World Sports News in Brief

Real Madrid close on title as Ramos late show sinks Getafe

Friday, 2020-07-03 08:43:03
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La Liga Santander - Real Madrid v Getafe - Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium, Madrid, Spain - July 2, 2020 Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos celebrates scoring their first goal, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease. (Photo: Reuters)
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Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos kept his nerve to score a late penalty and secure a hard-fought 1-0 home win over Getafe on Thursday (Jul 2) for a sixth consecutive La Liga victory to take his side one step closer to winning the title.

Real, who have not won the title since 2017, lead the table on 74 points, four ahead of Barca with five games left and have a superior head-to-head record over the Catalans which would give them the trophy if both teams finished the season level on points.

* Udinese took a big step towards avoiding relegation from Serie A as goals by Kevin Lasagna and substitute Ilija Nestorovski in each half gave them a 2-0 win at 10-man AS Roma on Thursday. The result lifted Udinese to 14th place on 31 points from 29 games, six clear of the drop zone, while Roma stayed fifth 12 points adrift of fourth-placed Atalanta and a berth in next season's Champions League.

* Manchester City generously applauded new champions Liverpool onto the field before their Premier League match on Thursday - and promptly showed no mercy by thrashing them 4-0 at the Etihad stadium. The loss was the joint-heaviest defeat by a side already crowned Premier League champions. Arsenal were beaten 4-0 at Liverpool in 1997-98 in the game after they clinched the title.

* Werder Bremen’s top-flight status was hanging by a thread after they were held to a goalless home draw by second-tier Heidenheim in the first leg of their Bundesliga promotion/relegation playoff on Thursday. Heidenheim finished third in Bundesliga 2 and have never played in the top flight. They will host the second leg on Monday.

* Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has called off negotiations over renewing his contract with the club and is ready to leave the Catalans when his current deal expires in 2021, according to a report by Spanish radio station Cadena Ser on Friday. The report said Messi and his father Jorge had begun discussing renewing his last deal with the club, which was signed in 2017, but that he no longer wishes to stay at the Camp Nou.

* Real Sociedad came from behind to beat La Liga basement club Espanyol 2-1 at home on Thursday, earning their first victory since the season resumed after the coronavirus stoppage and boosting their bid for European football next season. Sociedad climbed to seventh spot on 50 points, the final Europa League berth, and seven behind fourth-placed Sevilla who occupy the last Champions League position, with five games remaining.

* Mario Pasalic and Robin Gosens scored second-half goals as Atalanta continued their scintillating form and cemented their place in the top four with a deserved 2-0 Serie A victory over Napoli on Thursday. Atalanta moved to 60 points from 29 games, 15 ahead of sixth-place Napoli whose hopes of playing Champions League football next season appear to have evaporated.

* VAR took centre stage once again when Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane had a goal harshly ruled out as they slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Sheffield United in the Premier League on Thursday to remain nine points adrift in the race for the top four.

* Four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel recognised on Thursday his Formula One career could be over at the end of the season. The German is starting his final year with Ferrari, with Spaniard Carlos Sainz already signed from McLaren to take his place at Maranello.

* Novak Djokovic and his wife Jelena have tested negative for COVID-19, nine days after returning a positive test, the world number one tennis player's media team said on Thursday. Djokovic, along with Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki, tested positive after playing in the Adria Tour, an exhibition tournament organised by the 17-times Grand Slam champion.

* Wolverhampton Wanderers supporters could have been excused feeling a little sceptical when Nuno Espirito Santo was unveiled as their latest new manager three years ago. He was, after all, the third manager in 10 months employed by new Chinese owners Fosun. He was tasked with restoring the Midlands club back into the Premier League after departing in 2012.

* The Alpine skiing World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo will take place in February 2021 as originally scheduled, the International Ski Federation said on Thursday.

* Inter Milan have completed the signing of Moroccan fullback Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid on a five-year deal, the clubs announced on Thursday. The 21-year-old impressed while on loan at Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga over the last two seasons, with Italian media reporting Inter agreed a deal worth 40 million euros for the right back.

* Valencia's problems deepened with the announcement that key forward Rodrigo Moreno injured his knee after his side's 2-0 defeat at home to Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday and is set to miss the remainder of the season. Valencia said in a statement on Thursday that Rodrigo, who has scored four league goals and provided seven assists this season, had partially torn the external lateral ligament in his right knee, without saying how long he would be out.

* Only 50-60% of the usual number of fans will be allowed inside the Roland Garros stadium for the 2020 edition of the French Open, organisers said on Thursday. French federation president Bernard Giudicelli told a news conference that on the main courts, a maximum of four persons could sit together with an empty seat between groups.

* CSKA Sofia coach Milos Kruscic resigned on Thursday, one day after the 31-times Bulgarian champions were beaten 5-3 on penalties by Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the domestic Cup final. The club confirmed the 43-year-old Serbian's departure, which had looked inevitable after The Reds' recent poor run.

* Spain's secretary for sport Irene Lozano and La Liga president Javier Tebas have categorically ruled out fans returning to matches before the end of this season to minimise the risk of the novel coronavirus spreading.

* English forward Stephy Mavididi has joined Montpellier from Juventus, the Ligue 1 club said on Thursday. The 22-year-old, who started his professional career at Arsenal before joining Juve in 2018, becomes Montpellier's first English player.

* World Rally Championship organisers cancelled Argentina's postponed round on Thursday while announcing the season, halted by the COVID-19 pandemic, would re-start in Estonia in September.