World Sports News in Brief

Quick-thinking Kroos helps Real to Super Cup final

Thursday, 2020-01-09 08:28:27
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Soccer Football - Spanish Super Cup - Semi Final - Valencia v Real Madrid - King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - January 8, 2020 Real Madrid's Toni Kroos celebrates scoring their first goal. (Photo: Reuters)
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Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos scored directly from a corner as his side booked their place in the final of the revamped Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia by outclassing Valencia 3-1 on Wednesday.

Isco and Luka Modric scored either side of halftime to put Zinedine Zidane’s side further at ease before Dani Parejo converted a consolation penalty for last year’s Copa del Rey winners in added time. Real will meet the winners of Thursday’s semi between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in Sunday’s showpiece at the King Abdullah Sport City Stadium in Jeddah.

* Mauro Icardi continued his devastating scoring form with a hat-trick to inspire Paris St Germain to a 6-1 thrashing of 10-man St Etienne in the French League Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday. Argentine Icardi, on loan from Inter Milan, scored either side of the interval with Neymar, a Jessy Moulin own goal and a Kylian Mbappe effort adding to the woes of Les Verts, who were reduced to 10 men when Wesley Fofana was sent off after half an hour. Icardi has scored 17 goals in 19 games for PSG.

* Andy Murray's one-time coach Alex Corretja believes the former world number one should focus on arriving at Wimbledon in peak condition following his latest injury setback. The 32-year-old Briton withdrew from this month's Australian Open with a pelvic injury sustained playing at the Davis Cup Finals in November, meaning he will have missed eight of the last 10 Grand Slam tournaments.

* Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola needed only 15 minutes in training to come up with the tactical changes that led to Tuesday's 3-1 win over Manchester United in the League Cup semi-finals, playmaker Kevin De Bruyne said. Guardiola opted to play without a recognised striker at Old Trafford, giving De Bruyne and fellow midfielder Bernardo Silva licence to push forward centrally and the move worked perfectly as City scored three times before halftime.

* Wildcard Eugenie Bouchard showed she may have turned a corner as she attempts to resurrect her career with victory over eighth seed Caroline Garcia, while Alize Cornet beat world number 15 Petra Martic at the Auckland Classic on Wednesday. Former world number one singles players Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki also breezed into the semi-finals of the doubles after they thumped top seeds Caroline Dolehide and Johanna Larsson 6-2 6-1 in just 52 minutes.

* Garbine Muguruza won consecutive matches for the first time since last year's French Open when she beat American Shelby Rogers 6-1 7-6(2) to advance to the quarter-finals of the Shenzhen Open on Wednesday. Muguruza will face Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas who beat Russia's Anna Blinkova 6-1 6-7(9) 6-4 in a match that lasted two hours and 45 minutes.

* World number one Rafa Nadal won a battle of attrition against fellow left-hander Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 7-6(4) 6-4 to seal Spain's spot in the final eight of the inaugural ATP Cup in Perth on Wednesday. Meanwhile his long-time rival, world number two Novak Djokovic, had an easier outing in Brisbane, strolling past Chile's Cristian Garin 6-3 6-3 to stay undefeated in the new year and to ensure Serbia will travel to Sydney for the knockouts having won all three of their ties.

* Aston Villa drew 1-1 against Leicester in the first leg of the English League Cup semifinals on Wednesday. The second leg is on Jan. 28 at Villa Park. The winner will face Manchester City or Manchester United in the final.

* Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu, a three-time Olympic champion, became Europe's best female athlete of 2019, elected by the sports journalists of Europe. In the men's category, Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal was elected the best male athlete of 2019, beating Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese star of the Juventus football team, and Lewis Hamilton, the British Formula One World Champion.

* Tottenham's Moussa Sissoko underwent surgery on Tuesday to the medial collateral ligament in his right knee, ruling him out of the pitch until April. The 30-year-old France international sustained the injury during Tottenham's 1-0 loss to Southampton on New Year's Day. His teammate Harry Kane suffered a tear in his left hamstring in the same match, limping off 15 minutes from time.

Reuters, Xinhua