International Sports News

International Sports News (100)

Liverpool's bid to claim the Champions League trophy for the seventh time ended in bitter disappointment as Vinicius Jr's second-half winner gave Real Madrid victory in Paris.

Jurgen Klopp's side ran into a one-man wall of defiance as Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois produced one of the great individual performances to thwart Liverpool time and again.

Mohamed Salah, seeking revenge for his early departure through injury in the 2018 final against Real, was denied six times by Courtois who was simply unbeatable.

The victory also sees Carlo Ancelotti make history by becoming the first coach to win a fourth Champions League title.

Real were always a threat and the decisive moment came after 59 minutes when Vinicius stole in unmarked at the far post to score.

This was also a final marred by chaotic scenes outside Stade de France with thousands of Liverpool fans, some targeted with pepper spray by French police, unable to get into the stadium, forcing the kick-off to be delayed by more than 30 minutes.

Liverpool fall at final hurdle

Champions League: Liverpool will 'go again' says Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool's magnificent season brought them the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup - both won on penalties against Chelsea - but ended in a double disappointment in the final week of a stellar campaign.

The Champions League might have eased the agony of just missing out on the Premier League to Manchester City by one point, only for Liverpool to find themselves on the wrong end of a goalkeeping masterclass from Courtois.

The Belgian was simply perfect as he was a constant thorn in Salah's side, turned Sadio Mane's shot on to the post brilliantly and commanded his penalty area with faultless handling.

Salah held his head in disbelief on many occasions as Courtois manned the barricade for Real, leaving the Egyptian to nurse the pain of another Champions League final defeat by the Spanish giants.

Liverpool were not quite at their best and eventually paid the price for not taking chances as Real pounced in trademark fashion to win this tournament for a record-extending 14th time.

Klopp's side could not have given any more as they pushed to the final whistle but looked jaded towards the end - no surprise given the demands made of them this season.

Liverpool will still take huge credit by maintaining a push for an historic quadruple until the final week of the season but the conclusion will sting.

The occasion left even more of a sour taste given the events outside Stade de France. Liverpool are demanding a full investigation into how thousands of their fans could not get into the stadium, with dangerous numbers packed into small areas as kick-off approached.

Real Madrid kings of Europe again

Real Madrid have been living by the skin of their teeth in the Champions League this season, but any side that beats Paris St- Germain, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool to reach their goal answers every question.

This is a side that knows how to get the job done, no matter how late they leave it, no matter how much the odds seem stacked against them.

Real are bolstered by years of experience and quality that gives them concrete-clad self-belief that has seen them navigate their way out of so many tight situations.

And what a moment for their legendary coach Ancelotti, who was brought back to the Bernabeu from Everton a year ago and has won La Liga and the Champions League on his return.

Ancelotti can now lay claim to history with that fourth triumph, once again showing his mastery of managing egos and high-class players who respond to the vastly experienced Italian's promptings.

He was the most relaxed man in Paris at his pre-match press conference, oozing confidence, and can now look back at two Champions League wins over Liverpool, here and for AC Milan in 2007, after losing in the so-called miracle of Istanbul in 2005.

Ancelotti is one of the greats and has proved it again.

Home TeamLiverpoolAway TeamReal Madrid

Possession

Home54%

Away46%

Shots

Home24

Away4

Shots on Target

Home9

Away2

Corners

Home6

Away2

Fouls

Home13

Away7

Source: BBC

Manchester City have won the Premier League for the sixth time after a stunning fight-back from two goals down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 at Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola’s side finished one point ahead of Liverpool, who beat Wolves 3-1.

And Tottenham secured Champions League qualification, denying north London rivals Arsenal in the process, with an emphatic victory over already-relegated Norwich at Carrow Road.

Spurs needed just a draw to seal a top-four finish, and got the job done after thrashing Norwich by five goals to nil.

Meanwhile, Arsenal and their cousins Manchester United will play Europa league after finishing fifth as they brushed aside Everton by Five goals to one while the Red devils were humbled , a goal to nil by Crystal Palace.

West-Ham United Will Participate In The Europa Conference League Despite Losing By Three Goals To One To Zambia’s ENOCK MWEPU’s Brighton As They Finished Seventh.

And at the bottom, Burnley were relegated from the Premier League on a dramatic final day as a home loss to Newcastle United condemned them to the Championship.

Burnley joins the long queue of  Watford and Norwich to the lower league.

Source: BBC.

Palmeiras will face Chelsea or Al Hilal in the final of the Fifa Club World Cup after beating Al Ahly in Tuesday's semi-final.

Raphael Veiga fired home Dudu's flick-on to give the Brazilian side the lead six minutes before half-time.

Winger Dudu settled the outcome in the UAE with a powerful 49th-minute finish from a tight angle.

Egyptian outfit Al Ahly had Ayman Ashraf sent off in the 81st minute for a dangerous challenge on Rony.

European champions Chelsea face AFC Champions League winners Al Hilal in the other last-four tie on Wednesday.

The final takes place on Saturday 12 February, kicking off at 16:30 GMT.

Home TeamPalmeirasAway TeamAl Ahly

Possession

Home42%

Away58%

Shots

Home12

Away14

Shots on Target

Home4

Away5

Corners

Home3

Away4

Fouls

Home15

Away9

Source: BBC

Tiger Woods will make his comeback playing alongside son Charlie at the PNC Championship in Florida next week.

The 15-time major champion has not played competitive golf since sustaining serious injuries in a car crash in February.

Woods, 45, said last month that he does not expect to play full time on the tour following the accident.

The 36-hole PNC Championship sees a field of major champions playing alongside their children or parents.

"Although it's been a long and challenging year, I am very excited to close it out by competing in the PNC Championship with my son Charlie," said Woods.

"I'm playing as a dad and couldn't be more excited and proud."

Woods wants to target certain one-off tournaments on his return and said he would "love to play" at St Andrews when the 150th Open is staged there next July.

The PNC Championship is organised by the PGA Tour and will be held on 18-19 December at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando.

The players must have won either a major championship or the Players Championship in order to be invited.

The 20-team field this year includes the reigning champions, 2017 PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas and his father Mike.

Source: BBC

Liverpool became the first English side to win all six Champions League group games as they completed a perfect journey into the knockout stage with victory over AC Milan in Italy.

Manager Jurgen Klopp made eight changes with qualification for the last 16 already assured as group winners, while the Serie A leaders went in search of the win they hoped would secure their own passage into the next phase.

 

Milan’s hopes rose on the half-hour when Takumi Minamino missed a near-post corner and goalkeeper Alisson could only push the ball out to England defender Fikayo Tomori, who scored from close range.

Liverpool’s line-up may have had an unfamiliar appearance but they were by far the more accomplished side. Mohamed Salah was in the starting line-up and once again demonstrated his predatory instincts with the equaliser seven minutes later, driving home the rebound after Milan keeper Mike Maignan saved from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

It meant the prolific Salah became the first Liverpool player since Ian Rush to score 20 goals in five successive seasons, also scoring the most goals for the club in the group stage of a European competition with seven.

Liverpool continued to dominate and Divock Origi scored his first goal in the competition since the 2019 Champions League final against Tottenham when he headed in after Maignan saved from Mane 10 minutes after the break.

Liverpool’s Smooth Progress

When the draw for Champions League Group B was made, it was regarded as one of the toughest sections as Liverpool faced Atletico Madrid, Porto and AC Milan. Instead, they made a mockery of suggestions this could be a tight squeeze by ending with an astonishing 11-point advantage over second-placed Atletico, who beat Porto to go through with them.

Liverpool are now so well-oiled a machine that Klopp could change the face of his team to such an extent after Saturday’s win at Wolves and still put out a side that looked dangerous, well-organised and far too good for one of European football’s biggest names.

Nathaniel Phillips slotted smoothly into defence with Virgil van Dijk left out and, apart from the goal and a late save from Franck Kessie, Liverpool and keeper Alisson survived virtually untroubled, looking far more likely to add to their advantage than concede another goal.

It was another graphic demonstration of the power of the Premier League as Milan, who head Serie A, were outmaneuvered with ease by a Liverpool side bearing little resemblance to their full-strength team.

Liverpool will enter the last 16 as one of the most feared teams in the tournament, with their biggest threats appearing to come from Premier League rivals Chelsea and Manchester City, along with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

Klopp and his players, however, will progress with real confidence that they can once again make it into the latter stages of the Champions League after this latest show of strength.

Source: BBC

Chelsea's Senegalese goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is confident he can win the Lev Yashin award for Europe's best goalkeeper when the Ballon d'Or gala takes place on Monday night.

The 29-year-old is one of the ten goalkeepers in contention for the prize, with only Paris Saint-Germain's European Championship-winner Gianluigi Donnarumma up for the main Ballon d'Or trophy itself.

Nonetheless, Mendy - who won the Champions League in May - believes he can become the second man to win an award introduced in 2019 by Ballon d'Or organisers.

"Of course I think I can win it," Mendy told BBC Sport Africa.

"[If I do win it] I think it would be something I would have deserved. It's something I have worked hard to get, so it would be a great pride given my journey."

Unemployed seven years ago, the prospect of such a fairytale feat is propelled by Mendy's statistics since joining Chelsea in September 2020.

He has registered 23 clean sheets in 43 Premier League games, conceding 30 goals.

Mendy has fared even better in the Champions League, conceding four times in 17 games, with 13 clean sheets recorded and a winner's medal to boot.

In his first season, he registered a joint-record nine clean sheets, so earning him Uefa's goalkeeper of the 2020-21 season award.

Source: BBC

LeBron James has been suspended for one match for the first time in his career after clashing with Isaiah Stewart as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night.

The pair clashed as LA came from 17 points down to win 121-116.

James and Stewart were both ejected for their roles in the fracas - only the second time in James' 19-year NBA career he's been ejected from a game.

Stewart will miss two games for his role in the clash.

The incident happened in the third quarter. LA's James appeared to strike Pistons centre Stewart in the face as they battled for a rebound, leaving him with a large cut near his right eye.

Stewart then repeatedly had to be held back by team-mates and coaching staff as he tried to retaliate.

Both were then ejected from the game after an official review.

On Monday the NBA said Stewart was suspended for "escalating" the incident and "repeatedly and aggressively" pursuing James. James was handed his suspension for "recklessly hitting Stewart in the face" and "initiating" the altercation.

James will serve his suspension on Tuesday when the Lakers travel to play the New York Knicks.

"Everyone in the league knows LeBron's not a dirty guy," said James' Lakers team-mate Anthony Davis after the game. "In fact, when he knew he hit him, as soon as he did it, he looked back at him like, 'Oh, my bad. I didn't try to do it'."

"It was a tough play with Isaiah," said Pistons coach Dwane Casey. "His eye got cracked all the way open and he was upset for a reason. I don't think James is a dirty player, but again, it got them going."

Davis top-scored for the Lakers with 30 points and Russell Westbrook added 26 as the Lakers came back from 17 points down in the second half.

Source: BBC

Manchester United have approached Zinedine Zidane about becoming their manager but, according to sources close to the former Real Madrid boss, he is not interested in going to Old Trafford at this point.

Ole Gunnar Soskjaer was sacked by United on Sunday after Saturday's 4-1 defeat at Watford.

Zidane ended his second spell as Real manager in May this year.

He won three consecutive Champions League titles with the club from 2016.

After leaving in 2018, he returned a year later and won La Liga and the Spanish Super Cup in 2020.

The same sources have said legendary former France and Real midfielder Zidane, who is out of work, would not be keen on a move to United right now.

He has been linked with the French national side and Paris St-Germain, and would prefer to consider those options when or if they become available.

Mauricio Pochettino, who has regularly been spoken of as a future United boss, is the current manager of PSG, who have full confidence in the Argentine and have made no movements to replace him with Zidane.

Source: BBC Sports

Manchester United have sacked manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following Saturday’s 4-1 defeat at Watford.

The club have won just one of their past seven Premier League matches and are seventh in the table, 12 points behind leaders Chelsea.

First-team coach Michael Carrick has been placed in temporary charge before United’s Champions League trip to Villarreal on Tuesday.

“It is with regret that we have reached this difficult decision,” United said.

“While the past few weeks have been disappointing, they should not obscure all the work he has done over the past three years to rebuild the foundations for long-term success.

“Ole leaves with our sincerest thanks for his tireless efforts as manager and our very best wishes for the future.

“His place in the club’s history will always be secure, not just for his story as a player, but as a great man and a manager who gave us many great moments. He will forever be welcome back at Old Trafford as part of the Manchester United family.

“Michael Carrick will now take charge of the team for forthcoming games, while the club looks to appoint an interim manager to the end of the season.”

After the Villarreal trip, United face league games against Chelsea and Arsenal.

Solskjaer, 48, replaced Jose Mourinho on an interim basis in December 2018.

The Norwegian was then given the job full-time in March 2019 on a three-year deal and, in July, signed a new deal with the club until 2024.

Source: ZBC News

US President Joe Biden has said that he is weighing a US diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympic games due to be held in Beijing, China.

 

"That is something we are considering," he told reporters ahead of talks with the leaders of Mexico and Canada. A diplomatic boycott would mean that no US officials are sent to attend the games. The decision comes amid rising tension in the US-China relationship.

On Monday, Mr Biden held his first direct talks with China's Xi Jinping.

 

At the White House, Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the US and China leaders did not discuss the Olympics during their three-hour virtual meeting on Monday.

Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have called for a diplomatic boycott as a means to protest against Chinese human rights abuses.

 

A diplomatic boycott would not affect athletes, but Ms Psaki said the US is still finalising "what our presence will be" at the games, which are due to begin on 4 February.

The US has accused China of genocide towards the Uighurs - a Muslim minority group which lives mostly in the autonomous region of Xinjiang.

Tensions have also risen over the way China has acted to repress political freedoms in Hong Kong.

 

Mr Biden's comment came as he was hosting Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for formal talks at the White House.

The talks, dubbed the Three Amigos Summit, are expected to focus on border issues, tax subsidies for electric vehicles, Covid precautions and other issues.

 

Last month, US senators proposed a draft amendment to a bill that would ban the US State Department from spending government funds to "support or facilitate" the attendance of US diplomats at the Games.

Nancy Pelosi, the most senior Democrat in Congress, has called for a boycott, saying that US leaders who attend would lose their "moral authority".

Republican Senator Tom Cotton said on Thursday that diplomatic boycott of the "genocide Olympics" would be "too little, too late" and called for a total boycott of all athletes, officials and US corporate sponsors.

 

Nikki Haley, the former US representative to the UN under Donald Trump, has also called for a complete boycott.

 

Source: BBC

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