Record-setting City win derby for 11-point lead in EPL
City's Nicolas Otamendi, right, scores his side's second goal during the
English Premier League match against Manchester United at Old Trafford
Stadium in Manchester, Sunday, Dec. 10. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)
Manchester, England (AP) —
Surely nothing can stop Manchester City now.
The race for the Premier League title
is turning into a procession after City beat fierce rivals Manchester United
2-1 on Sunday, extending their lead to 11 points in a record-breaking start
to the season.
This 14th straight victory for City is
a record run in a single top-flight season. No team has ever had this many
points — 46 — after 16 games in the Premier League. To put City's form into
context, 46 points would have secured eighth place in the league last
It's only early December.
Pep Guardiola's team is doing it in
style, too. Having already beaten Liverpool 5-0 and overwhelmed Chelsea in a
1-0 win at Stamford Bridge, City came to Old Trafford to play the other
member of the current top four and had 65 percent possession and almost
twice the number of shots.
For most of the first half and in the
final stages of the second half, United were overrun in a stadium where they
hadn't lost in any competition since September 2016 — against City, 41 home
Given their eye-catching style of play,
the irony was that City's two goals couldn't have been scrappier. Both came
from defensive mistakes from United striker Romelu Lukaku at set pieces,
with David Silva (in the 43rd) and Nicolas Otamendi (in the 54th) the
gleeful recipients with close-range finishes.
Marcus Rashford equalized in first-half
injury time, also benefiting from a defensive mistake from Otamendi, and
United manager Jose Mourinho was left to bemoan the failure of Michael
Oliver to award a penalty for what he thought was a trip by Otamendi on
Ander Herrera. Instead, Herrera was booked for simulation.
"We can speak about anything you want,"
Mourinho said, "bring any football theory, bring any stats, ball possession,
you can bring anything you want. But like last season, there is a huge
penalty (not awarded) in a crucial moment of the game."
Guardiola, unsurprisingly, saw it
"We won," Guardiola said, "because we
And in a nod to his critics, Guardiola
added: "I am happy because so many people say you cannot win in England
playing like this."
In the other neighborly rivalry on
derby day in the Premier League, Wayne Rooney converted a penalty to earn
Everton a 1-1 draw at Merseyside rivals Liverpool. Arsenal scored in the
88th minute to salvage a 1-1 draw at Southampton in the day's other game.
Both fourth-place Liverpool and
fifth-place Arsenal can only realistically think about second place now,
which says a lot considering the Premier League hasn't even reached the busy
festive period yet.
That is the standard being set by City.
Set pieces were supposed to be United's
strength and City's weakness. So even Guardiola accepted the peculiarity of
City's goals coming from that route.
For Silva's opener, Lukaku was tussling
with Otamendi at a corner and only succeeded in deflecting Kevin De Bruyne's
inswinging delivery right into the path of Silva to dispatch from inside the
Rashford equalized after Otamendi
failed to deal with Marcos Rojo's long ball forward and ended up flicking a
header into the path of the United striker.
Otamendi made amends — but again Lukaku
was at fault. His attempted clearance from Silva's free kick struck the back
of teammate Chris Smalling and fell to Otamendi, who slammed the loose ball
City were grateful to goalkeeper
Ederson Moraes for producing a brilliant double save, off Lukaku then Juan
Mata, in the 84th minute to preserve their lead and win 2-1 at Old Trafford
in the league for a second straight season.
An innocuous push by Dejan Lovren cost
Liverpool dear in a Merseyside derby that they had dominated.
The center back gave Dominic
Calvert-Lewin a nudge in the back when Everton's striker was heading away
from goal and Rooney converted the penalty after lots of complaints from
Liverpool took the lead through Mohamed
Salah's league-high 13th goal of the season and had chances to wrap up the
win before Lovren's mistake.
Everton still haven't won at Anfield
since 1999, but remained unbeaten in three matches under new manager Sam
Olivier Giroud made the difference off
the bench again for Arsenal.
The France striker scored an
88th-minute equalizer for his 17th goal as a substitute in the Premier
League. That matches a record he holds with former Manchester United striker
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Giroud, on as a 72nd-minute
replacement, glanced home Alexis Sanchez's left-wing cross as Arsenal's late
pressure told at St. Mary's Stadium. Charlie Austin gave Southampton the
lead in the third minute.
Lomachenko stops Rigondeaux to win match of Olympic greats
Vasyl Lomachenko, left, punches Guillermo Rigondeaux during the
third round of their WBO junior lightweight title bout Saturday,
Dec. 9, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
New York (AP) — Vasyl
Lomachenko doesn't just beat fighters. He makes them quit.
Even Guillermo Rigondeaux, who
had never even lost a fight as a pro.
"I guess I should change my
name now to NoMaschenko," Lomachenko said.
Lomachenko won their bout
Saturday night when Rigondeaux's corner stopped the fight after six
rounds because the boxer was complaining of pain in his left hand.
Lomachenko was easily winning
boxing's first pro match between two-time Olympic gold medalists
when Rigondeaux and his trainers jointly called for the match to be
Promoter Dino Duva said
Rigondeaux first felt pain in the second round and hurt it more
significantly in the third. Duva said doctors believed the hand
could be broken and were sending the 2000 and 2004 Olympic gold
medalist from Cuba to the hospital for X-rays.
Duva said the injury came from
a punch — though Rigondeaux certainly didn't hit Lomachenko with
many of them.
"Where did he hurt his hand, in
the dressing room?" promoter Bob Arum said.
Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs) earned
his seventh straight victory by stoppage and defended his WBO
130-pound title. And for the fourth straight time, his match ended
with his opponent quitting.
Rigondeaux lost for the first
time in his 18 pro fights and was loudly booed afterward by a crowd
that was supporting both fighters early in the match.
But it was quickly apparent
that the 2008 and 2012 gold medalist was too much for the
37-year-old Rigondeaux, the 122-pound champion who was moving up two
weight classes for the historic match.
"I adjusted to his style, low
blows and all," Lomachenko said.
Long one of boxing's best
defensive fighters, even Rigondeaux couldn't find a way to defend
himself against Lomachenko's onslaught.
"It just amazes me what this
guy does to an opponent," Duva said. "He just frustrates his
opponent so bad you don't even know what to do."
Lomachenko started cautiously
but by the third round he had begun finding his way through
He was leading 59-54 on two
judges' cards and 60-53 on the other, and a fighter who does as
little offensively as Rigondeaux was unlikely to make that up even
if he could've continued.
"I'm going to come back and
fight against anybody because there are no excuses," Rigondeaux said
through a translator.
Rigondeaux would have liked the
fight at a lower weight but the height difference may have been a
bigger problem. Giving up three inches to the 5-foot-7 Lomachenko,
he frequently was caught when he tried to lunge forward for shots
and couldn't slip Lomachenko's accurate punches, and when he kept
trying to duck lower and lower Lomachenko even hit him on top of the
It was tense in the fifth
round, when Rigondeaux was warned for hitting on the break and they
jawed at each other after the bell sounded to end the round. But
Lomachenko came back and scored with some solid shots in the sixth,
and it became a bigger round for him when Rigondeaux had a point
deducted for holding.
Moments later, it was over.
Lomachenko won titles in two
weight classes after just seven fights and it may not be long until
he has a chance at another, possibly moving up to lightweight next
Former Olympic medalists Shakur
Stevenson and Michael Conlan were among the winners on the
undercard. Stevenson (4-0, 2 KOs) outclassed Oscar Mendoza (4-3)
before referee Sparkle Lee stopped the featherweight bout midway
through the second round. Fighting near his hometown of Newark, New
Jersey, the southpaw who won silver in 2016 landed sometimes three
or four punches in rapid succession before Mendoza could get out of
Conlan (5-0) delighted the
contingent of Irish flag-waving fans with a unanimous decision
victory over Argentina's Luis Molina (4-4-1), winning every round of
the six-round bout in his first pro victory that didn't come by
Conlan peppered Molina with
combinations to the body and left uppercuts to the chin in the arena
where he made his professional debut last year on St. Patrick's Day.
Arum also plans to have the 2012 bronze medalist from Belfast fight
again next year on the March 17 holiday.
Sri Lanka trounce India by seven wickets
India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni, left, plays a shot during their first
one-day international cricket match against Sri Lanka in Dharmsala,
India, Sunday, Dec. 10. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Dharamsala, India (AP) —
Sri Lanka beat India by seven wickets in the first one day
international on Sunday to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match
Earlier, Suranga Lakmal picked
up a career-best 4-13 as India were bowled out for 112 runs in 38.2
Chasing 113, the visitors rode
Upul Tharanga's 49 runs to scale the target in 20.4 overs to secure
the one-sided victory.
Defending the lowly total,
India started well as Jasprit Bumrah (1-32) had opener Danushka
Gunathilaka (1) caught behind.
A short time later, Bhuvneshwar
Kumar (1-42) bowled Lahiru Thirimanne for a three-ball duck as Sri
Lanka were reduced to 19-2.
Bumrah also had Tharanga caught
at gully in the sixth over, but his delivery was deemed a no ball.
The batsman then stabilized Sri Lanka's innings and put on 46 runs
with Angelo Mathews (25 not out).
Hardik Pandya (1-39) was taken
for runs but he managed to get Tharanga caught behind.
Thereafter, Mathews added 49
runs for the fourth wicket with Niroshan Dickwella (26 not out) and
took Sri Lanka home.
"We need to give 200 per cent
credit to our bowlers. They bowled very well. This was an unplayable
wicket and we didn't expect it to be so. Lakmal is our No. 1 bowler.
He did well in the test series for us too," said Thisara Perera, the
Sri Lanka skipper, after the win.
India started the match on the
back foot and at one point were reduced to 29-7.
MS Dhoni scored 65 runs as he
salvaged some pride for the hosts. Even so, this was India's lowest
ODI total at home since 1993 when they were bowled out for 100 by
the West Indies at Ahmedabad.
"We were not up to the mark
today. There weren't enough runs on the board. If we had another
70-80 runs, we could have made a game out of it. But we will not get
flat wickets every day and this will be a learning curve for us. We
have to look forward to the two remaining matches," said Rohit
Sharma, India's stand-in skipper, after the loss.
Put into bat, India started
poorly as both openers were dismissed with the scoreboard on 2-2.
Angelo Mathews (1-8) trapped Shikhar Dhawan (0) lbw, while Rohit
Sharma (2) was caught behind off Lakmal.
Lakmal was nearly unplayable as
the Indian top order struggled. Dinesh Karthik was out lbw for an
18-ball duck and Manish Pandey (2) was caught at slip.
Nuwan Pradeep (2-37) got into
the act as debutant Shreyas Iyer (9) played on. Afterwards, Hardik
Pandya (10) edged him to slip with India toiling at 28-6.
Lakmal bowled ten overs on the
bounce and picked up Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0). He improved on his
previous best of 4-30 against England at Pallekele in 2014.
Dhoni then came to India's
rescue and scored his 67th ODI half-century off 78 balls. He
anchored the innings with a 41-run partnership for the eighth wicket
with Kuldeep Yadav (19).
Then he added another 17 runs
with Jasprit Bumrah (0) and 15 with Yuzvendra Chahal (0 not out),
pushing India past an unlikely 100 in the 37th over.
Two overs later, Dhoni was last
man out, caught at deep cover off Thisara Perera (1-29). Overall, he
faced 87 balls and hit 10 fours along with two sixes.
The second ODI is scheduled for
Mohali on Dec. 13.
Marcel Hirscher comes from behind to win World Cup slalom
Austria's Marcel Hirscher competes during an alpine ski, men's World
Cup slalom, in Val D'Isere, France, Sunday, Dec. 10. (AP Photo/Shin
Val D'Isere, France (AP) —
Marcel Hirscher quickly disappeared from the finish area after his
disappointing opening run of a men's World Cup slalom on Sunday.
The Austrian star went back to
the hotel, studied video footage of his run, changed his ski
equipment, and beat the field by a large margin few hours later.
"After the first run I was in
shock about how much I struggled. It wasn't easy for me," said
Hirscher, who ended up beating his main slalom rival, Henrik
Kristoffersen of Norway, by 0.39 seconds, while Andre Myhrer of
Sweden was another 0.01 behind in third.
"In the second run I wanted to
try something different," Hirscher said. "We used a completely
different setup, and it has worked out perfectly."
Hirscher and his team managed
to adapt his skis better to the tough conditions on the Stade
Olympique de Bellevarde course. Dense snowfall made for a slope with
lots of soft spots, so Hirscher decided to use skis with less sharp
It helped the six-time overall
champion from Austria to overcome a deficit of more than half a
second from the first leg, which Hirscher finished in eighth. It was
the Austrian's 47th career win and first in a slalom race since
breaking his left ankle in a practice run in August.
"My skiing is good again, but
my looseness is still miles away from where it once was," said
Hirscher, who trailed first-run leader Stefano Gross of Italy by
0.55 seconds after the opening leg.
Eyeing his second career win,
Gross posted only the 20th fastest time in the final run and dropped
to sixth. It was the fourth time that the Italian slalom specialist
failed to capitalize on winning an opening run. His only triumph so
far came in Adelboden, Switzerland, in January 2015. He also has 10
Many racers struggled on the
course, which contained spots of slippery ice as well as soft snow,
while snow on their goggles limited visibility. Before the start,
course workers removed a 30-centimeter layer of fresh snow off the
Kristoffersen, the second
pre-race favorite alongside Hirscher, also improved after finishing
0.41 off the lead in fourth in the opening run.
"I had too many mistakes and I
was at the limit so I am satisfied with second place," the Norwegian
said. "I took a lot of risks, was very fast in parts. But Marcel is
an incredible ski racer, hats off to him."
Kristoffersen also finished
second in the season-opening slalom in Levi, Finland, in November,
and has taken the lead in the discipline standings with 180 points,
46 clear of Hirscher.
Germany's Felix Neureuther, who
won the race in Levi, is out indefinitely after damaging his left
knee in practice.
The men's World Cup next
travels to Val Gardena, Italy, for speed races on Friday and
Update December 9 - 10, 2017
Elite thoroughbred race horses killed in California wildfire
Terrified horses gallop from San Luis Rey Downs as the Lilac Fire
sweeps through the horse-training facility, Thursday, Dec. 7, in San
Diego, California. (Paul Sisson/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)
Andrew Dalton and Julie Watson
San Diego (AP) —
Hundreds of elite thoroughbred race horses sprinted away from flames
Thursday as one of California's major wildfires tore through a
training center in San Diego County.
Not all made it.
There was no official count of
how many animals were killed in the hazy confusion as both horses
and humans evacuated, but trainers at San Luis Rey Downs estimated
that at least a dozen had died, possibly far more.
Horses worth hundreds of
thousands of dollars who are usually carefully walked from place to
place were simply set free and encouraged to run away as flames
engulfed the center near Bonsall, which is just a few miles from
where the fire broke out.
Mac McBride, who was working
with the center's trainers, said it was "total pandemonium when
several hundred horses were cut loose," but he believes most of the
about 450 horses stabled there survived. McBride, who works at the
Del Mar race track, said some horses were evacuated to the nearby
track where many of them compete.
"There was so much smoke it was
difficult to see," said horse trainer Dan Durham, who got his 20
horses rounded up and was loading them into vans to be evacuated.
"Some of the horses were turned loose so they could be safe. They
were scattered around."
San Luis Rey Downs is home to
horses that run at nearby Del Mar and other top-flight California
tracks like Santa Anita Park. Doug O'Neill, whose horses have won
the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup races, is among the trainers
who keep at least part of their stable there.
The sign at the front calls it
"Home of Azeri," the now-retired mare who was the 2002 U.S. Horse of
the Year who earned over $4 million in her career.
Los Alamitos Race Course, the
track where Southern California's rotating thoroughbred circuit is
currently running, canceled all races Friday so that the racing
community can mourn.
Horse trainer Scott Hansen said
he knows some of the 30 horses he had at the facility were killed.
"I don't know how many are
living and how many are dead," Hansen said. "I guess I'll have to
figure that out in the morning." For now, he said he was
concentrating on getting his horses that survived to evacuation
Another trainer, Cliff Sise,
told KFMB-TV that he saw about 10 horses die, including his own
"It was dark, everything was
hot and she wouldn't come out. I opened the pen and tried to get
behind her and get her out, and she wouldn't get out," Sise said.
"She burned to death that quick."
Nadal and Muguruza win ITF player of the year awards
Garbine Muguruza of Spain. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
London (AP) — Rafael
Nadal and Garbine Muguruza have won the International Tennis
Federation's player of the year awards.
At 31, Nadal becomes the oldest
ITF men's world champion after a season in which he won a 10th
French Open and a third U.S. Open.
The Spaniard also became the
oldest player to finish the year at No. 1 since the ATP rankings
began in 1973.
Muguruza dropped only one set
en route to her first Wimbledon title and finished the year at No. 2
behind Simona Halep.
"Becoming ITF world champion in
such a competitive year is amazing for me," said Muguruza, who is
also Spanish. "(Nadal) is a great role model for all of us, so it is
a great moment for tennis in Spain."
Better reliability and team harmony keys to Hamilton's title
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton is shown in this
Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017 file photo. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Paris (AP) — Lewis
Hamilton credits improved reliability from Mercedes and a better
relationship with his teammate as key factors behind his fourth
Formula One championship.
He scored points in every F1
race this year, a first for him. He won nine, and broke Michael
Schumacher's record for pole positions. He has 72 to go with his 62
race wins, second only to Schumacher's 91.
"I'm incredibly grateful to the
team, we've had the best reliability," Hamilton said on Friday. "I
don't remember another team having this reliability."
Hamilton finished 46 points
clear of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who won five races but
capitulated in the second half of the season.
Hamilton has won the F1 title
in three of the past four seasons with Mercedes, losing out to
former teammate Nico Rosberg last year.
The two were teenage friends
from their karting years, but the relationship turned increasingly
sour from 2014-16. Rosberg was twice runner-up. Then, the German
driver clinched his only F1 title in the final race of 2016.
Hamilton's bitterness toward
Rosberg seemingly lingers. He described him in minimal terms on
Friday as "a member of the team last year."
Hamilton much prefers fighting
Vettel than Rosberg, who has retired.
"This year is the best year. I
knew I would be fighting against Ferrari," Hamilton said. "I wanted
to bring a positive, rebuilt (and) re-structured me into the team."
Rosberg stunned F1 by retiring
days after securing his 2016 title, leaving Mercedes head of
motorsport Toto Wolff to scramble for a new driver. He hired Finnish
driver Valtteri Bottas from Williams.
"For me it was a lucky moment,"
Bottas said on Friday at an event hosted by FIA. "I called Toto. I
just wanted to make sure they knew I wanted to be in this team."
Hamilton claims to enjoy
"perfect harmony" with Bottas. When asked to compare him with
Rosberg, Hamilton was curt.
"I wouldn't compare them, I
have no plans to," Hamilton said.
On Bottas, he added, "There's
an incredible amount of respect between us. Ultimately we want to
win the right way by being the fastest on the track. There's nothing
happening in the background, he's not trying to do it any other
Bottas won three races and
finished 58 points behind Hamilton in third place.
"He's very strong in his mind,"
Hamilton said. "I'm anticipating he's going to be even stronger next
year, so I had better stay on my toes."
Although Hamilton's winning
margin over Vettel was comfortable, the contest was tense until
Vettel's unexpected dip.
Hamilton trailed Vettel at the
summer break and, after moving narrowly ahead, looked set to fall
behind again in September at the Singapore Grand Prix. Vettel was
starting from pole alongside teammate Kimi Raikkonen on a sinewy
street circuit more suited to Ferrari. Furthermore, Hamilton was
It was the perfect scenario for
Vettel to regain the championship lead.
But Vettel crashed trying to
cut off Max Verstappen, causing a four-car collision that took them
both out along with Raikkonen and McLaren's Fernando Alonso.
It was the soccer equivalent of
Vettel, a four-time F1 champion, scoring an own goal.
Hamilton won to move 28 points
ahead overall. Vettel was then hampered by reliability woes,
finishing fourth in Malaysia and failing to score in Japan.
"I don't know whether or not if
we would have won the championship (otherwise)," Hamilton said.
"They lost a ton of points in those races, and at the race in Baku
(Azerbaijan) where (Vettel) lost a potential win."
Although Vettel finished fourth
in Baku in late June and Hamilton was fifth, he wasted valuable
points after being hit with a time penalty. Irritated by what he
perceived to be Hamilton's deliberately slow driving behind a safety
car — known in F1 as brake-testing — Vettel accelerated and swerved
into the left side of his Mercedes.
"I'm sure he's learned a lot,"
Hamilton said of Vettel. "I can't expect him to make the same
mistakes next year."
Vettel said on Friday his Baku
rashness left him feeling worse than his Singapore slump.
Women's World Cup combined canceled because of thick fog
Writing on a giant screen announces the cancelling of the second
portion of an alpine ski, women's World Cup combined race, in St.
Moritz, Switzerland, Friday, Dec. 8. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)
St. Moritz, Switzerland (AP)
— A World Cup combined event was canceled because of thick fog
on Friday, soon after Mikaela Shiffrin was fastest in the opening
The poor conditions wiped away
Shiffrin's chances of adding to her overall lead in the standings.
Organizers first pushed back the super-G start time and then decided
to scrap it.
Later, the American defending
overall champion lost a second chance to win the event. Race
organizers declined an option to let Saturday's scheduled super-G
double up as the second run of the combined.
Lindsey Vonn wasn't surprised
that racing was stopped.
"I don't foresee the super-G
being able to happen, it's so foggy," Vonn said after placing 25th
in slalom, 3.33 seconds behind her American teammate. "You can't
even free ski down the hill."
Organizers tried to defy the
gloomy forecast by flipping the race order. Fog and strong winds
higher up the hill made the super-G course too dangerous in the
Shiffrin did not have the
cleanest slalom run, but she finished 0.39 seconds ahead of Swiss
rival Wendy Holdener. In February, Holdener won the combined gold
medal when St. Moritz hosted the world championships.
Shiffrin trailed after almost
losing her balance though the first steep section after a start on
flat terrain, then gained time lower down.
In third place, world silver
medalist Michelle Gisin of Switzerland was 1.21 seconds back.
Still, Shiffrin can still look
with confidence to super-G races scheduled Saturday and Sunday
having placed placing fifth in the speed discipline last Sunday in
Lake Louise, Canada.
For the first time since March
2015, former Olympic champion Julia Mancuso started a World Cup
race. She finished almost eight seconds behind the leader.
"It was fun to be back in the
start and I made it to the finish," said Mancuso, who was returning
from hip surgery. "Today was not the result of my injury, it was the
result of lack of training."
Mancuso, who has won medals in
three straight Olympics, is targeting the super-G event to make the
U.S. team for the Pyeongchang Games.
The weather denied her a chance
to race super-G on Friday.
"I felt like when I got up this
morning and they changed the order, that I was being punked," joked
Mancuso, who hopes to start in the two World Cup super-G races this
Marseille, Bilbao, Copenhagen advance in Europa League
Arsenal's Theo Walcott scores his sides second goal during the
Europa League Group H match against BATE Borisov at Emirates Stadium
in London, Thursday, Dec. 7. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
London (AP) - Former
Champions League winners Marseille, along with Copenhagen, Athletic
Bilbao and AEK Athens were among the eight teams to qualify for the
knockout stage of Europa League on the final night of group matches
Marseille advanced from Group I
after a 0-0 home draw to group winners Salzburg.
Bilbao clinched the top spot in
Group J after a 2-0 victory at Ukraine's Zorya Luhansk.
In the battle for second spot
in Group H behind already-qualified Arsenal, Red Star Belgrade
eliminated Cologne with a 1-0 victory.
Earlier, Copenhagen and
Lokomotiv both advanced from the tightly contested Group F after
victories over Sheriff Tiraspol and Zlin, respectively.
AEK needed a point and got it
from a 0-0 draw at Austria Vienna to join AC Milan in the next phase
from Group D.
Two other clubs advanced from
the early kickoffs, with Astana making it through from Group A after
a 1-0 victory at Slavia Prague, and a 1-1 draw at Hoffenheim proving
enough for Bulgaria's Ludogorets Razgrad to qualify from Group C.
Sixteen clubs had already
booked their places in the round of 32, which will also include
eight third-place teams from the group stage of the Champions
Elsewhere, already eliminated
Everton recorded their first victory of the campaign, a 3-0 win at
Apollon Limassol, courtesy of two first-half strikes by Ademola
Lookman and another by Nikola Vlasic three minutes before the final
The draw for the Round of 32
will be held on Monday.
Here's a look at Thursday's
Europa League action:
Croatian champions Rijeka
spoiled the European debut for Milan's new coach Gennaro Gattuso
with a 2-0 victory in Group D.
A perfectly executed free kick
by Jakov Puljic shocked the Italian powerhouse seven minutes into
the game and Mario Gavranovic extended that lead two minutes into
the second half.
Milan, one of the competition's
favorites, had already secured top spot in the group with 11 points,
three more than AEK, who drew their last five group stage games.
Rijeka and Austria Vienna are
Pieros Sotiriou and Michael
Lueftner scored in the space of three minutes early in the second
half to help Copenhagen to a 2-0 victory over Sheriff Tiraspol and a
place in the next stage. Group F had remained wide open until the
last round of matches.
A draw would have been enough
for the Moldovan champions to make the next round for the first
Aleksei Miranchuk scored in the
70th minute and Jefferson Farfan added another five minutes later
for Lokomotiv to seal a 2-0 away victory over Czech side Zlin.
Lokomotiv finished top of the
group with 11 points, followed by Copenhagen two points behind.
Tiraspol also finished on nine points but were eliminated by their
EASY FOR ARSENAL
Already certain to finish top
of Group H, Arsenal completed the group stage with 13 points and a
6-0 rout of BATE Borisov.
Mathieu Debuchy, Theo Walcott
and Jack Wilshere all scored in the first half to put the outcome
beyond doubt. Denis Polyakov made it 4-0 in the second half with an
own goal before Olivier Giroud netted from the penalty spot for his
17th goal in his 40th appearance in European competitions. Mohamed
Elneny finished BATE off with the sixth.
Cologne have endured a
miserable season at home after 11 losses in 14 games, and have only
three points at the bottom of the Bundesliga.
Europe is no consolation.
Midfielder Slavoljub Srnic
scored the decider in the 22nd minute for Red Star to join Arsenal
in the next round with nine points.
Cologne are eliminated with six
points, followed by Borisov on five.
US team still planning for Olympics despite confusion
ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, is shown in this Nov.
29, 2017, file photo. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Washington D.C. (AP)
- Members of the Trump administration surprised the U.S. Olympic
Committee by suggesting the nation's participation at the upcoming
Pyeongchang Games in South Korea was "an open question," and the
USOC responded by saying it has no plans on pulling out.
The confusion began when U.N.
ambassador Nikki Haley, in response to a question in a Fox News
interview, said "There's an open question" about whether the U.S.
team would travel to South Korea, where tensions have grown high
after a series of missile tests in North Korea and inflammatory
rhetoric between its leader, Kim Jong Un, and U.S. President Donald
The USOC responded with a
statement Thursday saying plans to compete in the Olympics, which
run Feb. 9-25, hadn't changed. Shortly after that, White House
spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters "no official
decision has been made."
She later clarified in a tweet,
saying: "The U.S. looks forward to participating in the Winter
Olympics in South Korea. The protection of Americans is our top
priority and we are engaged with the South Koreans and other partner
nations to secure the venues."
The USOC doesn't receive
federal funding, and technically, the official decision on
participating belongs to the committee and the athletes themselves,
all of whom would be guided by directives from the State Department,
which has not issued any travel restrictions to South Korea.
The USOC is in frequent contact
with the State Department, the organizing committee in South Korea
and law enforcement about security issues in Korea and other places
that members of the U.S. team travel.
"Each host city presents a
unique challenge from a security perspective, and that is no
different in this regard," spokesman Mark Jones said. "We will
continue to work with (authorities) to ensure that our athletes, and
our entire delegation, are safe."
In September, the USOC's head
of security, Nicole Deal, sent a letter to members of the U.S.
delegation saying, "Despite current political tensions with North
Korea, there is no specific information to suggest there are
imminent threats to U.S. citizens or facilities in South Korea."
That same week, USOC CEO Scott
Blackmun said, "From our perspective, with the information we
currently have, it's full-steam ahead."
It's the same position the USOC
held as of Thursday, and athletes who have been faced with the
question haven't wavered on their intention to compete.
"I was in Pyeongchang last
February and as far as I've been told over the past year by the
USOC, everything is basically the same," figure skater Nathan Chen
said last month. "I didn't feel any security threats while I was
there and I feel like everything will be basically the same for this
upcoming Games. I trust the USOC 100 percent and I know that they
would do the best for all of their athletes."
Boxing tries to appeal to the masses once again
Vasyl Lomachenko, of Ukraine, punches a bag during a workout at a
Manhattan boxing gym Wednesday, Dec. 6, in New York, while preparing
for his Saturday WBO super featherweight title fight against
Guillermo Rigondeaux. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
New York (AP) - Boxing
fans get an early holiday gift Saturday when two masterful fighters
with four Olympic gold medals between them meet in an intriguing
130-pound title bout.
The best part? It won't cost
them anything over their basic cable bill to watch it.
The future of boxing is
changing, or so Bob Arum believes. And nowhere is that more evident
than the card put together by the longtime promoter in the theater
at Madison Square Garden.
Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo
Rigondeaux — one from Ukraine, the other Cuba — meet in a title
clash that is as good as it gets in the lower weight classes. And
they do on ESPN instead of pay-per-view or the premium cable
networks that have dominated boxing in the past.
Boxing is back in front of the
masses. And so far the masses seem to like what they're seeing.
"A lot more people will be
aware of these guys than if they fought on a premium network," Arum
said. "We have a much bigger megaphone with a 24-hour sports
Arum's new alliance with the
cable network giant started in July when Manny Pacquiao and Jeff
Horn drew some 3 million viewers for their fight in Australia.
Lomachenko drew decent ratings on a card of his own, and Terence
Crawford was also featured in a Saturday night broadcast in August.
And with 18 dates scheduled for
next year on ESPN — many of them in the prime Saturday night slot —
expect to see Top Rank's best fighters on a regular basis on the
"You'd have to go back to the
'70s to a time when all the big fights were on free TV," Arum said.
"In the '80s we had less and less, and then we had none to speak
Boxing's reliance on paid TV
gave the top fighters big paydays over the years, and served
promoters like Arum well. Showtime and HBO paid well for the big
fights, and the biggest went to pay-per-view.
But it was a flawed business
model for long term success. Fans didn't get to see their favorite
fighters in the ring enough, and promoters treated each fight card
as if it were a one-off event.
Arum was one of the guilty, and
admits he and fellow promoters did the sport wrong while chasing
"You're 100 percent right for
implicating me and the other promoters," Arum said. "We went for the
catnip, there's no question about that. But what we did was shrink
our product, and shrink the acceptance of our product."
The idea of bringing boxing
back to prime-time network TV is not a new one. The secretive Al
Haymon has put his stable of Premier Boxing Champions fighters on
network TV for the last three years, though they have bounced around
on different networks and have mainly of late been relegated to
lower-tier cable networks.
But Arum believes the strategy
spearheaded by his stepson, Todd duBoef, to have a stable of boxers
each fight three to four times a year on regularly scheduled ESPN
cards will provide the same kind of name recognition and continuity
that UFC has used so successfully in its TV model.
Lomachenko will be a key test
of that theory. The boxer who won two Olympic golds for Ukraine came
to the U.S. to make himself a big name, and his appearance on a card
heavily promoted by ESPN will go a long way to turning him into more
of a household name.
Rigondeaux also has two gold
medals he won for Cuba and is undefeated in 17 pro fights. The big
knock on Rigondeaux is that he is too defensive and won't exchange
in fights, though Arum believes that will change when Lomachenko
pressures him Saturday in New York.
"He's got the Cuban style and
doesn't take chances to win decisions, but he can't do that with
Lomachenko," Arum said. "Lomachenko won't let him pile up a big
points lead and then it becomes a real fight. I think Lomachenko
knocks him out in the late rounds."
In an interesting programming
note, HBO will also televise a card Saturday from Las Vegas
featuring Orlando Salido, the only fighter to beat Lomachenko.
The day after the Garden fight,
Arum — who turns 86 on Friday — gets on a plane for Australia for
Horn's title defense next Wednesday against Gary Corcoran, which
will be seen in the early morning hours in the U.S. on ESPN. There
are plans for another Pacquiao fight in the spring as well as a
Crawford fight, with the possibility the two will meet in the fall.
There's a long way to go, and
promises have been broken in boxing before. But Arum believes the
sport can overcome its own self-inflicted mistakes.
"Everyone was to blame, there
wasn't just one culprit," he said. "It was the disease of being
Ronaldo moves level with archrival Messi with 5 Ballon d'Ors
Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo gestures during the Champions League
Group H match between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund at the
Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Dec. 6. (AP
Paris (AP) — A decade of
dominance as the world's two best soccer players has left Cristiano
Ronaldo and Lionel Messi level with five Ballon d'Or awards each.
Despite once trailing 4-1 to
his longtime rival, Ronaldo moved level after winning the award
again on Thursday.
"With Messi the fight
continues, in a good way," Ronaldo said after being presented the
trophy awarded by France Football magazine at a ceremony held
at the Eiffel Tower.
Messi was second in the voting
and Neymar, who left Barcelona in the offseason to join Paris
Saint-Germain for a world record transfer fee of 222 million Euros
($262 million), was third.
Overall, Messi has a very
The 30-year-old Messi has been
runner-up to Ronaldo on each of his wins.
Ronaldo has been runner-up to
Messi four times, with the exception being when midfielder Andres
Iniesta — Messi's brilliant club teammate — finished second in 2010
after scoring the winner for Spain in the World Cup final. Ronaldo
did not make the podium that year, with Barcelona and Spain
midfielder Xavi taking third place.
He has bounced back to win the
Ronaldo was shown on television
receiving his latest award Thursday while making the sign of five
with his left hand as he held the trophy in his right.
"Of course, I feel happy, it's
a big moment in my career," Ronaldo said. "It's something I hope to
win every year."
The 32-year-old Portugal
forward also took home the Ballon d'Or prize in 2013 and 2014, and
in 2008 when playing for Manchester United.
Messi won it from 2009-12 —
with Ronaldo runner-up three times during the period — and in 2015
ahead of Ronaldo and Neymar.
Ronaldo claimed it back last
year after helping Portugal win the European Championship and
starring for Madrid as they won the Champions League.
"Thanks to my Real Madrid
teammates," Ronaldo said, adding. "I want to thank the rest of the
people who helped me reach this level."
Last season he won the
Champions League once again — scoring twice in a 4-1 rout of
Juventus in the final — and played a key role as Madrid won the
Spanish league title for the first time since 2012. His league tally
of 25, however, was his lowest since joining the club in 2009.
Ronaldo is the all-time leading
scorer in the history of the Champions League with 115 goals.
"If he can score 10 times in
training he will, that's what impresses me," Real Madrid coach
Zinedine Zidane said. "His ambition impresses me. I'm proud to be
He set another competition
record on Wednesday, scoring in Real Madrid's 3-2 win over Borussia
Dortmund on Wednesday to become the first player to find the net in
all six group-stage matches.
It took his tally to nine so
far, but in La Liga it has been a very different story during this
In August, he was banned for
five games after shoving referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea in the
back following his red card during a 3-1 victory over Barcelona in
the Spanish Super Cup. He missed the return leg of the Spanish Super
Cup in Madrid plus the first four matches of the Spanish league
Since then, he has managed only
a meager two goals in 10 games and Madrid are fourth — already eight
points behind leaders Barcelona after 14 matches. Messi is already
well clear with 13 league goals.
Meanwhile, veteran goalkeeper
Gianluigi Buffon was fourth on France Football's list. The
39-year-old Italian helped Juventus reach the Champions League final
and win the Italian title for the sixth straight season.
Croatia midfielder Luka Modric
and Spain defender Sergio Ramos — both Ronaldo's teammates — were
fifth and sixth respectively.
Teenage star Kylian Mbappe
finished seventh after helping Monaco win the French title and reach
the Champions League semifinals. He joined Neymar at PSG this season
in a deal worth 180 million Euros ($216 million) — the second-most
Chelsea midfielder N'Golo
Kante, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Tottenham
striker Harry Kane completed the top 10.
PSG striker Edinson Cavani was
surprisingly 11th despite scoring a career-high 49 goals in all
competitions last term.
The Ballon d'Or is voted for by
173 journalists worldwide.
Australia win day-night test by 120 runs, lead Ashes 2-0
Australia's Josh Hazlewood, left, celebrates the wicket of England's
Joe Root, right, caught behind for 67 runs during the fifth day of
the second Ashes cricket test in Adelaide, Wednesday, Dec. 6. (AP
Adelaide, Australia (AP) —
Australia won the inaugural day-night Ashes test by 120 runs on the
last day, with Josh Hazlewood striking twice in the first three
overs and Mitchell Starc finishing off the tail as the pace attack
crushed England's slim hopes of a comeback victory.
England resumed at 176-4 on
Wednesday, needing a further 178 to produce a record fourth-innings
run chase for a win that would level the Ashes series at 1-1.
That scenario relied heavily on
England skipper Joe Root, on 67, posting a big score on day five at
the Adelaide Oval.
But after watching night
watchman Chris Woakes (5) feather a catch off Hazlewood's bowling to
wicketkeeper Tim Paine on the second ball of the day, Root was
caught behind in the Australian paceman's next over without adding
to his overnight score as England slumped to 177-6.
Nathan Lyon dismissed Moeen Ali
and England were bundled out for 233 when Starc (5-88) returned with
the new ball to remove Craig Overton, Stuart Broad and complete a
five-wicket haul when he bowled Jonny Bairstow for 36.
"We always had faith in the
team, the belief," Australia captain Steve Smith said. "It happened
really quickly. I'm pleased for the boys. I thought they came out
and showed some really good character this morning."
Australia have now won all four
day-night test matches they have played — three in Adelaide (vs. New
Zealand, South Africa and England) and one in Brisbane, against
The third test starts Dec. 14
in Perth, where England are in danger of surrendering the urn after
winning the Ashes on home soil in 2015.
Only one team has recovered
from 2-0 down to win an Ashes series, and that was Don Bradman's
Australian lineup in 1936-37 on home soil.
The Australians clinched their
last series in Australia with a win in Perth in 2013-14 before going
on to complete a 5-0 sweep.
Root is confident his team can
compete at the WACA, where England have only ever won one test match
— in 1978.
"The way we went about it
yesterday was exceptional and that has to be the benchmark going
forward," he said. "We showed a lot of character. The way the senior
players stood up in the field especially, to bowl them out for what
"Today was disappointing, I
don't think we did ourselves justice ... but we're still massively
in the series."
Two unconventional captain's
calls had big influences on the test, and neither for the benefit of
After losing the series-opener
by 10 wickets in Brisbane last week, Root won the toss and sent
Australia into bat at the Adelaide Oval — something last done by an
Englishman in his position in 1982. It didn't work then, and it
failed this time, too, with Shaun Marsh's unbeaten 126 — he was
named man of the match — helping Australia post 442-8 declared in
the first innings.
Australia then bowled England
out for 227, setting up a 215-run cushion, but then Smith let the
pressure off by not enforcing the follow-on and making a beleaguered
England battling lineup bat again immediately under lights.
It backfired, with Australia
struggling to 53-4 at stumps on day three, and eventually all out
for 138 early on day four with Jimmy Anderson returning his best
ever figures in Australia of 5-43. That let England back into the
Smith also wasted two umpire
referrals within three balls and England rallied again, getting a
glimmer of hope for victory, particularly with Australia having no
further referrals available.
But the Australian fast bowlers
snuffed out any hope with the early wickets, and now England head to
Perth needing to avoid defeat to have any hope of retaining the
Smith said he no longer needed
to dwell too much on his decision regarding the follow-on.
"We've won the game — I would
have thought about it had we lost," Smith said of the follow-on
decision. "Fortunately, we were able to hang in there and get the
result we were after. It doesn't make any difference anymore."
Liverpool complete Champions League sweep for England
Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho, center, celebrates with his teammates
after scoring his side's fifth goal during the Champions League
Group E match against Spartak Moscow at Anfield Stadium in
Liverpool, Wednesday, Dec. 6. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Paris (AP) — England has
become the first country to have five teams in the knockout stage of
the Champions League after Liverpool completed a sweep for Premier
League clubs with a 7-0 thrashing of Spartak Moscow on Wednesday.
Liverpool, who have won
Europe's top competition five times, clinched Group E after Philippe
Coutinho secured his first hat trick for the club.
Liverpool were joined in the
last 16 by former champions Porto, Sevilla and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Napoli lost 2-1 at Feyenoord and failed to qualify.
Liverpool were one of four
English teams to top a group, along with Manchester City, Manchester
United and Tottenham. Chelsea completed the sweep, signaling a
revival by English clubs after years of underachievement since the
west London club were crowned European champions in 2012.
Here is a look at what happened
Needing only a draw to qualify,
it was all too easy for Liverpool at Anfield, where Coutinho led the
dismantling of Spartak with two goals in the opening 15 minutes
before completing his first hat trick for the Reds in the 50th.
Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane (2)
and Mohamed Salah scored the other goals as Liverpool won 7-0 for
the second time in Group E and topped it by three points from
second-place Sevilla. Spartak finished in third place and dropped
into the Europa League.
Liverpool finished the group
stage with 23 goals, just two goals shy of Paris Saint-Germain's
record of 25 this season.
"Nobody could imagine that it
would go like this tonight. It was an all or nothing game for both
teams," said Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp. "We opened the game
perfectly and after we took the lead we didn't have to defend. It
was a nice night at Anfield."
Sevilla qualified for the
knockout phase with a 1-1 draw at Maribor. In freezing temperatures,
the Spanish side started poorly but recovered after the interval and
equalized through Ganso to clinch the runners-up spot.
Shakhtar Donetsk advanced to
the knockout stage with a 2-1 victory over Manchester City, ending
the English club's unbeaten record in all competitions this season.
Already guaranteed first place,
City were caught on the break and failed to become only the seventh
club in Champions League history to win every game in the group
"The game didn't go as we
expected, in the first half they were better than us and it was a
deserved win for them," City midfielder Bernardo Silva said. "In the
second half we tried to come back, had our chances, but we are not
happy. Even though we had already qualified, we wanted the three
Shakhtar, who finished
runners-up, took the lead in the 26th minute when Bernard cut in
from the left side of the box and curled a shot inside the far post,
beyond the reach of goalkeeper Ederson.
Eight minutes later, Ismaily
sprinted to beat Ederson to the ball before rounding the keeper and
stroking a shot into the unguarded net. City's consolation goal came
in added time when Sergio Aguero converted a penalty.
It was City's first competitive
loss since being beaten by Arsenal in an FA Cup semifinal in April.
In the group's other game,
Feyenoord rallied from a goal down to beat Napoli, who failed to
join Serie A rivals Juventus and Roma in the knockout stage. Napoli
ended third and headed to the Europa League.
Vincent Aboubakar scored twice
to ensure Porto reached the knockout stage with a resounding 5-2 win
against a poor Monaco side.
Both teams finished with 10 men
after having a player sent off late in the first half.
Turkish side Besitkas, who won
2-1 away to Leipzig, finished top of Group G with 14 points. Porto
have 10 and Leipzig will play in the Europa League.
Monaco reached the semifinals
of the competition last season by playing some scintillating
attacking football. But it has been a very different story this
season for the French team and coach Leonardo Jardim's side were
already guaranteed to finish last.
"It's sad not to be continuing
in the Champions League but that's football. Now we have to focus on
the league and the two domestic cups," Monaco's top scorer Radamel
Falcao said. "Our team changed a lot in the summer and we need time
to get stronger."
Cristiano Ronaldo became the
first player to score in all six group-stage matches of the
Champions League as Real Madrid beat Borussia Dortmund 3-2.
Madrid had already guaranteed
second place behind Group H winners Tottenham, who defeated APOEL
3-0 at Wembley Stadium to reach 16 points and finish with more
points than any other team in the group stage.
Madrid ended with 13 points,
and Dortmund and Cypriot club APOEL finished with two points each.
The German club took third place because of a better goal difference
and will now play in the Europa League.
Madrid led 2-0 after Borja
Mayoral opened the scoring and Ronaldo, the all-time leading scorer
in the Champions League with 115 goals, netted his ninth in the
competition this season. The strike also drew him level with Lionel
Messi on 60 all-time goals in the group stage.
Dortmund equalized with two
goals by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, one in each half, but Lucas
Vazquez got the winner in the 81st minute at the Santiago Bernabeu
2018 F1 calendar approved; Brazil GP security issue raised
this April 9, 2017, file photo, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of
Britain gets the checkered flag to win the Chinese Formula One Grand
Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai, China. (AP
Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
Paris (AP) — Formula One
races in Bahrain and China will swap places early in the season as
initially planned following approval of the 2018 F1 calendar on
Motor sport's governing body
FIA confirmed the proposed switch, with Bahrain taking place at the
Sakhir circuit on April 8 and the Chinese GP in Shanghai a week
As usual, the F1 season begins
with the Australian GP in Melbourne on March 25.
All the other races in the
21-race calendar were confirmed from the original plan set out in
June, with the exception of the United States GP in Austin on Oct.
21 being subject to confirmation. Brazil (Nov. 11 at Interlagos) and
Abu Dhabi (Nov. 25 at Yas Marina) are the last two races.
Questions were raised about the
Brazilian GP being held next year in Sao Paulo after serious
security scares last month.
Members of Lewis Hamilton's
Mercedes team were robbed at gun point in their minivan while
leaving the track. Valuables were stolen but there were no injuries
Street crime is endemic in
Brazil, which has been battered in the last several years by its
worst recession in memory. Thieves at the F1 race often target cars
stuck in traffic jams at the exit of the circuit located about 30
kilometers (20 miles) south of Sao Paulo city center.
At this year's race, FIA
spokesman Matteo Bonciani said the car in which he was leaving the
track was assaulted by gun-wielding assailants who attempted to
smash in the bullet-proof windows with the vehicle stuck in traffic.
In response to these latest
incidents, new security measures were proposed Wednesday.
The FIA directly urged that the
race promoter uses an "independent security expert to evaluate and
advise on security plans," while implementing a police reporting hub
at the circuit and improving "overall communication between the
promoter security, police and F1 stakeholders."
The French GP, meanwhile,
returns after a 10-year absence and will be hosted at the iconic
Paul Ricard circuit, also known as Le Castellet, in southern France
on June 24.
Paul Ricard last hosted the
French GP in 1990. The race was then organized at Magny-Cours from
1991-2008 but was dropped from the calendar in 2008 because of
The German GP, which has
struggled with attendances and track fees, was scrapped this year
but will return at Hockenheim on July 22.
The Azerbaijan GP has been moved forward to
April 29, making it the fourth race of the season. The Russian GP in
Sochi, held this year at the end of April, shifts to Sept. 30. That
late September slot was normally reserved for the Malaysian GP,
which has been dropped.
There were doubts over the Singapore GP,
subject to commercial rights holder confirmation, but it will go
ahead on Sept. 16.
March 25: Melbourne, Australia
April 8: Sakhir, Bahrain
April 15: Shanghai, China
April 29: Baku, Azerbaijan
May 13: Barcelona, Spain
May 27: Monaco
June 10: Montreal, Canada
June 24: Le Castellet, France
July 1: Spielberg, Austria
July 8: Silverstone, England
July 22: Hockenheim, Germany
July 29: Budapest, Hungary
Aug. 26: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
Sept. 2: Monza, Italy
Sept. 16: Singapore
Sept. 30: Sochi, Russia
Oct. 7: Suzuka, Japan
Oct. 21: Austin, United States (asterisk)
(subject to confirmation)
Oct. 28: Mexico City, Mexico
Nov. 11: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Nov. 25: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Sri Lanka hold on for draw vs. India
India's captain Virat Kohli, second right, hugs his teammates at the
end of third test match against Sri Lanka in New Delhi, India,
Wednesday, Dec. 6. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
New Delhi (AP) —
Debutant Sri Lankan Roshen Silva batted for 184 minutes on day five
of the third test between India and Sri Lanka in Delhi on Wednesday
to force a draw.
During the game, players
endured air pollution that forced some to wear face masks during
play and made several players vomit.
Chasing 410, Sri Lanka were
placed at 299-5 when play was called off with seven overs remaining
in the mandatory hour of play. At stumps, Silva was unbeaten on 74
while Niroshan Dickwella was 44 not out.
India had scored 536-7d and
246-5d in their two innings. Sri Lanka had made 373 in the first
As a result, India won the
three-match series 1-0 after winning in Nagpur by an innings and 239
runs. The first test in Kolkata was drawn.
Virat Kohli was named man of
the match for his sixth double hundred (243) in the first innings.
He was also man of the series for scoring 610 runs in three tests.
Sri Lanka's cricket board has
complained to the sport's governing body about the poor air quality
its players have been compelled to endure in the Indian capital New
Sports minister Dayasiri
Jayasekara said Sri Lanka Cricket made the complaint on Tuesday to
the International Cricket Council, saying "we can't play like this
as four players had vomited" due to the pollution.
He said the ICC had informed
them that it will take necessary steps.
Sri Lanka's cricketers wore
face masks during the match and the bowlers complained of shortness
Captain Dinesh Chandimal said
after the match that conditions had affected players.
"The pollution situation didn't
help. But after some time we realised it would not go away by
talking. So we decided to focus on the game instead. We will leave
it up to the Sri Lankan board to decide if they want us to play in
Delhi again. If they schedule a match here, we will come and play
here. This decision is not up to us," he added, about the pollution
situation experienced during this match.
India's Cheteshwar Pujara
said: "Pollution was there. There were frequent interruptions,
which weren't really desirable. But as a team we don't focus on
whether the conditions are adverse or not. We aim to play and win
the game." he added.
The two teams will now play a
three-match ODI series followed by a three-match T20 contest. The
first ODI will be played in Dharamsala on December 10.
Livingston-Kirkland incident a teachable NBA moment
Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston, right, argues a call
with referee Courtney Kirkland before he was ejected, during an NBA
basketball game against the Miami Heat, Sunday, Dec. 3, in Miami.
(AP Photo/Joe Skipper)
Miami (AP) - Referees
have a thankless job.
Someone inevitably complains
about almost every call they make. Fans scream at them. Players
scream at them. Coaches scream at them. They get the overwhelming
majority of calls right. The ones they get wrong become big news.
That being said, they're not
So that's what made what the
NBA did Monday so significant. The league suspended Golden State
guard Shaun Livingston for one game because he got involved in an
on-court altercation with referee Courtney Kirkland, a justifiable
sanction because players cannot be permitted to angrily make contact
with referees, ever.
But the NBA also suspended
Kirkland for a week over his role in what happened in the game
"We regret the recent incident
between Courtney Kirkland and Shaun Livingston," the National
Basketball Referees Association said. "The NBRA has reached out to
the National Basketball Players Association to explore ways to
improve on-court communications and civility."
It's time to have those talks.
relationship, while never buddy-buddy, seems very strained right
now. Kevin Durant has been ejected from three games already this
season, after getting kicked out of one in his first 700 NBA games.
Goran Dragic was so angry over a non-call last week that he kicked a
basket stanchion. LeBron James recently got the first ejection of
his 15-year NBA career.
"At this point, it's like
they're trying to turn me into a jump-shooter," James said after his
ejection last month, repeating a stance he's offered plenty of times
before that he doesn't always get the same sort of calls that others
get when they drive to the rim. "I can't be a jump-shooter. I'm not
Referees are taught to defuse
situations and not add fuel to the proverbial fire. That's where
Kirkland failed. Livingston got in his face to argue that he had
been fouled seconds earlier, and replays suggested he had a case.
Kirkland then took two steps toward Livingston, hardly in a menacing
way, but in a manner that didn't help the situation.
"Both the official and the
player were part of it," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
Kerr took the high road, though
it was clear that whatever happened shouldn't have happened.
Livingston loses a game check and now might find himself wondering
if he'll be watched more critically by referees going forward.
Kirkland loses a week of work, and when he's eligible to return
starting Monday, he's probably going to face even more scrutiny.
It's a teachable moment for the
NBA. The league would be foolish to not take advantage.
IOC: Russians can compete at Olympics, but without flag
International Olympic Committee, IOC, President Thomas Bach from
Germany, left, and Samuel Schmid, President of the IOC Inquiry
Commission and former President of Switzerland, right, comment
during a press conference after an Executive Board meeting, in
Lausanne, Switzerland, Tuesday, Dec. 5. (Jean-Christophe
Bott/Keystone via AP)
Lausanne, Switzerland (AP) —
Russian athletes will be allowed to stand on the medal podium at the
Winter Olympics — just not with their anthem playing or their
nation's flag rising above them.
The International Olympic
Committee barred Russia and its sports leaders from the upcoming
games in South Korea after its lead investigator concluded members
of the Russian government concocted a doping scheme at the 2014
Sochi Games that "caused unprecedented damage to Olympism and to
Not welcome in Pyeongchang next
year will be any sign of the Russian Olympic Committee or any member
of its sports ministry, which was responsible for what investigators
concluded was a top-to-bottom scheme of "manipulation and cheating"
to ensure Russians could dope at the Olympics on their home turf and
not get caught.
The IOC punishment did leave
room for many Russians to compete under the name "Olympic Athlete
from Russia" or OAR. They would have to pass drug tests to prove
they were clean and also did not benefit from the Sochi scheme.
If they win, the Olympic flag
would be raised and the Olympic anthem played to honor their
victories. That is, if Russian President Vladimir Putin allows them
to go to the Feb. 9-25 games. He previously has said it would be
humiliating for Russia to compete without its national symbols.
"An Olympic boycott has never
achieved anything," IOC President Thomas Bach said at a news
conference. "Secondly, I don't see any reason for a boycott by the
Russian athletes because we allow the clean athletes there to
Alexander Zhukov, the Russian
Olympic Committee president who also was suspended from his IOC
membership, told TV reporters in Lausanne that one key was
preserving the name "Russia" in the team name.
"They'll be called Russian
athletes and not some kind of neutrals ... that's very important,"
If it was a victory to have the
word "Russia" in the team name and invite some Russian athletes to
compete, it came at a cost.
The IOC also suspended the
Russian Olympic Committee until at least the start of the closing
ceremony in South Korea.
In an embarrassment for
Russia's hosting of the 2018 World Cup, the IOC also banned Russian
Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko from the Olympics for life.
Mutko heads the organizing
committee of soccer's next World Cup. As sports minister in 2014, he
was deeply implicated in the Sochi doping plot by two IOC
commissions and a World Anti-Doping Agency investigation.
"The IOC executive board has
made its positon to the responsibility of Mr. Mutko very clear,"
said Bach, who would not comment if it was appropriate for soccer's
governing body FIFA to continue working with an official who is also
president of Russia's soccer federation.
At the State Kremlin Palace on
Dec. 1, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said at a joint news
conference with Mutko that the IOC's decision would not affect the
That message was repeated
Tuesday by FIFA in a statement which noted that its ethics and
disciplinary committees could still open cases against Mutko and
Russian soccer players implicated in doping cover-ups.
The IOC also imposed a fine of
$15 million on the Russian Olympic Committee to pay for its two
investigations into the case and toward future anti-doping work.
The sanctions could be
challenged at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Any Russian athlete hoping to
earn invitations to Pyeongchang will have to come through a
stricter-than-usual testing regime and not have a doping violation
on their record.
Invitations will be decided by
an IOC panel chaired by former France Sports Minister Valerie
The IOC also will bar Russian
officials who were team leaders at Sochi, and coaches or medial
staff who have been linked to doping athletes.
The CEO of the Sochi Olympics,
Dmitry Chernyshenko, also had his place on an Olympic panel
overseeing the 2022 Beijing Winter Games withdrawn by the IOC.
Russia has repeatedly refused
to accept that a state-sponsored doping program existed. Such
denials helped ensure bans on its track federation and anti-doping
agency have not been lifted.
Instead, Russia blames Grigory
Rodchenkov, the former director of Moscow and Sochi testing
laboratories, as a rogue employee. It wants the scientist extradited
from the United States, where he is a protected witness.
The executive board reached its
decision Tuesday after a scheduled 4½-hour debate when it heard from
a Russian delegation that included world figure skating champion
Evgenia Medvedeva. The delegation was led by Zhukov, who was later
Two IOC commission leaders —
appointed after WADA investigator Richard McLaren upheld
Rodchenkov's doping claims in July 2016 — also reported to the
The report by IOC-appointed
investigator Samuel Schmid, the former president of Switzerland who
was asked to verify an "institutional conspiracy," included a
50-page sworn affidavit from Rodchenkov, who was also a key witness
for McLaren and an IOC disciplinary commission.
The chairman of that
disciplinary panel, Swiss lawyer Denis Oswald, reported about
prosecuting Russian athletes implicated in cheating at Sochi. By
Monday, 25 Russians had been disqualified from the Sochi Games and
banned from the Olympics for life, and 11 medals were stripped. One
Russian was cleared.
Russia no longer leads the
Sochi medals table. Even before the IOC reallocates the stripped
medals, the United States has the most total medals and Norway has
the most golds.
The banned Russian athletes
have said they will appeal the Oswald judgments at the Court of
Arbitration for Sport.
Any sanctions imposed by the
IOC can also be challenged at CAS, and later at Switzerland's
supreme court, which can intervene if the legal process has been
Man United, Basel, Roma, Juventus advance in Champions League
Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku, right, scores a goal as CSKA's
Viktor Vasin tries to block during the Champions League group A
soccer match between Manchester United and CSKA Moscow in
Manchester, Tuesday, Dec. 5. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)
Manchester (AP) -
Manchester United advanced to the Champions League knockout stage
after rallying to beat CSKA Moscow 2-1 on Tuesday to remain unbeaten
at Old Trafford for a club record-equaling 40 successive games.
Basel joined United in the next
phase from Group A by downing Benfica 2-0.
Paris Saint-Germain won Group B
despite losing at Bayern Munich 3-1, the second straight loss for
the French league leaders.
Roma beat Qarabag 1-0 to top
Group C ahead of already-qualified Chelsea. The latter were held to
1-1 at home by Atletico Madrid, who were eliminated after reaching
the final in two of the last four years.
England could have five teams
in the last 16 for the first time if Liverpool advance on Wednesday.
Last year's runners-up,
Juventus, had to wait until the last group game to qualify. Juve won
at Olympiakos 2-0 and joined group winners Barcelona, who beat
Sporting Lisbon 2-0.
Here is a look at what happened
Romelu Lukaku and Marcus
Rashford scored in a 66-second span for United, who became the third
English team to finish top of their group. Manchester City and
Tottenham are already assured of first place heading into their
final group games on Wednesday.
Lukaku volleyed in just his
second goal since September for the 64th-minute equalizer, and
strike partner Marcus Rashford drove home an angled winner to
complete the comeback.
Vitinho gave the visitors a 1-0
lead seconds before halftime.
Basel forward Mohamed
Elyounoussi headed in a cross by Michael Lang five minutes into the
game and Dimitri Oberlin doubled the advantage with another header
in the 65th.
United won the group with three
more points than Basel. CSKA are left with the Europa League, and
Benfica completed a poor campaign without a single point.
PSG's impressive attack
extended their tournament record of 24 goals in the group stage with
another one. Kylian Mbappe scored the record 25th in six games.
But it was not enough for PSG
to win and rebound from a stunning 2-1 loss to promoted Strasbourg
in the French league over the weekend.
Robert Lewandowski got Bayern
off to a flying start and Corentin Tolisso doubled Bayern's lead
before the break. The home side needed just two more in the second
half to top the group, but Mbappe dented those hopes soon after the
break when Edinson Cavani lifted the ball for the teen to head home.
Both sides finished with 15
points, well ahead of Celtic and Anderlecht, both on three.
Anderlecht won in Glasgow 1-0 but Celtic finished third to take the
Europa League place.
Diego Perotti scored early in
the second half for Roma against Qarabag.
The Chelsea-Atletico match in
England still had a couple of more minutes to go after the final
whistle in Rome. All of the Roma squad waited in front of their fans
and, as soon as the big screen showed it was over, there were huge
cheers from players and supporters.
Demoted to the Europa League,
Atletico will miss the Champions League knockout phase for the first
time in five years.
But even if Atletico had held
onto the lead secured in the 56th minute by Saul Niguez, it would
not have been enough to finish in the top two due to Roma's victory.
Chelsea equalized to finish
second in the 75th minute; defender Stefan Savic turned Eden
Hazard's shot into his own net.
Qarabag finished on the bottom.
Juventus, finalists in two of
the last three seasons, secured a berth in the next phase courtesy
of goals from Juan Cuadrado and Federico Bernardeschi.
Cuadrado lunged forward to meet
a cross from Alex Sandro and beat Olympiakos goalkeeper Silvio Proto
in the 15th minute.
Juventus coach Massimiliano
Allegri left striker Mario Mandzukic on the bench as he recovered
from a calf injury, but the Bianconeri looked comfortable in
low gear. The hosts tired toward the end of the game at Karaiskakis
stadium, leaving Bernardeschi with little to do for the second goal
in the 90th.
With Lionel Messi rested by
Barcelona for the first hour, forward Paco Alcacer took full
advantage of the opportunity by scoring a header in the 59th. Former
Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu added an own goal in stoppage
England 176-4 at stumps on Day 4, need 178 to win 2nd test
England's not-out batsmen Joe Root, left and Chris Woakes walk off
at stumps on the fourth day of their Ashes cricket test match
against Australia in Adelaide, Tuesday, Dec. 5. (AP Photo/Rick
Adelaide, Australia (AP) —
Jimmy Anderson produced his best bowling performance ever in
Australia to drag England back into the inaugural day-night Ashes
test, and skipper Joe Root posted an unbeaten 67 to bring an
unlikely upset closer to reality.
England, after losing the
series-opener by 10 wickets last week in Brisbane and being bowled
out for 227 to concede a 215-run first-innings deficit in the second
test, reached 176-4 at stumps on Tuesday.
That leaves Root's lineup with
three sessions remaining on Wednesday and six wickets in hand to
score the 178 runs required to reach a victory target of 354.
England's record for a
successful fourth-innings run chase is 332-7, set in Melbourne in
1928. After surviving the night session on the fourth day for the
loss of only two wickets, there's growing confidence of a broken
A crucial 78-run partnership
between Root, who faced 114 balls and had an lbw decision against
him overturned on 32, and Dawid Malan (29) guided England through
most of the night session. After Malan was bowled by Pat Cummins
late, Chris Woakes went in as night watchman and survived eight
balls to be 5 not out at stumps.
"We are a good amount of runs
short but are in a fantastic position," Anderson said. "We have got
batters in the shed to get us close."
England were completely behind
the game at the Adelaide Oval until Australia skipper Steve Smith
opted not to enforce the follow-on for the night session on Monday.
It backfired badly, with
Anderson and Woakes taking two wickets each as Australia slid to
53-4 with the ball seaming and swinging wildly around under lights.
It didn't get better in
daylight hours for the home team, with Anderson returning 5-43 — his
first five-wicket haul in Australia and 25th in his test career —
and Woakes taking 4-36 to skittle Australia for 138 in the first
session on Tuesday. No Australian batsman surpassed 20 in the second
"We're delighted to be in this
position to have any sort of chance of winning — which we didn't
think we would have after the first couple of days," Anderson said.
"It'd be a huge win ... it's very rare that a team declares then
England reached dinner at 68-2
after losing Alastair Cook (16) and Mark Stoneman (36), setting the
scene for a big night session for the Australian bowlers.
It didn't happen — possibly
because the ball was already 28 overs old by the time the lights
were turned on rather than hard, shiny and new, and also because
there was a lack of composure from the Australians.
Smith didn't review an early
lbw decision against Cook when he should have, then burned two
umpire referrals in the space of three balls on desperate attempts
to have Root and Malan dismissed when the umpire had ruled not out.
That meant the Australians had no more reviews.
Root, meanwhile, used his
referral to perfect advantage, asking for a review after he was
given out lbw, when England were 101-3, and having the decision
overturned when the tracker technology showed the ball from Nathan
Lyon was going over the stumps.
Also under review will be
Smith's decision not to send England back in to bat on Monday night.
"In hindsight, we didn't get an
opportunity to bowl with the new ball under lights," Australia
bowling coach David Saker said. "Maybe we got it wrong. But if we
come out of this winning the game, which I still think we will, you
can say it was justified in some way.
"The past two days haven't gone
to plan but I still think we're in front. If we get (Root's) wicket
in the morning, the game changes."
India close in on victory vs. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka's Dimuth Karunaratne plays
a shot during the fourth day of the third test against India in
New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Dec. 5. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
New Delhi (AP) — India
were closing in on victory in the third test against Sri Lanka on
Tuesday, setting the tourists a massive target of 410 and reducing
them to 31-3 at stumps on day four.
Pollution continued to bother
players, with one Sri Lankan player vomiting on the pitch. Sri Lanka
coach Nic Pothas said his players were clearly bothered by the
pollution levels that have left a thick haze swirling around the
India declared at 246-5 in
their second innings, batting aggressively to garner as many runs as
possible even though they got off to a poor start as Murali Vijay
(9) was caught behind.
Ajinkya Rahane (10) was
promoted to number three but fell cheaply.
Shikhar Dhawan (67) and
Cheteshwar Pujara (49) added 77 runs.
"We had instructions to score
quickly so we could present a target for Sri Lanka today. We had to
shift gears otherwise I would have batted differently. We are in a
good situation now that they are three wickets down. We will try to
finish the game tomorrow," said Dhawan after the day's play.
"Not everyone in our team is
from Delhi. So the situation isn't a standalone for Sri Lankan
players. The sun hasn't come out much so it hasn't helped reduce
pollution in these past few days. I have grown up here and don't
think playing was a problem. It was not hampering us," he said about
the heavy haze that has enveloped the ground during the match.
Pollution has reached hazardous
levels in Delhi during the game, leaving several players gasping for
Earlier in the morning, Suranga
Lakmal showed discomfort owing to the pollution and vomited on the
Virat Kohli completed his 15th
test half-century off 55 balls before being caught at long on off
Kohli added 90 runs with Rohit
Sharma (50 not out) for the fifth wicket. The latter scored his
eighth test half-century off 49 balls.
Sri Lanka's chase didn't begin
well. Sadeera Samarawickrama (5) was caught at gully off a fiery
short-ball from Mohammed Shami (1-8).
The umpires deemed light too
poor for pace bowlers. India deployed their spinners and Ravindra
Jadeja (2-5) knocked over two more Sri Lankan wickets.
Sri Lankan coach Nic Pothas was
not happy with the light situation. "It was a bit of coincidence
that a wicket fell off pace. And then suddenly the umpires said that
the light was not good enough. Then the spinners came on and we lost
two more wickets," he said.
"The players are clearly in
discomfort but we have decided to not speak about it. We want to get
on with the game," he said.
Dimuth Karunaratne (13) was
caught behind and then night watchman Lakmal (0) was bowled to leave
the visitors tottering at close of play.
Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka
were bowled out for 373 in their first innings.
Dinesh Chandimal (164) added 30
runs with Lakshan Sandakan (0 not out) for the final wicket.
India had declared their
innings on at 536-7 after Virat Kohli (243) had scored his sixth
test double hundred on day two.
India lead the three-match
series 1-0 after winning in Nagpur by an innings and 239 runs. The
first test in Kolkata was drawn.
Sagan cleared by UCI over Tour de France disqualification
this July 4, 2017 file photo, Peter Sagan of Slovakia, left, sprints
as Britain's Mark Cavendish crashes, during the fourth stage of the
Tour de France cycling race in Vittel, France. (AP Photo/Christophe
Paris (AP) — The UCI
ruled Tuesday that Peter Sagan did not intentionally elbow Mark
Cavendish during a sprint finish at the Tour de France in a crash
that led to the Slovak rider's disqualification.
The governing body of cycling
said in a statement that it has ended its legal dispute with the
three-time world champion, a few hours before a scheduled hearing at
the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Sagan was sent home from the
three-week race after clashing with his British rival during the
fourth stage. The incident forced Cavendish to abandon with a broken
Sagan's Bora-Hansgrohe team
immediately appealed the race jury's decision to allow its rider to
finish the race but the request was denied by CAS.
"Having considered the
materials submitted in the CAS proceedings, including video footage
that was not available at the time when the race jury had
disqualified Peter Sagan, the parties agreed that the crash was an
unfortunate and unintentional race incident," the UCI said.
UCI president David Lappartient
said lessons will be drawn from the case and wants a "support
commissaire" to assist race jury members "with special video
expertise" at the main events of the UCI World Tour from next
"The past is already forgotten.
It's all about improving our sport in the future," Sagan said. "I am
happy that my case will lead to positive developments, because it is
important for our sport to make fair and comprehensible decisions,
even if emotions are sometimes heated up."
Sagan's explanation for
extending his right elbow into Cavendish's path was that he was just
trying to stay upright. The crash occurred about 50 meters from the
end of the stage and Cavendish slammed into the barriers along the
road, with two other riders plowing over the British sprint
specialist, a winner of 30 Tour stages.
Cavendish said at the time his
rival's move didn't appear malicious.
"It has always been our goal to
make clear that Peter had not caused Mark Cavendish's fall. This was
Peter's position from Day 1," Bora-Hansgrohe manager Ralph Denk
said. "No one wants riders to fall or get hurt but the incident in
Vittel was a race accident as can happen in the course of a sprint."
Smith follow-on call in Ashes spotlight; Australia 53-4
England's James Anderson, center,
celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Australia's
Cameron Bancroft for 4 runs during the third day of the second Ashes
test match in Adelaide, Monday, Dec. 4. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Australia (AP) — Steve Smith chose not to enforce the follow-on
against England and it backfired when the Australian skipper was
trapped lbw in a top-order collapse Monday that altered the
complexion of the inaugural day-night Ashes test.
Nathan Lyon took a stunning
return catch among his four wickets as Australia bowled England out
for 227 on the third day, a 215-run deficit that gave Smith the
option of sending the tourists straight back in and attempt to
compound their woes under lights.
The pink ball swings further
and moves more off the seam in night conditions that are ideally
suited to veteran England paceman Jimmy Anderson, but Smith decided
to bat again in a bid to build a big lead.
Anderson duly stepped in. He
and Chris Woakes took two wickets each to have Australia's second
innings in deep trouble at 53-4 at stumps, an overall lead of 268
Anderson had Cameron Bancroft
caught behind in the third over with the total at 5 and trapped
Usman Khawaja (20) lbw to make it 2-39.
Woakes had David Warner (14)
caught at second slip in the next over and then — after Smith was
lucky to get an lbw decision overturned against Anderson before he
had scored — he dismissed the Australia captain for six to make it
Peter Handscomb was 3 not out
at the close and Lyon, who went in as night-watchman ahead of
first-innings century maker Shaun Marsh, was 3 not out after facing
"We're still very much in the
driving seat," said Mitchell Starc, who took 3-49 in 20 overs that
troubled the England batsmen. "The night sessions are the toughest
time to bat. England have only done it for about 10 overs and if
they want to win this test they're probably going to have to do it
Momentum in the first half of
the test went almost entirely the way of Australia, who posted 442-8
declared after England skipper Joe Root won the toss and broke with
tradition by fielding first in Adelaide.
The Australian bowlers were
right on top after England resumed Monday at 29-1 and slid to 142-7
before a 66-run eighth-wicket stand between Craig Overton, who
finished 41 not out, and Woakes (36) restored the innings.
"We fought back nicely but are
still behind in the game," Woakes said. "It is good to see a fight
back and we showed good character and put them under pressure.
"Anything is chase-able really
... It's a good batting surface."
England lost four 4-99 in the
first session — including Root (9) and Alastair Cook (37).
Lyon struck early in the second
session, breaking up the partnership between the last of the
recognized batsmen when he dived at full length to his left to catch
Moeen Ali's mistimed drive as England slid to 132-6.
Starc took a reflex catch, on
the second grab, to dismiss Jonny Bairstow (21) off his own bowling
with the addition of 10 to the England total. The Australian paceman
then ended the rearguard eighth-wicket partnership in the same mode
when Woakes popped up an easy chance just before the dinner break.
Lyon took the last two wickets
within four balls — getting Stuart Broad caught behind and Anderson
adjudged lbw attempting a sweep shot — to finish with 4-60 from 24.1
Australia won the series-opener
by 10 wickets in Brisbane last week and appeared to be in complete
control of the second test, but England's four-wicket burst late on
the third day keeps the contest alive in Adelaide.
IOC weighs Russian Olympic ban, risks provoking Putin
In this Feb. 7, 2014 file photo
Alexander Zubkov of Russia carries the national flag as he leads the
team during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in
Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Lausanne, Switzerland (AP) —
Russia could be banned from competing at the Pyeongchang Olympics, a
prospect that President Vladimir Putin has already warned would be
humiliating for his country.
The decision will come on
Tuesday when the International Olympic Committee executive board
meets in Lausanne, less than nine weeks before the games open on
Feb. 9 in South Korea.
The 14-member board, which
includes two Americans, has received a so-far confidential report
from an IOC-appointed panel. That panel was asked to assess if
Russian state agencies did organize the doping program used at the
2014 Sochi Olympics.
IOC President Thomas Bach, a
German lawyer long seen as an ally of Russia, is scheduled to
announce the decision at 7:30 p.m. (1830 GMT).
It might not be the last word,
however. Russia can challenge any IOC sanction by appealing to the
Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Here is a look at the case, and
the possible results:
— A total ban on Russia
competing in Pyeongchang.
— Some Russian athletes
compete, if judged to be clean under long-term doping controls
operating to international standards. They would be classed as
neutral athletes competing under the Olympic flag, and would be
denied hearing the Russian anthem if they win Olympic gold. Those
rules were imposed on Russian athletes at the athletics world
championships in August.
Putin has said either of those
outcomes would be humiliating, and could provoke a Russian boycott.
— The IOC board could ask the
seven governing bodies for Winter Olympic sports to decide on
individual athlete eligibility. That compromise applied to the 2016
Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
— Impose a fine on the Russian
Olympic committee. Tens of millions of dollars could go toward
anti-doping work worldwide.
A financial penalty would be
"grossly inappropriate," according to Joseph de Pencier, chief
executive of iNADO, a global group of national anti-doping agencies.
"It would send exactly the
wrong message," de Pencier said. "It's pay to play."
A big red flag regarding
Russian doping went up in July 2013, weeks before Moscow hosted the
athletics worlds. British newspaper the Mail on Sunday reported
wrongdoing by Grigory Rodchenkov and the Moscow laboratory he
directed, but its claims were mostly ignored.
In December 2014, 10 months
after the Sochi Olympics, German network ARD broadcast a film by
journalist Hajo Seppelt about extensive doping in Russian athletics
using footage secretly filmed by whistleblowers.
The World Anti-Doping Agency
later appointed an investigation panel chaired by Richard Pound, a
long-serving IOC member. That panel included Richard McLaren. Their
reports in November 2015 and January 2016 led to the suspension of
Russia's athletics federation, anti-doping agency, and the Moscow
The Pound team interviewed
Rodchenkov and concluded he was a key part of a conspiracy of
supplying banned drugs, covering up doping cases, and extorting
Rodchenkov fled to the United
States and detailed in a May 2016 interview with the New York Times
how, as lab director for the Sochi Games, he helped Russian athletes
cheat. He said 15 of Russia's 33 medals were tainted.
WADA appointed McLaren to
verify the fresh allegations. Within two months, he delivered an
interim report before the Rio Olympics which upheld Rodchenkov's
"It can't possibly be done by a
couple of rogue individuals, or even a rogue department of an
organization," McLaren said last week of Russia's doping program.
The IOC then set up two
commissions. One chaired by IOC member Denis Oswald verified
McLaren's evidence to prosecute cases of Russian athletes from
Sochi. A second, now chaired by a former president of Switzerland,
Samuel Schmid, was to assess if an "institutional conspiracy"
The Oswald judging panel began
giving verdicts last month. By Monday, 25 Russians had been
disqualified from Sochi and banned from the Olympics for life, and
11 medals were stripped. One Russian was cleared.
Schmid has received a 50-page
sworn affidavit from Rodchenkov for his report. It was set to be
delivered to IOC board members on Monday.
Rodchenkov said some Russian
athletes at the Sochi Olympics used a fast-acting "Duchess" cocktail
of performance-enhancing steroids dissolved in alcohol.
During the games, the athletes
were protected by a urine-swapping scheme to replace dirty samples
with clean urine stored months earlier.
The late-night swaps went via a
"mouse hole" into a secured room at the Sochi testing laboratory.
Secret service agents found a
way to break into tamper-proof sample bottles and return them with
clean urine, Rodchenkov claimed.
Cleaned-up samples could
further be tampered with by adding salt to make them more credible.
In cases of some players in Russia's women's ice hockey team who did
not have stored urine, male DNA was found in retesting of samples
that are routinely stored by the IOC for 10 years in Lausanne.
Russia denies a state-sponsored
doping program existed. It blames Rodchenkov, calling him a rogue
employee, and wants the scientist extradited from the United States,
where he is a protected witness.
"There has never been and will
never be any state programs related to doping," Russian Deputy Prime
Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Friday before the soccer World Cup
draw in Moscow.
Mutko, as sports minister in
2014, was implicated in the Pound and McLaren investigations, and
also in Rodchenkov's hand-written diaries which were made available
to the IOC. Oswald's panel called them "significant" evidence before
The New York Times published extracts last week.
Mutko said on Friday he met "a
number of times" with IOC commissions, and risks being banned from
the Olympics. The IOC board blocked his accreditation for Rio last
Still, Mutko remains president
of Russia's soccer federation and head of the World Cup organizing
Bach's executive board did not
impose a blanket ban on Russia before the Rio Olympics, passing on
decision-making power to sports governing bodies. More than 100
Russian athletes were removed from a nearly 400-strong team.
Then, Bach was seen as an ally
of Russia and a personal friend of Putin.
The "important difference" this
time, Bach said last month, was that accused Russian athletes have
now had due legal process and a fair hearing from the IOC.
WHO WILL DECIDE
The IOC board will meet at its
temporary headquarters in Lausanne. It is chaired by Bach and
includes two members of the Oswald Commission — Oswald himself and
Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr.
The board also includes a
member of the Schmid Commission, Robin Mitchell, and two Americans:
Anita De Frantz and Angela Ruggiero, a four-time Olympic hockey
International Ski Federation
president Gian Franco Kasper represents the winter sports, which
mostly oppose a blanket ban.
They will meet with world
figure skating champion Evgenia Medvedeva, who has joined a Russian
delegation that will argue for a lighter sanction.
Rodchenkov's lawyer, Jim
Walden, told The Associated Press his client hopes "Russia would
recognize the severity and confess, and work itself quickly back
into the world sports community."
Chandimal's century helps Sri Lanka avoid follow-on vs India
Sri Lanka's captain Dinesh Chandimal looks skywards as he raises his
bat and cap to celebrate scoring a century during the third day of their
third test cricket match against India in New Delhi, India, Monday, Dec.
4. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
New Delhi (AP) — Dinesh
Chandimal withstood air pollution ranging into hazardous levels as he
batted through the day Monday to post his 10th test century and help Sri
Lanka avoid the follow-on in the third cricket test against India.
The Sri Lanka captain was unbeaten
on 147 after guiding his team to 356-9 at stumps on day three, still
trailing by 180 after India declared at 536-7 on day two.
Ravichandran Ashwin took 3-90 for
India, who struggled in the field for the first two sessions of the day
as Chandimal and Angelo Mathews combined in a 181-run fourth-wicket
Matthews was caught behind off
Ashwin's bowling for 111 just before tea, and Chandimal moved quickly
after the interval to reach his hundred from 265 balls.
He shared a 61-run stand with
Sadeera Samarawickrama (33) for the fifth wicket to keep Sri Lanka's
innings moving until three wickets fell for five runs.
First, Samarawickrama was caught
behind off Ishant Sharma (2-93). Ashwin then had Roshen Silva (0) caught
at forward short leg and, two overs later, he clean bowled Niroshan
Dickwella (0) as Sri Lanka were reduced to 322-7.
Chandimal kept his calm though, and
in the company of Suranga Lakmal (5) and Lahiru Gamage (1) hauled his
team beyond the follow-on target.
Mohammed Shami (2-74) had Lakmal
caught behind, with keeper Wriddhiman Saha taking a stunning diving
catch, and Ravindra Jadeja (2-85) trapped Gamage lbw before bad light
stopped play five overs ahead of schedule.
The light and weather conditions
have combined to overshadow the second and third days of the match at
the Feroz Shah Kotla ground.
Play had to be stopped three times
on Sunday while bowlers received medical treatment or players complained
to the umpires about the air pollution.
That possibly prompted Virat Kohli
to declare India's innings closed after he was dismissed for 243 on the
Some Sri Lankan players wore face
masks during the day, and their coach said players were vomiting after
leaving the field.
Sri Lanka resumed Monday at 131-3,
when air quality readings in the area were well into the hazardous
range. By 2 p.m. local time, the readings had improved and were in the
"very unhealthy" range.
Mathews said the players were
usually in favor of playing whenever possible, and trusted match
officials to make the call on safety.
"Conditions were almost the same as
yesterday. Maybe more," intense," Mathews said. "We want to play cricket
and we want to get out on the park. It is up to the officials to make a
The Indian capital has recently
experienced elevated levels of air pollution, and a public health
emergency was declared last month.
A lack of wind and cloud cover over
Delhi also contributed to the stifling conditions.
India fast bowler Shami said the
air pollution hasn't impeded his team.
"Yes, pollution is an aspect that
we seriously need to think about. It could be that we are more used to
it and our ability to adjust is much more compared to," the Sri Lankan
team, he said. "But what was being portrayed, it wasn't to that extent."
When air quality readings are in
the hazardous range, health authorities recommend people avoid all
There have been precedents for
proceeding with major sports events in the conditions. Thousands of
athletes competed in the Delhi Marathon on Nov. 19 despite the health
India lead the three-match series
1-0 after winning in Nagpur by an innings and 239 runs.
Reeling Giants fire coach McAdoo, GM Reese after 10th loss
Mara, owner of the New York Giants. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
East Rutherford, N.J. (AP) —
Believing the team was spiraling out of control, the New York Giants
went out of character by making two major in-season moves, firing coach
Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese.
With the team reeling at 2-10 in a
season where most felt it was capable of challenging for a Super Bowl,
co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch reached the decision Monday morning.
It came less than a day after the Giants lost in Oakland, with
quarterback Eli Manning benched and the offensively inept team
performing poorly again.
"We agreed that wholesale changes
to this organization needed to be made to get us back to the team we
expect it to be," Mara said at a hastily called news conference. "We
also agreed it was pointless to wait any longer to make these changes."
Defensive coordinator Steve
Spagnuolo will take over as interim coach for the final four games. He
coached the St. Louis Rams from 2009-11.
Mara did not know whether Manning
will return as the starter this weekend against Dallas, saying the
decision will be made by Spagnuolo.
In a radio interview on WFAN,
Manning said he told Spagnuolo that he wants to start the last four
"I want to be out there and help us
go win these four games," Manning said. "I hope I'm out there on Sunday
playing against the Cowboys."
Mara said neither McAdoo nor Reese
was surprised by the decision, saying they were both professionals. He
said his meeting with Reese was more emotional because the two had
worked together since 1994.
"I don't think there was any one
final straw," Mara said. "I just think that where we are as a franchise
right now, you know, we're 2-10. We've kind of been spiraling out of
control. I just felt like we needed a complete overhaul. I don't think
there was any one event or one final act to precipitate that."
Many felt the benching earlier last
week of the well-liked Manning, the face of the franchise and a two-time
Super Bowl MVP, was the deciding factor.
McAdoo also would have been
subjected to howls from fans with three of the final four games at home,
starting this weekend.
The moves come less than a year
after the 40-year-old McAdoo ended a four-year Giants playoff drought in
his first season, going 11-6. That record was aided in large part by
Reese's outstanding work in the free agent market that rebuilt the
While the 2016 season ended in a
loss to Green Bay in the wild-card game, this year was supposed to be
better. Much better.
The offense was bolstered by
signing free agent wide receiver Brandon Marshall and drafting tight end
Evan Engram in the first round. The defense was back with the major
exception of defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.
A fifth Super Bowl was in
everyone's sights if the offensive line could improve.
It fizzled from the start. The
Giants lost their first five games. The line was inept. The defense
underperformed, then the injury bug decimated the roster.
"This has been the perfect storm
this season," Mara said. "Everything that could have gone wrong this
season has gone wrong."
Assistant general manager Kevin
Abrams will take over on an interim basis for Reese, who became GM in
2007 and had two Super Bowl wins on his resume. But the Giants missed
the playoffs four times in the past five years, and his failure to
address those offensive line problems this past offseason played a major
role in a horrible season.
Mara said Abrams and Spagnuolo will
be offered the chance to continue in their interim jobs. Former general
manager Ernie Accorsi will be a consultant in hiring a new GM, whom Mara
wants in place before a coach.
Mara has candidates in mind for
general manager and said it's possible a new GM could be in place before
the season ends.
The moves came less than a week
after McAdoo made one of the biggest mistakes of his short tenure,
mishandling the decision to bench Manning. Mara was forced to address
the matter the following day and said he wished the decision had been
McAdoo had a 13-16 record, and his
firing is the first midseason head coaching move by the Giants since
Bill Arnsparger was replaced seven games into the 1976 season by John
McVay. The 2-10 mark is the Giants' worst since they were 2-10 in 1976,
and their worst since the advent of the 16-game schedule in 1978.
With the losses, word started to
emerge that McAdoo was losing the team. His one-game suspensions of
popular cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins
heightened the problem.
Mara and Tisch came to McAdoo's
defense after an embarrassing loss to the then-winless 49ers on Nov. 12,
saying his job was safe until the end of the season.
"To be honest with you, it became
more and more apparent that we were going to have to do something at the
end of the season, so we talked after the game and again this morning
about why prolong it any longer?" Mara said Monday. "Why not just get it
The Giants hired McAdoo away from
Green Bay in 2014 to serve as Tom Coughlin's offensive coordinator. He
was elevated to head coach on Jan. 14, 2016, less than two weeks after
Coughlin was forced out after missing the playoffs for the fourth
McAdoo's first season was
exceptional. His second was a fiasco.
"Our team is not good enough," Mara
Marsh century puts Australia in control of 2nd Ashes test
Shaun Marsh celebrates making 100 runs against England during the second day
of their Ashes test match in Adelaide, Sunday, Dec. 3. (AP Photo/Rick
Adelaide, Australia (AP) — Shaun
Marsh repaid Australian cricket selectors for gambling on his recall.
Marsh batted through the day after
resuming on 20 on Sunday, surviving an lbw decision on his way to his fifth
test century and first against England. He notched an unbeaten 126 before
Australia declared at 442-8 late on day two of the day-night Ashes test.
In reply, England were 29-1 when rain
halted play during the night session, a deficit of 413 runs. After the rain
stopped, the umpires ruled the ground was too wet to continue before stumps.
Alastair Cook remained unbeaten on 11.
Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc
trapped Mark Stoneman (18) lbw with a swinging yorker at the end of the
seventh over, and England didn't score another run before stumps.
Marsh has been in and out of the
Australian test lineup since his debut in 2011, and was most recently
dropped during the tour to India in March before getting a recall for the
five-test series against England. He hadn't scored a test century since
August last year, and had only scored one previous test hundred on home
"There were a few emotions there."
Marsh said. "Probably when I got to 90 I started to get a little bit
nervous. I am really relaxed at the moment. It was hard work this morning,
hopefully it can be hard work (for England) tomorrow morning."
The 34-year-old lefthander scored an
important 51 in Australia's 10-wicket win in the series-opening match in
Brisbane last week and needed to dig in again following the loss of early
wickets after England won the toss in Adelaide and sent the hosts in to bat.
His century came from 213 balls, and he
reached triple figures with a pulled boundary off Chris Woakes. His innings
wasn't without chances — he reviewed an lbw decision when he was on 29 and
got a reprieve, he got an edge which didn't quite carry to slip on 31 and
was dropped again on 102, just before the dinner interval.
His stand included important
innings-building partnerships of 48 with Peter Handscomb (36), 85 with Tim
Paine (57) and 99 for the eighth wicket with Pat Cummins, who was caught off
Craig Overton (3-105) for 44 in the over after the dinner break.
Nathan Lyon scored 10 off 11 balls in a
cameo as Australia chased quick runs before declaring and sending England in
to bat under lights at the Adelaide Oval.
England's pace attack had periods of
ascendency earlier in the day, with Stuart Broad (2-72) trapping Handscomb
on the third ball and returning in the first over after the tea break to
dismiss Starc (6).
In between, Overton managed to get
Paine — who posted his third test half century, and first since 2010 —
caught at deep backward square after a succession of short-pitch deliveries
to mix up the attack.
Jimmy Anderson had two lbw decisions
from umpire Chris Gaffaney in successive overs overturned on review by the
Australians in the first session, with Marsh and Paine each getting a
In the 90th over, Anderson hit Marsh on
the knee roll but TV tracker technology showed the ball was going over
In the 92nd over, Paine was on 24 when
he also was hit in front but the tracker technology again indicated the ball
was going over.
Otherwise, the second day belonged to
Australia and cast doubt on England captain Joe Root's decision to field
first after winning the toss.
England's Australian-born coach Trevor
Bayliss was confident the visitors could post a big score on Monday.
"It's a good feeling in the dressing
room, they were certainly not disheartened at all," Bayliss said. "Shaun
showed it's not impossible to score runs out there, a lot of their batters
made starts. It's up to one or two of our guys to make a big score."
Rickie Fowler rallies with 61 to win in Tiger Woods' return
Rickie Fowler, right, poses with Tiger Woods and the trophy after Fowler
won the Hero World Challenge golf tournament at Albany Golf Club in
Nassau, Bahamas, Sunday, Dec. 3. (AP Photo/Dante Carrer)
Nassau, Bahamas (AP) —
Rickie Fowler was the first player to offer a scouting report on Tiger
Woods ahead of his celebrated return to golf, hinting that Woods was
hitting it "way by" him in some of their matches in Florida.
Fowler's own game apparently was in
pretty good shape, too.
Seven shots behind to start the
final round of the Hero World Challenge, Fowler opened with seven
straight birdies Sunday and closed with an 11-under 61 to set the course
record at Albany Golf Club and win by four shots over Charley Hoffman.
Fowler played twice with Woods
before he was runner-up at the OHL Classic in Mexico, and then a couple
of more times before Thanksgiving.
"I think he sharpened me up a
little bit," Fowler said with a grin. "I've gotten a little scared of
how good he was playing at home, thought I needed to start playing a
little bit better or something."
Fowler and Woods each had cause for
celebrations, large and small, in the Bahamas.
Fowler won his second title of the
year, making it the second time he has ended a year with multiple
victories worldwide. Woods made a return to golf that was solid with his
health and his game, and he headed into the holidays thinking about a
schedule for 2018.
"I'm excited," Woods said after
closing with a 68. "This is the way I've been playing at home."
In a week that began with so much
curiosity over how Woods would perform, he had his best result in four
years. More than his score, he looked strong from start to finish,
including a vicious recoil on a 2-iron he hit from 265 yards on the
third hole that ran over the back of the green.
Playing for the first time in 10
months while recovering from fusion surgery on his lower back — his
fourth back surgery in three years — Woods shot another 31 on the front
nine and closed with back-to-back bogeys to tie for ninth in an 18-man
It was his best result since a
playoff loss at this holiday event in 2013 at Sherwood Country Club in
Woods still finished 10 shots
Then again, Fowler didn't give
anyone much of a chance.
Fowler, whose lone PGA Tour victory
this year was in the Honda Classic, was close to flawless on the front
nine. He holed birdie putts of about 12 feet on the first two holes, hit
a gap wedge to 3 feet on the par-5 third, made his toughest putt into
the green from 15 feet on No. 4, and then holed a bunker shot on No. 5.
He followed that with another wedge that spun back to a foot on the
par-5 sixth, and he hit out of a bunker to about 7 feet on the next
"I knew I needed to get off to a
quick start to at least show Charley I was there," Fowler said.
By then, he was tied for the lead
as Hoffman, who birdied his first hole, began to drop shots. Hoffman
never caught up and shot 72.
Fowler finished at 18-under 270.
Tommy Fleetwood, the Race to Dubai
winner from England who is getting married Tuesday in the Bahamas,
closed with a 67 and tied for third with Jordan Spieth (69), who has not
finished out of the top 10 since the PGA Championship.
A year ago, Woods returned from a
15-month hiatus from back surgeries and showed flashes of his old self,
particularly when he shot 65 in the second round and ended the week with
24 birdies. Woods said nothing about his health that week, though his
back couldn't withstand the rough at Torrey Pines and the 16-hour flight
to Dubai. He withdrew after one round at Dubai with back spasm and had
the fusion surgery in April.
This return was different from how
far he hit the ball with plenty of speed in his swing (his ball speed
approached 180 mph), and he made more putts from the 8- to 15-foot range
than he has in recent years.
Conditions were far tamer for the
final round and Woods got off to a start strong, buoyed by driving the
par-4 seventh green and curling in a 25-foot eagle putt. His birdie on
No. 9 gave him another 31 on the front — his second such score in two
days — and never ending interest from the gallery. On Sunday, that
included his two children dressed in red shirts, and tennis great Rafa
"He's obviously a lot more upbeat,
a lot more positive, a lot healthier than he was last year at this
time," said Justin Thomas, the PGA Tour player of the year who was
paired with him in the first and final rounds. "He's got a lot of
energy. It's just so weird to say that you're excited for somebody
else's year, but it will be a fun year. And I hope we dual it out a lot
this upcoming year."
Woods appears to be back, at least
He has not said where he will start
in 2018. The best bet is the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines,
where he has won eight times.
"I don't know what my schedule is
going to be, but my expectations are we'll be playing next year," he
said. "How many? Where? I don't know yet, but we'll figure it out."
Man City leave it late again to beat West Ham 2-1
Manchester City's David Silva, right, scores his side's winning goal
during the English Premier League match against West Ham United at the
Etihad Stadium in Manchester, Sunday Dec. 3. (Martin Rickett/PA via AP)
Manchester, England (AP) —
Maybe they'll start calling it "Pep Time."
For the third time in a week,
Manchester City left it late to secure a 2-1 victory in the Premier
League and set a record-equaling winning run stretching back to Aug. 26.
This time, it was David Silva
coming to the rescue.
Taking over Raheem Sterling's role
as City's last-gasp match-winner, Silva prodded home a volley from Kevin
De Bruyne's cross in the 83rd minute to end the stubborn resistance of
West Ham at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Late goals are becoming a habit for
City. In the past 12 days, Sterling has scored an 88th-minute winner
against Feyenoord in the Champions League and then goals in the 84th
minute and the sixth minute of injury time in victories over
Huddersfield and Southampton, respectively, in the league.
There was a certain inevitability
about City's winner against West Ham, just like there was when
Manchester United scored so many match-clinching goals in the final
minutes of Alex Ferguson's long tenure as manager. It's how the phrase
"Fergie Time" was spawned.
"I heard about the 'Fergie Time,'"
City manager Pep Guardiola said. "I was not here in that period, but of
course you have to have that. What we show in the last games is we never
"If we can take something about the
'Fergie Time,' it is welcome. A pleasure."
There's just no stopping City,
although opponents are getting closer and closer.
This was a 13th straight win in the
Premier League, matching a record in a single season set previously by
Chelsea (2016-17) and Arsenal (2001-02). The next milestone is 14
straight wins, which was achieved by Arsenal in 2002 but across two
The team that can stop City from
matching the record are neighbours United. The Manchester derby is up
next for City on Sunday and there are eight points separating the two
rivals at the top.
"It means we have done 39 points in
a row. That is a lot," said Guardiola, whose team is yet to lose in any
competition this season. "You see how they run and how they fight,
that's why we are so proud again."
Just like against Huddersfield and
Southampton, City's players had to pick their way through a packed
defense to keep the winning run going.
West Ham had nine outfield players
in a bloc outside their area and saw set-pieces as their best way of
troubling City at the other end. That was the source of their goal in
the 44th minute, Angelo Ogbonna heading in Aaron Cresswell's cross
following a short-corner routine.
Nicolas Otamendi scrambled in the
equalizer in the 57th and City piled on the pressure before De Bruyne
sent over a perfectly weighted cross that Silva volleyed in on the
David Moyes is still to register a
win in four matches since taking over as manager of West Ham, who are in
"I really want the football to be
attacking," Moyes said, "but we are playing against a team that we can
hardly get the ball (off), so what are you going to do?"
BOURNEMOUTH 1, SOUTHAMPTON 1
Charlie Austin underlined his
reputation as one of the Premier League's most clinical finishers by
grabbing Southampton's equalizer.
Austin has had injury problems and
also played second fiddle to Manolo Gabbiadini in the early part of this
season. Yet he now has seven goals in his last 10 league starts for
Southampton stretching back to last season, and has scored on both of
his starts this season, having netted twice against Everton last
Bournemouth went ahead through Ryan
Fraser in the 42nd minute at Vitality Stadium.
Southampton moved up to 11th place
and Bournemouth up to 14th.
Sri Lanka reach 131-3 vs India amid pollution drama
paramedic speaks to Sri Lanka's Lahiru Gamage after he complained of breath
difficulties during the second day of the third test match against India in
New Delhi, India, Sunday, Dec. 3. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
New Delhi (AP) — Angelo Mathews
and Dinesh Chandimal put on 56 runs for the fourth wicket as Sri Lanka
reached 131-3 at stumps on day two of the third test against India in Delhi
Earlier, India declared their first
innings on 536-7 with Virat Kohli (243) scoring his sixth double hundred.
The Sri Lankan players had earlier complained about the air pollution in
Delhi with play stopping three times in the middle session before the Indian
At stumps, Mathews was batting on 57
while Chandimal was unbeaten on 25. The visitors trail by another 405 runs.
After tea, Sri Lanka needed to rebuild
from 18-2. Dilruwan Perera (42) played an important hand as he stabilized
the innings. He put on 61 runs with Mathews for the fourth wicket.
Mathews was lucky to survive at the
wicket when he was given two lives immediately after the tea break. First,
Shikhar Dhawan dropped him when on 4 not out at second slip off Mohammed
Shami (1-30). Then, Virat Kohli dropped him while he was on 6 not out at
second slip off Ishant Sharma (1-44) this time.
Ravindra Jadeja (1-24) got the
breakthrough as he trapped Perera lbw via DRS.
Mathews and Chandimal then came
together and batted out the session before bad light stopped play on an
eventful day. Mathews reached his 29th test half-century off 72 balls.
Earlier, Sri Lankan fielders protested
the level of air pollution prevalent in Delhi, forcing three stoppages of
play. Between these stoppages Virat Kohli was dismissed for his highest test
score of 243.
Only six overs were possible after
lunch before Sri Lanka pacer Lahiru Gamage (2-95) asked for medical
attention owing to breathlessness. Play was halted for 20 minutes.
Four overs later, Suranga Lakmal (0-80)
also walked off with the same complaint. Play was halted again for 11
minutes as Sri Lankan skipper Dinesh Chandimal was involved in an animated
discussion with umpires Nigel Llong and Joel Wilson.
Support staff from both teams walked on
to the field at different times and took the opportunity to discuss the
situation with the umpires. For Sri Lanka, team manager Asanka Gurusinha and
coach Nic Pothas came onto the field while Indian coach Ravi Shastri also
"In most conditions you want to play
cricket. We just wanted some clarity on condition and safety of players.
Lakmal and Gamage were vomiting in the dressing room. The umpires were very
clear about playing on and they did a good job," said Sri Lankan coach Nic
Pothas after the day's play.
"This was an abnormal situation. They
did not have any prior medical conditions and yesterday evening too they
were fine. The captain wanted to speak to me because at one stage we only
had ten players on the field. The umpires were very clear but there aren't
many rules written on pollution," he added.
Indian bowling coach Bharat Arun
disagreed with the assessment.
"Sri Lankan players cannot protest
about stoppage of play. The umpires alone have that power. (Coach) Ravi
Shastri went on to the field to tell the umpires that there is no reason to
stop the game and to please carry on," he said.
Cotto's farewell bout ends in unanimous decision loss to Ali
Ali, right, throws a punch at Miguel Cotto during the fifth round of
their WBO junior middleweight title boxing match Saturday, Dec. 2, in
New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
New York (AP) — This wasn't
the way Miguel Cotto planned to leave boxing.
Sadam Ali ruined the Garden party
for Cotto on Saturday night, sending the Puerto Rican star into
retirement with 12-round defeat by unanimous decision. It was a matchup
of a Brooklynite and an adopted New Yorker, and it has the building
The 37-year-old Cotto simply
couldn't handle the quickness of his younger opponent, who took the WBO
junior middleweight belt. Ali did it despite being the less-popular
fighter only miles from his borough; Cotto has made MSG a second home,
but fell to 8-2 in the arena.
"I had him hurt here or there in
the first couple of rounds," Ali said. "I knew I had to do something, or
he would have dug in."
Cotto finishes 41-6, and he looked
his age far too often. He hurt his left arm in the seventh round in
losing by scores of 115-113, 115-113, and 116-112.
"Feeling good with the
performance," Cotto said. "Something happened to my left bicep ... I
don't want to make excuses, Sadam won the fight. It is my last fight. I
am good, and I want to be happy in my home with my family."
Many of the 12,371 fans booed the
decision and again when Ali spoke in the ring.
"I worked hard for it," the
29-year-old Ali said. "I took advantage of this fight, and I made sure
to make it count. I want to thank team Cotto, they could have taken an
easier fight if they wanted to. "
The fans soon were cheering as
Cotto made his final statements to his legion of fans.
"Thank you to everyone," Cotto said
in English. He usually answers questions in Spanish.
"Thank you for all the fans, I am
proud to call MSG my second home. I had the opportunity to provide the
best for my family because of the sport."
Cotto had received a thunderous
ovation when he entered the ring, and they were chanting his name as he
left, proud but defeated.
Ali is 26-1. He started quickly,
then was stunned by a big right from Cotto that staggered him. Cotto
charged as Ali recovered at the ropes, but it looked as if the fight had
It hadn't. Indeed, Ali won the
final four rounds on all three judges' cards.
Ali lost his previous title fight
to Jessie Vargas in 2016 when he was stopped in the ninth round in a
Now, he becomes a force in this
division. His hand speed and movement around the ring made him
formidable Saturday night.
"Good things happen to good
people," Ali said. "I have been training since I was 8 years old, and I
am glad I got this win at MSG, in my hometown."
Cotto, meanwhile, leaves boxing
with a legacy that can't be tarnished by this loss.
Holder of six belts in four weight
classes in his distinguished career — and the only boxer from the
tradition-rich Caribbean island to own four such titles — he retires
with a reputation as one of the classiest and fearless fighters of his
era. Sure, he lost a handful of other bouts, but they were against such
prime competition as Canelo Alvarez, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Manny
Pacquiao. One thing was certain for the paying customers: Cotto would
deliver a good show.
He did so in his farewell, too. Ali
just as better.
On the HBO undercard, Rey Vargas
outpointed Oscar Negrete in an awkward 12-round brawl in which the
champion was left with a swollen and bloody face from head butts.
Still, Vargas won the battle of
unbeatens to hold onto his WBC super bantamweight title.
Vargas easily won all the judges'
scorecards, using a significant reach advantage for scores of 119-109,
119-109, and 120-108. The Mexican champion improved to 31-0, while
Negrete, of Colombia, lost for the first time in 18 bouts.
"It was really hard to find my
rhythm," Vargas admitted.
No wonder: Negrete's unorthodox
rushes had Vargas missing time and again.
But Vargas, 27, also landed dozens
of body blows and rarely allowed the 30-year-old Negrete inside. Yet it
was Vargas who looked the worse when they left the ring.
"I have the humility to say that I
made my share of mistakes," Vargas said, "but I feel that Negrete fought
very dirty, and was not a very good boxer."
Earlier, Angel Acosta dominated
Juan Alejo before knocking him out in the 10th round for the WBO junior
flyweight crown that Japan's Kosei Tanaka vacated on Friday. Acosta, 27,
of Puerto Rico, is 17-1 — the only defeat was by decision to Tanaka in
May — and all of his wins have been by knockout.
Acosta had Alejo, 33, of Mexico, in
trouble throughout the later rounds. He landed a sharp right-left
combination to end the fight.
"It's taken me five years to get
here, and I'm cherishing this moment for me and for Puerto Rico," said
Acosta. "I've learned a lot since my last fight for a world title
against Tanaka, and this fight proves that I learned and fixed all I
needed to win a world championship."
Alejo is 25-5-1 and has lost in
both his shots at a world title. He was beaten by Donnie Nietes for the
WBO championship in October 2015.
Update December 2 - 3, 2017
Beleaguered World Cup gets weak opener: Russia-Saudi Arabia
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, Brazilian soccer icon Pele,
center, and Argentinian soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona pose for a
photo prior to the 2018 soccer World Cup draw in the Kremlin in Moscow,
Friday Dec. 1. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Moscow (AP) — A World Cup
shrouded in corruption controversies and struggling to attract sponsors
could have the dreariest of starts.
Host Russia and Saudi Arabia play
June 14 at Moscow in an opener lacking global appeal, but things pick up
the next day when 2010 champions Spain and defending European champions
Portugal meet in Sochi.
The Iberian neighbors were drawn
into Group B at a Kremlin ceremony Friday. Morocco coach Herve Renard
hoped to avoid the "two ogres" but will face them along with Iran.
"It's a complicated group," Spain
coach Julen Lopetegui said. "It will be tough. Portugal are a great
team. They are defending European champions and have a squad filled with
None more so than Cristiano
Ronaldo, who recently joined Argentina's Lionel Messi as the only
five-time winners of FIFA's player of the year award. Messi's quest for
his first World Cup title begins the following day when Argentina take
on Iceland — at 334,000 the least-populous country to qualify for the
Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson
already knows what he must tell his team: "Watch out for No. 10."
Germany remain the favorites for
the tournament. Their depth was clear when an experimental squad won
the Confederations Cup in Russia in July. Germany open against Mexico in
their quest to become the first country to win back-to-back World Cup
titles since Brazil in 1962. The Germans then face Sweden and South
Korea in Group F.
"We got opponents that are not
unknown to us," Germany captain Manuel Neuer said. "That's what I like
best, when we know what to expect."
Germany are hoping to be based in
Sochi along with Brazil. The only five-time world champions do not
intend to move their training camp despite a schedule that has none of
their games in the Black Sea resort. The Selecao, beaten 7-1 at home by
Germany in the 2014 semifinals, were drawn in Group E with Switzerland,
Costa Rica and Serbia.
"Despite the distances, there are
quick ways to get there," Brazil coach Tite said.
England, eliminated in the group
stage three years ago, were drawn into Group G along with newcomers
Panama, Tunisia and Belgium. Gareth Southgate's first World Cup game as
a coach will be a repeat of his first as a player — Southgate made his
World Cup debut in England's 2-0 win over Tunisia in 1998.
"We've been good at writing off
teams and then getting beaten by them," Southgate said.
Roberto Martinez also will be
making his World Cup debut. But the Belgium coach knows England well
after spending two decades there as a coach and player.
"It is going to be one of those
games with no secrets," said Martinez, a former Everton manager. "We
have 25 players in the British game. That brings that understanding.
That brings that competitive level."
Peru, the last of the 32 teams to
qualify for Russia, are in Group C with 1998 champions France, Australia
"It could have been worse," France
coach Didier Deschamps said.
The only group without a former
World Cup champion is H — Poland, Senegal, Colombia and Japan.
The Russians have been placed with
the winners of the first World Cup — Uruguay — in Group A along with
Egypt and Saudi Arabia. At No. 65, Russia are the lowest-ranked team at
the tournament, with the Saudis only two places higher.
"I've never seen them," Russia
coach Stanislav Cherchesov said of his team’s first opponents.
The ceremony was opened by Russian
President Vladimir Putin, one day short of the seventh anniversary of
the FIFA executive committee vote that awarded the 2018 World Cup to
Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar — the subject of bribe
allegations against soccer executives brought up nearly daily in New
York during a corruption trial against top soccer officials. Putin urged
fans to visit and enjoy his "big and multifaceted" country, a rallying
cry that comes amid concerns about racism and hooliganism.
"We will do everything to make it a
major sporting festival," Putin said, anticipating a World Cup of
"friendship and fair play, values that do not change with time."
The Olympic doping scandal
surrounding Russia hung over the final countdown to the draw. Russian
Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, head of the local World Cup
organizing committee, defended himself against accusations he helped
orchestrate state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
"Nowadays everyone is trying to
make some kind of axis of evil out of us, just because we're a great
sporting power," Mutko said.
The International Olympic Committee
executive board will decide on Tuesday whether to ban Russia from the
upcoming Pyeongchang Olympics.
Woods atop leaderboard, but only briefly in the Bahamas
Woods shot a 4-under 68 during the second round of the Hero World
Challenge at the Albany Golf Club in Nassau, Bahamas, Friday, Dec. 1.
(AP Photo/Dante Carrer)
Nassau, Bahamas (AP) — One
of the biggest cheers at the Hero World Challenge came from seeing the
name Tiger Woods moved to the top of the leaderboard.
It just wasn't there for long.
In another impressive showing in
his latest comeback from back surgeries, Woods built on a solid start
with a 31 on the front nine at Albany Golf Club that briefly gave him
the lead Friday. He stalled on the back nine with a pair of bogeys and
not enough birdie chances, and he settled for a 4-under 68.
"Successful," Woods said, when
asked to describe his round in one word.
When the second round ended, Woods
was five shots behind Charley Hoffman, who had a 63 that might have sent
fans into a frenzy if they had been watching.
Hoffman made 12 birdies, closing
with five in a row. He was at 12-under 132 and had a three-shot lead
over Jordan Spieth (67) and Tommy Fleetwood (69). Hoffman made only one
par over his final 12 holes to go along with eight birdies and three
But this week, a holiday exhibition
with an 18-man field and no cut, is all about Woods. That much was
obvious after the round.
Hoffman spoke to no more than five
reporters about his round, while a dozen others were about 30 feet away
surrounding Joe LaCava, Woods' caddie, looking for any additional morsel
about his round.
Woods delivered plenty on his own.
He opened with three birdies in four holes. He made three good pars, one
of them having to chip up the slope from a thin lie on No. 8, and then
really raised hopes with his eagle on the par-5 ninth, set up by a
3-wood into the wind from 265 yards.
"Hit up in the air and took
something off of it and cut it back into the wind," he said.
He made the 20-foot putt to reach 8
under. Behind him, Hoffman made bogey on the par-3 eighth. Woods was
alone in the lead, and the workers at the white scoreboard to the left
of the green quickly moved his name to the top as some 100 people — that
constitutes a large gallery this week — began cheering. There was a
smattering of "He's back!" and even a few mentions about the Masters.
Woods missed it. He was on his way
to the 10th tee. By the time he saw a leaderboard, it was getting
crowded at the top with Hoffman making his run, Spieth chipping in for
birdie and setting up another with a tough chip, and Fleetwood
overcoming a double bogey-bogey start to his back nine with three
"I saw somewhere on the back nine,
I think there was like five guys at 8 under or something like that,
something weird like that," Woods said.
A case could be made that his name
among them was weird.
His past is enough to merit legend
status in this field. Woods has 79 victories on the PGA Tour, compared
with 81 for the rest of the field. But he hasn't won in more than four
years, and this is only his 20th start since the first of four back
surgeries in the spring of 2014.
He had played only seven rounds
dating to August 2015, and this was his first competition in 10 months.
He had fusion surgery on his lower back in April.
"You've got to be anxious — doesn't
matter who it is, doesn't matter how well he's been in the past at
handling pressure," Spieth said. "It's still a new experience for him to
have that little golf. And to come out and play competitive golf and
work his way into contention, that's what's really exceptional."
Woods didn't make a bogey until a
three-putt from 30 feet on the 12th hole. The greens were quicker, and
that's where he struggled. He had an eagle attempt from just short of
the 15th green, about 45 feet away, that he ran 15 feet by the hole. He
missed that for a three-putt par.
He still played the par 5s in 4
under, a five-shot improvement from the opening round.
And he showed his creative side on
the par-3 17th. Facing a long putt over a hump with the grain running
away from him, Woods chose to chip it off the putting surface and along
the fringe to be able to better judge the speed. It settled 3 feet away
for a par.
Otherwise, he looked like any of
the other elite players at Albany. And while he wasn't sure what to
expect coming into the week, his expectations are getting stronger with
each round, especially this one.
"I felt like today I could have
easily gotten to double digits under par," he said. "That would have put
me probably one or two back, but I think I'm still in it. We've got two
more days, and I think it's supposed to blow a little harder to
tomorrow. If that's the case, I think a good, solid round should get me
That depends on Hoffman.
"I said at the beginning of the
week, I hope he wins," Hoffman said. "It's great for the game of golf.
Hopefully, I can stop him from winning this week. But anytime he's in
contention, or even playing the golf tournaments, it brings a buzz to
golf that we all need."
Vonn crashes; Huetter wins Lake Louise downhill
Cornelia Huetter, of Austria, reacts in the finish area following
her run at the women's World Cup downhill ski race in Lake Louise,
Alberta, Canada, Friday, Dec. 1. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via
Alberta (AP) — Lindsey Vonn fell and crashed into the safety netting
on the final turn Friday in the women's season-opening World Cup
downhill, handing Austria's Cornelia Huetter the victory.
An 18-time winner at Lake Louise,
Vonn was able to get up after the wreck in "Claire's Corner" and ski to
the bottom of the course. She was the fastest at each of the four
intermediate stages and had a 0.05-second lead when she wiped out.
Vonn did not speak to media and
declined autograph-seekers, saying: "I have to go ice my hip."
She later tweeted: "Well that
hurt... had a nice lead the whole down but caught my inside ski. I'll be
sore tomorrow but will rest up tonight and barring anything major I will
be racing. Can't keep me down!"
Vonn is back at the resort west of
Calgary after missing the stop last season because of a broken arm. The
33-year-old American star has a record 77 career women's World Cup
victories. She is a four-time overall World Cup champion and won the
2010 Olympic women's downhill.
Huetter returned from a knee injury
that sidelined her since January to race to her first downhill victory
and second overall World Cup win. In steady snow, she finished in 1
minute, 48.53 seconds.
"It's unbelievable," Huetter said.
"It's my first race after the injury, so it's my comeback and it's the
best comeback I've ever dreamed about."
Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein was
second in 1:48.62. She slipped coming out of the final turn.
"That cost me the win," she said.
"That's a pity because I was really close."
American Mikaela Shiffrin was third
in 1:48.83, the first podium in three career downhills for Shiffrin —
the World Cup overall and slalom champion last year and defending
Olympic slalom champion.
"I'm still not sure what my
expectations are in downhill and today was an amazing day," Shiffrin
said. "I've definitely made a lot of progress in my downhill. Super-G
comes a little bit more naturally because there's a little bit more
turning. Downhill, I'm always surprised at how much time there is to
make the turns. That's something I've worked on a lot, being a little
American Jackie Wiles was fifth for
her second career World Cup top-five finish.
A second downhill is scheduled for
Saturday, followed by a super-G on Sunday.
Miguel Cotto leaving boxing on his terms with title fight
Boxer Miguel Cotto, right, of Puerto Rico is shown in action
against Daniel Geale, of Australia, in this June 6, 2015, file photo.
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
New York (AP) — Miguel Cotto
is a boxing icon in Puerto Rico. In New York City, too.
On Saturday night, the most popular
boxer of his generation from the Caribbean island that has produced so
many champions will finish off his terrific career at Madison Square
Garden with — what else? — a title fight.
Cotto has fought nine times in what
New Yorkers like to call "the mecca of boxing," and every one of those
bouts was a main event. He has won the night before the Puerto Rico Day
parade in Manhattan, when thousands of his fans who attended the fight
then celebrated the holiday.
He has won in Yankee Stadium, too,
and at Barclays Center and the Hammerstein Ballroom. Indeed, Cotto has
fought 11 times in Puerto Rico and 12 times within the five boroughs of
So when he bids farewell to the
ring at age 37 when he defends his WBO super welterweight crown against
Sadam Ali, the setting will be so appropriate.
"It's been a pleasure for me to try
to entertain you guys for 17 years," Cotto said. "I have done my best at
every opportunity for the benefit of my family. They mean everything to
me and I am so proud of them and they are so proud of me.
"On Saturday, I will be the same
Miguel you have watched for the last 16 years," he added. "I am going to
be a warrior and do my best for the benefit of my family, as always."
Cotto has something of an extended
Big Apple family because of his popularity in New York. He's almost as
much of a fixture at the Garden as the Rangers and Knicks.
"Saturday will be a bittersweet day
for us at the Garden," said Joel Fisher, executive vice president at
MSG. "We've have a great relationship with Miguel that dates back to
"When we first started with Miguel,
his kids were little, but now they are grown. He has sold more than
150,000 tickets at the Garden," Fisher said. "Miguel is what makes the
Garden what it is as the 'mecca of boxing.' It makes us happy that
Miguel is going out on his own terms."
Cotto is 41-5 with 33 knockouts,
but don't let the five defeats throw you. He has lost to the likes of
Canelo Alvarez, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao and Antonio
Cotto has owned six world belts:
WBO junior welterweight; WBA and WBO welterweight; WBA and WBO junior
middleweight; and WBC middleweight. The first came in 2004, when Ali was
"I've been training almost my whole
life, since I was 8 years old," said Brooklyn's Ali (25-1, 14 KOs), who
lost his only world title fight to Jessie Vargas by ninth-round knockout
last year. "Everyone wants an opportunity like this for a world title
against a legend. If you're not ready for a legend like Miguel Cotto,
then you're going to be in trouble.
"On Saturday night you are going to
see an amazing fight," Ali said.
And what could be quite a scene as
boxing pays tribute to one of its truest champions of the last two
"The conversation with Miguel and
his team for this fight was, 'Is (Gennady) Golovkin available? If not,
I'll fight anybody. Just tell me the date and the weight and I'll be
there,'" Golden Boy Promotions President Eric Gomez said. "That is so
refreshing to hear as a promoter, and that is how Miguel has been
throughout his career. It goes to show that when you believe in
yourself, you'll fight anyone."
The HBO undercard also features WBC
super bantamweight champion Rey Vargas (30-0, 22 KOs) and Oscar Negrete
(17-0, 7 KOs) in a title bout.
Woods returns with solid round and good start in Bahamas
Tiger Woods tees off on the first hole at the Hero World Challenge
golf tournament at Albany Golf Club in Nassau, Bahamas, Thursday, Nov.
30. (AP Photo/Dante Carrer)
Nassau, Bahamas (AP) — Tiger
Woods looked a lot better in his return to golf than he did when he
Playing for the first time since
his fourth back surgery, Woods returned from a 10-month layoff with a
3-under 69 on a breezy Thursday in the Bahamas that left him three shots
behind Tommy Fleetwood after the opening round of the Hero World
"For me, I thought I did great,"
Woods said with a smile.
And in a sign that he was ready to
get back into the mix, he was far from satisfied.
Unlike a year ago, when Woods ended
a 15-month hiatus from his ailing back, he didn't show any fatigue at
the end of his round or make any big numbers. His only regret was
playing the par 5s at Albany Golf Club in 1-over par with two bogeys
that stalled his momentum.
Coming off a 25-foot birdie putt on
the par-3 eighth, Woods hit a 3-wood that rolled up on the green and
then down a slope about 30 feet from the pin. It took him four shots
from there, starting with a chip that didn't reach the green and his
first expletive loud enough for television to pick up.
After his best shot of the day — a
pitching wedge he hit low from 95 yards that settled a foot behind the
hole for birdie on No. 14 — he sent a drive well to the right into the
native dunes. Woods had to take a penalty drop to get back in play and
wound up making bogey.
But it was solid enough that Woods
was far more interested in the leaderboard than the fact he felt strong
"It was not only nice to get the
first round out of the way, but also I'm only three shots out of the
lead," he said. "So to be able to put myself there after not playing for
10 months or so, it was nice to feel the adrenaline out there."
He was tied for eighth in the
18-man field of this holiday exhibition that awards world ranking points
but does not count as official on any tour. Rickie Fowler and Matt
Kuchar were at 67, while Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and
Kevin Chappell were at 68.
The buzz was back. Johnson noticed
it when he was on the practice range and noticed a crowd around the
"Tiger must be there," Johnson
said. "Because there's 40 people instead of four."
Golf Channel added an hour of
coverage, and Twitter came alive with people curious about the latest
return. That included Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors' two-time
MVP who played a Web.com Tour event in August. "The wait is over. The
wait is over," he tweeted .
Michael Phelps said he was "pumped
to be watching" Woods on TV again.
This event doesn't draw big crowds,
but most of them were with Woods to see how he would fare in this latest
comeback, this one from fusion surgery on his lower back on April 20.
Given it was his fourth surgery in three years, coupled with a DUI
arrest in the summer that exposed the struggles Woods was having with
pain medicine, a day like this seemed a long way off.
Woods said he appreciated the
moment Thursday morning.
"I was in my head thanking all the
people who have helped me in giving me a chance to come back and play
this round again," he said. "There were a lot of people who were
instrumental in my life — friends, outside people I've never bet before,
obviously my surgeon. I was very thankful."
And he was as competitive as
Woods delivered his first fist pump
on par-4 fourth hole when he scooped a chip that didn't reach the green,
and then holed an 18-foot par putt.
While the field is short, the
competition is strong with eight of the top in the world at Albany.
Woods realizes they have spent the last couple of years playing at a
high level that allows them to overcome a few mistakes.
"I don't want to lose shots," Woods
said. "I haven't played in a very long time and I can't afford to go out
there and make a bunch of bogeys and know that I can make nine, 10
birdies and offset them."
Along with his five birdies — only
two of them were tap-ins — Woods had an assortment of tough par saves,
including a 10-footer that kept him dropping another shot on a par 5 at
No. 11. He finished his round with a belly wedge from short of the 17th
green because of mud on his ball, and holing a 6-foot par putt on the
A year ago, Woods made a pair of
double bogeys over the last three holes for a 73 to finish nine shots
behind. This time, he closed with pars and was three back.
PGA champion Justin Thomas, who
also opened with a 69 in the same pairing with Woods, is among those who
have played with him in recent weeks in Florida. Woods said he once
played nine straight days.
"It was what I saw when we played
at home," Thomas said. "Obviously, taking this much time off from
competition is hard. I felt rusty starting after a month-and-a-half, so
I can't imagine what it felt like for him. But he played well."
Putin welcomes soccer world to Kremlin for World Cup draw
A signpost directing people to the entrance of the World Cup Final
Draw is placed on the Red Square, with the St. Basil cathedral in the
background, in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Nov. 30. (AP Photo/Pavel
Moscow (AP) — Vladimir Putin
welcomes soccer luminaries to the Kremlin on Friday for a World Cup draw
that provides a global audience for the Russian president to attempt to
burnish the image of a country scandalized by sports corruption.
By staging the ceremony for the 32
World Cup finalists at the seat of Russian power and draping the Kremlin
in FIFA branding, soccer's governing body is undercutting its pretense
that sports and politics should not mix — and in a country where the
association has proved so damaging.
FIFA is on the final countdown to
the first World Cup in Russia as it continues to assess the extent the
2014 World Cup squad was embroiled in the country's state-sponsored
doping scheme. FIFA President Gianni Infantino still plans to share a
stage Friday with Vitaly Mutko, the Russian deputy prime minister
accused of overseeing the elaborate scheme that saw positive samples
across Russian sports destroyed or hidden.
Infantino, though, is still trying
to rebuild FIFA's image after far-reaching bribery scandals threatened
the future of the organization. The draw comes one day short of the
seventh anniversary of the World Cup vote from which so many of FIFA's
legal travails stemmed.
Russian authorities deny government
involvement in doping and the country has weathered FIFA corruption
investigations, concerns about hooliganism, racism around games, deaths
on World Cup construction sites and a sponsor shortfall to stay on track
to host soccer's biggest tournament for the first time.
The draw is the moment fans can
start to plan their journeys across Russia, with 11 host cities spread
from Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea in the west to Yekaterinburg in the
Ural mountains which separate Europe and Asia.
Germany will discover the path to
defending the title won in Brazil, while Iceland and Panama will be in
the draw for the finals for the first time. Two teams are returning
after long absences: Peru haven't contested the World Cup since 1982 and
Egypt are returning for the first time since 1990. But there is no space
for four-time champions Italy, two-time reigning Copa America champions
Chile, while the United States team is missing for the first time since
HOW DOES THE DRAW WORK?
The draw ceremony starts at 1500
GMT on Friday at the State Kremlin Palace and is set to last for an
hour. The 32 finalists will be split into eight groups featuring a team
from each pot. Only Europe can have two teams in the same group.
The draw will be presided over by
former England striker Gary Lineker, who has previously called for FIFA
to be disbanded over bribery scandals and questioned Russia's legitimacy
to host the World Cup over the doping across sports.
Greats from the eight World
Cup-winning nations will serve as draw assistants: Diego Maradona
(Argentina), Gordon Banks (England), Laurent Blanc (France), Cafu
(Brazil), Fabio Cannavaro (Italy), Diego Forlan (Uruguay), Miroslav
Klose (Germany), Carles Puyol (Spain), and Nikita Simonyan for host
Russian sports journalist Maria
Komandnaya is the co-presenter.
WHO IS IN EACH POT?
FIFA changed how it allocates teams
in the draw and now uses rankings alone for all four pots. At previous
World Cups, only Pot 1 was for seeded teams, and the other three pots
were decided by a geographical spread.
October FIFA ranking in brackets:
Pot 1: Russia (65), Germany (1),
Brazil (2), Portugal (3), Argentina (4), Belgium (5), Poland (6), France
Pot 2: Spain (8), Peru (10),
Switzerland (11), England (12), Colombia (13), Mexico (16), Uruguay
(17), Croatia (18).
Pot 3: Denmark (19), Iceland (21),
Costa Rica (22), Sweden (25), Tunisia (28), Egypt (30), Senegal (32),
Pot 4: Serbia (38), Nigeria (41),
Australia (43), Japan (44), Morocco (48), Panama (49), South Korea (62),
Saudi Arabia (63).
WHEN IS THE WORLD CUP?
Russia will play the tournament
opener on June 14, 2018. The World Cup final will be held on July 15.
Both showpiece games are at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. Games will
also be hosted in St. Petersburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk,
Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Sochi and Rostov-on-Don.
More than 740,000 tickets out of a
total of 2.6 million have already been allocated and the next phase of
sales starts on Dec. 5 through a ballot.
England galvanized as a team ahead of 2nd test: Anderson
Australia's Cameron Bancroft prepares to bat in the nets as the
Australian cricket team train in Adelaide, Thursday, Nov. 30. (AP
Adelaide, Australia (AP) —
England paceman Jimmy Anderson says tensions between his team and
Australia ahead of the second Ashes test have only helped strengthen the
England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow
head-butted Australia batsman Cameron Bancroft when the pair crossed
paths at a Perth pub during England's first night on tour in Western
Australia. But the story didn't break until late on the fourth day of
the first test in Brisbane, after banter from the Australian fielders
was picked up by a broadcaster via on-field microphones.
Both Bairstow and Bancroft have
played down the incident, agreeing there was no malice in it. No
disciplinary action was taken by England.
Some England players have been
suspicious about how and when news of the head-butting incident went
public, which was only after Australia got on top in the first test
before cruising to a 10-wicket win.
"If anything, it will galvanize us
as a group," Anderson said at the Adelaide Oval, venue for the first
day-night test in Ashes history beginning Saturday. "We're all going to
get behind Jonny, who is an important player in our team. If we need any
more incentive to get back in the series, it will give us that."
Anderson has also accused Australia
of concocting "a deliberate ploy to say things close to the stump
(microphones) so it would be picked up by the media."
"It's kind of to be expected,"
Anderson said. "In an Ashes series there is always something that crops
up and they waited until they were ahead in the game to do it. It's up
to us to try to deal with that."
Australia swept England 5-0 the
last time the Ashes was contested in Australia in 2013-14, rattling the
touring batsmen with some fearsome fast bowling. The first test of this
series was an even contest for the first three days, but Steve Smith's
unbeaten 141 gave Australia the advantage and then his bowlers dismissed
England for 195 in the second innings to set up a victory chase of just
Australia batsman Peter Handscomb
says the home team isn't getting ahead of itself after just one victory,
particularly as England hold the Ashes after a 3-2 victory at home in
"We have had a good game in
Brisbane but that's gone now," Handscomb said. "I suppose complacency
can set in but that's something we are obviously going to not try and
do. It's completely different conditions as well, being a day-night
test, pink ball, but we have got to make sure we do things right by our
own team and play our own game."
Australia, who are expected to name
an unchanged team for the second test, have won both day-night tests at
the Adelaide Oval.
The Australians beat New Zealand
inside three days in 2015 — in the very first day-night test match — and
defeated South Africa by seven wickets last year.
Josh Hazlewood took 6-70 against
New Zealand and 4-68 against South Africa in those Adelaide matches, and
is coming off a four-wicket haul in Brisbane in the first test,
including three in the second innings.
England have warmed up in Adelaide
in the day-night environment, winning a tour match here against a
Cricket Australia XI by 192 runs, with Anderson taking 3-12.
Everton hire Sam Allardyce as manager on 18-month deal
Sam Allardyce, left, stands with Everton owner Farhad Moshiri prior to
the English Premier League match against West Ham United at Goodison Park in
Liverpool, Wednesday Nov. 29. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)
Liverpool (AP) - Six months
after declaring his coaching career was over, Sam Allardyce was back in the
Premier League as Everton manager on Thursday after being offered a
long-awaited opportunity to take charge of one of English football's storied
Allardyce wasn't Everton's first-choice
pick to take over from the fired Ronald Koeman. But after a frustrating and
fruitless five-week search for a replacement, the Merseyside club accepted
that the former England coach was the best solution for their current
Allardyce signed an 18-month contract
and takes over a side that has had a dreadful start to the season with the
club five points off the relegation zone after 14 games. Following an outlay
of nearly $200 million on new players last summer, Everton were expected to
be challenging for the top four, not fighting against the drop. The Toffees
have already been eliminated from the Europa League, too.
"Obviously, the club has gone through a
difficult spell," Allardyce said, "and hopefully I can put that behind us as
quickly as possible and start looking upwards again."
The appointment of a manager with a
track record of rejuvenating struggling teams is likely to be greeted with a
mixed reception at Goodison Park. Allardyce's style of football — pragmatic
and direct — isn't what many of Everton's fans or the club's ambitious new
majority shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, really wants.
Then there's the identity of
Allardyce's probable right-hand man, Sammy Lee, who played for cross-city
rivals Liverpool for 10 years.
In the end, the unexpected possibility
of relegation from the lucrative Premier League might have spooked the
Everton hierarchy and Allardyce, available since quitting Crystal Palace in
May, fits the bill at the moment.
Over the past two years, Allardyce has
managed to keep up Sunderland and then Palace despite the teams being in
serious danger of relegation when he took over. He will have a better
quality of player at his disposal at Everton, plus likely a hefty transfer
kitty in January and next summer to mold a squad.
With Allardyce aged 63, the length of
his contract probably suited both parties. Moshiri will want him to
initially consolidate the team and then give a strong platform for another,
probably more glamorous name to take Everton to the next level.
Everton haven't won any silverware
since 1995 but, having won nine top-flight league titles, five FA Cups and a
European trophy, they are regarded as one of England's most famous clubs.
"His strong leadership will bring great
motivation and get the best out of players," Moshiri said of Allardyce. "Sam
understands the long-term ambitions we have for this great club and I know
he is a man who gives it his all and is focused 24 hours a day on the club."
Marco Silva appeared to be the No. 1
choice of Moshiri, but Watford refused to let their manager go. Burnley
manager Sean Dyche and Shakhtar Donetsk coach Paul Fonseca were also linked
with the job.
Allardyce was interviewed three weeks
ago, but initially ruled himself out of the running. Given what he said six
months ago, it's a surprise he put himself in contention in the first place.
In leaving Palace, Allardyce said he
wanted "to travel and also spend more time with my family and grandchildren
without the huge pressure that comes with being a football manager."
"I have no ambitions to take another
job," he added at the time, "I simply want to be able to enjoy all the
things you cannot really enjoy with the 24/7 demands of managing any
football club, let alone one in the Premier League."
Now, he is back in the world's
most-watched league and in a pressure-filled role, at the biggest club he
has managed in a 26-year managerial career that has also included spells at
Newcastle, West Ham, Blackburn and Bolton.