World Sports News in Brief

Manchester United win 2-0 at Chelsea to close on top four

Tuesday, 2020-02-18 09:30:52
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Soccer Football - Premier League - Chelsea v Manchester United - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - February 17, 2020 Manchester United's Anthony Martial in action with Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta. (Photo: Reuters)
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Headed goals from Anthony Martial and captain Harry Maguire earned Manchester United a hard-fought 2-0 win at toothless Chelsea on Monday, putting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side back in the hunt for a top-four Premier League finish.

Defeat left Chelsea fourth, a point clear of resurgent rivals Tottenham Hotspur led by their ex-coach Jose Mourinho. Chelsea host Spurs on Saturday. United, another of Mourinho’s old clubs, rose to seventh, three points behind Chelsea.

* The future of Australia's Supercars series is under a cloud following the decision by US auto maker General Motors to scrap the iconic Holden brand that has underpinned the touring car championship for decades. General Motors Co said on Monday it would retire the Holden brand by 2021 as it winds down Australian and New Zealand operations in the latest restructuring of its global business.

* Hall of Famer Mickey Wright, the only LPGA golfer to hold all major titles at the same time, died on Monday, the Ladies Professional Golf Association said. The American was 85. Wright won 82 tournaments, second only to compatriot Kathy Whitworth (88), and claimed 13 majors in a career that stretched from 1955 until retirement in 1969 because of foot problems.

* Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone heaped praise on Liverpool ahead of their Champions League last 16, first leg tie, saying they will go down in history for their form this season. Liverpool return to the Wanda Metropolitano stadium, scene of June’s Champions League triumph over Tottenham Hotspur, unbeaten in the Premier League after 26 games. Atletico, meanwhile, have endured a stuttering season in La Liga, where they sit fourth and are locked in a battle to qualify for next season’s competition.

* Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi were declared joint winners of the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award in Berlin on Monday, with the voting tied for the first time in the awards' 20-year history. Mercedes driver Hamilton won his sixth world championship in 2019, with 11 race wins and 17 podium finishes, while Messi was crowned the world's best player for a record sixth time when he won the Ballon d'Or.

* Paris St Germain forward Neymar is expected to play on Tuesday against Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League last 16, first-leg tie after overcoming a rib injury, PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said on Monday. The Brazilian did not play in the club's 4-4 Ligue 1 draw at Amiens over the weekend when Tuchel rested some other players.

* UEFA says it has shaved 15 seconds off the average time it takes for the VAR system to correct a decision in the Champions League this season, with the average down to one minute 30 seconds. The European soccer body said that in 108 playoff round and group stage matches so far, 27 decisions had been corrected by the VAR system, an average of one every four games.

* Spain's World Cup winning captain Iker Casillas announced on Monday he will run for president of the Spanish Football Federation when elections are called later this year. Casillas, who led Spain to unprecedented success as they won Euro 2008 and 2012 as well as the 2010 World Cup, suffered a heart attack in May while training with current club Porto, and has not played since. He returned to training in November.

* Amateur golfers will have the chance to earn a place at the 2021 Women's British Open when the inaugural women's Amateur Latin America championship is held in Buenos Aires in September, golf governing body the Royal & Ancient said on Monday. The event, to be held at Pilar Golf Club from Sept. 3-6, will have 72 holes of stroke play with 60 golfers set to be invited based on their World Amateur Golf Ranking. The winner will automatically qualify for next year's Open.

* Spain's footballing authorities have given Barcelona the green light to make an emergency signing after confirming forward Ousmane Dembele will miss at least the next six months with a hamstring issue. The France international, who joins fellow striker Luis Suarez on the sidelines, underwent surgery in Finland last week. Barca, who allowed youngster Carles Perez to leave for AS Roma in January on loan despite Suarez being ruled out for four months, now have a 15-day period in which they can sign a replacement - despite the European transfer window being closed.

* Former Manchester United goalkeeper and Munich air disaster hero Harry Gregg has died at the age of 87, the Premier League club said on Monday. Gregg, a Northern Ireland international, helped rescue some of his teammates and other passengers after the plane crash in Munich on Feb. 6, 1958, which killed 23 people - including eight of his fellow players. He played 247 times for the Old Trafford club between 1957 and 1966.

* Defending champions Morocco will play in Group C alongside Rwanda, Uganda and Togo in the 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN), following the draw ceremony held Monday in Yaound. Hosts Cameroon stay in Group A and will open the CHAN 2020 tournament, running from April 4 to 25, 2020, against Zimbabwe.

* Uzbek Pakhtakor defeated Iran's Shahr Khodro 3-0 on Matchday Two of the 2020 AFC Champions League Group B on Monday. In another match on Monday, Iran's Esteghlal soccer team lost to Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia 2-1 in Group A of the 2020 AFC Champions League.

Reuters, Xinhua