News, Sports

African Champions League: Esperance declared winners

Tunisian club Esperance have been declared African Champions League winners after opponents Wydad Casablanca were found guilty of abandoning the second leg of the final. This reverses an earlier decision by the Confederation of African Football’s (Caf) executive committee to order a replay of the second leg.

Wydad left the pitch after an equaliser they scored was disallowed by VAR. Esperance were leading 1-0 in the second leg at the time and 2-1 overall. The 1-1 draw from the first leg in Morocco stands. Both clubs had appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas), which last week found that the Caf executive committee’s decision was wrong and ordered the case to be heard by Caf’s disciplinary committee.

Caf ruled Moroccan side Wydad is considered to have lost the second leg, handing Esperance the trophy. Wydad received a $50,000 (£41,000) fine for abandoning the match and a further $15,000 (£12,300) fine for the use of flares by supporters during the game in Tunis on 31 May.

Esperance were handed a $50,000 fine for use of flares and the throwing of missiles by their supporters. They were also ordered to play their next two matches behind closed doors for excessive use of smoke and firecrackers, though that punishment has been suspended for 12 months provided they do not commit a similar offence in that time.

Esperance president Mohamed Meddeb was fined $20,000 (£16,400) and given an official warning for unsporting behaviour towards Caf president Ahmad Ahmad.

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Rogers Cup: Rafael Nadal beats Dan Evans in Montreal, Kyle Edmund also out

British number two Dan Evans pushed Spanish great Rafael Nadal in their first meeting before losing in straight sets at the Rogers Cup. Evans, 29, was beaten 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 in a second-round match disrupted by rain in Montreal, Canada.

British number one Kyle Edmund is also out after a 59-minute, 6-3 6-0 defeat by Russian eighth seed Daniil Medvedev. The heavy loss for Edmund came just a day after he beat Australian Nick Kyrgios in straight sets.

In the doubles, Edmund and American Taylor Fritz – who won the singles title at Eastbourne – are through to the second round after beating Nikoloz Basilashvili and Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3 6-4. But Andy Murray and Spanish partner Feliciano Lopez exited in the second round, beaten 2-6 6-3 10-8 by French duo Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin.

Elsewhere in the singles, Austria’s Dominic Thiem beat Canada’s Denis Shapovalov 6-4 3-6 6-3 and will face Croatia’s Marin Cilic after the 14th seed defeated Australia’s John Millman 6-3 6-4. Frenchman Richard Gasquet upset Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 7-6 (7-4) while Wimbledon semi-finalist Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain beat Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 6-2 7-5.

Nadal overcomes slow start to progress

Eighteen-time Grand Slam winner Nadal – playing his first match since losing to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon semi-finals last month – struggled to cope with Evans’ aggressive and accurate approach play in an entertaining first set.

Evans has moved to the cusp of the world’s top 50 after an impressive year which has seen him rise from 190th to 53rd, proving again in Montreal against defending champion Nadal he has the ability to cause problems for the top players.

The Briton made the ideal start by breaking 33-year-old Nadal’s serve in the first game of the match and holding to love in the next, before the world number two fought back to 3-3 and go on to claim two set points at 5-4.

Evans boldly employed serve and volley tactics to save both and, after a rain delay lasting almost half an hour, dominated the early part of the tie-break to earn two set points.

But top seed Nadal responded with a forehand winner and a smart second serve to save both, carrying on his momentum to claim the opener.

Nadal had lost only one of his previous 75 matches after winning the first set – against Kyrgios in Acapulco this year – and it looked ominous when he broke Evans in the first game of the second set.

A second, lengthier rain delay disrupted the Spaniard as he allowed Evans to break back in the first game after the resumption, but a break in the Briton’s next service game proved decisive as Nadal wrapped up victory.

“Daniel is a player that combines an aggressive game with good hands. He’s able to read the game very well, so he knows how to play tennis in terms of tactics,” Nadal said.

“It was a tough first set. Then in the second, I was able to take advantage at the beginning, but then he broke me back. It was so important, that [next] game again to have the break.”

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Ashes 2019: Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc among wickets in Australia tour match

Josh Hazlewood took three wickets and Mitchell Starc two as Australia kept the upper hand on day two of their tour match against Worcestershire. Hazlewood and Starc are aiming to prove their form before the second Ashes Test, which starts on Wednesday, and took 3-34 and 2-56 respectively.

Australia were held up by Alex Milton (74) and Charlie Morris (53) before the hosts declared on 201-9, 65 behind. Australia reached 92-1 at the close, leading by 157.

Opener Marcus Harris was unbeaten on 62 and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh 22 not out after being promoted to number three. But opener Cameron Bancroft failed again, making just seven before falling to Charlie Morris. Earlier, Marnus Labuschagne and Michael Neser both also took two wickets for Australia.

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Tiger Woods shoots four-over at first PGA Tour play-off event

Tiger Woods endured a difficult return as he shot a four-over 75 in the first of the PGA Tour’s play-off events at Liberty National in New Jersey. Woods was playing his first round since missing the cut in The Open at Royal Portrush last month.

He was only able to practice chipping and putting in Wednesday’s pro-am and his game was not sharp as he recorded five bogeys and one double bogey. It left him 13 strokes behind early leader, Troy Merritt, who fired a 62.

Thankfully from Woods’ point of view, there were far fewer spectators on hand to witness his struggles than normal. Following bad weather the day before, spectators were not allowed in until 10.00 local time, at which point he had almost completed his first nine holes.

The 43-year-old has played a very limited schedule since he won The Masters, with this being only his fifth start since that Sunday in April. But he did not look comfortable and the poor round followed on from his struggles at Portrush where he had rounds of 78 and 70 to miss the halfway cut by five strokes.

Tiger no longer a YouTube golfer to his kids

It is nearly four months since Woods won The Masters to record his 15th Major title, 11 years after his previous victory. But in an interview with CBS on the eve of the tournament, he opened up on what it meant to have his children, daughter Sam, 12, and 10-year-old son Charlie there waiting for him as he came off the 18th green at Augusta.

“I just wanted them to understand what Daddy does, that he is not that YouTube golfer,” said Woods. “They see highlights of that guy, but I’m not that guy. I can still do it. For them to see it, feel it and feel the electricity of the crowd was awesome.

“To see Charlie first, then my Mom and to hug Sam, it gives me chills just thinking about it.” Woods added that the Masters victory had changed his children’s perception of him as a golfer.

“They were both very hesitant about this golf stuff. They only remember the bad times. They associated golf with pain,” he said of a sport that contributed to him requiring four operations on his back.

“They are excited I am happy and playing again and I am doing something I love. They are seeing that in me. “But they are worried about me because they don’t want to see me hurt again.”

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Roger Federer & Rafael Nadal join ATP player council

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been elected to the ATP player council following a turbulent year in the politics of the men’s tour. The pair, along with Jurgen Melzer, are elected after Jamie Murray, Robin Haase and Sergiy Stakhovsky resigned in June.

ATP president Chris Kermode was ousted in March, while board member Justin Gimelstob resigned in May after being sentenced for assault. The player council, led by Novak Djokovic, was split on the issues.

Britain’s Murray, who had been a council member for three years, said “vendettas” and “people out for their own gains” led to his resignation. Swiss Federer, 38, and 33-year-old Spaniard Nadal, who have won 38 Grand Slam titles between them, voiced their concerns over some of the player representatives wanting to oust Briton Kermode.

Federer, Nadal and Austrian doubles player Melzer, 38, will begin their roles immediately and serve until the end of the existing term, which runs to next year’s Wimbledon. The player council, which is made up of 12 men across singles, doubles and coaching, will next meet in New York before the US Open.

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Arsenal sign Kieran Tierney and agree £8m deal for Chelsea defender David Luiz

Arsenal have signed Scotland left-back Kieran Tierney for £25m and are set to bring in defender David Luiz from Chelsea for £8m on a two-year contract. Brazil centre-back Luiz, who signed a new two-year Chelsea deal in May, will have a medical at Arsenal on Thursday.

Tierney, 22, has joined the club from Celtic on a long-term contract. “We’re delighted Kieran is joining us. He’s a very talented player who will continue to improve,” said Gunners boss Unai Emery. “He increases our options defensively and I look forward to him joining our group.”

Luiz, 32, has spent six and a half years at Chelsea during two spells and has made 160 Premier League appearances, scoring 11 goals. His departure, if confirmed, comes five weeks after Frank Lampard returned to Stamford Bridge to manage his former club.

On Tuesday, Arsenal sold defender Laurent Koscielny to French side Bordeaux for a fee of up to 5m euros (£4.6m). Chelsea are banned from signing players until the end of January 2020 following an investigation into their signing of foreign under-18 players.

With Gary Cahill, who has since joined Crystal Palace, released at the end of last season, Chelsea’s options at centre-back include Germany’s Antonio Rudiger, Kurt Zouma, who was on loan at Everton last season, and Denmark’s Andreas Christensen.

Having signed for Chelsea from Benfica in a £21m deal in January 2011, Luiz joined Paris St-Germain for £40m in June 2014 before returning to Stamford Bridge in August 2016 for £34m. Luiz was present at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground on Wednesday, although he did not take part in first-team training.

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Tottenham sign winger Ryan Sessegnon for £25m and midfielder Giovani lo Celso on loan

Tottenham have signed England Under-21 winger Ryan Sessegnon for £25m from Fulham and Argentina midfielder Giovani lo Celso on loan from Real Betis. Sessegnon has signed a five-year deal with an option for one more and the fee for the 19-year-old could rise to £30m with performance-related add-ons. Midfielder Josh Onomah, 22, moves to Craven Cottage as part of the deal.

Lo Celso has initially joined the club on loan but Spurs have an option to buy the 23-year-old. Tottenham also hoped to bring in Argentina forward Paulo Dybala but a proposed deal fell through after Juventus decided not to sell the 25-year-old.

  • Live: Transfer deadline day – all the latest moves

Lo Celso, who has 19 caps for Argentina, joined Betis on a permanent deal in April after spending the season on loan from Paris St-Germain. He made 45 appearances for the La Liga club in all competitions last season, scoring 16 goals.

Meanwhile, Spurs could be set to lose midfielder Christian Eriksen as the 27-year-old Denmark international is understood to want a fresh challenge after six years at White Hart Lane. Eriksen was linked with a move to Manchester United, but they have ended their pursuit of him.

Tottenham have ended their interest in a loan move for Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho. The 27-year-old Brazil international, who joined Barca from Liverpool in a deal worth £142m in January 2018, worked with Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino during a loan spell with Espanyol in 2012.

He has scored 21 goals in 76 appearances for Barcelona but has been linked with moves to Arsenal, Liverpool and PSG. United States centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers has joined Championship side Stoke City on a season-long loan. The 21-year-old made his senior international debut in 2017 and came up through the youth ranks at Spurs.

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World Rugby to test waist-height tackles as part of trial

Players at the 2023 Rugby World Cup would not be able to tackle above the waist if a trial of new laws, aimed at making the sport safer, is successful. World Rugby will limit tackling to the waist and empower referees to warn players over their tackle technique in selected domestic tournaments.

The laws aim to reduce concussion, the most common injury in Premiership Rugby and a major concern in the game. If successful, they would be tested globally before France 2023.

“World Rugby is unwavering in its commitment to ensuring rugby is as simple and safe to play as possible for all,” said chairman and former England captain Bill Beaumont. “While injury incidence in the sport is not increasing and concussion incidence is decreasing, we can and must do more to reduce injuries at all levels.”

World Rugby’s research of more than 1,500 elite-level matches showed that 76% of head injuries occur in the tackle, with the risk of injury more than quadrupling in a “high-contact” tackle compared to a “low-contact” tackle. However, an experiment that lowered the tackle height from shoulder height to the level of the tackled player’s armpit in the second-tier Championship Cup last season had to be abandoned after concussions increased rather than dropped.

While the number of concussions from upright tackles fell, there was a dramatic increase in the number of players suffering concussions in tackles close to the breakdown. Federations in Australia, France, Georgia, Fiji, Romania and South Africa and have shown interested in implementing some of the experimental laws package in their domestic tournaments, along with the Americas Rugby Championship, a tournament that features the likes of Canada and the United States.

What else is in the laws trials?

  • A basketball-style team foul limit that sees the final player to infringe given a yellow card as their team reaches the specific number of penalty or free-kick limit.
  • A 50:22 kick giving a team put-in to the line-out if they kick into touch indirectly (ie on the bounce) when kicking either from their own half into the opposition 22m or from inside their own 22m to the opposition half. The law aims to force wingers to drop deep out of the defensive line, creating space for the attacker to run the ball.
  • Review of a yellow card during a player’s sin-bin period to ensure serious foul play is upgraded to a red card.
  • Defending team awarded a drop-out from own tryline when attacking player is held up over the line. The current law is to award an attacking scrum five metres out.
  • World Rugby is also considering trials in reducing the number of replacements and a requirement for players to move away from the ball immediately when off their feet at a ruck.
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Paulo Dybala: Tottenham move off after Juventus decide not to sell

Tottenham’s proposed move for Paulo Dybala is off after Juventus decided not to sell the 25-year-old forward. Manchester United ended their talks with the Argentine earlier this month because of his wage demands

Tottenham are still set to sign Fulham’s England Under-21 left-back Ryan Sessegnon for £25m with midfielder Josh Onomah moving the other way.

Spurs had previously abandoned their interest in Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Fernandes because of the asking price. Dybala joined Juventus from Palermo in 2015 for £23m and scored 10 goals for the Italian champions last season.

He also scored in a friendly against Novara in Turin on Wednesday. Former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri took over as Juventus boss in June.

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Alex Iwobi: Arsenal to sell forward to Everton in deal worth up to £34m

Everton have agreed to sign forward Alex Iwobi from Arsenal in a deal worth up to £34m. Iwobi came through the ranks at the Gunners, playing 149 times and scoring 15 goals. The Nigeria forward is Marco Silva’s seventh summer signing. Iwobi will join fellow new arrivals goalkeeper Jonas Lossl, defender Djibril Sidibe, midfielders Andre Gomes, Fabian Delph and Jean-Philippe Gbamin, and striker Moise Kean.

Everton had an initial bid of £30m turned down but their improved offer – reported to be an initial £28m, rising to £34m with potential add-ons – has been accepted by Arsenal. The player is undergoing a medical in London, but a deal sheet was submitted by the 17:00 BST deadline and the transfer should be completed without a problem by the extended cut-off time of 19:00.

Iwobi featured regularly last season under manager Unai Emery, appearing in all but three Premier League games, and he scored in the Europa League final defeat by Chelsea in what was his last appearance for the club. There is increased competition in Iwobi’s position at Arsenal following the arrival of Nicolas Pepe from Lille this summer for a club record £72m.

Iwobi now begins a new chapter of his career at Everton, as the Toffees target an improvement on last season’s eighth place finish. In an attempt to do that, Silva has reshaped his squad over the summer with seven arrivals and nine permanent departures.