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Sport | The Guardian



Sports news, scores, blogs and opinion on US and world sports from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice



Published: Mon, 21 Aug 2017 22:07:27 GMT2017-08-21T22:07:27Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2017
 



46,000 fans a game: Atlanta United's strange success far from soccer's heartland

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 09:00:07 GMT2017-08-21T09:00:07Z

How did the Five Stripes become MLS’s most popular team five months after their first ever game? Shifting attitudes towards football in the US explain a lot

Two Major League Soccer expansion clubs first took the field in March 2017, both bearing the moniker United. One in Minneapolis, the other in Atlanta – a city in that lower-third of the American map which, conventional wisdom holds, stands in stark opposition to the globalist concerns of either American coast, and could therefore never deign to care about a sport as preposterously effete as soccer, where flopping is rewarded.

Five months later, Atlanta United boast the highest average home attendance in Major League Soccer history (46,318 fans per game, more than any other MLS, NBA, NHL or MLB franchise in the country) and are in contention for the playoffs, while Minneapolis United play to smaller than league-average crowds.

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Manchester City v Everton: Premier League – as it happened

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 20:58:03 GMT2017-08-21T20:58:03Z

The sides finshed with a goal apiece, a point apiece and 10 men apiece after an entertaining and often fractious evening at the Etihad

Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeep! Bobby Madley calls time on an entertaining, often fractious affair which ended with the teams sharing the spoils. Wayne Rooney put Everton ahead in the 35th minute, before his team-mate Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who was excellent this evening, showed great cunning to play a role in getting Kyle Walker set off. Despite being down to 10 men, Manchester City equalised through Raheem Sterling, before Morgan Schneiderlin got his marching orders after Sergio Aguero made a meal of what looked a fair challenge. Honours even, then ... which seems about fair.

90+4 min: Brilliant defending from Davy Klaassen, who makes a cruciasl interception as Bernardo Silva attempts to dink the ball to his namesake David in a goalkeeping position a few yards from goal. Corner for Manchester City, from which nothing comes.

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Lukas Podolski considering legal action over Breitbart ‘migrant gang’ photo

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 14:19:16 GMT2017-08-21T14:19:16Z

• Former Arsenal forward was pictured in article about illegal immigration
• ‘Lukas distances himself from it and won’t let himself be exploited’

Former Arsenal and Germany forward Lukas Podolski is considering legal action after conservative website Breitbart published his photo in an article about illegal immigration.

The online article was headlined “Spanish Police Crack Gang Moving Migrants on Jet-Skis”, with a picture showing Podolski on a jet ski which had been taken at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil where the German team were relaxing during a day off.

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Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 07:15:27 GMT2017-08-21T07:15:27Z

West Brom, even without Jonny Evans, give a masterclass in defending again; Newcastle underpowered in attack; Sadio Mané shows his importance to Liverpool

Nathaniel Chalobah had an eventful match for Watford on Saturday. By dummying the ball at the suggestion of Bournemouth’s Harry Arter he inadvertently reminded the world of the subclause to Law 12 which states a player should be cautioned if he “verbally distracts an opponent during play”. The England Under-21s midfielder missed two good chances to score; a header and a one-on-one. He gave the ball away several times. But in only his second Premier League start Chalobah also led the match in both tackles and dribbles. It was his breakaway sprint that proved to be the catalyst for the opening goal. Rumours suggest the former Chelsea youth player might get a call-up for the upcoming England squad. Chalobah is still raw but the potential is apparent. And the next time someone shouts “leave” at him, he will surely think twice. Paul MacInnes

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Barcelona unites for opening game of the football season

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 21:55:45 GMT2017-08-20T21:55:45Z

Players wear black armbands in memory of the victims of attacks in Catalonia to chorus of ‘we are not afraid’ from the crowds

First came the stillness of mourning, then a defiant roar of “We are not afraid” as tens of thousands of Barcelona football fans started the new La Liga season by paying their respects to the victims of Thursday’s terrorist attacks.

With emotions still raw in the Catalan capital following the car attacks that killed 13 people on Las Ramblas boulevard and another person in the town of Cambrils, the phrase “only a game” had rarely felt more appropriate ahead of the kick-off against Real Betis, which Barcelona won 2-0.

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Grigor Dimitrov dominates Nick Kyrgios to win Cincinnati Masters final

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 22:52:55 GMT2017-08-20T22:52:55Z

• Australian fails to replicate earlier tournament form
• World No11 beats Kyrgios in straight sets to seal win

After two months of injuries and poor form, Nick Kyrgios will contest the US Open on the back of a near career-best week. The Australian lost the Cincinnati Masters final to Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets but claimed the scalp of world No1 Rafael Nadal in reaching Sunday’s decider.

It is hard to believe just over two weeks ago Kyrgios was forced to retire hurt down 6-3, 3-0 to world No105 Tennys Sandgren due to a shoulder injury in Washington DC.

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Marcos Alonso double fires Chelsea to Wembley victory over Tottenham

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 17:07:35 GMT2017-08-20T17:07:35Z

It has taken a little longer than Chelsea would have liked but, finally, they have reminded everybody of the qualities that elevated them to the Premier League title last season. They played on Sunday as though affronted by the criticism that has engulfed them over the previous week. Their season has lift-off and, though it would be stretching the truth to say one result resolves all their issues, they were barely recognisable from the team that finished against Burnley looking in need of smelling salts.

Related: Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea: Premier League – as it happened

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Olympic champion Aly Raisman attacks USA Gymnastics over sexual abuse case

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 13:20:51 GMT2017-08-20T13:20:51Z

  • Former team doctor Larry Nassar accused of abusing athletes in his care
  • Raisman worked with doctor and calls him a ‘monster’
  • Nassar has pled not guilty to assault charges and civil suits

Aly Raisman, the six-time Olympic medal winning gymnast, has called for sweeping change in USA Gymnastics in the wake of dozens of allegations of sexual abuse against former team doctor Larry Nassar, who she called a “monster”.

Nassar spent nearly 30 years as an osteopath with the USA Gymnastics program and is now in prison in Michigan after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography. Nassar is still awaiting trial on separate criminal sexual conduct charges in addition to being sued by over 125 women in civil court who claim he sexually assaulted them under the guise of treatment. Nassar has pleaded not guilty to the assault charges and the dozens of civil suits filed in Michigan are currently in mediation.

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Rafael Nadal is last of the golden greats still standing before US Open | Jacob Steinberg

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 08:59:38 GMT2017-08-20T08:59:38Z

With Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer struggling with injuries, can the next generation, led by Dimitrov, Thiem and Zverev, finally step up?

What to make of the state of men’s tennis? For the best part of a decade a quartet of hall‑of‑famers have transcended their sport by lifting it to hitherto untouched heights with their titanic struggle for supremacy while below them a host of challengers have strained to swell the numbers of the elite club known as the Big Four. Plenty have tried, most have failed. Some have offered flashes of impertinence but only Stan Wawrinka has provided a sustained threat to the established order. The entry requirements are gruelling. The top players ally astonishing skill with an almost masochistic willingness to suffer for their art.

But throughout 2017 there has been a persistent sense that the curtain may be about to fall on this golden age. Where once there was order now there is disarray. The show isn’t quite over yet, but the audience is waiting to rise to its feet and this is when the mind goes back to Andy Murray’s prediction on the eve of the ATP World Tour Finals last November.

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USA’s Lexi Thompson plays ‘weirdest round’ to help beat Europe in Solheim Cup

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 21:04:00 GMT2017-08-20T21:04:00Z

• United States display clear superiority for a 16.5 to 11.5 success
• Europe’s Annika Sorenstam: ‘We just got outplayed’

An anti-climactic conclusion to the 15th Solheim Cup appeared inevitable even before a Sunday shot was struck. The US, after all, would have needed to produce one of the greatest sporting capitulations of all time if failing to win from a position of 10.5 to 5.5 ahead.

There was to be no such stumble. Annika Sorenstam and her European team are worthy of credit for a singles showing in which the 12 matches returned six points a side. The visitors, despite being so glaringly short of their opponents in terms of combined talent, refused to go down without a fight. Nonetheless the better team – by far – retained the cup.

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New York City police take a knee at rally in support of Colin Kaepernick

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 19:45:38 GMT2017-08-19T19:45:38Z

  • Frank Serpico, now 81, joins NYPD officers and alumni at rally for quarterback
  • Kaepernick remains unsigned three weeks before NFL season gets under way

Dozens of current and former New York City police officers, including famed corruption whistleblower Frank Serpico, turned out Saturday at a rally in support of getting free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick a job in the National Football League.

The former San Francisco 49ers player became a controversial figure last year after he refused to stand for the national anthem in what he called a protest against oppression of people of color.

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Will McGregor v Mayweather save American boxing – or bury it?

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 09:00:10 GMT2017-08-19T09:00:10Z

It once commanded America’s national consciousness, spawning great literature and making folk heroes out of champions like Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano – but now US boxing is in decline. Can the circus in Las Vegas bring it back to life?

Jimmy’s Corner is a classic dive on 44th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in Manhattan, a half-block east from the neon marquees and flashing Jumbotrons of Times Square. The bar is warmly lit and slender, hardly wider than a walk-in closet, open seven days a week from 11.30am to 4am. The booze is cheap, the jukebox is loaded with Stax classics and the walls are a dense assemblage of posters, memorabilia and photographs culled from owner Jimmy Glenn’s panoramic life in boxing.

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Raheem Sterling draws comfort for 10-man Manchester City against Everton

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 21:03:11 GMT2017-08-21T21:03:11Z

To the immense credit of Manchester City, there are not many other teams in the Premier League who could come up with this kind of feat of escapology from a position at half-time where they were not only trailing to Everton but playing with 10 men because of Kyle Walker’s red card towards the end of the first half.

By the end, there was even the unmistakeable sense that the players in light blue were disappointed they could not complete the recovery and find a late winner once their substitute, Raheem Sterling, had volleyed in an 82nd minute equaliser. Morgan Schneiderlin’s late dismissal, after two bookings of his own, had levelled the numbers and City were still smouldering with a sense of injustice because of the nature of Walker’s second booking and a piece of amateur dramatics from Dominic Calvert-Lewin to dupe the officials.

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Eni Aluko accuses England manager Mark Sampson of ‘racist’ Ebola remark

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 17:00:07 GMT2017-08-21T17:00:07Z

• Aluko says Sampson told her to ensure relatives did not bring Ebola to game
• Sampson understood to deny making comment about player’s Nigerian family

Mark Sampson, the manager of the England women’s football team, is alleged to have told one of his black players to make sure their Nigerian relatives did not bring Ebola to a game at Wembley, according to extraordinary new evidence the Guardian can present as part of the Eni Aluko hush-money case.

Aluko tells this newspaper that the Football Association has known about the comment – described in one letter from the Professional Footballers’ Association to the governing body as a “racist joke” – since November 2016 but chose to ignore it despite a previous allegation that Sampson had asked a mixed-raced player in another England get-together how many times she had been arrested.

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Familiar failings are proving costly for Tottenham and Mauricio Pochettino | Jacob Steinberg

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 19:14:15 GMT2017-08-21T19:14:15Z

The absence of a genuine wide man and of last season’s dynamic wing-backs is already having an effect on Spurs

Moussa Sissoko is an easy scapegoat. He has been a target for scorn since his unforgettably woeful performance in Tottenham’s defeat by Bayer Leverkusen at Wembley last November, on a night when it looked as though he needed someone to explain the entire concept of football to him. It was the comically miscued shot that slithered embarrassingly wide that best explained why eyebrows were raised when Spurs paid Newcastle United for a midfielder whose energetic running often masks technical shortcomings.

However, it was not Sissoko’s fault that Mauricio Pochettino’s side lost against Chelsea at Wembley on Sunday. If fingers must be pointed, direct them at two of Pochettino’s favourites, Hugo Lloris and Victor Wanyama, whose errors played a big part in Marcos Alonso’s winner. The margins were fine.

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Is 'the Wembley curse' fake news? – Football Weekly

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 14:59:37 GMT2017-08-21T14:59:37Z

Cambridge United’s most famous fan Max Rushden is joined today by Paolo Bandini, Jacob Steinberg and, making his pod debut, Ed Aarons

Cambridge United’s most famous fan Max Rushden is joined today by Paolo Bandini, Jacob Steinberg and, making his pod debut, Ed Aarons.

First port of call is the weekend’s action – the pod discusses the Wembley pitch, Arsène Wenger having a rare referee-related moan and Manchester United’s sparkling early-season form.

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Jack Wilshere sent off after brawl in under-23 win over Manchester City

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 21:54:41 GMT2017-08-21T21:54:41Z

• Arsenal midfielder sees red along with City defender Tyreke Wilson
• Wilshere in final year at club after Bournemouth loan and broken leg

Jack Wilshere was sent off after being involved in a mass brawl during the Arsenal under-23 match against Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium.

Wilshere has yet to play for the first team this season, having spent the last one on loan at Bournemouth, but is now fit following his recovery from a fracture to the lower left leg suffered during Bournemouth’s 4-0 defeat at Spurs in April.

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Thibaut Courtois says loss to Burnley gave Chelsea timely wake-up call

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 16:53:11 GMT2017-08-21T16:53:11Z

• Victory over Tottenham ‘good for the confidence’, says Blues’ goalkeeper
• Chelsea attempting to buy at least three more players in transfer window

Thibaut Courtois believes the shock of losing on the opening day against Burnley served as a wake-up call for Chelsea in their bid to defend the Premier League title, and the champions duly proved their pedigree with victory at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

The win at Wembley has eased fears of a repeat of Chelsea’s last title defence which unravelled so spectacularly under José Mourinho in 2015. Antonio Conte, while still frustrated at a lack of progress in player recruitment, hailed his side’s spirit and character both in the second half against Burnley – when the hosts recovered to 2-3 despite being reduced to nine men – and with a depleted lineup against Spurs.

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An interest in which of the 32 balls get paired with each other

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 15:38:28 GMT2017-08-21T15:38:28Z

In today’s Fiver: Milk Cup goes to China, Donald Trump, Astana get the juices flowing and The Count counts

While the desperation of many football fans to be offended by things of indiscernible consequence seems limitless, the Fiver did at least think some sort of line may be drawn when it came to the scheduling for the third round draw of this season’s Carabao Cup. Not the scheduling of the third round of this season’s Carabao Cup … but the scheduling of the actual draw for it, which is slated to take place in Beijing later this week, at stupid o’clock in the morning for those of us in Blighty with an interest in which of the 32 balls involved get paired with each other.

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Billy Vunipola boost for England but Saracens have to wait for No8’s return

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 21:00:03 GMT2017-08-21T21:00:03Z

• ‘Billy is due back in October but in true Billy style he will be back before that’
• Saracens are also without their Lions players for the start of the season

Billy Vunipola will miss the start of the Premiership season because of the shoulder injury that ruled him out of the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand but the Saracens director of rugby, Mark McCall, said the No8 will be back in time for England’s autumn campaign in November.

McCall was less candid about exactly when his six Lions tourists will return to action but admitted the majority will not be used at the start of the season owing to the extra time off required following a 10-match tour that finished on 8 July. “We are not looking to get our pound of flesh out of the guys,” he said.

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Frankie Dettori’s shoulder injury led to Shutter Speed’s stutter, says trainer

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 18:28:07 GMT2017-08-21T18:28:07Z

• John Gosden says jockey’s pain affected finish in French Oaks
• Filly at 10-1 for Juddmonte International at York on Wednesday

Frankie Dettori’s shoulder injury was partly the cause of a disappointing effort by Shutter Speed in the French Oaks, her trainer said on Monday. John Gosden’s charge appears to have a lot to do as a 10-1 shot in a hot-looking lineup for the Juddmonte International at York on Wednesday but the trainer is clear that her most recent bit of form understates her ability.

“Things didn’t go quite to plan in the Prix de Diane,” Gosden said on Monday at his Newmarket base. “It was a very hot day and she didn’t travel that great. And the jock was in a lot of pain in the closing stages. She should have been a good second, I think.”

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Grimsby Town fans made to show bras to Stevenage stewards

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 18:09:58 GMT2017-08-21T18:09:58Z

At least 10 football supporters including a 70-year-old woman had to raise tops for security searches, a fans’ group says

Female football fans were left “shocked and stunned” when they were made to show their bras during security searches at Stevenage football club, a supporters’ group has said.

At least 10 Grimsby Town supporters had their bras checked by stewards before the League Two sides met on Saturday, according to the Mariners Trust.

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England’s pack out to bulldoze France in battle for World Cup final place

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 17:25:19 GMT2017-08-21T17:25:19Z

• England select strongest side to date for Belfast semi-final
• Sarah Hunter says rugby team determined to emulate cricketers

Sarah Hunter is determined to end a golden summer of women’s sport for England the way it began after revealing how watching the cricketers seal World Cup success two months ago is serving as the perfect inspiration for their semi‑final against France in Belfast on Tuesday night.

England’s captain Hunter and a number of her team‑mates were in attendance during their counterparts’ successful home campaign and glued to the screens if not. Since then the footballers have reached the semi‑finals of the European Championship to continue the surge in popularity surrounding women’s sport and Hunter and co are two victories from successfully defending their World Cup crown.

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Vuelta a España: Chris Froome takes lead as Nibali wins stage three

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 16:43:26 GMT2017-08-21T16:43:26Z

• Tour de France winner holds two-second lead over closest rivals
• Vincenzo Nibali is 10 seconds back after claiming victory in Andorra

Chris Froome became the new leader of the Vuelta a España on Monday after finishing third in the mountainous third stage as the Italian Vincenzo Nibali snatched the stage win in the final 400m of the race in the Pyrenees in Andorra.

Froome, who is bidding to become the first rider to do a double of the Tour de France and the Vuelta in 39 years, set a vicious pace on the final climb of the 158.5km stage, chaperoned by his team‑mate Gianni Moscon, although he was eventually caught on the descent.

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Paul Collingwood in line to play for World XI in landmark Pakistan series

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 16:17:57 GMT2017-08-21T16:17:57Z

• T20 series in September reintroduces international cricket to Pakistan
• Military style security in place for return eight years after Lahore attack

Paul Collingwood is in line to be the English representative in a World XI coached by Andy Flower that will play a three-match series in Pakistan next month as the International Cricket Council brings top-level cricket back to the country.

The Guardian understands that Collingwood, England’s World Twenty-20 winning captain, has made himself available for the three Twenty20s in Lahore on 12, 13 and 15 September with the squad, which has previously been tipped to include South Africa’s Hashim Amla and Imran Tahir, due to be named in the coming days.

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Cas upholds life bans for Papa Massata Diack and Valentin Balakhnichev

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 16:14:44 GMT2017-08-21T16:14:44Z

• Former head of Russian athletics federation was banned in January
• Ex-IAAF president’s son Diack also remains banned for life

Sport’s highest tribunal has upheld life bans on two top Russian athletics officials and the son of the former world governing body president Lamine Diack for covering up an elite Russian athlete’s positive dope test and blackmailing her over it.

Valentin Balakhnichev, the former head of the Russian athletics federation, and Alexei Melnikov, the country’s former head distance coach, were banned by the IAAF ethics commission in January last year.

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Terence Crawford blasts Indongo in three to unify junior welterweight titles

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 05:25:56 GMT2017-08-20T05:25:56Z

Terence Crawford took all the drama out of his fight against Julius Indongo, and he did it fast at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Now Crawford is the only undisputed world champion in professional boxing.

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USA take firm grip in Solheim Cup but Georgia Hall shines for Europe

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 23:30:53 GMT2017-08-19T23:30:53Z

• Home team lead 10½ to 5½ before Sunday’s singles
• Cristie Kerr becomes leading points winner in US cup history

Never mind the miracle of Medinah. This has turned into a disaster in Des Moines for Europe. Only the greatest comeback in team golf history will prevent the USA from keeping firm hold of the Solheim Cup. The sad thing for Annika Sorenstam and her European players as they peruse the ominous scenario of Sunday singles – traditionally an American strong suit – is that defeat may arrive by an embarrassing margin.

For now Juli Inkster’s team are a mere three and a half points short of the tally needed to confirm cup retention. Sunday tee times have been advanced by two hours in a bid to avoid inclement weather. The Europeans may be delighted to exit stage left as quickly as humanly possible. What a bruising experience this has been, particularly for Sorenstam, who was not accustomed to being a distant second during her playing days.

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Liverpool 1-0 Crystal Palace: Premier League – as it happened

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 16:02:40 GMT2017-08-19T16:02:40Z

Related: Sadio Mané makes vital breakthrough for Liverpool against Crystal Palace

That’s all for now. Thanks as always for following along with us and be sure to check back later for a full match report.

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Michael Bennett continues anthem protest as white team-mate shows support

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 04:58:42 GMT2017-08-19T04:58:42Z

  • Seattle Seahawks defensive end sits out anthem over injustice in US
  • Had said white players needed to join in to make impact
  • Justin Britt places hand on Bennett’s shoulder during anthem

For the second week in succession Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett has sat out the national anthem, although this time he had company.

Bennett started his protest last week, continuing the movement initiated by Colin Kaepernick to bring attention to racial injustice in America. Bennett later said that the protest would be more effective if a white NFL player joined in. On Friday before the Seahawks’ preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings, his hope was partially fulfilled when his white team-mate Justin Britt stood next to him with his arm on Bennett’s shoulder. Afterward the two hugged.

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The gifs that keep on giving: laughter, face football and two big clearances

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 10:00:32 GMT2017-01-21T10:00:32Z

Featuring two UFC fighters trying to pretend, a new form of badminton, fast fists, a very short game of pool and an exceedingly chamring basketball player

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The forgotten story of … Fred Spiksley, wing wizard, film star and POW escapee | Simon Burnton

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 11:20:51 GMT2017-07-28T11:20:51Z

Fred Spiksley dazzled as an outside-left, but found his far-reaching coaching ideas spurned in England after success abroad, having also dabbled in film and been embroiled in a wartime escape mission

In the words of James Catton, the greatest football writer of his time, “Fred Spiksley’s control of the ball, his individuality, and his pluck for a man of modest stature, without much weight, were amazing. He did all his ball work with the outside of the right foot. In fact, Fred Spiksley could do almost anything he wanted with either foot, and was a sure marksman. Spiksley as a football player was a wonder.”

Ernest “Nudger” Needham, who was to win 16 England caps while at Sheffield United, was part of the Staveley defence that lost 10-0 against Spiksley’s Gainsborough in 1891. “Our captain told me to shift from left to right to stop the outside-left,” he recalled. “I might as well have tried to stop the wind. The outside-left was Fred Spiksley, the finest outside-left I have ever met and whose dribbling was a treat to watch. He could either combine with the others and make openings by lively centres, or cut past the back on the inside to go for goal himself. He could also shoot with either foot. I shall never forget Freddy’s dazzling wing play in 1898, when England beat Scotland 3-1. Ah, Fred was a gem of a player in those days!”

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The Joy of Six: Premier League opening-day debuts

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 12:31:32 GMT2017-08-10T12:31:32Z

From Alan Shearer’s stunning statement of intent to the White Feather making his mark on Teesside, half a dozen memorable debut starts to the season

The first exchanges of the new Premier League were bathed in iridescent sunshine and the glow felt even warmer after a humdinger at Selhurst Park. Alan Shearer had turned 22 two days previously; he had cost newly-promoted Blackburn, awash with Jack Walker’s millions and carefree with ambition, a stunning £3.6m to snare from Southampton – for context, Neymar was six months old at the time – and there was considerable fascination in whether the trade between two unfashionable clubs would be successful.

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It's time to introduce a two-legged MLS Cup - with a twist

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:00:10 GMT2016-10-24T09:00:10Z

The single final is insufficient, and the two-leg final doesn’t reward the higher-seeded team for their regular-season performance. So why not combine the two?

Do US soccer leagues need their own Super Bowl, a week-long festival of the sport at a neutral site? Or should they reward the best regular-season team with home-field advantage for the final game?

Related: Didier Drogba fined but not suspended for Montreal Impact tantrum

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A referee's-eye view of Real Madrid, baseball cat and slo-mo overtaking

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:00:43 GMT2017-08-17T09:00:43Z

This week’s roundup also features it all kicking off in pre-season NFL training, some blinding catches and a golfer taking one for the team

1) It might look like one of those adverts where a member of the public is chucked into a professional game for some reason, but the results of mounting a camera on the ref’s head for the game between MLS All-Stars and Real Madrid are all kinds of excellent. Warning though: not for the easily sea sick. It’s David Elleray vs Tony Adams for the 21st century.

2) It’s NFL pre-season training, where the LA Rams and San Diego Chargers have been practising against each other and, well, it all kicked off.

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Hamburg's Nicolai Müller ruptures knee ligament celebrating goal – video

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 09:31:17 GMT2017-08-21T09:31:17Z

Hamburg winger Nicolai Müller has been ruled out injured for seven months after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament celebrating a goal. Müller netted the only goal of the game in Hamburg’s 1-0 win over Augsburg at the weekend but joy quickly turned to agony for the 29-year-old who fell to the ground clutching his knee after he wheeling away in celebration

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In-form Matildas star Sam Kerr sets scoring record in NWSL – video

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 02:05:44 GMT2017-08-21T02:05:44Z

Australian Sam Kerr sets a new NWSL record – becoming first player to score four goals in a single game in the US league – days after appearing on the shortlist for Fifa’s player of the year award

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Don't blame Wembley for Chelsea defeat, says Pochettino – video

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 19:24:50 GMT2017-08-20T19:24:50Z

Mauricio Pochettino claimed that his Spurs side played well in their 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at Wembley, but their loss was nothing to do with the so-called “Wembley curse”. Instead, he blamed his team not making enough chances, and lamented Chelsea scoring two of theirs. Antonio Conte praised his squad for showing heart after their humiliating defeat at home to Burnley in their first game of the season

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Panenka penalty goes wrong in Romanian league match – video

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 18:27:15 GMT2017-08-20T18:27:15Z

George Călințaru, an attacker playing for Juventus Bucureşti in the Romanian Liga I, fluffed his lines with the last kick of the game on Saturday. Juventus were awarded a penalty for handball, beyond the four minutes of additional time in their game with Steaua Bucharest. Călințaru stepped up and panenkaed the ball right into the arms of the grateful keeper, before being confronted by several angry team-mates

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Tennis is 'just a game', says Nick Kyrgios before Cincinnati final – video

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 17:17:32 GMT2017-08-20T17:17:32Z

Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios has given his honest thoughts on tennis and where it fits in his life, saying that it is ‘just a game’. Kyrgios said he would rather be remembered for being a person who was kind to others than for being ‘an unbelievable tennis player’. Kyrgios was speaking after his win over David Ferrer in the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Masters. He faces Grigor Dimitrov in the final

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We used our chance and I'm delighted, says Huddersfield's David Wagner – video

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 17:08:38 GMT2017-08-20T17:08:38Z

David Wagner, speaking after his Huddersfield side extended their 100% record in the Premier League with a 1-0 home win against Newcastle, said he was delighted that they had taken their chances and not had a ‘lucky’ win. His opposing manager, Rafael Benítez, bemoaned his team’s wasteful finishing

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It's not offside at all, says Arsène Wenger after Lacazette goal ruled out – video

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 12:35:06 GMT2017-08-20T12:35:06Z

After his Arsenal side’s 1-0 defeat away at Stoke City, Arsène Wenger complained about the disallowed goal from Alexandre Lacazette, ruled out for offside after the Frenchman slotted it into the net. Wenger went on to hint at a perceived bias against Arsenal by referees, implying that it was no coincidence that his side concedes many penalties and is awarded few

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Manchester United are full of confidence, says José Mourinho – video

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 16:39:25 GMT2017-08-19T16:39:25Z

José Mourinho has said that his Manchester United team is playing with confidence after their 4-0 win away at Swansea in Saturday’s early kick-off. The Swans manager Paul Clement defended his tactics, making it clear that he’s not interested in damage limitation, and wanted to try to get back into the game rather than sit back and keep the scoreline respectable

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Pep Guardiola pays tribute to Barcelona terror attack victims – video

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 16:57:57 GMT2017-08-18T16:57:57Z

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has paid tribute to the victims of the Barcelona terror attacks in his pre-match press conference

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Antonio Conte laughs off Diego Costa comments and says 'he is the past' – video

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 14:55:40 GMT2017-08-18T14:55:40Z

The Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, laughed at his pre-Tottenham Hotspur press conference on Friday when he was asked about comments made by striker Diego Costa. Conte confirmed that even if Costa was fit and of the right mindset, he would not be picked for the first team

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Rio's Olympic venues, six months on – in pictures

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 11:08:46 GMT2017-02-10T11:08:46Z

Six months after hosting South America’s first-ever Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Rio de Janeiro venues – some of which have been looted – sit mainly idle and already in disrepair, raising questions about a legacy that organisers promised would benefit the Brazilian city and its residents

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Abandoned Athens Olympic 2004 venues, 10 years on – in pictures

Wed, 13 Aug 2014 16:52:29 GMT2014-08-13T16:52:29Z

On 13 August 2004, the Olympic Games came home to Greece for the XXVIII Olympiad at an estimated cost of approximately €9bn. A decade after the sporting extravaganza, many of its once-gleaming Olympic venues now lie abandoned. For many Greeks who swelled with pride at the time, the Games are now a source of anger as the country struggles through a six-year depression, record unemployment, homelessness and poverty, with many questioning how the nation has benefited from the multi-billion-dollar event

Continue reading...Derelict building at the Helliniko Olympic complex. Photograph: Milos Bicanski/Getty ImagesDerelict building at the Helliniko Olympic complex. Photograph: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images


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West Indies players and fans alike left out in the cold and horribly exposed | Andy Bull

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 18:38:50 GMT2017-08-21T18:38:50Z

Windies supporters seem to have all but given up on their losing team after the salad days of the last century

When England defeated West Indies in the summer of 2000 the English public were so keen to see them play that the groundstaff at The Oval had to lock 5,000 people out of the ground on the last day of the Test. There were just not enough seats to go round. West Indies have not won a Test in England since. And while play was winding down in the first Test last Saturday evening, the groundstaff at Edgbaston had to open the gates to let at least as many fans back out of the ground. The game was not over but it was late, people wanted to catch the bus or beat the rush and, besides, the cricket was hardly worth stopping to watch. The only thing left to see was England dot the i’s and cross the t in fait accompli.

Ten years ago a film crew went to Barbados. They were working on a documentary about West Indian cricket, famous now, Fire in Babylon. They wanted an extra to shoot some action scenes, a bowler, someone who looked the part. One of their interviewees, the Calypso singer Mighty Gabby, knew just whom they should use. The boy of a good friend of his, a 15-year-old kid called Jason Holder.

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F1 enters eSport arena with official championships to start in September

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 14:42:16 GMT2017-08-21T14:42:16Z

• Inaugural series will finish with finals at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
• Sport’s new owners continue drive to reach a younger audience

Formula One has announced it is launching an official eSport series to run in conjunction with the on-track world championship. The series is the first time the sport has entered the eSport arena and is to be run in conjunction with the official F1 video game and the eSport group Gfinity. The inaugural season, which will run from September to the season finale at Abu Dhabi, will be open to all-comers and represents a further move by the Formula One Group to embrace digital media.

The series will be held on the new F1 video game, published by Codemasters due for release on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC platforms on Friday. A qualification period will be held in September and from it the 40 fastest drivers will attend the semi-finals to be held at the Gfinity London Arena in October. The top 20 drivers from the semi-finals will reach the finals, a three-race event to be held at F1’s season finale in Abu Dhabi in November.

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Alexandr Dolgopolov match under investigation over betting patterns

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 12:13:42 GMT2017-08-21T12:13:42Z

• Thiago Monteiro won first round match at Winston-Salem Open
• Tennis Integrity Unit looking into ‘concerns over betting patterns’

The Tennis Integrity Unit has confirmed it is investigating the ATP Tour match between Alexandr Dolgopolov and Thiago Monteiro on Sunday after several bookmakers suspended their markets in response to suspicious betting patterns.

Related: Grigor Dimitrov dominates Nick Kyrgios to win Cincinnati Masters final

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Rio Olympic venues already falling into a state of disrepair

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 01:38:08 GMT2017-02-10T01:38:08Z

  • Six months on from Games, key venues lie empty in Rio de Janeiro
  • Maracana Stadium looted and damaged, golf course struggling

Just six months on from the 2016 Games, a number of Rio’s major Olympic venues have fallen into a state of disrepair. Since the Paralympics closing ceremony, the Maracana Stadium has been looted, the key Games precinct has been shut down and the city’s Olympic golf course is struggling.

The most alarming visual deterioration can be seen at the Maracana, where worms have damaged the now-threadbare playing surface, windows inside the stadium have been smashed, copper wire stolen from walls and ceilings, and a reported 10% of the 78,000 seats have been torn up. Late in January local electric utility company Light cut off power to the stadium in response to unpaid bills, claimed to be in the region of three million reals (USD$940,000).

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Two of five drugs in Tiger Woods's system on his arrest banned by PGA Tour

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 08:30:06 GMT2017-08-16T08:30:06Z

• Toxicology report reveals golfer had five substances in his system
• THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, was also allegedly present

Two of five the items named in a toxicology report relating to the arrest of Tiger Woods appear on the PGA Tour’s list of banned substances. Woods was subject to testing after being charged with driving under the influence when at the wheel of his car in Florida in late May.

Woods has now admitted a lesser charge of reckless driving, which means a small fine and completion of a rehabilitation programme. The toxicology report, issued from the Palm Beach County sheriff’s office, said Woods had hydrocodone, the generic form of a painkiller branded as Vicodin; hydromorphone, a painkiller known as Dilaudid; alprazolam, a mood and sleep drug known as Xanax; zolpidem, a sleep drug known as Ambien; and delta-9 carboxy THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in his system. Hydromorphone plus its link to Dilaudid and delta-9 are listed as prohibited “drugs of abuse” on page 24 of the Tour’s current anti-doping guide.

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The $70m Legacy Stadium - a student sports palace or a 'shrine to opulence'?

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 09:00:19 GMT2017-08-18T09:00:19Z

In the gaudy world of Texas high school football, Katy’s new arena – which opened on Thursday night – is the latest weapon in an increasingly expensive arms race

It cost over $70m and has 12,000 seats, multi-tiered stands, a $1.8m video screen and an exterior that lights up in the colours of the home team. None of which seems extraordinary in the gaudy world of Texas high school football.

What might be most striking about the state’s latest student sports palace is not the arena itself, but the wide-angle view encompassing what is next to it: another high school football stadium, neatly landscaped with a giant screen of its own and a capacity of almost 10,000.

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US Open 2011: Samantha Stosur shocks Serena Williams to take title

Mon, 12 Sep 2011 00:11:00 GMT2011-09-12T00:11:00Z

• Australian triumphs 6-2, 6-3 at Flushing Meadows
• Williams furious at umpire Eva Asderaki after penalty

This should have been Sam Stosur's night. Not even a tantrum by Serena Williams should have detracted from the innocent joy she brought to her unexpected but excellent victory in the women's final of the US Open on Sunday night, her first in a grand slam, but it did.

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Andy Murray set to play at US Open after overcoming hip injury

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:52:00 GMT2017-08-18T15:52:00Z

• Scot has not played since he was beaten in Wimbledon quarter-finals
• Murray will be No2 seed behind Rafael Nadal at Flushing Meadow

Andy Murray is on track to play in the US Open at the end of August as he steps up his recovery from the injury that has sidelined him since Wimbledon.

His participation in the last grand slam event of the year at Flushing Meadow had looked in doubt when he pulled out of back-to-back Masters 1000 events in Montreal and Cincinnati in the past fortnight. But the Scot is due to travel to New York early next week and barring any last-minute problems he will take his place in the draw, with the tournament set to begin on 28 August.

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