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Update September, 2019


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Mother's Day: Fraser-Pryce, Felix get golds at worlds

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, of Jamaica, celebrates after winning the gold medal in the women's 100 meter final during the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Eddie Pells

Doha, Qatar (AP) — Only moments after Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce zoomed past the finish line Sunday night, she scooped up something more precious than gold.

Her 2-year-old son Zyon came down to the track to join her for the victory lap. What a fitting way to celebrate the Jamaican speedster's fourth and hardest-earned 100-meter title at world championships.

"A victory for motherhood!" Fraser-Pryce said.

Sure is. And if 2019 has been the Year of the Mother in track and field, then Sunday was Mother's Day.

Only moments before Fraser-Pryce — this time with her long hair arranged in a rainbow-pastel pastiche — blasted past the field in a season-best 10.71 seconds , new mom Allyson Felix surpassed none other than Usain Bolt with her record 12th gold medal at worlds. This one came in the brand new mixed relay, in which two men and two women team up for four trips around the track.

Felix was among the Americans who banded together in protest this summer , getting Nike to change a long-standing policy that stopped payments to pregnant athletes in this sport. Her 10-month-old daughter, Camryn, was with her at the stadium. Felix said she got goose bumps watching Fraser-Pryce cross the finish line first .12 seconds ahead of Dina Asher-Smith of Britain.

"What she's done is amazing," Felix said. "She's had a hard road, too. She keeps encouraging me. Her first year wasn't the best, but her second year, she's better than ever. Women are amazing and she's leading the way."

Fraser-Pryce said she sat on her bed and cried the day she found out she was pregnant. Not too much after that, she heard people saying it might be time to quit.

"Everyone's entitled to their opinion," she said. "I knew how I felt and I knew I wasn't ready to go. I had something left to do, and I stayed focused on the goal."

And that, in many ways, has been the point of this year for her, for Felix, for any woman who has ever been told it's over once she decides to start having kids.

Felix spent more than a decade cultivating a reputation as a classy champion, but a very private person. When she went public with her issues with Nike, it served as a tipping point to the movement begun earlier in the summer by Alysia Montano in track, and members of the U.S. women's soccer team, who were fighting a similar battle on different turf for equal pay during their run to a World Cup victory.

All of it eventually made a difference — not only in the terms Nike was willing to rework in its endorsement contracts for elite athletes, but in the message it sent about equality.

"I think everything I went through this year ... it just brings it all back that it's so much bigger than myself," Felix said.

There were others competing in the quarter-full stadium Sunday night, including Christian Taylor, who won his third straight triple-jump world championship .

And pole vaulter Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia, who cleared 4.95 meters to beat American Sandi Morris for the gold. Sidorova is competing as a neutral athlete because of Russia's doping problems and will receive her medal Monday night with the IAAF's "anthem," not Russia's, playing in the background.

Another mother won gold in the women's 20-kilometer walk early Monday morning. Liu Hong of China took the 2017 and 2018 seasons off to have a child before returning triumphantly in 2019. She led a Chinese podium sweep.

Another gold medalist was Courtney Okolo — Felix's 25-year-old relay teammate.

"It's definitely an inspiration to all women," Okolo said of the 33-year-old Felix. "You see the journey she's been on this year, and now you're seeing a lot of women can do that and come back successfully. I know that when the time comes for me to have kids, it's something I can do, as well."

Between them, Fraser-Pryce and Felix have piled up a combined 27 medals at world championships over the past 14 years. They are, by almost any measure, the two most dominating sprinters of their time.

Even so, these two golds are destined to stand out for them, mainly for the work they put in simply to make it back to the track.

On top of the normal stresses of pregnancy, both women delivered via cesarean sections that ravage the core muscles critical for sprinters trying to burst out of the blocks.

"For 10 weeks, I couldn't lift weights (while lying) on my back," Fraser-Pryce said. "And mentally, it's even harder because you're 30, you're having a baby, the females are out there running fast. You wonder if you can come back. For me, I just worked really hard."

Felix's baby came two months prematurely and spent around a month in the neonatal intensive-care unit.

"It puts things in perspective," Felix said.

Any doubts about what this night was all about were more than put to rest as Fraser-Pryce circled the track, with Zyon resting his head on her shoulder.

So many Jamaican victory laps in the past — whether by Bolt or Fraser-Pryce, who now has a total of eight world golds to go with two from the Olympics — have been topped off with Bob Marley tunes to fuel up a crowd on its way to a party.

This time, it was a selection from "The Lion King" playing over the PA system as the sprinter they're now calling the "Mommy Rocket" exited stage right with her son in her arms.

The song: "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?"


Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two finish at Russian Grand Prix

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his car during the Russian Formula one Grand Prix at the 'Sochi Autodrom' Formula One circuit, in Sochi, Russia, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Associated Press

Sochi, Russia (AP) — Lewis Hamilton coasted to a comfortable victory and led a Mercedes one-two finish at the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday to tighten his grip on a sixth World Championship.

In a calamitous few laps for Ferrari, the Italian team threw away a possible one-two finish of its own after Sebastian Vettel broke down and Charles Leclerc dropped from first to third.

Valtteri Bottas followed team-mate Hamilton home at the Sochi Autodrome as Mercedes secured the full quota of points.

Hamilton now leads Bottas in the championship by 73 points with just 130 remaining. Leclerc is 107 points behind the British driver.

Max Verstappen finished fourth ahead of Red Bull team-mate Alex Albon, who started last after he crashed out during qualifying.

"What an effort, guys," said a jubilant Hamilton on the radio after the race. "What an incredible job. That is exactly what we needed. We never give up."

Ferrari had already got themselves into a needless mess before Vettel retired with an engine failure on lap 28.

Vettel got the jump on pole-sitter Leclerc on the long drag down to the second corner but a curious pre-race arrangement had Leclerc calling for the roles to be reversed.

It appears that the team had agreed that if Vettel benefited from Leclerc's slipstream and moved ahead of the Frenchman off the start line, he would have to concede the position.

Ferrari were on the radio to tell Vettel to let Leclerc by, but the four-time world champion resisted the order.

Leclerc protested over the radio.

"You put me behind and I respected everything," he said. "We will talk later."

The Ferrari pit wall were on to Vettel again, but again the German refused to let his teammate pass, fearing that he would be exposed to Hamilton in third place if he slowed down.

Leclerc was the first to stop on lap 22, but instead of calling in Vettel the next time around Vettel was left on old tires as his teammate put in several fast laps on his fresh tires.

Four laps after Leclerc pitted, Vettel was eventually called in and by the time he emerged he had fallen behind his teammate and into second place.

Just moments later disaster struck as Vettel broke down with an engine failure.

It was then to get worse for the Scuderia. With Vettel's broken down machine in a precarious position, the virtual safety car was deployed to slow down the field, allowing Hamilton, who had yet to pit, a free stop for tires and the lead of the race.

George Russell then crashed out in his Williams and the full safety car was deployed. Ferrari decided to pit Leclerc and put him on new tires for the remaining 20 laps.

But their decision saw him lose a position to Bottas, and on a track where overtaking is difficult, Leclerc was unable to pass the Mercedes driver.

Hamilton crossed the line 3.8 seconds clear of his teammate to claim his ninth win of the season and end Ferrari's three-race winning streak.

"It is incredible to have this result considering how quick (Ferrari) were off the start," said Hamilton. "To keep up with them was an incredibly hard task."

Reflecting on his probable sixth title, the Mercedes driver added: "I try not to think about the championship and take it one race at a time.

"We don't want to stumble. It feels like a long time coming, but the first time, too, so that is why this win is special."

Leclerc, meanwhile, declined to blame the team or his teammate for the mid-race drama.

"I will always trust the team but the tactic was me giving the slipstream and for us to be one-two, which happened, but then I don't know.

"I need to speak to the team to know the situation better."

McLaren driver Carlos Sainz was sixth, ahead of Sergio Perez in a Racing Point. Rounding out the top ten were Lando Norris of McLaren, Kevin Magnussen of Haas and Nico Hulkenberg in a Renault.


Wales edge Wallabies to end 28 years of World Cup misery

Wales Jonathan Davies celebrates with a teammate after Wales defeated Australia in their Rugby World Cup Pool D game at Tokyo Stadium in Tokyo, Japan, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Foster Niumata

Tokyo (AP) — Just minutes into the second half, the scoreboard defied belief to read WALES 26, AUSTRALIA 8, and deliriously happy Welsh fans broke out singing "How Great Thou Art."

Wales was playing great, indeed, in a packed and sticky Tokyo Stadium on Sunday, but it never pays to count Australia down and out.

Not with 36 minutes to go in a Rugby World Cup match, and not when 11 of the last 12 of these Wales-Wallabies contests have been heart-thumpingly close. In a mere pool match giving off all the intensity of a playoff, Australia came back hard, and another classic ensued.

Two converted tries and a penalty later, and Wales' lead was slashed from 18 points to just one with 12 minutes to go. Nobody was singing anymore.

Wales stopped the spree with a penalty to star replacement flyhalf Rhys Patchell in the 72nd minute. Of course, the Wallabies' comeback was far from done.

Several floodlights blew out to add to the pulsating drama, but in the faded light the Wallabies bent the Welsh defense but couldn't break it.

A knock-on at the Welsh 22 with seconds left finally settled the result on 29-25, and Wales celebrated beating the Wallabies in the Rugby World Cup for the first time in 28 years, and earned the inside track for winning their pool.

"These encounters usually bring out the best in both teams," Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones said. "We gave it everything."

Wales lost five straight World Cup matches to the Wallabies, including a quarterfinal and two pool deciders, and ended the streak with a clinical performance.

"It means the destiny of the pool is in our hands," Wales coach Warren Gatland said. He added he wasn't taking Fiji and Uruguay lightly, either.

Wales, the Six Nations champion, hit the ground running. Wallabies captain Michael Hooper received the kickoff and was mauled over by Wales, and Dan Biggar slotted a dropped goal after just 40 seconds. The game was back and forth but not as clean again for another 13 minutes, when Wales used a scrum penalty and an advantage to get position for Biggar to crosskick to the right corner, where center Hadleigh Parkes leaped over Australia winger Marika Koroibete to score.

Biggar converted for 10-0, but Koroibete came firing back with a surge down the left touch line that twisted up the defense for Bernard Foley to crosskick to the right, where Adam Ashley-Cooper took the catch, slipped, and still had time to dive over untouched. The tension caused Wallabies coach Michael Cheika to stand and punch the air.

Koroibete was just warming up. Another break down the left saw him heading for the tryline until Biggar hurled himself at the winger and knocked the ball loose.

"A real act of unbelievable bravery," Patchell said of Biggar's tackle.

But Biggar took a head knock that removed him from the game, and Patchell strolled in and had an immediate impact. He kicked two penalties, and put the Australians on notice from referee Romain Poite after he appeared to be hit in the neck by Samu Kerevi. Kerevi was harshly judged after his fend hit the chest and slipped up the upright Patchell's body. The video reviews took several minutes, and the decision left the Australian players confused.

Australia restarted 16-8 down and was stunned by Wales when scrumhalf Gareth Davies, who'd already picked off opposite Will Genia once, intercepted Genia again and ran 60 meters to the line.

Patchell's conversion gave Wales 10 points in two minutes, and a remarkable 23-8 lead at halftime, their biggest over Australia in 111 years.

Cheika sent in Matt To'omua for Foley, and Nic White soon after for Genia, and the replacements gave the team a pronounced, and more accurate, lift.

But Patchell had a dropped goal in him for 26-8, drawing Welsh fans into song.

The Wallabies started to get on song with To'omua and David Pocock setting up a try for fullback Dane Haylett-Petty, then the forwards going tight and scoring through Hooper from their third consecutive lineout maul.

To'omua converted both and landed a penalty for Australia to trail only 26-25. Yet another grandstand finish was on.

But it was Wales which scored next after George North knocked-on while jumping over Kurtley Beale in the in goal. Patchell landed his third penalty goal to give Wales a little breathing room, only for Australia to suck the air out of the stadium with another attack reaching the Wales quarter. Kerevi lost the ball in contact, and Wales had consecutive wins over Australia for the first time since 1975.

Two-time champion Australia, meanwhile, lost only its third pool game in Rugby World Cup history.

"If we had played for 90 minutes we might have won, we just gave them too much of a lead," To'omua said. "Once we relaxed and started playing we really felt like we had them on the legs."


Leicester routs Newcastle 5-0 to go 3rd in Premier League

Leicester's Ricardo Pereira celebrates after scoring the opening goal under heavy rain during the English Premier League soccer match between Leicester City and Newcastle United at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Associated Press

Leicester, England (AP) — Leicester climbed to third in the Premier League by routing 10-man Newcastle 5-0 on Sunday with Jamie Vardy bagging a second-half brace.

Leicester was on top from the moment Ricardo Pereira opened the scoring after 16 minutes and Isaac Hayden's red card on the stroke of halftime led to a miserable second half for Steve Bruce's struggling Magpies at King Power Stadium.

Vardy found the net either side of Paul Dummett's own-goal, before Wilfred Ndidi struck late as Leicester claimed its fourth win from the last five league matches, losing only against Manchester United.

The Foxes are a contender to break into at least the top-six this season — with 14 points from seven games so far — and were ruthless against the only team to defeat them at home since Brendan Rodgers took charge in February.

American defender DeAndre Yedlin made his first appearance for Newcastle since April after undergoing groin surgery, coming on in the 74th minute.

Leicester went ahead when Pereira played a one-two with Ayoze Perez — playing against his former club — and burst forward before side-footing the ball into the bottom corner.

Newcastle was reduced to 10 men with two minutes of the first half remaining.

Midfielder Hayden was dismissed for a dangerous tackle on Dennis Praet, with the decision standing following a VAR check.

Leicester made it 2-0 after 54 minutes. Praet sprayed the ball out wide to Harvey Barnes who cushioned a first-time pass over the top into the path of Vardy and he beat Martin Dubravka at his near post.

There was more misery for Newcastle shortly afterward when an attempted low cross from Praet was turned past his own goalkeeper by Dummett.

Vardy grabbed his second of the game and Leicester's fourth after 64 minutes when he nodded home Marc Albrighton's cross from the left.

Ndidi wrapped up an impressive victory for Leicester with a smart shot on the turn in the last minute.

Bruce called it a "bad, bad performance" with Newcastle in 19th place on five points.

Manchester United hosts Arsenal on Monday to complete the seventh round.



US loses 45-7 to England at rugby WCup and has man sent off

England's Joe Cokanasiga reacts after scoring a try during the Rugby World Cup Pool C game at Kobe Misaki Stadium, between England and the United States in Kobe, Japan, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Gerald Imray

Kobe, Japan (AP) — England pummeled the United States 45-7 Thursday in a rude welcome to the Rugby World Cup for the Americans, who had a man red-carded late to add to the second-heaviest loss at the tournament so far.

England scored seven tries in Kobe and nearly made the U.S. the first team to be kept scoreless after 12 games at Rugby World Cup 2019.

The Americans scored their only try nearly two minutes after the final hooter when replacement Bryce Campbell dived over near the posts following a wild passage of play filled with errors by both sides.

Campbell's try was still zero consolation for the Americans.

"It was a bit of a calamity in Kobe tonight," U.S. head coach Gary Gold said. "We were taught a lesson. We lost every single aspect of the game."

The U.S., the last team to make its debut in this World Cup, was also the first to have a man sent off and Gold's pre-match prediction that his team was facing a severe test against the 2003 World Cup winner proved correct.

Flanker John Quill flattened England's Owen Farrell in a high, no-arms tackle in the 70th minute for the red card offense, provoking a melee that involved nearly every player on the field. Quill was ordered off after referee Nic Berry checked video replays. Quill is the first American to get a red at a Rugby World Cup.

England coach Eddie Jones said Farrell, the team's regular captain but who came on as a replacement this game, was "missing part of his nose" after the hit.

Gold had no complaints about the ref's decision and Quill could be banned for the rest of the tournament, which looks like ending early again for a team that has never made the quarterfinals.

In exposing the Americans, England also enhanced its title credentials under Jones. England has scored 80 points and conceded 10 and just one try in its opening two games. The toughest tests do await for England, though, with Argentina and France — who are a different level to Tonga and the U.S. — its remaining pool games.

"We're in a good position. Can we play better? Yes. And we know we can," a smiling Jones said.

England ran in seven tries, the first in the sixth minute by stand-in captain and flyhalf George Ford, who ran the game and never let the Americans off the hook. He sliced through for the first try before forwards Billy Vunipola and Luke Cowan-Dickie crossed at the back of rolling mauls within eight minutes of each other for 19-0 at halftime.

The U.S. could do nothing to stop those mauls as they surged over the line with little resistance.

"It's a hell of a weapon if you can get it going," Ford said.

More than just the maul, the English had a dominant scrum and lineout, and also used a pinpoint kicking game to break down the Americans and open them up for England's backs to run through in the second half.

Wing Joe Cokanasiga secured the four-try bonus point early in the second half with the first of his two tries. The other wing, Ruaridh McConnochie, and flanker Lewis Ludlam also crossed.

England was breaking away down the right with a few minutes to go and headed for an eighth try and 50 points when play was called back for a head injury to U.S. fullback Will Hooley. Hooley was concussed, left on a stretcher and was in the hospital, Gold said.

Everything went wrong for the U.S., pretty much from start to finish.

In the first scrum of the game after two minutes, the American pack crumpled and promising 19-year-old prop David Ainu'u was left with an injured ankle. He limped straight off and was on crutches after the game.

Both him and Hooley won't play the next game against France, Gold said.

England, which even rested some of its top players, had nearly 80% of the territory and barely let the U.S. into its own half. The stats told the story: England made 157 ball carries. The U.S. made 58. England made 619 meters with ball in hand, the U.S. 231. Line breaks: 19-3.

But U.S. captain Blaine Scully insisted he wasn't demoralized by the result.

"Can't afford it, to be honest," he said. "We can't afford it. Our reaction is going to define us."


Italy scores 7 tries, routs Canada 48-7 at Rugby World Cup

Italys' Mattia Bellini runs past Canada's DTH van der Merwe during the Rugby World Cup Pool B match against Canada in Fukuoka, western Japan, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. (Keisuke Koito/Kyodo News via AP)

Associated Press

Fukuoka, Japan (AP) — Italy made it 14 tries in two Rugby World Cup wins and nearly 100 points scored after crushing Canada 48-7 on Thursday.

Only two missed conversions blotted a one-sided contest where Italy's forwards completely dominated to give the Azzurri a record margin of victory at the World Cup, surpassing the 53-17 victory over Russia eight years ago.

"I'm glad we were able to put on a bit of a show," said coach Conor O'Shea, who is rewarding his players with an "old school" night out since they have a long turnaround before facing South Africa.

"We've got eight days now and we can enjoy ourselves tonight. The boys will probably go longer than I will. But they need to release the energy. One of the mental challenges, when you play emotionally at this level, is to release all that energy."

They have cause to celebrate a little.

The win all but ensures Italy a 2023 World Cup-qualifying third place in Pool B unless Namibia and Canada can win twice - which means having to beat either New Zealand or South Africa to do so.

Canada next faces three-time champion New Zealand, the defending champion, on Wednesday and Italy takes on two-time winner South Africa two days later.

Italy was rusty last Sunday in beating Namibia 47-22, and eager to made amends.

"Looking on the last performance we were a bit scrappy. It looked a lot tighter and a lot better," Italy's England-born flanker Jake Polledri said. "That's our philosophy, (to) play without fear, and that's what we did today."

Quick tries came from No. 8 Braam Steyn and lock Dean Budd, the stand-in captain for Sergio Parisse.

Both were converted by flyhalf Tommaso Allan, who added a penalty to help Italy lead 17-0 at the interval.

Flanker Sebastian Negri's converted try made it 24-0 shortly after the break.

A penalty try; one try each from winger Mattia Bellini and replacement prop Federico Zani, and a late effort from impressive fullback Matteo Minozzi concluded the rout.

"We gave too many penalties away and allowed Italy into areas we didn't want," Canada coach Kingsley Jones said. "They are a very good side and they punished us."

Fullback Andrew Coe got a consolation try for Canada, which lost all four group matches at the last World Cup.

"I don't think anyone had anything left in the tank, we gave it everything we've got," Canada No. 8 Tyler Ardron said. "All credit to Italy, they exposed us when they had their chances and we didn't finish ours off."

In humid conditions at Fukuoka's Hakatanomori Stadium, it was not long before Steyn bulldozed over from the scrum after great work from Polledri — who stood with 16 carries, four offloads and 14 defenders beaten.

When the sides met four years ago at the World Cup, it was Canada racing 10-0 ahead and Italy storming back to win.

But there seemed little chance of a Canada comeback. From a ruck, scrumhalf Callum Braley fed Budd and he broke a weak tackle.

Canada's most dangerous move of the opening half ended with a clumsy knock on. Ardron and replacement flanker Matt Heaton botched a basic 2-on-1 because Heaton dropped the pass with a try under the crossbar beckoning.

More fine work from Polledri led to Negri's first try for Italy.

Then, after hooker Luca Bigi had a try ruled out for not grounding the ball, Italy was given a penalty try when Heaton illegally sacked a maul. He got sinbinned and Bellini soon got the fifth try when the irrepressible Polledri set him up.

With 64 minutes played, an Ardron try for Canada was disallowed by referee Nigel Owens because a review showed a forward pass off the arm of center Ben Lesage.

Canada finally scored when flyhalf Peter Nelson set up Coe, who beat Italy's covering defense with a neat sidestep.

Nelson converted well to cheers from the neutrals in the crowd of 22,000.


Hot pursuit: Athletes chase world medals in sweltering Qatar

Botsawna's Christine Botlogetswe exercises in the heat during a training session prior to the start of the World Athletics Championships at the Qatar Sports Club in Doha, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

Pat Graham and Eddie Pells

Doha, Qatar (AP) — Marathons at midnight. Training sessions in saunas. Cooling vests packed with ice. Air conditioners humming inside an outdoor stadium.

Coaches, athletes and event organizers have been at their creative best in an attempt to beat the heat at world championships in Qatar. For 10 days, athletes will run, throw and jump in the desert, where the 100-degree temperatures (38 Celsius) and 70 percent humidity will be every bit as fierce as anyone they line up against.

It will be a track meet like no other — good practice for next year's Olympics in Tokyo, which is expected to be every bit as much of a sizzler — and quite a challenge for the nearly 2,000 participants descending on Doha to go for gold, silver and bronze in some of the most extreme conditions they've ever faced.

"I've never raced in heat at this level," American marathoner Roberta Groner said.

Organizers scheduled both marathons — beginning with Friday's women's event — to start a minute before midnight, and for the race walks to kick off at 11:30 p.m., figuring that pounding the streets under floodlights was better than doing it under the broiling sun.

This week, the sea breeze kicking off the Persian Gulf has actually made it more humid at night — it was 90 degrees (32 C) with 69 percent humidity and a real-feel temperature of 104 (40 C) at midnight Thursday — and the question has now become whether they've simply traded one problem for another.

"The thing with these athletes, they don't know when to stop. They're too competitive," said associate professor of physiology Santiago Lorenzo, a former Olympic decathlete who has done studies on the effects of heat on athletes. "They'll keep running until they drop. So the organizing committee, they have to make sure they think about the safety of their runners."

IAAF president Sebastian Coe bristled at the notion that taking world championships to the desert in September was folly, and wouldn't bite when asked about speculation that more than half of Friday night's 70-woman field might not finish the race. He said there will be more water, and more medical staff, on the course. Everyone will be keeping a keen eye open for signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

"We want as many people to finish in as good a shape as possible," Coe said. "The medical team will be very alert. The heat is not the big issue. Anyone who has run or competed knows you can deal with heat, but humidity is a challenge."

Qatar retrofitted Khalifa International Stadium, an open-roof venue, with air conditioning — one piece of this country's plan to become a big-time host of major sporting events. The World Cup soccer tournament will be there in three years, and the track championships will offer an instructive glimpse into how the system works at one of Doha's crown-jewel venues.

"It was very, very nice in here compared to the walk from the car into the stadium," American steeplechaser Emma Coburn said during a news conference Wednesday inside the 48,000-seat stadium.

Indeed, temperatures inside are a good 20 degrees cooler than in the parking lot.

And still, adjustments are being made.

One example comes from an unlikely place: Shot putter Ryan Crouser said he's been running hot water over the shots before he brings them outside for practice so they won't get slick with condensation.

"We've been heating them up to 100 degrees to get them above the dew point," Crouser said.

The U.S. and other countries are keeping ice-filled cooling vests at the ready, while some teams are sending their athletes into saunas as part of a training regimen designed to prepare them for the conditions.

After a recent practice, distance runner Molly Huddle posted a picture of the readings on her phone.

Humidity: 80%. Dew point: 83%. Feels like: 112 F (44 C).

The time was 9:32 p.m.

Also on social media, a tweet from Nigerian discus thrower Chioma Onyekwere: "Heading to my first practice in Doha. Hoping the heat won't be the end of me."

The IAAF has done away with its tradition of holding both day and night sessions, instead choosing to pack all the action into the evening hours and avoid the daytime highs, which can still approach 105 (40 C), even in early fall.

Nobody will stay up later than the marathoners.

American Andrew Epperson, an assistant cross country coach at Colorado State, will keep his body clock on Colorado time, traveling to Doha only a few days before the men's marathon, which takes place Oct. 5. He's been practicing at 3 p.m. in Colorado — when it's midnight in Doha. His plan is to not adjust to the local time, and instead just fly in, stay on his normal time and then compete.

"I'm pretty familiar with humidity and burning and some warm conditions," Epperson cracked. He grew up in Houston.

Meanwhile, Groner, the American marathoner who races Friday night, wore tights and two long-sleeved shirts on her recent training runs in New Jersey.

Thankfully, headlamps won't be required. The marathon course is set on a well-lit, looped path along the waterfront of Doha. The backdrop is the city's tableau of futuristic skyscrapers, giving the TV cameras a chance to capture some cool looking scenery despite the stifling heat.

Back inside the stadium, the air conditioning will run full steam during the day to keep things cool, then be turned off when actual competition starts, lest the currents affect the sprinters, or blow a javelin or discus off line.

Different, for sure. But not enough to faze high jumper Vashti Cunningham. She trains in the desert climes of Las Vegas and recently won the U.S. title during a broiling weekend in Des Moines, Iowa.

"But there's hotter to come," Cunningham said.

Track at the Tokyo Olympics starts July 31, 2020. The temperature there on July 31, 2019 was 95 degrees (35 C).


Scott, Landry share first-round lead at Safeway Open

Adam Scott, of Australia, follows his shot out of a bunker onto the seventh green of the Silverado Resort North Course during the first round of the Safeway Open PGA golf tournament Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, in Napa, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Michael Wagaman

Napa, Calif. (AP) — Slow starts plagued Adam Scott last season, a prime reason the former No. 1 player in the world was winless despite solid overall numbers. After taking a brief break, the 39-year-old Australian is back and emphasizing quicker, more aggressive starts.

Andrew Landry is just looking for a jump-start after missing the cuts in the first two events of the PGA Tour this season.

Scott and Landry shot 7-under 65 on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Safeway Open.

Francesco Molinari and Matthew NeSmith were a stroke back. Cameron Champ, Adam Long and Chris Baker shot 67.

Playing in the morning pairings at Silverado Country Club, Scott had six birdies and an eagle to make up for an early bogey. Landry teed off 4 1/2 hours later and played bogey-free with seven birdies.

"This is a nice way to start," Scott said. "I would like to have a lead going into Sunday and see what I can produce, to be honest. I've been four and five back. It's a lot to ask all the time when you're as far behind as I kind of was."

Ranked 15th in the world, Scott hasn't won on the PGA Tour since taking the Honda Classic and World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship in consecutive weeks in 2016. Since then he has been up and down the scoreboard, frequently scurrying to catch up in the latter rounds after getting off to sluggish starts.

That wasn't the case in Scott's season debut.

Despite having only played two rounds previously at the picturesque, 7,166-yard course, he had four birdies on the front nine to compensate for a bogey on No. 13. After birdying two of the first three on the back nine, Scott drained a 53-foot putt for eagle on the 566-yard, par-5 fifth.

"Fun to kind of keep the momentum going and get the most out of the round," Scott said. "If I had complaints about last season, I didn't get the most out of my good rounds or my good weeks. Today felt like I kind of got the most out of myself."

Scott saved par after his drive went into a green-side bunker on No. 7, made another par on No. 8, then narrowly missed a birdie and three-putted for par on No. 9 to close out his day.

Landry had five birdies on the front nine. The Valero Texas Open winner last year, he saved par after going into the bunker on the second hole of the back nine, then birdied Nos. 5 and 8 to get to 7 under.

"I was rolling the ball so well that I just figured, hey, I can make a lot of putts right now," Landry said. "That's kind of what I did all day. Ball-striking wasn't as good as I wanted but the putting was there and made up for it."

Former NFL quarterback and current CBS analyst Tony Romo opened with a 70. Romo is playing on a sponsor exemption. If he makes the cut, he will skip Sunday's NFL broadcast in Chicago between the Bears and Minnesota Vikings.

Defending tournament champion Kevin Tway, Justin Thomas and FedEx Cup points leader Sebastian Munoz were in the group at 71. Munoz three-putted two par 3s to offset three birdies.

Phil Mickelson shot 75, making a quadruple-bogey 9 on the par-5 fifth. Jim Furyk also had a 75.



Uruguay shocks Fiji 30-27 at Rugby World Cup

Uruguay's players celebrate with the crowd after beating Fiji in their Rugby World Cup Pool D match in Kamaishi, northeastern Japan, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (Naoya Osato/Kyodo News via AP)

Associated Press

Kamaishi, Japan (AP) — Uruguay pulled off one of the Rugby World Cup's largest upsets when it beat Fiji 30-27 in a match laden with significance for the disaster-ravaged town in which it was played on Wednesday.

Only days after coming close to a shock result when it led Australia 14-12 at halftime before losing 39-21, 10th-ranked Fiji found itself on the wrong end of a larger surprise, going down for the first time in four meetings to the 19th-ranked Los Teros.

Fiji scored first but Uruguay scored three first-half tries to lead 24-12 by halftime. Flyhalf Felipe Berchesi kicked two penalties to keep his team in front throughout the second half, finishing with three conversions and three penalties for 15 points.

His last penalty, in the 75th minute, gave Uruguay an eight-point lead and proved decisive in securing only its third win at a World Cup, its first in 16 years. Uruguay's other wins were over Georgia and Spain.

"I was thinking to myself to treat it just like in training, as if the stadium was empty," Berchesi said. "I had cramps in my legs so I focused on kicking like I do in training, and aiming for the middle, inside the posts. It went through, luckily."

Fiji threw everything at Uruguay in an effort to wrest back control of the game in the second half but its most ambitious attempts failed through passing and handling errors and it paid dearly for poor goalkicking by Josh Matavesi and Ben Volavola.

A try after the fulltime siren to Niko Matawalu - his second of the match, which typically went unconverted - was enough to earn Fiji two losing bonus points. But the result severely jeopardized its hopes of winning a place in the knockout rounds.

"It is going to be challenging for us," Fiji coach John McKee said. "We are relying a lot on other points now and, for us, we just have to focus on our match against Georgia in eight days.

"That is the only focus for us now, to play well in that match and win the game and, if we can, securing the bonus point."

Asked if his team had taken Uruguay too lightly, McKee said, "I hope that we didn't." Fiji captain Dominiko Waqaniburotu said they did: "We underestimated a very good Uruguay team, congratulations to them."

The match was one of the most thrilling in World Cup history, full of dramatic twists and turns and brought to life by the indomitable spirit of the Uruguay team which was given a slim chance of upsetting star-studded Fiji.

"I'm really proud of my country, we're not the biggest or tallest but we came here to win, we have been preparing for four years," Uruguay head coach Esteban Meneses said. "We've never had anything granted, we always have to qualify first and you saw the passion."

Uruguay is the youngest team at the tournament, an assembly of home-based players who mostly are semi-professional and can't match the array of global stars which Fiji has at its disposal.

It played with magnificent discipline and organization to exploit Fiji's errors and lead through most of the first half after conceding an opening try after only eight minutes.

It then showed extraordinary spirit to hold out Fiji as it mounted attack after attack in the late stages of the second half. The Uruguay players looked close to exhaustion and emptied their bench by the end of the third quarter.

But it continued to defend with unshakeable courage, led by captain Juan Manuel Gaminara who tackled himself to a standstill.

Fiji was denied a try in the 80th minute when replacement flyhalf Volavola lost the ball just short of the line. Matawalu then scored the final try but it came too late to shift the result.

Fiji scored twice early through hooker Mesulame Dolokoto and prop Eroni Mawi and from what appeared to be set moves. But Uruguay produced magnificent responses through scrumhalf Santiago Arana and and back-rower Diana before a try to Juan Manuel Cat ensured they led at halftime.

Fiji cut into the lead with a try to Tevita Ratuva but Berchesi kept his tiring team ahead.

The match brought consolation and new life to a fishing town struck eight years ago by a ruinous earthquake and tsunami.

It seemed almost all of the town's population of 35,000 were in attendance, along with Japan's Crown Prince Akishino.

Prior to kickoff at the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium both teams observed a minute of silence for the more than 1,000 people from the town who lost their lives. The March 11, 2011 tsunami destroyed 30 percent of homes, 60 percent of businesses, and the stadium is built on the site of two schools destroyed by the wave.

The somber note quickly passed, giving way to a celebration of rugby and of the town's spirit.


United survive scare against lowly Rochdale in League Cup

Rochdale's Ian Henderson, left, and Manchester United's Axel Tuanzebe battle for the ball during their English League Cup, Third Round soccer match at Old Trafford, Manchester, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (Richard Sellers/PA via AP)

Steve Douglas

Manchester (AP) - Manchester United narrowly avoided one of the most embarrassing cup exits in the club’s history, only beating third-tier struggler Rochdale in a penalty shootout after conceding a goal to a 16-year-old school kid in normal time.

On a night when top-flight teams West Ham, Bournemouth and Sheffield United were eliminated by lower-division opposition in the third round of the English League Cup, United had a major let-off at Old Trafford despite fielding a lineup containing Paul Pogba and $60-million offseason signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Rochdale, which is languishing in 17th place in the 24-team League One, had a shot cleared off the line before going behind to a goal by 17-year-old United striker Mason Greenwood. He wasn't even the youngest player to score in the match, with Luke Matheson — playing the 14th game of his professional career at a ground close to his high school — equalizing in the 76th minute to take the game to penalties.

United converted all its spot kicks in the shootout and won it 5-3. The reward: A fourth-round trip to Chelsea, which had a much easier time in dispatching fourth-tier Grimsby 7-1 at home.

The performance and result highlighted United's lack of strength in depth this season, though Greenwood continues to be a bright spark. He scored for a second straight match at Old Trafford, having grabbed the winner against Astana in the Europa League last week.

With Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial currently injured, Greenwood could be set for an extended run in the team under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has described the youngster as one of the best finishers he has ever seen.

HUMILIATION FOR THE HAMMERS

Oxford, which plays in the third tier, rested six of its regular players but still thrashed West Ham 4-0 in an embarrassing result for the team that beat Man United in the Premier League at the weekend.

All of Oxford's goals came in the second half at Kassam Stadium.

Third-tier Burton Albion beat Bournemouth 2-0 in a match featuring three floodlight failures that led to 28 minutes of second-half stoppage time being played, and Sheffield United lost 1-0 at home to third-tier Sunderland.

Brighton was the fourth Premier League team to lose Wednesday, beaten 3-1 at home to fellow top-flight side Aston Villa.

LIVERPOOL THROUGH

It was a memorable night for two teenagers for Liverpool.

At 17 years and 250 days, Ki-Jana Hoever became the fourth youngest scorer for the club when he headed in the second goal in the 2-0 win at MK Dons. It followed the opener by James Milner, one of the senior players in an otherwise weakened lineup fielded by manager Jurgen Klopp.

Harvey Elliott also played for Liverpool, becoming the youngest player to start a competitive match for Liverpool at 16 years and 174 days.

FOURTH-ROUND DRAW

Aston Villa vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers

Everton vs. Watford

Burton Albion vs. Leicester

Manchester City vs. Southampton

Chelsea vs. Manchester United

Crawley vs. Colchester

Liverpool vs. Arsenal

Oxford vs. Sunderland


Brewers beat Reds 9-2 to clinch playoff spot

Milwaukee Brewers' Eric Thames runs the bases after hitting a solo home run off Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Tyler Mahle during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Associated Press

Cincinnati (AP) — The Milwaukee Brewers wrapped up their second straight postseason appearance Wednesday night, with Ryan Braun's grand slam sparking a 9-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds that also tightened the NL Central race.

The Brewers have won six in a row and 17 of 19 despite losing MVP Christian Yelich to a broken kneecap, vaulting from also-ran to at least a wild card. There's more at their fingertips — the division-leading Cardinals lost again, slicing their lead over the Brewers to 1 1/2 games.

Milwaukee trails Washington by one game for the wild card lead.

The Brewers jogged onto the field and formed a scrum by second base after when Junior Guerra got Christian Colon on a grounder for the final out.

Braun had a solo shot in a 4-2 win in the series opener, and got the celebration started early Wednesday with his eighth career grand slam in the first inning. Teammates were on their feet, leaning against the dugout railing in anticipation of a big night, when he connected off Tyler Mahle (2-12). When Eric Thames followed with another homer, Brewers players jubilantly smacked the green padding atop the dugout railing. Keston Hiura also connected off Mahle.

Starter Jordan Lyles (12-8) contributed an infield single and scored a run during the Brewers' surge to an 8-1 lead after three innings.

Lyles gave up Eugenio Suárez's 49th homer, which moved him ahead of Mike Schmidt and Adrián Beltré for the modern NL record by a third baseman. George Foster holds the club record of 52 in 1977.

TWINS 5, TIGERS 1

DETROIT (AP) — Randy Dobnak allowed one hit in six innings, and Luis Arraez and Eddie Rosario homered to lead Minnesota past Detroit and put the Twins on the cusp of the AL Central title.

Minnesota clinched at least a tie for the division, and the Twins had a chance to wrap up the title outright if Cleveland lost to the Chicago White Sox later Wednesday.

Dobnak (2-1) allowed no scoring after an unearned run in the first. Arraez hit a two-run homer in the seventh off Drew VerHagen (4-3). Nelson Cruz added an RBI single in the eighth, and Rosario's two-run shot that inning made it 5-1.

NATIONALS 5, PHILLIES 3

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wilmer Difo drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the seventh inning and Anibal Sanchez pitched seven solid innings to help Washington beat Philadelphia.

The Nationals maintained a one-game lead over Milwaukee in the race for the top NL wild card.

Washington faced a 2-1 deficit when Asdrubal Cabrera singled and Yan Gomes doubled with one out in the seventh. Victor Robles followed with a sacrifice fly that tied it. Difo, who was making his first start since May 16, followed with a single to right-center off reliever Mike Morin (1-3) that scored Gomes.

Howie Kendrick and Brian Dozier homered for the Nationals. Sanchez (11-8) allowed two runs and six hits, striking out seven without a walk. Sean Doolittle earned his first save since a stint on the injured list. He pitched a scoreless ninth for his 29th save in 35 attempts and first since Aug. 16.

Brad Miller homered for the Phillies.

DIAMONDBACKS 9, CARDINALS 7

PHOENIX (AP) — Pinch-hitter Paul Goldschmidt grounded into a game-ending double play with two runners on the base and NL Central-leading St. Louis fell short in a ninth-inning rally against Arizona.

St. Louis and Arizona were back on the field about 11 hours after the Diamondbacks' 3-2 victory in 19 innings, a game that took nearly seven hours. Cardinals starter Michael Wacha was pulled in the second inning with tightness in his right shoulder.

Errors by rookie third baseman Tommy Edman and catcher Matt Wieters helped Arizona score seven times in the sixth for a 9-5 lead. Wilmer Flores homered during the burst.

The Cardinals loaded the bases with one out in the ninth and Matt Wieters hit a two-run single. Goldschmidt, who homered in the first two games of the series in his return to the desert, hit a grounder off former and teammate Archie Bradley and Arizona turned two to end it.

Merrill Kelly (13-14) exited trailing 5-2 after six innings and wound up with the win. Bradley got his 17th save. Reliever Junior Fernandez (0-1) took the loss. Cardinals rookie outfielder Randy Arozarena hit his first major league home run, stole home and threw out a runner at third base.

PIRATES 4, CUBS 2

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The collapsing Chicago Cubs were eliminated from playoff contention shortly before losing their eighth straight game, falling to Pittsburgh.

Back-to-back wild pitches by David Phelps in the eighth inning enabled Pittsburgh to score the winning run. Just before Phelps' bout with wildness, Milwaukee clinched the second NL wild card with a victory at Cincinnati. The Cubs will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

Chicago's skid included four one-run defeats at the hands of NL Central-leading St. Louis last weekend.

Phelps entered in relief with the score tied 2-2 and walked Pablo Reyes to put runners on first and second with one out. José Osuna drew a walk from Brad Wieck (1-2) before scoring on the wild pitches, and Erik González added a sacrifice fly.

Michael Feliz (4-4) pitched the eighth, and Keone Kela worked the ninth for his first save.

METS 10, MARLINS 3

NEW YORK (AP) — Pete Alonso hit his major league-high 51st home run, one short of the rookie record, and Jacob deGrom made his last overpowering pitch for a repeat Cy Young Award as New York routed Miami in an easy win that wasn't enough to keep the Mets in the playoff hunt.

New York was eliminated from the NL wild-card race when Milwaukee secured the league's final postseason berth by completing a 9-2 victory in Cincinnati as the Mets batted in the eighth.

Alonso hit a three-run shot off rookie Robert Dugger (0-4) to make it 7-0 in the second. In his final scheduled start of the season, deGrom (11-8) got some rare extensive run support and allowed only two hits in seven shutout innings. He walked one and struck out seven to increase his NL-leading total to 255.

RAYS 4, YANKEES 0

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Charlie Morton and the Tampa Bay bullpen combined on a one-hitter and the Rays held their lead in the AL wild-card race, beating New York.

Tampa Bay began the night in the second wild-card spot, a half-game ahead of Cleveland and a half-game behind Oakland. The Rays swept a two-game series from the 102-win Yankees, holding them to DJ LeMahieu's soft, clean single to right field with two outs in the sixth inning off Morton (16-6).

New York started the day 1 1/2 games in back of Houston for the best record in the majors.

Morton struck out nine and walked three in six innings. Four relievers finished it out for the Rays.

Joey Wendle homered on the third pitch from opener Jonathan Loaisiga (2-2).

BLUE JAYS 3, ORIOLES 2

TORONTO (AP) — Rowdy Tellez hit two solo home runs, Jacob Waguespack pitched six shutout innings and Toronto beat Baltimore.

Tellez hit a leadoff drive against right-hander Gabriel Ynoa (1-10) in the fourth, then followed up with an opposite-field shot off left-hander Paul Fry to begin the sixth.

Billy McKinney got Toronto started with the first leadoff home run of his career, lining Ynoa's second pitch of the game over the wall in right. Waguespack (5-5) allowed four hits, all singles.

Ken Giles struck out the side in the ninth for his 22nd save.


Errol Spence wants to show he's best welterweight in world

Errol Spence Jr. has the opportunity on Saturday at Staples Center in Los Angeles to remind those who question his résumé why he is so highly regarded. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Tim Dahlberg

Los Angeles (AP) - Errol Spence is in an enviable position as he returns to the ring Saturday night in a welterweight title fight against Shawn Porter.

There's a possible fight with Manny Pacquiao looming. Perhaps a fight with fellow champion Terence Crawford after that.

And, of course, millions of dollars to be made.

Titles count in boxing, even as fans complain that there are way too many. And Spence suddenly finds himself with a lot of attractive options as he goes about trying to collect the major belts in what could be a series of blockbuster fights.

"There's no shortage of guys to fight," Spence said. "Some guys have belts and it's time for me to get to work. Next year will be a real busy year."

Spence will try to get one of those belts when he meets Porter at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It will be the second straight pay-per-view fight for the undefeated welterweight champion, and one that could serve as a table setter for even bigger fights to come.

It's not exactly the 1980s, when Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran were fighting each other and the 147-pound weight class was the most exciting in boxing. But Spence sees some similarities as he goes about trying to make himself a household name in boxing.

"Throughout history I feel the welterweight division has always been one of, if not the most, talented weight class," he said. "You've got guys that are fast, guys who can punch, guys with quick feet who are all around athletic. It's always been the golden division in boxing."

Spence is a big favorite to beat Porter, an awkward and aggressive fighter who owns a piece of the 147-pound crown himself, as he returns to the ring for the first time since his dominating win in March over Mikey Garcia before a crowd of more than 47,000 in Dallas. Spence threw a career-high 1082 punches in that fight, easily winning a decision and delivering Garcia his first loss.

It was the latest in a series of spectacular performances for the 2012 U.S. Olympian, who is undefeated in 25 fights with 21 knockouts. Fighting at home he proved he could draw a crowd, and with his second straight pay-per-view fight he's trying to prove he can draw big bucks on TV, too.

He and the unbeaten Crawford — both of whom are near the top of everyone's pound-for-pound best list — would appear to be on a collision course for a mega fight, but this is boxing and nothing big ever comes easy. Spence is aligned with Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions while Crawford is promoted by Bob Arum, and the two don't do business.

But a resurgent Pacquiao is available, a fight that Spence says can sell out AT&T Stadium in Texas, and Crawford could come after that if boxing politics can be settled.

"At some point we'll meet definitely," Spence said. "The pot keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger, so it will happen eventually."

For now, though, there is more immediate business on the line. Porter is a champion in his own right and presents a challenge, even though oddsmakers in Porter's hometown of Las Vegas make Spence a 9-1 favorite.

"Shawn Porter will try to make it dirty and rough so I've got to be focused," Spence said. "I think you make adjustments as it comes. There's going to be swings in the fight and some things may go his way, some may go mine."


Samoa manages yellow cards, beats Russia at Rugby World Cup

Samoa's Alapati Leiua runs past Russia's Vasily Artemyev to score a try during the Rugby World Cup Pool A game between Russia and Samoa at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Kumagaya City, Japan, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. Samoa defeated Russia 34-9. (AP Photo/Jae Hong)

Foster Niumata

Kumagaya, Japan (AP) — Samoa accounted for Russia 34-9 in an incident-packed Rugby World Cup match that featured three yellow cards that could easily have been red.

The difference was in how they managed their yellows on a tropical evening Tuesday that felt more like Apia than Moscow.

While down to 13 men for eight minutes in the first half, Samoa didn't concede a point.

While Russia was down a man, it conceded 14.

Fielding the same squad just four days after losing the tournament opener to Japan hurt the Russians, who were game but ran out of energy. The Bears ended up missing 44 tackles as Manu Samoa, fresh in their first game of the tournament, made 11 breaks and ran free in the second half where they scored five of their six tries.

"It wasn't a physical deterioration, it was mental," Russia coach Lyn Jones said.

Samoa drew the first points attacking from a lineout. Fullback Tim Nanai-Williams gave an overlap to right wing Alapati Leiua, who stepped the cover and was in.

But Russia rallied with penalties by flyhalf Yuri Kushnarev to lead 6-5, and Samoa reacted badly.

In a two-minute span, center Rey Lee-Lo and hooker Motu Matu'u were sin-binned for shoulder-led hits at the head of Russia fullback and captain Vasily Artemyev. They weren't red cards from referee Romain Poite because both times Artemyev ducked down to brace for impacts.

Samoa coach Steve Jackson said the problem wasn't discipline but tackle technique, and the players should know better.

"We didn't learn from last weekend with people being cited," Jackson said. "We've got to be better in that area."

Jackson did see some positives, though, in how his team responded.

"We didn't let (Russia) score, so I'm really proud of them in terms of defense," he said. "We knew when we came out at half-time and the boys were still fresh, it was very positive. Then I'm just glad we got over the line."

Russia couldn't make the two-man advantage pay, being forced back into its own half. Not until right near halftime, when Samoa had 14 men, did Russia threaten, and only after Nanai-Williams spilled a high ball inside his 22.

Flyhalf Tusi Pisi was charged down by Vladimir Ostroushko and the ball fell in goal about a foot in front of his despairing dive. Pisi then had to make a try-saving tackle on lock Bogdan Fedotko, who spilled the ball within touching distance of the tryline.

Russia, playing a Pacific Island side for the first time, incredibly led into halftime, but the lead evaporated within five minutes of the interval.

A sweeping move full of offloads put Samoa No. 8 Afaesetiti Amosa over the line, but only after he was hooked around the neck by Russia prop Kirill Gotovtseva. Amosa twisted his right knee and had to be carried off without seeing Gotovtseva issued a yellow card.

Samoa had the lead back at 10-6, though it would have been more if Pisi, Samoa's oldest World Cup player at 37, was more accurate off the kicking tee.

Kushnarev showed him how with a cool dropped goal to cut the deficit to one, but Russia was down to 14 men and flagging, and Samoa was energized by more fresh legs off the bench.

A no-look pass by replacement hooker Ray Niuia put winger Ed Fidow through the defense and around behind the posts to give Pisi an easier shot at goal.

Then just four minutes later, Fidow's second try — and 10th in nine tests — earned Samoa a bonus point.

Lee-Lo scored the fifth try from a lineout attack with the final pass from Pisi. And after holding out a sustained 10-minute attack from the Russians, Samoa rubbed it in with a sixth try from a scrum on halfway. Leiua fended off one defender and high-stepped out of another to score his second try, and Pisi landed his second goalkick from seven attempts.

Both teams travel to Kobe. Samoa plays Scotland on Monday, while Russia has a nine-day break before facing Ireland.


Spurs ousted from English League Cup by 4th-tier Colchester

Tottenham Hotspur's Eric Dier, right, shields the ball from Colchester United's Luke Gambin during an English League Cup soccer match at the JobServe Community Stadium, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, in Colchester, England. (Joe Giddens/PA via AP)

Steve Douglas

London (AP) - Tottenham was eliminated from the English League Cup by fourth-tier Colchester after a penalty shootout on Tuesday, an embarrassing loss amid a tough season for a team that was playing in a Champions League final less than four months ago.

Christian Eriksen saw his spot kick saved and Lucas Moura struck the crossbar in the shootout for Spurs, who lost 4-3 on penalties after being held 0-0 after 90 minutes. They have won only two of their eight games in all competitions this season, continuing a slump in form that stretches back to February.

The exception in that period was the improbable run in the Champions League, when the team beat Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City and Ajax to reach the final before losing to Liverpool.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, who has yet to win a trophy since taking over in 2014, spoke publicly early this season about agitation in the squad and his concerns about team spirit, with Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen among the senior players to have been left out for big matches.

Colchester, which is 71 places below Tottenham in English soccer's pyramid, beat Premier League team Crystal Palace on penalties in the previous round before handing Tottenham its most humiliating loss under Pochettino.

"That's the beauty of the competition, always something can happen," said Pochettino, who played a weakened team that still featured established internationals like Dele Alli and Davinson Sanchez. "We wanted to go further but we are out."

There were no shocks elsewhere in the third round for top-flight teams, with Manchester City, Arsenal and Leicester among those racking up big wins.

CITY STROLL

Looking to win the League Cup for a third straight season, Man City began its title defense with a 3-0 win at second-tier Preston.

City manager Pep Guardiola rotated heavily but still included some of his big names, with two of them — Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus — scoring. There was also an own-goal.

"They treat the (cup) the same way as the Champions League," Preston manager Alex Neil. "That's why they're champions. It's always nice to come up against the best."

MARTINELLI MAKES MARK

Gabriel Martinelli, an 18-year-old Brazilian forward, made his first competitive start for Arsenal and marked it by scoring two goals in a 5-0 win over second-tier Nottingham Forest.

Signed from Brazilian club Ituano during the offseason, Martinelli showed why he is highly rated in his homeland by heading home powerfully for his first goal and then finding the top corner to complete the scoring in stoppage time.

Rob Holding, Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson also scored, while there was a belated debut for left back Kieran Tierney, who joined from Celtic in the offseason but has been out with a groin injury.

BIG WINS

Leicester won 4-0 at second-tier Luton, Southampton won by the same scoreline at south-coast rival Portsmouth, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored two early goals for Everton in its 2-0 win at second-tier Sheffield Wednesday.

Watford responded to its chastening 8-0 loss to Man City in the Premier League on Saturday by beating second-tier Swansea 2-1, with Danny Welbeck scoring his first goal since an offseason move from Arsenal.

Liverpool and Manchester United are among the teams in action on Wednesday, when the draw for the fourth round will be made.


Brewers inch closer to playoff berth with 4-2 win over Reds

 

Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Adrian Houser throws during the second inning of the team's baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Joe Kay

Cincinnati (AP) — Ryan Braun added to his record total of homers at Great American Ball Park, and the Milwaukee Brewers moved a step closer to a wild-card berth Tuesday night, beating the Cincinnati Reds 4-2 for their fifth win in a row.

Just like last season, when Milwaukee put on a late rush to take the NL Central title, the Brewers have closed in on a playoff spot with a September flourish. They've won 16 of 18, positioning themselves for one of the NL wild cards along with Washington. Their clinching number was down to two after the latest win.

With 2018 National League MVP Christian Yelich sidelined by a broken right kneecap, the Brewers have turned to their deep bullpen and different combinations of hitting stars each night. Milwaukee has the best record in the majors in September at 18-4.

Braun connected for his 21st homer off Sonny Gray (11-8), making the final start of his All-Star season. Braun's 27 homers at Great American are the most by a visiting player.

Braun has been a solid contributor lately, going 9 for 21 in his last seven games. He also singled off Gray, who went five innings and fanned six to top 200 strikeouts for the first time in his career. Yasmani Grandal's double tied it at 2 in the third, and Keston Hiura put the Brewers ahead to stay with a sacrifice fly.

Brewers starter Adrian Houser gave up a broken-bat RBI double by Aristides Aquino and a run-scoring single by Tucker Barnhart in the first inning. The Reds lead the majors with 128 runs and 125 RBIs in the first inning.

Brent Suter (4-0) allowed three hits in three innings. Josh Hader allowed a pair of hits in the ninth before fanning Kyle Farmer for his 36th save in 42 chances.

UP NEXT

Brewers: Jordan Lyles (11-8) is 6-1 with a 2.35 ERA in 10 starts with Milwaukee, which got him from Pittsburgh on July 29.

Reds: Tyler Mahle (2-11) hasn't won since May 31, but has been a victim of a blown save in two of his last four starts.


Injured Bumrah ruled out of test series against South Africa

 

India's Jasprit Bumrah, right, shares a light moment with fellow cricketer Rishabh Pant during a training session ahead of their last T20 cricket match against South Africa in Bangalore, India, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

Associated Press

New Delhi (AP) — Indian fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah has been ruled out of the home test series against South Africa due to a minor stress fracture in his lower back.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India says in a statement on Tuesday that Bumrah's injury was revealed "during a routine radiological screening" and is being replaced by Umesh Yadav.

The three-test series begins at Visakhapatnam on Oct. 2 followed by test matches at Pune and Ranchi.

Bumrah's injury is a severe blow to India as the fast bowler has claimed 62 wickets in 12 test matches at an average of 19.24 since making his test debut against South Africa at Cape Town in 2018.

It would have been Bumrah's first home test series, having played all of his 12 test matches in South Africa, England, Australia and the West Indies.


Wales score 6 tries, beat Georgia 43-14 at Rugby World Cup

Wales Justin Tipuric dives over the line to score his side's second try during the Rugby World Cup Pool D game between Wales and Georgia at Toyota City Stadium, Toyota City, Japan, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Jerome Pugmire

Toyota, Japan (AP) — Wales opened its Rugby World Cup campaign by beating Georgia 43-14 on Monday in a contest which became much more even in the second half.

The Six Nations champion had the result — and four-tries bonus point — locked up by halftime at 29-0. A giant win seemed inevitable but Wales' intensity dropped while Georgia's pride drove it to split the four tries in the second half.

Warren Gatland felt his side targeted Georgia effectively.

"We were pretty clinical," Gatland said. "We executed a number of set-piece opportunities. No disrespect to Georgia, but I like to think we're good enough to score off a number of opportunities."

Tries from center Jonathan Davies in the second minute, flanker Justin Tipuric, left winger Josh Adams, and fullback Liam Williams had Welsh supporters singing.

But Georgia gave its own fans something to be proud of with a spirited second-half comeback which produced two tries following impressive work from the forwards.

After a converted effort from hooker Shalva Mamukashvili soon after the restart, Georgia resisted for 10 minutes without conceding any points while Jaba Bregvadze was sin-binned for collapsing a rolling maul.

Wales was in check until the 65th minute when replacement flyhalf Tomos Williams had enough pace to reach winger George North's kick ahead just in time.

Georgia's backs hardly made an impression. The pack, however, bullied Wales at times in the second period.

"That's what we have to lean on in order to perform even better," Georgia captain and prop Mikheil Nariashvili said.

Following a tap penalty near the left corner, prop Levan Chilachava bulldozed over from the back of the scrum for a converted try to trim the deficit to 36-14.

Tomos Williams then set up North for a late sixth try with a one-handed offload, and the powerful North broke two tackles.

The match at a humid City of Toyota Stadium opposed two forwards appearing in their fourth World Cup: Georgia flanker Mamuka Gorgodze and Wales lock Alun Wyn Jones, the captain, who equaled Gethin Jenkins' Wales record of 129 test caps.

Gorgodze's first moment of the match however, saw him fumble Wales' kickoff.

Moments later, Tipuric and Gareth Davies combined to set up the fastest try of this tournament, but Dan Biggar somehow botched the conversion, hitting the upright from right in front of the posts.

"He thought he was going to get a telling off at halftime," Gatland joked.

In the new half, pockets of Georgia fans were rewarded for travelling around 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles).

"We got into the match too late. However, I'm rather happy with the attitude we showed coming back in the second half," said Nariashvili, the captain. "The only regret I have is that they scored tries too quickly and without really having to try hard."

Wales got a penalty for collapsing the scrum, and Georgia gamely chose not to kick. From a driving maul Mamukashvili barged into a gap and the try was awarded following a video review to approval from the neutrals in the crowd of 35,000. Mamukashvili got a kiss on his bald head from center Tamaz Mchedlidze.

But momentum gained from that score was thrown away by Bregvadze.

Moments before the sin-binning, Liam Williams flew himself forward like an Olympic diver to catch Biggar's clever kick over the defense, but video review wiped it out for a knock-on.

Gatland's side next plays what is likely to be a Pool D-topping decider against Australia in Tokyo on Sunday.

"We've got a few things up our sleeves we haven't shown yet," Gatland said.

"(Australia is) a tough side. We've had some really tight games against Australia over the years. We tend to get better as a team as the tournament goes on."

Haig's Georgia plays Uruguay in Kumagaya, also on Sunday.


Russia fears missing Olympics over doping data tampering

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

James Ellingworth and Eddie Pells

Doha, Qatar (AP) — Russia's doping troubles are nowhere near over. After a head-snapping day of developments from Moscow to Tokyo to the Middle East, the country has new fears that its status at next year's Olympics could be in jeopardy — and no doubt about where it stands in track and field.

"It just reinforces everything," Rune Andersen, the head of track's task force on Russian doping, said Monday in Qatar after recommending that the country's federation remain barred during this week's world championships.

Earlier Monday, the World Anti-Doping Agency had announced during its meeting in Tokyo that it was giving Russia three weeks to explain what looked like manipulation of critical data from its Moscow lab, which was not matching up with data WADA received from a whistleblower who helped break open the Russian doping scandal in 2016.

The lab data was key to prosecuting cases stemming from Russia's intricate plot to give its athletes performance enhancers in preparation for the 2014 Sochi Olympics and other big events, while preventing them from getting caught.

Andersen's report for track's governing body, the IAAF, offered a detailed accounting of the data case that WADA had made public earlier. It said the discrepancies "are not random. In many cases, they relate to positive findings that appear" in the database provided by the whistleblower.

Meanwhile, in Moscow, Russian officials took a dreary view of the developments, which could lead to the country's anti-doping agency being suspended again, some 12 months after reinstatement upon delivering the lab data to WADA.

"The situation is very serious," Russian Olympic Committee president Stanislav Pozdnyakov said.

He added that if Russia can't either rebut the claim or identify potential suspects in the data manipulation, "then the Russian Olympic team's prospects of taking part in the Games in Tokyo next year could be under threat."

With the Russian Olympic Committee suspended last year, Russians competed as "Olympic Athletes from Russia" at the Pyeongchang Games — not allowed to wear their country's colors or bring their country's flag.

The IOC reinstated the Russian Olympic Committee after those Winter Games, and all appeared to be getting back to normal for Tokyo.

Until this.

When asked about the data investigation, the IOC said it "fully respects this process" and WADA's jurisdiction.

The possibility of data manipulation has potential to threaten dozens of cases that individual sports federations have been pursuing against Russian athletes. The data already has been used to support suspensions against 12 Russian weightlifters, including 10 former world or European championship medalists, and cases in the winter sport of biathlon.

Though once considered among the most corrupt of sports organizations, the IAAF has taken as tough a stance as any when it comes to Russian doping. The country's track federation has been suspended since 2015. When worlds open Friday, it will mark the second straight time Russia will bring a truncated team to the championships, and the athletes who do come — 30 of them, at this point — will have to compete without their country's flag or uniform.

Any slim chance of that changing was obliterated by the latest news.

Andersen's report also included details about banned coaches still allegedly involved in the sport, and the case of high jumper Danil Lysenko, who was supposed to represent Russia's new, drug-free generation but is under investigation for having documents forged to avoid being suspended for a whereabouts violation.

"It really does not remotely surprise me that the council unanimously endorsed the strongest recommendation that we have ... had from the task force that the Russian federation remain suspended," IAAF president Sebastian Coe said.

Beyond giving Russia three weeks to come up with answers, WADA would not put a timeline on the data investigation. Its director general, Olivier Niggli, stood by last year's decision to reinstate RUSADA under less-stringent terms than were initially proposed.

"I believe it was actually a very important decision and absolutely the right decision," Niggli said. "I'm convinced that we would not have the data if we had not taken that decision, so we would not even be talking about it today. There would still be a cloud of suspicion and nothing would have gone forward."

Niggli conceded the tampering could force WADA to drop some of the cases against Russian athletes, "but there will be a good number of cases which can still move forward."

Andersen said he expects to hear more from WADA in November, possibly at its next meeting in Poland.

The clock is ticking.

Next year's Olympics start July 24 — 10 months from Tuesday — and it now seems certain that Russia's status as a rule-following, drug-free sports country is in question again.

"Clearly it's incredibly concerning and incredibly disappointing," said Nicole Sapstead, the CEO of the UK Anti-Doping Agency, which led the overhaul of Russia's anti-doping operation. "A number of obstacles were placed to avoid that data being obtained. And then when it's finally obtained and you're rooting through it and assessing it and assimilating it, you suddenly find that it all doesn't quite tally."


Roethlisberger undergoes elbow surgery, plans 2020 return

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) walks off the field as time runs out in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks in an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Associated Press

Pittsburgh (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had surgery to repair his right elbow on Monday.

Team spokesman Burt Lauten said Roethlisberger underwent the procedure at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles. The surgery was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in consultation with team physician Dr. Jim Bradley.

The 37-year-old Roethlisberger left at halftime of a 28-26 loss to Seattle on Sept. 15 after complaining of elbow pain. The team placed him on season-ending injured reserve the following day but has not detailed the exact nature of Roethlisberger's injury.

Roethlisberger will begin rehabilitation when he returns to Pittsburgh and plans to return to the field in 2020. The two-time Super Bowl winner signed a contract extension in the spring that runs through the 2021 season.

The Steelers, with Mason Rudolph taking over at quarterback, dropped to 0-3 with a loss to San Francisco on Sunday.


Rapinoe, Messi win FIFA player of the year awards

Lionel Messi poses with Megan Rapinoe after they received the Best FIFA Men's, Women's player award during the Best FIFA soccer awards ceremony, in Milan's La Scala theater, northern Italy, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Daniella Matar

Milan (AP) — Lionel Messi won his sixth FIFA player of the year award, while Megan Rapinoe won her first at a lavish ceremony at Milan's iconic Teatro all Scala on Monday.

Rapinoe was rewarded at the FIFA Best awards for leading the United States to the women's World Cup title in July, as was Jill Ellis who won the women's coach award.

Rapinoe scored six goals in the tournament, earning her the Golden Boot for the tournament's top scorer and the Golden Ball as the top player.

The outspoken star often uses her success as a platform to speak out about issues and the 34-year-old did so again in Milan, pleading for her male and female colleagues to join the likes of Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling in speaking out on racism and other inequalities.

"If we really want to have meaningful change what I think is most inspiring would be if everybody other than Raheem Sterling and (Kalidou) Koulibaly, if they were as outraged about racism as they were, if everybody was as outraged about homophobia as the LGBTQ players, if everybody was as outraged about the lack of equal pay and investment in the women's game other than just women, that would be the most inspiring thing to me," Rapinoe said.

"That's my ask of everybody. As professional footballers ... we have so much success, we have incredible platforms, I ask everybody here to lend your platform, to lift people up, to use this beautiful game to change the world for better."

Rapinoe said after the ceremony that being able to speak out about issues is more important to her than the actual award.

"I've been very lucky to have this incredibly platform that seems to be growing by the day and I plan to use it to the best of my ability," she told reporters. "The award's amazing of course but I don't do this for individual awards, certainly not.

"Even the team awards, the World Cup's obviously incredible to win but when we sort of all look back on it, it will be the way we've changed the game and moved the game forward and really been a part of changing the world, this incredible movement that's happening right now, that we'll all be most proud of."

Messi's award moved the Barcelona and Argentina forward one ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Juventus forward did not attend the ceremony despite being among the three finalists.

The duo has dominated the award since 2008, with their string of victories only interrupted by Luka Modric last year.

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk was the other finalist.

His club manager Jürgen Klopp was named coach of the year after steering Liverpool to the Champions League title in June, while teammate Alisson won the best men's goalkeeper award.

"I have to thank my team because as coach you can only be as good as your team is," Klopp said.

Ellis also thanked her players.

"I owe so much to them," she said.

Ellis resigned in July, shortly after the U.S. beat the Netherlands 2-0 to win its second successive World Cup.

The 53-year-old Ellis was named coach of the U.S. team in 2014 and led it to eight overall tournament titles, including back-to-back World Cup successes. Over the course of her tenure, the United States lost just seven matches.

Her players made up nearly half of the women's team of the year, with Kelley O'Hara, Julie Ertz, Rose Lavelle and Alex Morgan included in the 11 as well as Rapinoe.

"I think I walked out with Messi and no one noticed me," Ellis said jokingly to reporters, before adding: "It was such an honor, it really was. Fantastic night ... happy for my players to do so well as well on that stage so it was great."

The award for the best women's goalkeeper went to van Veenendaal of Atletico Madrid and the Netherlands.

The 29-year-old Van Veenendaal captained the Netherlands to the final of the women's World Cup.


Vettel ends 13-month winless run; Ferrari 1-2 at Singapore

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany steers his car during the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix, at the Marina Bay City Circuit in Singapore, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Jim Armstrong

Singapore (AP) — Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel took advantage of an early pit stop to win the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday and end a 13-month winless streak in Formula One.

Vettel, who started third on the grid, crossed the finish line 2.641 seconds ahead of Charles Leclerc — who was unhappy with team pit strategy — in a Ferrari 1-2.

It was four-time F1 champion Vettel's first win since the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix.

"Obviously the start of the season has been difficult for us but in recent weeks we started to come alive," Vettel said. "It's been incredible to get so much support from the fans and I tried to put it all into the track today and into the car and I'm glad it paid off."

Red Bull's Max Verstappen was third while championship leader Lewis Hamilton was fourth.

With six races remaining, Hamilton holds a 65-point lead over Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who finished fifth. The winner of each race gets 25 points.

It was Vettel's fifth victory under the lights in Singapore and ended a 22-race winless streak.

Leclerc started from pole and held the lead at the 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) Marina Bay street circuit until he pitted on the 21st lap of the night race. When Leclerc rejoined, he was behind Vettel, who had pitted a lap earlier.

Leclerc made it clear over the team radio that he was not happy that Vettel pitted first and got the lead.

Vettel said he received the call from his team to pit and it wasn't his decision.

"It was a very late call," Vettel said. "I thought it was a bit early because I wasn't sure we can make the tires last in the second stint but, yeah, then I just gave it everything in the outlap because I saw the two cars in front of me not pitting, especially Lewis. I was then very surprised a lap later to come out ahead."

Leclerc, who won the previous two races and appeared set for a third straight victory, was diplomatic later when asked about the pit strategy of Ferrari.

"It's always difficult to lose a win like that but in the end it's a 1-2 for the team," Leclerc said. "We arrived here hoping for a podium and come back with a 1-2 so are extremely happy."

During the race, Leclerc had a different take when he was told to save his engine 15 laps from the finish. His response to Ferrari included: "I just don't think it's fair, but I won't do anything stupid."

Red Bull's Alexander Albon was in sixth place and Lando Norris finished seventh for McLaren, ahead of Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly.

Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was ninth and Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinnazi rounded out the Top 10.


Ireland rain on Scotland, win 27-3 at Rugby World Cup

Ireland's Tadhg Furlong, center, carries the ball to score his team’s third try during the Rugby World Cup Pool A game between Ireland and Scotland in Yokohama, Japan, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Foster Niumata

Yokohama, Japan (AP) — The Scots talked themselves up. How they smelled Irish blood without injured star backs Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, and Robbie Henshaw. How they could overcome anything coming their way in a green jersey.

They picked their most battle-hardened side ever for a Rugby World Cup match. But it didn't matter. Again.

Scotland was bullied by Ireland to the tune of 27-3 on Sunday, and coach Gregor Townsend was stunned.

"We didn't start with the energy, accuracy and aggression to beat a team like Ireland," Townsend said.

Why?

"That's what we're asking," he said.

Ranked No. 1 until Monday, Ireland played like a serious World Cup title contender by dominating its regular doormat, Scotland. In the last 20 Six Nations head-to-heads, Ireland has beaten Scotland 16 times.

The Irish pack ran the show in the first half with tries in the first 25 minutes to tight forwards James Ryan, Tadhg Furlong and 37-year-old captain and hooker Rory Best. Rain arrived as forecast just before the interval, and Ireland added the only points after, including a bonus fourth try to wing Andrew Conway.

From this first matchup with Scotland on neutral turf in 139 years, Ireland should win Pool A. Its remaining games are against host Japan next weekend, then Russia and Samoa.

"When you start a tournament against a team like Scotland," Best said, "there are a lot of nerves. You know you have to play well and start well. We're delighted."

As usual, Scotland was its own worst enemy, committing 12 handling errors and 16 turnovers, half of them on attack. Ireland was ready to counter.

Scotland center Duncan Taylor's miss-pass into touch gave Ireland the lineout from which Jonathan Sexton led a surge and Ryan scored off a ruck with a helpful shove from Cian Healy. After only six minutes.

A penalty against Scotland flanker Hamish Watson was turned by Ireland into a five-meter lineout. The Irish drove it and Best was on his back when he became the fourth oldest try-scorer in tournament history. That was after 13 minutes.

Then Scotland dropped a pass on attack, Ireland center Chris Farrell hacked on, and Scotland fullback Stuart Hogg was caught in possession behind his posts. Ireland charged from the five-meter scrum and Furlong ploughed over.

Scotland's only points came from a rare attack it didn't mess up. Tommy Seymour was unleashed on the right touch line, earned a penalty, and Greig Laidlaw slotted it.

"Ireland converted mistakes into territory and mistakes into points," Townsend said. "They turned heavy pressure we had on them to pressure on our line."

There was no way back for Scotland, especially not in the rain.

The bonus-point try was inevitable. Conway, playing for Earls, outjumped Scotland No. 8 Ryan Wilson for an up and under, and it was snagged by fullback Jordan Larmour, playing for Kearney. Larmour set the ruck, and Conway beat two defenders to score in the right corner.

At that point, Ireland rested Sexton, Murray, and lock Iain Henderson.

Scotland toiled without reward, foiled by a slippery ball and stern Irish defense. The Irish missed only two tackles in the first half and eight in the match.

Scotland was left to also worry about Watson, whose knee was injured when he was cleared out in a ruck. He was carried off and taken away for scans. Jamie Ritchie was recovered from a broken cheekbone and should be available to play Samoa on Sept. 30.

"The pool's not won or lost tonight," Scotland captain Stuart McInally said. "We're massively disappointed not to start better, but we have to get over that and we have to learn our lessons. We've got a massive three games coming up."


Liverpool hold on to beat Chelsea as Man United lose

Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum, left, and Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta compete for the ball during the English Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge Stadium in London, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Rob Harris

London (AP) — Liverpool showcased title credentials while exposing Chelsea's defensive frailties. Manchester United's deep flaws surfaced in defeat at West Ham. Arsenal demonstrated powers of perseverance against Aston Villa.

Within a few hours across London on Sunday, there was a snapshot of challenges and optimism for teams at the top of the Premier League, or with aspirations to be.

Liverpool restored their five-point lead over Manchester City by making it six wins out of six, overcoming Chelsea 2-1 by unpicking the Stamford Bridge hosts twice from set-pieces in the first half.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was teed up by Mohamed Salah's free kick to get the opener in the 14th minute. Roberto Firmino headed in Andy Robertson's cross on the half-hour after Cesar Azpilicueta's equalizer had been ruled out when the VAR spotted an earlier offside.

"Two wonderful goals, a lot of brilliant pressing situations where we won the ball in the perfect space," Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said. "But then we didn't use the ball in that situation well enough, so we could have had much more chances in these situations."

But Chelsea have now conceded 13 goals in the opening six league games under Frank Lampard, leaving the team 10 points behind a Liverpool side chasing a first English title since 1990.

Chelsea's plans were disrupted by two injury-enforced defensive changes in the first half with Andreas Christensen and Emerson Palmieri forced off.

Chelsea did pull one back in the 71st minute when N'Golo Kante was given space to twist through the defense and strike the ball into the top of the net.

"It's hard to accept congratulations after a loss, we can't be there but we must say that the way we played in the second half is towards the way we want to be," Lampard said. "Energy, passion, moving the ball quickly, changing the play, getting crosses in the box, things that we work on and we did it against Liverpool."

UNITED COLLAPSE

Not only did Manchester United lose 2-0 at West Ham but striker Marcus Rashford limped off in the second half with a groin problem. Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez were offloaded in the summer, leaving United short of options up front.

West Ham had no problem scoring, with Andriy Yarmolenko netting just before halftime and Aaron Cresswell scoring from a free kick after the break.

"The key moments, they grasped and we didn't," United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said. "I have to say two fantastic finishes from two good left feet. And we didn't take our chances when we had them."

While West Ham have 11 points in six matches — after three wins from four — United are three points worse off. Solskjaer is tasked with returning United to the four Champions League places.

ARSENAL FIGHTBACK

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's seventh goal in seven games guided Arsenal to a 3-2 victory over Aston Villa and up to fourth place.

Already trailing to John McGinn's goal, Arsenal were reduced to 10 men before halftime when Ainsley Maitland-Niles was sent off.

But Nicolas Pepe equalized from the penalty spot in the 59th after Mattéo Guendouzi was tripped by Bjorn Engels

Villa were back in front inside 90 seconds later through Wesley but parity was restored by Calum Chambers in the 81st with his first goal in more than three years. Aubameyang's winner came three minutes later from a free kick.

"Playing with one less player, not easy," Arsenal manager Unai Emery said. "We lost some control but we took some risks to come back. We are creating good spirit with our supporters and the players are feeling that.

"Our commitment, our behavior, fighting each ball, taking some risks. That is good. That character, that connection with our supporters, that spirit. We can be happy."

WOLVES RECOVERY

A run of three straight losses in all competitions for Wolverhampton Wanderers was halted by Diogo Jota's stoppage-time goal clinching a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace after Leander Dendoncker had scored an own-goal.


Marc Márquez extends MotoGP dominance with win at Aragón

Spain's rider Marc Marquez of the Repsol Honda Team celebrates his win on the podium of the Aragon MotoGP at the Aragon Motorland racetrack in Alcaniz, Spain, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Breton)

Associated Press

Alcañiz, Spain (AP) — Defending champion Marc Márquez dominated the Aragón Grand Prix to continue his march toward a sixth MotoGP world title on Sunday.

The Spaniard, who has 300 points with the victory, can clinch the title at the upcoming Thailand GP after extending his lead to 98 points. Andrea Dovizioso is his nearest chaser with 202 points.

Márquez had no problem protecting his pole position start from the grid and sped away from the pack on his Honda for his fourth consecutive win at the Motorland Aragón circuit.

It was Márquez's 52 career MotoGP win and his 200th race in all categories since his debut in Moto3 in 2008.

"I was really convinced about my strategy straight out of the box: maintain a gap of around 4 seconds," Márquez said. "I'm really happy about this victory, especially as it's a home race in front of my fans."

Dovizioso finished almost five second after Márquez. Jack Miller crossed the line third to complete the podium.

Jorge Lorenzo's struggles continued after he finished the race second-to-last. The former world champion is having major difficulties this season after becoming Márquez's teammate at Honda.


Host Japan beats Russia 30-10 in Rugby World Cup opener

Japan's Kotaro Matsushima runs to score a try during the Rugby World Cup Pool A game at Tokyo Stadium between Russia and Japan in Tokyo, Japan, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Jerome Pugmire

Tokyo (AP) — Kotaro Matsushima's first hat trick for Japan proved a vital one, since it helped the Rugby World Cup host overcome an error-strewn start to beat unfancied Russia 30-10 in the tournament's opening match on Friday.

He also became Japan's first World Cup hat-trick scorer. The pacey right winger's finishing proved the difference, because Japan was otherwise sloppy against a lowly ranked but tenacious Russia.

Even though he also became just the third player from a tier two rugby nation to score three in a World Cup match, he deflected the praise.

"The job was from the forwards, so I appreciate the work from the guys," Matsushima said.

His coach Jamie Joseph agreed, joking that finishers get too much praise.

"That's what the Ferraris on the sides get," Joseph said, smiling. "But the forwards do a lot of the hard work."

The tournament is being hosted in Asia for the first time and the players felt it — even more so after a tradition-packed opening ceremony drawing on Japan's cultural heritage and its path toward embracing rugby.

"We made a lot of unforced errors. Our kicking game was pretty poor tonight," Joseph said. "The first mistake was from kickoff and all of a sudden we were under pressure. ... We sucked it up and got out of trouble."

The Tokyo Stadium crowd was stunned after four minutes as fullback William Tupou missed a routine catch under no pressure to allow left winger Kirill Golosnitskiy an easy converted try. Another first: The quickest opening-match try in tournament history.

"There was a bit of magic with us but it wasn't for long enough," Russia coach Lyn Jones said. "It's playing at an intensity and focus the players just aren't used to."

Japan equalized seven minutes later, as Tupou's looping pass set up Matsushima in the right corner, followed by a woefully botched conversion attempt from flyhalf Yu Tamura.

Pockets of Russian fans — including a handful dressed as Soviet-era astronauts — were louder than the home crowd watching in silent anxiety as the home team dropped high balls or fumbled them.

It could have been even worse but this was not New Zealand attacking them. After Japan again carelessly gave the ball away, Russia center Vladimir Ostroushko burst through midfield but kicked ahead aimlessly instead of waiting for support.

Matsushima thought he had a second try five minutes from halftime, but fullback Vasily Artemyev made a brilliant captain's tackle and video review showed Matsushima spilling the ball inches above the ground. Referee Nigel Owens ruled it out, drawing jeers.

Moments from the interval, Matsushima made it count as Japan finally established a period of sustained pressure and center Ryoto Nakamura fed him an overlap pass for an easy converted score.

After Tamura's penalty settled nerves in the second half, the anxiety lifted when flanker Pieter Labuschagne stripped Andrei Ostrikov before scampering 40 meters over for an unconverted try.

Russia battled away, still, and flyhalf Yuri Kushnarev's penalty cut the deficit with 20 minutes left after Japan infringed at the ruck.

"This in a way was their grand final as they came into the tournament as underdog and written off," Joseph said. "They really gave it to us, so you have to take your hats off to them."

After Tamura found his range, at last, slotting over a 45-meter penalty, Matsushima finished Russian resistance off by breaking a weak tackle as he overlapped again down the right.

For Russia it was a learning experience.

"When we did have the ball they took our time away, our boys are just not used to that. Tier one rugby isn't another level, it's another sport," Jones said. "I'm very proud of the way our players stuck in there and gave everything they had for their nation."

Russia has little time to recover, with Samoa coming up on Tuesday.

Japan's next Pool A match is against Ireland next Saturday, a brutal swing which takes Japan from facing the world's 20th-ranked side to the current No. 1.

"No one gives us a shot," Joseph said.


Hamilton tops 2nd practice at Singapore GP

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain pulls out of his garage during the second practice session at the Marina Bay City Circuit ahead of the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix in Singapore, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Jim Armstrong

Singapore (AP) — Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was fastest in Friday's second practice at the Singapore Grand Prix in an early indication the Formula One championship leader will be tough to beat in Sunday's race.

Hamilton set the fastest lap of 1 minute, 38.773 seconds, 0.184 seconds quicker than Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who led the first practice session. Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, who has gone 22 races without a win, was third.

Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who recovered from hitting the wall in the first session, was fourth.

Hamilton heads into the race with a 63-point lead over Bottas with seven races remaining.

While he already has eight wins this season, Hamilton hasn't won since the Hungarian GP in early August.

On Sunday, Hamilton will be aiming for a repeat of the 2018 race here when he won comfortably from pole position to extend his championship lead.

Pole position is crucial at the 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) Marina Bay street circuit as its one of the hardest tracks for overtaking in F1. The driver leading the field has won eight times in the past 10 years.

Hamilton has won in Singapore for the last two years. A victory in Sunday's night race would move the Briton a step closer to his third straight championship and sixth overall, moving him just one away from equaling Michael Schumacher's all-time record of seven titles.

Charles Leclerc, who had a gearbox issue in first practice, was sixth behind Red Bull's Alexander Albon. Ferrari driver Leclerc is on a roll having won the previous two races.

McLaren driver Carlos Sainz Jr. was seventh fastest, almost two tenths clear of Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg in eighth.

Lando Norris took ninth for McLaren, lapping two tenths slower than Sainz, with Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly rounding out the top 10.


Altered doping data could restart Russian scandal

In this Feb. 18, 2014 file photo, a Russian skating fan holds the country's national flag over the Olympic rings before the men's 10,000-meter speedskating race at Adler Arena Skating Center during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Eddie Pells

Montreal, Canada (AP) - The Russian anti-doping agency could face suspension again based on information indicating data from the Moscow drug-testing lab had been manipulated before being delivered to the World Anti-Doping Agency earlier this year, a person familiar with the case told The Associated Press.

WADA reinstated Russia's anti-doping agency (RUSADA) after gaining access to long-sought-after data that was to be used to confirm doping positives stemming from the country's plans to cheat so athletes could win medals at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and other events.

Handing over the data was among the critical requirements for the reinstatement, and WADA extended a Dec. 31, 2018 deadline by more than two weeks, then deemed its negotiations a success when it received the data.

But eight months later, and with the Tokyo Olympics less than a year away, there is a report indicating the data might have been manipulated before it was handed over, according the person familiar with the report, who spoke to AP but requested anonymity because the report had not been made public.

WADA's compliance review committee is expected to present the information to the agency's executive committee, which meets Monday in Tokyo. Track and field's governing body, the IAAF, and the organization that handles its doping cases, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), are also expected to review the information while in Doha, Qatar, next week for track world championships.

The IAAF will receive a report — one that could include this information — from a task force that has upheld the Russian track team's suspension from international competition 11 times since its federation was first banned in June 2016. Worlds start next Friday, and at least 129 Russians are slated to compete as neutral athletes.

A RUSADA on solid footing was thought to be a cornerstone requirement for Russia's return to the international sports world after a scandal that sullied two Olympics, along with the reputations of both WADA and the International Olympic Committee, which critics — especially in the West — deemed as going too soft on the Russians.

This latest news could lead to RUSADA again being deemed noncompliant, though the long-term repercussions of such a move are hard to gauge, especially with the IOC having placed Russia's Olympic committee back in good standing after the Pyeongchang Olympics last year.

One theory is that because the revamped and reinstated RUSADA has been meeting testing benchmarks set for it by WADA, and because it didn't have anything to do with the manipulation of the data, it could have a good chance of winning a case in front of the Court of Arbitration for Sport. If manipulation is proven, WADA would also have to decide whether it could win cases against Russians with data that is now unreliable.

The samples the doping Russian athletes provided to testers aren't enough to convict in most cases because their drug-tainted urine was replaced by clean samples. That's why the Moscow lab data was considered critical to prosecuting the cases.

WADA has been handing over most of the evidence to international sports federations. WADA president Craig Reedie recently said he expected around 100 new Russian cases to be brought.


Federer wins doubles with Zverev, Europe leads in Laver Cup

Team Europe's Roger Federer, right, and Alexander Zverev celebrate winning their game against Team World's Denis Shapovalov and Jack Sock at the Laver Cup tennis event, in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

Associated Press

Geneva (AP) — Roger Federer teamed up with Alexander Zverev in doubles to lift Europe into a commanding 3-1 lead over the world team on the first day of the Laver Cup on Friday.

Federer, who has an Olympic gold medal in doubles, and Zverev won 6-3, 7-5 against Jack Sock and Denis Shapovalov as the Europeans swept the two-match evening session. The afternoon singles matches were split at the noisy, 17,000-seat Palexpo arena.

"Thanks Sascha, for carrying me in that second set," Federer told his playing partner in an on-court interview.

The six-man Europe team has a big advantage in ATP rankings, and No. 5 Dominic Thiem started the day by beating the 33rd-ranked Shapovalov 6-4, 5-7, 13-11. Shapovalov let three match points slip in the decisive third set which is played as a super-tiebreaker.

Sock, whose rankings fell into the 200s in an injury-hit season, then leveled the three-day event by winning 6-1, 7-6 (3) against No. 11 Fabio Fognini.

Europe, captained courtside by Bjorn Borg, regained the lead when No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas won 6-2, 1-6, 10-7 against 30th-ranked Taylor Fritz for the world team led by John McEnroe.

Federer is back on court before another sold-out crowd Saturday, when he will play Nick Kyrgios in the afternoon's second match.

"I'm fresh, I'm ready to go for more," said Federer, who co-owns the Laver Cup competition.

Saturday's play opens with Zverev playing John isner. Rafael Nadal enters the stage for Europe in an evening singles against Milos Raonic, then stays on to partner Tsitsipas against Kyrgios and Sock.

Victories Saturday in the three singles matches and one doubles are worth two points each. Sunday's matches score three points for the winning team and 13 points are needed to lift the title.

Europe seeks a third straight win in the Laver Cup. It was launched two years ago in Prague, then moved to Chicago last year.


Arsenal, Man United open Europa League with wins

Manchester United's Mason Greenwood celebrates scoring his side’s winning goal during the Europa League Group L soccer match against Astana at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)

Karel Janicek

Manchester (AP) - Arsenal and Manchester United both relied on a teenager to get their Europa League campaigns off to a winning start on Thursday.

Arsenal, last year's finalist, saw 18-year-old winger Bukayo Saka score one goal and set up the other two in a 3-0 away victory over 10-man Eintracht Frankfurt. And 17-year-old Mason Greenwood became United's youngest ever scorer in European competition when he netted the loan goal in a 1-0 victory over Astana at Old Trafford.

Sevilla, the most successful team in Europe's second-tier competition, also opened with a 3-0 victory at Qarabag while Kevin Bua struck twice to lead Basel to a 5-0 win over Krasnodar in Group C.

Another Premier League club, Wolverhampton Wanderers extended its winless streak by losing 1-0 to Braga at Molineux.

In a major upset, competition newcomer Wolfsberg routed Borussia Mönchengladbach 4-0 away in Group J.

Here's a look at Thursday's games.

ARSENAL'S YOUNG GUNS

Arsenal manager Unai Emery started a trio of academy graduates, with Emile Smith Rowe, Saka and Joe Willock forming a youthful attack together with Aubameyang. It was the 20-year old Willock who opened the scoring in the 38th with a deflected right-foot shot from inside the area, which bounced off the crossbar and into the net.

Frankfurt chased an equalizer before midfielder Dominik Kohr was ejected 11 minutes from time after picking his second yellow card for a tackle on Saka.

The 18-year-old Saka — who like Smith Rowe was making his first start of the season — doubled the lead with a precise left-footer from outside the area in the 85th before setting up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to finish it off couple minutes later.

While Arsenal looked sharp up front, its defense look shaky throughout the game and Frankfurt missed a number of good chances to score — in part thanks to a couple of good saves from backup goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka also hit the bar from a free kick.

Standard Liege started with a 2-0 win over Vitoria in the other Group F game.

SEVILLA SHINES

Javier Hernandez broke the deadlock in Baku in the 62nd minute with a curling free kick for Sevilla, the Europa League winners in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Forward Munir El Haddadi and Oliver Torres added one apiece.

In the highest-scoring game of the night, Luxembourg's Dudelange upset host APOEL Nicosia 4-3 in Group A.

UNITED'S LATE BREAKTHROUGH

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's youth also impressed but the manager had to wait till the 73rd minute for Greenwood to score with a shot between the legs of Astana goalkeeper Nenad Eric. Two 19-year-olds, Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong, also started for United.

Rarely used midfielder Fred was also given his first start of the season and hit the bar three minutes into the Group L game.

The three-time European champions are back in the second-tier competition after finishing sixth in the Premier League last season.

The winners of the Europa League earn a place in the next season's Champions League.

WOLVES WITHOUT WIN

Wolves returned to a European competition for the first time since the 1980-81 season, but couldn't shake off its poor domestic form.

Still without a win in the Premier League after five games, Wolves were punished for giving away possession in the 71st minute as Ricardo Horta finished off a counterattack with the only goal of the game for the Portuguese visitors. Wolves coach Nuno Espirito Santo is from Portugal, and so are seven members of his squad.

Slovan Bratislava defeated Besiktas 4-2 in the other Group K game.

OTHER GROUPS

In Group E, Romanian champion Cluj came from a goal down to beat Lazio 2-1. Ciprian Deac equalized against the run of play from the spot after defender Bastos gave Italy's cup winner the lead, before Billel Omrani scored the winner.

Celtic rescued a 1-1 draw at Rennes after Ryan Christie equalized from the spot in the 59th minute. M'Baye Niang had given Rennes the lead, also from the spot.

In Group B, Danish champion Copenhagen earned a 1-0 win over Lugano, while Dynamo Kyiv beat Malmo at home by the same score.

PSV Eindhoven edged past Sporting Lisbon 3-2 in Group D while newcomer LASK Linz won 1-0 against Rosenborg.

Francisco Soares' first-half goals lifted 2011 Europa League champion Porto to a 2-1 victory over Young Boys in Group G. Rangers, managed by Steven Gerrard, won 1-0 over Feyenoord, a Dutch side where another former star, Jaap Stam, is in charge.

Also, Roma eased past Istanbul Basaksehir 4-0 in Group J.

In Group H, Ludogorets demolished CSKA Moscow 5-1, and Espanyol drew 1-1 with Hungary's Ferencvaros in a game of two teams making their Europa League debut.


McIlroy stumbles to 4-over 76, Wallace leads at Wentworth

 

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy in action on day two of the PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club, England, Thursday Sept. 19, 2019. (Bradley Collyer/PA via AP)

Associated Press

Virginia Water, England (AP) — Rory McIlroy made six bogeys and a double bogey in his last 11 holes to shoot 4-over 76 at the BMW PGA Championship, leaving the world No. 2 already 11 strokes off the first-round lead held by Matt Wallace on Thursday.

McIlroy's round fell apart after his birdie at No. 5 that followed an eagle at No. 4, as he shot 42 in his back nine in glorious conditions at Wentworth.

One over for his round arriving at the 17th tee, he pulled his drive and wound up making a double-bogey 7. Another wayward drive led to a bogey at the 18th and he didn't talk to reporters after his round.

Wallace didn't drop a shot in his 65, also making eagle at No. 4 to add to birdies at Nos. 1, 5 and 6. The Englishman rolled in two more birdies coming home.

"I played the first seven or eight holes as good as I possibly could and showed my all-round game by grinding out the last few holes," Wallace said.

Henrik Stenson was a stroke behind Wallace after a round of 66 that included an eagle on No. 18 from a putt from off the green that took a horrible early bounce but still found the cup. Fellow Ryder Cup player Jon Rahm joined Stenson in a tie for second place after birdying four of his last five holes.

Paul Casey headed to the par-5 last hole on 6 under, too, but made double-bogey to post a 68.

No. 4-ranked Justin Rose recovered from a knee injury in time to start the tournament, which is staged at the headquarters of the European Tour, and birdied No. 18 for a 67.

It is the first qualifying event for the European team for the 2020 Ryder Cup.


Hamilton looking to extend F1 lead at Singapore Grand Prix

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco, left, celebrates with third placed Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain, on the podium after winning the Formula One Italy Grand Prix at the Monza racetrack, in Monza, Italy, Sunday, Sept.8, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni) (Daniel Dal Zennaro/ANSA Via AP)

Jim Armstrong

Singapore (AP) — Lewis Hamilton aims to turn up the heat in his bid for a sixth Formula One championship at this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver heads into Sunday's race with a 63-point lead over teammate Valtteri Bottas.

As with last year's race, drivers can expect sweltering heat and humidity. In addition to the heat, a thick haze has set in over the city-state with advisories issued from the national government over "unhealthy" air conditions.

Hamilton will be hoping for a repeat of the 2018 race here when he won comfortably from pole position to extend his championship lead.

He was on a major roll entering last year's GP, having won four of the past five races. While he already has eight wins this season, the British driver last won at the Hungarian GP in early August.

"The offset schedule and the climate make it a demanding weekend for the team," Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said of the night race.  "Temperatures in the garage can easily reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 F) or more with high humidity levels as well. It's a tough environment to work in and it's equally challenging for the drivers and the car itself."

Hamilton has won here the last two years. A win on Sunday would move him a step closer to his third straight championship and sixth overall, moving him just one away from equaling Michael Schumacher's all-time record of seven titles.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc heads into Singapore having won the previous two races this season. After his first-ever F1 victory in Spa at the Belgian GP, the 21-year-old Leclerc became the first Ferrari driver to win the Italian GP since Fernando Alonso in 2010.

Leclerc, who is now fourth in the standings, finished ninth for Sauber here last year.

"Singapore is maybe the toughest track for us drivers physically, just because of the heat and the humidity," Leclerc said. "After two positive weekends in Belgium and Italy, the race in Singapore doesn't look as good on paper for us, because of the very different circuit layout, featuring lots of slow corners and fewer straights ... but we will give our all to have a good result."

The 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) Marina Bay Street circuit is one of the hardest tracks for overtaking in F1, so whoever takes pole on Saturday will have the upper hand. The driver leading the field has won eight times in the past 10 years.

Max Verstappen, third in the drivers' standings, has been on the front row at Marina Bay the past two years while Bottas has never started in the top three.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton are the only two drivers on the grid with victories at Singapore — with four wins each.

But Vettel, whose contract ends in 2020, is now 22 races without a win. He has dropped down to fifth in the championship, 115 points behind Hamilton.

"We have seen before that anything can happen in this race, so the final result is hard to predict," Vettel said. "Off the track, there will also be a lot of pressure on the teams as this race is back to back with Russia."


Kovalev eager to take on Canelo Alvarez at light heavyweight

In this Saturday, Aug. 24, 2109 file photo, Sergey Kovalev of Russia celebrates after defeating Anthony Yarde of Britain during their WBO light heavyweight title bout in Chelyabinsk, Russia. Sergey Kovalev will fight Canelo Alvarez, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Anton Basanaev)

Tim Dahlberg

Las Vegas (AP) - Sergey Kovalev was considered by some to be washed up after he lost two straight fights to Andre Ward, the second by knockout. He got stopped again a few fights later, then had to rally in his native Russia to stop Anthony Yarde and retain his 175-pound title just last month.

His reward for persevering through adversity? A Nov. 2 fight with Mexican star Canelo Alvarez that Kovalev believes will be his best ever.

"I already have experience at this level and am much smarter," Kovalev said Wednesday. "I think this fight is going to be more interesting than my previous fights."

Alvarez will move up two weight classes to challenge Kovalev for his light heavyweight title Nov. 2 in Las Vegas in a fight loaded with intrigue.

For Alvarez, it's a chance to win a title in his fourth weight class and cement his standing as the biggest attraction in boxing. For the 36-year-old Kovalev, it's an opportunity to prove the critics wrong and win the biggest fight of his career.

"Canelo is a real fighter," Kovalev said. "I like fighting real fighters. Not a guy like Ward."

Kovalev lost a disputed decision to Ward in their first fight, then was stopped by him in the eighth round of their 2017 rematch. After getting knocked out by Eleider Alvarez he switched trainers, bringing in veteran Buddy McGirt, who helped him beat Alvarez in a rematch and stop Yarde to retain his title.

Kovalev believes the switch in trainers has revitalized his career, which had been based previously on simply trying to knock out everyone he got into the ring with.

"I believe in Buddy 100 percent," Kovalev said. "This is a real coach. After 10 years I finally have gotten a real coach."

Kovalev will find a smaller man in the ring when he meets Alvarez, who is considered among the top pound-for-pound fighters in boxing. Alvarez moved up to 168 pounds last year to win a title against an overmatched Rocky Fielding but returned to middleweight in his last fight to successfully defend his titles against Danny Jacobs.

The risk for Alvarez is that he runs into a big punch by Kovalev, who has 29 knockouts in his 34-3-1 career. The risk for Kovalev is that Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 knockouts) is too quick and too skilled a boxer to allow that to happen.

"It's a big fight for me, the biggest I've had," Kovalev said. "Canelo is one of the best pound-for-pound and I'm the best in the light heavyweight division right now. It will be a very good fight."

The fight at the MGM Grand hotel arena will be televised by the streaming service DAZN.


PSG, Man City shine in Champions League; big names struggle

PSG's Angel Di Maria celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Champions League group A soccer match between PSG and Real Madrid at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Graham Dunbar

Geneva (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City succeeded where storied rivals failed in their opening Champions League games.

Even with its star forwards absent, PSG eased to a 3-0 win Wednesday over 13-time European champion Real Madrid, which missed the influence of suspended defender Sergio Ramos.

The French champion relied instead on Angel Di Maria, the former Madrid winger, who scored twice with smart, first-half shots that quickly settled the outcome.

Man City was also ruthless and efficient in winning 3-0 against Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine.

Wins for two wealthy clubs with burning ambition to get a first European title came as the traditional Champions League powers struggled this week.

Of the nine clubs to have played in the final since 2011, only Bayern Munich won this week — also by 3-0 on Wednesday against a Red Star Belgrade team which had to come through four qualifying rounds.

Juventus and Tottenham both let two-goal leads slip away from home, before drawing 2-2 against Atlético Madrid and Olympiakos, respectively.

PARIS SHINES

The biggest stars at the Parc des Princes were watching from expensive seats in the stands.

Neymar, who was suspended, and injured teammate Kylian Mbappe were captured by television cameras whooping and giggling at the sight of full-backs Juan Bernat and Thomas Meunier marching through Madrid's defense in stoppage time to create and score a deserved third goal.

The third PSG star striker, Edinson Cavani, was also out injured yet the French champion's victory was never in doubt.

"People say we're not favorites and it can take the pressure off," PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said.

PSG has flattered to deceive too often in recent Champions Leagues, though this looked like a statement win for Tuchel over Zinedine Zidane, who lifted the trophy in each of the three seasons he first coached Madrid from 2016-18.

Madrid's biggest offseason signing Eden Hazard rarely connected with his teammates, while club veterans Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema had goals disallowed.

"Normally, with the players we have, we create a lot of chances and today it wasn't possible," Zidane said.

SPANISH STRUGGLES

It's been a tough week for the big three of Spanish football.

Madrid failed to score on the road, like Barcelona which was lucky to take a 0-0 draw from Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.

Atlético's 2-2 draw at home showed more resolve and fight, and stopped long-time nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo — who was booed throughout by home fans — from scoring for Juventus. Goals from Juan Cuadrado and Blaise Matuidi had Juve dominating deep into the second half.

Atlético fought back through Stefan Savic in the 70th and Mexico midfielder Héctor Herrera leveled in the 90th  with a header from Kieran Trippier's cross.

EASTERN PROMISE

Clubs from eastern Europe are often overmatched in the Champions League, and Dinamo Zagreb had lost its last 11 group-stage games, scoring just once.

Still, Zagreb gave a painful lesson to Atalanta, thrashing the Italian debutant 4-0. Mislav Orsic scored a hat trick.

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini called it "a nightmare of a game. They were stronger in every aspect."

Lokomotiv Moscow scored a rare away win for a Russian team, winning 2-1 at Bayer Leverkusen.

Red Star Belgrade couldn't complete the hat trick of wins in Munich. Bayern controlled the game but had only Kingsley Coman's first-half header to show before late goals from Robert Lewandowski and substitute Thomas Mueller.

EARLY DRAWS

Maybe it's the unusual kickoff time — at 6:55 p.m. in most of Europe — but all four early evening starts produced draws this week.

Tottenham wasted a two-goal first-half lead at Olympiakos on Wednesday, taking control with a penalty by Harry Kane and a smart shot from Lucas Moura in Athens.

The Greek league runner-up struck back on the stroke of halftime before Mathieu Valbuena beat his former France teammate Hugo Lloris from the penalty spot in the..

In Belgium, Club Brugge drew 0-0 with Galatasaray, as both teams failed to make a stronger mark on Group A where PSG and Madrid are strongly favored to advance.


Springboks want ref to give All Blacks no favors

The South African rugby squad trains in Urayasu, near Tokyo Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, ahead of a Rugby World Cup match against New Zealand. (Takumi Sato/Kyodo News via AP)

Foster Niumata

Tokyo (AP) — Read this Jerome Garces: The All Blacks are no longer rugby's best.

For the second time this week, the Springboks stressed on Wednesday for the referee's benefit that New Zealand doesn't deserve any favors from him this weekend.

There's been a perception for at least the last decade that the All Blacks have received, by virtue of their No. 1 status and reputation, the rub of the green when referees had to make 50-50 calls.

South Africa and New Zealand meet on Saturday in Yokohama on just the second day of the Rugby World Cup. The outcome of perhaps the biggest pool game in tournament history will set back one of the title contenders, and the Springboks have been urging Garces to be fair. With all due respect.

First, assistant coach Mzwandile Stick noted the result could go either way, and "hopefully the match officials will also respect the game."

He added the All Blacks are favorites, "but we are on an equal level with them at the moment. We are just hoping the officials will treat all the teams equally."

Stick's message was reinforced at the team announcement by coach Rassie Erasmus, who recalled when he was playing for the Springboks during their 17-win streak in 1997-98 how they received more respect from everyone for how well they were doing.

"Even referees buy into that respect," he said. "Because you're playing so well, referees tend to almost find it tough to penalize you on 50-50 decisions.

"Because New Zealand was so long No. 1 in the world, there was a time when they had so much respect from every level, even from referees. When (New Zealand) had teams under the pump, some of the 50-50 decisions just went their way because they deserved that being No. 1 for so long."

With the top ranking spread around recently between New Zealand, Wales, and Ireland, and this World Cup being a little more open than previously, Erasmus said, "This is a World Cup where any team can beat any team. Referees should be open-minded going into test matches."

What Erasmus didn't go out of his way to mention was South Africa's poor record when Garces was controlling their tests. The Springboks have lost nine of their 13 tests that the Frenchman has refereed, one of them the defeat to Japan in the 2015 World Cup that marked the biggest upset in tournament history.

Against New Zealand when Garces has the whistle, the Springboks have lost all four tests, including the 2015 World Cup semifinal.

For the first time since that match — 51 matches ago — South Africa has stuck with an unchanged squad.

The same lineup and reserves which beat Japan 41-7 in a warmup this month will face the All Blacks. The same lineup without captain and flanker Siya Kolisi scored a last-minute try to draw with the All Blacks 16-16 in July in Wellington.

Kolisi has since returned from a knee injury. The only doubt this time involved reserve prop Trevor Nyakane, who also got over a knee injury to confirm his place, and celebrated the birth of his first child this week.

Erasmus said he had no problem selecting lock Eben Etzebeth, who is being investigated in South Africa for an alleged assault in a bar brawl, and for alleged racial abuse in a separate incident on the same night last month. Etzebeth has denied the allegations.

Erasmus said they were happy to fully cooperate with prosecutors, but nobody yet has approached the team so it hasn't been a disruption. The coach said he's worked with Etzebeth for the past decade.

"I know him as a person and have a good relationship with him. When he tells me something I believe him," Erasmus said. "There's a thorough investigation going on in South Africa, and until something comes out of that I'm going to believe what he tells me."


A panda is the mascot for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

Bing Dwen Dwen, the official mascot for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic is revealed at a ceremony held at the Shougang Ice Hockey Arena in Beijing on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Shanshan Wang

Beijing (AP) — A smiling panda and a walking Chinese lantern will be the mascots for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing.

The mascots were revealed Tuesday at a ceremony at the Shougang Ice Hockey Arena in the Chinese capital.

Beijing Mayor Chen Jining described them as adorable, unique and exquisite.

"In a visually appealing way, they epitomize our aspiration for the Beijing 2022 Games, and extend our warm invitation to friends throughout the world," he said.

The panda, named Bing Dwen Dwen, is the Olympic mascot. Colorful circles around its face symbolize skating tracks and 5G technology, according to the website of the Beijing organizing committee. Bing, the Chinese word for "ice," shows purity and strength, while Dwen Dwen means sincerity, liveliness and health, the website said.

The choice of the iconic animal, considered the national treasure, was not a surprise to people in China. While many acclaimed Bing Dwen Dwen for its cuteness on social media, some were not impressed by the lack of creativity in choosing a panda.

The giant panda was one of the five mascots for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, and it also was the symbol for the Asian Games in Beijing in 1990.

"Today is an important step on a milestone in Beijing's journey to make history as the first ever, in Olympic history, to host both summer and winter editions of the Olympic Games," International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said at the ceremony.

Based on a traditional red lantern, Paralympic mascot Shuey Rhon Rhon creates the cheerful atmosphere of the Chinese Lunar New Year, which will fall around the time of the Winter Games, the organizing committee said.

It sports a yellow scarf, a circle of yellow doves around its head and a traditional Chinese paper cutting. "Shuey" means snow in Chinese and the characters for "Rhon Rhon" mean "inclusiveness" and "integration," implying the world civilizations communicating among one another and living in harmony, the committee said.

The two mascots were selected from more than 5,800 submissions from 35 countries.


Woods part of 'Japan Skins' game to be shown live worldwide

Tiger Woods. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Doug Ferguson

New York (AP) - Tiger Woods is playing another skins game with two big differences. This one is in Japan and will be broadcast live around the world by Discovery-owned GOLFTV.

The exhibition is called "The Challenge: Japan Skins," and it will be played Oct. 21 leading into the PGA Tour's first official event in Japan. It features four of golf's biggest names from each of their continents — Woods, Rory McIlroy of Europe, Jason Day of Australia and Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama.

"This is our opportunity to think outside the box," said Alex Kaplan, president and general manager of Discovery Golf. "We'll put guys in different situations, and it will be a surprise to them what they are. There's going to be some fun tweaks these guys aren't used to."

Woods played four times in the original Skins Game, which had become a Thanksgiving weekend tradition in the California desert until it began losing star power and was held for the last time in 2008, three years after Woods' final appearance. He never won in four tries.

"After discussing 'The Challenge' with Discovery and GOLFTV, I wanted to be a part of it," Woods said. "I haven't been back to Japan since 2006 and the golf fans there are some of the best in the world. It's a unique format and a top field with Rory, Jason and Hideki. I can't wait to play against them on a global stage."

Woods signed a deal with Discovery last December in which he gives exclusive content to GOLFTV. Discovery last year agreed to a 12-year, $2 billion deal with the PGA Tour to deliver golf content direct to consumers in 220 markets outside the United States.

Because the PGA Tour is sanctioning the event, it will be shown on Golf Channel in U.S. markets.

The biggest challenge was figuring out when to play.

Because the event will be shown on demand for free around the world — fans in the UK and Ireland will be have to subscribe because of existing rights deals — Discovery Golf determined that a 1 p.m. start at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba would be the best fit.

That means it will start at midnight Sunday in the eastern U.S. after the NFL is over, and 9 p.m. on the West Coast. It will start in the early morning of Europe. Australia is one hour ahead of Japan.

"There's not a perfect time," Kaplan said. "You map out where the key markets are and what's possible on the course and do your best possible. It's where you drive the most viewership, and then you look at when the sun goes down. We could have started in the morning, but Japan and Asia are important markets for Discovery. We had to make sure we had it at a meaningful time. The lunch hour does that, particularly for streaming."

Kaplan said some 3,000 fans are expected on the course, many of them as guests, others allowed to buy tickets. Because of limited October daylight, he said lights would be erected on the last few holes if needed.

McIlroy, who has a similar partnership as Woods with NBC Sports Group, was intrigued by the format and the field.

"Playing with Hideki on his home turf, Tiger coming back to Japan with a green jacket, the motivation is certainly there for me," McIlroy said. "And I'm a huge fan of the skins format. I love the way it rewards attacking play and think it suits my game quite well. The other fun thing about skins is how you find yourself rooting for the other guys if you're not in a position to win the hole."

Players need to win a hole outright, or it carries over to the next hole. Total prize money is $350,000 — $10,000 per skin for the opening six holes, $20,000 for the next six holes, $20,000 through the 17th hole, and $100,000 for the 18th. There also will be charitable component.

Still to be revealed are the announcing crews. Kaplan said the Japan Skins will be produced in Japanese and English.

It starts what figures to be a big week in golf-crazed Japan. The Japan Skins is at the front end of the ZoZo Championship, the first official PGA Tour event in Japan, with a field expected to include Woods, McIlroy, Matsuyama, Day, Justin Thomas and possibly Jordan Spieth. Japan is in the middle of a three-week Asia swing, with South Korea at the front end and the HSBC Champions in Shanghai as the anchor.

Kaplan said more specialty events on GOLFTV are likely.

"We want to continue doing things like this, presenting golf in new and interesting ways," Kaplan said. "I'm super excited about the production. We're not going to rely on each player to tell their story. We'll make it fun and interactive, but we'll help these guys be fun and interactive."


VAR takes center stage as titleholders Liverpool lose opener

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, left, and Napoli's Mario Rui fight for the ball during the Champions League Group E soccer match between Napoli and Liverpool, at the San Paolo stadium in Naples, Italy, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Andrew Dampf

Naples, Italy (AP) — It didn't take long for VAR to become a talking point as the video refereeing system made its debut in the Champions League group phase.

Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp was left livid over a penalty awarded to Napoli that helped the Italian side beat the defending champions 2-0 on the tournament's opening night Tuesday.

Dries Mertens converted the penalty eight minutes from the end of an entertaining match after a contentious foul by Andy Robertson on Jose Callejon.

Substitute Fernando Llorente then sealed it in stoppage time with his first goal for Napoli — a measure of revenge after playing on the Tottenham side that lost last season's final to Liverpool.

Klopp thought that Callejon exaggerated the contact after Robertson was adjudged to have tripped the Spaniard in the area.

"I'm pretty sure there are different views on that. When a player jumps before there is contact it is not a penalty," Klopp said.

Klopp then wondered aloud how the referees came to the decision.

"I'm not the best loser but I'm not a bad loser. It was a decision made by human beings. As long as human beings make the decisions there is potential for failure. The referees and the VAR were all German, and they have experience with the VAR in Germany," said Klopp, who is also German. "I'm sure they will find an explanation on why they did the right thing."

Still, Klopp was not altogether discouraged.

"That was the game changer tonight and we have to accept the result," he said. "We are really critical with ourselves but it was not a really, really bad performance."

The latest chapter in what is becoming an intense rivalry between the two attack-minded clubs, which also met in last season's group phase, was full of action.

The atmosphere inside the newly renovated Stadio San Paolo was electric from the start as both sides attacked relentlessly from the opening whistle.

"It was very balanced match," Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti said. "They're the best squad in Europe and they were again tonight, because they forced us to be extraordinary."

Liverpool became the first reigning champions to lose an opening game since AC Milan were beaten by Ajax in 1994.

Last season, Napoli also beat Liverpool 1-0 at home before the English side won by the same score in England — denying Napoli a place in the knockout rounds.

Napoli and Salzburg, who routed Genk 6-2, took the early lead in Group E.

"I hope it's not decisive," Klopp said. "Give us at least a few more games to change the table."

Napoli countered Liverpool's established attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané with a lineup featuring four forwards: Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon on the wings surrounding Dries Mertens and Hirving Lozano.

Salah was on full sprint from kickoff but couldn't find a way past Napoli's center back Kalidou Koulibaly.

Liverpool goalkeeper Adrián — in his Champions League debut — denied Fabian Ruiz twice in one action before Lozano headed the second rebound into the net only to be whistled offside.

As dazzling as the offensive display was, the defense was just as impressive.

Joël Matip lunged to head away a cross intended for Lozano that seemed a sure goal then Ruiz sprinted back at the other end to intercept what would have been a tap-in for Salah.

The frantic pace continued, with Firmino heading just wide of the far post from a corner in the 44th.

Possession in the first half was split exactly 50-50.

The fireworks continued immediately after the break when Adrian hung in the air to deny a volley from Mertens with one hand at the far post.

There was a rare defensive mistake when Kostas Manolas gifted the ball to Salah in a great position but Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret extended to glove the Egypt international's shot wide.

It was only with 15 minutes to go that the pace slowed, with both teams visibly exhausted on a warm evening.

Then came the decisive penalty.

Adrián lunged to his left and got a hand on Mertens' spot kick but couldn't stop it.

In the final minutes, Napoli fans' whistled so loud every time Liverpool had possession it was deafening, and it seemed to have an effect when Virgil van Dijk gifted the ball to Llorente, who rolled it past Adrián with ease.

"We put in practically the perfect performance," Callejon said. "We've faced them so many times that we know them tactically by now and did everything right."

After the final whistle, Manolas led the celebrations by dancing in the center circle wearing Salah's No. 11 shirt.

Meanwhile, Ancelotti — who added another chapter in his long, personal history against Liverpool — consoled Klopp.

"I told him to relax, because if he loses here, he tends to go on and win the Champions League," Ancelotti said. "I reassured him."


Ter Stegen saves penalty as Barcelona draw 0-0 at Dortmund

Dortmund's Mats Hummels, center, heads the ball wide during the Champions League Group F soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Barcelona in Dortmund, Germany, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Ciarán Fahey

Dortmund, Germany (AP) — The only thing missing for Borussia Dortmund was a goal.

The German team did everything but score as Barcelona barely held on for a 0-0 draw in their Champions League opening game on Tuesday.

The home side hit the crossbar, missed a penalty, wasted a host of chances and even kept Lionel Messi quiet on the Argentina star's first appearance of the season.

Messi came on as a substitute for the last 30 minutes but was unable to spark the visitors' struggling attack, with Dortmund creating the best chances of the game.

Instead Barcelona had goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen to thank for avoiding defeat as he saved a penalty from Dortmund captain Marco Reus in the 57th and denied the home side with a string of saves on his return to his native Germany.

"It was a very difficult game," ter Stegen said.

Dortmund substitute Julian Brandt struck the crossbar and Paco Alcácer also went close against his former side. It was the first game in which the Spanish striker failed to score this season.

"We had to suffer a lot, especially after the break when we lost control and they were very dangerous," said Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde, who thanked ter Stegen for "his outstanding saves."

The 16-year-old Ansu Fati made his Champions League debut to become Barcelona's youngest player in a UEFA competition, before coming off for Messi in the 59th. Messi hadn't played since injuring his leg in pre-season.

Defender Mats Hummels showed why Dortmund brought him back from Bayern Munich with several vital interventions, starting with a block to deny Antoine Griezmann's first effort for Barcelona, then a crucial headed clearance from the lurking Luis Suárez. Griezmann, on his Champions League debut for Barcelona, produced the cross.

Dortmund's first big chance fell to Reus, who was denied for the first time by ter Stegen in the 25th. Jadon Sancho also missed a good opportunity.

A Barcelona corner caused chaos in the Dortmund defense, with Roman Bürki punching the ball clear and Fati's effort from the rebound deflected over by Reus.

Dortmund were more aggressive after the break but ultimately couldn't get past ter Stegen. Messi, meanwhile, looked far from his best.

"I'm going home with the feeling that we dropped two points. We would have put ourselves in a great position in this difficult group," Hummels said.

Dortmund next face a trip to Slavia Prague on Oct. 2. The Czech champions held Inter Milan 1-1 after conceding a late equalizer in Italy.

"Then we'll see how strong we are," Hummels said.


Severino sharp in season debut, Yanks top Angels 8-0

New York Yankees' Luis Serverino delivers a pitch during the third inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Ronald Blum

New York (AP) — Luis Severino pitched four dominant innings and reached 98.8 mph in his injury-delayed season debut for the Yankees, an 8-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night that moved New York to the brink of clinching its 21st postseason appearance in 25 years.

A two-time All-Star and the ace of the Yankees staff, Severino got hurt while warming up before his first scheduled spring training appearance on March 5.

He began tentatively in game 152, opening with a 12-pitch walk to Brian Goodwin, but got sharper and allowed just a pair of singles. Severino walked two and struck out four, throwing 47 of 67 pitches for strikes and leaving to an ovation from fans tracking his pitch count. He had seven swings and misses on fastballs and two on sliders.

Severino's return gives the Yankees a plethora of postseason rotation choices from a group that includes James Paxton (14-6), Masahiro Tanaka (10-8), Domingo Germán (18-4), CC Sabathia (5-8) and J.A. Happ (12-8).

While Severino was back on the mound, the Yankees announced reliever Dellin Betances tore his left Achilles' tendon in his season debut Sunday at Toronto. He had tests done after he was sore Tuesday.

Severino was 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA in 32 starts last year but struggled late in the season. The Yankees at first this year diagnosed Severino with shoulder inflammation, but when the 25-year-old right-hander failed to improve he was sent for an MRI on April 9 that revealed a strained latissimus dorsi muscle. He didn't throw off a mound again until a bullpen session on Aug. 9 and made three minor league injury rehabilitation appearances from Sept. 1-11.

New York lowered its magic number to one over Cleveland to clinch the Yankees' 55th postseason appearance — 22 more than any other team. New York's magic number dropped to two over Tampa Bay to wrap up the Yankees' 19th AL East title, their first since 2012.

And at 99-53, the Yankees are on the verge of their 21st 100-win season, their first in back-to-back years since 2002-04.

Severino's return follows the season debut on Sunday of left-hander Jordan Montgomery, out since May 2018 while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, limited to nine games this season, is due back Wednesday or Thursday after recovering from a knee injury.

Gleyber Torres hit his 38th homer, a three-run drive that capped a six-run fourth inning against José Suarez. One pitch earlier, Didi Gregorius doubled in two runs.

New York took a 2-0 lead in the second off Noé Ramirez (5-4) on Gio Urshela's RBI single and Cameron Maybin's run-scoring double.

Jonathan Loiasiga (2-1) followed Severino with two hitless innings as part of a six-hitter against the Angels, already assured of a losing record at 68-83.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: INF Luis Rengifo left in the seventh after hurting his left hand on a swing and miss against Stephen Tarpley. ... INF Tommy La Stella, who hasn't played since fracturing his right tibia with a foul ball on July 2, made the trip. La Stella, who is from Westwood, New Jersey, still is feeling discomfort.

Yankees: Stanton has been sidelined since straining the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on June 25. ... Maybin appeared to be shaking his left wrist in the late innings; the wrist has bothered him since August. ... DH-1B Edwin Encarnación (strained left oblique) will not swing a bat this week. ... C Gary Sánchez (strained left groin) remains in the treatment phase of his recovery. ... Happ had a cortisone shot Friday to treat biceps tendinitis in his pitching arm and anticipates making his scheduled start Thursday.

UP NEXT

Sabathia makes his final regular-season start at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, and Germán could follow in his second straight relief appearance as New York limits his innings. Left-hander Dillon Peters (3-3) starts for the Angels.


Pressure on Japan in Rugby World Cup opener against Russia

Russian rugby team's Vasily Artemyev, right, attends a welcome ceremony in Saitama, near Tokyo, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, ahead of the Rugby World Cup. At left is Saitama mayor Hayato Shimizu. (Kyodo News via AP)

Associated Press

Tokyo (AP) — The public awareness campaign has gone into overdrive at the Rugby World Cup, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe getting a close look at the Webb Ellis Cup and receiving the red-and-white jersey of the national team from captain Michael Leitch.

And the public response has been big, with a reported 15,000 people attending a practice session for the Welsh squad, and the New Zealand All Blacks being swamped with fans.

Leitch's Japan lineup will have its first genuine taste of the expectation which comes with being Rugby World Cup host when it plays Russia on Friday in the opening match of the first to be held in Asia.

An upset win over South Africa at the 2015 World Cup swelled Japan's fan-base at home and abroad and has added to the expectation that they may be the giant-killers of this year's tournament.

Leitch says his players are happy to live with heightened pressure and have their sights firmly set on making the quarterfinals for the first time. An emphatic win by 10th-ranked Japan over 20th-ranked Russia might help quiet the players' nerves and those of their fans while lauching the tournament on a high note.

Japan will have to be quickly into stride as it needs not only to beat Russia but to do so by a large margin if it is to have a chance of progressing to the knockout rounds. Points differential could come into play in deciding the top two teams in what seems to be an even pool.

Japan shares the group with top-ranked Ireland, Scotland, Russia and former quarterfinalist Samoa. After Russia it plays plays Ireland, then Samoa, making its last pool match against Scotland a possibly decisive contest for second place if Ireland tops the pool as expected.

"We have prepared well for our goal of making the quarterfinals," Leitch said after his team's 41-7 loss to South Africa in its final World Cup warm-up. "We just want to play to our ability."

The loss to South Africa was not in any way indicative of Japan's comparative standing with Tier One nations or of any decline in its ability since the last World Cup. Coach Jamie Joseph used the match for experimentation and to adapt a game plan to those of its pool opponents.

"The biggest lesson for us is that when we make a small mistake against a Tier One team they will punish us and score points," Joseph said. "They kicked the ball and forced us into mistakes. Ireland and Scotland will play like that against us, so it's an area we need to work on."

Joseph is aware of the pressure that will be on his squad in the opening match and for the remainder of the World Cup, and is sure his team can cope.

"We are a well-prepared team both physically and mentally," he said. "We understand what our roles are, whether it's the coaching staff or the medical staff or the players. Everyone understands how important this event is going to be but none more than our staff and the players themselves. We want to make everyone proud."

One of the men under most pressure is flyhalf Yu Tamura. Tamura was a bench player at the last World Cup but now has the task of guiding Japan's attacking game.

"This is a game with 15 players," Tamura said. "It's the same for any country. Everyone has to do a good job and it's difficult to deal with it all alone. The stage is all set with the home fans behind us."

Russia may still be startled to find itself at the center of the spectacle of the World Cup's opening match. The Russians were lucky to qualify, doing so only after Romania was disqualified for fielding ineligible players.

Russia's warm-up form has not been impressive: it conceded 162 points including 24 tries in its last three matches. But captain Vasily Artemyev said those games allowed Russia to overcome some rustiness and promised his team would be better at the World Cup.

Both teams were expected to announce match-day squads on Wednesday.


Some of rugby's best missing from first World Cup in Asia

In this Jan. 24, 2018 file photo, England rugby team coach Eddie Jones and captain Dylan Hartley, right, pose for photographers with the trophy during the Rugby 6 Nations tournament launch in London. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Foster Niumata

Auckland, New Zealand (AP) - The phone call was short. "I don't have long conversations with a lot of people," Owen Franks says with a rueful laugh.

Even phone calls with New Zealand coach Steve Hansen, under whom Franks had been the starting tight-head prop for more than 10 years, and under whom Franks won the 2011 and '15 Rugby World Cups.

Less than a month out from the Rugby World Cup in Japan, Hansen called Franks to tell him that although he was "one of the great All Blacks," he didn't make the squad because there were bigger and quicker props in contention.

"It is the toughest part of the job," Hansen says of telling players they missed selection, especially for a World Cup. "You're dealing with human beings who have got dreams and aspirations and your phone call is taking it away from them."

Franks admits he was disappointed.

"But I'm well aware as a professional athlete, and especially an All Black, that your time in the jersey isn't owed," he tells the Newshub news service. "I really can't sit here and complain. I've been to two World Cups and been lucky enough to win two."

Franks is one of a host of big names to be missing the first Rugby World Cup in Asia.

England discarded former captains Dylan Hartley and Chris Robshaw. Robshaw led England at the 2015 World Cup, and has grudgingly accepted over the past year his international career is over. Hartley hasn't given up though. He was dropped for that 2015 tournament but became new coach Eddie Jones' right hand man until the end of last year when he injured his knee. He hasn't played since, being stuck on 97 test caps.

"When the World Cup squad was announced, it was almost like I'd died, friends getting in touch and seeing if I was OK," he says. "For four years we have talked about winning the World Cup with Eddie, and I have led that group, been a part of that journey, so to fall at the final hurdle ... I wake up most nights thinking about it. It doesn't sit well with me, but I have come to terms with it."

Scrumhalf Danny Care (84 caps), fullback Mike Brown (72 caps), and British Lions center Ben Te'o (20 caps) were also surplus to requirements for England. Brown and Te'o had an off-field dustup in camp, and Brown didn't know if that affected their non-selections.

France also discarded experienced backs, including Morgan Parra (71 caps), Mathieu Bastareaud (54 caps), Teddy Thomas (16 caps), and Geoffrey Doumayrou (13 caps).

Parra, Bastareaud, and Doumayrou were involved as recently as the Six Nations.

"I'm not bitter at all," Parra says. "I believe in destiny enormously."

Like Parra, Bastareaud played in the last two World Cups. He reacted to his omission by retiring from test rugby and switching from center to No. 8.

At least there was consolation for hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau after missing out on a third World Cup. Australia gave him a 90th and farewell test against Samoa this month.

"I feel very fortunate," Polota-Nau says.

Some players made themselves unavailable for personal reasons, such as New Zealand flanker Liam Squire and Scotland lock Richie Gray, a British Lion and veteran of two World Cups. Australia coach Michael Cheika would have liked the option to pick 2.04-meter (6-foot-8) lock Will Skelton for another World Cup. To secure selection Skelton needed to sign to play Super Rugby next year, but he declined and instead extended his contract at English champion Saracens.

The depth of Ireland's squad was evident by coach Joe Schmidt's decision to leave at home five of the 23 who earned the first home win over the All Blacks last November.

Lock Devin Toner and scrumhalf Kieran Marmion were starters, and Jack McGrath, Andrew Porter, and Jordi Murphy were backups in that milestone match.

Toner's omission was met with the most disbelief. He even received sympathy from World Rugby vice chairman Agustin Pichot.

Injuries made Schmidt's decision easier to leave out flanker Sean O'Brien and Dan Leavy, much like injuries in the final weeks ruled out Wales stars Taulupe Faletau and Gareth Anscombe. Props Rob Evans and Samson Lee also had injury issues.

Argentina omitte No. 8 Facundo Isa, prop Ramiro Herrera, and wings Santiago Cordero and Juan Imhoff, who all featured at the last World Cup. Isa, Herrera, and Cordero were involved in the recent Rugby Championship. But the Pumas prioritized home-based players, and only three overseas players made it.

"Of course, it hurts, but nothing is given," Imhoff says. "I did not expect to be selected merely on my name. I did not meet the expectations of the coach."

Injury robbed two who would have appeared in a fifth World Cup. Only Samoa wing Brian Lima and Italy flanker Mauro Bergamasco have been to five, and Italy captain Sergio Parisse will join them on Sunday.

But Georgia fullback Merab Kvirikashvili and Uruguay lock Rodrigo Capo Ortega hoped to join them. The 35-year-old Kvirikashvili played in all four of Georgia's World Cup wins, but injuries prevented him from appearing this year.

Capo Ortega, Uruguay's greatest player, appeared in the 2003 World Cup then concentrated on his club career at Castres. His only appearances for Uruguay in this decade were to help the Teros win World Cup qualifiers in 2014 and 2018. A herniated disc has ruled him out.

Injury also cost Ray Barkwill. The starting hooker suffered nerve damage while helping Canada qualify last November in France, and retired reluctantly in April.

Akihito Yamada was on the wing the day Japan shocked the Springboks in 2015, and hoped to appear in his home World Cup. But Yamada hasn't played for Japan since last November. He's told the selectors that though he's going to Lyon on a short-term deal, he's available if there are injuries.

He's hopeful for a phone call.


Spangenberg lifts Brewers, ensures Padres' losing record

Milwaukee Brewers' Cory Spangenberg hits a two-run scoring triple during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Joe Totoraitis

Milwaukee (AP) — Corey Spangenberg drove in three runs, including a tiebreaking, two-run triple in the fourth inning, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the San Diego Padres 5-1 Monday night to keep up a playoff push with their 10th win in 11 games.

Milwaukee began the night one game behind the Chicago Cubs for the NL's second wild card and three games back of St. Louis, the NL Central leader.

San Diego got just two hits and dropped to 68-82, tying the franchise record with its ninth consecutive losing season. The Padres also finished under .500 from 1969-77, the first nine years of the expansion franchise.

Manny Machado of the Padres was booed loudly before every plate appearance and was cheered when he struck out in the sixth and ninth innings. While playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Brewers during last year's NL Championship Series, Machado stepped on first baseman Jesús Aguilar's foot, prompting the benches to empty.

Padres starter Garret Richards (0-1) allowed three runs and five hits over 3 2/3 innings in his first major league appearance since Tommy John surgery in July 2018. The 31-year-old right-hander struck out five and walked none, throwing 42 of 61 pitches for strikes.

Spangenberg had an RBI single in the second and followed Eric Hosmer's tying double in the fourth with a triple in the bottom half for a 3-1 lead.

Travis Shaw stopped an 0-for-20 slide with a pinch-hit home run leading off the fifth against Ronald Bolaños, and Orlando Arcia doubled in a run in the sixth.

Zach Davies (10-7) allowed two hits in five innings, Freddy Peralta struck out four over two innings, Alex Claudio pitched a perfect eighth and Jay Jackson struck out the side in the ninth.

Josh Naylor's second-inning single was San Diego's only other hit.

PADRES MOVES

San Diego recalled C Luis Torrens from Double-A Amarillo and transferred LHP Adrián Morejon (left shoulder impingement) to the 60-day injured list.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Padres: OF Hunter Renfroe took batting practice, ran the bases and chased fly balls. Out with a sprained his right ankle since Sept. 7, he is expected to return to the starting lineup during the four-game series.

Brewers:  2B Keston Hiura was available to pinch hit or be a defensive replacement, but not ready to return to the starting lineup. He was on the disabled list from Aug. 31 to Sept. 10 with a strained left hamstring. ... C Manny Piña (concussion) worked out before the game.

UP NEXT

Padres: RHP Chris Paddack is 2-0 with a 0.49 ERA and 23 strikeouts in his three previous starts going into Tuesday's outing.

Brewers: RHP Brandon Woodruff (left oblique strain) is scheduled to come off the injured list and open, then be followed by LHP Gio González.


Liverpool begins Champions League defense at Napoli

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring his side’s third goal during the English Premier League match against Newcastle at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Associated Press

Dortmund, Germany (AP) — Defending champion Liverpool and Barcelona open their Champions League campaigns with difficult away games on Tuesday as Europe's top club competition returns.

Liverpool travels to Napoli, where it lost in the group stage last season, while Barcelona visits Borussia Dortmund as the Spanish giant renews its search for a first European title since 2015.

Last season's surprise semifinalist Ajax is also in action, playing Lille at home, while Europa League champion Chelsea welcomes Valencia to Stamford Bridge.

Here's a look at Tuesday's group games:

GROUP E

Liverpool knows from experience that it can't take anything for granted at Napoli, where it lost 1-0 last season before beating the Italian side by the same score at Anfield to advance to the knockout stages.

"The manager said it was probably our worst game of the season," fullback Trent Alexander-Arnold said. "It is a really tricky place to go. The fans are really hostile."

Forward Divock Origi is out after twisting his ankle in Liverpool's 3-1 win over Newcastle at the weekend, and teenager Rhian Brewster has taken the Belgian striker's place in the squad. Midfielder Naby Keita and goalkeeper Alisson Becker remain sidelined.

Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti has several new, enticing options in his second season. Substitute Fernando Llorente made his debut and set up Dries Mertens' second goal in a 2-0 win over Sampdoria on Saturday.

"Llorente is a complete forward. Because he is so tall, everyone thinks he's just an old-fashioned center-forward, but he can play football and has great technique," Ancelotti said. "I have many options available to me in attack now."

Mexico winger Hirving Lozano has also impressed, meaning Ancelotti can rest the veteran attack trio of Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon.

Austrian champion Salzburg hosts Belgian counterpart Genk in the other Group E game.

GROUP F

Dortmund fans are hoping Spanish forward Paco Alcácer can keep his scoring streak going against former side Barcelona. Alcácer netted again in his side's 4-0 rout of Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday to maintain his record of scoring in every competitive game so far this season — seven goals in six games for Dortmund and three in two games for Spain.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi is unlikely to feature due to a lingering calf injury.

Messi trained with his teammates for the first time on Sunday, a day after the team's 5-2 win over Valencia in the Spanish league.

The injury has prevented Messi from playing this season, but young sensation Ansu Fati could make his Champions League debut. The 16-year-old Fati is already a fan favorite after becoming the youngest Barca player to score in the Spanish league and the youngest to score at its Camp Nou Stadium.

Slavia Prague's daunting task to emerge from the group begins at Inter Milan, which has been the most consistent squad through three rounds of Serie A.

Center forward Romelu Lukaku has been standing out following his 65 million euro ($73 million) transfer from Manchester United, and Alexis Sanchez made a short but impressive debut off the bench in Inter's 1-0 win over Udinese on Saturday.

"It's a long road ahead of us, we have a lot of work to do and won't get caught up by easy enthusiasm," Inter coach Antonio Conte said.

GROUP G

Lyon opens its Champions League campaign at home to Russian champion Zenit St. Petersburg, widely considered the weakest of the competition's eight top seeds.

Zenit has not played in the group stage since 2015-16, when it beat Lyon home and away. However, playing abroad has since become a problem for the side, which has won none of its last nine away European fixtures dating back to 2017.

Zenit signed winger Malcom in the summer from Barcelona but he has missed the club's last four league games due to hip problems, and seems unlikely to return against Lyon.

Lyon has not impressed in the French league so far. Center half Jason Denayer's return could be a much-needed boost for coach Sylvinho, who has been frustrated with the attitude of his players recently.

Lyon's 2-2 draw at Amiens on Friday was the side's third consecutive game without a win and its second straight draw after giving away a lead.

It lead to some stern words from Sylvinho, who is in his first season as coach. The former Arsenal and Barcelona left back rebuked his players and urged them to improve both their intensity and concentration starting against Zenit.

"Of course I'm worried. We need the mentality to win and keep on winning," Sylvinho said.

After being an unused substitute on Friday, Memphis Depay is expected to take his place in attack beside the in-form Moussa Dembélé and Netherlands teammate Denayer, who has reportedly shaken off a minor foot injury.

Benfica hosts German side Leipzig in the other Group G game.

GROUP H

Valencia arrives at Chelsea in crisis following last week's firing of coach Marcelino García Toral by Singaporean owner Peter Lim over planning discrepancies. Former Real Madrid assistant Albert Celades made his debut as coach on Saturday with a 5-2 defeat at Barcelona.

"The only way to rebound is to keep working hard," Celades said. "We'll give our best."

Chelsea counterpart Frank Lampard begins his bid to win the Champions League as coach after lifting the trophy as a Chelsea player.

After taking over from the fired Maurizio Sarri, Lampard leads Chelsea in only his second season in management. The first was spent in the second tier at Derby.

Meanwhile, Lille coach Christophe Galtier is under no illusions about the task facing his side away to last season's semifinalist Ajax.

"We know how good a side they are and how difficult it will be," Galtier said. "I won't give more importance to the Champions League than to the (French) championship."

The match features two teams with a strong reputation for giving talented young players the chance to shine.

The 21-year-old Jonathan Ikoné, who recently scored on his France debut, and 23-year-old Jonathan Bamba are expected to line up in a Lille attack that likes to hit teams with fast counterattacks.

Ajax, meanwhile, will have to cope without two of its key players from last season — center back Matthijs de Ligt and midfielder Frenkie de Jong — who were both sold in the summer.


Nadal to open in ATP Cup in Perth; Djokovic on east coast

Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, returns to Stan Wawrinka, of Switzerland, during the U.S. Open tennis championships, Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

Associated Press

Sydney (AP) — U.S. Open champion Rafael Nadal will start his 2020 season on the opposite side of Australia to Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer when he leads Spain in a group-stage qualifier in the new ATP Cup team competition.

Spain was drawn into Group B with Japan and Georgia and will play in Perth on Australia's west coast, where the U.S. team, Daniil Medvedev's Russia team and Italy will also be competing in Group D.

Nadal collected his 19th major title, moving within one of Federer's record for men, when he held off Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 in a U.S. Open final that lasted nearly five hours. Nadal remained at No. 2 in the rankings, behind Djokovic, and Medvedev moved up to career-best No. 4.

Djokovic's Serbia squad was drawn into Group A along with France and South Africa in one of two groups based in Brisbane on Australia's east coast, along with Australia, Germany, Canada and Greece in Group F.

No. 3-ranked Federer's Swiss team will open in Group C against Belgium and Britain in Sydney, where Group E — containing Austria, Croatia and Argentina — will also be based.

There are five spots still open in the 24-country tournament which starts in the three cities on Jan. 3 and will double as the season-opening event for the men's tennis tour.

Eight teams from the six-day group stage will advance to the knockout rounds, which will continue in Sydney until Jan. 12.

The ATP says all players in the top 10, and 27 of the top 30 players in the rankings, have committed to playing in the ATP Cup.

The Australian Open, the first major of the season, is set to start Jan. 20 in Melbourne.


Pettersen wins dramatic Solheim Cup for Europe then retires

Team Europe's Suzann Pettersen, center, celebrates with her team and the trophy following Team Europe's victory in the Solheim Cup against the US at Gleneagles, Scotland, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (Ian Rutherford/PA via AP)

Steve Douglas

Gleneagles, Scotland (AP) — Suzann Pettersen stood over the final shot of her golfing career, not quite realizing it also was the last shot of the most dramatic Solheim Cup ever played.

Europe's players had their hands over their mouths, and their captain could barely watch. Blissfully unaware of what was unfolding was 1-year-old Herman, Pettersen's first child who was also among the thousands around the 18th green at Gleneagles.

The putt was from 7 feet, slightly left to right, and it never looked like missing.

After being mobbed by her teammates on the 18th green, an emotional Pettersen held Herman in her arms and kissed him. The Europeans had regained the Solheim Cup and one of the stalwarts of women's golf had her perfect ending.

"Yeah, this is it. I'm completely done," said the 38-year-old Pettersen, confirming her sudden decision to retire. "It doesn't get any better."

On an afternoon of singles matches that pretty much had everything, Europe secured a 14 1/2-13 1/2 win over the United States to claim the biggest team prize in female golf for the first time since 2013.

The final act, spread over two holes with virtually simultaneous putts, could not have been more thrilling.

Just as Pettersen was addressing her putt at No. 18, U.S. player Ally McDonald slid a putt to the right of the hole at No. 17 and walked up to Bronte Law to concede the match in favor of the Europeans.

The score changed to 13 1/2-13 1/2 and — without her even realizing — the outcome of the contest hinged on Pettersen.

"I thought Bronte was in behind me on the (18th) fairway," Pettersen said. "I actually didn't know that it was THE putt."

That it was Pettersen who secured the winning point felt apt.

She was a contentious wild-card pick by European captain Catriona Matthew because Pettersen had played just two tournaments — missing the cut in both — since November 2017. She had time off before and after giving birth to Herman, and then because of injury.

Pettersen also had a score to settle with the Solheim Cup. In her most recent appearance, at St. Leon-Rot in Germany in 2015, she refused to concede a short putt to Alison Lee on the 17th hole of a tight fourballs match before the singles on the final day. There were angry exchanges, and it stoked a fire inside the Americans as they fought back from 10-6 down going into the singles to win 14½-13½.

Pettersen later apologized.

"She gone from villain to hero," said Laura Davies, one of the European vice captains.

Pettersen's redemption story was delivered in Scotland, the home of golf, where the U.S. team hasn't now won in three attempts. Playing in her ninth Solheim Cup, Pettersen won two of her three matches and is now a four-time Solheim Cup winner.

The day started with the teams locked at 8-8 after four sessions, and the first definitive break of the entire contest happened when the Americans took the lead for the first time since Friday lunchtime, at 12-11.

At 13 1/2-11 1/2, they needed just a half-point from the final three singles matches out on the course to guarantee retaining the cup, but then came the European fightback.

Anna Nordqvist completed a 4-and-3 win over Morgan Pressel. Then, on No. 17, Law sealed a 2-and-1 win over McDonald to tie the score. Pettersen delivered for Europe on No. 18, but only after her opponent, Marina Alex, slid a 10-foot birdie putt wide that, if it had found the hole, would have been enough for the U.S.

"I told them afterward, the sun's going to come up tomorrow," said U.S. captain Juli Inkster, when asked what she'd said to her players. "It was great for women's golf. We played great.

"But you know what, the Europeans played great. You tip your hat. And you move on to Toledo."

Inkster won't be there in 2021, confirming afterward that she will not be captain for a fourth straight match. She finishes with two victories from three Solheim Cups as captain.

Two of the Americans, in particular, will still look back on the week with fond memories despite the loss. Jessica and Nelly Korda, the first sisters to play together in the fourballs or foursomes at the Solheim Cup, both finished with 3 1/2 points from four matches after coming from behind to win in the singles.

Nelly Korda, out in Match 2, was 3 down after nine holes against Caroline Hedwall but won 2 up. Jessica Korda, who at age 26 is five years older than her sister, beat Caroline Masson 3 and 2 after being 2 down.

Other key interventions for the U.S. in the singles came from Megan Khang, who birdied No. 18 to claim a half-point against Charley Hull, and Lizette Salas, who parred the last for a 1-up win over Anne van Dam.

But Europe, which had a historically inferior record in singles, managed to win the session 6 1/2-5 1/2 after victories in three of the first matches to finish — including Georgia Hall taking down world No. 3 Lexi Thompson 2 and 1 — and then those last three matches.

Hall and Celine Boutier, a 2-and-1 winner over Annie Park, both won all four of their matches.

Thompson, the highest-ranked player at Gleneagles, collected just two half-points from four matches.

Matthew, carried shoulder-high by her players on the 18th green, celebrated victory in her home country.

And Pettersen closed her career with 21 points in the Solheim Cup, the Norwegian described by Matthew as "one of the trailblazers in women's golf."

"Coming down No. 18, Beany (Matthew) said, 'It's why I picked you,'" Pettersen said. "In your wildest dreams, especially where I've come from, I never thought I was going to do this again."


Fury overcomes bloody cut over eye to beat Wallin

Otto Wallin, left, of Sweden, punches Tyson Fury, of England, during their heavyweight boxing match Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

Tim Dahlberg

Las Vegas (AP) — Blood was flowing down Tyson Fury's right cheek, and Otto Wallin was in his face. His scheduled rematch with Deontay Wilder suddenly in jeopardy, Fury needed to dig deep in a fight that wasn't supposed to be this hard.

Fury did just that Saturday night, overcoming a bloody cut over his right eye to pound out a unanimous decision over his Swedish opponent and set up a lucrative heavyweight rematch with Deontay Wilder.

Fury remained unbeaten in 29 fights and retained his claim to the lineal heavyweight title against a fighter who was little known but gave the big Englishman all he could handle.

"I couldn't see out of my eye," Fury said. "I got cut over my eye and it changed the fight completely."

With blood streaming down his face, Fury dominated from the middle rounds on in what was supposed to be little more than a tune up fight for his scheduled February rematch with Wilder. He was a 30-1 favorite at fight time, but after being cut in the third round had to reach deep to pull out the win.

The three ringside judges had Fury winning by scores of 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112. The Associated Press had Fury winning 116-112.

"It's all heart and determination," Fury said. "If I can keep going, I keep going. Otto is a great Swede, a Viking warrior."

Fury was cut over his right eye in the third round, and it clearly bothered him as the fight went on. Blood flowed down the right side of his face and stained his trunks, and Fury kept wiping at the cut to try and keep the blood out of his eye.

Referee Tony Weeks stopped the fight briefly in the sixth round for the ringside doctor to look at the eye. When the fight resumed, Fury fought at a quicker pace, seemingly realizing he might be running out of time.

With renewed determination, he kept the pressure on Wallin the rest of the way to cement a huge payday against Wilder, who he fought to a draw in December.

"Deontay Wilder, I want you next," Wilder said. "Now I'm going to go home and relax with the family."

Wallin was still fighting hard in the final round, stunning Fury with a right to the head and chasing him around the ring in search of a knockdown that never came. Wallin, fighting for only the second time in the U.S., suffered his first defeat to fall to 20-1.

"I did everything I could, I tried my best," Wallin said. "Tyson is a great fighter."

Much of the fight was fought at close range, as the two men brawled on the inside. That was particularly true in the later rounds, as Fury (29-0-1) tried to land uppercuts and Wallin kept punching at Fury's bloody right eye.

Fury earned a reported $12 million for the fight, part of a deal with promoter Bob Arum, who scooped him up after the Wilder fight. He will earn a lot more against Wilder, who still must beat Luis Ortiz in November to make the February rematch happen.

Arum said Fury stepped up the pace after the cut over his eye was ruled to be from a punch. Had the fight been stopped early because of the cut Wallin would have won.

"It was a courageous performance, a terrific fight," Arum said. "We knew the Swede wasn't a quitter. But Tyson's a real warrior. That's why they call him the Gypsy King."

Fury came into the ring behind a mariachi band, wearing a pancho and a sombrero to stake his claim to fighting on Mexican Independence Day weekend in Las Vegas.

But he quickly found himself in a rough and tumble battle with Wallin, who was plucked from obscurity to be Fury's opponent. Wallin had his moments in the fight, but never seemed to really hurt Fury.

Fury started landing cleaner punches as the fight went into the later rounds and when he wasn't punching at Wallin he was leaning his 6-foot-9 256 1/2-pound fame on him. Wallin fought hard, but seemed to be tiring in the later rounds as Fury built up a lead on the scorecards.

The fight drew a crowd of 8,249 to the Las Vegas Strip, many of them British fans who want to see Fury reclaim his place on top of the heavyweight division. Fury beat Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 to win the heavyweight titles, but was stripped of them after battling mental and drug abuse problems and not fighting for more than two years.

Wallin was trying to score the biggest win for a Swedish heavyweight since Ingemar Johnansson defeated Floyd Patterson for the heavyweight title in 1959.


England beat Australia in 5th test, Ashes series ends 2-2

England's Joe Root, left, and Australia's Tim Paine hold the trophy during the presentation ceremony on the fourth day of the fifth Ashes cricket test match between England and Australia at the Oval cricket ground in London, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. England won the fifth test by 135 runs to draw the series but Australia retain the ashes trophy. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Associated Press

London (AP) — England beat Australia by 135 runs in the fifth and final Ashes test at the Oval on Sunday to draw the series 2-2.

It's the first time an Ashes series has ended in a draw since 1972.

Both teams had something to celebrate as Australia was later presented with the Ashes urn. Australia had already retained the urn as holder but was thwarted in its goal of a first outright series win in England in 18 years after being dismissed for 263 in its second innings deep into the evening session on Day 4.

"We've got to bat, bowl better than we did in this test match," Australia captain Tim Paine said. "No doubt today puts a dampener on it, but from where this group's come from, to retain the Ashes is still a big deal."

Steve Smith proved a formidable presence at No. 4 for Australia throughout the series but was caught by Ben Stokes at leg gully off pacer Stuart Broad for 23, by far his lowest score of the series.

Smith finished with 774 runs in the series in only seven innings at an average of 110. The star batter received a standing ovation from England and Australia fans as he left the field on Sunday, a strong sign Smith has been forgiven after a ban for his role in a ball-tampering scandal. The 30-year-old Smith posted the highest number of runs in a five-match series since Brian Lara managed 798 against England in 1993-94. In contrast, Australian opener David Warner finished with just 95 runs from 10 innings

Matthew Wade was Australia's top scorer with 117 after beginning to worry England as the visitors chased an unlikely winning target of 399. Wade was stumped off a delivery from England captain Joe Root (2-26).

Broad took 4-62 and spinner Jack Leach 4-49 for England. Broad became the first England bowler to take 20-plus wickets in four Ashes series — 2013, 2013-14, 2015 and 2019. Leach ended the game at 6:10 p.m. local time with two wickets — Nathan Lyon (1) and Josh Hazlewood (0) — in two balls.

Earlier, England resumed its second innings on 313-8 and was all out for 329 with Lyon taking 4-69. After being put into bat, England scored 294 in its first innings and Australia replied with 225.

Australia won the first test at Edgbaston by 251 runs, the next test at Lord's was drawn before England drew level with a one-wicket win in a thrilling third test at Headingley, which Smith missed. Australia won the fourth test at Old Trafford by 185 runs.

"We were excellent this week. Having lost the toss, to play as we did was fantastic. We drove the game all the time and got there in the end," Root said. "Collectively we've shown a lot of character throughout the whole series. We were not always at our best, but we've fought really hard."

Wade and Jofra Archer had repeated stand-offs and staring contests on Sunday as England attempted to wrap up victory before stumps with a day to spare. Archer, who took 6-62 in the first innings and was player of the match, also struck Wade high up on the arm during a relentless spell of pace bowling.

Paine made his first successful review of the series when the wicketkeeper-captain caught England tailender Archer off Pat Cummins and, after the umpire initially gave not out, Paine's decision to challenge was vindicated when replays showed the ball brushed Archer's glove.

Smith was Australia's player of the series, Stokes took the honors for England.


Gasol completes historic double, Spain wins World Cup

Members of Spain's team celebrate with the Naismith Trophy after they beat Argentina in the final of the FIBA Basketball World Cup at the Cadillac Arena in Beijing, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Tim Reynolds

Beijing (AP) — Marc Gasol looked to the sky as confetti fell, some sticking to his massive shoulders, and then cradled and kissed the giant golden chalice that goes to the World Cup champions.

He's getting good at hoisting trophies.

Gasol got to bask in a championship celebration for the second time in three months — and this time, he did it for his country. Tournament MVP Ricky Rubio scored 20 points, Sergio Llull added 15 and Spain won the World Cup for the second time by topping Argentina 95-75 on Sunday.

"We weren't the most talented team," Rubio said. "We weren't the bigger team. Put anything you want, but we were the team with the biggest heart and we showed it tonight and we showed it during the whole tournament."

Gasol scored 14 for the winners, who never trailed and added this crown to the one it claimed in 2006. And for him, 2019 will go down as a year the likes of which few others have enjoyed.

The Toronto Raptors center becomes the second player to win an NBA title and a FIBA world gold medal in the same year, joining Lamar Odom — who did it for the Los Angeles Lakers and USA Basketball in 2010. Gasol also became the 19th to win either an NBA or WNBA crown along with a gold medal, either of the Olympic or World Cup variety, in the same year.

The first 18 all did it for the U.S.

This time, Vamos España!

"NBA champion and a World Cup champion as well," Gasol said. "What can I say? How does it sound to you? I feel very fortunate to be in this position and be able to play this game and help these guys be part of history of Spanish basketball."

Llull and Rudy Fernandez — the team captain, the one who initially got to accept the Naismith Trophy — went to cut down the nets shortly after the final buzzer. Gasol carried the game ball to the gold-medal ceremony, and Spanish fans wept in the stands during the national anthem.

Gabriel Deck scored 24 points for Argentina (8-1), which got off to a slow start and played uphill the rest of the way. Luis Scola was held to eight points, shooting 1 for 10 from the floor.

"We're sad right now. We're very sad," Scola said. "But I feel confident, in hours, we'll be able to look back and be very proud. They just played better than us. They were better. They deserved to win. They were the better team in the game and the tournament."

Spain led 43-31 at intermission, after putting together a 14-2 run to open the game and a 17-1 run later in the half.

"This is basketball," Argentina coach Sergio Hernandez said. "If you play better than the other team, you win the game. And Spain was the best team today."

Scola, even at 39 years old still Argentina's best player throughout the tournament, didn't get on the scoresheet until he made a pair of free throws with 2:57 left in the third quarter. But they only cut the Spain lead to 19, and by then the Argentinian fans who stood, sang and chanted for much of the game were relatively quiet.

The day belonged to Spain.

And the year belongs to Gasol.

"It's unbelievable," Gasol said.

TIP-INS

Argentina: This was the third FIBA World Cup medal for Argentina, making it the fifth nation with that many after the United States (12), Yugoslavia (10), the Soviet Union (eight) and Brazil (six). Another four nations have two medals, including Spain. ... Argentina fell to 2-8 all-time against Spain in World Cup or Olympic competition.

Spain: It was also a double-title year for Spain coach Sergio Scariolo; he's an assistant on Nick Nurse's staff in Toronto. ... Gasol said there will be a celebration in Madrid early this week, and then he'll return to his Barcelona home to pack before heading to Toronto to prepare for camp. ... Spain won the rebound battle 47-27.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM

Joining Rubio on the all-tournament team were Gasol, Scola, France's Evan Fournier and Serbia's Bogdan Bogdanovic.

DIGNITARIES

Among those in attendance: Chinese basketball legend Yao Ming, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, FIBA ambassador and five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant, plus Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili — both four-time NBA champions with San Antonio.

5 WITH 2

Spain is the fifth nation to win the World Cup (or its predecessor, the world championship) at least twice. The U.S. and Yugoslavia are five-time champions, the Soviet Union won three titles and Brazil has won two.
 


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Gasol completes historic double, Spain wins World Cup