World Sports News in Brief

Arsenal thrash Slavia Prague to reach Europa League semis

Friday, 2021-04-16 07:53:54
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Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette scores their fourth goal. (Photo: Reuters)
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Arsenal cruised past Slavia Prague 4-0 to book a Europa League semi-final spot on Thursday (Apr 15) after they struck three quick-fire goals in seven first-half minutes to advance 5-1 on aggregate.

Alexandre Lacazette scored twice, including a penalty, while Nicolas Pepe and Bukayo Saka also found the net in the quarter-final second leg to set up a last-four clash with Villarreal. Arsenal next face their former manager Unai Emery’s side who beat Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate to reach the semis.

* Manchester United reached the Europa League semi-finals after Edinson Cavani's early strike and a Jesus Vallejo own goal secured a 2-0 home win over Granada on Thursday and completed a 4-0 aggregate rout of the Spanish side. United will face AS Roma for a place in the May 26 final in Gdansk after the Italian side ground out a 3-2 aggregate win over Ajax Amsterdam with a 1-1 home draw in the second leg of their quarter-final.

* Two-times Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso said on Thursday he was not sure he would race the Indianapolis 500 again. The US race is the final part of the so-called "Triple Crown of Motorsport" which Alonso wants to complete after winning the Le Mans 24 Hours, twice, and Formula One's Monaco Grand Prix.

* MotoGP world champion Joan Mir will race at this weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix without his crew chief Frankie Carchedi who has tested positive for COVID-19, his Suzuki team said on Thursday. Carchedi tested positive in pre-travel tests and did not fly to Portugal, going into isolation instead. The rest of the crew received negative results.

* Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang contracted malaria while on international duty with Gabon last month and spent time in hospital this week, he said on Thursday. Aubameyang played one match for Gabon as they booked their place in the Africa Cup of Nations finals and he has started one Arsenal game since returning to England.

* Max Verstappen took a long-term view of his Formula One battle with seven-times champion Lewis Hamilton on Thursday and said finishing second to his Mercedes rival in last month's Bahrain season-opener was nothing to be upset about. The 23-year-old Dutch driver struck observers with his calm after starting on pole at Sakhir but finishing second to Hamilton after having to give back a lead he gained by going off-track.

* Red card replacements are among three innovative laws set to be trialled in this year's Rainbow Cup after being approved by World Rugby, organisers Pro14 said on Thursday. Players who receive a red card can be replaced 20 minutes after they are sent off by one of the team's nominated replacements.

* The International Tennis Federation on Thursday said the qualification period for this year's Tokyo Olympics would be extended by a week until Jun 14 to accommodate the postponement of the French Open due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The French Tennis Federation last week said the claycourt Grand Slam would be held one week later than originally planned, beginning on May 24 and finishing on Jun 13.

* Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin will miss Friday's Premier League game at home to Tottenham Hotspur as he recovers from injury, but goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and midfielders Allan and Andre Gomes are available, manager Carlo Ancelotti said on Thursday. Calvert-Lewin, Everton's top-scorer with 19 goals this season, was sidelined for Monday's 0-0 draw against Brighton & Hove Albion due to an abductor problem, but is expected to return in time for their trip to Arsenal next week.

* World number one Novak Djokovic crashed out in the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters following a 6-4, 7-5 defeat by Britain's Dan Evans on Thursday. The 30-year-old Evans emerged triumphant in the pair's first meeting to end the Serb's perfect 10-0 start in 2021.

* The Professional Footballers' Association and FIFPRO, the global players' union, have called on football's lawmakers to consider launching trials into temporary concussion substitutes to better protect players who suffer head injuries. The game's rule-making body IFAB in December gave the go-ahead for trials of permanent concussion substitutes following which the Premier League and Women's Super League introduced the system in February.

* Strugglers Hertha Berlin players and staff were sent into isolation for 13 days after coach Pal Dardai, assistant coach Admir Hamzagic and striker Dodi Lukebakio tested positive for COVID-19, the club said. Sports director Arne Friedrich will provisionally take over as coach with the team living together until then and leaving their designated base only for matches and training.

* Ariarne Titmus made a successful return to the pool after a three-month layoff with a shoulder problem by claiming the 200 metres freestyle title at Australia's national championships on Thursday. Titmus, the 400m freestyle world champion, posted a time of one minute and 55.43 seconds in the final, the third fastest of the year behind American rival Katie Ledecky, who swam 1:54.40 and 1:55.40 in California last week.