World Sports News in Brief

Barca secure win over Villarreal as Messi limps off

Wednesday, 2019-09-25 07:05:17
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Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - FC Barcelona v Villarreal - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - September 24, 2019 Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann scores their first goal. (Photo: Reuters)
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Barcelona secured a much-needed 2-1 home victory over Villarreal in La Liga on Tuesday, racing into a two-goal lead inside 15 minutes before hanging on after Santi Cazorla halved the deficit on the stroke of halftime.

Barca’s win was marred by the sight of Lionel Messi, making his first start this season, receiving lengthy treatment before being replaced at halftime by Ousmane Dembele in what coach Ernesto Valverde insisted was a precautionary measure.

* Juventus came from behind to go top of Serie A with a 2-1 win at Brescia on Tuesday as Mario Balotelli marked his return to Italian football. Maurizio Sarri's side edged an entertaining encounter to continue their unbeaten start to the season and move on to 13 points at the summit of the table, one ahead of Inter Milan.

* St. Petersburg, Munich and Wembley Stadium in London will host the three Champions League finals from 2021, European football's governing body UEFA said on Tuesday. Istanbul in Turkey is already scheduled to hold the final of the 2019/2020 campaign on May 30 at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium.

* Olympique de Marseille dropped points for the second game in a row when they were held to a goalless stalemate at bottom side Dijon in Ligue 1 on Tuesday. The Provence side, who also shared the spoils against Montpellier last weekend, are fourth in the standings with 12 points from seven games, three behind leaders Paris St Germain ahead of the French champions' home game against Stade de Reims on Wednesday.

* Kylian Mbappe has again been ruled out of action for Paris St Germain as the French champions take on Stade de Reims in Ligue 1 on Wednesday. Coach Thomas Tuchel said Mbappe was on an injury list that included Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani, who is nursing a hip problem, and Argentine forward Mauro Icardi, who sustained a groin injury last week.

* Former world number one Andy Murray won his first ATP tour singles match in nearly nine months with a 6-3 6-7(6) 6-1 victory over American Tennys Sandgren in the opening round of the Zhuhai Championships on Tuesday. Murray, whose last win on the tour came in Brisbane prior to the Australian Open, did win twice at the Rafa Nadal Open - a second-tier ATP Challenger Tour event - last month before opting to return to the ATP tour for the Asian swing.

* Liverpool will be without injured forwards Sadio Mane and Xherdan Shaqiri for Wednesday's third round League Cup tie at MK Dons, the club's assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders confirmed on Tuesday. Mane is yet to recover from a knock he received in Sunday's 2-1 Premier League win at Chelsea, which resulted in a dead leg, while Shaqiri injured his calf during a training session.

* Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has indicated midfielder Paul Pogba will return to the squad for Wednesday's League Cup match against Rochdale. Pogba has been out of action since the 1-1 draw with Southampton on Aug. 31 due to an ankle injury, but is hoping to regain full fitness ahead of the Premier League visit of Arsenal on Monday.

* Manchester United has become the first English Premier League club to see its annual income exceed 600 million pounds, with a profit for the year of 50 million. In its annual financial report for 2019, the club reported record revenues of 627.1 million pounds, 6% higher than predicted and 18% more than revenue for 2018.

Reuters, Xinhua