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Warriors’ Stephen Curry scores 23 in long-awaited return from broken hand

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scored 23 points for Golden State in his anticipated return after missing more than four months with a broken left hand, but the Toronto Raptors beat the Warriors 121-113 Thursday night to clinch a playoff spot.

After being sidelined 58 games, Curry led Golden State out of the tunnel to a big ovation – as loud as his neon sneakers, one pink and one yellow. He missed his first two shots but had three quick assists, including a no-look, behind-the-back dish to Andrew Wiggins. He finished with seven assists in 26 minutes.

The two-time MVP hit a 17-footer for his first basket early in the second quarter, then got a huge reaction for a 3-pointer from well beyond the arc shortly before halftime. He was 3 of 11 from 3-point range for the game.

“It feels like the first day of school pretty much all over again,” the 31-year-old Curry said earlier in the day after shootaround. “It’s kind of just getting back to enjoying playing basketball at the highest level. There’s a process to that.”

Norman Powell scored a career-high 37 points for Toronto, which clinched a playoff berth with the win in a rematch of last year’s finals. The Raptors won that series in six games, finishing with a victory in Golden State’s final game at its old arena in Oakland.

Kyle Lowry added 26 points and 10 assists, and Serge Ibaka had 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Raptors, who won at Phoenix on Tuesday night to end a three-game losing streak.

“Knowing that Steph was coming back, we knew it was going to be a great night, a great atmosphere,” Lowry said. “One of the best players in the league was coming back from injury, we wuitting for Bordeaux.The 33-year-old signed for Bordeaux on Tuesday having previously refused to travel on Arsenal’s pre-season tour to the USA. On social media, Koscielny explained, “I have spent wonderful years with this club, nine years during whiere a little more focused and concentrated on him, but coming in here, it’s a great regular season game.”

Damion Lee scored 23 points and Marquese Chriss had 17 points and 12 rebound for the Warriors, who have lost 10 straight at home.

Golden State trailed 62-55 at halftime but took an 85-83 lead in the third on Eric Paschall’s three-pointer – with Curry on the bench, no less.

After Toronto regained the lead, Paschall tied it at 95 on a free throw with 9:39 left in the fourth quarter, but the Raptors countered with five straight points. A three-pointer by Lowry and a powerful dunk from OG Anunoby helped Toronto stretch the lead moments later.

Curry checked back in with 3:51 left and hit a falling layup with two minutes remaining that pulled the Warriors within 113-108. Wiggins added a three-pointer to make it 113-111, but Pascal Siakam made two baskets in 15 seconds to keep Toronto’s lead safe.

Lee stole the ball from Powell with 25.8 seconds left and was fouled by Powell. But he missed both free throws and then two three-point tries after consecutive offensive rebounds.

Curry practiced Monday with the G League Santa Cruz Warriors, then was recalled later in the day in a most anticipated promotion. His return to action came without most of his familiar supporting cast — Draymond Green missed his fourth straight game with a left knee injury, and Klay Thompson remains out with a torn left ACL.

Box-and-one D?

Curry and Lowry chatted recently, and Lowry kidded about pulling a box-and-one defense against Curry again.

“I’m expecting anything,” Curry said. “I talked to Kyle the other day and he joked about it, he might throw it back out there. Obviously last time we played them it was a terrible feeling losing in the finals, but obviously the situation’s different this year, but there’s excitement about what tonight’s going to be, me getting back out there and guys coming off a huge win in Denver, trying to build momentum.”

Tip-ins

Toronted boss Ole Gunnar is eager to get a deal for Leicester City defender Harry Maguire settled.Solskjaer spoke of the England international after their friendly shootout win over AC Milan in Cardiff.”Hopefully, the last little details will be in place to had lost 13 of its last 14 on the Warriors’ home court. … The Raptors are 8-3 on the road v the Western Conference. … The Raptors are the only opponent that swept the season series from the Warriors last season.

Golden State hasn’t won at home since beating Orlando 109-95 on 18 JanuaNew Bordeaux sports chief Hugo Varela has expressed interest in Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud.Off contract in June, Giroud has emerged as a confirmed target for Olympique Lyon and Olympique Marseille.And now Varela has revealed Bordeaux are also keery. They 7-25 at home overall and 2-9 against the Eastern Conference.

Up next

Visit the Kings on Sunday night.

Host the 76ers on Saturday night having lost 115-104 at Philadelphia on 28 January.

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.

NFL round-up: Patriots shock Steelers at the death while Eagles keep winning

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Tom Brady fed Rob Gronkowski repeatedly to set up Dion Lewis’ go-ahead eight-yard touchdown with 56 seconds remaining and Ben Roethlisberger was intercepted in the end zone with five seconds left.

The Patriots (11-3) gained the inside track for home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs by ending Pittsburgh’s eight-game winning streak. Brady threw for 298 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Gronkowski, fresh off a one-game suspension, finished with nine receptions for 168 yards, including four on the winning drive.

It briefly looked like it wouldn’t be enough.

The Steelers (11-3), who played most of the game without injured star wide receiver Antonio Brown, appeared to take the lead when Roethlisberger connected with tight end Jesse James for a 10-yard touchdown with 28 seconds to left. The play was overturned on review, with official Tony Corrente saying the ball did not “survive” the completion of the catch.

Roethlisberger hit Darrius Heyward-Bey for a short gain, whp but stayed in bounds. With the clock running and no timeouts, rather than spike it to set up a short kick that would have sent the game to overtime, Roethlisberger tried to win it.

Instead, he lost it. His pass to Eli Rogers was batted into the air, and New England safety Duron Harmon came down with it. One kneel down later, the Patriots had their fifth straight victory over the Steelers.

Brown, the NFL’s leading receiver, went to a hospital having his left calf injury examined.

Jaguars 45, Texans 7

The Jacksonville Jaguars are returning to the playoffs for the first time in a decade thanks to a 45-7 drubbing of rival Houston on Sunday.

Once the NFL’s poster child for futility and a punchline for potential relocation, the Jaguars (10-4) are now one of the league’s top turnaround stories.

Blake Bortles threw three touchdowns passes, including two to a reserve receiver who slept in his car earlier this season. The Jaguars won for the seventh time in eight games to clinch a postseason berth for the first time since 2007.

Bortles finished with a season-high 326 yards and the best QB rating (143.8) of his career, including 186 yards and a touchdown to rookie Keelan Cole. Primary punt returner Jaydon Mickens, who stepped in for injured starter Marqise Lee in the first quarter, caught four passes for 61 yards and two scores against the Texans (4-10).

The Jaguars were an NFL-worst 22-74 over the previous six years, more a laughingstock than a postseason contender.

Rams 42, Seahawks 7

Todd Gurley rushed for 152 yards and scored four total touchdowns in just 2½ quarters, and the Rams moved to the cusp of their first division title since 2003.

The matchup to determine first place in the NFC West was completely one-sided. Los Angeles (10-4) was dominant, embarrassing Seattle into the worst loss during Pete Carroll’s eight seasons in charge.

Taking advantage of field position, the Rams scored on six of seven first-half drives, including a 21-point blitz in the second quarter capped by a 57-yard TD run by Gurley on third-and-20 with less than a minute remaining in the first half to take a 34-0 lead at the break.

Gurley had 144 yards rushing in the first half, twice scoring from the 1. He added a 14-yard TD reception midway through the third quarter for a 40-0 Rams lead and spent the rest of his day watching. The 152 yards rushing were the second best of his career.

The Rams don’t have the division wrapped up, but have a two-game lead with two weeks to play. A win against either Tennessee or San Francisco is enough for their first division title in 14 years.

49ers 25, Titans 23

Jimmy Garoppolo led one final scoring drive in the closing seconds to cap a fantastic first home start and Robbie Gould kicked a winning 45-yard field goal as time expired.

Garoppolo threw for a career-high 381 yards and a touchdown to give the 49ers (4-10) a three-game winning streak in a lost season. nham defender Jan Vertonghen.The 32 year-old former Ajax stopper’s contract with Spurs expires in June.Ten Hag told Ziggo Sport: “Jan is a player with a past at Ajax. He knows the philosophy of the club. Of course we are following his situation empAnd Tom Brady’s former backup showed he could do it at home as well as on the road — and against a playoff contender, no less — outdueling Marcus Mariota down the stretch as the teams traded field goals.

Gould kicked three of his six field goalrested in signing Youri Tielemans.The Red Devils could lose star midfielder Paul Pogba, after the World Cup winner declared his desire to start a “new challenge”.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would need to replace the 26-year-old, should his wish come true.Tis over the final nine minutes: 50, 48 and 45 yards, and has now gone 20 consecutive without a miss.

Gould put the Niners out front on a 48-yarder with 3:08 remaining. Mariota then drove the Titans (8-6) to a lead as Ryan Succop kicked a 50-yard field goal with 1:07 to play, then Garoppolo and the San Francisco offense got one last shot.

Vikings 34, Bengals 7

Eric Kendricks had an interception return for a touchdown, Case Keenum passed for 236 yards and two scores, and the Vikings clinched the NFC North over the depleted and disinterested Bengals.

Running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon combined for 37 touches and 242 yards from scrimmage for the Vikings (11-3), who were given quite the reprieve on the schedule a week after their eight-game winning streak ended at Carolina in the last of three consecutive road trips. They were never challenged the Bengals (5-9), missing more than half of the starting defense to injuries, and met with a morning report by ESPN that head coach Marvin Lewis will not return next season .

The game went so smoothly that Teddy Bridgewater even made his grand entrance, his first live action in 16 months since a massive knee injury. Bridgewater’s first pass was intercepted, a high throw that bounced off McKinnon’s hands and into the arms of strong safety Shawn Williams deep in Vikings territory. That set up a short touchdown run by Giovani Bernard to keep the Bengals from being shut out for a second time this year.

Keenum completed 20 of 23 passes, including seven easy tosses to McKinnon for 114 yards in the first 100-yard receiving game for a Vikings running back since Onterrio Smith on Sept. 26, 2004, against Chicago.

Lewis who lost to a former assistant (Mike Zimmer) for the first time in eight matchups. Zimmer was the defensive coordinator for the Bengals from 2008-13.

Eagles 34, Giants 29

Nick Foles threw four touchdown passes in his first start replacing the injured Carson Wentz, and the Eagles secured a first-round playoff bye.

Foles hit 24 of 38 passes for 237 yards and no interceptions. The NFC East champion Eagles (12-2) made a late stand on first-and-goal in the final minute in edging the Giants (2-12) for the second time this season, spoiling a three-touchdown, season-high 434-yard passing game by Eli Manning.

Foles hit Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, Trey Burton and Nelson Agholor on scoring passes ranging from 3 to 13 yards in filling in for Wentz, who tore an ACL last week and was lost for the season after a brilliant year.

The Eagles also got two field goals from Jake Elliott and three blocked kicks from their special teams, foiling an extra point, a punt and field goal. The block on the punt set up a touchdown.

Manning finished 37 of 57 and hit Tavarres King on two touchdowns and Sterling Shepard on one. It was Manning’s ninth career 400-yard game and his first since last season.

Panthers 31, Packers 24

Cam Newton threw for 242 yards and four touchdowns, and the Panthers spoiled Aaron Rodgers’ return from a broken collarbone.

Damiere Byrd had two touchdown catches, and Christian McCaffrey had 136 yards from scrimmage, including a 7-yard touchdown reception as the Panthers (10-4) won their fourth straight home game.

Greg Olsen had his most productive game since returning from a broken foot, catching nine passes for 116 yards and a TD, and the Panthers kept pace with the first-place New Orleans Saints in the NFC South.

Rodgers, making his first appearance since 15 October, threw for 290 yards with three touchdowns, but was intercepted three times as the Packers’ playoff hopes took a critical blow.

Green Bay (7-7) had a chance to send the game into overtime for a third straight week. But cornerback James Bradberry stripped wide receiver Geronimo Allison of the ball with 1:48 remaining. Mike Adams recovered to finish off the Packers.

Saints 31, Jets 19

Mark Ingram ran for two touchdowns and gained 151 yards from scrimmage, including a late 50-yard TD run, and the Saints overcame three turnovers.

Michael Thomas became the second player with at least 90 receptions in his first two seasons. He caught nine passes for 93 yards, including a pivotal fourth-quarter touchdown on a short slant for New Orleans (10-4), which retained its tenuous hold on first place in the NFC South heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.

Alvin Kamara turned a short catch into a 10-yard TD in his return from a concussion that knocked him out of the Saints’ loss at Atlanta a week earlier.

Bryce Petty made his first start at quarterback this season for the Jets (5-9), who were eliminated from playoff contention. Petty completed 19 of 39 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted twice — once on a tipped pass and once on a long, inconsequential throw as the game ended.

His 2-yard touchdown pass to rookie Elijah McGuire cut New Orleans’ lead to 24-19 with 1:51 left. But the Jets’ onside kick failed and Ingram broke loose for his long score while the Saints were trying to run down the clock.

Drew Brees completed 26 of 36 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns, but also was intercepted deep in his own territory to set up a Jets field goal at the end of the first half.

Ravens 27, Browns 10

Joe Flacco threw a touchdown pass, ran for a score and beat Cleveland again as the Ravens stayed on track for the AFC playoffs.

With victories at home over Indianapolis and Cincinnati in its last two games, the Ravens will return to the postseason after a two-year absence.

The Browns are two losses from becoming the NFL’s second 0-16 team.

Flacco scored on a 2-yard run and threw a 33-yard TD pass to Benjamin Watson as the Ravens (8-6) took control with two touchdowns in the final 3:01 of the first half.

Defensive tackle Brandon Williams recovered a fumble and rolled in for a TD in third quarter to put the Ravens up 24-10.

The Browns (0-14) went 0-8 at home – 0-7 in Cleveland, 0-1 in London – for the second time and must win at either Chicago or Pittsburgh to avoid joining the 2008 Detroit Lions in the notorious 0-16 club. Last season, the Browns avoided infamy by winning their final home game and finishing 1-15.

Cleveland is 1-29 in two seasons under coach Hue Jackson, who is expected to be back despite his .033 winning percentage.

Bills 24, Dolphins 16

LeSean McCoy scored twice and surpassed 10,000 career yards rushing, while helping the Bills stay in the thick of the AFC playoff hunt.

Tyrod Taylor also scored on a 9-yard touchdown run and Shareece Wright and Jordan Poyer intercepted Miami’s Jay Cutler on consecutive drives to start the second half. Buffalo never trailed. Rookie Tre’Davious White sealed the win by intercepting Cutler with 28 seconds remaining — and one play after Miami punter Matt Haack recovered an onside kick at Miami’s 37.

The Bills have won three of four and improved to 8-6 to match the team’s best record through 14 games during Buffalo’s 17-year playoff drought — the longest active streak in North America’s four major professional sports. The Bills were 8-6 in both 2004 and 2014, but missed the playoffs with 9-7 finishes.

Buffalo also finished 6-2 at home to match its best finish at Orchard Park since 1999.

Buffalo must now hit the road to continue its playoff pursuit, closing the season at New England, then at Miami on Dec. 31.

The loss all but mathematically eliminated the Dolphins (6-8) from playoff contention.

Washington 20, Cardinals 15

Anthony Lanier sacked Blaine Gabbert and forced a fumble that Preston Smith recovered and Washington held on to beat the Cardinals in a comedy of errors for each team.

Smith also intercepted Gabbert and Lanier batted down three passes and had two sacks as they gave Washington (6-8) a glimpse of their potential as significant pieces of the defense for years to come.

Gabbert was 16 of 41 for 189 yards with the interception and a fumble he recovered himself in the fourth quarter. Arizona (6-8), which got all its points on field goals by Phil Dawson, went 0 for 6 in the red zone and 4 for 19 on third down as it was eliminated from playoff contention.

Washington’s Kirk Cousins was 18 of 26 for 196 yards with touchdown passes to Jamison Crowder and new running back Kapri Bi winger Yannick Bolasie has made a Christmas plea to Portuguese football authorities after being sent off for Sporting CP last week.Bolasie was sent off in victory over Portimonense, with the resulting suspension to rule him out of the clash with Porbbs. Washington were booed at times in the second half by fans in the announced crowd of 71,026.

Steph Curry’s record three-point streak ends as Lakers stun Warriors

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While the shouted and shoved each other with elation, Luke Walton managed to look unsurprised by the incredible upset unfolding before them.

The Los Angeles Lakers were battering the mighty . Walton’s championship-tested former team just cLeicester City defender Filip Benkovic could be on the move next month.The Telegraph says Derby County have launched a bid to sign Benkovic in January.The Rams are set to table a loan offer for the out of favour centre-half for the rest of the season.The Croatian is yet to feature in the Premier League this term.Benkovic has been with Leicester since 2018 and spent last season on-loan with Celtic.ouldn’t catch up to his young, hungry new squad.

Although it’s far too early in the season to truly celebrate anything, Walton thinks the Lakers’ future is fascinating.

Lou Williams scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, and the Lakers snapped Stephen Curry’s NBA-record streak of 157 games with a three-pointer during their 117-97 victory Friday night.

Julius Randle had 20 points and 14 rebounds, and D’Angelo Russell added 17 points for the rebuilding Lakers. They built a 21-point lead in the third quarter and hung on to shock the Warriors at Staples Center for the third consecutive season.

“It obviously feels better because they’re the best,” Walton said. “They’re as good as it gets … But it was just good to see the progress continuing.”

After his first meeting with his former team and his coaching mentor, Steve Kerr, Walton claimed the win meant nothing special to him – but he could understand why the Lakers and their fans might feel differently.

Los Angeles has made a habit of surprising the Warriors recently, but as Williams put it: “This one was valid.”

“We’ve got a lot of young talent here,” Williams added. “Finally it’s starting to look like we have some pieces in the right places.”

Kevin Durant scored 27 points and Draymond Green had 16, but the Warriors never led and couldn’t entirely close the huge gap in the second half while falling to 4-2. Golden State didn’t lose its second game under Walton last year until Dec. 30.

One night after Durant scored 39 points to beat his former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates, the Warriors scored a season-low 15 points in the first quarter and never fully recovered.

“You don’t like the feeling at all,” Curry said. “But you’ve got to wrap your head around where you are in the season, and the good we’ve shown early innal legend Nigel Winterburn has revealed how close he came to joining Chelsea. Right-back Winterburn is one of the club’s most storied players, having made over 400 appearances in the red and white, winning three league titles and two FA Cups.But he the year, but also focus on the things we need to work on. Regardless of a game like last night or tonight, we still have some things we need to work on.”

Curry scored 13 points while going 0 for 10 from 3-point range, ending several incredible long-distance streaks. He had hit a three-pointer in every regular-season game since 11 November 2014.

Including the postseason, Curry had at least one three in 196 straight games, and he hanal.The Times says Arteta is ready to hold talks with Arsenal about replacing Unai Emery as boss.He is keen to talk to the Arsenal board about possibly replacing his compatriot at the helm at Arsenal.The report adds that Gunners chiefs are also interd also hit in 116 straight regular-season road games – both records.

“That was a cool little ride,” Curry said. “Would have loved to finish my career making one every game, but hey, start a new one. What was it, like two years? Kind of weird not to make one, but I will keep shooting.”

Eight months ago at Staples Center, the pre-Durant Warriors also lost 112-95 to the worst Lakers team in franchise history, one of Golden State’s mere nine losses last season. Another bad Lakers team also beat Golden State at home on 23 December 2014.

“It’s our annual beatdown at Staples by the Lakers,” Kerr said. “They do this every year. Let’s just give them credit. They came in sky-high with a ton of energy, played really well, and we were flat, right from the beginning.”

Woeful Ryan Fitzpatrick throws six interceptions in Jets loss to Chiefs

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Ryan Fitzpatrick is not known for his accuracy and he excelled himself against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, throwing six interceptions as the New York Jets lost 24-3 to the .

Fitzpatrick was coming off a good game against the Buffalo Bills, in which he threw for two touchdowns and 374 yards. But against the Chiefs completed telli could’ve been a worldbeater.Eto’o was still with Inter as Balotelli, now with Brescia, was breaking through as a teenager.He told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Mario loves me like a little brother, but he never showed even 10% of his qualities.”The Majust 20 of his 44 attempts and was picked off six times. He does, at least, find himself in good company: Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Joe Namath (three times) .

Elsewhere, Russell Wilson threw for 243 yards and a tore leading the race to sign Lemar.Lemar, 24, has been a long-term target of the Gunners after a bid while he was at Monaco in 2017.He joined Atletico a year later in a £60m deal but has failed to live up to expectations since moving to the Spanish cuchdown before suffering a left knee injury as the rolled to a 37-18 rout of the .

Wilson was injured with about 10 minutes to go in the third quarter getting pulled down awkwardly on a sack by San Francisco’s Eli Harold. Harold was called for a horse collar penalty, but the bigger concern was how he fell on Wilson’s left leg.

Wilson stayed down on the field for a few moments before walking off. Wilson missed the first play of his career due to injury, but returned to throw one more pass. The completion led to the third of Steven Hauschka’s three field goals for a 27-3 lead and after that Wilson’s day was done.

Wilson had a brace placed on his left knee, and he never saw the field again, giving the fio land Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish this summer.The Mirror says United are preparing to pay up to £70million to land Grealish this summer.The attacking ace has been in superb form for Villa this term after inspiring them to promotion last seasonal 1 ½ quarters of the blowout to rookie Trevone Boykin.

Wilson finished 15 of 23 passing, including an 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jimmy Graham. Boykin also threw the first TD pass of his career, hitting Doug Baldwin on a 16-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Baldwin had eight catches for a career-high 164 yards.

It was a big day for Seattle’s offense that slogged through the first two weeks, in the first 120 minutes of the season. The Seahawks nearly matched that total in the first 11 minutes of the game thanks to the first two touchdowns of Christine Michael’s career.

Getting the start with Thomas Rawls out because of a shin injury, Michael had TD runs of 41 and 4 yards on Seattle’s first two drives. Michael rushed for 106 yards on 20 carries, the second 100-yard game of his career.

Carlos Hyde two TD runs in the fourth quarter for San Francisco, but the 49ers had just five first downs entering the fourth quarter and missed on their first 10 third-down attempts. of 12 straight games with a touchdown pass ended as he was 14 of 25 for 119 yards and an interception.

In Philadelphia, Carson Wentz threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns, a fierce defense shut down Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown and the Eagles beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-3 to remain unbeaten.

The rookie No2 overall pick connected with Darren Sproles on a and tossed a to Jordan Matthews.

After beating the Browns (0-3) and Bears (0-2) in the first two games, the Eagles (3-0) proved they could compete with the big boys. The Steelers (2-1) averaged 31 points the first two weeks and are considered Super Bowl contenders.

Pittsburgh was 19-2 against rookie quarterbacks since 2004. But Wentz is no ordinary rookie.

Everyone is jumping on the Wentz wagon in Philadelphia. And he was the No3 quarterback until Sam Bradford was traded to Minnesota just eight days before the season opener.

Sproles finished with six catches for 128 yards and Kenjon Barner and rookie Wendell Smallwood each had their first career rushing TDs.

Roethlisberger had 257 yards passing, one interception and no TDs after tossing six in the first two games. Brown caught 12 passes for 140 yards, most of which after the outcome was decided.

Is surfing ready for Kelly Slater’s ‘perfect’ artificial wave project?

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The wave curls, whip-fast and flawless; it goes on, and on, and on. Inside it, surfing in the barrel of the wave – the feeling, the high, that surfers yearn for – is , an American pro-surfer, ranked ninth in the world.

Above him, a drone films his run – 10 se at Manchester United can “get hot”.The Sweden defender was reacting to the England bust-up between Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez last Monday. Manchester City attacker Sterling missed England’s 7-0 Euros qualifying win against Montenegro on Thursday conds, 20 seconds, 30 seconds. It was the longest barrel of his life. Young had never surfed a wave like this before. Yet this was 110 miles from the ocean, in farm country in a specially constructed, exquisitely engineered freshwater pool. And it was perfect. “It’s an awesome feeling,” Young told the Guardian.

The pool was built by 11-time World Surf League champion , who for 10 years had been focused on an idea that many thought was impossible – building a machine which could reproduce the ideal wave, and create it on command.

Few people thought it was possible. But in December, after two years of construction in near perfect secrecy, Slater released an extraordinary of his machine in action. The excitement the video caused in the surfing community is hard to overstate. “That thing basically broke the internet,” said Craig Brokensha, surf forecaster for surfing news site Swellnet.

In that video, the wave curls over silently, dark and mys Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has an offer to return to Stamford Bridge once he retires.Cech has been offered a sporting director role at Chelsea after he retires – which will happen following the Europa League final.”I feel sorry for some Chelsea anterious in the early morning light. The water from which it rises is glass-flat; the wave’s curling edge is smooth, sharp, almost sculptural. “It is,” Brokensha said, “almost too perfect.”

“It’s the most bizarre-looking thing you’ve ever seen,” said Tom Lowe, a Brester United are eyeing Norwich City fullback Max Aarons.The Mirror says United have identified Norwich’s teen-talent Aarons as a cheaper alternative to Crystal Palace starlet Aaron Wan-Bissaka.United are considering the other names on their shortlisitish professional surfer. “A robotic wave which goes forever.” Lowe watched the first video, when it came out in December, 20 times over.

“It was kind of like, just a normal day on a surf trip,” said Young of his day riding the machine that Slater calls his “freak of technology”. “We woke up pretty early, 6 or 6.30, had some food, some coffee, got the wave pool up and running, and we went and we surfed.

“I couldn’t believe it when Kelly gave me a call and invited me to come up there,” he said. “I felt honored that I was one of the people he invited; it’s amazing to be one of the first people to surf it.” Young was joined by WSL women’s champion Carissa Moore, Californian pro and Robert “Wingnut” Weaver, a veteran American surfer who starred in the 1994 surf movie Endless Summer II.

Young said the narrowness of the pool – 700 yards long, but only 40 or so yards wide – struck him when he saw it in person. “My first impression, when I saw the first wave come through, was disbelief,” he said. “It’s a flat pond, and then, all of a sudden, you’re watching a perfect wave.”

Slater’s machine is powered entirely with solar energy, and the wave itself is created with a specially shaped foil or plough, which is pulled along mechanically beneath the surface, shaping the wave and pushing it forward.

Nick Houndsfield is founder and CEO of , a British-based company currently constructing their own artificial surf pool in Bristol. He said that wave machines have been around for 40 years, but that it is only in the last 15 years or so that the technology has been good enough to make waves suitable for surfing.

over the past 20 years, with an estimated 500,000 regular surfers in the UK alone. “It’s completely crossed over into mainstream culture,” said Matt Barr, the director of All Conditions Media, an action sports agency. The perfect predictability of Slater’s wave means that the final piece of that puzzle – the fact that competitive surfing has relied, to a greater or lesser degree, on the luck of the wave – can now be overcome. “The problem with surfing is it’s so unpredictable,” Barr said. “If you can build this at an Olympic city, you’ve got a surfing event.”

Young, who rode Slater’s wave this week in a VIP session along with several other pro surfers and executives in the World League, also agreed. “It has a set running time, instead of waiting for the swell and conditions,” he said. “So, that’s huge. And being able to recreate the same wave over and over gives people an even playing field – because it’s sometimes a bit of luck catching waves [in the ocean].”

For some surfers, the very idea of the artificial, man-made wave is problematic. “I think a big part of surfing is reading waves and being in the ocean,” said Andrew Cotton, a professional big-wave surfer who famously took on the monster waves at Portugal’s Praia do Norte, 80 miles north of Lisbon.

“The one in California looks absolutely amazing – it’s like the dream wave. Any surfer would be excited to surf it,” said Cotton. “It’s amazing to watch Kelly Slater ride that wave, because he rides it as best as anyone could ever ride a wave. But it’s amazing watching Kelly Slater ride, full-stop. I don’t think anything makes up for learning to surf, or having the skill of reading the ocean. That’s surfing.”

NFL moves touchbacks to the 25-yard line and passes new ejections rule

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The has moved touchbacks to the 25-yard line and passed a new ejections rule – despite objections from coaches.

NFL owners voted to move the ball spot on touchbacks after kickoffs to the 25-yard line, to try to limit the number of returns after injuries on the play rose in 2015. They also ruled that players will be subject to automatic ejection if they commit two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in the same game. Specifically, a “player penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls” will be “disqualified”.

The automatic ejection proposal was suggested by NFL commissioner Roger ribute to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.The United manager signed Agnaldo for Molde, with the Brazilian currnager Edinburgh passed away on Saturday at the age of 49 – the same age Ginola was when he suffered a cardiac arrest back in 2016.In the wake of the tragic news, the Frenchman spoke fondly of his old friend and Tottenham teammate and the impact Ediently on-loan in Finland with RoPo.He told ESPN Brasil: “I could have gone back to other teams in Brazil, but I chose to stay in Europe and a lot of myGoodell just before the Super Bowl.

Both rule changes will be reviewed after the 2016 season before the NFL decides whether to make them permanent.

The owners were concerned about player safety on kickoffs t to Crystal Palace confirmed their relegation.The veteran manager praised the efforts of his troops over the course of the season and spoke passionately about the transformation since he took the reins.”You have heard this lot (Cardiff fans), they h– but the decision to move the touchback up five yards could have the opposite effect.

Some coaches suggested that the number of kickoff returns could actually increase, with kickers using “mortar kicks” that drop close to the goal line and require a return.

, two veteran special teams coordinators told the Chicago Tribune the new rule will lead more teams telling the kickers to get as much hang time as possible while landing the ball near the goal line in an effort to cover a kick and pin the offense inside the 25 or even inside the 20.

Coaches also claimed that opponents will bait players into committing penalties that qualify for the ejection rule, but owners say that won’t happen. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said: “I think it points to our emphasis on good sportsmanship.”

NFL playoff previews: talented Chiefs to upset Patriots and Manning to spur Broncos

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We all have dreams. For some people, that dream might entail winning the lottery. For Rams defensive end Chris Long, to make it on to a local news broadcast as a person buying lottery tickets. Happily for him, but even more so for us, dreams sometimes come true.

But perhaps your personal dream involves winning an online predictions game? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. I can tell you that a whopping 49 people called all four games correctly in our Pick The Playoffs contest on wild card weekend, which is way too many to list up here, but I will post the overall standings in the comments section imminently.

Until then, it’s time to make your picks for the divisional round.

Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots (Saturday 4.35pm ET/9.35pm GMT)

Cast your mind back to 29 September 2014. The Chiefs have just blasted the Patriots 41-14 in a game so lopsided that many of us struggled to make sense of it. if we were witnessing the beginning of the end of Tom Brady and New England’s era of dominance (but hey, ).

Bill Belichick and so did his team, guffawing all their way to another Super Bowl triumph. With hindsight, the lesson from that September game was not that the Patriots were slipping, but that Andy Reid has some good ideas for how to undermine them.

So you can believe Belichick when he says that these opponents present a “big challenge”. You can know that Brady is speaking from bitter experience when he praises the Chiefs’ ability to “force you into a load of bad football”. You can certainly buy that described Kansas City as the “worst possible opponent” for New England.

It’s not just that the Chiefs beat them so handily last time out. It’s not just that they are riding an 11-game winningderlecht player-manager Vincent Kompany is interested in signing veteran defender Ashley Williams.Kompany is eyeing the veteran to bolster his struggling side, according to reports.The former Manchester City captain has overseen just one win this sea streak, or that they demolished the Texans 30-0 last week. In the end, what will make the Patriots wary is simply the fact that the Chiefs are a talented, well-coached football team. One that runs the ball effectively, comes after you on defense and owns the second-best turnover ratio (+14) in the league.

The bookmakers make New England a five-point favourite, and understandably so. This team is 14-3 at home in the playoffs with Brady at quarterback. The injury situation, furthermore, looks favourable.

A wildcard bye gave the Patriots time to get healthier, and Julian Edelman is scheduled to return, although Rob Gronkowski missed practice Thursday with a knee injury. The Chiefs are still sweating on Jeremy Maclin, Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and Spencer Ware – each of whom has missed practice time since playing in the win over Houston. Such uncertainty makes me wary of picking the upset. But I’m doing it anyway.

Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals (Saturday 8.15pm ET/Sunday 1.15am GMT)

Some will call this a foregone conclusion. It is only three weeks since the Cardinals obliterated Green Bay 38-8 in Glendale, recording as many sacks of Aaron Rodgers as their opponents did points. There is a line of thought that says this gap is too wide to be bridged.

And perhaps it is. But then again, perhaps not. Did we not just watch the Vikings, beaten 38-7 by the Seahawks last month, come within one fluffed field goal of overturning the same opponents on wild card weekend? Granted, the second game was played in far more challenging weather conditions, but these were still the same teams.

The Packers have always been a resilient group under Mike McCarthy. They are one of only two teams – along with the Patriots – to have made the playoffs in each of the last seven years. Rodgers has endured a trying year amidst an offense decimated by injury, but in rallying the team from an 11 point deficit to rout Washington last weekend, he reminded us of why it is always unwise to write him off prematurely.

With all that being said, Arizona still have reasons to feel confident. No quarterback can orchestrate a victory when he’s lying flat on his back. If the Cardinals’ pass rush is even 50% as productive as it was in the last meeting, that would still be a significant upgrade on what Washington managed.

Green Bay are hopeful of having starting left tackle David Bakhtiari back in their line-up for the first time since week 15, which would be a major boost. I do think that this game is going to look drastically different to the previous meeting, and likely will be decided by one score. But I am still inclined to give the edge to the home team.

Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers (Sunday 1.05pm ET/6.05pm GMT)

It was a victory in Seattle last October that gave us the first real hint as to how good this Carolina team could be. Sure, they were already 4-0 before their trip to CenturyLink Field, but back then so were the Atlanta Falcons. It was one thing to beat up on mediocre teams, as the Panthers had to that point, quite another to overcome a 10-point fourth quarter deficit and defeat the reigning NFC champions on their own patch.

Cam Newton won over a few doubters that day, demonstrating that he had the composure to drag his team across the line in a hostile setting. It was a first big step on the way to establishing himself as the frontrunner to be named as this season’s MVP.

Voting for that award has already closed, so his performance in the postseason will not affect the outcome. But that does not mean he has nothing left to prove. Newton’s critics still argue that his postseason performances have been underwhelming thus far in his career. In three playoff games he has turned the ball over seven times, his only win arriving against an Arizona team featuring Ryan Lindley at quarterback.

It is possible that Newton might not need to play the starring role for his team to win this weekend. Carolina’s defense is formidable, and the only Seahawk who consistently found holes in it during that first meeting – Jimmy Graham – is unavailable. Even the potential return (far from guaranteed, at this stage) of Marshawn Lynch should not be overstated. The Panthers held him to a measly 54 yards on 17 carries the last time they met.

On the other hand, this is not the same Seahawks offense that we saw back then. with the best series of performances in his career, and he did it by spending more time in the pocket. He remains a brilliant freelancer – as we saw on the broken play that became a vital 35-yard gain against the Vikings, but he has more ways to hurt a defense than he did in October.

With the forecasts calling for temperatures of around 50F, the Seahawks’ new aerial assault is unlikely to be disarmed by the weather – as occurred in Minnesota. And if this were to become a higher-scoring game than anticipated, I might favour the team and the quarterback who have been here and done it before.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos (Sunday 4.40pm ET/9.40pm GMT)

Gary Kubiak did his best to nip any controversy in the bud, naming Peyton Manning over Brock Osweiler as his playoff starter more than a week ahead of time. But is a quick decision necessarily the right decision? Manning did a solid job as he returned to the field and rescued a win against the Chargers in week 17, but he has still not thrown a touchdown pass since November.

Would it not be fairer to give Brock Osweiler this chance after he steered Denver into the playoffs in the first place? Can we really blame injuries alone for Manning’s 17 interceptions in nine games to start the year? Then again, how could we overlook the fact that the Broncos went 7-2 in that stretch?

Overwhelmed by all these questions, local media seem to have given up altogether – of fourth-graders to offer a definitive verdict instead. The truth is that there might not be a right answer in this instance, since both quarterbacks’ performances have been imperfect. But with Osweiler missing practice due to a knee injury this week, Manning’s simple availability to prepare is a significant mark in his favour.

Either way, the Bro United.Di Maria was given the famous number 7 jersey when he arrived at Old Trafford from Real Madrid in 2014.But he failed to live up to expectations and was sold to PSG after just one season at the club.Di Maria told Ligue 1 on why he took the No.ncos might find themselves in a healthier position than Pittsburgh, for whom Ben Roethlisberger is hoping to start but presumably only if the team’s coaching staff can find enough duct tape to hold him together. This has been a bruising year for the Steelers signal caller, and even if he does make it through to Sunday he might have to do without top target (and, y’know, the league’s best receiver) Antonio Brown – who is working his way through the NFL’s concussion protocol.

There was optimism earlier in the week that DeAngelo Williamrs believe they will be counting Kylian Mbappe as a teammate next season.The France striker is a top summer target for Real Madrid and has also been linked with Manchester City in the French press this week.La Sexta says PSG players are convinced Mbas might at least return at running back, but that has receded in recent days. With all of these players healthy, I might have backed Pittsburgh, my preseason Super Bowl pick, to pull off another road win. But with so many key figures ailing, this feels like a bridge too far.

NWSL: Mark Parsons set for Portland job after leaving Washington Spirit

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The Washington Spirit announced on Wednesday the departure of head coach Mark Pak.The former Gunners midfielder made the return earlier this week.Edu told arsenal.com, “Yes, for me in the beginning, to start that role, it’s important to understand the club first. “Because if you don’t understand the club and you don’t understandrsons, and the Guardian understands he is in line to take over at the Portland Thorns.

The Thorns have not made the hire yet, but the front office has all but settled on Parsons withl assistant manager Pep Ljinders says Harvey Elliot is learning from the club’s seasoned midfielders.The 16-year-old was impressive on debut in the Carabao Cup third-round win over MK Dons.He is set to start against Arsenal tonight in the fourth-roun an announcement expected as early as next week, said a source, who declined to speak on the record because the announcement is pending.

“Mark has done a lot in DC, and Portland thinks he has a lot of upside,” the source said. “He’s young, tactically smart and the players respect him. There’s a much bigger spotlight in Portland, but he is very ambitious.”

A Thorns spokeswoman told the Guardian: “The club will not be providing any updates on its head coaching search at this time. The team expects to provide an update next week.”

After missing the playoffs for the first time, the Thorns opted not to renew coach Paul Riley’s contract earlier this month. Riley amassed a 16-17-11 record in two seasons at the helm in Portland and earned criticism for failing twice to land in the championship, despite the Thorns being perhaps the best-supported team in the league.

The Thorns, which are backed by the well-resourced Timbers organization, in former US women’s national team coach Pia Sundhage, but she has publicly announced her intention to stay with the Swedish national team until her contract ends in 2016. Tom Sermanni, also a former US national team coach who is now a consultant for Canada’s national team, was said to be interested in the Portland job, but the Thorns pursued Parsons.

Parsons, as season.Pep Guardiola’s side have accrued an incredible 198 points over the past two campaigns, winning two Premier League titles.But Belgium international thinks it will be a tighter competition this season.De Bruyne said: “We don’t need to beat thn Englishman who spent six years in various coaching positions with Chelsea Ladies before moving stateside, led the Spirit to back-to-back semi-finals in the past two National Women’s Soccer League seasons. He took over in 2013 when last-place Spirit fired then-coach Mike Jorden midseason.

“On behalf of the Spirit organization, we’d like to thank Mark for his tremendous efforts to build a championship team from the pros to the academy,” said Ashlee Comber, vice president of operations, in a statement. “It has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside Mark. He is an amazing human being, and we wish him and his family all the best.”

The Thorns were looking for a coach with experience in working with NWSL players and a proven track record, according to a source. The Thorns roster was plagued with injuries this year, which exacerbated gaps caused by the Women’s World Cup, something their next coach will need to address with the Olympics looming ahead next season.

“There will probably be a fair amount of player activity in this offseason,” the source said. “The Thorns are a talented team, but there are some chemistry issues.”

After the Guardian broke news that Orlando City SC , rumors and speculation began immediately that star Thorns striker Alex Morgan could make a move to Orlando, where her husband, Servando Carrasco, plays. A source said that any trades will be up to Parsons once he’s in place, but Morgan is a highly valued player in Portland and the club is not currently looking at a transfer.

The source indicated the Thorns will wait until after the NWSL championship to make the new head coach announcement. Portland will host the NWSL final on Thursday between FC Kansas City and Seattle Reign, to be broadcast at 9.30pm ET on Fox Sports 1.

Kansas City Royals roar back to level ALDS at one game each

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The whipped out the same formula that carried them to last year’s World Series to turn back the Houston Astros and tie their AL Division Series at a game apiece.

Some clutch hitting. Stingy defense. An unflappable bullpen.

Even a little help from replay.

“Just battling,” first baseman Eric Hosmer said. “That’s what this team does so well.”

The Royals rallied from a three-run deficit ase a top four finish.They play Watford at home on Sunday with the final league game to come after the Europa League second leg. That is away at Leicester.”We are going to take one after the other one,” said Giroud. “We have our destiny in our hands Friday, getting a go-ahead single from Ben Zobrist in the seventh inning, and then watched Wade Davis and the bullpen make it stand in a 5-4 victory that brought back memories of their nip-and-tuck postsee his move to Manchester United.The former Sporting CP captain made the switch yesterday.And Carvahal, who coached in the Premier League with Swansea City, declared: “He goes to a league where the level is high, but I think he has value in being a reason of a year ago.

The Royals knotted the game at 4 off Scott Kazmir and relievers Oliver Perez and Josh Fields in the sixth. Kansas City took the lead in the seventh when Alcides Escobar led off with a triple against Will Harris (0-1) and Zobrist followed with his single through the left side.

Kelvin Herrera (1-0) and Ryan Madson each tossed a scoreless inning for the Royals, and Davis came on to close it — though the real drama was only beginning.

Davis walked Preston Tucker with one out, and speedy Carlos Gomez came in as a pinch-runner. Davis snapped a throw to Hosmer at first, and he neatly snagged it on one hop as Gomez made a dive back to the bag. Gomez was initially ruled safe, but the call was overturned upon review.

“That play that Hos made on the pickoff, I don’t know if there’s a lot of first basemen that can make that play,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “It was tremendous.”

Jose Altuve then grounded out to end it, giving Davis the save.

It was a crucial victory considering what awaits Kansas City in Game 3 on Sunday: Astros aceDallas Keuchel, who was 15-0 at home this season. Edinson Volquez will start for Kansas City.

“We were in position to win that game. Their bullpen did a very good job of shutting us down,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “We’ve got some work to do to win this series. It’s going to be a good series. These are two really good teams.”

Two starters acquired with October in mind, Kazmir and Royals counterpart Johnny Cueto, pitched mostly to a stalemate Friday, which meant the outcome hinged on the bullpens. Kansas City’s relief corps was simply better, preserving the first win by a home team this postseason.

“They compete,” said Salvador Perez, who homered for the Royals. “Pretty good stuff.”

Colby Rasmus homered, doubled and drove in two runs for Houston, becoming the first player in major league history with an extra-base hit in his first six postseason games. George Springer had a pair of RBI after hitting a solo shot in the series opener.

“Just to let it slip away late is kind of a downer,” Astros reliever Tony Sipp said. “We had a lead late and let it slip away. We had the momentum going.”

The Astros jumped on Cueto right from the start, just as they did Yordano Ventura in Game 1 on Thursday night. Rasmus doubled in a run in the first inning, and Springer added a two-run knock in the second as restless Royals fans began to shower their ace with boos.

Perez got one back for Kansas City with his homer to left in the bottom half, but Rasmus matched him with his third home run in three games this postseason.

Cueto finally settled in, but it looked as if it would be too late. Kazmir allowed a run in the third, but otherwise had Kansas City off balance until the sixth inning.

Still trailing 4-2, Lorenzo Cain got the Royals’ tying rally started with a double, and Hinch called for Oliver Perez. He alndly with Napoli is set to be arranged.Napoli legend Diego Maradona was appointed coach of the Argentine club.“We’d been asking for some time if Diego could do well with us and we asked an intermediary if he was available,” Pellegrino told Radio CNlowed back-to-back singles and a walk to leave the bases loaded for Fields, who walked Salvador Perez on four pitches to tie the game.

When the Royals took the lead the following inning, their shutdown bullpen made it stick.

“I’m happy we’re going home,” Hinch said. “We’ve got home-field advantage for the rest of this series. We have to take care of business in our own yard.”

Kei Nishikori up to world No4 after downing John Isner in Citi Open final

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On Saturday, after a tight semi-final victory in Washington DC, John Isner told the crowd that he’d need them out in full force the next day to win the title. They did their part on Sunday, showing up and providing him with backing in the championship match against world No5 Kei Nishikori, but it was not enough as the top-ranked American lost in a hard-fought three-setter, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

In a match where Nishikori was only a little better than his opponent, the final outcome was never obvious until late in the match. That’s in part because it featured just three breaks of serve. The first was for Isner, but it was the latter two for Nishikori that were ultimately the difference.

“I just didn’t make enough in-roads on his first serve, which a lot of times I struggle with,” a disappointed Isner said following the match. “And from there, he’s arguably one of the best in the world from the baseline, so it’s tough.”

The 6ft 10in Isner, known as much for his booming serve as his size, was not the better striker on this warm, slightly overcast afternoon. Nishikori managed an impressive winning percentage on his first serve, 91%, to the usually steady Isner at only 76%. Perhaps the Japanese star’s success in hindering Isner’s conversion rate stemmed from having faced and defeated other notable servers during the week: Marin Cilic in the semis in a rematch of the 2014 US Open final, and before him Aussie up-and-comer Sam Groth.

“Yeah, I’ve been returning really well this week,” Nishikori said after taking his third ATP title of the season, and 10th overall of his professional career. “I tried to play a lot of rallies. It’s never easy, but I think I am playing well against these guys.”

Add to that Nishikori’s strategy of methodicallyo di Vaio is in Los Angeles today speaking with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.Off contract next month from LA Galaxy, Ibrahimovic plans to return to Europe in January and favours a move to Serie A.Former club AC Milan have been regarded as favourites for the Sw wearing down his 30-year-old challenger with his groundstrokes during the two-hour match, and it’s easy to see why the Japanese star continues to rise in the ATP rankings. On Monday, he’ll return to a career-high of No4 after the victory. Nearly $350,000 in earnings from the week-long event doesn’t hurt either.

“His backhand is world-class,” said Isner. “He knows what he’s doing with the ball. But he also works his tail off, too. You combine those things and it’s a recipe for some good tennis.”

The turning point of the match for Nishikori actually came after Isner suddenly broke him at 5-4 to take the first set. In the pause ahead of the second, Nishikori sat dejected with a towel wrapped over his head, as much to dodge the heat as hit reset. But it gave him the motivation to respond, and respond he did. In the very next service game, Nishikori broke Isner back, taking the second set by the throat and never looking back, despite a tiny bit of trouble closing it out up 5-4 on serve.

“I got a little bit tight,” Nishikori admitted after dropping the first set. “I just tried to focus again and it was great to have the first game [a break of] his serve. Then after that I was more confident and more relaxed. Everything went well after that.”

In thgan to their preseason tour squad.The Liverpool Echo says Lonergan has joined Liverpool for their pre-season tour of the US.With Alisson yet to return and Liverpool’s younger goalkeepers sidelined, Simon Mignolet is the only senior goalkeeper in the e deciding set Nishikori again struck Isner’s serve early, this time in the third game, on his way to championship point at love.

The contest featured a clash of styles, and demeanors. While Isner is your prototypical big serving athlete, he is also the much more excitable player, riding the wave provided by the moment just as much as by the audience. Isner was emphatic with fist pumps on important and timely points won, and slumped his head just the same after losing others. Meanwhile, Nishikori is calm – a stealth assassin with a racket, a consummate returner. His game is efficient and deliberate, and he rarely takes an unnecessarymant Christian Pulisic will not be allowed to leave on loan in January.The summer arrival has played just ten minutes in the last four Premier League matches. “No,” was Lampard’s reply when asked if Pulisic could be loaned out. “With Christian he’s c swing let alone an additional step on the court. It provided for an exciting matchup for the sold-out crowd of 7,500 in DC, even if the winner was not the American for whom they were mostly pulling.

Both players now head to Montreal as they continue their preparations for the US Open, which starts on 31 August. Nishikori was a finalist in New York last year and is still looking to take the final leap and become the first Asian man ever to win a grand slam singles title. “I just can’t wait to play the US Open,” he said. “I’m just excited again to play on a big stage. I like that tournament.”

Isner listed many of Nishikori’s strengths after the match, from his pacing of play to his ability to place the ball with pinpoint precision. But it was the latter that Isner said was decisive. “I thought he played a pretty good match,” said Isner. “No panic, for sure. [He] made a lot of first serves, and was running me around the court. That’s what he does best.

“He’s a great player,” he added, “and a great champion.”

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)

‘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.

Top trainer Charlie Hills aims to keep racing dynasty on track at Breeders’ Cup

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Life sure has a cruel way of balancing the books.

The highs have been plenty for trainer Charlie Hills this year. Just the Judge bagged him a top-flight trophy when she won the Grade I EP Taylor stakes at Woodbine earlier this month. He’s done great trade in the group race department back home, sending out a squadron of nice prospects for next year, including Gimcrack and Acomb victors, Muhaarar and Dutch Connection. And his piggy bank is again showing Wall Street profits – a mere victory or so short of breaking through the million-marker for the year in domestic earnings.

Hills’ low, however, was one that puts all dizzying career accomplishments into a box marked “trivial”. His older brother in June of this year from pancreatic cancer – an especially tough punishment for a racing dynasty that could teach even the Waltons a thing or two about family values.

“John dying over the summer … it was very hard for all of the family,” said Hills. “He meant a lot to all of us. And it wodar.Liverpool are the club most likely to sign Cantwell this summer, claim The Athletic.Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham are all interested in signing the 21-year-old.Cantwell has been one of the Canaries’ most impressive performers iuld be nice to have a bit of good news, really.”

Much-needed good news for the Hills family could come thick and fast this weekend. In Just the Judge and Commemorative, Hills has two solid chances of repeating his Breeders’ Cup success with Chriselliam, who won last year’s Grade I Juvenile Fillies Turf (her last race, sadly, for Chriselliam was put down earlier this year with a severe foot infection – another kidney punch for Hills).

Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Fillies and Mares Turf candidate Just the Judge would appear to hold the greater chance of Hills’ duo. And he reports that his horse, having headed straight from Canada to southern California by way of Memphis, has come out of her win bouncing.

“It’s quite a long journey from Canada, seven hours door-to-door, but she got off the plane fresher than she did at Woodbine,” he said. “She certainly takes her travelling well, which is great to see.” And having settled in well to her sunny surroundings, Just the Judge is poised on the cusp of a bold showing, Hills believes.

“She’s got a nice draw, and as long as she gets away smartly and gets in a good position the first half of the race, I would say that she has a huge chance, really.” he said. “In my mind, I think she’s been improving between each race this year, And I think she’s even better than she was in the first half of last year when she had those two massive runs [a second in the 1000 Guineas followed by a win in the Irish version] quite close together.”

Their greatest obstacle to success appears to be Sir Michael Stoute’s Dank – last year’s Fillies and Mare’s Turf heroine. “She could be a massive danger, but I don’t think any filly has ever won this race two years on the trot. It’s such a hard thing to do. She’s been off the track for a long time, but she does look very well.”

Then there’s the home team’s Stephanie’s Kitten, who pipped Just the Judge for second in the Grade I Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington in August. “We’ve got to turn that form around, obviously.”

Whatever happens on Saturday, however, it would be fair to say that Just the Judge would have to perform feats of unimaginable horror to tarnish the esteem she’s held in by her trainer. She has been the mainstay of Faringdon Place for a significant portion of Hills’ short training career. She was his first classic winner, when she won last year’s . “She’s won group races at two, three and four. She’s just been amazing for my career.” And whilnt Kompany says he knew his Manchester City career was over after his stunning goal against Leicester City.The defender scored a long-range piledriver to clinch a 1-0 victory for City, who eventually won an unprecedented domestic treble.Kompany has de she is entered in Tattersalls December Sales, Hills intimated that her racing days might not yet be numbered.

“There are lots of nice opportunities for her next year, races in Dubai and maybe Japan – those types of races,” he said. “She’s owned in a partnership between Qatar Racing and the Sangster Family…Obviously first, something will have to be sorted out.”

While the gable is poised over Just the Judge’s racing career, Commemorative’s best years are still ahead of him judging by a commanding victory in the Group III Autumn Stakes at Newmarket last time out. That day, he licked ‘em from the front, seeing out the stiff mile comfortably. And Hills sees the stamina he displayed at Newmarket as especially beneficial in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on the Friday.

“We know he’s going to stay a mile really well, which will be an important factor. I think he’s got a great chance of getting into the first three,” said Hills. “It looks a pretty open race. Obviously, the likely favorite [Hootenanny] has yet to provictory on Sunday.Aaron Ramsey and Paulo Dybala goals settled the 2-0 win.“It was a very balanced encounter up until the goal and we had started the second half much better than them, but that Ramsey goal changed everything, above all psychologicalve himself over the trip. Commemorative is improving the right way, and he’s got to have a great chance.”

Another plus is Santa Anita’s firm turf course. Despite his size, (he weighs 524kg – racehorses can weigh as much as 100kg less), Commemorative has an action built for the road. In a spin on the turf earlier this week at Santa Anita, for example, the way he floated over the green carpet had the touch of a Rudolph Nureyev about it. Hills even toyed with the idea of supplementing Commemorative for the Racing Post Trophy, until the heavens opened over Doncaster, bringing Santa Anita and a crack at the Breeders’ Cup into play.

“It was a bit of an afterthought,” he admitted. “But he’s a very strong two-year-old, he’s huge. My only concern is that, because he’s drawn four, I wonder whether he’s got the tactical speed to get in a good position.”

Irrespective of what happens this year, Hills sees a mile and a quarter well within Commemorative’s compass next year. “We’ll see how he winters, and see where we are in the spring as to where we go,” he said, not discounting races like the 2000 Guineas.

Circumspection though can be forgiven. Given those events since Hills last stood here on world racing’s main stage – when the likes of Willie Carson, one of Chriselliam’s co-owners, brought a New Year’s Eve atmosphere to the winners enclosure – it’s no wonder that his thoughts are often underpinned with reserve, if not a little humility.

“Obviously last year, when we had our winner, it gave us a great thrill. We were all very proud of her,” he said. “Santa Anita, though, it’s one of the greatest tracks in the world, and we’re just very honored to have runners.”

b to re-ignite their interest in Nabil Fekir.The R

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A league source said the have told closer will for a trade leading up to the July 31 non-waiver deadline, according to .com. Cishek is under team control this season, will reach arbitration next year and won’t be available for free agency until 2018.

Cishek is 1-4 with a 4.50 ERA and 1.38 WHIP through 24 appearances this season. He is 5 for 7 in save chances.

More News 29D ago • by RotoWire Staff 03/20/2020 • by RotoWire Staff s form.Referring to Everton’s defeat to Brighton, Cascarino wrote for The Times: “Yet another entry in the catalogue of Jordan Pickford errors shows why the Everton keeper’s days as England’s number 1 are numbered… beaten easily by a set piece, (wh 01/07/2020 • by RotoWire Staff 08/21/2019 • by RotoWire Staff ws where Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba plans to with the club’s summer signings.Che Adams has joined from Birmingham City and Moussa Djenepo from Standard Liege.”Southampton have strengthened pretty well,” he said.”Ralph identified the areas of the squad that were a bit lacking and pace was one omove.Pogba’s future is up in the air at United, with Real Madrid and Juventus both keen.Former Juve coach Conte was seen in conversation with Pogba before Inter’s defeat to United in Singapore 08/19/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 08/17/2019 • by RotoWire Staff