Update November 11 - 12, 2017
Italy risk missing World Cup after losing to Sweden 1-0
Emil Forsberg, left, jumps past Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon during the
World Cup qualifying play-off first leg soccer match between Sweden and
Italy, at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, Friday, Nov. 10. (AP Photo/Frank
Solna, Sweden (AP) — Four-time
champions Italy have been left at serious risk of failing to qualify for the
World Cup for the first time in six decades after losing at Sweden 1-0 in
the opening leg of their playoff on Friday.
Substitute Jakob Johansson scored
shortly after the hour mark with a shot from the edge of the area that
deflected in off Daniele De Rossi. After a long throw-in, Ola Toivonen
headed the ball out to Johansson and his deflected drive wrong-footed
goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon for his first international goal.
The Azzurri created few chances at
Friends Arena outside Stockholm and were fortunate not to concede more goals
after allowing Sweden a series of free kicks early on.
Italy's best opportunity was a long
effort from Matteo Darmian that squarely hit the post in the 70th. The
Azzurri's only other significant chance was a header from Andrea Belotti six
Sweden imposed themselves with their
physicality and playmaker Emil Forsberg proved especially dangerous with his
passing skills, setting up numerous opportunities.
Early in the second half, Italy became
outraged at Sweden's physicality, protesting for yellow cards at perceived
excessive contact. But Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir said to play on.
Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura wanted
the referee to intervene more.
"But that's not a justification,"
Ventura said. "A draw was the minimum we could hope for considering what
happened on the pitch."
Making matters more complicated for
Italy was that creative midfielder Marco Verratti picked up a yellow card
that will rule him out of the return match on Monday at Milan's San Siro.
"We need to learn from the mistakes we
made tonight," Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci said. "I'm expecting a great
match at the San Siro and for Italy to go to the World Cup. We've got to
play the match of our lives."
Italy have scored only three goals in
their last five matches and haven't found the net in two of those games.
"We have to be quicker on the ball,"
Bonucci said. "In the return leg, we have to really fight. They played a
very physical game but we can't make excuses."
Italy have participated in every World
Cup since failing to qualify for the 1958 tournament, which coincidentally
was held in Sweden.
The last major competitions Italy
missed were the 1984 and 1992 European Championships.
While Sweden didn't compete in the last
two World Cups, they impressed in qualifying with a win over France and
finished ahead of the Netherlands in their group.
"We need to go to Milan and focus on
our game," Sweden striker Marcus Berg said. "We know what to do. It will be
a tough match but we have a strong belief in what we're going to do."
Ventura relied on Ciro Immobile and
Belotti — two of his former players at Torino — in attack. That decision
left winger Lorenzo Insigne, considered the Azzurri's most talented forward
recently, on the bench. Insigne replaced Verratti for the final quarter hour
but made little impact.
With his strong play on the left flank,
Darmian was Italy's only bright spot. Jose Mourinho, Darmian's manager at
Manchester United who watched from the tribune, had to be pleased.
Otherwise, the Azzurri were too
predictable and slow to punish Sweden's well-organized defence.
"Their goal was fairly lucky," Darmian
said. "But we need to do more."
No letting up: Hamilton quickest in Brazilian GP practice
driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, steers his car during the first free
practice at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, Nov. 10.
(AP Photo/Andre Penner)
Sao Paulo (AP) — Winning his
fourth Formula One title did not slow Lewis Hamilton one bit.
The Englishman was quickest in both
practice sessions for the Brazilian Grand Prix on Friday, keeping his word
not to be distracted in the second-to-last race of the season.
Hamilton won his fourth Formula One
title two weeks ago in Mexico City. Since then, he's stayed in the news by
being named in the "Paradise Papers," showing he avoided paying more than $4
million in taxes on a private jet registered in the British Isle of Man, a
Hamilton has declined comment on his
legal case. His lawyers deny any wrongdoing.
Hamilton had the fastest lap in the
morning session at Interlagos, and was slightly slower in the afternoon. In
both sessions he was followed by Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.
There is nothing left to decide in the
season apart from who wins here and the season finale in two weeks in Abu
Dhabi. Hamilton and Mercedes have won the drivers' and constructors' title.
Left to fight over is second and third.
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel has 277 points, 15 clear of Bottas.
Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull is too far
behind in fourth place to catch either.
Ricciardo had the third quickest time
in the afternoon, and Vettel was just behind in fourth. They were followed
by Max Verstappen of Red Bull and Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari.
Marquez and Dovizioso go for MotoGP title in final race
This is a
Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017 file photo shows Spain's MotoGP rider Marc Marquez.
(AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Barcelona, Spain (AP) — Two
riders, one race, one trophy.
Defending MotoGP champion Marc Marquez
enters the season-ending Valencia Grand Prix on Sunday with only one
challenger separating him from his fourth title.
The role of spoiler goes to Andrea
Dovizioso, an Italian who trails Marquez by 21 points.
That means the 24-year-old Marquez can
assure he clinches another MotoGP title if he finishes in 11th place or
"It has been a tough season and one
race decides everything," the Spaniard said. "It will be a special race in
front of my fans at a circuit I like. But in motorsport, anything can
While Marquez has made Honda the top
power in motorbike racing, the 31-year-old Dovizioso has been the surprise
of the year. His superb season has made him Marquez's No. 1 rival and helped
Ducati rebound after the maker struggled for years to compete with the likes
of Honda and Yamaha.
Dovizioso, who won a title in the
sport's lowest category in 2004, kept alive his slim chances of catching
Marquez by winning the Malaysia GP two weeks ago. That gave both Dovizioso
and Marquez six victories on the season. Since his debut in MotoGP in 2008,
Dovizioso had only won two races before this campaign.
"I wouldn't have believed I'd be in
this situation," Dovizioso said. "And no one watching the races expected it.
That's why I'm so happy and proud of what we've achieved in this
Marquez has failed to finish three
races this season, but he hasn't finished lower than sixth place in the 14
races he did complete.
So Dovizioso's chances may hang on
Marquez crashing out on the curves of the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
Spain's public weather service
forecasts sunny skies with no signs of rain that could complicate the track
conditions for the race.
"We will see. Twenty-one points is a
lot and very difficult, but it's still open," Dovizioso said. "We have one
strategy: try to win. I don't feel much pressure because I know what we've
done this season and I'm so happy about the results up to now."
Marquez faced a similar situation in
2013 in his rookie season in MotoGP when he entered the Valencia GP leading
the title hunt ahead of Jorge Lorenzo.
Marquez handled the pressure by letting
Lorenzo win the race while he carefully steered to a third-place finish that
was enough to make him the youngest MotoGP champion at the age of 20.
"To finish the race is the most
important thing," Marquez said. "It's not the first time I've fought for the
championship here and it's difficult but I'll try to manage it the best I
can. I will go out, try to find the feeling with the bike and try to enjoy
Evra fired by Marseille, banned by UEFA for kicking fan
Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 file photo, Marseille's Patrice Evra, third left,
tries to kick a man during a scuffle with Marseille supporters before the
Europa League group I match between Vitoria SC and Olympique de Marseille at
the D. Afonso Henriques stadium in Guimaraes, Portugal. (AP Photo/Luis
Nyon, Switzerland (AP) — Patrice
Evra was fired by Marseille on Friday after being suspended by UEFA for all
remaining European games this season for kicking a fan of the French club.
The volatile defender was also fined
10,000 euros ($11,650) by UEFA.
The 36-year-old Evra got into a verbal
argument with Marseille supporters before a Europa League match against
Portuguese club Vitoria on Nov. 2. He then aimed a kick at the head of one
of the Marseille fans before being ushered away by a teammate. The Frenchman
was sent off before the game.
Shortly after UEFA banned Evra until
June 30, 2018, from its club matches, Marseille said his contract was
terminated with "immediate effect."
Evra committed an "irreparable" act by
"responding to the disgraceful provocations of a handful of individuals,"
the club said on its website, adding the decision was taken by "mutual
Marseille said it intended to punish
fans for the type of misconduct they showed toward Evra, but did not specify
whether it would punish those who insulted the former France defender.
Marseille is well-known for having a
powerful fan base that can exert pressure on the club and players alike.
"There's a lot of sadness today. First
of all for Patrice Evra, who has obviously understood all the consequences
of his act and that he can no longer fulfill his passion (of playing) for
Marseille," club president Jacques-Henri Eyraud said. "For Marseille fans,
too, who are stigmatized by the irresponsible behavior from a handful of
Before last Sunday's home game against
Caen, fans made it clear to Evra he was no longer welcome at the club,
holding aloft two banners criticizing him at Stade Velodrome.
"This Game Is Over," read one banner in
English, mocking Evra's regular posts on social media where he films himself
talking about soccer and says "I love this game" as he breaks into laughter.
Marseille was also charged with
invasion of the field by its fans, setting off fireworks, and acts of
damage. It must pay Vitoria 25,000 euros ($29,000) within 30 days.
Evra, whose most successful spell as a
player came at Manchester United and Juventus, lost his place at Marseille
this season to Jordan Amavi. But Evra remained visible on Instagram videos,
singing and having fun.
Evra has dropped out of contention for
France: His 81st and last appearance was a year ago in a World Cup qualifier
Evra was captain of the 2010 World Cup
squad but was blamed for being the orchestrator of a training-ground strike
that shocked the nation. Evra received a five-game ban from the French
Football Federation after returning from South Africa.
France coach Didier Deschamps was also
his coach when Monaco reached the Champions League final in 2004, and picked
Evra at last year's European Championship, where France lost in the final to
"Decisions have been taken, I'm not
here to judge them," Deschamps said. "He's in a very complicated situation,
I wouldn't wish anyone to be in this situation."
World champions Germany held by experimental England to 0-0
Leroy Sane, right, controls the ball under pressure from England's Harry
Maguire during the international friendly match between England and Germany
at Wembley stadium in London, Friday, Nov. 10. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)
London (AP) — World champions
Germany were held by an experimental England to 0-0 in a friendly at Wembley
Stadium on Friday as the teams prepare for the World Cup in Russia.
Jesse Lingard missed the target in
stoppage time at the end of the game as England failed to score at home for
the first time since 2013.
Five England players made their debuts
and coped despite losing Phil Jones, the most experienced player, 25 minutes
into the defender's 24th appearance.
Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, one of the
England newcomers, made key saves from Timo Werner in the first half as
Germany's seven-match winning run was halted.
"It was a really tactical game," Ruben
Loftus-Cheek said after his England debut. "It was good for us young players
and I certainly learned a lot."
Germany counterpart Marc-Andre Ter
Stegen dived to block a header from Jamie Vardy in the second half in front
of more than 81,000 fans in north London.
"There weren't really a lot of
chances," Germany coach Joachim Loew said through a translator. "We need to
learn to switch a little better and that will do us good for the World Cup."
Croatia eye World Cup spot with 4-1 win over Greece
Luka Modric celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the World Cup
qualifying play-off first leg soccer match between Croatia and Greece at
Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb, Thursday Nov. 9. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Zagreb, Croatia (AP) — Croatia
took a decisive step toward World Cup qualification on Thursday,
overwhelming Greece for a 4-1 victory in the first leg of their playoff.
Captain Luka Modric, whose recent form
for Real Madrid had been criticized in Spain, opened the scoring from the
penalty spot in the 13th minute - before leaping into the air in
Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi awarded
the penalty after Greece goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis failed to control the
ball and fouled Nikola Kalinic with a poorly judged clearance.
Kalinic added another goal six minutes
later, flicking in a cross from Ivan Strinic with the side of his foot.
Greece struggled to regain composure
and rarely attacked, but Sokratis Papastathopoulos briefly silenced the home
crowd, sending a header over keeper Danijel Subasic and into the net.
However, relief for the visitors was
short lived. Ivan Perisic headed in a cross from Sime Vrsaljko in the 33nd
minute as the Croats dominated both wings.
The fourth goal came four minutes after
the break from Andrej Kramaric, swooping in after another Greek error, by
As fans and players celebrated at
Zagreb's Maksimir Stadium, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic highlighted the second
leg on Sunday.
"We had a tremendous game. I've thanked
the players and the fans who made us feel like we had an extra man on the
pitch," Dalic said. "But it's not over. This was the first game.
"Our aim tonight was to pressure Greece
down the wings, and that worked. We had a lapse in concentration and
conceded a goal, but I can't really complain."
Over 90 minutes, the Croats dominated
possession and had nine shots on goal compared to Greece's three.
"It was a very difficult night for us
... We have never made so many mistakes in one game," Papastathopoulos said.
"Of course Croatia has the upper hand now. They have a 90 percent chance of
Greece coach Michael Skibbe said his
team failed to fully recover from the first goal.
"If you help your opponents score the
first and the fourth goal then it's very difficult to be competitive," he
said. "Of course we are very unhappy right now. We will be a better team in
the next match."
Controversy as Switzerland beat Northern Ireland 1-0
Switzerland's Ricardo Rodriguez, left, scores the opening goal from the
penalty spot during the World Cup qualifying play-off first leg soccer match
between Northern Ireland and Switzerland at Windsor Park in Belfast,
Northern Ireland, Thursday Nov. 9. (Brian Lawless/PA via AP)
Belfast, Northern Ireland (AP) —
A penalty awarded for a disputed hand ball gave Switzerland a controversial
1-0 victory over Northern Ireland in the first leg of their World Cup
playoff on Thursday.
A volley by Xherdan Shaqiri struck
Corey Evans' shoulder as the Northern Ireland midfielder attempted to block
the shot. Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan pointed to the spot, sparking
angry protests from the Northern Ireland players.
Ricardo Rodriguez duly converted the
penalty in the 58th minute, putting the Swiss in the driving seat to qualify
for their fourth World Cup in a row.
Boos rang out at the final whistle as
home fans directed their ire at the match official.
However, Switzerland dominated the
match and gave a master class in one-touch football to pick apart their
hosts in the first half, helped by the fact that Northern Ireland afforded
them far too much space.
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka was
teed up twice in the opening 15 minutes but his attempts from outside the
area both cleared the crossbar.
The Swiss made plenty of progress down
the flanks, with the combination of captain Stephan Lichtsteiner and Shaqiri
proving a constant menace down the right.
A dangerous ball in the 18th minute
from Shaqiri picked out Haris Seferovic and the striker's header was well
saved by goalkeeper Michael McGovern.
There was palpable frustration from
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill on the sidelines and he would have
been relieved it was scoreless at the break.
Seconds into the second half, Shaqiri
almost curled into the top corner, but the ball went narrowly wide.
The Swiss continued to pour forward and
a wonderful ball by Blerim Dzemaili in the 54th minute was missed by the
sliding Seferovic with the goal gaping.
The disputed goal came four minutes
later and despite a more energetic tempo from the hosts afterward, they
failed to create anything meaningful.
A header by Josh Magennis from Chris
Brunt's free kick in the 71st minute was the best they could muster,
although the hosts appealed in vain for a penalty of their own in the 82nd
minute when the ball came off Rodriguez.
The second leg will be played in Basel,
Switzerland on Sunday.
It's been 31 years since Northern
Ireland last played at a World Cup and that run doesn't look like ending any
4 more Russian skiers banned for doping at Sochi Olympics
Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014 file photo, Russia's gold medal winner Alexander
Legkov is flanked by compatriots, silver medal winner Maxim Vylegzhanin,
left and bronze medal winner Ilia Chernousov during the flower ceremony of
the men's 50K cross-country race at the 2014 Winter Olympics, in Krasnaya
Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Graham Dunbar and James
Geneva (AP) — Four more Russian
cross-country skiers were found guilty of doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics
on Thursday, including three-time silver medalist Maxim Vylegzhanin.
The International Olympic Committee
said all four had their results disqualified and have been banned from all
Russian President Vladimir Putin
disputed the bans, saying that United States interests were trying to use
doping scandals to discredit his government and influence the country's
presidential election in March.
"In response to our supposed
interference in their elections, they want to cause problems in the Russian
presidential election," Putin said, according to comments reported by
Russian news agencies.
The cases against the Russians were
built on evidence of a state doping conspiracy detailed by World Anti-Doping
Agency investigator Richard McLaren. Without positive doping tests, the IOC
disciplinary panel used evidence of cover-ups and tampering of sample
bottles first gathered last year by McLaren's team.
In a notable Russian victory on
Thursday, the IOC dropped a case against another athlete but declined to
confirm the person's identity "in order to protect the rights of the
athlete." Russian news agencies reported that it was figure skating gold
medalist Adelina Sotnikova.
"To be honest, we expected this result
from the investigation into Sotnikova because we were sure that everything
would be cleared up," Russian Figure Skating Federation president Alexander
Gorshkov told the R-Sport agency.
Six Russian cross-country skiers have
now been found guilty of doping at the Sochi Olympics by the IOC panel,
which has at least 20 more cases to judge. The panel has not yet published
detailed reasons for its verdicts after last week's hearings in Lausanne.
Alexander Legkov, who won gold in the
50-kilometer race ahead of Vylegzhanin in a Russian sweep, and Evgeny Belov
were disqualified and banned last week.
Vylegzhanin also finished second in the
team sprint and the 4x10-kilometer relay. Russia's relay silver was already
stripped last week when Legkov was banned.
The other three skiers found guilty
were Alexei Petukhov, Yulia Ivanova and Evgenia Shapovalova. None of them
The IOC bans leave Russia with only one
medal in cross-country skiing, the bronze won by Ilya Chernousov in the 50K.
The IOC will decide if he should be upgraded to gold.
Russia remains at the top of the Sochi
medals table, but more verdicts are expected which could affect other
Olympic titles. That would potentially push the Russians below Norway, and
below the United States in total medals. Both the Americans and Norwegians
are in line to be awarded some of the vacated medals by the IOC.
With calls to ban Russia's team from
next year's Pyeongchang Olympics likely to increase, the IOC's executive
board will meet from Dec. 5-7 to discuss the matter.
The Russian ski federation said it is
preparing an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport on the four cases
announced Thursday. Legkov and Belov have also said they will appeal.
Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov promised
legal support for the banned athletes and said they could be cleared in time
to compete at the Feb. 9-25 Pyeongchang Games.
"There's still time to manage to file
an appeal before the Olympic Games and prove the opposite," Kolobkov told
Tass. "Our athletes will get all necessary legal help."
Putin did not mention the skiers by
name Thursday but said his government had never supported or covered up
doping. He is widely expected to run for re-election next March but has yet
to confirm that.
The International Ski Federation will
now send the six cases to its doping panel, which is likely to impose bans.
Those verdicts are expected to come before the cross-country World Cup
season starts on Nov. 24.
Felipe Massa retiring from Formula One, again
driver Felipe Massa, of Brazil, attends a press conference ahead of Sunday's
Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix, at the Interlagos racetrack, in Sao Paulo,
Brazil, Thursday, Nov. 9. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
Sao Paulo (AP) — Felipe Massa is
retiring — again.
The Brazilian said the same thing last
season, but this time he says he really means it, which makes Sunday his
last Formula One race in Brazil.
Unlike famous Brazilian drivers Ayrton
Senna, Emerson Fittipaldi and Nelson Piquet, Massa never won the world
championship. He got painfully close in 2008, when he won the Brazilian
Grand Prix and thought that would give him enough points for the title.
As Massa was preparing to celebrate,
Lewis Hamilton rallied on the final lap and scored just enough points to
finish one point ahead of Massa in the standings.
"Maybe I am the driver who got the most
close to the championship in history," Massa said Thursday with his final F1
race coming in two weeks when the season ends in Abu Dhabi.
Massa is almost certain to leave with
11 victories, which all came with Ferrari from 2006-08. He hasn't won since,
and his retirement from Williams means that next season Brazil will be
without a Formula One driver for the first time since 1969.
The Brazilian Grand Prix is also under
threat with reports that it could be dropped when the contract ends after
the 2020 season, as Brazil struggles though its worst economic downturn in
"It's true that we are suffering,"
Massa said. "It's not an easy moment in Brazil, financially. But I really
hope Brazil stays for a long time in Formula One."
Massa was asked to rate his career on a
1-10 scale. He's in tough company.
He followed in Senna's wake in Brazil,
shared time at Ferrari with Michael Schumacher, and was beaten by Hamilton.
Those three are ranked by many as the best of their generations. Hamilton
won his fourth world title two weeks ago in Mexico.
"Ten is when you win a championship, or
even more than that," Massa said. "I managed to win many races. I managed to
fight for the championship, until maybe the last meters... If it's a seven,
eight or nine, I am very proud for what I've achieved."
A year ago, Massa crashed about
two-thirds through the race and failed to finish. What he thought was his
final goodbye came in the pit lane, wrapped in a Brazilian flag, tears
streaming down his face with hugs from his wife Anna Raffaela and his son
"I am leaving with my head up and my
heart still aching," he said at the time.
He got his second chance two months
later when Valtteri Bottas moved to Mercedes, replacing Nico Rosberg, who
Massa agreed to stay at Williams for
another year. Next year, he's widely expected to race in Formula E, the new
electric-powered car series.
As he retires for the second time, his
main hope in Brazil is to just finish the race. His best finish this season
is sixth place, but much of the season he's been way back and outside the
But whatever happens, it's unlikely to
top his first farewell a year ago at the Interlagos track where grew up
watching car racing.
"The feeling that I had on the human
side after the race last year — really, I never thought I would feel that,
or I would have that in my career," he said. "I think what I had last year
was definitely more than enough."
Pressure on Springboks and Coetzee to win away from home
South Africa's Rugby Union head coach Allister Coetzee is shown in
this Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017 file photo. (AP Photo/Natacha
Dublin (AP) — For the
Springboks, the year has been about putting their house back in
Safe to say, it's no longer a
shambles. On home turf in South Africa they were tough, losing only
once, by one point to the All Blacks less than a month after losing
to them in New Zealand by a record 57.
Which is why the Springboks
haven't regained that aura of intimidation.
Away from home, they remain
Since the 2015 Rugby World Cup,
they have played nine tests on the road and won only one, against
struggling Argentina in August.
When the Springboks were last
in Europe a year ago, they lost to England for the first time in 10
years, to Italy for the first time, and to Wales for the third time
in 110 years.
Those results capped an annus
horribilis beset by a player drain, injuries, poor selections,
sloppy play, and diminished confidence.
Whether that away record is
improved over the next four Saturdays, starting with Ireland in
Dublin, will make or break the modest gains by coach Allister
Coetzee and the Springboks this year.
If only Ireland, France, Italy,
and Wales - "hellish challenges," Coetzee said - were all he had to
contend with. There's also a reshuffling in the background.
His forwards coach Johann van
Graan is leaving in mid-tour to take over as Munster coach, a loss
summed up by former Springboks captain Adriaan Strauss, who
described Van Graan as "probably the most knowledgeable guy in rugby
that I know."
Rassie Erasmus is moving the
other way, leaving Munster to take over as South Africa director of
rugby, with his defence coach at Munster, Jacques Nienaber, becoming
a high performance coach. These appointments have led to murmurings
about Coetzee's future should things go badly over the next month.
Only wins will put a lid on
those murmurings, and there's a firm belief they can take at least
three of the four tests.
But they start with what looks
to be the hardest opponent, an Ireland team the Springboks used to
own. Before 2004, South Africa lost only once to the Irish. But in
the last 13 years, the Boks have lost five out of nine, including
the last visit to Lansdowne Road in 2014.
"We have a huge respect for
Ireland," Coetzee said. "They are a quality side, almost the All
Blacks of Europe."
The coach believed the Boks
have heeded the lessons of their failings in November last year.
"The aerial game might not be
important in Super Rugby but in the northern hemisphere you will
face an aerial bombardment and we will have to deal with that,"
Coetzee said. "We know how good (Irish halves) Jonny Sexton and
Conor Murray are as prolific kickers of the ball.
"Our opponents are likely to be
very good at tactical kicking and challenging for the ball in the
air. I've learned that three points in the northern hemisphere is
quite vital to keep that scoreboard ticking."
That's not all that is ticking.
Coetzee's future is still on borrowed time. He patched up the
Springboks at home. Can he conjure results on the road?
Lewis Hamilton says he's not distracted by 'Paradise Papers'
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain speaks during a news
conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, Nov. 8. (AP Photo/Andre
Sao Paulo (AP) - Being
linked to tax avoidance in the "Paradise Papers" will not distract
Lewis Hamilton from his job.
The four-time Formula One
champion said Wednesday that his "core values" are intact despite
being named in the papers, which show he avoided paying more than $4
million in taxes for a private jet.
Hamilton, who won his fourth F1
title on Oct. 29 in Mexico, is in Sao Paulo for this weekend's
Brazilian Grand Prix.
"I've come from this great
period of time with my family and friends that have this huge wave
of positivity. Nothing can really dent that," the Mercedes driver
said. "I am solely focused on the race this weekend, and we have two
races to go. That doesn't distract me from my core values and what I
am here to do."
Hamilton's lawyers noted in a
statement that registering a jet in the tax haven of the Isle of Man
The "Paradise Papers" revealed
that Hamilton was given a refund of more than $4 million after his
Bombardier Challenger 605 was imported to the Isle of Man in 2013.
The papers also name several
leading figures in politics, business and art.
At 32, Hamilton is closing in
on Michael Schumacher's record of seven F1 titles. But he said he
wasn't interested in chasing that mark.
"It has never been my desire,"
Hamilton said. "I still have time ahead of me. The question is to
see exactly what I want. I never had the dream to chase Michael."
After the news conference,
Hamilton autographed a miniature Mercedes with boyhood idol Ayrton
Senna painted on it.
Vivianne Senna, sister of the
late three-time F1 champion, said she and the family will cheer for
Hamilton on Sunday.
"We can see your passion for
Ayrton is real," she said. "That is why we from the Senna family
will be always on your side, too."
Pistons stay sharp, top Pacers 114-97
Detroit Pistons guard Avery Bradley (22) drives on Indiana Pacers
guard Darren Collison (2) during the first half of an NBA basketball
game, Wednesday, Nov. 8, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Detroit (AP) — Tobias
Harris scored 23 points and the first-place Detroit Pistons won for
the sixth time in seven games, beating the Indiana Pacers 114-97 on
Andre Drummond added 14 points
and 21 rebounds for the Pistons. They lead Cleveland by three games
in the Central Division. Indiana lost its fourth straight.
Victor Oladipo led the Pacers
with 21 points, but Indiana has allowed at least 100 points in 10 of
12 games this season. The Pacers were without injured big man
Domantas Sabonis (bruised right calf).
MAGIC 112, KNICKS 99
Orlando, Fla. — Nikola
Vucevic scored 24 points and Evan Fournier added 23 to help Orlando
beat New York.
Jonathon Simmons scored 15 of
his 16 points in the second half. He had 11 straight points early in
the fourth quarter to push the Magic's lead back to double figures.
The Magic, benefiting from the
return of starting point guard Elfrid Payton, snapped a two-game
losing streak. New York, playing without scoring Kristaps Porzingis
(ankle and elbow injuries), had its three-game winning streak come
to an end. Tim Hardaway Jr. led New York with 26 points.
Top US man Jack Sock's tennis season ends on high in London
Sock returns the ball to Filip Krajinovic of Serbia during their
final match of the Paris Masters tennis tournament in Paris, France,
Nov. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
London (AP) - Jack
Sock's 2017 did not always go as planned. Still, he's having quite a
He won a total of only three
matches at Grand Slam tournaments all year, making it as far as the
third round just once and bowing out in the opening round twice.
During one particularly rough stretch from August to early October,
he lost five times in a row.
The 25-year-old American turned
things around at the end of the season, so much so that he ended up
earning a debut appearance at the ATP Finals, starting with a match
against 19-time major champion Roger Federer on Sunday in London.
"It's hard when you have a bit
of a period where it doesn't go as well as you would like. So he had
to get back to doing the things he does really well and really
believing in those things," Sock's coach, Jay Berger, said in a
"That's hitting a bunch of
forehands, using his speed and using his intangibles," Berger said.
"His ability to come forward, his hands at the net, his ability to
use his touch, his ability to hit pretty dynamic shots in very
uncomfortable and difficult positions. And to have fun. The No. 1
thing for us was also to have fun out there. I told him, 'We're
going to have a good time, win or lose.'"
In Wednesday's draw for the
round-robin format, Sock was put in a group with Federer, 2014 U.S.
Open champion Marin Cilic and Alexander Zverev. The other group has
15-time Grand Slam title winner Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Grigor
Dimitrov and David Goffin.
That Sock is in London at all,
instead of already starting his offseason at home in Kansas City,
Kansas, is significant, regardless of how he fares.
He grabbed that spot by rising
to a career-high No. 9 in the rankings thanks to his first Masters
Series title, at Paris last week. That made him the first U.S. man
to win a tournament at the level right below the majors since Andy
Roddick in 2010. Sock is also the first American to qualify for the
eight-player season-ending finals since Mardy Fish in 2011. And Sock
will finish a season as the highest-ranked man from his country for
the first time.
All in one fell swoop.
"They were all, obviously,
goals of mine. They all mean a lot in their own way," Sock said.
"For it all to happen at the same time is pretty special."
He gives some of the credit for
this recent surge to a mental adjustment helped along by Berger, who
started working with Sock in July.
For a time, Sock said, he would
experience "dips in matches (or) get too defensive."
"There's a belief in my shots.
I'm going to win or lose a match playing on my terms, playing my
game, which is big and aggressive and trying to dictate points," he
said. "Not shying away from that."
Berger recalled watching Sock
play a match at age 17.
"I saw an unbelievable amount
of racket-head speed. ... I really saw a lot of the same stuff that
I see now," Berger said. "And he has an incredible ability to play
well in big moments."
That was on display in Paris,
sure, but also when Sock teamed with Melanie Oudin to win the U.S.
Open mixed doubles title as a teenager.
And when he won men's doubles
at Wimbledon in 2014.
And a pair of doubles medals at
last year's Rio Olympics — gold in mixed, bronze in men's.
Now Sock wants more
consistency, and success, in singles, something he hopes this year's
ending will help spur at the beginning of 2018.
"His best tennis is in front of
him," Berger said. "I've known him for many years, and the one thing
consistent with him is that he always improves, every single year. I
really haven't seen any regression in his tennis or how he
approaches things or how he goes about his business. I know that is
going to continue."
Former star pitcher Halladay killed in Florida plane crash
Former Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay is shown
in this Aug. 24, 2013, file photo. (AP Photo/Christopher Szagola)
Philadelphia (AP) — Roy
Halladay had a passion for flying airplanes that nearly matched his
love of baseball.
Halladay worked tirelessly to
become a dominant pitcher, winning a Cy Young Award in each league
and tossing a perfect game and a postseason no-hitter in the same
year for the Philadelphia Phillies. When he couldn't pitch at a high
level anymore, Halladay walked away from the game and immersed
himself in another craft.
The son of a corporate pilot,
Halladay quickly got his license to fly — despite his wife's
misgivings. The eight-time All-Star fulfilled his dream when he
purchased his own plane last month.
Halladay died Tuesday when that
private plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. He was 40.
"All-Star pitcher. All-Star
person. All-Star father and family man," Phillies chairman David
Montgomery said at a news conference.
Former teammate and current
Texas Rangers ace Cole Hamels joined Montgomery at Philadelphia's
ballpark to remember Halladay.
"Knowing his father was a
pilot, you look up to your dad always," Hamels said. "He had that
bug that he wanted to fly. That was his passion. You have to respect
that. He prepared for everything. He took this serious."
Pasco County Sheriff Chris
Nocco said during a news conference in Holiday, Florida, that
Halladay's ICON A5 went down around noon off the coast. The
sheriff's office marine unit responded and discovered Halladay's
body in shallow water near some mangroves. No survivors were found.
Police said they couldn't
confirm if there were additional passengers on the plane or say
where it was headed. The National Transportation Safety Board is
Halladay, who retired after the
2013 season, often posted on social media about small planes .
"I have dreamed about owning a
A5 since I retired! Real life is better then my dreams!!" Halladay
tweeted on Oct. 13.
ICON aircraft had posted a
video with Halladay trying out a new plane. The video showed
Halladay taking delivery of a new ICON A5, a two-seat "light-sport
aircraft" that can land on water.
In the video, Halladay said the
terms of his baseball contract prevented him from having a pilot's
license while playing, and that his wife was originally against the
idea of him getting the aircraft.
"She's fought me the whole
way," Halladay said.
"Hard. I fought hard. I was
very against it," Brandy Halladay said in the same video, before
explaining why she eventually understood and approved of her
husband's desire to have the plane. The couple has two sons, Ryan
Halladay spent 12 seasons with
the Toronto Blue Jays followed by four seasons with the Phillies. He
was 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA.
"Words cannot describe what it
feels like to lose a friend like Roy," said former teammate Chase
Utley, who was Halladay's favorite player. "He was the ultimate
teammate with a passion for being the best. I'm honored to have had
the chance to compete with you, Roy. My heart goes out to Brandy
and his boys. RIP Doc, but knowing you, rest is not in your
Other baseball players to die
in plane crashes include Pittsburgh Pirates star Roberto Clemente in
a relief mission from Puerto Rico traveling to earthquake victims in
Nicaragua on New Year's Eve in 1972; New York Yankees catcher
Thurman Munson piloting his own plane near his home in Canton, Ohio,
in 1979; and Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle piloting a private plane in
New York City in 2006.
Halladay was nominated several
times for the Roberto Clemente Award, given by Major League Baseball
to players for sportsmanship and community involvement. The Halladay
Family Foundation has aided children's charities, hunger relief and
A 6-foot-6 right-hander,
Halladay was a throwback on the mound. Durable and determined to
finish what he started, Halladay won the AL Cy Young in 2003 after
going 22-7 and the NL prize in 2010 after going 21-10 in his first
season with the Phillies.
"You know, if my career's two
years, three years shorter than it could have been because I wanted
to go out and pitch deep into games, I'm fine with that," he said in
a retirement news conference.
In 2011, Halladay was part of
the "Four Aces" rotation in Philadelphia with Hamels, Cliff Lee and
Roy Oswalt. Halladay and the Phillies lost 1-0 to St. Louis in the
deciding Game 5 of the NL Division Series. Halladay's close friend
Chris Carpenter outpitched him in that game.
"We grew up together,"
Carpenter said. "Went through good and bad times together. He was an
amazing pitcher, competitor, teammate and friend. I have so many
memories with him and his family. I will miss him."
Chris Bourjos, the Toronto-area
scout who signed Halladay, first saw him pitch in St. Louis in the
summer of 1994, before his senior season as a prep star in the
Denver area. Halladay's family had a pitching mound in the basement
of its home.
"Perfect pitcher's body, tall,
lean athletic. And the velocity! At that time, 93 miles an hour was
pretty special," Bourjos, the father of Tampa Bay center fielder
Peter Bourjos, recalled Tuesday.
Nocco, the sheriff, personally
"Many of you know Roy as a Cy
Young winner, future Hall of Famer, one of the best pitchers ever to
pitch the game of baseball," Nocco said. "We know Roy as a person,
as a caring husband who loved his wife, Brandy. He loved his two
boys tremendously ... and we are so sad for your loss."
Nocco said Halladay knew many
members in the sheriff's office, and that Halladay was part of a
charity fishing tournament last Friday.
"His family purchased a dog for
us — K-9 Doc," Nocco said. "K-9 Doc is out there working, saving
lives, making our community safer."
The dog was named as a nod to
Halladay's nickname — Doc.
The A5 was a newer model from
ICON, based in Vacaville, California, designed for starter pilots.
According to the NTSB's
website, two other ICON A5s crashed earlier this year, the only
reported U.S. accidents involving the aircraft since it debuted
three years ago. Both were attributed to pilot error.
ICON released a statement
saying it was "devastated" to learn of Halladay's death and that it
plans to aid the accident investigation however possible.
Halladay was a workhorse who
pitched 67 complete games and 20 shutouts. A three-time 20-game
winner, he was with Toronto (1998-2009) and Philadelphia (2010-13).
Halladay pitched a perfect game
for the Phillies at the Florida Marlins on May 29, 2010. That Oct.
6, against Cincinnati in the NL Division Series, he became only the
second pitcher to throw a postseason no-hitter, joining Don Larsen,
who accomplished the feat for the New York Yankees in the 1956 World
Halladay is eligible for the
Hall of Fame in 2019.
"Absolutely I would love to be
there," he said during spring training this year, when he was a
guest instructor for the Phillies. "I think every player who ever
played the game would love to be there. It would be a tremendous
In a statement, the Blue Jays
said the organization "is overcome by grief with the tragic loss of
one the franchise's greatest and most respected players, but even
better human being. Impossible to express what he has meant to this
franchise, the city and its fans."
Buffon's career at a crossroads in World Cup playoff
Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is shown in this June 17, 2016
file photo. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Rome (AP) — Gianluigi Buffon's career is
coming full circle.
Twenty years after making his
Italy debut on a snowy field in a World Cup playoff in Russia, the
Azzurri captain's international future hinges on another playoff
If Italy advance, Buffon can
conclude his international career where it started at next year's
tournament in Russia.
A loss would almost certainly
mark his final appearance for the national team.
"It's a nice connection but I
would have gladly done without it," Buffon said. "It's always a
risk. The important thing is that the result is the same as 20 years
In one of the four European
playoffs, Italy travel to Stockholm for the opening leg on Friday.
The return match will be at the San Siro in Milan three days later.
Buffon, who turns 40 in
January, has made a record 173 appearances for Italy. That's fourth
most worldwide after record-holder Ahmed Hassan's 184 for Egypt,
Mohamed al-Deayea's 178 for Saudi Arabia and Claudio Suarez's 177
The three players ahead of him
on the list are retired, meaning Buffon could surpass them all if
More impressively, Buffon could
also become the first player to be a squad member in six World Cups.
Buffon first went to the
tournament back in 1998, but was a second-choice option as
goalkeeper behind Gianluca Pagliuca and didn't play. He could match
German great Lothar Matthaus and former Mexico goalkeeper Antonio
Carbajal as having played in five World Cups.
At this culminating point in
his career, Buffon was asked to compare himself now to when he made
his Italy debut at 19.
"I miss a bit that carefree
spirit and cockiness typical of a young player," he told RAI state
TV. "The more you win the more you commit errors and the more you
learn. Then you mature and learn to count to 10. Now I'm more
contemplative and I hope that I've also become a better goalkeeper."
Buffon was one of the driving
forces behind Italy's run to the 2006 World Cup title, when he
didn't concede a single goal to opponents during normal play over
the course of seven matches — letting in only an own-goal from
Cristian Zaccardo and a penalty from Zinedine Zidane in the final
He helped Parma to the UEFA Cup
title way back in 1999 and has since won eight Serie A titles with
Juventus — including the last six.
There have been nearly as many
lows as highlights, though.
At the 2004 European
Championship, Italy were eliminated without losing a match when
Sweden and Denmark drew their final group match 2-2 in what the
Azzurri saw as a prearranged result that sent the two Scandinavian
"Time passes. Getting
eliminated from those Euros burned but if we had done better earlier
there wouldn't have been any problems," Buffon said. "If you
consider yourself a strong player then you know that your destiny
lies in your own hands."
Buffon and Juventus had two
Serie A titles taken away due to the 2006 "Calciopoli" refereeing
scandal. He weathered a personal betting scandal shortly before
helping the Azzurri to the 2012 European Championship final.
That was sandwiched in between
two first-round eliminations at the last two World Cups.
Buffon has also been on the
losing side in three Champions League finals with Juventus, the
first in 2003 and the other two over the last three seasons.
Buffon announced in June that
this season will be his last unless Juventus win the elusive
Champions League, in which case he would continue for one more
season to try and also win the Club World Cup and other trophies.
After all, he's still at the
top of his game. Two weeks ago, Buffon was named UEFA club
goalkeeper of the year.
"I used to battle the unknown
with excessive exuberance that might have seemed like irreverence
toward the world," Buffon said. "Now I know well what I'm facing."
Rekindling storms home to win the 157th Melbourne Cup
Winner Rekindling, left, ridden by jockey Corey Brown and second
placed Johannes Vermeer right with Jockey Ben Melham onboard race to
the finish line in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse in
Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Nov. 7. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Melbourne, Australia (AP) —
Rekindling stormed home to win the Melbourne Cup by a long neck on
Tuesday, overhauling Johannes Vermeer near the finish to give
trainer Joseph O'Brien a victory over his famous father in
Australia's most famous race.
Max Dynamite was 2½ lengths
further back in third to give the Irish a 1-2-3 finish in the 157th
running of the 2-mile classic .
Joseph O'Brien said one of the
first things he did was phone his father, Aidan O'Brien, who trains
Johannes Vermeer but was not at Flemington for the race.
"He is delighted.
Unbelievable," the younger O'Brien said. "I'm just so thankful to
(Williams). They suggested to bring (Rekindling) down and that he'd
have a good chance in the race and his prep went really good, and
Corey gave him an unbelievable ride."
It was a second Melbourne Cup
victory for jockey Corey Brown, and a sixth for owner Lloyd
Williams, who is also a co-owner of Johannes Vermeer.
"It's extraordinary, absolutely
extraordinary," Williams said of Joseph O'Brien, who won in his
first attempt at the Melbourne Cup. Williams said the 24-year-old
former jockey had a big future as a trainer. "He's going to emulate
his father and maybe more."
Big Duke was the first
Australian-trained horse across the line, finishing fourth, in a
field containing 11 foreign horses.
British-based jockey Frankie
Dettori rode 2016 winner Almandin, which finished 12th.
India beat New Zealand in T20 shootout, win series 2-1
Indian wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, left, breaks the stumps to
dismiss New Zealand's Tom Bruce right, during their third Twenty20
international cricket match in Thiruvananthapuram, India, Tuesday,
Nov. 7. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
(AP) — India beat New Zealand by six runs in a thrilling finish
to win the third Twenty20 on Tuesday.
Chasing 68 in a series decider
reduced by rain to eight overs per side, the Black Caps were
restricted to 61-6.
India finished at 67-5 and won
the three-match series 2-1, their first victory in a bilateral
engagement in this format over New Zealand.
India also won the competitive
one-day international series 2-1.
The persistent rain and a wet
outfield delayed the start for almost three hours, but the sell-out
crowd was given a treat at Greenfield International Stadium, which
became the 50th venue in India to host international cricket.
Put into bat, India lost
openers Shikhar Dhawan (6) and Rohit Sharma (8) cheaply off fast
bowler Tim Southee (2-13).
Captain Virat Kohli (13) gave
momentum to the innings but was caught in the deep off spinner Ish
Sodhi also accounted for
Shreyas Iyer (6) in similar fashion. There were no big partnerships.
Manish Pandey (17) and Hardik
Pandya (14 not out) helped to push India to what still seemed a
"We were really happy to get a
game," Kohli said. "Ever since the ODIs started, New Zealand have
given us a good fight. So we were nervous to bat first here on a
damp pitch. But it was a challenging score and we thought it was not
going to be easy with a high asking rate."
So it proved. New Zealand, too,
lost openers Martin Guptill (1) and Colin Munro (7) cheaply, bowled
by Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-18) and caught in the deep off Jasprit
Bumrah (2-9) respectively.
"Slower deliveries were
gripping as we saw in the first innings," Bumrah, the top-ranked T20
bowler, said. "So that was the basic plan. We mixed them well with
Pandya ran out Kane Williamson
(8) with a direct hit, and Glen Phillips (11) holed out off Kuldeep
Yadav (1-10) on the very next ball as the Black Caps were reduced to
The wickets of Henry Nicholls
(2) and Tom Bruce (4) put the Black Caps in bad shape at 49-6.
Nineteen runs were needed off
the last over with Colin de Grandhomme (17 not out) and Mitchell
Santner (3 not out) at the crease. But Pandya (0-11) bowled a tight
"It's quite hard to know a good
first innings score in this situation," Williamson said. "Runs on
board on a tricky surface came in handy for India. We showed good
fight throughout this tour. It is a tough place to play and there
have been a number of strides forward for us."
India next have a three-test
series against Sri Lanka, beginning in Kolkata on Nov. 16.
New Zealand host the West
Indies in a two-test series, starting in Wellington on Dec. 1.
Shot clock & Hawk-Eye most popular changes to tennis players
Alexander Zverev talks to his coach by headphones during a break of
an exhibition match against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Next Gen
tennis tournament finals, in Rho, near Milan, Italy, Tuesday, Nov.
7. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Milan (AP) — "Can you
say something useful and not be this useless all the time? Just say
one thing that is actually useful."
"Go more to the net ... not
just to shake hands."
And with that, stand-in coach
Marcelo Melo let Alexander Zverev return to the baseline with,
hopefully, a winning tactic.
Player coaching, normally
forbidden during a men's match, is being trialed at the ATP's Next
Gen Finals in Milan this week, and conversations like the above are
giving fans new insight, and entertainment.
Coaches and players conversing
through headsets at the end of sets is one of the new rules being
applied, along with shorter sets, no-Ad scoring, medical timeout
limits, and no lets on serve.
But, for the players, the most
popular innovations are the shot clock, and Hawk-Eye making all the
The on-court clocks enforce the
25-second rule between points, and shorter warm-ups ensure matches
begin precisely five minutes from the second player walk-on.
Zverev withdrew from the Next
Gen Finals to focus on the ATP Finals starting on Sunday in London,
but turned up in Milan on Tuesday to play an exhibition match
against alternate Stefanos Tsitsipas, and with Melo acting
temporarily as coach.
"The Hawk-Eye calling all the
lines, that would be something that I wouldn't mind at all," Zverev
said. "The shot clock is something not bad. There has to be a few
adjustments maybe made to that but I think that has potential."
ATP executive chairman and
president Chris Kermode believes the clocks will become a feature on
the regular tour from 2019.
"Next year, for sure not, but I
think 2019 there's a possibility," he told The Associated Press.
"To me, having a shot clock,
people have been talking about it for years and it's like can we
just do it or not do it? This is clearly let's just do it. The
reduced warm-up for sure we can get done, too, and the rest is then
up for discussion.
"You've got to have a year's
lead-in so everyone is fully aware of what's happening. You can't
just thrust it upon them and go, 'By the way, January, guys, you're
playing under different rules.' Also I think we need to analyze the
success of this week. This is just day one. Let's take all the data
through all the matches, see what works, what doesn't work."
The most drastic change is the
shorter set, where the first to four games takes the set, with a
tiebreak at 3-3.
While Kermode says it is his
favorite innovation, he recognizes it is unlikely to be brought in
"There are a couple of
no-brainer ideas that we should be doing," he said. "But once you
start the dramatic scoring format changes that's going to be the
most difficult. I'm actually a big fan of the system but I'm aware
of the challenges.
"Will this happen on the tour
in the next five years? Probably not. But 10 years down the line
could this be the way it's played? Yeah, it could be."
Automatic line calling was
another change that was met with universal appreciation.
Hawk-Eye cameras decide all
line calls, eliminating the need for line judges and ensuring the
chair umpire is the only match official on court.
When triggered, the new system
will make an instant automated "out" call.
"For now, live Hawk-Eye is a
good thing," No. 2 seed Karen Khachanov said after losing to Daniil
Medvedev. "Only thing is I would like to hear different voice."
Khachanov said he'd prefer if
the Hawk-Eye recorded the voice of whoever was the chair umpire, so
the calls sounded more legitimate.
Kermode said the ATP will
consider feedback from the players, as well as different generations
of fans, the sponsors, and the media.
"I don't want to run the tour
dictatorially," he said. "We need to take everyone's feedback, and
analyze it properly and strategically. If we do this over the next
two or three years and we decide the game is absolutely perfect that
is fine, too, but at least we've taken a good look."
Talking points ahead of rugby's end-of-year internationals
Zealand's All Blacks players perform the Haka in this Saturday,
Sept. 30, 2017 file photo. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
London (AP) - The giants
of the southern hemisphere rugby are in Europe for their final test
matches in 2017.
Here are some talking points
ahead of the November international series:
ALL BLACKS IN DECLINE?
The All Blacks hope in tests
against France, Scotland, and Wales to quell growing anxiety in New
Zealand that the world champions have fallen back from the standard
they set when they won the Rugby World Cup for the third time in
The 2016 season was a stellar
one for a team that was reforming after the retirements of many star
players. They lost only once, to Ireland. But they have already lost
in 2017 to the British and Irish Lions and Australia.
The perception in New Zealand
is not that the rest of the world has caught up, but that the All
Blacks have declined. Their hallmark, the execution of skills at
pace and under pressure, hasn't been evident and Steve Hansen has
had to defend the team's form for the first time since he became
head coach in 2011.
The forwards have been sound
but the backs are lackluster, with the form of winger Rieko Ioane
the only positive.
— By Steve McMorran in
Wellington, New Zealand
The Wallabies have been in a
buoyant mood since a rare victory over the All Blacks last month —
albeit in a Bledisloe Cup dead rubber — but the confidence-boosting
result masks some areas of concern ahead of a three-test visit to
The biggest potential issue is
the absence of fullback Israel Folau. Australia's best
counterattacker and its most frequent tackle-breaker before he took
a sabbatical, Folau leaves a hole at the back.
Karmichael Hunt is an option to
fill in, but his relative inexperience in the 15-man code could be
really exposed against the tactical kicking games of Wales, England,
and Scotland. Kurtley Beale switched from center to fullback for the
lopsided win over Japan, but he is better utilized as a second
playmaker in the midfield.
Australia has been inconsistent
since reaching the World Cup final in 2015 in England, and has lost
at home to England and Scotland amid a continual rotation of players
in some positions. A shambolic season on and off the field for
Australian clubs in Super Rugby highlighted problems with depth and
core skills, but coach Michael Cheika has been drilling the
Wallabies hard in the basics and there have been recent glimpses of
— By John Pye in Brisbane,
PRESSURE ON COETZEE
The spotlight remains on coach
Allister Coetzee as he approaches the end of his second year in
charge of the Springboks.
Coetzee has taken the Boks to
new lows during his time — a record defeat at home in 2016, a first
ever loss to Italy the same year, and then a 57-0 mauling by the All
Blacks in New Zealand this year for South Africa's worst defeat
Once, an end-of-season tour to
Europe would be an opportunity to rest overworked senior players and
give opportunities to fresh faces. Not now. A year on from a
dreadful tour to Europe, when South Africa lost all three of its
tests, including that unthinkable result in Italy, Coetzee's team
has to win back its reputation in the northern hemisphere, where the
Springboks are no longer considered a formidable force ahead of
matches against Ireland, France, and Italy.
Coetzee said he needs time to
build a new team. Springboks supporters are asking: How long?
— By Gerald Imray in Cape Town,
HARTLEY vs GEORGE
Picking Dylan Hartley as
captain was one of the first decisions made by Eddie Jones after
getting the job as England coach in late 2015. It's proved to be an
excellent one, too.
England has won all but one of
its 21 games since, with Hartley impressing Jones with his quiet
authority. His disciplinary record — often the stick used to beat
Hartley — has also been impeccable in that time, at least at
It is why Jones is so loathe to
drop Hartley as his starting hooker, even though Jamie George is
widely regarded as the better player now and has been outshining his
rival at club level. George started all three tests for the British
and Irish Lions in New Zealand but still has not started for
England, instead getting 17 straight substitute appearances.
With two years remaining until
the Rugby World Cup in Japan, this might be the time to make the
change. Jones must at least ascertain how Hartley's absence affects
the team, and if a stand-in captain — maybe Owen Farrell? — can do
as good a job.
England plays Argentina,
Australia, and Samoa.
— By Steve Douglas in
END OF WARRENBALL?
It's back to the day job for
Warren Gatland after his successful, if challenging, year as Lions
Wales has its head coach back
and Gatland might be ready to bring an end to "Warrenball" — the
close-to-the-ruck approach featuring hard and straight runners — by
picking playmakers at flyhalf and inside center to deliver more
expansive attacking play.
It's what Gatland tried with
the Lions, through Owen Farrell and Jonny Sexton, and what Eddie
Jones does with England, in Farrell and George Ford. It would mark
possibly the biggest tactical change of his 10-year tenure with
Wales and likely involve picking two of Dan Biggar, Rhys Priestland,
and Rhys Patchell.
There will be no easing-in for
Gatland: Wales faces the toughest schedule of all the home unions,
with games against Australia, Georgia, New Zealand, and South
Olympic marathon champion Sumgong banned 4 years for EPO
Kenya's Jemima Sumgong. (Johannes Eisele/Pool Photo via AP)
London (AP) - Olympic
marathon champion Jemima Sumgong was banned for four years after a
doping tribunal rejected her explanation that blood-boosting hormone
EPO was in her system from being treated at a hospital in Kenya days
before her failed test.
The tribunal found no
legitimate record of the hospital visit and treatment for an ectopic
pregnancy claimed by Sumgong, it said Tuesday in a decision released
by the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya.
The panel ruling on her case
said the 32-year-old Sumgong's hospital story was "inconsistent at
"We might go so far as to state
that the athlete's attempt to explain how the substance entered her
body bordered on an attempt to deceive the panel," the ruling said.
Sumgong became the first Kenyan
woman to win Olympic gold in the marathon when she triumphed at last
year's Rio de Janeiro Games. She failed an out-of-competition test
on Feb. 28 and was banned for four years from April 3, the date her
provisional suspension was announced.
It makes her ineligible for the
2019 world championships and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Sumgong is the highest-profile
athlete on a long list of Kenyans to be banned for doping in recent
years. Her case follows that of Rita Jeptoo, who was the top women's
marathon runner in the world when she also tested positive for EPO
in an out-of-competition test in Kenya in 2014. Jeptoo also received
a four-year ban.
Sumgong waived her right to
have her backup "B'' sample tested and said she had taken EPO
unintentionally after visiting Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi
six days before her doping test to be treated for an ectopic
pregnancy. She claimed she was suffering from severe abdominal pain
and was given a blood transfusion and unidentified medication by an
The Olympic champion couldn't
provide the name of the doctor who supposedly treated her or
reliable documents showing she was admitted to the hospital, the
tribunal said. It said documents she provided were denounced as fake
by the hospital.
The hospital visit was not
disclosed by Sumgong at the time of the doping test. She said that
was because of the "taboo" surrounding ectopic pregnancies and she
wanted to hide it from her husband, who is also her manager.
The only record the hospital
had of a visit by Sumgong was in April, when she inquired about
treatment for ectopic pregnancies.
The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya
said it believed Sumgong was taking EPO ahead of the defense of her
London Marathon title in April.
Sumgong has also won the
Rotterdam and Las Vegas Marathons and finished runner-up in the
Boston, Chicago and New York races.
Struggling West Ham fire Bilic, line up Moyes as new coach
Sacked West Ham's manager Slaven Bilic is shown in this Monday,
Sept. 11, 2017 file photo. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
London (AP) - West Ham
fired manager Slaven Bilic on Monday following the team's slide into
the English Premier League relegation zone and were set to hand
David Moyes an opportunity to rebuild his coaching reputation as the
Bilic was under pressure for
weeks and acknowledged it was a "very logical move" to remove him
after West Ham's latest big loss, 4-1 at home to Liverpool on
"Disappointed, but not in the
club. I expected it," Bilic said outside the West Ham training
ground after meeting with members of the club's board.
The West Ham co-chairmen said
they wanted a new manager to "inject fresh ideas, organization and
enthusiasm" into the team and seem to have settled on Moyes, who has
been out of work since May when he quit Sunderland following their
relegation from the Premier League.
A success at Everton from
2002-13, Moyes lasted only 10 months as Alex Ferguson's hand-picked
replacement at Manchester United before getting fired, the job
proving far too big for him.
He was fired by Spanish team
Real Socieded after a year in charge before a chastening 10-month
spell at Sunderland, who he failed to keep in England's lucrative
Moyes was 1-20 with British
bookmakers to fill the vacancy at West Ham, with British media
reporting he will be hired on Tuesday.
"I've always said I want to go
back into club management," Moyes said in an interview with TV
channel Bein Sports on Sunday, when speculation was rife about
Bilic's imminent departure. "If the right opportunity comes around,
I'll be interested."
West Ham have won only two of
their 11 matches in the Premier League and are in third-to-last
place heading into the two-week international break.
Co-chairmen David Gold and
David Sullivan have a track record of mostly standing by their
managers, and Sullivan said last month he wanted to honor Bilic's
contract, which was due to expire at the end of the season, "unless
things are desperate."
"Sadly, performances and
results have not been of the expected standard," Gold and Sullivan
said in a statement , "and, in recent weeks, we have not seen enough
indication of the required improvement to give us the encouragement
that things would change and we would meet our Premier League
aspirations this season."
Bilic's assistants, Nikola
Jurcevic, Edin Terzic, Julian Dicks and Miljenko Rak, have also left
the club with immediate effect but goalkeeping coach Chris Woods
appears to have been retained.
Woods worked with Moyes at
Everton and Man United, another indication of the identity of
Bilic's likely successor.
Bilic is the fourth manager to
lose his job in the Premier League after Frank De Boer (Crystal
Palace), Craig Shakespeare (Leicester) and Ronald Koeman (Everton).
Marseille fans turn on Evra after attack
Marseille supporters display banners reading "Love of the jersey,
respect for supporters, professionalism, is it too much to ask?",
prior to the League One soccer match between Marseille and Caen, at
the Velodrome stadium, in Marseille, southern France, Sunday, Nov.
5. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Marseille, France (AP) -
Marseille fans have told Patrice Evra he is no longer welcome at the
club after the defender kicked a supporter in the head.
Evra was suspended by Marseille
on Friday, a day after he confronted a fan and aimed a kick at his
head ahead of a Europa League game in Portugal. Evra, who appeared
to make light contact with his foot, had shortly before aimed a
punch at the same fan.
Fans held aloft two banners
criticizing Evra before Sunday's home match against Caen at Stade
"This Game Is Over," read one
banner in English, mocking Evra's regular posts on social media
where he films himself talking about football and says "I love this
game" as he breaks into laughter.
Another banner, in French,
read: "Love for the jersey. Respect for supporters. Professionalism.
Is that too much to ask?"
Other fans chanted against Evra
during the game against Caen, which Marseille won 5-0. One fan with
a bullhorn led a long and expletive-laced diatribe.
Still, Evra posted a message on
his Instagram social media account praising teammates and claiming
that he has backing from the "real" fans.
"Great result tonight well done
guys I'm really proud of you ... thanks to all real Olympique
Marseille fans," the message on Instagram said. "I'm receiving so
much support from them."
Thursday's incident before the
match against Vitoria caused many other Marseille fans to come down
from the stands to try and confront Evra, who was then led away by a
As the players were warming up
before the match, Evra had moved away from the field and toward the
away section of Marseille fans where an argument began and then
The 36-year-old Evra is a
controversial and often unpopular figure in French football. He was
the captain when France went on strike at training during the 2010
World Cup in South Africa in protest after teammate Nicolas Anelka
was sent home. He was given a five-match ban by the French Football
The reaction to the latest
incident was intense, with former national team players and
television pundits roundly condemning him.
UEFA said Friday that Evra will
be banned for at least one game. Its disciplinary body will meet
next Friday to rule on the incident. He also faces further sanctions
from Marseille, which has opened an internal investigation.
Although Marseille said it
accepted Evra received some "hateful insults" from a group of fans,
the club said he could in no way "respond in such an inappropriate
Evra's temperament has been an
issue in the past. He has clashed verbally with former players —
especially Lilian Thuram and Christophe Dugarry — and with
television pundits, often mocking some of them with invented names
as a pun on their names.
The attack-minded left back's
81st and last appearance for France was a year ago in a World Cup
qualifier against Sweden.
Earlier this season, Evra was
heavily criticized in some sections of the media, including by
Dugarry, for filming himself offering a bag of food to a homeless
person on Marseille's streets and posting a message asking others
what they were doing to help.
England, Wales put aside rugby rivalry to train together
England Rugby Union coach Eddie Jones. (AP Photo/File)
London (AP) - One of
rugby's fiercest rivalries was briefly set aside Monday when England
and Wales joined together for a training session to hone their
set-pieces ahead of the autumn international series.
England forwards coach Steve
Borthwick brokered an unprecedented arrangement between the two
nations for a 40-minute practice session in Bristol, a city located
approximately halfway between the rivals' training bases.
With Welsh referee Nigel Owens
watching, the respective forward packs completed 12 scrums and 16
England prop Harry Williams had
jokingly teed it up as the "Battle of Bristol." It didn't turn out
"There was a little bit of an
edge," England scrum coach Neal Hatley said, "but there was nothing
serious. Both sides took a lot from it."
When asked which nation gained
the upper hand, Hatley replied: "We'll look at the video and take it
The idea originated when
England coach Eddie Jones was contemplating how his side's scrum
could be taken "to the next level" and compete with those of New
Zealand and Argentina.
A practice session in Georgia —
a country renowned for having strong scrummagers — was dismissed
before Borthwick called up Wales coach Warren Gatland, with the pair
having worked together with the British and Irish Lions in June and
England start their series of
November tests with a game against Argentina on Saturday, before
further matches at Twickenham against Australia and Samoa.
Wales take on Australia,
Georgia, New Zealand and South Africa over successive weekends.
Russian runner Maria Savinova appeals against doping ban
this Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012 file photo, Russia's Maria Savinova
celebrates as she crosses the finish line ahead of South Africa's
Caster Semenya to win the women's 800-meters final at the 2012
Summer Olympics, London. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
Lausanne, Switzerland (AP) —
Russian runner Maria Savinova has been given a date to appeal
against her 4-year doping ban and being stripped of the 2012 Olympic
800-meter title she won ahead of Caster Semenya.
Savinova's appeal against the
IAAF and the Russian track federation will be heard Dec. 4, the
Court of Arbitration for Sport said Monday. A verdict should follow
Savinova, now aged 32, was not
caught in re-testing of Olympic samples. In 2014, she was filmed
talking about using steroids to a whistleblower in a German
television documentary that exposed Russian doping.
Savinova's blood samples were
re-analyzed and she was stripped of results for three years,
including her 2011 world title and 2012 Olympic gold medal. Semenya
was runner-up in both races and is line to be awarded both titles.
Man City beat Arsenal 3-1, open up 8-point lead in EPL
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero, left, scores from the penalty spot
during the English Premier League match against Arsenal at the
Etihad stadium in Manchester, Sunday, Nov. 5. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
London (AP) —
Manchester City are the team to catch in the Premier League, and
it's getting even more challenging.
Pep Guardiola's side moved eight
points clear with a 3-1 victory over Arsenal on Sunday when
second-place Manchester United lost 1-0 at Chelsea. Tottenham trail
United on goal difference and are a point ahead of defending
champions Chelsea after beating last-place Crystal Palace 1-0.
There is still more than two-thirds
of the season to go but City are looking a formidable attacking unit
that's proving hard to thwart. They are the only unbeaten team in
England, and with an enviable depth of talent on the field and on
"Can anyone stop them? It will be
difficult this season," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "The way
they have started, the way they are on a run, the quality they have.
They'll be difficult to stop but, you never know."
Despite the victory margin, City
needed some luck.
Kevin De Bruyne's opening goal in
the 19th minute was followed by a contentiously awarded penalty when
Nacho Monreal was adjudged to have bundled over Raheem Sterling.
Sergio Aguero converted from the spot, then a third goal from
Gabriel Jesus should have been ruled out for offside against David
Silva in the build-up.
"If ... they have a decisions for
them like that (third goal)," Wenger said, "they will be
Any hopes Arsenal had of a first
title since 2004 are fading fast. Arsenal have lost four of six away
games in the league for the first time since 1981 and Wenger's team
trail City by 12 points.
City have scored 38 goals and won 10
out of 11 games so far. They achieved their latest win after a tough
Champions League trip to Napoli where Guardiola's side won 4-2.
"We were so, so tired in moments in
the game," Guardiola said, "but we were so strong mentally, mentally
strong to keep going, doing it together."
All it took to lift some of the
gloom around Stamford Bridge was the return of former manager Jose
Mourinho, and a victory over his new club.
Alvaro Morata scored the only goal
10 minutes into the second half, ending a six-game goal drought in
all competitions. Morata peeled away from defender Eric Bailly and
the striker was completely unmarked 12 yard from goal when he met
Cesar Azpilicueta's pinpoint cross with a powerful looping header.
"We must be pleased for the
performance of the team," Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said. "I
think we played with a great energy, a great passion, a great
Unlike perhaps earlier in the week
in the Italian capital when Chelsea lost 3-0 to Roma in the
"I think tonight I saw a lot of
positive things," Conte said, "not only under the tactical aspect
but overall the desire, the desire of my players, the will to fight,
the will to help each other."
Son Heung-min took over from former
Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-Sung as the highest-scoring
Premier League player from Asia with his 20th goal for Tottenham.
The South Korea forward pounced on a
poor clearance to curl in a shot from just inside the area in the
64th minute at Wembley Stadium as a depleted Tottenham relied on a
grittier performance to see off Palace after a slick win over
Champions League holders Real Madrid.
Everton were facing a sixth straight
loss in all competitions — and fourth under caretaker manager David
Unsworth — after goals by Richarlison and Christian Kabasele put
Watford 2-0 ahead by the 64th minute.
But three minutes later, Everton's
recovery began. Oumar Niasse pulled a goal back, substitute Dominic
Calvert-Lewin headed home an equalizer in the 74th and Leighton
Baines netted from the spot in stoppage time to complete a 3-2
victory. A first win in nine matches lifted Everton from 19th to
15th in the 20-team standings.
Eagles rout Broncos 51-23 to keep NFL's best record
Philadelphia Eagles' Jay Ajayi (36) scores a touchdown over Denver
Broncos' Darian Stewart during the first half of an NFL football
game, Sunday, Nov. 5, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Philadelphia (AP) —
Carson Wentz tossed four touchdown passes, Corey Clement had three
scores, and the Philadelphia Eagles routed the Denver Broncos 51-23
The Eagles (8-1) dismantled the
league's top-ranked defense, racking up 419 yards, to win their
seventh straight game and head into a bye week with the best record
in the NFL.
Brock Osweiler couldn't get the
Broncos (3-5) on track in his first start since rejoining the team
in September. He threw two interceptions. Denver has lost four in a
row and five of six.
Wentz was 15 of 27 for 199
yards before giving way to Nick Foles. He has three four-TD
performances in the last five weeks.
Clement had two TD runs and one
TD catch, and newcomer Jay Ajayi ran for 77 yards and one score.
The Eagles hadn't scored 50
points since a 54-11 victory over the Bears on Dec. 22, 2013.
REDSKINS 17, SEAHAWKS 14
Seattle — Kirk Cousins
drove Washington 70 yards in 35 seconds, capped by Rob Kelley's
1-yard touchdown run with less than a minute remaining, to stun
Seattle (5-3) took a 14-10 lead
with 1:34 remaining after Russell Wilson found Doug Baldwin for a
30-yard touchdown pass after the Seahawks had scuffled on offense
all day. But Cousins had an unexpected answer.
Taking over at his 30-yard
line, Cousins hit Brian Quick for 31 yards and Josh Doctson for 38
on consecutive throws to get to the Seattle 1 with 1:02 left.
Doctson beat rookie Shaquill Griffin down the sideline and made an
impressive diving catch. Kelley bulled his way in from the 1 on the
Kelley finished with two
touchdown runs, while Cousins was 21 of 31 for 247 yards for the
Redskins (4-4). He was responsible for a fumble in the first half,
but otherwise took care of the ball against Seattle's standout
defense. He also withstood six sacks and a number of other
quarterback hits behind a makeshift offensive line of backups and
Wilson was 24 of 45 for 297
yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
COWBOYS 28, CHIEFS 17
Arlington, Texas —
Ezekiel Elliott ran for the go-ahead touchdown after another
reprieve from his six-game suspension, and Dallas overcame Tyreek
Hill's improbable last-play touchdown in the first half to beat
Elliott's 2-yard plunge in the
third quarter came after the Chiefs turned a 14-3 deficit into a
17-14 advantage, sparked by Hill's weaving 57-yard catch with the
first-half clock expired and seven Dallas defenders inside their 25
trying to prevent the score.
Last year's NFL rushing
champion as a rookie, Elliott had 93 yards, ending a streak of three
straight 100-yard games but outgaining Kareem Hunt, this year's
rushing leader in his first season entering the game.
Hunt matched a season low with
nine carries, finishing with 37 yards as a club record-tying
nine-game road winning streak ended for the Chiefs (6-3) in their
third loss in four games since a 5-0 start.
Elliott got an emergency stay
from a New York court Friday, stopping the suspension over alleged
domestic violence for the third time.
With former quarterback Tony
Romo calling his first Dallas game as lead analyst for CBS, Dak
Prescott had two touchdown passes to Cole Beasley and ran for
another score in a third straight win for the Cowboys (5-3).
Terrance Williams had a
career-high nine catches for 141 yards.
CARDINALS 20, 49ERS 10
Santa Clara, Calif. —
Adrian Peterson carried a career-high 37 times for 159 yards and
Drew Stanton threw two touchdown passes to lead Arizona past winless
Peterson, 32, was a workhorse
in his third game with the Cardinals (4-4). He posted the most
carries ever for a player in his 30s and topped the 100-yard mark
for the second time since being acquired in a trade from New Orleans
Peterson's tough running and
Stanton's pair of first-half touchdown passes were enough to help
Arizona bounce back from a 33-0 loss to the Rams before last week's
The undermanned 49ers (0-9)
extended the worst start in franchise history and have lost 23 of
the past 24 games overall. Newly acquired quarterback of the future
Jimmy Garoppolo was mostly a spectator as rookie C.J. Beathard got
battered once again behind a patchwork line missing injured left
tackle Joe Staley.
Beathard went 24 for 51 for 294
yards and an interception and also ran for a touchdown.
JAGUARS 23, BENGALS 7
Jacksonville, Fla. —
With A.J. Green and Jalen Ramsey ejected for fighting, Jaydon
Mickens delivered the knockout blow by returning a punt 63 yards for
The Jaguars (5-3) won
consecutive games for the first time in 13 months and were
victorious at EverBank Field for the first time since last December.
Blake Bortles threw for 259
yards and a touchdown in another efficient performance. Marqise Lee
had his first TD reception of the season and responded by punting
the ball into the stands.
But most of the talk will
center on Green and Ramsey.
The perennial Pro Bowl receiver
retaliated against the trash-talking cornerback in a violent way
late in the first half. After Ramsey knocked Green to the ground at
the end of a running play, Green grabbed Ramsey around the neck and
slammed him to the ground. Green then delivered numerous punches to
Ramsey's helmet — never the smartest idea — and put another
MMA-style choke hold on Ramsey. It was the kind of aggressive attack
that could lead to a suspension.
Players from both sidelines
rushed the field, pushing, pulling, shoving, screaming and looking
like they would brawl.
Coaches and officials stepped
in and prevented a melee. Green and Ramsey were ejected, a decision
that prompted loud objections from Jacksonville's coaching booth
next to the press box. Jaguars executive Tom Coughlin and general
manager Dave Caldwell were in the box.
SAINTS 30, BUCCANEERS 10
New Orleans — The Saints
extended their winning streak to six when Drew Brees completed 81.2
percent of his passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns.
The Buccaneers came in hoping
to stem a four-game skid, but instead were not just beaten, but
beaten up. Quarterback Jameis Winston left with shoulder soreness
after the first half. Starting defensive end William Gholston was
carted off the field with a neck injury. And tensions boiled over
when Winston, after he had left the game, appeared to instigate a
scuffle along the sideline.
Brees' touchdowns went for 33
yards to Alvin Kamara and 36 yards to Ted Ginn. Kamara, who also
scored on a 6-yard run, did most of the work on his TD reception,
thrilling the Superdome crowd with a waving, tackle-slipping run
after his short catch.
The Saints also scored on
Justin Hardee's blocked punt, which Hardee recovered in stride and
returned for a touchdown.
The scuffle erupted in the
third quarter and appeared to be ignited when Winston vigorously
pressed his finger into the back of Lattimore's helmet during a
dead-ball period between a failed third-down pass and a punt.
Lattimore turned and shoved Winston, after which receiver Mike Evans
leveled Lattimore from behind. Saints defensive back De'Vante Harris
then came charging into the melee to defend Lattimore. As the
scuffle was broken up, Saints coach Sean Payton marched halfway
across the field, gesturing angrily at the Tampa Bay bench before
officials chased him back to the Saints' sideline.
The score was 30-3 at the time.
Evans was called for unnecessary roughness. There were no ejections.
PANTHERS 20, FALCONS 17
Charlotte, N.C. — Cam
Newton ran for 86 yards and a touchdown and the Panthers stormed
back from an early 10-point deficit, then held on.
The Panthers spotted the
Falcons 10 points before Newton and the ground game got rolling.
Carolina ran for 201 yards, including a career-high 66 and a
touchdown from rookie Christian McCaffrey.
The win kept the Panthers (6-3)
a half-game behind the Saints in the NFC South. Atlanta is 4-4.
Devin Funchess had 86 yards on
five catches in his first game as Carolina's No. 1 receiver after
the team traded Kelvin Benjamin earlier in the week.
Matt Ryan, last year's NFL MVP,
threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns and had one costly first-half
interception for the defending NFC champions.
With six catches for 118 yards,
Julio Jones became the first receiver to surpass 100 yards receiving
against the Panthers this season.
RAMS 51, GIANTS 17
East Rutherford, N.J. —
Jared Goff set career highs with four touchdown throws and 311 yards
passing and Todd Gurley ran for two more scores for the surprising
The win was the fifth in six
games for the Rams, whose 6-2 start is the franchise's best since
2001, when the club, then in St. Louis, went 14-2 in the regular
season and eventually lost to the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Los Angeles did everything
right in remaining unbeaten in four road games, five if a "home" win
in London is included. The Rams' high-powered offense showed no rust
coming off the bye, scoring on eight of their first nine
possessions. The defense forced three turnovers that the offense
turned into 17 points and the special teams blocked a third-quarter
punt that Gurley converted into his second TD.
Greg Zuerlein added three field
Eli Manning (20 of 36 for 220)
threw two touchdown passes and became the seventh NFL quarterback to
reach the 50,000-mark with his completion of a garbage-time pass to
Sterling Shepard in the fourth quarter.
The loss dropped the Giants to
1-7, and it certainly has to put coach Ben McAdoo's future in
question just one year after he led the team to the playoffs.
TITANS 23, RAVENS 20
Nashville, Tenn. —
Marcus Mariota threw for 218 yards and two touchdowns, and the
Titans got their third straight victory.
Derrick Henry ran for a 1-yard
TD. Safety Kevin Byard also intercepted two passes , giving the
second-year pro five picks over his past two games.
The Titans (5-3) sacked Joe
Flacco twice and scored 13 points off Byard's first interception and
a shanked punt to stay atop the AFC South.
The Ravens (4-5) have lost
three of four going into their bye, but they outgained Tennessee
Flacco tried to rally the
Ravens with two TD passes in the final 8:56, the last a 1-yard pass
to Mike Wallace with 46 seconds left. But Justin Tucker's onside
kick attempt didn't travel 10 yards, skittering almost sideways off
the tee before being recovered by Titans linebacker Daren Bates.
COLTS 20, TEXANS 14
Houston — T.Y. Hilton
had 175 yards receiving with two touchdowns to help the Colts halt a
three-game skid by beating a Texans team that struggled without
Jacoby Brissett threw for 308
yards filling in for Andrew Luck, who was placed on injured reserve
Thursday and will miss the season after having shoulder surgery in
January. Watson's stellar season ended that day, too, when the
rookie tore the anterior cruciate ligament in one of his knees in
Tom Savage, benched in the
opener for Watson, couldn't move the offense for most of the game,
but threw a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to get Houston
The Texans had a chance to win
it late, but Savage was sacked by Jabaal Sheard and fumbled as time
With Watson running the
offense, the Texans (3-5) had set a franchise record by scoring 30
or more points in five straight games. On Sunday, with Watson
relegated to an extra coach on the bench, this Houston offense
Wilder knocks out Stiverne in 1st round
referee pulls Deontay Wilder away after he knocked out Bermane
Stiverne during the WBC Heavyweight World Championship fight
Saturday, Nov. 4, in New York. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)
New York (AP) — When
Deontay Wilder finally took off the gold mask he wore into the ring,
he displayed a fierce scowl.
That look never disappeared
from his face as he knocked out the only man who'd ever gone the
distance with him.
Wilder sent Bermane Stiverne to
the canvas three times in the opening round to defend his WBC
heavyweight title Saturday night at Barclays Center.
"So much frustration, it just
seemed like my career, it's been crazy . so many guys using PEDs,"
Wilder said. "I just want to prove that I am the best. I know I am
the best, but I wanna prove I am the best."
There wasn't much question of
that in the Showtime card that ended in spectacular fashion.
The 32-year-old Wilder jabbed
through much of the first round while Stiverne, who hadn't fought in
two years, moved slowly and cautiously around the ring. Suddenly,
Wilder lashed out with a huge right that felled Stiverne (25-3-1).
Already, Wilder was
celebrating, but Stiverne got up. Unwisely, it turned out, because
another big right as part of a flurry of punches sent the
38-year-old challenger back down.
At that point, Wilder climbed
atop the ropes in a neutral corner, shouting at Stiverne's trainer
to end things.
When they didn't, another right
and then a mammoth left hook sent down the challenger for the final
time with his "Alabama Slammer."
"One champion, one face, one
name, he goes by Deontay Wilder," the WBC champ said.
Wilder won the belt from
Stiverne in 2015 in a 12-round decision. He repeatedly insisted
Stiverne would go down and out early in this one.
Wilder kept his word.
He is 39-0 with 38 knockouts.
Wilder now can set his sights
on something he has been promising throughout 2017: unifying the
heavyweight belts. He wants England's Anthony Joshua, the WBA/IBF
champ, sometime next year, and was busy issuing challenges after
disposing of Stiverne.
"I've been waiting on that
fight for a long time now," he said. "I declare war upon you. Do you
accept my challenge?
"I know I'm the champion, I
know I'm the best. Are you up for the test?"
This was Wilder's sixth
defense, and his most ferocious. Stiverne, who last fought on Nov.
14, 2015, outpointing Derric Rossy, never had a chance. He was a
substitute for Jose Ortiz, who failed a drug test.
Stiverne did not land a punch
and never should have bothered showing up.
Earlier, Sergey Lipinets won a
unanimous decision over Akihiro Kondo for the vacant IBF junior
welterweight title, a decision that was lustily booed by the crowd
of 10,924 at Barclays Center.
In a bout featuring lots of
action but lots of missed punches, the 28-year-old Lipinets of
Kazakhstan won despite dealing with a cut on the forehead that bled
for the final six rounds. He won 118-111 on one judge's card and
117-111 on two others even though Kondo, fighting outside of his
native Japan for the first time, carried much of the action in the
second half of the bout.
The AP scored it 115-113 for
Lipinets, who is 13-0. Kondo fell to 29-7-1, losing for the first
time in nine fights.
"The head butt really impaired
my vision and it led to me walking into some stupid shots," Lipinets
Shawn Porter pummeled Adrian
Granados for most of 12 rounds in a lopsided fight. There were more
clinches in the first round of that fight than in the entire
Porter is in line for another
welterweight championship opportunity; he held the IBF crown in
2013-14. He improved to 28-2-1 in a bout that had little style, but
plenty of action. The judges all had it 117-111 for Porter.
"He gave me a little trouble
here and there," said Porter, who wants a rematch with WBA champ
Keith Thurman, who beat him at Barclays Center last year. "I hurt my
left hand in the sixth round, but I kept using it. I had to use my
jab. It took a toll on me and by the 10th round I just couldn't
throw it anymore."
Granados is now 18-6-2.
In what was billed a
heavyweight eliminator, Dominic Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs) stopped
Eric Molina after eight rounds. Molina, exhausted after taking a
battering in the eighth, had his arms hanging over the ropes when
the round ended. A ringside doctor then stopped it.
Molina (26-5) previously has
lost to both Wilder and to WBA-IBF champion Anthony Joshua.
Breazeale also has lost to Joshua.
"Deontay is who I want to
face," Breazeale said.
Rose wins Turkish Airlines Open for back-to-back titles
English golfer Justin Rose. (AP Photo)
Antalya, Turkey (AP) —
Justin Rose made a 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win the
Turkish Airlines Open by a shot on Sunday for his second straight
title on the European Tour, moving him close to fellow Englishman
Tommy Fleetwood in the Race to Dubai standings.
Rose shot a 6-under 65 in the
final round to finish on 18 under par 266 overall, securing victory
a week after taking the WGC-HSBC Champions title in Shanghai.
Nicolas Colsaerts had the
chance to take Rose to a playoff but rolled his birdie putt on the
18th just left of the hole, moments after Rose had holed from two
feet further out. Colsaerts had birdied Nos. 15, 16 and 17.
Colsaerts (66) and Dylan
Frittelli (64), who chipped in three times in four holes during his
round, were tied for second. Padraig Harrington needed to eagle the
last to force a playoff, but made par and had to settle for fourth
place on 16 under.
Fleetwood finished in a tie for
23rd and saw his lead of more than a million points over Rose in the
Race to Dubai reduced to just 135,000 with two events left, in South
Africa and Dubai.
Fleetwood is contesting both,
while Rose will sit out the upcoming Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun
Rose overturned an eight-shot
deficit to top-ranked Dustin Johnson to win in China. He started the
final round two shots back a week later and birdied four of the last
London finals up next for Jack Sock after Paris Masters win
Jack Sock of the United States
kisses the trophy after he defeated Filip Krajinovic of Serbia
during their final match of the Paris Masters tennis tournament
at the Bercy Arena in Paris, France, Sunday, Nov. 5. (AP
Paris (AP) — After being
one game away from going home early in the tournament, Jack Sock won
the Paris Masters on Sunday to qualify for the season-ending ATP
Finals in London.
Sock beat Filip Krajinovic 5-7,
6-4, 6-1. It is easily the biggest trophy so far in the 25-year-old
Before coming to Paris the
16th-seeded Sock didn't even think of London.
But after winning his first
Masters title, he will be making the short trip to England to
compete against Roger Federer and the other six who made it from the
"Coming in this week I had no
idea I could even make London. It wasn't in my head," Sock said.
"Incredible week. Hard to describe, honestly. I don't think it's
really hit or soaked in yet."
Especially as on Wednesday, his
mind was drifting way off somewhere.
Deep into the third set against
Britain's Kyle Edmund — a tough opponent in the second round — Sock
"I was thinking about my
holidays ... I'm proud of myself for fighting and getting through,"
Sock said. "To come back from the deficit I was down and to have
this trophy next to me now has been an incredible achievement."
Fast forward to Sunday and he
now walks away from Paris with a check worth nearly $1 million and a
jump up the rankings to No. 9. Sock already knows how he is going to
approach the finals.
"I'm going to swing big and
play my game, like I always do," he said. "Just enjoy the moment."
This was his fourth career
He sealed victory on his first
match point when Krajinovic, a Serbian qualifier ranked No. 77, sent
a backhand long. Sock fell onto his back with his hands on his face,
then jumped into the seating area to celebrate with his team.
"I had some anxious sleep last
night," Sock said. "I was able to find that groove in the second and
He is the first American winner
here since Andre Agassi in 1999; and the first American winner of a
Masters tournament since Andy Roddick at Miami in 2010.
"I've had a rough season pretty
much since, since March," Sock said. "I just wanted to play some
good tennis my last week and go start my offseason."
With a wry smile, Sock said he
would be celebrating with "just a water on the rocks."
Krajinovic was the first
qualifier in a Masters final since Jerzy Janowicz, also here, in
After losing, the 25-year-old
Serb sat slumped in his chair, shaking his head in disappointment.
He had only played finals on
the challenger circuit before, winning all five of them, and came
through the qualifying rounds. He seemed to run out of energy in the
"I was not aggressive enough,"
Krajinovic said. "He started to play better and better and I didn't
Still, he will climb to No. 33
"From (qualifying) I beat so
many good guys, better ranking than me," Krajinovic said. "So it's
all positive coming home, finally having holidays after playing so
many matches this year."
The first set was even, with
Krajinovic looking a little sharper than Sock, who is also 25.
Sock was 30-40 down in the 12th
game, and Krajinovic had his first set point. He took it when Sock
went for a typical cross-court winner on forehand and whipped his
shot into the net.
He responded well, upping his
level in the second set as the momentum started to turn. Sock
secured a crucial break in the third game of the decider with a
superb forehand winner on the run, and then held for 3-1.
Krajinovic was reeling and
dropped his next service game when Sock hit a backhand crosscourt
winner that flew past his outstretched racket. He was broken again
when serving to stay in the match.
Sock had nine aces and broke
Krajinovic's serve six times to compensate for the three times he
dropped his own serve.
Sock's other titles this year
were at Delray Beach, Florida and Auckland, New Zealand — both on
outdoor hard courts.
Update November 4 - 5, 2017
Isner beats del Potro to reach Paris semis, Nadal withdraws
Isner of the United States celebrates his victory over Juan Martin
Del Potro of Argentina during their quarter-final match of the Paris
Masters tennis tournament at the Bercy Arena in Paris, France,
Friday, Nov. 3. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Paris (AP) — John Isner
stayed on track for the last spot at the ATP Finals by beating Juan
Martin del Potro 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-4 in the Paris Masters
quarterfinals on Friday.
The American was the runner-up
last year and needs to win the tournament to reach the finals in
London this month.
"I've given myself a pretty
good shot to qualify," Isner said. "But it's going to be very
Meanwhile, top-ranked Rafael
Nadal pulled out with a right knee injury, and hopes to be fit to
lead the London field.
The loss ended del Potro's
hopes of reaching London. The Argentine needed to win to guarantee
"I'm exhausted. But I did all
my effort, I don't have anything to (reproach) myself (for)," del
Potro said. "I've been playing three sets today without legs,
without energy. Now it's time to get home and enjoy the vacation."
The eighth and last berth for
London is between Isner and Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain, who is
ahead of Isner in the race.
Isner, who played with
strapping above his left knee, broke for 2-1 in the third set. With
an unreturnable serve on his first match point, Isner topped del
Potro for only the third time in nine matches.
Isner will next face Serbian
qualifier Filip Krajinovic, who advanced when Nadal withdrew.
"This week he's played with a
lot of energy," said Isner, who has been refueling with a rare
treat. "After a match like this, any calories are pretty good. I
actually had a cheeseburger. I had one yesterday, too. And they cook
a good one here."
Nadal signaled his knee wasn't
right during his third-round win over Pablo Cuevas on Thursday.
"I'm going to do my treatment,
do my best to be playing in London," he said. "But I cannot talk
about that now; it is tough enough for me to pull out from here."
Tournament director Guy Forget
praised Nadal for his attitude in trying his hardest to play,
despite his evident pain.
"We all know Rafa, once he says
he's going to do something he sticks to it," Forget said. "He said
'I'm sorry' to me 10 times, like a kid who's done something wrong. I
said, 'No, no, I'm sorry for you.'"
Krajinovic, a qualifier ranked
77, is through to his first Masters semifinal, and the first
qualifier to reach the semis since Jerzy Janowicz in 2012.
"My goal this year was to play
challengers to pick up points for next year," he said. "I was
already top 100 two or three years ago; then I had bad luck with
Krajinovic said his progress
was stalled by "an extra bone in the wrist" that needed to be
Unseeded Julien Benneteau
continued his unexpected march by knocking out third-seeded Marin
Cilic 7-6 (5), 7-5.
Benneteau lost their three
previous matches but edged a first set where both dropped serve
He sealed victory on his first
match point on Cilic's serve with a cross-court forehand winner and
became emotional, dropping his racket, blowing kisses, and tearing
"I was looking at my brother,
who is my coach, and at my wife. I am so happy to make her proud,"
he said. "It's an indescribable joy."
In his last Paris Masters
before retiring, the Frenchman has a shot at a first career title on
Next up is Jack Sock, who
defeated Fernando Verdasco of Spain 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-3.
Verdasco, who got a code
violation after the seventh game of the deciding set, saved four
But Sock clinched the match on
serve to reach the semis for the first time since Washington in
August. He has two titles this year.
Marseille suspends Evra for kicking fan pending UEFA hearing
Marseille's Patrice Evra, third left,
raises his foot trying to kick a man during a scuffle with Marseille
supporters who trespassed into the field before the Europa League
group I soccer match between Vitoria SC and Olympique de Marseille
at the D. Afonso Henriques stadium in Guimaraes, Portugal, Thursday,
Nov. 2. (AP Photo/Luis Vieira)
(AP) — Marseille has suspended Patrice Evra and could take
further action after the defender kicked one of the team's fans
before a Europa League game.
The French club's announcement
came after UEFA said earlier Friday that Evra will be banned for at
least one game.
UEFA's disciplinary body will
meet on Nov. 10 to rule on the incident, in which Evra was sent off
for violent conduct before the game in Portugal on Thursday.
After opening an internal
investigation into Evra's conduct, and following a meeting between
Evra and club president Jacques-Henri Eyraud, Marseille decided to
The club said in a statement
Evra could face further sanctions. Although Marseille accepted Evra
received some "hateful insults" he could in no way "respond in such
an inappropriate manner."
Evra got into a verbal argument
with Marseille supporters who scaled barriers to confront him before
the match against Portuguese club Vitoria.
Evra was seen aiming a kick at
the head of one of his club's fans and then being ushered away by a
teammate. Evra, who was a substitute for the game, was issued a red
card before the match.
"The club can only condemn all
destructive behavior from pseudo supporters who insult their own
players when everyone should be supporting the team," Marseille
Evra, whose most successful
spell as a player came at Manchester United and Juventus, has lost
his place at Marseille this season to Jordan Amavi. But Evra has
remained visible on Instagram videos, singing and having fun.
He was heavily criticized in
some sections of the media, including by former France players such
as Christophe Dugarry, for filming himself offering a bag of food to
a homeless person on Marseille's streets and posting a socially
loaded message asking others what they were doing to help.
Evra's temperament has been an
issue in the past. He has clashed verbally with former players —
especially Lilian Thuram and Dugarry — and with television pundits,
often mocking some of them with invented names as a pun on their
Evra has dropped out of
contention for France: His 81st and last appearance was a year ago
in a World Cup qualifier against Sweden.
Evra was captain of the 2010
World Cup squad but was blamed for being the orchestrator of a
training-ground strike that shocked the nation. The team refused to
train after striker Nicolas Anelka was sent home for insulting coach
Raymond Domenech at halftime during a match against Mexico. Evra
received a five-game ban from the French Football Federation after
returning from South Africa.
Forever Unbridled scores upset win in Breeders' Cup Distaff
Forever Unbridled, left, with John R.
Velazquez aboard, wins the Longines Distaff horse race during the
first day of the Breeders' Cup, Friday, Nov. 3, in Del Mar, Calif.
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Del Mar, Calif. (AP) —
Forever Unbridled swept to the lead coming off the far turn and held
off late-charging Abel Tasman to win the $2 million Distaff by a
half-length Friday at Del Mar, capping a day of upsets at the
The 5-year-old mare was coming
in off a 73-day layoff. She showed no rust, though, in bettering her
third-place finish in the race a year ago at Santa Anita.
Ridden by John Velazquez,
Forever Unbridled ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.25 and paid $9.40 to win
at 7-2 odds.
Abel Tasman, a winner of three
Grade 1 races this year, was second for trainer Bob Baffert.
Paradise Woods finished third.
"She just got beat by a really
good horse," Baffert said.
Saturday's card features nine
Cup races, including the $6 million Classic in which Baffert will
saddle four starters in pursuit of a record fourth straight victory.
In the Distaff, 2-1 favorite
Elate was fourth in the eight-horse field.
Trainer Dallas Stewart earned
his second Cup victory, 16 years after Unbridled Elaine's upset win
in the same race at Belmont Park. Velazquez collected his 14th
career Cup win in the $2 million race.
Velazquez earned $110,000 for
his winning ride. Joel Rosario will get the same amount for sitting
in the jockeys' room after Forever Unbridled's owner Charles Fipke
made a late change to Velazquez that prevented Rosario from securing
"For timing and consistency,
Johnny's the best," said Fipke, the Canadian gemologist and
prospector who discovered diamonds in the Northwest Territories.
Forever Unbridled was sixth
early on, with Velazquez moving her to the outside for clear running
room. She kicked into gear approaching the far turn and quickly
joined the two leaders before charging past them.
"He edged that horse right up
close, and just at the right time he bounced right out in front of
them all," Fipke said.
Velazquez had ridden Forever
Unbridled twice before, but that was 1 ½ years ago.
"I've been watching her all
year when she's been running with somebody else, so I kind of knew
her very well from the first time I rode her," he said.
Fipke, who also bred Forever
Unbridled, said winning a Breeders' Cup race is harder than
discovering a diamond mine.
"You don't realize how many
other horses that we pay the oats and the bills and the training
bills and everything just to get the one," he said. "And the odds
are pretty stacked against you."
Stellar Wind, a six-time Grade
1 winner, finished last in her final race before retirement. Her
trainer, John Sadler, extended his Cup skid to 41 races.
The only favorite to win among
the day's four Cup races was 9-2 shot Mendelssohn in the $1 million
Juvenile Turf for Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien.
Ridden by Ryan Moore,
Mendelssohn ran one mile on turf in 1:35.97 to beat Untamed Domain
by a length.
The bay colt paid $11.60 to
The other $1 million races
produced upsets: 3-1 shot Rushing Fall in the Juvenile Fillies Turf
and 14-1 shot Battle of Midway in the Dirt Mile.
In the Juvenile Fillies Turf,
Rushing Fall survived a wide trip to win by three-quarters of a
length under Javier Castellano. The bay filly ran a mile on turf in
1:36.09 and paid $8 to win for trainer Chad Brown.
In the Dirt Mile, Battle of
Midway rallied to hold off Sharp Azteca by a half-length under
Trained by Hall of Famer Jerry
Hollendorfer, Battle of Midway ran a mile in 1:35.20 and paid $30.40
The announced crowd of 32,278
on a cloudy, 68-degree day was 5,222 below the attendance cap of
37,500 for the first Cup to be run at the seaside track near San
J.J. Spaun shoots 65 to take PGA Tour lead in Las Vegas
Robert Garrigus watches his tee shot from second hole during the
second round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open golf tournament
at TPC at Summerlin in Las Vegas, Friday, Nov. 3. (Richard Brian/Las
Vegas Review-Journal via AP)
Las Vegas (AP) —
J.J. Spaun shot a 6-under 65 on Friday at breezy TPC Summerlin to take
the lead in the suspended second round of the Shriners Hospitals for
Spaun rebounded from a bogey on the
par-4 third with birdies on the par-4 fourth and par-3 fifth and closed
with a birdie on the par-5 ninth to get to 11-under 131.
"I think we were just real
deliberate on our numbers out there," Spaun said. "It's super swirly,
windy. ... Out here you've got so many undulations around the greens and
you've got tight hazards next to the pins and the greens, so it's
crucial to get the right number, and we did that well today. That kind
of set us up for having a bunch of looks out there."
Kelly Kraft was second at 8 under
with three holes left when play was suspended for the day because of
darkness. He had a hole-in-one on par-3 fifth, using a 6-iron on the
Spaun is making his third start of
the season after finishing 97th in the FedEx Cup standings. He missed
the cut in the opener at Silverado and tied for 34th last week in
"I'm putting well, I'm hitting it
well, I'm just trying to play simple golf," Spaun said. "I know it's not
going to be easy on the weekend, but just trying to keep things in
perspective and stay within myself and give myself a shot on Sunday."
Robert Garrigus was four strokes
back at 7 under after a 65.
"I really didn't swing it as good
as I wanted to off the tee," Garrigus said. "I was hitting some
squirrelly shots, but the putter worked really well today, which can
cure a lot of things."
Aaron Baddeley and Patton Kizzire
each shot 66 to get to 6 under, and first-round leader Whee Kim was 5
under after a 72.
"It was windy today," Baddeley
said. "There were a couple holes there where it was like a two- or
three-club wind, which is really unusual here in Vegas. But it's just
nice because it really brings out the good ball-hitters and also the
people who can be patient in this type of weather."
Charley Hoffman was 3 under after a
71 in his hometown event.
Bubba Watson was in position to
make the cut on the number at 1 over in his first event of season,
shooting 72-71. Defending champion Rod Pampling also was 1 over after a
Arsenal, Lazio advance in Europa; Milan held to 0-0 again
Milan's Andre Silva looks at the ball during the Europa League group D
match against AEK Athens at the Olympic stadium, in Athens, Thursday,
Nov. 2. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
London (AP) - AC Milan
wasted a chance to make the Europa League knockout stage with two games
to spare after AEK Athens held them to a second straight goalless draw
The other favorites, Arsenal,
advanced despite also being in a goalless game.
Lazio won Group K to secure a
knockout spot after beating Nice 1-0 thanks to Maxime Le Marchand's own
goal in injury time.
Dynamo Kiev made it through from
Group B by beating Young Boys 1-0, and a 1-1 draw was also enough for
Romania's FCSB against Hapoel Beer-Sheva in Group G. Russia's Zenit also
made sure to draw at Rosenborg to advance from Group L.
In an unusual incident, Marseille
substitute Patrice Evra was given a red card before his game in Portugal
because of a clash with the crowd. A photo showed him aiming a kick at a
fan's head after reported arguments between him and Marseille
Marseille lost to Vitoria 1-0.
Another Italian club, Atalanta,
were on course to advance before conceding a goal deep in stoppage time
Everton’s hopes were squashed.
Here's a look at the action:
MILAN'S SCORING DROUGHT
Milan scored eight goals in the
first two group matches then began to emulate their poor performances in
Serie A, where they lost to Juventus 2-0 at home on Saturday and have
won just one of their past six matches.
Milan strikers Andre Silva and
Patrick Cutrone were kept at bay by solid AEK defending.
Austria Vienna won at Rijeka 4-1 in
another game in Group D. All four teams still have a shot to make the
ARSENAL FOLLOW SUIT
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
usually rests his stars in Europe, and he replaced the entire lineup
that beat Swansea 2-1 on Saturday. In goal, Matt Macey made his European
debut. He was OK, the problem was at the other end.
Striker Olivier Giroud should have
converted one of his many chances.
Arsenal lead Group H by five points
from Red Star. Third-placed BATE lost at Cologne 3-2.
Lyon knocked out struggling Everton
3-0, with all the goals in the second half.
Bertrand Traore scored the first on
a fast counter, substitute Houssem Aouar added the second, and Memphis
Depay finished Everton off with a header.
Everton defender Cuco Martina was
taken off on a stretcher with concussion and neck pain, after landing
awkwardly from an aerial challenge before halftime. He was cleared at a
hospital to return with the team to England, where Everton can fully
concentrate on reviving their Premier League campaign. They sit in the
Atalanta led Apollon Limassol 1-0
from halftime to deep into the match, and looked set to advance after a
26-year absence in Europe. But then Emilio Zelaya equalized four minutes
into injury time.
Atalanta and Lyon still control
Group E, five points ahead of Apollon.
KIEV KICKS ON
Dynamo Kiev needed a win over Young
Boys in Bern and got it courtesy of Vitaliy Buyalskiy, who scored late.
Dynamo lead Group B by five points
from Partizan Belgrade, who are second after beating Skenderbeu 2-0.
No. 1 Nadal remains on track for first Paris Masters title
of Spain celebrates his victory over Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay during the
third round of the Paris Masters tennis tournament at the Bercy Arena in
Paris, France, Thursday, Nov. 2. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Paris (AP) — Rafael Nadal
remains on track for an elusive Paris Masters title after beating Pablo
Cuevas 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals on Thursday.
He has not reached the final since
losing to David Nalbandian in his first appearance 10 years ago. Nadal
improved to 4-1 overall against Cuevas and next plays Serbian qualifier
Filip Krajinovic for the first time.
"He had a very successful season,
winning a lot of challengers, and now he's playing well on the tour," Nadal
said of Krajinovic. "When you're winning a lot of matches you're in a good
Cuevas competed well in spells against
a nervy Nadal, who was erratic on serve and made countless unforced errors
in a gritty contest.
One of the most glaring came at 5-5 in
the second-set tiebreaker, when Nadal hit an easy forehand into the net to
give Cuevas a set point. After a brief rally, Nadal hit a backhand long and
Cuevas leveled the match.
Nadal had some strapping under his
right knee before the deciding set, then raced into a 3-0 lead before the
jitters came back.
"It's not the moment to talk much about
the knee," he said. He also was elusive about whether it might prevent him
from playing in the season-ending ATP Finals next week in London.
"Anything can happen in one week and a
half," Nadal said. "But if nothing strange happens then I'm going to be
Nadal was not moving with his customary
speed around court in the third set but held comfortably enough for 5-2. He
clinched victory on his first match point when Cuevas sent a return wide.
Nadal is guaranteed to finish the year
with the top ranking for the fourth time. A maiden victory here would give
him a record 31 Masters titles, one more than Novak Djokovic.
Marin Cilic of Croatia downed Roberto
Bautista Agut of Spain 7-6 (4), 6-2 and next faces veteran Julien Benneteau.
Earlier in the third round, Juan Martin
del Potro moved closer to securing the last spot for the finals by beating
Robin Haase 7-5, 6-4.
Del Potro, who lost to Roger Federer on
Sunday in the Swiss Indoors final, is in 10th place in the race to qualify
for the tournament. Only the top eight players will compete in London and
there is one place left, to be taken in Paris.
"I would love to reach London once
again. It could be a fantastic moment for me," said del Potro, who was way
back in 47th place in the race before the U.S. Open. "I'm excited to keep
improving for this kind of surprise."
Del Potro has a tough challenge next,
against big-serving American John Isner.
The ninth-seeded Isner, last year's
runner-up to Andy Murray, hit 25 aces as he beat sixth-seeded Grigor
Dimitrov of Bulgaria 7-6 (10), 5-7, 7-6 (3).
Seventh-seeded David Goffin of Belgium
was through to the finals in London, despite a surprise loss to Benneteau
6-3, 6-3. The unseeded Frenchman reached the quarters of a Masters for the
first time since Shanghai in 2014 in his final tournament before retiring.
Goffin will have waited nervously on
the result of Frenchman Lucas Pouille's result against Jack Sock. But
Pouille's 7-6 (6), 6-3 loss to the American sent him through, at Pouille's
expense, making him the first Belgian to qualify for the season finale.
"I would have preferred to have
qualified by winning and Lucas is a friend," Goffin said. "But I am still so
happy to have qualified."
Dominic Thiem went out early again,
falling to Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-4.
Since losing to Del Potro in the fourth
round of the U.S. Open, the fifth-seeded Austrian has won only two matches
in five tournaments.
Verdasco next plays Sock. Krajinovic
advanced with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 win against Nicolas Mahut.
Midway through NFL season, football ratings are down
Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler looks to pass against the New York Jets
in this Oct. 22, 2017, photo. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
New York (AP) — Midway
through a season remembered for its protests by some players during the
national anthem as much as bone-crunching hits, viewership for NFL
football games is down 5 percent from last year.
The NFL has slowed a decline that
was more pronounced in 2016, and the erosion is actually less than it is
for other forms of television programming. Yet Wall Street analysts have
noticed the trend and sports programmers are searching for reasons. The
NFL's aura of invincibility as an entertainment product has taken a hit.
"It's certainly not cause for
panic," said Rick Gentile, a former CBS Sports executive and now a Seton
Hall University professor, "but they like to keep going up."
The average NFL game this season
has attracted 14.8 million viewers, down from 15.6 million at the same
point last year, the Nielsen company said. The decline was 14 percent
between the 2015 and 2016 mid-seasons, although more people returned
when election year politicking left the airwaves.
What has put the NFL in news
headlines this fall, instead of just the sports pages, is the protest
primarily by black players about the treatment of minorities by law
enforcement. It has been expressed most often by players kneeling for
"The Star Spangled Banner" before the games, an action that incurred the
wrath of President Donald Trump.
It briefly brought the national
anthem back to TV broadcasts. Since then, the networks usually tape it
in case there's a significant protest to report.
Asked about the impact of the
protests, NFL spokesman Alex Riethmiller said the league believes the
ratings drop is part of a broader trend in television consumption
instead of a single issue or controversy.
Yet Gentile, who runs a nationwide
poll on sports issues for Seton Hall, said his surveys show differently.
"I was in denial for a while," he
said, "but every time we asked the question, 'why do you watch fewer
games?' it came back the same way — the protests."
In the last week of September,
Seton Hall's poll of 850 people found that half were watching the same
number of football games they watched in the past. Twenty-nine percent
said they watched fewer games, 5 percent said they watched more and the
remainder didn't know. Of the people who watched fewer games, 47 percent
said it was because of the protests, by far the most frequent reason
Shrinking audiences are the norm,
rather than the exception, for most TV shows, and the NFL points out
that the audience for prime-time broadcast programming has dropped 9
percent this fall. That comparison isn't totally fair since one of the
biggest reasons ratings are off for entertainment shows — people
recording them to watch later — usually doesn't apply to a live event
Two worries for the rest of the NFL
season are injuries that have sidelined marquee players like Odell
Beckham, Jr., Aaron Rodgers and J.J. Watt, and lousy teams with little
to play for in major markets like New York and Chicago. Viewership for
this past weekend's games was the lowest of the season, Nielsen said.
The NFL has focused with some
success this season on improving prime-time products, said Michael
Nathanson, an analyst for MoffettNathanson Research. Viewership is up 5
percent for ESPN's "Monday Night Football," which is concentrating this
year on rivalry games between teams in the same division. In another
healthy sign, ad prices for NBC's Sunday night game are going up 12
percent next year, according to a survey by Variety magazine.
"Ratings go up and ratings go down,
but the NFL is actually stronger than it has been in recent years,
relatively speaking, to the rest of the television world," said CBS
Sports President Sean McManus. "The good news is that viewers are
consuming more NFL programming. We're just trying to make sure that we
still allow access to that programming without hurting the traditional
The chief weakness has been the
Sunday afternoon games, the league's bedrock, and among younger viewers.
Young fans weaned on video games are increasingly attracted to "Red
Zone" products that allow them to peek in at key moments in different
games and highlight packages of big plays, instead of sitting through
contests that last more than three hours.
Wall Street analyst Omar Sheikh
this fall downgraded his profit estimates for the parent companies of
CBS and Fox, the two networks that broadcast Sunday afternoon games, and
cited football ratings as his primary reason.
One worry among TV executives,
voiced in a company earnings call last week by 21st Century Fox CEO
James Murdoch, is an oversaturation of the market. The concern is
primarily focused on the NFL's Thursday night game, which was added in
"I do think that preserving the
scarcity value of those events and that audience is something that is
worth thinking about," Murdoch said.
Beauden Barrett to lead All Blacks against Barbarians
Flyhalf Beauden Barrett will captain the All Blacks for the first time
against the Barbarians on Saturday, Nov. 4 in the opening match of their
European tour. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
London (AP) — Flyhalf
Beauden Barrett will captain the All Blacks for the first time Saturday
in the opening match of their European tour against the Barbarians.
New Zealand, with a touring party
of 37 players, will use the informal match to give playing time to squad
members who might otherwise have few opportunities in forthcoming tests
against France, Scotland and Wales.
But the lineup is still strong and
the selectors have formalized the leadership role Barrett plays within
the New Zealand team by awarding him the captaincy, although the match
doesn't carry test status.
The lineup features the return of
Jerome Kaino at No. 8 after the veteran missed the latter half of the
domestic season. Ardie Savea will start at flanker, facing his brother
Julian, the former All Blacks winger, who will play for the Barbarians.
Seta Tamanivalu also returns on the
left wing for his first All Blacks appearance in more than a year. David
Havili will start at fullback while Anton Lienert-Brown and Ngani
Leaumape will combine in midfield in what might be the next generation
of All Blacks centers.
Barrett will combine with his
Wellington Hurricanes teammate, scrumhalf T.J. Pernara, and Waisake
Naholo will line up on the right wing after a season of sporadic
appearances, interrupted by injury.
Head coach Steve Hansen said the
selectors had no choice but to rush young players into action on the
"Preferably you'd want to give them
a couple of weeks before you even look like putting them in, but this
Baabaas game suits having those boys in the side," he said.
Hansen said Barrett was due to take
on the responsibility of captaincy.
"We need a leader and it's a good
opportunity for him," Hansen said. "He needs a game — he hasn't played
for four or five weeks — so we might as well start him and then we know
where he is at.
"This will be a tough game. It's
like a New Zealand trial so everyone will have plenty to say about it.
"We know the quality of the people
that are in the Baabaas. It'll give us a good gauge of where (the All
Blacks) are at."
Spurs, Man City qualify on good night for English clubs
Tottenham's Dele Alli, left, scores the opening goal past Real Madrid's
goalkeeper Kiko Casilla, right, during their Champions League group H match
at Wembley Stadium in London, Wednesday, Nov. 1. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
London (AP) - English clubs
shone in the Champions League on Wednesday as Tottenham humbled Real Madrid
and Manchester City beat Napoli to secure their places in the knockout
stages with two games remaining.
Tottenham ended Real's five-year
unbeaten run in the Champions League group stage with a storming 3-1 at
Wembley. Dele Alli scored twice on his return from a three-game suspension.
City muscled their way to a 4-2 win over Napoli as Sergio Aguero took the
club's all-time scoring record.
Liverpool made it three wins from three
for English clubs with a straightforward 3-0 victory over Slovenian
outsiders Maribor. Liverpool can qualify by beating Sevilla in their next
Monaco and Leipzig risk elimination
after their Group G rivals Besiktas and Porto picked up valuable points.
Here is a look at what happened in
Liverpool weren't quite as imperious as
in their previous 7-0 hammering of Maribor, but three second-half goals were
enough for a win that makes the Reds highly likely to qualify.
Maribor's defence managed to hold
Liverpool at bay until Mohamed Salah opened the scoring in the 49th minute.
More goals followed from Emre Can and Daniel Sturridge, while James Milner
missed a penalty.
That leaves Liverpool in first place,
one point ahead of Sevilla, who beat Spartak Moscow 2-1 to gain a measure of
revenge for their 5-1 loss in the Russian capital two weeks ago.
In contrast to the disarray in Moscow,
Sevilla played with a calm authority from the start and took a 2-0 lead
through Clement Lenglet and Ever Banega. A consolation goal from Ze Luis
came too late to spark a comeback from the Russian champions.
Manchester City made it four wins from
four with victory in Naples as they qualified for the knockout stages for
the fifth year in a row.
Lorenzo Insigne put Napoli ahead in the
21st minute — the first time since August that City had conceded the opening
goal of any game. Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones scored for City to turn
the match around, before Jorginho equalized for the hosts from the penalty
spot. But Aguero's goal on a counterattack, his 178th for the club, gave him
the City scoring record and Raheem Sterling added the visitors' fourth in
Shakhtar Donetsk haven't made it past
the group stage since the 2014-15 season, but look likely to do so this
campaign after beating Feyenoord 3-1 to tighten their hold on second place.
For the second time in two games
against Shakhtar, Feyenoord took an early lead but were later overwhelmed by
the Ukrainian team, whose attacking midfielder Marlos finished with two
Turkey's Besiktas continued their
strong group stage campaign with a 1-1 draw against Monaco that keeps them
With just two points from four games,
Monaco are last in the group and facing an early exit. However, their
prospects would have been very different if a shot by Keita Balde hadn't
been saved by Besiktas goalkeeper Fabri in stoppage time.
Monaco must now beat Porto and Leipzig
in their last two games to stand any chance of qualifying.
Aiming for a first appearance in the
knockout phase, Besiktas now sit four points clear at the top from Porto.
The Portuguese club beat Leipzig 3-1 to move second in the group, two points
ahead of the defeated German team, who are in their debut Champions League
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane will
face criticism from fans of the reigning Spanish and European champions
after a poor showing away to Tottenham.
Two goals from Dele Alli and one from
Christian Eriksen gave Tottenham a commanding lead that ensured the London
club qualified for the knockout stages for only the second time, and first
Cristiano Ronaldo's 80th-minute goal
meant little outside this season's Champions League goalscorer standings,
which he leads by one goal from Tottenham's Harry Kane.
Madrid have now won only two of their
last five games in all competitions, including a draw at home with Tottenham
and a loss in the Spanish league to Girona on Sunday.
The group's other two teams, Borussia
Dortmund and APOEL Nicosia, are mathematically still in contention to
qualify but realistically have almost no chance after their 1-1 draw. Either
would now need to beat both Tottenham and Madrid to stand any chance of
reaching the knockout stages.
Pacers send Cavaliers to fourth straight loss, 124-107
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, right, drives against Indiana Pacers'
Thaddeus Young in the first half of their teams’ NBA basketball game,
Wednesday, Nov. 1, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Cleveland (AP) — Thaddeus
Young scored 26 points, Darren Collison had 25 and the Indiana Pacers
sent the Cleveland Cavaliers to their fourth straight loss, 124-107 on
LeBron James had 33 points and 11
assists, but it wasn't enough to keep Cleveland from losing for the
fifth time in six games and falling to 3-5.
The Cavaliers held a lengthy
meeting before Tuesday's practice to discuss their struggles, but the
defending Eastern Conference champions have lost by a combined margin of
58 points in their losing streak.
James was upbeat about the meeting,
but the Cavaliers still have issues to work out, especially on the
defensive end. Cleveland led 69-68 in the third quarter, but Indiana hit
four straight 3-pointers and built an eight-point lead. Indiana was 16
of 26 from 3-point range.
Victor Oladipo scored 23 points for
the Pacers. Bojan Bogdanovic added 17, and Domantas Sabonis had 15
points and 12 rebounds.
CELTICS 113, KINGS 86
Boston — Kyrie Irving and
Jaylen Brown each scored 22 points in three quarters, and Bostoncoasted
past skidding Sacramento for its sixth straight victory.
It was the Celtics' 11th
consecutive win over the Kings in Boston, dating to their last loss on
Jan. 19, 2007. Terry Rozier added 12 points, and Daniel Theis had 10
points with 10 rebounds.
Buddy Hield scored 17 points and
Zach Randolph 16 for the Kings, who lost their sixth in a row — the last
three by an average of 24 points.
SUNS 122, WIZARDS 116
Washington — T.J. Warren
scored 28 of his career-high 40 points in the second half and Phoenix
overcame a 22-point deficit to beat Washington.
Warren also had 10 rebounds and
Devin Booker added 22 points to help the Suns improve to 4-1 under
interim coach Jay Triano following an 0-3 start that led to Earl
Bradley Beal scored a season-high
40 points for Washington, which built the lead to 22 by the second
quarter but saw it completely disappear early in the fourth.
John Wall added 21 points, and
Marcin Gortat had 13 rebounds for Washington.
HORNETS 126, BUCKS 121
Charlotte, N.C. — Kemba
Walker had 26 points, rookie Malik Monk had a huge fourth quarter and
the Charlotte put the clamps on the NBA scoring leader Giannis
Antetokounmpo to beat Milwaukee.
Walker was 8 for 12 from the field,
including 3 for 4 from 3-point range, and 7 for 7 from the foul line to
help Charlotte win its third straight game. Monk, the team's first-round
draft pick from Kentucky, had 18 of his 25 points in the fourth.
Antetokounmpo came in averaging
33.7 points, but struggled with foul trouble and finished with a
season-low 14 points along with 13 rebounds. He was limited to five
points in the final three quarters.
Khris Middleton led Milwaukee with
43 points on 15-for-28 shooting.
HEAT 97, BULLS 91
Miami — Goran Dragic scored
20 points, Tyler Johnson added 19 and Miami beat Chicago to snap a
Hassan Whiteside returned from a
five-game absence with a bruised knee and had 13 points and 14 rebounds
for the Heat.
Lauri Markkanen scored 25 points
and Robin Lopez added 22 for the Bulls, who were 7 for 28 from 3-point
range and got five of those makes in the final 2 minutes. Chicago fell
to 1-5, matching its worst start since 2007-08.
76ERS 119, HAWKS 109
Philadelphia — Ben Simmons
had 19 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, and Joel Embiid had 21
points and 12 rebounds to lead Philadelphia past Atlanta for its third
Robert Covington scored 22 points
to help the Sixers (4-4) reach .500 for the first time in four years.
Dennis Schroder had 25 points for Atlanta.
Nadal beats Chung to guarantee ending the year as No. 1
Rafael Nadal of Spain returns the ball to Hyeon Chung of South Korea
during the Paris Masters tennis tournament at the Bercy Arena in Paris,
France, Wednesday, Nov. 1. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Paris (AP) — Rafael Nadal
will finish the year as the top-ranked player for the fourth time,
surprising even the fiercest of competitors after a wrist injury and a
lack of form severely dented his steely confidence.
The 31-year-old Spaniard assured
himself the No. 1 ranking by beating Hyeon Chung 7-5, 6-3 Wednesday in
the second round of the Paris Masters.
The 16-time Grand Slam winner had
not finished the year at the top since 2013, with Novak Djokovic and
Andy Murray doing so after that.
"One year ago, for sure I never
dreamed about being No. 1 again at the end of the season," said Nadal,
who missed large parts of 2016 because of a troublesome wrist. "It has
been an amazing year."
Nadal's comeback has been truly
remarkable, even by his lofty standards.
He reached three Grand Slam finals
this year, losing to Roger Federer at the Australian Open and winning a
10th French Open title before clinching the U.S. Open for the third
"It was impossible for me to think
about (being No. 1) coming back from a tough period without playing, and
with so many injuries in the last couple of years," said Nadal, who also
finished as No. 1 in '08 and '10. "It means a lot. After almost 10 years
since the first time."
Nadal is also the oldest
year-ending No. 1, testimony to his relentless determination.
"It's about the passion for what
you are doing. It's about the mentality of waking up every morning with
the right motivation to go on court and improve something. That's the
winning mentality, no?" he replied, when asked what drives him. "The
passion to improve something and practice every day with the right
attitude to try to make that happen ... not everybody is able to do it."
The only downside this season has
been always losing to Federer, who leads the ATP Tour with seven titles.
Federer has beaten Nadal four
consecutive times — not dropping a set in three of them — and the
19-time Grand Slam champion was in outside contention for the No. 1
ranking before pulling out of Paris to focus on the season-ending ATP
Finals in London next week.
The 21-year-old Chung broke Nadal
in the ninth game of the first set and held for 5-5. But Nadal took the
first set after breaking Chung to love.
Chung saved four break points in a
fourth game of the second set lasting 12 minutes, holding for 2-2. But
Nadal accelerated after that and served out the victory on his second
Nadal, who is tied for a record 30
Masters titles with Djokovic, has never won the tournament in Paris. He
will next face Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay, who beat 15th-seeded Albert
Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-7 (5), 7-6 (1), 6-2.
Third-seeded Marin Cilic won 6-4,
6-3 against Borna Coric in an all-Croatian match.
Cilic, who had 13 aces, will next
play 14th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain. He eased past Frenchman
Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-1.
No. 4 Alexander Zverev lost to
Robin Haase 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, and No. 9 John Isner beat Diego Schwartzman
7-6 (2), 6-7 (11), 6-3.
Haase next plays No. 13 Juan Martin
del Potro, who eased past Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-2, 6-2. The
big-serving Argentine needs to win in Paris to have a chance of reaching
the Finals in London.
Isner, who lost last year's final
to Murray, faces No. 6 Grigor Dimitrov. He beat Richard Gasquet 6-4,
Frenchman Lucas Pouille kept alive
his slim chances of qualifying for London with a 6-3, 6-4 win against
Feliciano Lopez, but No. 12 Kevin Anderson's chances took a blow after a
5-7, 6-4, 7-5 loss to Fernando Verdasco.
No. 11 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's bid to
reach London is over following a 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2 loss to Julien
Benneteau in an all-French match.
Benneteau plays No. 7 David Goffin
of Belgium, who won 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 against Adrian Mannarino.
Also, No. 16 Jack Sock of the
United States had 14 aces in a 4-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) win against Kyle
Edmund and faces Pouille in Thursday's third round.
India beat New Zealand by 53 runs in 1st T20
India's Ashish Nehra waves to the crowd as he bids farewell at the end
of his last international match, during their first Twenty20 cricket
match against New Zealand in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Nov. 1. (AP
New Delhi (AP) — Axar Patel
and Yuzvendra Chahal shared four wickets as India eased to a 53-run
victory over New Zealand in the first Twenty20 of their three-match
series on Wednesday.
Openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar
Dhawan, who both scored 80, put on 158 runs for the opening wicket as
the hosts swept to 202-3. India's bowling attack then limited the
tourists to 149-8 in reply, with Tom Latham top-scoring on 39.
"It was a very clinical performance
by the whole team. The wicket was a bit damp and the two guys at the top
set the tone for us," India captain Virat Kohli said.
New Zealand's innings never
gathered momentum and a regular loss of wickets inevitably led to their
first defeat to India in this format.
The slide started early, when
Hardik Pandya took a stunning, diving catch at long on to dismiss Martin
Guptill (4) off Chahal in the second over. Bhuvneshwar Kumar then bowled
Colin Munro for 7.
Kane Williamson (28) and Latham
tried to rescue the Black Caps, only for Williamson to edge behind off
Pandya, leaving his team on 54-3.
Patel then struck twice to remove
Tom Bruce (10) and Colin de Grandhomme (0) in the space of two balls to
reduce New Zealand to 84-5 in the 13th over and end all realistic
chances of a successful chase.
Ashish Nehra bowled the last over
of the New Zealand innings to finish off his 18-year-long international
"I will miss it all," Nehra said.
"My body will be at peace because I have really pushed myself over the
years. I played my first game here in 1997 and there have been drastic
changes. Indian cricket is in good hands for the next seven, eight
Earlier, Sharma and Dhawan had laid
the foundations of the win with the highest wicket stand for India in
Both started cautiously and were
helped by some poor fielding by the Black Caps. Dhawan was dropped in
the second over, Sharma in the seventh, and they picked up the scoring
pace after those let-offs.
Dhawan was finally caught behind
off Ish Sodhi in the 17th over. Hardik Pandya (0) was promoted, but he
too was caught behind two balls later.
Virat Kohli then smacked 26 off 11
balls at his home ground, as India crossed 200 in the final over. Sharma
was last man out, caught behind off Trent Boult, via DRS review.
The second T20 will be played on
Saturday at Rajkot.
Russian gold medalist disqualified for Sochi Olympics doping
This Feb. 23, 2014 file photo shows Russia's cross-country ski
gold medal winner Alexander Legkov. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Geneva (AP) — In a landmark
verdict that indicates Russia conspired to run a doping program at the
2014 Sochi Olympics, a cross-country skier who won a gold medal was
disqualified by the IOC on Wednesday.
All results for Alexander Legkov in
Sochi were wiped from the record and he was banned for life from
attending another Olympics.
A second Russian cross-country
skier was also disqualified and banned by the International Olympic
Committee on Wednesday, while cases implicating 26 more Russian athletes
in a Sochi doping conspiracy are pending.
With calls to ban Russia's team
from next year's Pyeongchang Olympics likely to increase, the IOC's
executive board will meet next month to discuss the matter.
The IOC disciplinary panel did not
have a positive doping test from Legkov but used evidence of cover-ups
and tampering of sample bottles that was first gathered last year by
World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren.
"The IOC showed its determination
to protect clean athletes from the very beginning of the case," said the
Olympic body, whose board meets Dec. 5-7 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The IOC panel did not give details
of the evidence Wednesday. McLaren has said that glass sample bottles
were scratched when broken into, and in some cases clean urine used to
cover up doping was tampered with, revealing unnatural levels of salt
and even DNA from the wrong gender.
Legkov's gold medal was a marquee
Russian success at the Sochi Olympics, which was a national priority for
President Vladimir Putin and cost $51 billion to prepare for and host.
The cross-country skier won gold in
the individual 50-kilometer freestyle race in a Russian podium sweep on
the last day of competition. The Russian trio received their medals in
the main Olympic Stadium during the closing ceremony. Legkov had earlier
taken silver in the 4x10-kilometer relay.
Legkov said last year he had never
failed a doping test, claiming he was tested so often that he couldn't
have doped without being caught.
"You'd have to be a complete
kamikaze to do that in Russia if you're an athlete representing our
nation," Legkov said then.
However, McLaren's investigation
said the Russian doping program was enabled by the country's government,
anti-doping agency and testing labs, plus sports governing bodies.
The second cross-country skier who
was disqualified and banned, Evgeniy Belov, did not win a medal.
Lawyers for the two skiers disputed
the IOC panel's ruling while accepting a doping program was in place.
"So there is neither Prof.
McLaren's assertion nor proof that individual athletes have really
participated in the system that has undoubtedly existed," German law
firm Wieschemann said in a statement.
Russia's sports minister during the
Sochi Olympics, Vitaly Mutko, told the Russian state news agency Tass
that the IOC ruling "inspires great alarm and bewilderment."
"The correct and just decision is
to file an appeal with CAS (the Court of Arbitration for Sport)," said
Mutko, who is now a Deputy Prime Minister and heads the organizing
committee for soccer's 2018 World Cup.
The two skiers' cases are the first
from Sochi to be judged by the IOC panel created to verify McLaren's
work. The Canadian law professor had himself been appointed by WADA to
examine claims by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia's
WADA-authorized drug-testing laboratories.
Rodchenkov, who is now in a witness
protection program in the United States, said he switched tainted urine
samples for clean ones at the Sochi lab with help from what he believed
was the Russian security service.
The verdicts announced Wednesday
were the first from six cross-country skiers scheduled to have hearings
at IOC headquarters this week. They include Maxim Vylegzhanin, who won
one of his three silver medals in the Russian sweep of the 50-kilometer
"Additional decisions from these
first hearings will be communicated in the coming days," the IOC said.
Other cases involving Russian
athletes in different Winter Olympic sports have also been handed over
to the IOC panel, chaired by Swiss lawyer Denis Oswald.
"The Oswald Commission has
announced that all hearings for active athletes who could qualify for
the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 will be completed by the end
of November," the IOC said.
The 34-year-old Legkov also has two
medals from the world championships — a silver and a bronze in relay
races — plus nine individual victories on the World Cup circuit. He now
faces a ban by the International Ski Federation.
Skiing's governing body said its
doping panel will wait until the IOC gives all six verdicts, which it
expected next week. FIS set a target of Nov. 24 — when the cross-country
World Cup season starts — to make progress.
Legkov also threatened to file a
libel lawsuit against Rodchenkov, the former lab director who is the key
witness to the Sochi conspiracy claims.
At his news conference last year,
Legkov spoke alongside then-Deputy Sports Minister Yuri Nagornykh, who
stepped down after he was accused by McLaren of helping to cover up
The Russian government says it has
never supported drug use by athletes.
Russia now risks losing its place
atop the Sochi medal tables, with second-place Norway set to be upgraded
for medals in each of the men's cross-country ski events affected by
doping. Norwegians Petter Northug and Martin Johnsrud Sundby could each
be awarded two medals.
PSG, Bayern advance in Champions League; Man Utd must wait
Benfica goalkeeper Mile Svilar saves a penalty from Manchester
United's Anthony Martial, left, during their Champions League group A
match at Old Trafford, in Manchester, Tuesday, Oct. 31. (AP Photo/Dave
Geneva (AP) — Paris
Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich are the first teams in the Champions
League knockout rounds after the group rivals both won Tuesday to
advance with two games left.
PSG routed Anderlecht 5-0 — with
defender Layvin Kurzawa scoring three to outshine Neymar — and Bayern
won 2-1 at Celtic.
Manchester United, like PSG, won a
fourth straight game but beating Benfica 2-0 was not yet enough to
ensure advancing from Group A.
Roma started early, scoring after
40 seconds in a 3-0 win against Chelsea that seized leadership of Group
C from coach Antonia Conte's team. Atletico Madrid are still winless
after being held 1-1 by visiting Qarabag.
Barcelona and Juventus both drew
away from home to maintain their steady progress in Group D.
Here is a look at what happened in
Another Man United win at Old
Trafford seemed routine, and it was 18-year-old Benfica goalkeeper Mile
Svilar who again had the most eye-catching night.
Svilar saved a penalty kick from
Anthony Martial before conceding an own goal for the second straight
game against United — his only two Champions League appearances.
Two weeks after carrying a cross
over his own goal-line, Svilar was unlucky this time when Nemanja
Matic's 45th-minute shot struck the post and rebounded into the net off
the goalkeeper's shoulder.
United's second goal came from
another penalty, which coach Jose Mourinho seemed to insist should be
taken by defender Daley Blind and not by Romelu Lukaku, the forward who
now has not scored in six games.
Basel would have joined United in
the Round of 16 by beating CSKA Moscow and led at halftime through Luca
Zuffi's lobbed shot into an empty goal.
CSKA perked up when substitute Alan
Dzagoev came on, and the fit-again playmaker scored in the 65th minute
before Pontus Wernbloom forced the winner in the 79th.
CSKA and Basel both have six
points, and United will advance by avoiding defeat in Switzerland in
three weeks' time.
In a mismatched group, Paris
Saint-Germain have won all four games, scoring 17 goals without
conceding. Anderlecht have lost four, conceding 15 without scoring.
Marco Verratti and Neymar scored in
the first half, and left back Kurzawa lit up Parc des Princes by getting
three in the second half.
Bayern also moved into the Round of
16 draw with nine points after emerging from a typically raucous night
in Glasgow to beat a spirited Celtic 2-1.
Since replacing Carlo Ancelotti as
coach, Jupp Heynckes has led Bayern to six straight wins. Kingsley Coman
gave Bayern a first-half lead, Celtic's Callum McGregor leveled in the
74th, three minutes before Javi Martinez secured the win.
For the second time in two weeks,
Roma put three goals past Chelsea's experienced defence. After a rousing
3-3 draw in London, it was a surprisingly comfortable 3-0 win in Rome
that began with Stephan El Shaarawy's powerful shot inside 40 seconds.
El Shaarawy scored again before
halftime to punish hesitation by former Roma defender Antonio Rudiger.
Diego Perotti struck with a long-range shot midway through the second
Roma edged one point ahead of
Chelsea in the standings, and there is a four-point gap to Atletico
Madrid in third place.
Atletico have reached at least the
quarterfinals in each of the past four seasons but now risk missing out
after another draw against newcomers Qarabag of Azerbaijan, 1-1 in
Qarabag led in the 40th minute with
a header by midfielder Michel, and Atletico equalized with a stunning
side-foot shot from Thomas Partey in the 56th. Both teams finished with
Atletico host Roma on Nov. 22.
Barcelona and Juventus are still
heavily favored to advance despite both sides missing their chance on
Barcelona drew 0-0 at Olympiakos
and Juventus needed a late leveler from Gonzalo Higuain to earn a 1-1
draw at Sporting Lisbon.
The two powerhouses meet in Turin
in three weeks' time, when Barcelona will need only a draw to progress.
Barcelona have 10 points, three
points clear of last year's runners-up Juventus, with Sporting a further
three points back.
Pyeongchang gets Olympic flame ahead of 100-day relay
Actress Katerina Lehou playing the role of high priestess holds an
Olympic torch during a handover ceremony for the Olympic Flame at
Panathenaic stadium in Athens, on Tuesday, Oct. 31. (AP Photo/Petros
Athens, Greece (AP) — The
Olympic flame was handed to organizers of the 2018 Pyeongchang Games on
Tuesday, and it will now head off on a 100-day journey across South
Korea before the opening ceremony on Feb. 9.
Pyeongchang organizing committee
president Lee Hee-beom said the games would be an Olympics of "peace and
harmony," despite tension between the host and its reclusive
nuclear-armed neighbor North Korea.
Dressed as a high priestess,
actress Katerina Lehou led the 90-minute ceremony in Athens at the
Panathenian Stadium, a horseshoe-shaped marble venue where the first
modern Olympics were held in 1896.
A cauldron was lit by Greek skier
Ioannis Proios following performances by singers, dancers and acrobats
from Greece and South Korea. The flame, placed in a lantern, was handed
over to Greek Olympic Committee president Spyros Capralos, who passed it
The South Korean leg of the relay
will involve 7,500 torch-bearers and visit 17 cities and provinces
across the country.
Preparations for the Feb. 9-25
games are being held amid escalating tension on the Korean peninsula
following nuclear and missile tests by North Korea. Lee has promised the
games will be safe, but he made no mention of the crisis in his remarks
"We are ready to welcome the world
to Pyeongchang. The construction of competition and non-competition
venues is already complete," Lee said, moments before being handed a
white-and-gold torch with the Olympic flame. "Pyeongchang 2018 will be
an Olympic Games of peace and harmony."
South Korean organizers said two
back-up paraffin lanterns were also being used on the flight from Athens
to Incheon, South Korea, and were being escorted by three fire wardens.
Tuesday's ceremony was held after
the flame was lit in Ancient Olympia on Oct. 23. That was followed by a
torch relay around Greece.
F1 set for louder and more affordable engines in 2021
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, of Germany, steers his car during
the Formula One Mexico Grand Prix auto race at the Hermanos Rodriguez
racetrack in Mexico City, Sunday, Oct. 29. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Paris (AP) — Formula One's
engines in 2021 will be noisier and higher-revving. They will also be
The new engine regulations set to
come into place in four years could shape the future of the sport.
Representatives from governing body
FIA and commercial rights holder F1 met in Paris on Tuesday to present a
roadmap for future engines. FIA president Jean Todt attended, along with
F1 manufacturer representatives.
"We've carefully listened to what
the fans think about the current PU (engine) and what they would like to
see in the near future," F1 managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn
said. "We believe that the future power unit will achieve this."
High on the agenda was reducing
engine costs and raising noise levels. Fans complain that F1 cars still
aren't loud enough, despite significant efforts this year to improve
All the 2021 proposals have been
jointly developed by FIA and F1 using data and input from teams, engine
suppliers and outside experts. The overall framework for the 2021 engine
will be published at the end of the year. But design and development
will not be possible until 2019, meaning that teams must use the current
engine designs next year.
From 2021, teams will still use the
1.6 Litre, V6 Turbo Hybrid, but — crucially — it will be run at 3,000
rpm higher to increase noise.
There will also be an option to
save energy over several laps, thus giving a driver more tactical
Further recommendations are a push
toward tighter fuel regulations, limits on fuel used, and dimensional
constraints and weight limits on a mandatory single turbo.
F1 also wants a more competitive
championship with several teams in contention.
Last weekend, Lewis Hamilton
clinched the F1 title in Mexico with two races to spare. Mercedes has
won the past four drivers' and constructor's championships — three of
them by Hamilton — while from 2010-13 Red Bull did the same with
Things seem to be heading that way,
however, with Vettel challenging for Ferrari until his sudden collapse
late in the season. Red Bull has shown some encouraging speed lately.
Another way of improving
competition is to reduce spending, thus challenging the dominance of
Mercedes and Ferrari. They are wealthy enough to run whatever engines
they want, creating a lop-sided performance gap.
Mercedes reportedly invests about
500 million euros ($580 million) each year on performance. But for
smaller teams who do not make their own engines, like Force India and
Sauber, it is often a financial struggle to buy them from rich suppliers
like Mercedes and Ferrari.
One way to control spending, as
suggested at Tuesday's meeting, is to limit internal design parameters
and therefore discourage more extreme, expensive designs available only
to top teams.
Spending restrictions are expected
to be discussed further next Tuesday at an F1 strategy group meeting in
Reducing budgets can help teams
project several years ahead, rather than scraping for survival each year
or even folding, the way Manor Racing did in January. Wiser spending is
also more attractive to teams wishing to break into the sport.
"The new F1 has the target to be
the world's leading global sports competition married to
state-of-the-art technology," Brawn said. "To excite, engage, and awe
fans of all ages but to do so in a sustainable manner."
South Africa recommended to host 2023 Rugby World Cup
June 24, 1995, file photo shows South African rugby captain Francios
Pienaar, center, raising the World Cup trophy at Ellis Park in
Johannesburg. (AP Photo/Jan Hamman)
Cape Town, South Africa (AP) —
After failing with three successive bids, South Africa was recommended
on Tuesday as the best host for the 2023 Rugby World Cup ahead of France
World Rugby released a bid
evaluation report by its experts and external consultants, and said
South Africa was the unanimous pick.
The final decision will be made on
Nov. 15 in London in a secret ballot of World Rugby council members. The
recommendation by the board of Rugby World Cup Limited, a World Rugby
subsidiary, is expected to be rubber-stamped, though.
"The comprehensive and
independently scrutinized evaluation reaffirmed that we have three
exceptional bids but it also identified South Africa as a clear leader
based on performance against the key criteria," World Rugby chairman
Bill Beaumont said.
South Africa hosted and won the
Rugby World Cup in 1995, a tournament made memorable by the appearance
of the late Nelson Mandela at the final in Johannesburg wearing a
Springboks jersey. That '95 World Cup is still ranked by many as the
best ever, both for the emotion that surrounded the tournament and for
its relative financial success.
France hosted as recently as 2007,
while Ireland hopes to host for the first time.
This is South Africa's fourth
attempt to host again after failing with bids for the 2011, 2015 and
2019 tournaments. The next World Cup, in 2019, will be in Japan.
South Africa's 2023 bid played
heavily off the memories of '95, as well as its recent success in
hosting the 2010 soccer World Cup, and its favorable exchange rate,
which promises a cheaper World Cup experience for traveling fans than
one in Europe.
South Africa said in its bid
presentation that its World Cup would be a "triple win" for World Rugby,
promising record gate receipts for matches, a tourist destination
experience for fans, and a tournament focused on providing top-quality
facilities for players to perform.
In the bid criteria, South Africa
led in venues and host cities, tournament infrastructure, and
organization and schedule. France was better for finance, commercial and
government commitments, and the vision and hosting concept. South Africa
scored 78.97 percent, France 75.88, and Ireland 72.25.
"We are 100 percent confident that
the commitments we made in our document will be delivered," SA Rugby
chief executive Jurie Roux said in a statement. "We will make all of
world rugby proud of South Africa 2023."
French Rugby Federation president
Bernard Laporte told a news conference that he was "surprised, shaken
... a little bit shocked as well" with the outcome of the evaluation.
"We didn't think we'd been behind
South Africa in terms of organizing competitions. Football, handball,
rugby, France has shown for many years that it knows how to organize
events. Surprised, also, to be beaten on host cities and stadiums," he
Laporte added that "it's only a
recommendation, and certain presidents of federations will vote for us.
We've had several of them on the phone this morning and they've assured
us of their support."
Despite finishing third in the
scoring, Ireland also wasn't giving up hope.
"We absolutely believe Ireland can
secure the tournament for 2023," Ireland Rugby Football Union chairman
Dick Spring said. "Our team will compete to the final whistle as we bid
to turn our historic bid plans into reality."
Crucially for South Africa's bid,
it received support from the government, unlike the country's failed
attempt to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games in the east coast city of
Durban. Durban was stripped of the games after being awarded them
because of a lack of financial guarantees. There were fears in South
Africa that the aborted Commonwealth Games hosting might adversely
affect the Rugby World Cup bid.
But SA Rugby president Mark
Alexander said on Tuesday that the support of the government was
"critical" for the rugby bid. South Africa deputy president Cyril
Ramaphosa and sports minister Thulas Nxesi accompanied the SA Rugby
delegation to present the bid to World Rugby in London last month.
Sports minister Nxesi welcomed the news that South Africa was the
preferred bidder at a media conference at South Africa's parliament
building in Cape Town later Tuesday.
South Africa offered a financial
sweetener to World Rugby, as did the other countries, promising $52
million more to the international rugby body than the minimum guarantee
of $158 million required to host rugby's top event.
SA Rugby said it forecast another
$80 million in profit for World Rugby from hospitality sales and savings
on event costs because of South Africa's favorable exchange rate.
"We trust now that the World Rugby
council will follow through by voting to confirm what the experts have
identified, that a South African Rugby World Cup in 2023 is the best
result for rugby," Roux said.
Fleetwood leaving nothing to chance in Race to Dubai finale
English golfer Tommy Fleetwood. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Antalya, Turkey (AP) — Tommy
Fleetwood is leaving nothing to chance in his bid to become Europe's top
player for 2017.
Fleetwood holds a big lead in the Race
to Dubai standings heading into the Turkish Airlines Open starting Thursday.
He played the WGC-HSBC Champions in China last week and will also compete in
the final two events of the European Tour season, in South Africa and Dubai.
The 26-year-old Englishman, who
recently became a father for the first time, is the only realistic title
contender to be playing the last four tournaments in the Race to Dubai.
"Can you imagine if I had a week off
and then lost by 20 grand? I can't let that happen, really," Fleetwood said
Tuesday. "If I don't win it now, if somebody like Justin (Rose) or Sergio
(Garcia) was to win an event, I can't do anything about that. But if I had
left it out of my control a little bit, then I'd have been quite unhappy
"It's one of the biggest things you can
achieve in your career, effectively."
Fleetwood has a lead of more than
865,000 points over nearest rival Garcia, with Rose another 190,000 points
adrift after winning in China last week. Jon Rahm is also in contention but
he and his fellow Spaniard, Garcia, aren't playing in Turkey this week. Rose
is playing two of the final three events and is within a victory of catching
"But I'm a win away from putting it
pretty much out of reach," said 19th-ranked Fleetwood. "It's really
important now in the situation that I'm in, every shot is going to count.
You never know what that end game is going to be. You don't know what might
make the difference."
There is $22.5 million up for grabs in
the last three events of the season, which are all part of the Rolex Series.
Fleetwood has peaked in many of the big
events this season, winning the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and the French
Open, and finishing second at the WGC-Mexico Championship and fourth at the
US Open. He also managed top-10 finishes at the Irish Open and the Italian
Open — both of which are Rolex Series events.
For the opening round, Fleetwood will
partner Henrik Stenson — the 2016 Race to Dubai champion — and Rose.