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The sports wrap 14th January 2019

LanguedocLiving, Jan 13

Man Utd make it six wins out of six under Solksjaer to stall Spurs title bid.

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea produced a string of world-class saves as interim manager Ole Gunnaer Solskjaer made it six wins out of six to damage Tottenham Hotspur’s Premier League title ambitions. With league leaders Liverpool beating Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 on Saturday Spurs are now trailing by nine points in third position two behind Manchester City who have a game in hand and play Wolverhampton Wanderers at home on Monday evening. At Wembley, Marcus Rashford's low finish from Paul Pogba's superb pass on the stroke of half-time stretched Solskjaer's flawless start - but the Norwegian had De Gea to thank for a magnificent display as Spurs laid siege to United's goal after the break. The Spaniard made a succession of crucial interventions, 11 in total, including many with his feet, as Spurs tried in vain to avoid a defeat that makes their task of keeping pace with the league leaders even more arduous. United showed great resilience to back up their early positive approach but it was De Gea who broke Spurs' hearts by denying Harry Kane on several occasions, as well as Dele Alli and Toby Alderweireld. United are now level on points with fifth-placed Arsenal, who lost 1-0 away to West Ham United as they revive their top-four hopes. At the Amex Stadium, Egyptian marksman Mohamed Salah's 50th minute penalty edged out Brighton to extend Liverpool’s lead at the top of the table. The Reds dominated with more than 70 per cent possession against their cagey hosts but created little in a workmanlike performance until Salah was felled in the area by Pascal Gross. The Egyptian duly lashed the spot-kick left-footed across his body and into the net for a 17th goal of the season. Brighton briefly rallied, with Fabinho - at the heart of Liverpool's defence for the injured Dejan Lovren - producing a key block to deny Gross in the area as the home side failed to register a shot on target. At Stamford Bridge, Braazilian Willian scored a spectacular goal to give the Blues a 2-1 win over relegation-threatened Newcastle. Willian curled the ball past Martin Dubravka in the 57th minute after Ciaran Clark's header had cancelled out Pedro's opener. Chelsea are now fourth, six points clear of Arsenal, who they face away from home in their next game on 19 January,

PSG bounce back to extend unbeaten league run to 18 games

French champions Paris St-Germain recovered from their shock League Cup exit in mid-week to extend their unbeaten run to 18 games in Ligue 1 with a dominant victory 3-0 over Amiens. Cup holders PSG went down 2-1 to bottom club Guingamp but a penalty from Edinson Cavani and goals from French international striker Kylian Mbappe and Marquinhos sealed an easy win for PSG who are 13 points ahead of Lille at the top of the table with two games in hand. Lille retained their second spot on the table with a 3-1 win at Caen on Friday evening. Lyon lie third, four points behind, after a disappointing 1-1 home draw against Reims. In the Spanish La Liga, super striker Lionel Messi scored his 400th league goal as Barcelona beat Eibar 3-0 at the Nou Camp to regain their five-point lead at the top of the table. The Argentinian, the all-time leading scorer in the Spanish top flight, finished into the bottom corner for Barca's second. Luis Suarez earlier put Barca in front by finishing a fine team move before tucking in his side's third in the second half. The victory took Barca clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid who scraped a 1-0 home win over mid-table Levantes while Sevilla are another five points back in third place after a disappointing 2-0 away loss to Athletic Bilbao. Real Madrid are fourth on the same number of points as Sevilla after a 2-1 last-gasp win over Real Betis. In the Coppa Italia, holders Juventus sealed their place in the quarter-finals with a 2-0 victory at Bologna. Federico Bernardeschi broke the deadlock after nine minutes following a mix-up between Bologna goalkeeper Angelo da Costa and Arturo Calabresi. Eighteen-year-old Moise Kean sealed the win from close range three minutes into the second half. The Serie A’s other big guns – Inter Milan, AC Milan, Lazio and Napoli – also made it through to the last eight with Inter’s 6-2 drubbing of Benevento the pick of the weekend cup results.

Saracens beat Lyon to qualify for Champions Cup quarter-finals

Saracens became the first side to qualify for the Champions Cup quarter-finals with a comprehensive win over Lyon while Montpellier remain in contention for a place in the last eight with a victory over the Newcastle Falcons. In Pool 3, Nick Tompkins struck twice to ensure Saracens extended their unbeaten record in the Champions Cup and make it a perfect five out of five by beating Lyon 28-10. The two-time champions set up a winner-takes-all clash with second-placed Glasgow Warriors in the battle for top spot and a potential home draw in the knockout stages. Lyon, without a win in their first season in the Champions Cup, took the lead with a drop goal in the seventh minute from outside half Jonathan Wisniewski. After that, it became one-way traffic on the scoreboard. In Pool 2, Exeter produced a superb six-try 34-12 home win over French champions Castres to keep alive their quarter-final hopes. Exeter must beat leaders Munster at Thomond Park next week to have a chance of winning their pool, or qualifying as a runner-up and joining Saracens as the only other English club in the last eight. Munster top the table , three points ahead of Exeter after a comprehensive 41-15 away win over Gloucester. In Pool 1, defending champions Leinster look set to qualify after a bonus-point 29-13 home win over Toulouse which moved them top in the battle of Europe's form sides. Leinster struggled to turn possession into points early on. But Jack Conan's 35th-minute try helped Leinster take a 10-6 advantage over the Top 14 leaders by half-time. Dave Kearney's 51st-minute score was followed by Sean Cronin and Adam Byrne tries before Cheslin Kolbe's reply. In Pool 5, Montpellier’s comprehensive 45-8 win over Newcastle Falcons knocked the north-eastern English side out of the com[petition. Montpellier claimed a bonus point after scoring seven tries and are now second in the pool and will face top side Edinburgh on Friday who are three points ahead after an historic 28-17 win at Toulon - the first Scottish side and only the third ever to win in Europe at Stade Mayol. In Pool 4, Ulster took a huge step towards a last-eight berth by holding off a fightback from Racing 92 to secure 26-22 victory in Belfast. The French side remain favourites to top the group and still hold a three point lead over Ulster, having secured two losing bonus-points in Belfast. For Ulster, the victory leaves them well placed to take one of the three quarter-final spots available to the best runners-up, with the province currently on 18 points.

Beziers make it six on the trot with win over Carcassonne in local derby

Beziers beat Carcassonne 23-18 in the local derby in the Pro D2 division on Sunday to make it six straight wins and confirm their sixth place on the ladder. Beziers had the advantage of Carcassonne having a player sent off at the end of the first half. Before a home crowd of more than 6,300 spectators, the Biterrois were determined to avenge their away defeat earlier in the season and stay on track for a place in the qualifying stages. Carcassonne, who lost Bakary Meité for the whole of the second half after punching Thomas Hoarau, still picked up a bonus point and are in ninth place on the table, seven points behind Beziers who have 45 points from 11 wins and six defeats and four bonus points. Bayonne head the table with 52 points, one point ahead of Nevers.

Rohit century not enough to stop Australia beating India in first ODI

Rohit Sharma's 133 off 129 balls was not enough to prevent India from going 1-0 down in the three-match one-day series against Australia in Sydney. The India opener hit 10 fours and six sixes in a sparkling knock but his side fell 34 runs short. Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh all scored half-centuries in Australia's 288-5. India's reply started badly when they slipped to 4-3, but Rohit's knock gave them some hope of victory. He put on 137 for the fourth wicket with MS Dhoni (51), who became only the fifth Indian batsman to pass 10,000 one-day international runs during the course of his innings. The partnership was ended when Dhoni was given out lbw off Jason Behrendorff in a decision that would have been overturned by a review had India not already used their only referral. The tourists, who won the Test series for the first time down under, were always behind the run-rate but reached the last six overs needing 76 to win. However, both Ravindra Jadeja and Rohit fell in quick succession to end any hopes of a late push for victory, Jhye Richardson taking 4-26.

Indian cricketers Pandya and Rahul suspended for TV show comments

Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul have been suspended by India's cricket board (the BCCI) after comments about women on a television show. The ban is with immediate effect and the pair have been told to return home from the tour of Australia to explain themselves. Pandya has since apologised, saying he "got carried away with the show". The BCCI said "an enquiry and proceedings will be made against them for misconduct and indiscipline". Pandya, 25, and Rahul, 26, were speaking on popular celebrity talk show Koffee with Karan, which is hosted by Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar. Pandya spoke about "hook-ups" with several women and said he liked to observe women at bars or nightclubs. He boasted on the show about being open with his parents about the liaisons, however Rahul, who is yet to address the controversy, was more reserved with his comments.

Australian teenager de Minaur wins first ATP title on home soil

Australian teenager Alex de Minaur won two matches in a day to claim his first career ATP title at the Sydney International on Saturday. De Minaur, 19, and ranked No.29 in the world, conquered Italian veteran Andreas Seppi 7-5, 7-6 (7/5) in the final after overcoming Frenchman Gilles Simon in a rain-postponed semi-final earlier in the day. De Minaur’s triumph made him the youngest winner of the Sydney tournament since his mentor Lleyton Hewitt claimed it as a19-year-old in 2001. Sydney-born De Minaur is the first Australian champion at the 134-year tournament since Bernard Tomic in 2013. In his second straight Sydney final, the fifth seed won 75 percent of first-serve points against the 34-year-old Seppi. De Minaur has soared 208 places to 29 in the ATP Rankings and was named ATP Newcomer of the Year after earning 28 tour-level victories throughout his 2018 campaign. In the women’s singles, the Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova came from behind to beat home favourite Ashleigh Barty 1-6 7-5 7-6(3) and win her second Sydney International. In New Zealand, British No.2 Cameron Norrie was beaten in his first ATP final, losing 6-4 6-2 to American Tennys Sandgren at the Auckland International. Norrie, who is ranked 93rd in the world, struggled playing in the city where he grew up before switching allegiance to Britain in 2013. He was broken in his first game and made 29 unforced errors in the match. Sandgren is ranked 30 places higher than Norrie and eased to victory in 79 minutes for his first ATP title.

Grand Slam champions Federer and Djokovic pay tribute to Murray

Swiss legend Roger Federer hopes retiring Briton Andy Murray can finish his career "the way he wants" at Wimbledon later this year. In also paying tribute to Murray, world No.1 Novak Djokovic says he will carry "beautiful memories" from his time on and off court with the Scot. Murray, 31, plans to retire after Wimbledon but admits the Australian Open could be his final tournament. "The news has hit us top guys hard," Federer, 37, said. "I hope he can play a good Australian Open and he can keep playing beyond that." Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion and former world No.1, has been suffering because of a hip injury. He plays Spanish 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut in Melbourne on Monday.

For full reports on all the weekend sporting events go to:,,,,,

Calendar Keynotes: 14-20 January 

Monday, 14 January

Football: English Premier League – Manchester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Spanish La Liga, Real Sociedad v Espanyol, Itallian Coppa Italia (major clubs) – Roma v Virtus Entella.

Tennis: Australian Open, Melbourne (till 27 January).

 Tuesday, 15 January

Football: French Ligue 1 – Angers v Bordeaux, Spanish Copa del Rey – Real Valladoid v Getafe (agg 0-1), Valencia v Sporting Dijon (agg 1-2).

Cricket: Australia v India, 2nd ODI, Adelaide (Australia lead series 1-0).

Tennis: Australian Open, Melbourne (till 27 January).

Cycling: UCI World Tour, Santos Tour Down Under, Australia (tlll 20 January).

Wednesday, 16 January

Football: French Ligue 1 – Monac0 v Nice, Nimes v Nantes, Toulouse v Lyon, Saint-Etienne v Marseille, Spanish Copa del Rey – Atletico Madrid v Girona (agg 1-1), Sevilla v Athletic Bilbao (agg 3-1), Leganes v Real Madrid (0-3).

Tennis: Australian Open, Melbourne (till 27 January).

Golf: PGA European Tour, Abu Dhabi Championship, Abu Dhabi GC (till 19 January),

Cycling: UCI World Tour, Santos Tour Down Under, Australia (till 20 January). 

Thursday, 17 January

Football: Spanish Copa del Rey (major clubs) – Espanyol v Villareal (agg 2-2), Barcelona v Levante (agg 1-2).

Tennis: Australian Open, Melbourne (till 27 January).

Golf: USPGA Desert Classic, Palm Springs, California (till 20 January), PGA European Tour, Abu Dhabi Championship, Abu Dhabi GC (till 19 January),

Cycling: UCI World Tour, Santos Tour Down Under, Australia (till 20 January).

Friday, 18 January

Football: Scottish Cup fourth round – Cowdenbeath v Rangers, German Bundesliga – 1899 Hoffenheim v Bayern Munich.

Rugby Union – European Champions Cup – Pool 5, Newcastle Falcons v Toulon, Edinburgh v Montpellier.

Cricket: Australia v India, 3rd ODI, Melbourne.

Tennis: Australian Open, Melbourne (till 27 January).

PGA European Tour, Abu Dhabi Championship, Abu Dhabi GC (till 19 January),

Cycling: UCI World Tour, Santos Tour Down Under, Australia (till 20 January).

Saturday, 19 January

Football: English Premier League – Liverpool v Crystal Palace, Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion, Arsenal v Chelsea, Scottish Cup fourth round (major clubs) – Aberdeen v Stenhousemuir, Hibernian v Elgin City, Kilmarnock v Forfar Athletic, St Johnstone v Hamilton Academical, Celtic v Airdrieonians, French Ligue 1 – Paris Saint Germain v Guingamp, Bordeaux v Dijon, Monaco v Strasbourg, Nimes v Toulouse, Reims v Nice, Spanish La Liga – Real Madrid v Sevilla, Huesca v Atletico Madrid, Italian Serie A – Roma v Torino, Inter Milan v Sassuolo, German Bundesliga – Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Borussia Monchengladbach, Eintracht Frankfurt v SC Freiburg, RB Leipzig v Borussia Dortmund.

Rugby Union: European Champions Cup – Pool 2, Munster v Exeter Chiefs, Castres v Gloucester, Pool 3, Saracens v Glasgow Warriors, Cardiff Blues v Lyon, Pool 4, Leicester Tigers v Ulster, Racing 92 v Scarlets.

Tennis: Australian Open, Melbourne (till 27 January).

Golf: USPGA Desert Classic, Palm Springs, California (till 20 January), PGA European Tour, Abu Dhabi Championship, Abu Dhabi GC (final day),

Cycling: UCI World Tour, Santos Tour Down Under, Australia (till 20 January).

Sunday,20 January

Football: English Premier League – Huddersfield Town v Manchester City, Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur, Scottish Cup fourth round – Hearts v Livingston, French Ligue 1 – Rennes v Montpellier, Caen v Marseille, Saint-Etienne v Lyon, Spanish La LIga – Real Betis v Girona, Barcelona v Leganes, Italian Serie A – Fiorentina v Sampdoria, Napoli v Lazio, German Bundesliga – FC Schalke 04 v VfL Wolfsburg.

Rugby Union – European Champions Cup – Pool 1, Wasps v Leinster, Toulouse v Bath.

Tennis: Australian Open, Melbourne (till 27 January).

Golf: USPGA Desert Classic, Palm Springs, California (final day).

American Football: AFC divisional play-off – New England Patriots v Kansas City Chiefs, NFC divisional play-off – Philadelphia Eagles v New Orleans Saints. Super Bowl 53 is on 3 February at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia.

Cycling: UCI World Tour, Santos Tour Down Under, Australia (final day).

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