Joseph the 32-year-old stretched too far and sent a thin edge sailing into Shane Dowrich's gloves.

Root failed to settle but was hardly complicit in his dismissal, Joseph getting one to rear violently off a length. The ball thumped Root's top hand as he attempted evasive action and it took a wonderful team effort from John Campbell and Shai Hope to complete the catch.

Jos Buttler was promoted to five, leapfrogging Stokes, but lasted just 12 deliveries before Holder found extra bounce and picked up the edge.

In a lunch score of 78-4, Bairstow was responsible for 52 of them. That rendered his wicket, two balls after the restart, all the more important as Roach sent one down at yorker length and won an lbw.

Stokes was undone by skill as much as speed, Gabriel coming from a wide angle round the wicket and precisely snaring the edge to leave England 93-6.

Moeen and Foakes went on to share a gutsy stand of 85, carefully watching for unpredictable bounce, running aggressively and taking on the spin of Roston Chase.

Moeen reached his half-century in 69 balls but fell in ugly fashion, scooping Roach to mid-on.

That was the first in a sequence of four wickets for nine runs as Gabriel and Roach cleaned up.

England had over an hour to cause some chaos of their own but, despite a challenging spell from Stuart Broad, West Indies openers Campbell and Kraigg Brathwaite reached the close with their partnership intact.


Varner hears the roars on No. 16, shares Phoenix Open lead

Harold Varner III hits from the 16th tee during the first round of the Phoenix Open PGA golf tournament, Thursday, Jan. 31, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

John Marshall

Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP) — Harold Varner III overcame an early bogey with three straight birdies, moving himself in position to tie for the lead.

He got it with a long putt and a dab on the loudest hole in golf.

Varner snaked in a long birdie putt on the par-3 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale on Thursday, capping off a 7-under 64 to tie Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas for the first-round lead at the Phoenix Open.

Varner set off the rowdiest roars of the afternoon with his 31-foot putt at the hole turned into a stadium, celebrating with the dab toward the sky.

"I love entertaining people and what better hole to do it," Varner said.

Playing in pristine conditions before storms are expected to hit this weekend, Fowler and Thomas made their way around the desert layout without finding much trouble.

Martin Laird and J.T. Poston were a shot back at 65 and four players shot 66, including two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson. Another 16 players shot 67 on a day when 70 players were under par.

Among them was Oklahoma State sophomore Matthew Wolff, who overcame some early nerves in his first PGA Tour start. The 19-year-old had a bogey on his second hole, the par-4 11th, but closed with five birdies to open three shots out of the lead.

Defending champion Gary Woodland and Phil Mickelson each shot 68.

Varner, who missed the cut at Torrey Pines last week, blew his first putt past the hole on the par-4 second hole for a three-putt bogey, but bounced back with three straight birdies on the front nine. He had a two-putt birdie on the par-15 13th and got up-and-down from a greenside bunker at the other back-nine par 5, the 15th.

Following his dabbing birdie on No. 16, Varner missed two chances for the outright lead on the closing holes. He three-putted from 105 feet on the drivable par-4 17th hole and missed an 18-foot birdie putt on 18.

Even so, Varner carded his lowest round of the season and earned a tie with the two desert roommates.

"I played well, drove it really well and had lots of opportunities," Varner said. "I'm just excited to be playing in this event. I love this event."

Thomas opened 2019 with a third-place finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and was tied for 16th at the Sony Open with four rounds in the 60s.

Playing in near-perfect conditions in the morning , the 2017 PGA Championship winner started on the back nine and went out in 2-under 34 with birdies on Nos. 15 and 18. Thomas' 9-foot putt on 18 began a string of six birdies in seven holes, including five on putts inside of 5 feet to shoot a 5-under 30 on the front nine.

"It was in control of everything tee to green," Thomas said. "I didn't necessarily get off to the greatest start score-wise, but I felt like I was playing playing well. Those front pins were tucked pins, very hard to get to. It was nice to get finally get off to a good start at this event."

Fowler, twice a runner-up at the Phoenix Open, also started on No. 10 and jump started his round with an eagle on the par-5 13th after knocking his 236-yard approach shot to 17 feet. He also two-putted from 45 feet for birdie on No. 3, but misread a putt on the par-4 ninth that would have given him the outright lead — and chance to trash talk his roommate for the week, Thomas.

"I was really hoping I was going to make that last putt," he said. "We're sharing a house this week, so I wanted bragging rights at dinner tonight."

Fowler with have to settle for a share of the lead with his buddy and the dabbing Varner.


Bertens beats Bonaventure in St. Petersburg opener

Kiki Bertens of Netherlands returns the ball to Ysaline Bonaventure of Belgium during the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy-2019 tennis tournament match in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Jan. 31. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

St. Petersburg, Russia (AP) — Kiki Bertens and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova are set for a rematch of their Australian Open encounter after both reached the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy quarterfinals Thursday.

Bertens easily saw off Belgian qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure 6-4, 6-2 in their second-round match, while Pavlyuchenkova saved five of six break points on her way to a 6-4, 6-4 upset of former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

The eighth-ranked Bertens lost to Pavlyuchenkova two weeks ago in the second round of the Australian Open 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. Pavlyuchenkova went all the way to the quarterfinals on that occasion before losing to Danielle Collins.

Bertens leads 3-2 in career matches against Pavlyuchenkova, though the Russian has won their last two meetings. Thursday's win over Bonaventure was Bertens' first match since her Australian Open loss thanks to a bye in the first round in St. Petersburg.

Earlier Thursday, Aryna Sabalenka recovered from a second-set slipup to reach the quarterfinals, beating Alison van Uytvanck 6-1, 6-4.

In her first match since reaching a career-high ranking of No. 10 on Monday, the Belarusian trailed 3-1 in the second before winning four games in a row.

Sabalenka, who had a first-round bye, will next face Ekaterina Alexandrova, who beat qualifier Tereza Martincova 7-5, 6-2.

Sabalenka defeated Alexandrova 6-3, 6-3 this month on her way to winning the Shenzhen Open title.
 


DAILY UPDATE

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Australia wins opening Sydney SailGP races over Japan

City overcome stubborn Newport to reach FA Cup quarters

Shiffrin skis through sickness to 'sweetest' win of career

Thomas, Scott share 36-hole lead at Riviera


Liverpool climb back atop EPL standings; United into 4th

6N: Ireland rebound to beat Scotland 22-13 at Murrayfield

Casey leads by 3 over Mickelson at Pebble Beach

England finally dig in and reach 231-4 on Day 1 of 3rd test


6N: Ireland toppled in Dublin by England 32-20

Sarri gets immediate response from rampant Chelsea

West Indies humble England by 10 wickets and win test series

Rickie Fowler shoots 64 for 4-shot lead at Phoenix Open


UAE tries to thwart Qatar Asian Cup final debut with protest

West Indies in control vs England after 1st day of 2nd test

Varner hears the roars on No. 16, shares Phoenix Open lead

Bertens beats Bonaventure in St. Petersburg opener