World Sports News in Brief

Bottas leads Mercedes one-two in Spanish GP practice

Saturday, 2019-05-11 07:37:08
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Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas during practice - Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 10, 2019. (Photo: Reuters)
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Formula One championship leader Valtteri Bottas led both practice sessions for the Spanish Grand Prix on Friday with Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton a close second and Ferrari still off the pace.

Bottas produced his quickest lap in the day’s afternoon session, a time of one minute 17.284 seconds after a 1:17.951 in the morning. Five-times world champion Hamilton was second on the timesheets, 0.049 slower than Bottas, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third and three tenths adrift but still ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel who lapped in 1:17.673 on the same soft tyres.

* Chelsea defender David Luiz has signed a two-year contract extension until 2021, the Premier League club announced on Friday. Brazil international Luiz has made 48 appearances across all competitions this season, helping the London club secure a top-four finish and reach the Europa League final where they face London rivals Arsenal.

* Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has criticised the choice of Baku as the venue for this month's Europa League final and said soccer's European governing body UEFA needed to address the way it selected host cities. Fans of London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea face a more than 8,000 km round trip to attend the all-Premier League clash next to the Caspian Sea in the Azerbaijan capital on May 29. With no direct flights to Baku from London, fans face journey times of up to 14 hours depending on connections.

* Midfielder Jason Puncheon will leave Crystal Palace at the end of the season, the Premier League club said on Friday. Former Palace captain Puncheon has spent almost six years at Selhurst Park, having initially joined on loan from Southampton in 2013 before making a permanent switch in January 2014.

* Simona Halep reached her fourth Madrid Open final with a 6-2 6-7(2) 6-0 win over Belinda Bencic on Friday and will face last year’s runner up Kiki Bertens, who beat Sloane Stephens 6-2 7-5. World number three Halep can move back to the top of the WTA rankings with a win in Saturday’s final.

* Brighton and Hove Albion captain Bruno plans to retire following Sunday's Premier League game against defending champions Manchester City, after more than 200 appearances. Known to fans of the club on the south coast of England as "El Capitan", the 38-year-old Spaniard joined Brighton in 2012 and has made 17 appearances in all competitions this season, with The Seagulls standing 17th in the league on 36 points.

* Fulham have appointed caretaker boss Scott Parker as their head coach on a permanent basis, the relegated Premier League club said on Friday. Parker replaced Claudio Ranieri on an interim basis in February after the Italian failed to turn around a dismal season and lasted only 16 league games, winning three.

* Mohamed Salah is ready to feature in Liverpool's Premier League title decider against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday after the Egyptian forward recovered from concussion, manager Juergen Klopp has said. Salah missed Liverpool's Champions League semi-final win against Barcelona on Tuesday after a clash of heads with Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka last weekend, but was cleared to train ahead of the domestic season finale.

* Manchester United would need a "miraculous season" to be in the running for the Premier League title next year because of how much their rivals have improved, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Friday. United are sixth in the standings with 66 points, 29 behind leaders Manchester City and 28 behind Liverpool going into their final game of the campaign against Cardiff City on Sunday.

* Paris St Germain forward Neymar has been handed a three-match ban and an additional two-match suspended ban for an altercation with a spectator following their French Cup final loss to Stade Rennes last month, the French Football Federation said. PSG lost 6-5 on penalties after Rennes rallied from two goals down to draw 2-2 and the frustrated Brazilian appeared to jab at a spectator who tried to record him on his mobile phone as he went up to collect his runners-up medal.

* Mike Phelan was confirmed as Manchester United's assistant manager on permanent basis on Friday after being given a three-year contract, the Premier League club said in a statement. Former United player Phelan returned to Old Trafford in December as assistant to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following Jose Mourinho's dismissal.

* Barcelona striker Luis Suarez is set to be sidelined for four to six weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery to treat a medial meniscus injury, the club said on Friday. The surgery brings Suarez's season to a premature end and the Uruguayan will miss their final two La Liga games and the Copa del Rey final against Valencia later this month.

* Gaetan Laborde scored the winner in Montpellier's 1-0 road victory over Saint-Etienne in the 36th round of Ligue 1 on Friday to cut the deficit from their opponents to four points. Saint-Etienne fail to leapfrog Lyon at third, a place at least in next season's Champions League qualifying round. Having played one more match, they trail by one point from Lyon, who will visit Marseille on Sunday.

Reuters, Xinhua