World Sports News in Brief

Liverpool surge on, Leicester and Chelsea draw, United held

Sunday, 2020-02-02 10:14:59
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Soccer Football - Premier League - Liverpool v Southampton - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - February 1, 2020 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their fourth goal as Southampton's Alex McCarthy looks dejected. (Photo: Reuters)
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Liverpool quickened their march towards a first English title for 30 years as they stretched their lead at the Premier League summit to a staggering 22 points with a 4-0 win over Southampton at Anfield on Saturday.

With the European champions on an unprecedented 73 points for this stage of the season, their distant chasers could only drift further behind with third-placed Leicester City and Chelsea, who are fourth, drawing 2-2 in an entertaining contest. In contrast, Liverpool’s old foes Manchester United lumbered on, still low on confidence, with not even the introduction of major January capture Bruno Fernandes inspiring anything other than a prosaic 0-0 home draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

* Sassuolo scored three goals in the first half hour as they beat fourth-placed AS Roma 4-2 in Serie A on Saturday, their first-ever win against the club from the capital. Parma twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Cagliari, scoring their second equaliser in the fourth minute of stoppage time to leave both teams with 32 points with the Sardinians ahead in sixth place on their head-to-head record.

* RB Leipzig came from two goals down to rescue a 2-2 draw against visitors Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday thanks to Christopher Nkunku's 89th-minute equaliser but were forced to turn over the Bundesliga lead to champions Bayern Munich. Frenchman Nkunku drilled in the equaliser a minute from the end but the draw meant Leipzig are second place in the standings on 41 points, one behind Bayern who won 3-1 against Mainz 05.

* FIFA president Gianni Infantino has proposed that the Africa Cup of Nations be held every four years instead of every two and wants to create a pan-African Super League with 20 permanent member clubs.

* Paris St Germain demolished nine-man Montpellier 5-0 at the Parc des Princes to open a provisional 13-point lead at top of the Ligue 1 standings on Saturday. Pablo Sarabia, Angel Di Maria, Kylian Mbappe, Layvin Kurzawa as well as a Daniel Congre own goal put the French champions on 55 points from 22 games.

* Graeme McDowell birdied his final hole to take a one-shot lead after the third round at the Saudi International in King Abdullah Economic City on Saturday. After a difficult front nine, McDowell rolled in three straight birdies on the 12th, 13th and 14th before finishing in style with another on the par-four 18th. The Northern Irishman, who last won on the European Tour in 2014, signed for a four-under-par 66 to take him to 12-under overall, one shot clear of France's Victor Dubuisson.

* Fifth seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Nikola Mektic completed a remarkable comeback win over American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Briton Jamie Murray to clinch the mixed doubles title at the Australian Open on Saturday. Krejcikova and Mektic proved too strong for the reigning U.S. Open champions in the tiebreak, winning eight straight points on their way to a 5-7 6-4 (10-1) victory on Rod Laver Arena.

* American Sofia Kenin counter-punched her way back from a set down against Garbine Muguruza to win her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open with a 4-6 6-2 6-2 win on Saturday. The 21-year-old Kenin, seeded 14th at Melbourne Park, converted her second matchpoint against the twice Grand Slam champion, who double faulted on the final point, to end an engrossing contest that lasted more than two hours.

* Premier League clubs spent £230 million on January transfers, the second-highest total for the mid-season window, the Sports Business Group at Deloitte said in a report. The total gross spend for the 2019-20 season, including the close-season window, has been 1.6 billion pounds - second only to the record 1.9 billion pounds set in the 2017-18 campaign.

* The coronavirus epidemic continued to wreak havoc on the international sporting calendar on Saturday when the Lingshui China Masters badminton tournament, part of the qualifying process for the Tokyo Olympics, was postponed. Organisers made the decision to put off the event, which was scheduled to take place from Feb 25 to Mar 1 in Hainan, after a number of players withdrew. The tournament was likely to be moved to a new date in May, the BWF added, but ranking points earned at the rescheduled event would no longer count towards Olympic qualification.