World Sports News in Brief

Mane cracks Norwich resistance as Liverpool go 25 points clear

Sunday, 2020-02-16 09:37:43
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Soccer Football - Premier League - Norwich City v Liverpool - Carrow Road, Norwich, Britain - February 15, 2020 Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring their first goal. (Photo: Reuters)
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Liverpool’s Sadio Mane marked his return from injury with a late goal to break Norwich City’s resistance and secure a 1-0 win on Saturday to extend his side’s Premier League lead to 25 points.

Senegalese forward Mane, who came on as a substitute on the hour, pounced to drill home a fine finish from inside the area in the 78th minute. It was his first appearance since going off injured in Liverpool’s win at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Jan. 23 and he marked it by claiming a 100th goal in English football. Fifteen more points will guarantee Liverpool the title as they have collected 76 points out of a possible 78, now 25 ahead of Manchester City, who have played a game less.

* The National Basketball Association All-Star Game MVP Award has been permanently named for the late Kobe Bryant, league Commissioner Adam Silver said on Saturday. Bryant, an 18-time All-Star who won a record-tying four All-Star Game MVP awards, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles on Jan. 26. He was 41. The Kobe Bryant MVP Award will be presented on Sunday to the most valuable player at the end of the 2020 NBA All-Star Game in Chicago, where the league is celebrating the lives of Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the seven others who died in the crash.

* A shocking four-putt took tournament host Tiger Woods completely out of contention at the Genesis Open in Los Angeles on Saturday as he ended the third round 15 strokes behind leaders Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar. At a tournament where he made his first PGA Tour appearance as a skinny 16-year-old amateur in 1992, Woods carelessly missed a two-foot putt at his fourth hole, the 13th. He then compounded his error by also missing the next one, from about three feet.

* Atalanta's Mario Pasalic got the winner within seconds of coming off the bench as they took a huge step towards Champions League qualification by coming from behind to beat AS Roma 2-1 in Serie A on Saturday. The win sees Gian Piero Gasperini's side take control in the race for a top-four finish as Atalanta have 45 points, six ahead of Roma with a better head-to-head record than the capital club.

* Defending champion Gael Monfils overcame Serb Filip Krajinovic 6-4 7-6(5) in the Rotterdam Open semi-finals on Saturday to set up a title clash with Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime. Earlier, 19-year-old Auger-Aliassime stormed into his fourth ATP final with a 7-6(2) 6-4 victory over Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta to keep alive hopes of a maiden crown.

* N'Golo Kante says Chelsea's home clash with Manchester United on Monday is not about avenging an opening-day hammering at Old Trafford but keeping their noses in front in the scrap for a Premier League top-four finish. Chelsea are still in fourth spot but after only one win in their last four league games, the gap over the clubs beneath them has been steadily eroded.

* Barcelona beat third-placed Getafe 2-1 at home on Saturday to stay on the heels of La Liga title rivals Real Madrid but the champions were made to sweat for all three points by the impressive visitors. The victory took Barcelona level on 52 points with Real Madrid, who lead the standings on goal difference and host Celta Vigo on Sunday. Getafe stay third on 42.

* Toyota's Elfyn Evans was one stage away from victory in Rally Sweden after doubling his lead over world champion Ott Tanak in Saturday's second leg. Sunday has only one, 21.19km, Power Stage remaining with the rally shortened due to an unusually mild winter and a lack of snow.

* Holder Kiki Bertens battled past Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-1 4-6 6-1 in the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy semi-finals on Saturday to set up a title clash with Elena Rybakina. Earlier, Hobart International winner Rybakina advanced to her third final in four events this season with a gritty 3-6 7-5 6-1 victory over Greek sixth seed Maria Sakkari.

* RB Leipzig eased past struggling Werder Bremen 3-0 on Saturday to reclaim top spot in the Bundesliga, two points ahead of champions Bayern Munich. Leipzig, who face Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League last-16 on Wednesday, move up to 45 points, with Bayern, in action against Cologne on Sunday, on 43. Borussia Dortmund, winners 4-0 over Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday, are in third place on 42.

* Four top Euro 2020 contenders will compete in a mini tournament in Qatar next month as they prepare for the major European competition starting in mid-June, it was announced on Saturday. Holders Portugal as well as Croatia, Belgium and Switzerland will play two matches each in Doha between March 26 and 30 in the Qatar Airways International Cup, the Belgian and Swiss football associations said.

* Inter Milan's top-of-the-table clash with Lazio on Sunday represents a meeting of two outsiders in this year’s Serie A title race, according to Inter head coach Antonio Conte. The Nerazzurri currently top the standings on 54 points, leading Juventus on goal difference and third-placed Lazio by one point. The Rome side, who are on a club record 18-match unbeaten run, host Inter at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening in what has been billed as a decisive date for this season’s Scudetto race.

* American-born Swede Armand "Mondo" Duplantis soared to another pole vault world record on Saturday as he easily cleared 6.18 metres at the World Athletics Glasgow Indoor Grand Prix. The 20-year-old, a world silver medallist, had set the previous mark last Saturday by clearing 6.17m in Torun, Poland. That eclipsed by 1cm Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie's record set in February 2014 in Donetsk, Ukraine.

* Matej Vydra's stunning strike earned Burnley a 2-1 victory at Southampton to move them into the top half of the Premier League table on a wet and wild Saturday at St Mary's Stadium. A third win in their last four league games lifted Burnley into 10th place with 34 points from 26 games, while Southampton remained in 13th place on 31 points.

* Marouane Fellaini could make a surprise return to Belgium’s national team ahead of the European Championship, with coach Roberto Martinez reportedly saying he is thinking about recalling the midfielder. Fellaini ended his international career after moving to Shandong Luneng in the Chinese league last March. But Martinez told the Belgian media he was pondering a return for the 32-year-old former Everton and Manchester United player.

* Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard is set to return from a serious ankle injury in Sunday's La Liga match at home to Celta Vigo, coach Zinedine Zidane has said. Hazard, who Real signed from Chelsea last summer for a joint club record fee of 100 million euros, has only made seven league starts for the Spanish side and has been absent since hurting his ankle in a 2-2 draw with Paris St Germain on Nov. 26.

* Paris St Germain's second-string side were held to a 4-4 draw at struggling Amiens after erasing a three-goal deficit only to concede a stoppage time-equaliser in Ligue 1 on Saturday. The result left PSG 13 points clear of second-placed Olympique de Marseille after manager Thomas Tuchel rested several regular starters ahead of Tuesday's first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash with Borussia Dortmund.

Reuters