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Oleksandr Usyk won his heavyweight debut but can he beat the big boys?

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Oleksandr Usyk, the cruiserweight champion turned heavyweight contender, is guided by two indomitable polar forces that he brings to bear with magnetic energy, a twinkle in the eye and a gap-toothed grin. He is part Conan the Barbarian, part Conan O’Brien. Both apex predator and Animaniac. Killer and comic relief. Usyk is the planet’s warmest, fuzziest bear trap.

He won gold for Ukraine at the London Olympics in 2012, turned pro, then pulverised the 200-pound division into particle dust, becoming the first cruiserweight to hold all four major world titles. Eleven months after his last fight as a cruiserweight – – Usyk (17-0, 13 KO) made his heavyweight debut in Chicago on Saturday against Chazz Witherspoon (38-4, 27 KO), a sloppy 38-year-old who took the fight as a last-minute replacement for Tyrone Spong, a third-rate opponent who returned an adverse doping test in the middle of last week.

The opponent was largely irrelevant fol Madrid president Florentino Perez insists there was no “pact” with Atletico Madrid preventing them from signing Antoine Griezmann.The France attacker left Atleti this summer for Barcelona in a record €120m deal.At Real’s General Assembly, Florentr the thousands of fight fans in attendance. The Ukrainian supporters would have screamed their throats raw for Usyk whether he had been fighting a muppet, a hologram or a YouTube flunky. This was a party.

Previously, Usyk was merely one of the greatest cruiserweight fighters in history and a theoretical pound-for-pound boogeyman. Yet his graduation to the heavyweight division means he must become something else: an attraction. To a large portion of mainstream sports fans, a transcendent 200-pounder might as well be a G-League heavyweight: talented, sure, but mostly irrelevant if he can’t play with the big boys. European gate money spends are pretty good, but it’s American subscriber dollars that elevate a fighter into his own financial gulfstream.

So it has become Usyk’s challenge to not only display his gifts – both pugilistic and charismatic – but to do so against men inches taller and dozens of pounds heavier. The world’s most significant heavyweights all have the capacity to floor world-class fighters their own size, let alone a puffed-up cruiser new kid on the block.

Witherspoon stands conspicuously outside that group, but at 6ft 4in and 242 pounds, even he posed a lumbering threat to the 215-pound Usyk. The Philadelphia-born former not-quite-contender came in having fought just twice in three years, and he signed on as the fill-in just four days before the bout – apparently cornered between buffet runs at the Golden Corral. Witherspoon may not have been in shape for Usyk, but he was a very large man with nearly 30 professional stoppages under his belt. Styles make fights, but size can end them.

Saturday wasn’t for spoilers, though. After taking stock in the opening round, Usyk got to work with the jab. The Daniel Sturridge in their bid for Trabzonspor pair Ugurcan Cakir and Abdulkadir Omur.The Karadeniz Gazette says Sturridge could help Liverpool land Cakir and Omur.The former Reds striker currently plays with the duo at Trabzonspor.And he has recommenquicker man by far, he parried Witherspoon’s power with nimble footwork and head movement. In the fourth round, Usyk had Witherspoon backing up, stinging him with occasional power left hands, driving him against the ropes and into corners to land quick-burst combinations.

Chants of “Ooh-seek, Ooh-seek” arose when the headliner paused the onslaught to size up his work and, by the seventh round, Witherspoon had been sufficiently tenderised. As he sat on his stool before the eighth round, the American let referee Hector Afu know that he’d had enough. Usyk had won his first fight as a heavyweight. Although there never seemed a moment when Witherspoon was at serious risk of being dropped, neither was there a moment during the fight when Usyk was not categorically in control.

The post-fight questions lobbed at Usyk were predictable. Was the impact of heavyweight power what you expected? Will you be able to withstand it against elite competition? How will your own arsenal match up against those of Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury?

One reporter decided to spar with Usyk, suggesting he would have to change his ad star Antoine Griezmann.Robert was still with Barca when the Frenchman infamously turned them down this time last year – via a Gerard Pique produced documentary.He told El Larguero: “I wanted to sign Griezmann two years ago, if I would sign him now,pproach to beat the top heavyweights. Usyk, who speaks through an interpreter except on occasional low-leverage situations when he flashes his lovably broken English, stared a hole through the reporter – who was sitting no more than a lunging jab away from him – before asking: “You serious?” The moment passed, the reporter’s soul was returned to his earthly body and, in an instant, Usyk was giggling and playfully nudging his manager and translator, Egis Klimas.

“Soooo hungry,” said Usyk, as the questions continued to pour in. He was famished. A good sign. Usyk will need to bulk up for what comes next — which promoter Eddie Hearn says is the winner of the rematch between Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua. When asked which potential opponent he would prefer to face, Usyk did not hesitate: “Joshua.” He didn’t miss a beat a moment later, either, when he answered the night’s final question in thickly accented but perfectly constructed English – a potential marketing game-changer.

“Wait, why has he been translating for you this whole time?” asked one of the reporters, only half-jokingly. A pause. Usyk’s crazy eyes bulged cartoonishly, his hands hit his cheeks and, from the smile that creased his face, out popped that unmistakable gap. He’s taking apart heavyweights, he’s speaking English and he’s having a ball.

London franchise moves closer as NFL confirms first game at Spurs stadium

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The NFL’s international development manager believes the league’s “11-year tease” with London will lead to a permanent franchise, potentially as soon as 2021.

Speaking at the announcement of this year’s three games in London, Mark Waller, the league’s executive vice-president, said the economic case had been proven and it was now only a case of persuading any relocating team it would not be at a competitive disadvantage.

Having staged 21 games in London since 2011, Waller told Press Association Sport there was “no decrease in the enthusiasm for London” among the league’s 32 team owners and “they all know the numbers stack up”. The next task is finding solutions to any concerns a London-based team’s players and staff might have about issues such as accommodation, travel, tax status and schools.

Waller pointed out that the current collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union expires in 2020 and the league’s various broadcast deals run until 2021. “You could say it’s been an 11-year tease, but various strands would seem to be coming together,” Waller added.

Thursday’s announcement revealed that Tottenham’s new stadium will only host one NFL game next season, despite the Premier League club having a 10-year deal with the league to stage two games a season. The new White Hart Lane, which is under construction, will stage its first NFL game on 14 October, when the Oakland Raiders host the .

Having staged its first NFL game in 2007, Wembley gets its 19th and 20th games over the following two weekends – the Jacksonville Jaguars against the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Los Angeles Chargers versus the Tennessee Titans. The Jaguars have agreed to play one game in London until 2020.

Waller urged British NFL fans not to read anything into the fact that there will be only three games in London this year, after four last year. Waller added that both Wembley and Twickenham started with just one game per season, and that White Hart Lane would be able to host three games in a season “pretty soon.” London mayor Sadiq Khan has also moved to reassure fans over the lack of a second game at White Hart Lane.

With the NFL committed to holding two games a season at Wembley until 2020, that means London can expect to stage five games in either 2019 or 2020 – a move that would only increase the clamour for a full-time franchise in the UK capital.

Despite missing out on a second game, White Hart Lane will benefit from hosting two good teams. The Seahawks have reached the playoffs in six of the last seasons, and won the Super Bowl in 2014. The Raiders, meanwhile, have emerged from the doldrums in recent years and are in the process of relocating – although Las Vegas, not London, will be their new homns.The Brazilian midfielder has two offers on the table, reports Le 10 Sport, from Newcastle United and Genoa.Genoa have bid €7m for Maia plus 50 per cent of his sell-on fee.Newcastle, meanwhile, have proposed a loan with a superior salary offer foe.

“The announcement of the first game of the NFL’s 2018 London games to take place at our new home heralds the commencement of our 10-year pa Azzurri were knocked out of the Champions League at the gas with Fikayo Tomori’s new deal.The defender recently committed his long-term future to the club by signing a new five-year contract.”He’s been playing fantastically well since I had him at Derby and then this season he’s shown it in the Premier Learoup stage which included finalists Liverpool and were dumped out of the Europa League in the last eight by Arsenal, who will face Chelsea in Baku.Ancelotti said, “It is a small consolation rtnership,” said the Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy. “This is one of the cornerstones of our vision for creating a world-class sports and leisure destination that will make Tottenham a hive of activity 365 days a year, and drive the regeneration of one of the most deprived areas of London.”

The Joy of Six: seasons from hell

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1) Cleveland Browns (1995)

Ten years before he made his name as the inscrutable, hooded overlord of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick was handed his first chance as an NFL head coach by the , a historic franchise wounded by years of failure.

A giant in the sport’s formative years, the Browns had never made the Super Bowl, and a run of spectacular near-misses in the 1980s had shattered morale. After a 3-13 season in 1990, the owner, Art Modell, lured Belichick from the New York Giants, where he had just won the Super Bowl as defensive coach with a game plan so good that it’s now in the Hall of Fame.

Belichick set out to build a rugged team built for the hard winters on the shore of Lake Erie, where the team shared a rundown municipal stadium with the Cleveland Indians. Progress was slow – the Browns posted narrow losing records in his first three seasons – but the wily head coach engineered a run to the play-offs in 1994.

Despite frequent clashes with Modell over money, Belichick had the Browns primed for a Super Bowl run. Nearly 75,000 fans poured into the Cleveland Stadium to see the win over Kansas City, which sealed a 3-1 start. Off the field, Modell was watching revenues fall after the Indians’ departure. Rumblings began that the owner was about to take a hammer to the sturdy foundations Belichick had built.

On 6 November, Modell announced his intention to relocate the Browns to Baltimore. From dreaming of a Super Bowl, ever-faithful Browns fans were facing the death of their team. Cleveland lost nine of their next 10 games, falling apart on the field as fans turned to mutiny. The final home game of the season against Cincinnati became a riot. Spectators , raw grief giving way to rage.

Somewhere in the NFL’s corridors of power, the anguish poured out that day struck a nerve. The fans won their battle to keep the team in Cleveland (Modell’s Baltimore team became a new franchise), though they had to wait until 1999 for their return. The Browns avoided a death sentence but for the expansion side, the ghosts of what might have been are everywhere.

The relocated, rebranded Baltimore Ravens have won two Super Bowls. Belichick, fired by Modell over the phone, learned from the chaos in Cleveland to build a dynasty at New England. He slipped on a fifth Super Bowl ring this year; the Browns have won one of their last 24 games.

2) Doncaster Rovers (1997-98)

The free market rules in English football, which means pretty much anyone with a bit of spare cash can buy themselves a club. Some teams find their perfect match, a steady hand on the tiller that unleashes a club’s true potential. Doncaster got Ken Richardson. Under his ownership, Rovers lost their league status, their main stand to a suspicious fire, and their dignity.

Richardson had a curious hands-on/off approach, rarely investing in or even visiting the club’s run-down Belle Vue home but regularly interfering with team affairs. He would fax in team talks from the Isle of Man with missives like “show the bastards” scrawled on them. After a string of managers walked out, he installed a “general manager”, Mark Weaver, to do his bidding.

With Richardson’s cash cut off and home gates dwindling to below 1,000, Doncaster descended into little more than a Sunday league side. A followed the farcical final acts of the 1997-98 season, from angry supporters’ meetings to players training in the park, and getting trapped in the dressing room by a faulty door. On the pitch things were no better.

As the owner focused on selling off their ground, Doncaster’s motley crew of loanees and youth players were left to sink slowly, finishing the 46-game season with a record 34 defeats. They lost 7-1 to Cardiff City, and 8-0 at Leyton Orient. In the League Cup, Nottingham Forest beat them 10-1 on aggregate. Coach Danny Bergara tried swapping players’ numbers in a tactical move, outfoxing only himself.

Witzkid James Maddison, according to reports.The attacking midfielder shone in his debut Premier League season after moving from Norwich City last summer.At 22 years of age, Maddison’s potential has got the top clubs vying for his signature.The Independh Richardson absent, fans turned on Weaver, a yes-man installed above his station to do the owner’s bidding. At the final home game, fans staged a mock funeral for a club they expected to fold. Weaver turned up having vowed to stay away. The police advised him to leave for his own safety.

As the club fell apart, police were closing in on Richardson over his involvement in a fire in the summer of 1995 that had almost gutted the main stand at Belle Vue. He was eventually charged with offering a former soldier £10,000 to start the fire, part of a hare-brained scheme to get his hands on lucrative land. Detectives labelled him “the type that would trample a two-year-old to pick up a 2p piece”.

From the ashes, Doncaster at least found the owner they deserved. As Richardson was sent to jail, the local businessman John Ryan stepped in, and set about reviving the club. Ten years after their season in hell, with a new ground built and Belle Vue left behind, to seal promotion to the Championship.

3) Vince Spadea (2000)

Some tennis players are driven by rivalry, or a quest for sporting immortality. Vince Spadea’s motivation was more practical. “No one wants to travel the world to lose money,” he wrote in 2006. “Tennis players are paid to win.”

The year 2000 was a lean one for Spadea, a journeyman pro who had just enjoyed a breakthrough season. He had reached No19 in the world, and upset Andre Agassi on his way to the 1999 Australian Open quarter-finals. Spadea flew out to Melbourne seeking a repeat run to kick-start flagging form, but lost in the first round to the world No95, Adrian Voinea.

That early exit proved the catalyst for a historic run of defeats. Winter turned to spring, the hard courts gave way to clay, and Spadea lost, lost and lost again. By the time he reached Wimbledon, he had lost 21 straight matches. In the first round, he drew the British No2, Greg Rusedski. His parents decided to stay in Florida.

What happened next was predictable in its own way. Spadea overcame two lost tie-breaks and a two-hour rain delay to win the deciding set 9-7. The shame shifted to Rusedski and for the watching world, that’s where the story ended. “I can lose to anyone, but I can battle,” a jubilant Spadea told the crowd. “Because I got game.”

How much game? As it turned out, not much. Spadea lost his next match at Wimbledon, crashed out of the US Open and Olympics at the first hurdle, and lost in Tokyo to a player ranked outside the top 300. Dropping down to the Challenger circuit in autumn to regain his form, he lost his first match 6-1, 6-0.

Spadea ended the year with three wins and 28 losses at ATP Tour level, and a world ranking of No237. He would fight his way back up the rankings in tenacious style, but his losing run still hit him where it hurt – his pocket. Spadea has claimed that his season was so bad, he actually lost money on the tour. For him, that was the true price of failure.

4) Ferrari (1980)

Dominance in can be a fragile thing. With cars constantly tweaked and tuned up to stay ahead of the field, a wrong turn in the garage can wipe out years of progress. McLaren found that out in 2015, when a switch to Honda engines saw the historic team, with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button on board, reduced to a laughing stock.

In 1980 made a more subtle change, updating the 312T car that had won them four of the previous six constructors’ titles. The upgrade proved to be an unmitigated calamity in a tumultuous season blighted by safety concerns. The first two races, in Argentina and Brazil, saw drivers including Ferrari’s defending world champion, Jody Scheckter, threaten a boycott over track conditions.

1980 proved a turning point for the sport, with Bernie Ecclestone winning a power struggle with the F1 chief, Jean-Marie Balestre. It also proved a watershed for the Scuderia, who were outclassed in the early races as Williams and Brabham emerged as title contenders. Ferrari suffered reliability issues with their retooled engine, and did not pick up a point until Scheckter came fifth at Long Beach.

While his team-mate Gilles Villeneuve at least battled for the odd podium place in a chronically underpowered car, Scheckter took only two points all year, failed to even qualify for one race, and promptly retired at the end of the season. Scheckter’s sharp exit was, however, more than an indictment of his car.

He had once been the bad boy of F1, causing crashes and winding up rivals with his daredevil antics. Then, in 1973, he was first on the scene at team-mate François Cevert’s fatal crash at Watkins Glen. What he saw changed him profoundly and, after winning the world title ahead of Villeneuve in 1979, he saw no reason to put himself at risk any longer.

Villeneuve was not so fortunate. The Canadian was killed in a qualifying crash in Belgium two years later, perhaps the highest-profile victim of F1’s most unsafe era. Scheckter spoke at his funeral in a rare, fleeting return to the spotlight. The South African retired to Hampshire, where he now runs an organic farm.

Ferrari switched to a brand new car in 1981, and promptly returned to the podium places in the constructors’ championship. The previous season still left its maraller and Romelu Lukaku.The £40m signing from Eintracht Frankfurt has drawn comparisons with Manchester United striker Lukaku for his ability to score goals and hold up play.And Diop thinks his France U21 teammate, who scored 20 goals last season, wk – they did not produce another world champion driver until Michael Schumacher, some 20 years later.

5) Milan (1981-82)

Under the leadership of Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello, Milan’s 1987-94 vintage won 14 trophies in seven seasons, blending Italian defensive nous with Dutch attacking flair to formidable effect. That golden age was forged in response to the club’s greatest embarrassment, only five years earlier.

For Serie A’s elite clubs, not winning the Scudetto is failure enough; they rarely have cause to consider the other end of the table. Internazionale have never been relegated, and Juventus’s only demotion . Milan were also relegated “off the field” once, in 1980, after the Totonero match-fixing scandal.

Milan bounced straight back and expected to breeze up the table, with a defence built around Franco Baresi and their new striker Joe Jordan banging in the goals. But Baresi missed four months with an injury, and in his absence Milan picked up eight points in 12 games. Jordan was the first player to score that season – in their eighth game.

Milan had returned to a league that was no longer afraid of them, and a run of one point from games against Catanzaro, Ascoli and Como appeared to confirm the unthinkable – relegation “on the field”. The youth coach Italo Galbiati replaced Gigi Radice and the club still had a chance of survival on the final day at Cesena.

After going 2-0 down early on, the team with 18 league goals all season found three in 15 minutes to grab victory. With Genoa behind at Napoli, Milan appeared to have avoided eternal shame, and their fans raced onto the pitch to celebrate. Then Genoa won a last-gasp corner, and scored.

Milan fans maintain that the Napoli goalkeeper, Luciano Castellini, intentionally threw the ball out to hand Genoa that corner. You can judge for yourself . Either way, this was not an experience the rossoneri ever planned on repeating. After securing an immediate return, Silvio Berlusconi bought the club, brought in Sacchi and signed Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Marco van Basten. The rest is history.

6) Derbyshire (1920)

County cricket’s meticulous record-keeping means no landmark season of any description will be forgotten. Which, for Derbyshire in particular, is a shame. After regaining first-class status in 1894, they failed to win a County Championship match in three separate seasons: 1897, 1901 and the historically abysmal 1920 campaign.

With county cricket returning to normality after the first world war, the captain, John Chapman, fielded 38 different players across 16 completed matches. It was an early example of over-rotation; Derbyshire lost them all – on six occasions, their opposition only had to bat once to get the job done.

This was a team caught between two eras; the previous captain, George Buckston, had retired, but came back to reorganise the side for the following season. Billy Bestwick, a 45-year-old seamer with a quick arm and quicker temper, featured in only one match. They were replaced by nent Wanyama is eyeing a move to AC Milan.While Club Brugge are in talks with Spurs over a fee for the Kenya international, any move could hinge on the Rossonero.Soccer Link says Wanyama favours a switch to Italy at Milan, where he is under consideratiwcomers who would go on to better things. The wicketkeeper Harry Elliott went on to earn England caps, as did the batsman Harry Storer – in football.

Guy Jackson, a 24-year-old batsman with a season-high score of 14, later became the county captain under the tutelage of Buckston. According to Wisden, Jackson “steadily raised the standard” within the county, laying the foundations for the 1936 season, when Elliott and Storer helped deliver Derbyshire’s only County Championship.

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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.”

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.”

Andy Murray has no qualms about Dani Vallverdu in Grigor Dimitrov’s camp

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Andy Murray’s hopes of winning a second US Open might have taken a minor hit during his three hours and 17 minutes but he faces an altogether different sort of challenge against Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round on Monday.

There is the piquancy of Dani Vallverdu’s presence in the Bulgarian’s box, a slightly weird second edition of Murray’s former training assistant’s journey through the game, after a brief spell with Tomas Berdych. It is not lost on Murray, although he does not see it as an issue.

“It doesn’t really [change the dynamic],” he says. “The first time when I played Berdych after me and Dani stopped working together, it was awkward for sure, because he was one of my best friends and the media were trying to make it out like it was a grudge match.”

That is slightly disingenuous given the vocal part Murray’s now-wife Kim played in ramping up the energy levels on court with directed in Berdych’s direction during his match against the Scot at the Australian Open almost two years ago.

He added: “There was a lot of different emotions going on in that match and I thought it was a bit unfair. I played Berdych a few times since then and had no issues dealing with it. [It] doesn’t change anything now.”

Murray has always admired Vallverdu’s tennis knowledge and despite everything, they are still friends. “He works hard, that’s important. When that’s the case I thinReal Betis have penned a deal with online betting company RB88 through to 2021/22, reports, /.The company will sponsor the team’s digital content for the Asian market.k it tends to rub off on your player as well. He doesn’t want to take four, five weeks off at a time. He is there all the time and he does a lot of weeks, so you build a strong bond that way.”

And they still see each other socially. “We do go out for dinner. We went out for lunch the first day we got here. We flew together here from Cincinnati. I just don’t talk to him about my tennis, but I didn’t used to talk to him about my tennis before he started coaching me either really.”

Jamie Delgado, whom Murray has known longer than he has known Vallverdu, fills that role now, alongside the coach Ivan Lendl. “He doesn’t necessarily get the credit he deserves,” Murray added. “He works harder than any of the other members of my team. He does 40 weeks a year with me which is way more than anyone else that I work with. He deserves credit for that. It’s not easy to do that, to spend that much time travelling and away from home but he does particularly impressive individual scoring record when his current team Atletico de Madrid face his former side Real Madrid in next Saturday’s LaLiga Santander clash.Morata has made a habit of scoring in big derbies, and against his fos to Everton.West Ham are also in contact, reports Sport, though the Blues remain favourites for Gomes’ signature.The midfielder enjoyed a superb year on-loan with Everton and he is settled on Merseyside.A fee in the region of €30m is being discussrmer clubs, acit.

“He loves tennis, he has a very good understanding of the game and we get on well together. We’ve had good results so far, he helped turn my year around when I was struggling.”

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.”

New England Patriots woken by second fire alarm at Super Bowl hotel

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As the debate over the Patriots , it appears Tom Brrsenal.The former Atletico Madrid winger has been eyed by Unai Emery and Arsenal for a while, with the Gunners expressing an interest in signing him in January before moving for Denis Suarez instead.But they have moved for him again as they look to iady and Co may be on the end of subterfuge themselves.

When the fire alarm in the Patriots’ hotel sounded in the early hours of Tuesday morning, staff called ii Matteo says John Terry will be the next manager of Chelsea.Terry is currently an assistant coach at Aston Villa.Di Matteo told The Athletic: “If you can sign JT, you get him.”He’s a guy who makes things easierg world-class talent, says the Football Association’s Kelly Simmons, reports BBC Sport.English top-flight sides are currently permitted to spend 40% of their turnover on wages, under FA rules.The USA’s NWSL has upped its salary cap by nearly 20% to $ for the manager. “He, too, will be thet “an anomaly”.

That anomaly looked more like a trend when the same thing happened at 5am on Thursday.

Rob Gronkoswki said he slept through the alarm, and many of the players will be used to such tactics from their time in college football.

Very possible Gerrit Cole will make first start for Pirates next week

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It is very possible right-hander and top prospect will make his major league debut for the on Tuesday, reports Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Lefty is unlikely to make the start after being diagnosed with inflammation in his left forearm.

Cole, 22, was the first overall pick in the 2011 draft and came into the season as one of the game’s very best pitching prospects. He’s gone 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 68 innings spread across a dozen Triir top January targets.Bruce had been interested in bringing Olivier Giroud on loan from Chelsea but the striker now looks set for Inter Milan.”If there’s something available and there’s a deal to be done, we’ll try to do it,” he said. “But we have tple-A starts this year, though he is currently riding a 19-inning scoreless streak.

Before the season, Baseball America ranked Cole as the  and said he “certainly has the looinho says he has received over 50 messages from people at Manchester United after his recent appointment.Mourinho replaces Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs, but it appears he is still regarded with affection by many at Old Trafford.The Portuguese coach lk of a No. 1 starter who could anchorday as Real Sociedad’s latest signing.A presentation media conference is scheduled for 1:30pm.Arriving in Spain on Sunday night, Monreal had a message for La Real fans: “Aupa aficion, I’m already in Donostia. I really want to start, I know there is a their rotation” in their 2013 Prospect Handbook.

The Pirates come into Friday at 35-25 and four games back of the Cardinals in the NL Central.

r in the USA.Howard will make his first appearance

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third baseman (hip) began his third week of rehab Monday by . He fielded grounders and took 25 swings in an indoor batting cage at the team’s spring complex in Tampa.

“Not bad,” Rodriguez said when leaving the player’s parking lot.

More News 08/15/2016 • by RotoWire Staff 08/14/2016 • by RotoWire Staff 08/13/2016 • by RotoWire Staff 08/13/2016 • by RotoWire Staff to Barcelona.Guardiola was awarded the coach of the year prize by the Catalan FA on Tuesday night, with his father accepting the award on his behalf and discussing his future.His father Valenti Guardiola was present to collect the trophy, inevitably08/1n signing Feyenoord youngster Orkun Kokcu.The 19-year-old is one of the top talents to emerge from the club’s youth setup in recent years.The Turkish under-21 international is garnering big interest from other teams.Kokcu has a deal with Feyenoord un2/2016 • by RotoWire Staff 08/ve to move quickly if Xavier Mbuyamba impresses in trials.The MVV defender, 17, is currently trialling with Chelsea this week.However Mbuyamba, who has been likened to Virgil van Dijk, is also a target for Liverpool, who want to also offer him tests.11/2016 • by RotoWire Staff

signing today.Wigan Athletic fullback Antonee Rob

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reliever has thrown five scoreless innings since being demoted to Triple-A Memphis. Manager Mike Matheny told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Tuesday that he has and the staff at Memphis since sending the right-hander down. “It sounds like he’s made some good mechanical adjustments,” Matheny said. “It looks like he’s in a real good spot.”Matheny added that Boggs should conManchester City boss Pep Guardiola insists he’s happy where he is.Guardiola has been linked with Juventus after it was confirmed Max Allegri is leaving at the end of the season.But he said: “I’m not going to Juventus or toallana admits he remains in the dark over plans for his future.Lallana is off contract in June, though has intimated he won’t seek a move away this month.He told talkSPORT: “It’s easy to keep working.“I’m enjoying playing for the best team in the w Italy. I have two more years here.”I’m not going to move, I’m satisfied here,rm futures of two of their main stars.David de Gea only has a year remaining on his contract and talks thus far have suggested that he could be ready to make a move to PSG. Meanwhile, Marcus Rashford is yet to sign a new deal with the club.Juan Mata I’m not going anywhere.”Next season I will be manager of Manchester City.”tinue to concentrate on getting better and not when he will be recalled, however.”He needs not to even think about (coming back),” Matheny said. “Anybody who gets sent down needs to focus all their attention on what they need to do that particular day to help that team they’re with. The other stuff works itself out. Otherwise, you end up making the process much more difficult than it should be. Just control how you pitch. And it will work itself out.”

win the Ballon d’Or as a Liverpool player.Mane fi

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catcher homered for the second straight game Friday against the Giants, going 1 for 3 and driving in two runs. His homer was one of just two extra-base hits for the Braves, who were held to three hits.

McCann is 5 for 16 with two home runs and seven RBI in fowas rewarded for his hard work and determination with a debut goal against Chelsea, according to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.The Wales international, signed from Swansea City this summer, came on as a substitute to score United’s final goal in the 4ur games since returning from thay for Djibril Sidibe’s substitution in victory over Crystal Palace.The fullback was introduced off the bench early in the first-half following an injuryz leaving for Arsenal.Luiz, 32, is heading back out of Chelsea in an £8m switch to London rivals Arsenal.The Telegraph says relations between Luiz and Lampard have deteriorated with the defender becoming a disruptive influence.He was told to train a to Theo Walcott but he was delayed coming onto the pitch because he had forgotten to put on his e disabled list.

More News 10/10/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 09/27/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 09/25/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 09/22/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 09/21/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 09/19/2019 • by RotoWire Staff

players after a tough week on the training ground

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starting pitcher had a strong performance in a rehab start with Triple-A Indianapolis ack from his shocking knee injury.The setback means Chambers’ season is over, with the defender to be sidelined for six to nine months.He posted on Twitter: “Devastated to end 2019 like this! If there’s one message I’d like to get across it’s that I’Thursday, allowing one earned run on four hits in five innings while striking out eight and walking none. He threw 52 of his 79 pitches fohilippe Coutinho this summer.Both Ousmane Dembele and Coutinho have been linked with moves away from the Camp Nou, notably in a potential swap deal for Neymar, but the president made clear that Barcelona have put a lot of faith in the two players.”Thr strikes.

Liriano remains on track to return May 10.

elles admits he had big concerns when Rafa Benitez chose to quit.Lascelles feared Newcastle would “go off the rails” following Benitez’s shock departure but backed Steve Bruce to steady the ship.”I did think when we came back that it would be quite d More News 01/22/2020 • by RotoWire Staff 08/06/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 04/30/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 03/28/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 03/23/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 03/23/2019 • by RotoWire Staff

i Minamino admits his move from RB Salzburg to Liv

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The announced Thursday they recalled reliever from Triple-A Buffalo. Lincoln is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA and 10 strikeouts in eight Nathan Redmond’s injury is a blow.Redmoanchester United teammate Eric Cantona.Firmino was in mercurial form setting up two goals in the Reds’ 3-1 win over Newcastle at Anfield on Saturday.”He’s one that drifts into that little area and he naturally does it, where it’s so difficult for defnd is set to be ruled out for up to three weeks with an ankle injury.The winger went down unchallenged during Tuesday evening’s Carabao Cup win over Fulham ana coach Vincenzo Montella admits they deserved defeat to Hellas Verona.Samuel Di Carmine swooped for the only goal of the game.Montella conceded afterwards, “It was not a good performance and we made a lot of technical errors, but also conceded a t Craven Cottage and was seen leaving the ground on cinnings for Buffalo.

Andres Iniesta is full of praise for Real Madrid

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starting pitcher statistically had his worst start of the season Wednesday against the Dodgers, allowing a season-high three runs in six innings, but the right-hander still has an impressive 1.54 ERA through five starts.

Infielder Skip Schumaker, who came into Wednesday’s game the only Dodgers’ player to have faced Harvey before, said he thinks the burgeoning ace by veteran catill be in Baku for the Europa League final between Chelsea and Arsenal.The Italian champions have identified Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri as their top priority to take over from Max Allegri at the Allianz.Agnelli, who has been in charge at Juve since cher John Buck. Schumaker commented Buck has done a good job having Harvey incorporate his offspeed pitches into his game plan, which wasn’t something he always did as a rookie.

“He pitched tonight,” Schumaker said. “He didn’t just try to overpower you. A younger catcher might have just stayed with that fastball, but I think Buck is doing a good job with him. People may not realize it, but he’s a solid game-caller.”

Even Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was impressed.

“Usually with power guys, or with young guys, they’re all over the place,” Don Mattingly said to have a medical at the Amex Stadium club this week.Sky Sports says he will seal a £18 million transfer to the Premier League side.The Belgian will be the second signing of the summer for new Brighton boss Graham Potter.Brighton are hoping to buil. “He’s ahead in the count all the time. It’s what you like to see from younger guys. A lot of times, it’s what you’d like to see from older guys, too.”

More News 04/06/2020 • by RotoWire Staff 03/13/2020 • by RotoWire Staff lsea in Tokyo.Valverde used the game against the Blues to give playing time to some of the academy players ahead of the 2019/20 season.”It was an intense encounter at times and we started both halves very well, but then we suffered from fatigue,” he 09/09/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 09/02/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 08/29/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 08/24/2019 • by RotoWire Staff