World Sports News in Brief

Messi scores in 700th match as Barca ease into last-16

Thursday, 2019-11-28 08:37:12
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Soccer Football - Champions League - Group F - FC Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - November 27, 2019 Barcelona's Lionel Messi in action with Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels. (Photo: Reuters)
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Lionel Messi scored in his 700th match for Barcelona and also set up goals for Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann as the Catalans beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 on Wednesday to seal a spot in the Champions League knockout stages as Group F winners.

Ernesto Valverde’s side lead the standings with 11 points from five games, Inter Milan are second on seven while Dortmund are third, also on seven, with Slavia bottom with two.

* Mercurial forward Hakim Ziyech scored one goal and laid on another as Ajax secured a 2-0 victory over hosts Lille in their Champions League Group H clash on Wednesday. Ajax, last season’s semi-finalists, top Group H with 10 points from five matches, two ahead of Valencia and Chelsea on eight each, with Lille now eliminated in last place with a single point.

* World MotoGP champion Marc Marquez underwent his second shoulder operation in the space of a year on Wednesday with the surgery described as "successful" by his Honda team. The 26-year-old Spaniard, who has six world titles in the elite class and eight overall, opted for the operation in Barcelona after experiencing discomfort in his right shoulder.

* Emil Forsberg struck twice late in the game to earn RB Leipzig a 2-2 draw against Benfica on Wednesday that saw the Bundesliga side advance to the Champions League knockout stages. Leipzig are on 10 points in Group G while Zenit St Petersburg moved up to seven with a 2-0 victory over Olympique Lyonnais, who are third on goal difference. Benfica are last on four points.

* Salzburg thumped Belgian side Genk 4-1 away on Wednesday to keep their hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout stage alive and set up a final-game decider against holders Liverpool. Two goals in as many minutes just before halftime laid the platform as third-placed Salzburg moved on to seven points in Group E, three behind leaders Liverpool and needing to beat Juergen Klopp’s team in Austria on Dec. 10 to advance.

* The small-town team that captured the world's attention when most of its players were killed in an airline crash three years ago was relegated from Brazil's Serie A on Wednesday, bringing an end to a heroic six-year run in the first division. Chapecoense lost 1-0 at home to Botafogo, a result that condemned it to relegation from the Serie A for the first time since it joined the Brazilian football’s elite in 2013.

* Tottenham Hotspur left back Ben Davies faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering an ankle ligament injury that may require surgery, the Premier League club said on Wednesday. Davies was substituted in the 75th minute of the 3-2 win at West Ham United last weekend and the Wales defender left the London Stadium on crutches with his foot in a protective boot.

* Manchester United's Europa League match at Astana is the ideal opportunity for the Premier League club to field youngsters in a top level game as they have already qualified for the knockout stages, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Wednesday. With 10 points from four games, Group L leaders United are assured of a place in the last-32 and Solskjaer said it was "common sense" to rest most of their senior players while a number of youngsters expected to make their senior debut.

* Arsenal manager Unai Emery said on Wednesday that he hopes the club's supporters get behind the team in Thursday's Europa League match against Eintracht Frankfurt after a string of poor results increased pressure on the Spanish manager to deliver. Arsenal are winless in six games in all competitions and a five-match winless run in the Premier League saw them drop to eighth in the standings, with disillusioned fans constantly voicing their displeasure over their failure to win.

* Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard is set to be fit for the 'Clasico' against Liga leaders Barcelona after tests showed he had bruised but not twisted his ankle as first feared. Hazard was one of Real's top performers in Tuesday's 2-2 Champions League draw at home to Paris St Germain but hobbled off after being tackled by Belgium team mate Thomas Meunier.

* Former World Cup winner Juergen Klinsmann replaced sacked Ante Covic as head coach of struggling Hertha Berlin on Wednesday until the end of the season, returning to the Bundesliga for the first time in a decade, the club said. Klinsmann, whose most recent appointment was United States head coach from 2011 to 2016, last worked in the Bundesliga during a hapless spell at Bayern Munich that lasted less than a season in 2008-9.

* Honda will continue to power the Red Bull and Toro Rosso Formula One teams in 2021, a season that marks the start of a new era for the sport. Both Red Bull-owned teams and Honda announced the partnership extension through their social media accounts on Wednesday.

* The Romanian Football Federation said Mirel Radoi has been named as coach to replace Cosmin Contra, who stepped down after the team failed to qualify for Euro 2020 via the group stage. The 38-year-old former centre back, who served as the U-21's coach, will still have the chance to take the side to the finals of the June 12 to July 12 tournament through the playoffs.

* Manchester City's Abu Dhabi-controlled owner has agreed to sell a US$500 million stake to US private equity firm Silver Lake, making it the world's most valuable soccer group with a US$4.8 billion price tag. Silver Lake will buy just over 10% of City Football Group, which owns reigning English Premier League champions Manchester City and teams in the US, Australia and China, the companies said on Wednesday.

* Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham has played down concerns over a serious-looking hip injury that he sustained during the team's 2-2 Champions League draw at Valencia on Wednesday. The 22-year-old, who is Chelsea's top scorer this season with 11 goals in all competitions, went for a header but landed awkwardly on Valencia defender Ezequiel Garay's knee and was carried off on a stretcher before halftime.

* A canceled tennis exhibition match featuring Roger Federer in Bogota could be rescheduled for March next year, the Swiss legend's agent said on Wednesday. A planned clash between Federer and Germany's Alexander Zverev at Movistar Arena on November 22 was called off.

* Israeli sports technology firm PlayerMaker announced Wednesday that Argentina's Olympic football team will be using its technology to help prepare and train for the Tokyo 2020 Games. The company's boot-mounted sensor was worn for the first time at training sessions and matches of the Argentinian team at the United International Football Festival in Las Palmas, Spain, earlier this month.

* The Philippines men's Olympic football team suffered a surprising 2-1 defeat against Myanmar in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games football tournament group stage here on Wednesday. In the group's other game on Wednesday, Cambodia hammered Timor-Leste 5-0. Malaysia, who did not play today, are the other team in Group A.

* Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Wednesday stressed that Indonesia has set a target to finish in the top two at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines - rather than the top four as the country previously stated. Jokowi, as the president is widely known, announced the target at a ceremony to see off the country's 841 competitors in the regional multi-sports event.

Reuters, Xinhua