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Charles Rogers, second overall pick in 2003 NFL draft, dies aged 38

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Charles Rogers, the wide receiver chosen second in the 2003 NFL draft after a prolific career at Michigan State University, has died aged 38.

The Detroit Free Press after a number of his former teammates on social media.

No cause of death has been reported, but several of his former coaches said .

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Charles Rogers,” the Lions said rsenal manager Unai Emery has admitted that losing the Europa League final is a blow for his team.The Gunners were routed 4-1 by Chelsea in a game where they never looked competitive.It means they will be unable to qualify for the UEFA Champions Leagin a statement Monday. “From Saginaw, to East Lansing, to Detroit, Charles’ connection to the state of Michigan and its football community was felt by many during the course of his life. We extend our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to his friends and family during this difficult time.”

Rogers set a school record with 27 career touchdowns that still stands at Michigan State despite playing only two seasons at the Lansing school, winning the Fred Biletnikoff award as the best college wide receiver in the nation during his junior season.

The 6ft 3in, 220lb star was chosen with the No 2 pick in the 2003 draft behind only Carson Palmer and almost immediately made good on his $9.1m signing bonus with the Lions, catching 22 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns in his first five professional games, but his rookie year was abruptly cut short when he broke his collarbone during a speed drill.

Rogers broke his collarbone again on the third play of the 2004 campaign, ending his second season. By the end of year three, he was out of football entirely, finishing with 36 receptions for 440 yards and three touchdowns in 15 appearances.

The Saginaw native was arrested at least six times from 2008-12 on charges ranging from assault and battery and probation violations to DUI, open container violations and marijuana possession.

In 2017, Rogers that he became addicted to Vicodin during his time with the Lions. He also said he smoked marijuana throughout his time in college and the pros.

“I am getting my life together. … A fresh start,” he said in that interview. “Do I need a little love? Yeah. Am I still trying to find Charles Rogers? Yeah. I stay optimistic and positive. I’ve been to hell and back, but I stay strong. I still have faith. I’m still a young man. It ain’t over. I’m going to be all right, you know? I’m going to be all right.”

Donham boss Harry Redknapp believes Paul Pogba could yet stay with Manchester United.Pogba continues to be linked with Real Madrid and Juventus.But Redknapp told Sky Sports, “I wouldn’t think they’ll take a loss – I think he is a great footballer.”Maybn Durrett, who coached Rodgers at Saginaw High School, told the Free Press he was the best athlete he’d any seen across spo confirmed the club is under an English Football League transfer embargo due to an unpaid tax bill, reports BBC Sport.The Shrimpers will owe £668,000 to HM Revenue and Customs by 11 March, with a further month “stacked up behind”.Sol Campbell’s siderts.

“I’ll tell you, he was – and I’m including Flint, too, since I coached at Flint Northern all those years – he’s the best athlete I ever seen. I mean, honestly,” Durett told the newspaper. “We’re talking about basketball, football and track together. He could have had a scholarship in all three sports. That’s how good. … I haven’t seen nobody that fast that could do it all. He was just a blessed athlete that could do it all.”

Wayne Rooney scores stunning goal from beyond halfway line for DC United

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continues to add to his highlight reel in Major League Soccer. On Wednesday night he scored for DC United from beyond the halfway line for one of the best goals of his long career.

The goal came in the 10th minute of DC’s game against Orlando City. Rooney picked up the ball in his own half and say Orlando goalkeeper Brian Rowe well off his line. He proceeded to drive the ball over Rowe, and was promptly mobbed by his teammates. It proved to be the only goal of the game.

Roor and RB Leipzig have undergone managerial change this season. Julian Nagelsmann took charge of the German club last July and turned them into Bundesliga contenders. Around four months later Jose Mourinho arrived ati Emery rather than a seek a transfer.Ozil has been frozen out by Emery, but will wait to see whether the Arsenal boss lasts beyond the end of this season before deciding on his future.The midfielder is Arsenal’s highest-paid player on £350,000 a we Spurs and galvanised them, taking ney joined last year with the club bottom of the Eastern Conference. He then inspired them to the playoffs. This season they currently sit third in the table.

Three former Manchester United players are now in MLS’s top-five scorers this season. As well as Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Nani are also in the top fivates after skipping out on them this weekend.Against AC Milan, Ronaldo was hooked on 55 minutes for the eventual matchwinner Paulo Dybala on Sunday and is said to have left the ground before the final whistle.Gazzetta dello Sport says Ronaldo did note.

Kyrgios clashes with tennis authorities again in US Open row over shirt message

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Nick Kyrgios courted more controversy at the US Open before his second-round match against Antoine Hoang had begun.

The Australian, already in hot water this week , was told to fold his collar down because the motto written underneath it, “Just Do You”, apparently contravened the rules.

Kyrgios called the match supervisor and asked what the rule was. “I’m not going to play until you show me the rule,” he told the supervisor. “I want to know the rule. I want to see the rule. I’ve seen shirts worse.”

He also had another of his familiar tantrums in the third set after the umpire allowed a Hoang challenge having previously called game.

The 24-year-old demanded the supervisor came back onto the court to explain that rule as well.

“I’d won the game. He called game then my opponent challenged. I thought that wasn’t right,” he said. “[The collar] I think it was a misunderstanding. I think they thought it was a slogan but it wasn’t. I knew the supervisor was wrong, but I just folded my collar down.”

The 24-year-old was later told he could di Cutrone.Nuno was happy with the former AC Milan striker for their Europa League win over Pyunik.He said, “Positive performance, as already with Leicester. “Monday will be tough, Manchester United will put us to the test, I’m happy with the ethics ansplay the logo in future matchesEvening Standard says the 19-year-old, who can operate in midfield or defence, is currently on loan at German side RB Leipzig but he has struggled for action.Ampadu has made just five appearances for them this season and it has alerted other clubs to at Flushing Meadows.

He defeated French wildcard 6-4, 6-2, 6-4, and will next meet Andrey Rublev of Russia. Kyrgios already faces two ATP investigations for his conduct during and after his previous two matches and New York.

On Wednesday he called the ATP was long loan.Sky Sports News says a move back to Bramall Lane has been agreed and will be confirmed this week.The United keeper spent last season on loan with the Blades and helped them earn promotion to the Premier League. Henderson is expected to sig“pretty corrupt” for fining him $117,000 for his outburst in Cincinnati a fortnight ago, then back-tracked in accused the governing body of having “double standards” following his first-round win.

Second seed Rafael Nadal moved into the third round after Thanasi Kokkinakis withdrew ahead of their night session encounter with a shoulder injury.

Alexander Zverev came through yet another gruelling five-setter to reach the third round, coming through against American Frances Tiafoe, just two days after going the distance against Radu Albot.

Silver defends NBA employees’ right to free speech as China cancels broadcasts

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The NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, said the league is not apologizing for Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s since-deleted tweet showing support for anti-government protesters in , even after China’s state broadcaster canceled plans to show a pair of preseason games in that country later this week.

Silver, speaking on Tuesday at a news conference in Tokyo before a preseason game between the Rockets and the Toronto Raptors, went as far as to say that he and the league are “apologetic” that so many Chinese officials and fans were upset by Morey’s tweet but insisted that the executive has the right to freedom of expression. The NBA has also received criticism from US politicians. Senator Ted Cruz said the league by initially saying it was “regrettable” that Morey’s tweet had caused offence in China.

“Daryl Morey, as general manager of the Houston Rockets, enjoys that right [to free speech] as one of our employees,” Silver said. “What I also tried to suggest is that I understand there are consequences from his freedom of speech and we will have to live with those consequences.”

Those consequences are already becoming clear. The state-run China Central Television (CCTV) said it would not show the games between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets, who will play former Liverpool midfielder was a free agent after his contract with Stoke City expired last month.He has signed a one-year deal with the Royals.Chief Executive Nigel Howe said: “A player with both Championship and Premier League experience, not to mon Thursday in Shanghai and Saturday in Shenzhen. is wildly popular in China, with the Lakers drawing particularly strong support due to the presence of superstar LeBron James

“We’re strongly dissatisfied and oppose Adam Silver’s claim to support Morey’s right to freedom of expression,” CCTV said in a statement. “We believe that any remarks that challenge national sovereignty and social stability are not within the scope of freedom of speech.” The broadcaster is also reviewing all its cooperation with the , according to the statement.

Chinese state media on Wednesday accused the NBA of endorsing violence with the Daily accusing Silver of “brazenly endorsing Morey’s secessionist-supporting tweet” and giving “a shot to the arms of the rioters of Hong Kong”.

The state-owned Global Times accused Silver of caving in to political pressure, saying the NBA was treating the Chinese market with disregard.

Silver will arrive in Shanghai on Wednesday and said he hoped to meet officials and some of the league’s business partners in an effort to find common ground. “I’m sympathetic to our interests [in China] and our partners that are upset,” Silver said. “I don’t think it’s inconsistent on one hand to be sympathetic to them and at the same time to signing another English player – 25-year-old winger Turgott,.The ex-West Ham youth scored 18 goals in 46 appearances for National League side Maidstone last season.Ostersunds have embarked on a policy of bringing young English talent to the far nostand by our principles.”

Silver said the NBA did not expect CCTV to cancel plans to show the Lakers-Nets games. “But if those are the consequences of us adhering to our values, I still feel it’s very, very important to adhere to those values,” Silver said.

The rift between China and the NBA started late last week when Morey tweeted a now-deleted image that read: “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,” in reference to months of pro-democracy demonstrations in the Chinese territory that has been mired in violence between protesters and law enforcement.

Efforts were quickly made to defuse the impact. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said Morey does not speak for the Rockets, and Morey returned to Twitter on Monday in an effort to clarify his original post. NBA streaming partner Tencent which has a $1.5bn contract with the league over the next five seasons said it would not show Rockets games and a sports website in China said it was no longer covering the team.

Further complicating the matter is the fact that China’s best-known basketball player is Hall of Famer Yao Ming, who spent his NBA career with the Rockets. Yao is now the president of the Chinese Basketball Association, which has said aj is ready to leave Napoli in January.”There had been discussions in the summer with Roma, then we stopped when the season began, but we still like them as a destination,” agent Mario Giuffredi told Radio Marte.“I think it is Napoli’s interests toit is suspending its relationship with the Rockets in response to Morey’s tweet. The CBA also canceled plans to have the G League affiliates from Houston and Dallas play preseason games in China later this month. “I’m hoping that together Yao Ming and I can find an accommodation,” Silver said. “But he is extremely hot at the moment, and I understand it.”

The NBA’s reaction to Chinese displeasure is jarring to some, given the fact that the league for encouraging its players to express their views on social issues they believe are important, such as police shootings of African Americans.

Daniel Dubois: ‘Boxing is my calling and so I have no fear of getting hurt’

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There is a statue of a dead boxer outside the Peacock Gym in Canning Town. In this gritty little corner of east London the gold inscription on black marble reads: “In loving memory of Bradley Stone – A brave young man who died in the pursuit of his dreams.” Stone was 23 , and a British title fight against Richie Wenton, in April 1994. He was a super-bantamweight who trained at this very gym.

Twenty-five years later the new Peacock prodigy is a young heavyweight who cuts a much more formidable figure. walks past this reminder of boxing’s dangers every day. Born three and a half years after Stone died, and dreaming of becoming a world heavyweight champion, Dubois is entitled to ignore these haunting echoes of the past.

“A lot of things can do damage,” he says, quietly. “I look at it differently. is my calling and so I have no fear of getting hurt.”

After knocking out eight of the men he has beaten in , is he ever concerned about causing lasting ange after a knee injury to Calum Chambers.The defender suffered the injury in Sunday’s loss to Chelsea at the Emirates.A prognosis has yet to be given but there are fears Chambers could face a lengthy spell on the sidelines.“We will discuss in thedamage to an opponent? “I never worry about that. I never take that into consideration. When I’m in a ring, I’m there to hurt you. That’s the objective in a fight. Your wellbeing is not my concern.”

Does he feel excited when he hurts his opponent? “Yeah,” he says with a soft exclamation which makes it unsurprising to learn is his favourite fighter. “Definitely. That embodies boxing. He took it to an extreme level but in this game people get hurt and their lives are are confident they can beat Tottenham Hotspur.The two Premier League clubs will clash in the Champions League final on June 1.After beating Spurs twice already this season, Matip believes the Reds can do it again.”It was a great season and we can fion the line. Tyson was my boxing hero. I took a shine to his ferociousness. I’m trying to use that to inspire me.”

Dubois is a much calmer presence than the Tyson I remember from past . But he harbours a similar relish for his dark and often chaotic calling. “I feel like, as boxers, we’re not like normal people. After a while doing this, you get that buzz. It can be wild and out of control. I have to try to control myself. That’s what boxing is about – control.”

Dubois is 21 but his reputation is growing. There have long been rumours he floored Anthony Joshua when they sparred a few years ago and that speculation flared again last week. Jarrell Miller, the talkative American who calls himself Big Baby, will be in New York on 1 June. In hyping a fight for which he will be the overwhelming underdog, Big Baby has done lots of yapping. and boasted about flying Dubois to New York to help him prepare for this world title fight: “I wanna say one name,” Miller stressed. “I heard the kid’s a badass – Daniel Dubois. I like the kid a lot. He’s thumped AJ a couple times in the gym.”

Unlike Miller or Tyson, Dubois is not a great talker. This could be down to his age but, I suspect, owes more to the fact he is a detached character. Dubois is less interested in Big Baby and New York than hearing that Tyson told me his hardest opponent was always himself. “Definitely. So much of boxing is to do with your mental state. Evander Holyfield talks about spirit. I definitely have that spirit and feel like I’ve got something special inside me. It’s about me bringing it out, controlling it and using it to become world champion.”

Will that spirit emerge fully only in adversity? “Probably. Sometimes you need to learn hard lessons. You have to look deep within yourself to bring out your best.”

What is the hardest facet of boxing? “Keeping control. Staying disciplined and in control is not easy.”

Even though Dubois starts smiling I sense the struggle to control himself when I ask about his infamous spar with Joshua. “I’m not going into that. We had a good spar and that launched my pro career. So I’ve got good memories from that sparring session when I was with the GB [amateur] squad. I caught him with some big shots. He was good work for me.”

Did he knock Joshua down? Dubois laughs, making faces to tell me his lips are sealed. He shrugs cheerfully when I say I’ll take his response as a yes. I’ve heard a big left wobbled Joshua and, apparently, put him down. “Yeah, it was a good shot.”

Was Joshua shocked by his power? “Every fighter I’ve fought has been shocked by my power.”

Did he feel Joshua’s power? “He’s a big man, throwing punches with bad intentions. You feel it. Every punch is hard. It was about avoiding them, being quick.”

Does he like being called a “badass” by Big Baby? “No. It’s irrelevant. I’m going to New York to get a wider glimpse of the world and boxing. Big Baby carries a lot of weight but he’s obviously done enough to earn a title shot. But, right now, the top heavyweights in the world are in England. America’s had its time at the top. It’s not like in Tyson’s day.”

Who does he think is the best of the three unbeaten heavyweights at the peak of his division – Joshua, Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder? “I’d go with the guy who’s got most of the belts. Joshua. He’s just ahead of Fury and Wilder but they’re all good. They need to fight each other. Then we’ll see who is the last man standing.”

How is Joshua after all the knockdown talk? “He’s fine. He understands it’s not personal. We don’t want to hurt each other outside but, in the ring, that’s our mentality. I also like Tyson Fury. We sparred once and he was very tricky. He’s got it all upstairs but I did OK and he did an interview straight after and called me an up-and-coming world champion.”

When will he be ready to challenge Fury and Joshua? “Probably in two years. I’m building towards those huge fights.”

Some boxing insiders believe Dubois turned pro too soon and he would have benefited from learning more at the highest level of amateur boxing. He fights for the 10th time as a professional on Friday at the Royal Albert Hall against .

“On paper he’s my most experienced opponent. He’s pretty tall, mobile, capable, but he’s not a hard puncher. I’m going out there to destroy him.”

It’s hard to know how good Dubois might be until he gets hit hard himself. He might crumble or he might prove to be as impressive as the hype suggests. Unlike his gifted sister Caroline, however, Dubois is not unbeaten. “I lost six times from when I was 11 to 18. I tried to bring out the emotion but I never cried. I thought: ‘What’s wrong with me?’ But I lost doing my best.”

Caroline won the Olympic youth lightweight title last year, aged 17. Her dazzling skills prompted the BBC’s venerable commentator Mike Costello to say: “I am tempted to .” Unbeaten in almost 40 amateur fights, Caroline also stuns her big brother with her talent and commitment.

“She’s so disciplined. Caroline puts me to shame sometimes. The way she’s so hard-working amazes me. We are close and [among a family of 11 children] seven of us still live together in Greenwich. Me, Caroline and our brother Prince are boxers. Prince is only six so this is a bit premature but he will be a world champion.”

It might be hard to believe but Dubois claims that, in his late teens, he would do press-ups on his knuckles for three hours without stopping. He shows me his deeply scarred knuckles. “I would do thousands of press-ups in three hours. I now only do 30 minutes in a row.”

How could he withstand the pain for a barely credible three hours? “I’m single-minded. When you get past it, pain is nothing.”

He takes off his shirt for the photo and shows off his imposing physique. I ask Dubois about Miller’s allegations that Joshua might have used performance-enhancing drugs – which the Briton . But Dubois’s friendly trainer Martin Bowers leans in: “We don’t talk about that.”

Surely there are concerns about doping and boxing? “We get tested a lot in this country,” Dubois says. “I was tested two weeks ago.”

There are other demons in boxing. Any man closing in on the world heavyweight title is bound to be stalked by admirers and hangers-on – few with good intentions. “I see them comimes has already gone through ankle surgery after his injury against Tottenham.Gomes seriously hurt his ankle after a Heung-Min Son tackle led him to awkwardly collide with Serge Aurier.But the club says he has gone through a procedure and is now recong over the hill,” Dubois says, wryly. “But they’re not here yet.”

Does he have a girlfriend? “I was seeing a girl recently but boxing’s so demanding I can’t afford to waste much time. You need a tailor‑made woman but it’s hard to find anyone who would understand this dedication. I need to be controlled – no messing around before a fight.”

The ring is darkened while Dubois shadowboxes. It’s raining outside, making the green ivy and red bricks around Stone’s statue glisten. The fallen fighter’s gloved hands are raised while, on the inscription, he is hailed as a “Little Gem” who is “Forever as proud as a Peacock”.

The same raw and compelling dreams of big fights and world titles roll on in this small corner of Canning Town.

NFL seeks $2m from Cowboys owner Jones after clashes over Elliott and Goodell

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The NFL is exploring options to get more than $2m in reimbursement for legal fees from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones over Commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract extension, as well as court costs for running back , said a person with knowledge of the situation.

Many owners were consulted on seeking restitution, including members of the finance committee, according to AP’s source. Some of the finance committee members are on the compensation committee that was at the center of what became a legal back-and-forth over Goodell’s deal.

The attempt at restitution is rooted in a 1997 resolution that states owners can seek repayment for legal fees if a fellow owner is responsible for getting them involved in legal action.

The Cowboys declined to comment on the owners’ actions.

Jones’ attempt to derail Goodell’s extension, which came after Elliott was suspended over domestic violence allegations, led to a volley of threatening letters from lawyers for both sides. After eventually relenting, Jones said after the owners meetings in December that he got what he wanted with an agreement to consider changes to the power of the commissioner’s role taptain Vincent Kompany said goodbye to the club’s fans in style.City players and fans were celebrating their domestic treble success with a parade in Manchester.It allowed Kompany, who is leaving to join Anderlecht as player-manager, a chance to bid hrough the league’s constitution. Jones denied that his attempt to scuttle the contract was tied to Elliott’s suspension, but made repeated references to Goodell’s power to punish players.

With Jones and Goodell in the same room for a news conference after the December meetings, the commissioner said he didn’t take Jones’ objections to the extension ach Antonio Conte.Named new Inter coach last week, Conte is eager to see his newly inheritetest with Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final on Wednesday.The Reds beat Spurs twice in the Premier League this season, with a 2-1 scoreline in both games.And Klopp is expecting another cagey affair at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid.”Id squad strengthened.RSI Sport says Inter have approached Arsenal for Xhaka and talks have already kicked off over a fee for the midfielder.The Switzerland intpersonally. Goodell also denied assuring Jones that Elliott wouldn’t be suspended before announcing the punishment in August.Jones and the Cowboys were supportive of Elliott’s lawsuit, which was led by the players’ union and resulted in federal court hearings in three states over a span of two months. The suit eventually failed and Elliott served the suspension.

Life as a Muslim-American Olympic champion: ‘Travel has become a worry’

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When she slowed to a stop in the Olympic stadium on that warm night in Rio, Dalilah Muhammad knew life would never quite be the same.

The New Yorker had just , catapulting herself into a limelight she never anticipated, offering her a platform she never expected. In the six months since, she has kept her counsel on the issues dividing her country, but now she feels it’s time to make her voice heard.

“It’s insane what’s going on and what America is becoming,” Muhammad told the Guardian in New York this weekend, where she opened her season with a 500m race at the . “It’s frightening and a little scary.”

, where she grew up in what she describes as a liberal Muslim household, and where her father, Askia, is an imam who leads prayers at a local mosque. When Donald Trump was inaugurated as US president last month and swiftly issued an executive order , Muhammad was watching on from her training base in Los Angeles.

Her reaction?

“It’s kind of crazy,” she says. “It’s just an unfortunate situation.”

While the background of her US Olympic team-mate and fellow Muslim, Ibtihaj Muhammad, , Dalilah Muhammad’s faith passed largely under the radar despite her winning gold, in part, she believes, because of her decision not to wear a hijab.

“A lot of people said it to me: ‘you’re not the stereotypical Muslim’, but there are a lot of people who are Muslim and we express our religion in different ways,” says Muhammad, who admits that her parents have been concerned with events in the US in recent months.

“I definitely think it’s scary for my mother, more for me and having a daughter who is now so much in the public eye,” says Muhammad. “My father is more with it, and he loves it. He wants the world to see Muslims in a different light. They’re different but we all have the same beliefs.”

On Thursday last a court ruling blocked Trump’s travel ban, though the US president has since said he is confident he would win a court battle and that he as early as this week.

Though Muhammad is a US citizen, she admits there are lingering concerns about travelling abroad to race on the track and field circuit. Later this week she will fly to the UK, where she will compete over 400m.

“My Nike reps were a little nervous about me travelling just because of my name,” she says. “It makes me a little bit worried, given I travel so much. To have the name Muhammad attached to me makes it a little scary.”

At the Millrose Games on Saturday night, other Muslim athletes echoed Muhammad’s concerns about the travel ban, such as Canada’s Mohammed Ahmed, who was born in Somalia who lives and trains in Portland, Oregon.

“Because of my place of birth and my name, I’m always going to get stopped at airports and get extra screening,” he said. “I’ve had to deal with that my whole life. I’ve spent a lot of hours at airports, missed flights. When I was younger it annoyed me a bit, because I was like: what’s wrong with me? As I’ve got to experience that more, I’ve come to realise that they’re doing it for a reason, as bigoted as it might seem.”

Sifan Hassan, a Muslim athlete from the Netherlands, admitted that she had similar concerns after relocating to Portland in recent months to train under famed coach Alberto Salazar. “I feel so bad,” said Hassan, who fled Ethiopis time with Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund.This season, Immobile has scored 26 goals and is leading the race for European Golden Boot.But his time with Liverpool boss Klopp at BVB was anything but successful and he conceded: “Our roads were crossea as a refugee at the age of 16. “It’s very painful. In the Netherlands it’s much better. What Trump is planning to do to Muslims, it’s not good. It’s just going to cause more problems.”

Hassan, who took victory in the prestigi Bergwijn.The new Tottenham signing scored on debut in victory over Manchester City on Sunday.Van Hanegem told AD: “I heard that at PSV they thought he was five kilos overweight after the winter break. I thought it was not nice to say that here andous Wanamaker mile on Saturday night in 4:19.89, the fourth fastest indoor time in history, said she has been encouraged by the response of the American people to Trump’s travel ban. “The people are so fantastic here,” she said. “But I just wish [Trump] would look at everybody like himself.”

And as for Muhammad, what words would she offer to her Real Madrid goalkeeper Santiago Canizares says no-one wanted Keylor Navas to leave.Keylor was sold by Real to PSG on transfer deadline day on Monday.Canizares told L’Equipe: “This season, the club has relied on (Thibaut) Courtois and did not allow Kepresident, if given the chance? “Oh man,” she says, before pausing for thought. “I guess I would say to him we’re all the same, no matter what our beliefs.”

For the thrilling Dallas Stars, it’s all-out offense. But is their strategy doomed?

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Prior to their New York road trip, the were the NHLside club have been monitoring the 17-year-old, per The Sun.While Hope has not played for his club’s senior side, he was on the bench for a recent EFL Cup tie.The young left-back is also a target for Middlesbrough.It remains to be seen whether Everto leaders, a team who had spent the first months of the season overpowering teams with their dominant offense. After three straight losses, adding up to five in their last seven, they are left wondering whether their offense-heavy strategy is the right formula for winning a Stanley Cup.

Head coach Lindy Ruff told the media his team’s performance in the 6-2 loss to the New York Rangers was “embarrassing”, something he’d clearly expressed during the game by benching his top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Patrick Sharp for the last 12 minutes.

Benn, the captain, didn’t exactly mince words either.

“We played stupid hockey and it’s not good enough. It’s pretty plain and simple,” he said.”

The Stars have scored 146 goals this year, 22 more than the Washington Capitals. That’s the same as the difference between the Capitals and the league’s 17th-ranked offense, the Edmonton Oilers. Dallas is on track for over 280 goals this year, which would be the most by an team since the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2012-13. Benn and Seguin are second and third in the league in points, trailing only Patrick Kane.

But the Stanley Cup playoffs are typically not kind to high-octane offenses. Not since the Pittsburgh Penguins powerhouse of 1991-92 has the No 1 offense won the Stanley Cup. That’s not to say that recent winners didn’t have offensive prowess. Reigning champion Chicago Blackhawks had both Jonathan Toews and the aforementioned Kane, but they also had the No 1 defense in the NHL, which shut down Tampa Bay Lightning in game six. In fact, the past six winners were all in the top five in goals against, with three taking the top spot.

That’s where the Stars have their work cut out. Although they’ve surged to 16th in the league in goals against, a big jump from last year’s 29th, Tuesday night’s game against the Rangers showed what awaits them if their top players go cold and their defense and goaltending can’t stop difference-makers like Rick Nash and Derek Stepan.

After a 6-5 loss to the Islanders on Sunday, Ruff was asked if he was worried if his defense was trending downwards. He sidestepped the question and blamed bad penalties that let the Islanders score two power play goals. After the Rangers game, he singled out his top scorers.

“We need those guys,” Ruff said, referring to Seguin and Benn. “They’re our best players. Most nights they’re the ones who can push you through, and they’re going through a tough spell.”

Last year, Dallas was the only team with a top 10 offense to miss the playoffs. To fix their defensive woes, they brought in Antti Niemi to be their starting goaltender. Although he’s been an improvement over last year’s starter and current back-up Kari Lehtonen, the game against the Rangers dropped Niemi’s save percentage to a pedestrian .913, good for only 25th among all goaltenders.

Still, Ruff didn’t want to put the blame solely on Niemi, who didn’t get much help from his defensemen Tuesday night.

“I thought he made some great saves to let us hang around. We knocked one in, we deflected one in,” he said referring to some of the bizarre goals the team let in. “I think if you look at the breakaway saves and the tough saves he made, he gave us a chance when the game was still 2-1, 3-1.”

The Stars have been a breath of fresh air in a season where NHL administrators have lamented the decrease in scoring, and publicly floated proposals to increase the size of the nets or decrease the size of goaltender equipment. The league average continues to creep towards five goals per game, meanwhile the average Stars’ game has six goals per game. You’re far more likely to see them score six goals, which they’ve done four rs.The locker room were shocked last week over claims the board hired an online PR company to disparage both current and former players critical of the current regime.Mundo Deportivo says Bartomeu met with the squad’s four leaders, Lionel Messi, Sergtimes, than being shut out, which only happened once against St Louis Blues.

But in the playoffs, where series often come down to low-scoring overtime games, opponents will be looking to shut down Dallas’ skilled players. Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers’ goalie who stopped 21 out of 23 shots against the Stars, explained it best.

“I think against a team like Dallas, the best scoring team in the league, you have to be smart with the puck. Your awareness has to be really high especially in your own end,” he said. “I think we played with poise and awareness. They have some really high-skilled players and if you let them play it’s going to be a tough game.”

Following a 3-2 win against the Boston Bruins, the Washington Capitals passed the Stars for the best regular season record in the NHL. Under head coach Barry Trotz, the team has remodeled itself into an excellent defensive team.

A few seasons ago, under Bruce Boudreau, the Capitals were the poster child for trying to win the Cup by playing great offensive hockey. In 2010, they won the President’s Trophy for the best regular season record by scoring an incredible 318 goals, only to be upset in the first round by the Montreal Canadiens and their stellar goaltending. The Capitals let in 233 goals that year. This year, they have conceded the fewest goals, 85, at the midway point of the season.

But the Stars’ style of play has still propelled them to first place in the Central division by eight points, which is a more than welcome change for a team that has only made the playoffs once in seven years. Attendance at the American Airlines Center is up by almost 1,000 and despite the recent struggles, this is still their best start since the Stanley Cup-winning season of 1998-1999.

A Sunday.Sigurdsson, who was one of a number of players to join up with the Everton squad this week, struck the bar and the post after coming on as a half-time substitute at the Stade Saint-Marc in Le Chable.”I think we played alright, a lot of the bofter three road games in four nights, Ruff is hoping the team can regain momentum back in Dallas with a few division games. But he’s worried there’s not enough time to “regroup”, as he put it.

“When you get out of this, you usually need a few days to let your team rest and come out of it, but we don’t have that luxury,” he said.

Could the Panthers be the most likeable NFL team in 30 years?

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With six games left in the season, the are on pace to make history. Yes, there’s the opportunity to go 16-0, which would be an impressive feat indeed. But the Panthers are threatening to do something far more notable, something that was thought to be impossible in Roger Goodell’s NFL. They could be … hold onto your butts … an NFL team that is legitimately fun.

If you are not entertained by Cam Newton’s outstanding play this year, or if you don’t like that his performance on the field has allowed him to dance in the end zone and , then you can save yourself some time and click away from this column straight away. Maybe there’s an article somewhere out there championing Andy Dalton for looking out for America’s children and the “integrity” of the game as . A column like that, or your angry aunt’s Facebook feed, might be more your style.

For the rest of the sports world, Cam Newton is entertaining. He’s fun. Believe it or not, entertainment and fun is kind of what draws most fans to sports in the first place. No little kid falls in love with football over concussions, TV timeouts, uniform violations, charity initiatives that , daily fantasy controversies, Greg Hardy, tone deaf commissioners, incomprehensible rules on what constitutes a catch, torn ligaments, missed extra points, touchbacks, backup quarterbacks or endless video replay. Yet all that is increasingly what defines the NFL. If not for players and personalities like Cam Newton, who actually dare to openly enjoy the game, the modern NFL would easily supplant church as Sunday’s most yawn-inducing institution.

Some players dance after touchdowns, some players hand the ball directly to the ref. Neither one is wrong. Variety is the spice of life and all that, right? At least Cam Newton didn’t focus group test his post-TD celebration first like Russell Wilson likely would have for maximum branding. Yet there still remain people upset that Cam Newton “dabs.” He just played a game on Sunday against a team called the REDSKINS and Newton, the smiling guy on the undefeated team, is the big problem? It’s a remarkable world we live in.

The 2015 Panthers are so much more than Cam Newton, though. Even if you’re part of the vocal anti-dabbing community, or if you remain unable to get past him taking , there’s plenty to like about Carolina.

Love old-time, hard-hitting defense? The Panthers are fifth in the in points allowed. Prefer explosive offense? Despite losing star receiver Kelvin Benjamin for the season to injury in August, Carolina is somehow third in the league in scoring at 29.9 points per game (and that’s sure to go way up with another game against the Saints remaining on the schedule).

Are you a fan of fat guy touchdowns? . Enjoy the films of Sandy Bullock? The Panthers . Appreciate funny Twitter accounts or just anything that craps all over Dan Snyder? . Want to watch a shutdown cornerback who isn’t completely overexposed? Check out Josh Norman. Like players who are active in the community? Carolina gives you , and . (. Yes, it appears that post-TD dabbing doesn’t necessarily make a man rotten to his core.) Are you entertained by fun names? Carolina has a guy named Star and another called Fozzy. Entertained by fun names and have the sense of humor of an 11 year-old boy? Carolina’s practice squad features Cox and a Ball. And are you just a little bit worried that the Panthers have too much fun, considering ? Do not fear. They have Derek Anderson as Newton’s backup, so he’ll make sure they .

Barring Roger Goodell implementing emergency rules that ban non-league approved enjoyment, the Panthers could go down as fun a team as the 1999 “Greatest Show On Turf” St Louis Rams. That team featured a supermarket stock boy turned NFL superstar in Kurt Warner, do-everything back Marshall Faulk and a head coach in Dick Vermeil who seemed to react to most every touchdown by sobbing uncontrollably. That was a fun NFL team to root for and watch.

Before the ‘99 Rams, the 1985 Chicago Bears were the NFL’s fun benchmark. They featured Walter Payton, Refrigerator Perry, Jim McMahon, Mike Ditka and The Super Bowl Shuffle, a song released tFiorentina now expect Borja Valero to stay with Inter Milan.The midfielder has been linked with Fiorentina.“There is zero chance for Borja to be back in the Viola jersey,” Fiorentina director Daniele Pradè told FCInter1908.it.“He is staying with the Nerazzurri, a marvellous squad. “He is not going anywhere, not to Spain and not to Fiorentina. He is 100 per cent staying with Inter.”hree months before the team actually won a title. Just imagine Cam Newton dropping a rap anthem right now about winning the Super Bowl. The heat generated from the takes would boil Earth’s oceans. But in 1985, the general reaction to the Bears video was: “Ha. That’s fun.” Maybe Ronald Reagan’s America really was a utopia after all.

We need the Panthers. They are the NFL’s best shot at beating the Patriots and our greatest hop34-year-old will call time on his City career at the end of the season following 10 trophy-laden years at the Etihad Stadium.”I moved to Eibar a very short time before the beginning of the 2004-05 season and it was the only one available,” he told the for making the NFL fun again. If that’s not enough for you, consider that they’re playing the Cowboys this week on Thanksgiving. Cam Newton can humiliate Greg Hardy and Jerrynsigne has apologised to fans for their defeat to Roma.Roma won 2-1 on the day.“We apologise to the fans, as we know that we can do better, but sometimes there are incidents like the ones on Wednesday that influence us,” Insigne told Radio Kiss Kis Jones in front of the entire nation. If that’s not worth dancing over, then nothing is.

Andy Murray warms up for US Open by reaching Cincinnati semi-finals

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After a week playing in the dark, with thunder and lightning for occasional companions, burst into the warm midwest sunlight on Friday afternoon and heads for New York this week with renewed vigour and a smile on his face.

The glow of victory was still hard won, Richard Gasquet delaying by a set Murray’s progress into the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Masters, but the Scot looks good for a shot at his third title here.

Less than 16 hours after that finished closer to midnight than he would have liked, 10 days before the US Open – – Murray overcame early jitters to win 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in just over two hours.

If Murray reaches Sunday’s final, he will squeeze out Roger Federer from the second seeding and that will considerably boost his chances of adding to his 2012 breakthrough major at his favourite tournament outside Wimbledon. He won that with a bad back, against a rampaging Novak Djokovic; after surgery and a long recovery period, Murray is as fit now as he has ever been. His odds, surely, have shortened since then. It could be his time again.

“I think I did well to come through that one,” said Murray after the game. “I wasn’t feeling great last night. I had a much shorter warm-up today [after his late finish against Dimitrov]. I only hit fs of the Carabao Cup after beating Burton Albion.Despite making nine-changes to the side that beat Southampton 9-0 on Friday, the Foxes were dominant against the League One outfit.Kelechi Iheanacho opened the scoring after seven minutes, with Youri Tor like 50 minutes.

“It’s important in terms of seeding for the US Open. That would be nice, to have that locked up, knowing I’ll be on a separate side of draw to Novak and possibly Roger. It could still turn out I don’t have to play either of them, as I may notthis summer.The Mirror says Bournemouth are eying another raid on the Championship for Leeds midfielder Phillips.The Cherries have already signed defender Lloyd Kelly from Bristol City for £13m and are keen to add Phillipfailing to qualify for the Champions League this season.Tuttosport says Juve are eager to bring Paul Pogba back to Turin this summer and are concerned by reports the Frenchman is prepared to now stay and sign a new deal at Old Trafford.However, whiles, 23, to their rostrum of r make the semi-finals. I don’t take anything for granted. But if you do get there it’s slightly easier if you don’t have to come up against one of those two.”

Djokovic, , will still start as favourite at Flushing Meadows but he has to manage the sore elbow that inhibited him in Montreal and again in the third round here – which did not prevent him for defeat in the French Open final.

Djokovic has an unexpected opponent in the semi-finals, Alexandr Dolgopolov, whose quirky game was too much for the sixth seed, Tomas Berdych, the Ukrainian qualifier winning 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and a quarter.

• This article was amended on 25 August 2015 because Alexandr Dolgopolov is Ukrainian, rather than Russian as an earlier version said.

US Open 2015: order of play for Saturday 5 September

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Play begins on all courts at 11am ET/4pm BST

Arthur Ashe Stadium

(5) Petra Kvitova (Cze) v (32) Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (Svk), (29) Philipp Kohlschreiber (Ger) v (2) Roger Federer (Swi), (20) Victoria Azarenka (Blr) v (11) Angelique Kerber (Ger), Shelby Rogers (USA) v (2) Simona Halep (Rom), (30) Thomaz Bellucci (Bra) v (3) Andy Murray (Gbr)

Louis Armstrong Stadium

(18) Andrea Petkovic (Ger) v Johanna Konta (Gbr), (13) John Isner (USA) v Jiri Vesethout each other.Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes have been excellent playing up front together this season.”A lot has been made of me playing two centre forwards, but I think centre forwards are the best players, in that it’s the hardest job, so if therly (Cze), Varvara Lepchenko (USA) v Mona Barthel (Ger), (5) Stanislas Wawrinka (Swi) v Ruben Bemelmans (Bel)

Grandstand

(24) Bernard Tomic (Aus) v (12) Richard Gasquet (Fra), (16) Sara Errani (Ita) v (22) Samantha Stosur (Aus), (20) Viktor Troicki (Ser) v Donald Young (USA), Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (Cze) v (24) Sabine Lisicki (Ger)

Cour new goal-kick rules.A significant change is coming to the Premier League this season, with defenders allowed to come into their own penalty box during a goal-kick.Opposition players must remain outside the box, but can stand right on the edge to attt 5

Eric Butorac (USA) & Scott Lipsky (USA) v Gilles Muller (Lux) & Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (Pak), (1) Martina Hingis (Swi) & Sania Mirza (Ind) v Timea Bacsinszky (Swi) & Chia-Jung Chuang (Tpe), Jeremy Chardy (Fra) & Lukasz Kubot (Pol) v (9) Daniel Nestor (Can) & Edouard Roger-Vasselin (Fra), Sachia Vickery (USA) & Francis Tiafoe (USA) v Su-Wei Hsieh (Tpe) & Henri Kontinen (Fin), Eugenie Bouchard (Can) & Nick Kyrgios (Aus) v (4) Martina Hingis (Swi) & Leander Paes (Ind)

Court 6

Aliaksandr Bury (Blr) & Denis Istomin (Uzb) v Dominic Inglot (Gbr) & Robert Lindstedt (Swe), (3) Timea Babos (Hun) & Kristina Mladenovic (Fra) v Dominika Cibulkova (Svk) & Magdalena Rybarikova (Svk), Frantisek Cermak (Cze) & Jiri Vesely (Cze) v (3) Jean-Julien Rojer (Ned) & Horia Tecau (Rom)

Court 7

(7) Marcel Granollers (Spa) & Marc Lopez (Spa) v Lucas Pouille (Fra) & Sergiy Stakhovsky (Ukr), (6) Rohan Bopanna (Ind) & Florin Mergea (Rom) v Mariusz Fyrstenberg (Pol) & Santiago Gonzalez (Mex), Lisa Raymond (USA) & Jamie Murray (Gbr) v (6) Yaroslava Shvurgen Klopp admits he’s a big fan of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy.The Reds go to Leicester on Boxing Day having won the Club World Cup.”We will try [to stop him],” Klopp said of Vardy.”He is one of the top three strikers in England since I haveedova (Kaz) & Juan Sebastian Cabal (Col), Alla Kudryavtseva (Rus) & Alexander Peya (Aut) v (2) Yung-Jan Chan (Tpe) & Rohan Bopanna (Ind)

Court 11

(4) Marcin Matkowski (Pol) & Nenad Zimonjic (Ser) v Marco Cecchinato (Ita) & Andreas Seppi (Ita), Samuel Groth (Aus) & Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) v Colin Fleming (Gbr) & Treat Huey (Phi), Eugenie Bouchard (Can) & Elena Vesnina (Rus) v (6) Raquel Kops-Jones (USA) & Abigail Spears (USA), (11) Sara Errani (Ita) & Flavia Pennetta (Ita) v Asia Muhammed (USA) & Maria Sanchez (USA)

Court 13

(17) Karin Knapp (Ita) & Roberta Vinci (Ita) v Margarita Gasparyan (Rus) & Alexandra Panova (Rus), Adrian Mannarino (Fra) & Fabrice Martin (Fra) v (15) Raven Klaasen (Rsa) & Rajeev Ram (USA), Leonardo Mayer (Arg) & Joao Sousa (Por) v Federico Del Bonis (Arg) & Diego Sebastian Schwartzman (Arg)

Court 17

(6) Tomas Berdych (Cze) v (31) Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Spa), (26) Flavia Pennetta (Ita) v Petra Cetkovska (Cze), Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) & Sam Querrey (USA) v Daria Gavrilova (Aus) & John Peers (Aus), (15) Kevin Anderson (Rsa) v (20) Dominic Thiem (Aut)

Tim Howard makes USA return for Brazil and Peru friendlies

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Tim Howard has returned to the roster for the first time since tak no plans of losing Martin Odegaard.The Real Madrid midfielder is on a two season loan with La Real, though there’s talk of Madrid cutting short the arrangement due to hil James as their first summer signing.The Manchester Evening News says United will complete their first summer signing in the middle of June.The Red Devils are expected to splash the cash this summer as United hope to finish in the top four next seass outstanding form.For the moment, there’s been no contact between the two clubsing a break from international football following last year’s World Cup.

Jurgen Klinsmann named the Everton goalkeeper in an experienced squad for the upcoming friendly matches against Peru and Brazil. Howard is considered USA’s second-choice keeper behind Brad Guzan but was .

Howard is not the only player making a return: Matt Besler and Jermaine Jones are in line to make their first appearances since February. USA play Peru on 4 September in Washington DC and Brazil in Foxborough four days later. Two key players – Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey – will miss the Peru match before returning to face Brazil.

“The bigger picture is to get some answers for how we put things together for the Mexico game a month from now,” said Klinsmann. “Obviously we want to continue to have a good flow of guys from the Gold Cup, but also to bring back guys who are in position to compete for a spot on the roster for 10 October. Our message to these guys is simple: prove a point that you want to be at the Rose Bowl.”

USA squad to face Peru and Brazil

Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)

Ventura Alvarado (Club America), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Greg Garza (Atlas), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham)

Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Joe Corona (Veracruz), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), ne Mings.The two were involved in an incident at the end of the first half, when Mings had words with El Ghazi about not tracking back.But Grealish says the issue was resolved in the dressing room between the two players, and it will not linger any fAlfredo Morales (FC Ingolstadt), Danny Williams (Reading), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)

Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin), Andrew Wooten (SV Sandhausen), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

Wisconsin top Arizona to return to Final Four

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Frank Kaminsky and the Wisconsin Badgers hung on to make the Final Four again.

‘Frank the Tank’ scored 29 points, Sam Dekker added his second straight career high of 27 and the West Regional’s top seed beat No2 Arizona 85-78 on Saturday to reach consecutive Final Fours for the first time in school history.

The Badgers (35-3) denied the Wildcats (34-4) a Final Four berth for the second straight year, having beaten them by one point in overtime in Anaheim a year ago when their seeds were reversed.

Wisconsin and 67-year-old coach Bo Ryan head to Indianapolis next week hoping for another shot at undefeated and top-seeded Kentucky, who beat the Badgers by one point in the national semifinals last year.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Brandon Ashley scored 17 points each for the Wildcats, who once again failed to deliver a firstg Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso.The Manchester Evening News says City are monitoring Lo Celso’s situation this summer with the midfielder primed for a move away from Real Betis.City boss Pep Guardiola will assess the 23-year-old’s performanc-time Final Four appearance for coach Sean Miller. TJ McConnell added 14 points in his last college game and Kaleb Tarczewski and Gabe York had 11 each.

Just like a year ago, Kaminsky came up big for the Badgers. He sidestepped and slithered, pivoted and deked in eremier League Golden Boot.The England international took his tally to 11 in Wednesday’s win over Aston, leaving him second behind only Jamie Vardy on the scorers list.”He has the potential to go even higher,” the skipper said. “We know we are still iluding the Wildcats’ lockdown defense. Arizona tossed their biggest bodies on the seven-footer and he still found ways to score inside and out.

The Badgers hit 10 of 12 three-point attempts in the second half, outscoring the Wildcats 30-3 from long rangs Perez’s departure for Roma was a “mutual decision”.Perez’s move is due to be confirmed in the coming hours.Setien said, “It was a mutual decision and really what I’ve discussed with the lad has been very clear.”The reality is that I don’t usually te.

Arizona pressured full court in the last four minutes, making for some perilous possessions by the Badgers as they darted and passed trying to safely get the ball down court. A long inbounds pass by Wisconsin was nearly intercepted before Josh Gasser grabbed it, was fouled and made both free throws to keep the Badgers ahead by 10 points.

The Wildcats twice got within five points in the last 2½ minutes, but both times Dekker dashed their hopes with arcing three-pointers.

Kaminsky led the Badgers’ offensive outburst to start the second half. He scored eight of their 14 points, working their inside-outside game to perfection in finding Dekker for a three-pointer to put Wisconsin ahead 44-36.

Hollis-Jefferson and Tarczewski picked up their third fouls and freshman Stanley Johnson left the game to have his contact lens adjusted, all in quick succession. It didn’t faze the Wildcats, who went on a 10-3 run to close to 47-46.

Dekker hit Wisconsin’s fifth three-pointer of the second half, launching a 10-2 spurt that gave the Badgers a 57-48 lead. Nigel Hayes added a three and Kaminsky scored on a reverse layup before getting called for his third foul.

Arizona led 33-30 at halftime after missing seven of eight field goals to start the game.

The Badgers jumped to a 10-2 lead to start the game, with Ashley going to the bench after two quick fouls. He soon returned, scoring six straight points that tied the game and gave the Wildcats a stronger presence in defending Kaminsky, who had 13 points in the half.

Tarczewski and Kaminsky were a tangle of arms and legs in the post, and their mouths were running too. Tarczewski dunked on Kaminsky, who scored on the next play and had something to say about it.

‘Scapegoat’ Lance Armstrong a victim of USADA ‘witch hunt’, says Pat McQuaid

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Banned cyclist was the victim of “a witch hunt” and made a scapegoat by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, says former International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid.

A cancer survivor and once a hero to millions, Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories and banned for life from racing in 2012 by USADA after it accused him in a report of engineering one of the most sophisticated doping schemes in sports.

“He was very much made a scapegoat, there was a witch hunt after Armstrong,” McQuaid told BBC Radio 5 live, before adding that he had “ard cannot be considered for the No7 shirt.The No7 has been worn by some of the greats over the years including George Best, Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo.And Saha believes Lingard can’t just demand the shirt because certain sympathy” with the American.

Irishman McQuaid, UCI president from 2006 to 2013 before being replaced by Brian Cookson, made his comments a day after Armstrong had told the BBC he would not have needed to resort to doping in the sport’s current era.

Following his return from cancer in the late 1990s, Armstrong was regularly subjected to claims of doping, which he stoutly refuted until the release of USADA’s “reasoned decision”.

The 200-page document – supported by a further 1,000 pages of evidence – finally led to Armstrong’s confession in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January 2013.

“That’s the way it was,” said McQuaid. “USADA wanted a big name. They weren’t really interested in the smaller riders and also they made deals with the smaller riders in order to get the information they needed on the big guys.

“I can have a certain sympathy because I don’t think in sport, people in those situations, I think they should be treated equally.”

On Monday, Armstrong said he regretted the “unacceptable and inexcusable” behaviour with which he subjected other riders and figures within the sport during numerous attempts to rubbish their allegations of doping.

“I would want to change the man that did those treportedly rejected to the chance to speak with Real Madrid about Gareth Bale.Real bosder Dominik Szoboszlai has revealed the interest of Serie A clubs.The youngster admits a move to Italy tempts him.He said, “I like it Italy. I spent my summer holidays there. But I don’t know now which direction my career will go when I change clubs s Zinedine Zidane does not want the Wales international at the Bernabeu next season.United have long been linked with four-time Champions League winner.However, ESPhings, maybe not the decision, but the way he acted,” he continued. “The way he treated people, the way he couldn’t stop fighting. It was unacceptable, inexcusable.”

Armstrong’s seven Tour victories between 1999 and 2005 have been rescinded but not assigned to anyone else because of the prevalence of doping at the time.

Caroline Wozniacki sets up semi-final with Serena Williams at WTA Finals

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reached the last four at Singapore’s WTA finals and tied down the year-end world No1 ranking without hitting a ball on Friday.

Simona Halep, who inflicted Williams’ heaviest defeat for 16 years on Wednesday, tended the wound by stealing a set in defeat to Ana Ivanovic. That was enough to usher Williams through to the BNP Paribas event’s semi-finals, where she will meet .

Maria Sharapova botched three match points before regrouping to beat Angieszka Radwanska in three sets – but still failed to rlighted to wear the captain’s armband in his first appearance against senior opposition.The Gunners beaten 4-3 on penalties in the Leasing.com Trophy by Northampton Town on Tuesday night.Speaking after the game, Clarke said: “At under-18 level you neeach the last four come the end of Friday’s final n help Joelinton settle.Bruce was happy to have both on the pitch for their 1-1 draw with Brighton.He said, “On ‘Big Joe’, the burden of being a Newcastle United centre-forward is always going to be there and I think for any player who comes to the Pgroup-stage action.

Sharapova, the No2 seed, slipped out after dropping a set against Radwanska, in spite of her 7-5, 6-7, 6-2 victory. Radwanska sneaked through to meet Halep in the semi-finals, courtesy of Wozniacki’s victory over Petra Kvitova.

“She owes me a handbag,” Wozniacki said after helping Radwanska progress thanks to her 6-2, 6-3 win over Kvitova, before refocusing on facing Williams. “I believe in myself and believe in my skills. I’ve been playing well, so I believed I could beat anyone here.

“I obviously also knew that if I wasn’t playing up to my best, I could lose to all of them. But I’m really pleased about tays the Armenian is the Gunners’ fourth best-paid player but has flattered to deceive at the Emirates since his 2018 swap deal with Alexis Sanchez, who moved to Manchester United in Mkhitaryan’s place.The 30-year-old, who earns £180,000-a-week, is che way this week has gone so far.”

Halep, the only player to have qualified for the last four on Thursday, capped Friday’s play by taking the set off Ivanovic to secure Williams’ safe passage.

Ivanovic won out 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, but Halep securing the second set pushed Williams home.