World Sports News in Brief

Messi finishes Europe's top scorer for third straight year

Saturday, 2019-05-25 08:16:06
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Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their third goal - Champions League - Round of 16 Second Leg - FC Barcelona v Olympique Lyonnais - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - March 13, 2019. (Photo: Reuters)
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Lionel Messi has become the first player to win Europe’s Golden Shoe award for three straight years after his nearest challenger Kylian Mbappe failed to score the four goals he needed in Paris St Germain’s final league match of the season on Friday.

Messi earned the honour, which goes to the leading scorer in league matches in Europe’s top divisions, for a record-extending sixth time after finding the net 36 times for Barcelona, while Mbappe ended the campaign on 33 goals after scoring PSG’s only goal in a 3-1 loss at Stade de Reims.

* Alexander Zverev continued his preparations for the French Open by sealing a hard-fought 7-5 6-7(6) 6-3 victory on Friday over Argentine Federico Delbonis to reach the Geneva Open final. Zverev takes on Chilean Nicolas Jarry on Saturday in his first ATP title clash on the surface since last year's Italian Open. Jarry earlier defeated Moldova's Radu Albot 6-3 6-4 after saving four out of five break points in the contest.

* Aston Villa face Derby County in the Championship playoff final on Monday with both clubs desperate for a return to the Premier League. Villa have been out of the top flight for three seasons while Derby have been stuck in the second tier of English football since relegation in 2008.

* Goalkeeper Nick Pope has signed a three-year contract extension that will keep him at Burnley until the end of the 2023 season, the Premier League club said on Friday. Pope, 27, joined from Charlton in 2016.

* Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime rallied to beat top seed Nikoloz Basilashvili 2-6 7-6(3) 6-4 in the Lyon Open semi-finals on Friday to move into his second ATP final of the year. The 18-year-old, who lost in the Rio Open final earlier this season, plays Benoit Paire for the first time in his career in Saturday's final after the Frenchman cruised past Taylor Fritz 6-4 6-2.

* Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva overcame unseeded Sorana Cirstea 6-4 7-5 in the Nuremberg Cup semi-finals on Friday and will face Tamara Zidansek in the final on Saturday. Zidansek later reached her first WTA singles final after the unseeded Slovenian converted five of her nine break points to upset second-seeded Czech Katerina Siniakova 7-6(4) 6-2.

* France's Caroline Garcia defeated compatriot Chloe Paquet 6-3 6-4 in the Strasbourg International semi-finals on Friday to set up a title clash with fifth seed Dayana Yastremska.

* Formula One will hold a minute's silence in memory of triple world champion Niki Lauda before Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix, with a noisier salute to the Austrian after the race. Lauda, one of the sport's greatest heroes and characters who came back from a fiery crash at the Nuerburgring in 1976 to win two more titles after a first with Ferrari in 1975, died on Monday at the age of 70.

* Monaco salvaged their Ligue 1 place despite losing 2-0 at Nice on Friday in the final game of a season in which they were always in danger of going down, while Caen were relegated. The result left Monaco in 17th place with 36 points, two ahead of Dijon, who will play RC Lens in a promotion/relegation playoff after beating Toulouse 2-1 at home. Caen will join already-relegated basement side En Avant Guingamp in Ligue 2 next season after a 1-0 home loss to Girondins de Bordeaux left them second from bottom on 33 points.

* Ludogorets comfortably beat Cherno More Varna 4-1 at home on Friday to win the Bulgarian league title for an eighth season in a row. Ludogorets's 23rd win in 36 league matches this season left them with 79 points, one more than 31-times Bulgarian champions CSKA Sofia, who beat Botev Plovdiv 1-0.

* Naomi Osaka believes she is finally getting to grips with claycourt tennis as she is about to start her first grand slam as the top seed at this year's French Open. The world number one from Japan has won the last two majors - the US and Australian Opens - but she has yet to claim a title on the slowest surface.

* Australian maverick Nick Kyrgios withdrew from the French Open on Friday, according to tournament officials, robbing the Grand Slam event of some guaranteed fireworks. No official reason was given although media reports stated the 24-year-old Kyrgios was suffering with an illness.

* Everton will sign goalkeeper Jonas Lossl on a three-year deal after the end of his contract at relegated Huddersfield Town, the Premier League club said on Friday. The Denmark international, who joined Huddersfield from German side Mainz 05 in the 2017-18 season, made 31 league appearances last season as the club finished bottom of the table to drop down to the second-tier Championship.

* Japan named a young squad for next month’s Copa America in Brazil with head coach Hajime Moriyasu including only six capped players in the 23-strong squad on Friday. Moriyasu's decision to take such a young and raw squad to Brazil is further indication of Japan’s desire to go for gold when they host the Tokyo 2020 Olympics next year.

* Title favourites Japan swept Malaysia 3-0 and Indonesia edged Chinese Taipei 3-2 in the Sudirman Cup quarterfinals in Nanning on Friday. Japan, who are seeking their first ever Sudirman title, will play Indonesia in the semifinals on Saturday.

* Italy's Marcello Lippi has been re-appointed head coach of the Chinese national football team, the Chinese Football Association announced on Friday. The World Cup-winning coach will start his second stint with Team Dragon in June ahead of the 2022 World Cup Asian qualifiers which begin in September this year.

* Former Real Madrid and Brazil international forward Julio Baptista has announced his retirement from football after a professional career spanning two decades.

Reuters, Xinhua