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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: Sat, 20 Jan 2018 03:52:34 GMT2018-01-20T03:52:34Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2018
 



Tom Brady mum on injured hand amid questionable status for AFC title game

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 21:36:17 GMT2018-01-19T21:36:17Z

  • Star QB declined to address hand while wearing gloves on Friday
  • Jaguars coach Doug Marrone: ‘Tommy will play. We know that’
  • Brady’s Patriots host Jaguars on Sunday for trip to Super Bowl LII

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady declined to discuss his injured hand on Friday or say if it would keep him from playing in Sunday’s AFC championship game where a Super Bowl berth is on the line amid reports he required stitches after the mid-week injury.

The five-time Super Bowl champion, who injured his right throwing hand during practice on Wednesday, had a chance to shed some light on what has become the biggest story of the week in New England but decided to keep everyone guessing.

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'How do you sleep at night?' Olympic duo Wieber and Raisman confront Larry Nassar in court

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 19:03:02 GMT2018-01-19T19:03:02Z

  • Jordyn Wieber fourth member of Fierce Five to break silence
  • Aly Raisman lauds ‘army of survivors’ in impact statement
  • Attorney general to investigate university’s handling of allegations

Olympic gold medalists Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman said in court on Friday they were among the 140 girls and women who were sexually abused by longtime USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.

Wieber, who helped the USA team known as the Fierce Five to a gold medal at the London Olympics, addressed the abuse for the first time publicly in a victim impact statement on the fourth day of the disgraced former physician’s sentencing hearing in Michigan.

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Did US Soccer's 'arrogance' drive Jonathan González to switch to Mexico?

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 11:00:21 GMT2018-01-19T11:00:21Z

The talented Californian represented USA at youth level but has switched to El Tri. Some coaches and players fear it is the start of a trend

The United States Soccer Federation must better engage with America’s Latino population and hire coaches who “think outside the box” if it doesn’t want a repeat of rising star Jonathan González’s defection to Mexico. That’s the takeaway from those who say the sport’s governing body is “arrogant” and ignoring the country’s ever-growing Hispanic population.

González, an 18-year-old American-born midfielder who never quite fit the US youth system, dreamed of playing for the US. The feeling wasn’t mutual. He wasn’t included in an experimental US squad that faced Portugal in a friendly last November – the Americans’ first run out since their World Cup qualification failure – nor the current national team winter camp. No big deal, maybe. Except in Mexico, González is considered an exceptional talent.

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The NFL playoffs show you don't need a great quarterback to succeed

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 10:00:20 GMT2018-01-19T10:00:20Z

The NFL is a quarterback-driven league but three of the four teams left standing this season don’t have superstars under center

Each April at the top of the NFL draft, teams grab at quarterbacks they envision leading them to glory. But none of the four quarterbacks remaining in the NFL playoffs took that textbook path to the conference title game. The Eagles, Vikings, Patriots and Jaguars each made it to the championship round without an early pick, “franchise QB” leading the way, not the way in which it’s supposed to be done.

Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles was a first-round pick, sure. But in the four seasons from the time he was taken with the No3 overall pick in the 2014 draft to today, he lost the franchise QB luster with inconsistent and occasionally comically awful play. Benched just this preseason, he regained the starting job over Chad Henne by week one, but didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard until the Jaguars put 45 on the Steelers in the divisional round. His two games before that were a 12-for-23, 87-yard effort in a 10-7 win over the Bills and a 15-for-34, two-interception games in a 15-10 loss to the Titans. It was Jacksonville’s defense that got the Jags to Pittsburgh, with Bortles seen as little more than a caretaker along the way, if we’re being generous; or, according to less kind appraisals, Bortles was – and remains – Jacksonville’s one glaring weakness. Remember that Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone, when asked last spring how many of Bortles’ passes his ideal game plan would feature in 2017, replied: “Zero”. There’s not a person outside of Duval County, Florida, who would argue Bortles is even a Top 15 NFL quarterback or that he has lived up to his No3 overall pick pedigree.

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 08:30:18 GMT2018-01-19T08:30:18Z

Arsène Wenger seeks a reaction, Rafa Benítez may change approach against Manchester City and is Glenn Murray what Chelsea need?

Two teams struggling to score goals go toe-to-toe when Brighton and Chelsea get the Premier League ball rolling in Saturday’s early kick-off. Brighton have drawn seven blanks in their past 10 league games and have only scored more than once on one occasion in that time. Before their FA Cup draw with Norwich on Wednesday night – Antonio Conte’s side eventually won the tie on penalties – Chelsea had failed to score in three successive games; an uncharacteristic drought for the defending champions, who will be without the suspended Pedro and Álvaro Morata and are also likely to be missing the hamstrung Cesc Fàbregas. A team already over-reliant on Eden Hazard may have to depend on him more than ever and the Belgian is likely to play as a false nine in the absence of Morata. The unsurprising news that Andy Carroll is likely to be sidelined for four to six weeks with an ankle injury means the West Ham striker will not be lumbering to the rescue any time soon. In Glenn Murray, Brighton have something of a Carroll Lite and with two goals in his past three games, the striker will have no better opportunity to audition for one of the most unlikely transfers in Premier League history. BG

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Australian Open extreme heat policy to be reviewed as concerned players suffer

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 10:44:18 GMT2018-01-19T10:44:18Z

• Officials say they take player welfare seriously after criticism
• Djokovic among those worried as temperatures peak at 40.2C

Australian Open officials will review the extreme heat policy at the end of the tournament but insisted they take player welfare very seriously. A two-day heatwave has led to matches at Melbourne Park being played in soaring temperatures, which peaked on Friday at 40.2C (104F).

But they were not deemed extreme enough for the tournament to implement its policy, which can see matches on open courts postponed and those on the show courts played with the roof closed.

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It's time to pay the tab for America's college athletes | Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 10:30:16 GMT2018-01-09T10:30:16Z

College sport is a billion-dollar enterprise built off athletes who receive no compensation. Whatever the solution is, the status quo must change

In Thailand, bony little boys as young as nine and 10 are thrown into the boxing ring to punch each other into bloody submission while parents, relatives and other screaming adults bet on the outcome. Youth sports or child abuse? While most Americans feel outrage and revulsion at the idea, as a culture we are just as willing to toss our college-age kids into the gladiatorial arena to risk life and limb while we snack, guzzle and wager on the outcome. All while compensating the young athletes who are at risk with – relative to the money being made by sports barons – about the same as little kids we used to send into coal mines earned: a few coins and lots of chronic ailments. Sound too social justice warrior hyperbolic? During the three weeks of March Madness basketball last year, the NCAA earned $900m dollars while $9.2bn was gambled on the outcome. The players banging it out on the courts earned zip. Nada. Nothing.

I’ve been writing about this issue for several years now calling for college athletes to be paid the wages that they deserve and am sad to acknowledge that very little has changed since I was a college athlete at UCLA, so poor that I and most of my teammates could barely scrape by. But just as with every injustice, wrongs don’t get righted unless we keep raising our voices again and again. So, once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.

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The Vikings needed a miracle against the Saints ... they got a beautiful one

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 09:30:52 GMT2018-01-15T09:30:52Z

This has been a season of improbable storylines for Minnesota, and now they are one victory away from a Super Bowl in their own backyard

In 51 years of Super Bowls no team has ever played for football’s championship on their home field. The closest were the Los Angeles Rams, who in their previous run as tenants of the LA Coliseum, lost the 1980 Super Bowl in Pasadena’s Rose Bowl, 26 miles away.

But throughout this improbable Minnesota Vikings season, the one that fell their way after rival quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone, the Vikings have quietly eyed the Super Bowl that will be played on home turf. And in a season that has made no sense, where they had the NFC’s second-best record with a quarterback nobody much wanted, they came up with a miraculous final play to beat New Orleans 29-24 on Sunday, putting them one game from a Super Bowl in their stadium.

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Roy Hodgson: ‘Coaching is a sadistic pleasure – the suffering never stops’

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 22:30:35 GMT2018-01-19T22:30:35Z

Palace manager has revived the Eagles and his reputation, while his appetite is as keen as ever at 70 – despite the torment the job brings

Roy Hodgson is not one for sentimental reflection. Looking back has never really been his thing. If it were, as he admits, he might linger on his life going full circle in restoring him to the club he supported as a boy, “walking with my dad to watch the reserves one week, the first team the next” from their regular vantage point on the bleak concrete of the Holmesdale Road terrace. Or hoarding programmes, a youngster craving an audience with Johnny Byrne or Terry Long “and waiting to collect autographs by the changing rooms”.

It had been a sense of Crystal Palace’s underlying ambition, and a desire to fling himself back into work 14 months after leaving his role with England, that convinced him to return to the club where a career spanning more than half a century had begun with evening sessions in the youth team. Yet, when Hodgson allows himself a second to contemplate, he can acknowledge some would spy romance in last autumn’s return.

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Chelsea’s hunt for a medieval big man adds intrigue to football’s space race | Barney Ronay

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 18:00:29 GMT2018-01-19T18:00:29Z

Seeing Andy Carroll or Peter Crouch at Chelsea is too good to hope for as it could confirm suspicions about the basic numbers of effectiveness and opportunity in elite teams

It is nearly 40 years since a famous photo emerged that left the nascent Indian space programme an object of widespread mockery. The photo, published in 1979, showed India’s brand new state-of-the-art communications satellite being wheeled out for its launch – on a bullock cart.

For political opponents the picture exposed the space programme as a matter of grandiose ambition undercut by agricultural thinking, a bullock cart culture. That same year the Indian government announced it would also be spending $6bn on bullock cart research, with the idea of entering the white heat of a new industrial age via more efficient bullock carts.

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The PSG-Neymar show rolls on – but is it more celebrity than sport? | Barney Ronay

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 14:15:00 GMT2018-01-19T14:15:00Z

Watching the Brazilian score four goals in PSG’s 8-0 thrashing of Dijon this week was breathtaking but a lack of tension is not good for anyone

An hour into Paris Saint-Germain versus Dijon at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday there was a scramble in the Dijon penalty area, the thrilling spectacle of three world-class players tussling over the ball in the tightest of spaces.

Not that this was entirely straightforward. Some might point to the slight oddity that all three players were wearing PSG shirts. Ángel Di María, Edinson Cavani and Neymar tangling furiously with one another in their eagerness to pick up another loose ball and shoot. It is tempting at this point to describe the Dijon goal as “beleaguered”. But this would assume, incorrectly, it was ever actually leaguered in the first place.

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Rafael Benítez wants three or four Newcastle signings in next 12 days

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 22:33:16 GMT2018-01-19T22:33:16Z

• Newcastle manager says takeover talk is not a distraction
• ‘We have to be sure we can get our January targets,’ says Benítez

Rafael Benítez was noncommittal about his future at Newcastle United after revealing he knew Amanda Staveley’s mooted club takeover was off three weeks go.

“My future is tomorrow against Manchester City,” the manager said when questioned about whether he would reconsider his commitment to remaining on Tyneside long term. “I will not do it [reconsider] before the game at Manchester City. Football is football – everything can change in one minute.”

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Brighton break transfer record to sign striker Jürgen Locadia from PSV

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 21:00:47 GMT2018-01-19T21:00:47Z

• Twenty-four-year-old has signed contract until June 2022
• Chris Hughton: ‘He is a strong, powerful and quick centre-forward’

Brighton have announced the signing of striker Jürgen Locadia from PSV Eindhoven for a club-record fee, believed to be around £14m.

The 24-year-old passed his medical on Friday and will wear the No 25 shirt after signing a four-and-a-half year contract.

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Jack Wilshere is an Arsenal man and I see him staying, says Arsène Wenger

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 22:30:35 GMT2018-01-19T22:30:35Z

• Wenger believes injury-plagued midfielder knows his body better
• Danny Welbeck out of Crystal Palace game with injury

Arsène Wenger believes Jack Wilshere’s upturn in form is rooted in the midfielder shedding the feeling that he is invincible. Wilshere has started Arsenal’s last seven Premier League matches and he has completed the 90 minutes in each of them.

He was outstanding in last Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth – the lone bright spot for his team – and Wenger said the player’s greater awareness of the limitations of his body, in the light of his well-documented fitness issues, had provided the platform to shine. The other factor has been the dedication the 26-year-old has shown to his conditioning work.

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Michael Carrick expected to retire at end of season, says José Mourinho

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 22:35:00 GMT2018-01-19T22:35:00Z

• Manager says midfielder will join Manchester United coaching staff
• Thirty-six-year-old can play on if he changes his mind, says Mourinho

Michael Carrick is expected to end a glittering 19-year playing career in May but remain at Manchester United as a first-team coach under José Mourinho.

The midfielder is in his second week of training following treatment for an irregular heart rhythm that has ruled him out since September. Although Mourinho believes Carrick can be important for his side this term, he said the 36 year old was set to retire and join his staff.

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Jürgen Klopp makes Karius Liverpool’s No 1 and says: ‘It’s time to deliver’

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 16:20:17 GMT2018-01-19T16:20:17Z

• Keeper set for extended run despite mistake against Man City
• ‘Loris has to deliver and he knows that,’ says Klopp

Jürgen Klopp has told Loris Karius it is time to deliver after installing the goalkeeper as Liverpool’s first choice. The German was picked ahead of Simon Mignolet for last Sunday’s 4-3 win over Manchester City and is set for an extended run.

Related: Liverpool's Simon Mignolet says 'rotation is not healthy – this cannot last'

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Robin van Persie to re-join Feyenoord after cancelling Fenerbahce contract

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 19:49:12 GMT2018-01-19T19:49:12Z

• Dutch champions will complete signing of 34-year-old on Monday
• Van Persie came through Feyenoord ranks before 2004 Arsenal exit

Robin van Persie will be returning to boyhood club Feyenoord from Turkish side Fenerbahce next week, the Dutch champions confirmed on Friday.

Related: Sport picture of the day: Fenerbahce fans go wild for Robin van Persie

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Ex-Crewe coach Barry Bennell sexual abuse trial: 'He had this power over you'

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 13:26:34 GMT2018-01-19T13:26:34Z

Alleged victim says Dario Gradi arranged for him to stay at Bennell’s house and describes arguments for ‘safer’ beds

The former football coach Barry Bennell had an arrangement with Crewe Alexandra for up to 12 youth-team players to stay at his house and abused so many of the boys in his care that they had arguments about getting the beds regarded as “a bit safer”, a jury was told.

On the eighth day of Bennell’s trial at Liverpool crown court, where the former Crewe Alexandra youth team coach is facing 48 charges relating to 11 boys from 1979 to 1990, one of his alleged victims said Dario Gradi, the club’s manager, had arranged for him to stay with the man who has been described by the prosecution as a “devious paedophile”.

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Kyle Edmund beats heat at Australian Open: 'It’s a sport. It’s meant to hurt'

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 23:03:52 GMT2018-01-19T23:03:52Z

  • Briton endured 40C conditions against Nikoloz Basilashvili
  • ‘It was tough for him too,’ says Edmund after four-set win

For a couple of years, Kyle Edmund has lurked like a kid at the edge of a playground scrap, not involved enough to get either a black eye or a round of applause but too big to ignore. It is time to talk about Kyle.

Related: Djokovic raises Australian Open health fears after beating Monfils in 39C heat

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Mauricio Pochettino admits Spurs youngsters now have to be extra special

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 22:30:35 GMT2018-01-19T22:30:35Z

• Strong squad has limited the opportunities for academy players
• Carter-Vickers at Ipswich on loan, Edwards has gone to Norwich

Mauricio Pochettino has said it is harder for Tottenham’s academy players to break into the first team than when he arrived at the club, as he reflected on his decision to loan out Cameron Carter-Vickers and Marcus Edwards.

The manager is also struggling to add to his squad for the second half of the season. One reason is cost, another the quality of his existing players. “It’s difficult but we always dream,” Pochettino said. Tottenham are interested in Bordeaux’s £45m-rated winger Malcom but an attempt to get him in the summer appears more likely.

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Antonio Conte agrees Pedro dived and tells forward to learn from ‘mistake’

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 22:30:35 GMT2018-01-19T22:30:35Z

• ‘We must accept Pedro dived,’ says Chelsea manager
• Michy Batshuayi replaces suspended Álvaro Morata at Brighton

Antonio Conte has admitted Pedro Rodríguez was guilty of diving in the chaotic FA Cup replay against Norwich City and has urged the Spain forward to learn from the mistake and avoid a repeat.

Pedro was shown a yellow card for simulation, his second such offence this season. The tumble, just after the hour in Wednesday’s third-round replay at Stamford Bridge, set the tone for everything that followed, with Willian booked for a dive early in extra time, despite the Norwich defender Timm Klose admitting he had clipped the Brazilian, and Álvaro Morata cautioned in the final minute after going to ground under Christoph Zimmermann’s challenge.

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Chess: Magnus Carlsen falls away from leading pack at Wijk aan Zee

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 19:46:00 GMT2018-01-19T19:46:00Z

The world champion is a full point behind the leader, Shak Mamedyarov, after six rounds of the prestigious tournament

Shak Mamedyarov took a clear lead at Tata Steel Wijk aan Zee on Friday night when the 32-year-old won a marathon sixth-round encounter while most of his rivals only drew. The reigning world champion, Magnus Carlsen, is now a full point off the lead. Scores: Mamedyarov 4.5/6, Vishy Anand, Anish Giri and Wesley So 4, Carlsen and Vlad Kramnik 3.5. Gawain Jones, the British champion, facing the strongest event of his career at 30, has made an excellent start with 3/6 and drew with the former world champion Kramnik  on Friday.

The most significant performer among the front runners is Mamedyarov. The Azeri has already qualified for the world title candidates in Berlin in March and has now jumped to world No 2 in the live ratings, a full 10 points clear of the US champion, Fabiano Caruana, who has begun badly with 2/6. Carlsen, seeking his first elite tournament win for 18 months, will be a touch disappointed to be on plus one.

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Sunil Gulati says global perceptions of US could hit 2026 World Cup bid

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 21:33:10 GMT2018-01-18T21:33:10Z

  • New poll shows confidence in US leadership has hit a new low
  • US has launched joint bid for 2026 event with Canada and Mexico

As a new poll shows global confidence in American leadership is at an all-time low, US Soccer president Sunil Gulati has raised concerns about the country’s 2026 World Cup bid.

The US is widely seen as a favorite to win the bid for the 2026 tournament, which it plans to co-host with Mexico and Canada. However, a new Gallup poll of 134 countries shows global approval for the US has fallen from 48% under Barack Obama’s presidency to 30% after one year of Donald Trump. According to the survey, Germany and China are now seen as more reliable world leaders than the US.

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Theo Walcott excited by new challenge at Everton – video

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 15:09:20 GMT2018-01-19T15:09:20Z

Theo Walcott says he is intent on making his move to Everton from Arsenal a success. The forward leaves the Gunners after 12 years at the club and insists he holds no grudges with manager Arsène Wenger. ‘I can’t thank him enough,’ says Walcott

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Burnley's Sean Dyche laughs off suggestion he eats worms – video

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 11:32:05 GMT2018-01-19T11:32:05Z

Burnley manager Sean Dyche jokingly denies he's ever eaten worms. Dyche's former Bristol City teammate Soren Andersen jovially claimed the Burnley manager would eat earthworms during training session and that it is the cause of his gruff voice

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Australian Open players talk about sweltering heat in Melbourne – video

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 01:06:33 GMT2018-01-19T01:06:33Z

With on-court temperatures reportedly reaching 69C, Gaël Monfils says he was 'dying' in his match with Novak Djokovic and Hsieh Su-wei says bugs were being killed by the heat

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North and South Korea to field unified ice hockey team at Winter Olympics – video

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 15:45:59 GMT2018-01-18T15:45:59Z

The two Koreas will field a combined women's ice hockey team at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, it was announced on Wednesday. North and South Korea have been in talks as the Games approach in an effort to build diplomacy between the two nations. It is the first time the two Koreas will form a unified team in the Olympics, though they have combined at other international sports events before

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Ronaldinho retires: his most memorable moments – video

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 15:09:35 GMT2018-01-17T15:09:35Z

Ronaldinho has retired from playing football, it was announced on Tuesday. The Brazilian's glittering career saw him crowned both a World Cup and Champions League winner. He was also awarded the coveted Ballon d'Or trophy in 2005. Here are some of the most memorable moments from his career

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'Little girls don't stay little forever': abuse victims confront Larry Nassar – video

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 14:03:24 GMT2018-01-17T14:03:24Z

Dozens of abuse victims testify at the sentencing hearing of sports doctor Larry Nassar in Michigan on Tuesday. Nassar, who was the USA Gymnastics team doctor at four Olympic Games, was sentenced to 60 years in prison on child pornography charges last month. Now he faces an additional punishment after pleading guilty to further charges of criminal sexual conduct

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José Mourinho 'relaxed' on Alexis Sánchez's potential transfer – video

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 12:03:04 GMT2018-01-16T12:03:04Z

Following Manchester United's 3-0 win over Stoke in the Premier League, José Mourinho said he feels 'relaxed' over the potential transfer of Alexis Sánchez from Arsenal. Sánchez has been linked to both Manchester clubs, with United seemingly pushing ahead of City in the race to sign the player in recent days

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NFL: top five plays from the Divisional Round – video highlights

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 13:35:18 GMT2018-01-15T13:35:18Z

Case Keenum’s game-winning touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs for the Minnesota Vikings tops our list of plays from this weekend’s NFL Divisional Round play-offs. Minnesota now travel to Philadelphia for the NFC Championship Game after the Eagles’ win over Atlanta. In the AFC, New England beat Tennessee and Jacksonville upset Pittsburgh

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Former West Brom and England striker Cyrille Regis dies aged 59 – video obituary

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 10:47:50 GMT2018-01-15T10:47:50Z

The former West Bromwich Albion and England striker Cyrille Regis has died aged 59, it was announced on Monday. Regis was a pioneer for black footballers in England in the late 1970s at West Brom where he played between 1977 and 1984. He also won five caps for England and lifted the FA Cup with Coventry City in 1987

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Liverpool's Jürgen Klopp: thank God I have a really good football team – video

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 20:23:42 GMT2018-01-14T20:23:42Z

Jürgen Klopp is delighted after watching his Liverpool side beat Manchester City 4-3 at Anfield in the Premier League on Sunday. It marks the first league defeat of the season for Pep Guardiola’s team but the City manager is philosophical in defeat saying his players must move on and focus on the next game

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Australian Open: Caroline Wozniacki needs all her grit to reach fourth round

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 15:16:52 GMT2018-01-19T15:16:52Z

• Dane beats No30 seed Kiki Bertens in two sets
• ‘I’m just still happy to be alive in the tournament,’ Wozniacki says

Caroline Wozniacki has always had the smile to charm disbelievers but it is her grit that is driving her through the draw in this Australian Open. In a splintered field, it might be decisive in getting her to the final weekend. On a sweltering day five, the Dane who loves boxing disarmed the 30th seed, Kiki Bertens, in two sets to reach the fourth round against Magdalena Rybarikova.

Wozniacki, seeded second, won 6-4, 6-3 but it was not as easy as the score suggests. “I’m just still happy to be alive in the tournament,” Wozniacki said. “It’s nice to be back in the fourth round.” Wozniacki also chipped on the heat issue that has gripped the tournament. “I think it can be dangerous,” she said. “I was in my air-conditioned room, watching [Gaël] Monfils against [Novak] Djokovic. I thought it was a shame that the roof wasn’t on because I think that could have been a really high-quality match.”

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'You are pure evil': Larry Nassar says it’s too hard to listen to victim statements

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 18:37:12 GMT2018-01-18T18:37:12Z

  • Victim statements continue on third day of sentencing hearing
  • Nassar rebuked after saying it was too hard to listen to victims
  • Recess called after onlooker reportedly vomited in courtroom

Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor accused of sexually abusing more than 140 girls and women, was rebuked for a half hour during his sentencing hearing on Thursday after telling a judge that it was too difficult for him to listen to the victim impact statements.

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The changing public perception of Nick Kyrgios: still no angel but nor a lost cause | Linda Pearce

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 21:00:33 GMT2018-01-19T21:00:33Z

The Australian’s improved attitude during his opening three wins at Melbourne Park suggests he may yet become a favourite of the nation

It is far too early to hail the arrival of the new and improved Nick Kyrgios in school-prefect guise, but not premature to suggest that image-rehabilitation signs are positive. One of the favourite whipping boys of Australian sport is still nobody’s Pat Rafter, but there is a sense, perhaps, that nor is the 22-year-old a lost cause.

Related: Nick Kyrgios overcomes Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to reach Australian Open last 16

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Australian Open 2018: Nick Kyrgios beats Tsonga to reach last 16 – as it happened

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 11:40:56 GMT2018-01-19T11:40:56Z

Nick Kyrgios will play Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round after an impressive 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6 win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Here’s Simpon Cambers’ report from Melbourne:

Related: Nick Kyrgios overcomes Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to reach Australian Open last 16

That was a great win for Nick Kyrgios. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who serves so well, played impressively and is an experienced player. Kyrgios toughed it out, showing rare composure to win all three tie-breaks. Next he faces Grigor Dimitrov. That’s bound to be a cracking match and it’s hard to pick a winner. That’s all from me today, though. Thanks for reading. Bye.

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Australian Open 2018: Wawrinka out but Federer and Halep advance – day four as it happened

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 12:51:12 GMT2018-01-18T12:51:12Z

Stan Wawrinka was hindered by his troublesome knee in a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 defeat by the American Tennys Sandgren, but Roger Federer, Simona Halep and Juan Martin del Potro won, as did the home favourite Ashleigh Barty

So that wraps up the second round. Thanks for your company and do come back tomorrow, when Jacob Steinberg will be in the hot seat on what is expected to be another sweltering day in Melbourne. The match of the day could be Nick Kyrgios v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, while Rafael Nadal, Grigor Dimitrov, Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Ostapenko play too, along with the British No2, Kyle Edmund. Bye!

Related: Australian Open: Wawrinka dumped out by Sandgren as Federer cruises

Federer – probably relieved that there’s no sign of Will Ferrell – is interviewed by Jim Courier on court:

I knew he was going to go for his shots so it was a question of focusing on my own serve and then trying to get a break. There’s maybe 60 guys asking [to play in the night session because of the heat] and I’m one of them. For sure it helped. Having the run I had last year was incredible. 3-1 down in the fifth set in the final [against Nadal], the way I was able to stay calm, it was maybe one of my favourite moments on a tennis court. Gasquet’s got one of the best backhands in the game. It’s a good one, a good match-up for me [Federer leads the head-to-head 16-2].

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Nick Kyrgios overcomes Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to reach Australian Open last 16

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 12:01:18 GMT2018-01-19T12:01:18Z

  • Fired-up Kyrgios wins 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5)
  • ‘It was amazing,’ says Australian after gruelling win

Focused and fired up, Nick Kyrgios came through his stiffest test yet at the Australian Open on Friday, beating the former runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) to reach the fourth round. Both men bashed 28 aces in Rod Laver Arena but the No 17 seed, the lone Australian remaining in the men’s draw, played his best when he needed to and he will now face Grigor Dimitrov for a quarter-final spot.

Tsonga had a set point in the third set and led 5-2 in the fourth-set tiebreak but Kyrgios held firm. There has not been an Australian men’s champion here since Mark Edmondson in 1976, and though there are many obstacles in his path the 22-year-old is in the mix.

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England’s second ODI victory over Australia ‘wasn’t pretty’, says Joe Root

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 22:14:00 GMT2018-01-19T22:14:00Z

• Second ODI: Australia 270-9; England 274-6 (Eng win by four wkts)
• Joe Root unbeaten on 46 as tourists go 2-0 up in five-match series

England came into this series wanting to win in different ways. So after a dominant performance in the first one-day international, a nippier chase on an uncharacteristic Brisbane pitch is one to add to the portfolio. A four-wicket win with 34 balls remaining gave them a 2-0 lead in the series. This was only their second win in eight ODIs at this venue.

Australia opted to bat first and drop their only spinner. So when England used three of their own, bowling their second-highest number of deliveries by spinners in an ODI in this country, the hosts knew something was not quite right. The pitch was more Chandigarh than Gabbatoir.

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Aly Raisman: USA Gymnastics told me to be quiet about Larry Nassar abuse

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 15:29:36 GMT2018-01-17T15:29:36Z

  • Former USA Gymnastics doctor faces athletes he abused in court
  • Survivors of abuse include Olympic champion Simone Biles

Olympic champion Aly Raisman has said USA Gymnastics “told [her] to be quiet” when she first told the organisation she had been abused by team doctor Larry Nassar.

Raisman’s accusation came as Nassar’s sentence hearing, which is expected to last until Friday, continued. Nassar has admitted abusing athletes, one as young as six, during his time as a doctor with USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. Prosecutors are seeking a 40- to 125-year prison sentence for the 54-year-old.

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Djokovic raises Australian Open health fears after beating Monfils in 39C heat

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 17:47:27 GMT2018-01-18T17:47:27Z

  • Serbian beats unseeded Frenchman 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3
  • ‘I was right at the limit,’ admits six-times champion

Novak Djokovic confessed he was “right at the limit” of his physical and mental endurance beating Gaël Monfils in health-threatening heat on day four of the Australian Open and then made a heartfelt plea for the sport’s administrators to show more compassion for players.

“Our sport has become an industry,” he said after playing his part in entertaining the crowd in 39C heat on Rod Laver Arena for two hours and 45 minutes to put the Frenchman away in four sets (and six days after calling for more money from the slams, it might be recalled).

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Sam Simmonds: ‘England? I didn’t imagine it even a couple of years ago’

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 14:04:00 GMT2018-01-19T14:04:00Z

Rapid rise of the Exeter’s No8 from being on loan to Cornish Pirates to playing for England has surprised everybody, including himself

By his own admission Sam Simmonds does not much enjoy big cities. In his home town of Teignmouth the nearest thing to rush-hour chaos is a bit of traffic on the bridge across the estuary to picturesque Shaldon. The last time he ventured into central London with his Exeter team-mate Henry Slade things did not go well: “We took the tube but we didn’t have a clue where we were going. We got off a couple of times and jumped back on what we thought was the right train, only to discover it wasn’t. I guess I like the simpleness of Devon.”

Even on a chilly January midweek afternoon this is a man far more at ease on his windswept local beach than he will ever be in Europe’s bustling capitals. His Exeter team-mate Jack Yeandle still remembers driving a scrawny ginger-haired academy kid up to Sandy Park for training and failing to extract a single word from him. “Stone-cold silence, bless him,” recalls the Chiefs captain. “Nerves I think it was. There was a lot less timber on his frame as well. Eddie Jones wants him to put muscle on top of muscle now but there was only skin and bones then.”

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Jaylen Brown: 'Sport is a mechanism of control in America'

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 12:00:18 GMT2018-01-09T12:00:18Z

As the Boston Celtics star prepares to play in London, he talks to Donald McRae about race, the NBA and the death of his best friend

Jaylen Brown is one the most intelligent and interesting young athletes I’ve met in years and it seems fitting that, midway through our interview in Boston, he should retell a parable that brings together Martin Luther King and the great American writer David Foster Wallace.

“We’ve got two young fish swimming one way and an older fish swimming the other way,” the 21-year-old star of the Boston Celtics says as he considers the enduring backdrop of race in the United States. “They cross paths and the older fish says: ‘What’s up guys, how’s the water?’ The two younger fish turn around and look back at the wiser fish and ask: ‘What’s water?’ They’ve never recognised that this is what they actually live in. So it takes somebody special like Martin Luther King to see past what you’ve been embedded in your whole life.”

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Team Sky will not suspend Chris Froome during investigation

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 12:26:00 GMT2018-01-19T12:26:00Z

• UCI president David Lappartient called for Froome to be suspended
• Froome set to contest Giro d’Italia and Tour de France this year

Team Sky have assured Chris Froome they will not suspend him from competition despite the advice of the head of cycling’s world governing body.

David Lappartient, the president of the International Cycling Union, told a French newspaper the team should suspend the four-times Tour de France winner while an investigation continues into how he failed a drugs test at the Vuelta a España last September.

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Women’s draw opens up for Maria Sharapova after Johanna Konta exit

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 10:50:51 GMT2018-01-18T10:50:51Z

• Returning Sharapova beats 14th seed Anastasija Sevastova
• Konta’s grand slam struggles continue against Bernarda Pera

Day by day, the rankings on the women’s tour are being shredded to the point of irrelevance – and when Johanna Konta joined Sloane Stephens, Venus Williams, Petra Kvitova and Garbiñe Muguruza among a slew of seeded players to lose here over the first four days, one “outsider” stood taller than them all: Maria Sharapova.

The Russian, champion here a decade ago and back in Melbourne two years after failing a drugs test but still feted to the point of idolatry, is playing way above her WTA status of 48. So it was no great shock that she took down the 14th seed Anastasija Sevastova in a grinding two-set victory on Thursday.

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