Alcaraz beats Evans, will face Tsitsipas in Barcelona Open final
Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz eased into the final of the Barcelona Open after seeing off Daniel Evans 6-2, 6-2.
The second-ranked Alcaraz will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final after the Greek player advanced by beating Lorenzo Musetti 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 on the outdoor clay court.
Alcaraz defeated his English opponent in 1 hour, 20 minutes, sealing his victory when he blasted a return under Evans’s racket as he made an approach.
Everton slip into relegation zone after draw at Palace
Everton have slipped into the English Premier League relegation zone after drawing at Crystal Palace 0-0.
Despite earning a point at Selhurst Park, Everton fell into the bottom three because Leicester City beat Wolverhampton 2-1.
It could have been worse for the Toffees after going down to 10 men in the 80th minute when defender Mason Holgate picked up his second yellow card for a questionable tackle.
Sean Dyche’s squad held on for the draw, which extended the team’s winless run to five games.
Liverpool edge struggling Nottingham Forest 3-2 at Anfield
Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah were on target as Liverpool edged Premier League strugglers Nottingham Forest 3-2 in a thrilling clash at Anfield to climb to seventh in the table.
Jota headed in the opener three minutes into the second half following a corner but Forest drew level when former Liverpool fullback Neco Williams ran on to Morgan Gibbs-White’s pass to send a deflected shot past Alisson.
Jota restored Liverpool’s lead with a sharp finish on the turn in the 55th minute but Liverpool were pegged back again when Virgil Van Dijk’s clearing header fell to an unmarked Gibbs-White, who fired an unstoppable shot into the corner.
Liverpool were back on top three minutes later when Trent Alexander-Arnold picked out Salah with a low free kick and the Egyptian striker held off Remo Freuler before side-footing past Keylor Navas.
Forest came agonisingly close to snatching a point when Taiwo Awoniyi sent an acrobatic effort over the bar and substitute Brennan Johnson hit the crossbar with a delicate chip with Alisson beaten, but Liverpool clung on to take all three points.
Juergen Klopp’s men moved on to 50 points, one behind sixth-placed Aston Villa, while the defeat saw Forest drop to second-bottom in the table.
Premier League results
- Fulham 2-1 Leeds United
- Brentford 1-1 Aston Villa
- Crystal Palace 0-0 Everton
- Leicester City 2-1 Wolves
- Liverpool 3-2 Nottingham Forest
Tristan Vukcevic declares for NBA draft
International prospect Tristan Vukcevic has declared for the 2023 NBA draft, ESPN reported.
The 7-foot (213cm) centre, who was born in Italy, is averaging 5.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in 38 games with KK Partizan in Serbia this season. He is shooting 38 percent from 3-point range.
Vukcevic, 20, is projected as a second-round pick in the June 22 draft.
He made his professional debut with Real Madrid in October 2020.
Dortmund a win from going top after Bayern stumble at Mainz
Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich continued their miserable week with a 3-1 loss at Thomas Tuchel’s former side Mainz, opening the door for Borussia Dortmund to go top later on Saturday.
Yann Sommer’s mistake allowed Mainz’s Ludovic Ajorque to cancel out Sadio Mane’s opener and Leandro Barreiro completed the home comeback in 73 minutes, with Aaron Martin adding the gloss.
Bayern were held by Hoffenheim last weekend before going out of the Champions League in midweek at the hands of Manchester City as their season threatens to implode.
Dortmund – also previously coached by Tuchel – host Eintracht Frankfurt in the late game, hoping to win and take over at the top by one point with five games to play.
Meanwhile, Pal Dardai’s third stint in charge of bottom side Hertha Berlin got off to a terrible start on Saturday, Marvin Ducksch netting a hat-trick in a 4-2 away win for Werder Bremen. Fourth-bottom Bochum lost 5-1 at home to Wolfsburg and Cologne won 3-1 at Hoffenheim.
Gujarat stun Lucknow with 7-run victory in Indian Premier League
Veteran pacer Mohit Sharma bowled a splendid final over in Gujarat Titans’ seven-run victory over Lucknow Super Giants in the Indian Premier League.
With the hosts needing 12 off the last six balls on Saturday, Sharma dismissed Lokesh Rahul on 68 and Marcus Stoinis for a first-ball duck before helping out with two run-outs as Lucknow crashed from 126-3 to 128-7 (20 overs) and fell short of Gujarat’s 135-6 (20 overs) in a stunning manner.
Overall, Lucknow lost six wickets for 22 runs in the space of 32 balls to hand Gujarat their fourth win in six games.
Mumbai Indians are playing Punjab Kings later on Saturday.
Swiatek to face Sabalenka in Stuttgart final after Jabeur retires injured
World number one Iga Swiatek has moved into the Stuttgart Open final after her opponent Ons Jabeur retired injured three games into the first set.
The Pole will face Aryna Sabalenka on Sunday in a repeat of last year’s final, following the Belarusian’s comfortable straight-sets victory over Anastasia Potapova.
Tunisian Jabeur, on a seven-match winning run after recovering from injury and surgery earlier this year, looked to have hurt herself during the last point of the first game on Saturday.
The world number four, fresh from her title win in Charleston earlier in the month, took a medical timeout but despite playing on with her left calf bandaged for two more games she decided to stop, with Swiatek 3-0 up.
“I really tried but at that point, I don’t know what happened,” a tearful Jabeur said. “I was excited to play Iga and seeing that the stadium is full. I am sorry about it.”
Premier League half-time scores
- Brentford 0-0 Aston Villa
- Crystal Palace 0-0 Everton
- Leicester City 1-1 Wolves
- Liverpool 0-0 Nottingham Forest
Tsitsipas defeats Musetti to reach Barcelona Open final
Stefanos Tsitsipas has defeated Lorenzo Musetti 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 to reach the Barcelona Open final for the third time.
The Greek second seed lost on both occasions against Rafael Nadal in 2018 and 2021 and may face defending champion Carlos Alcaraz in the final on Sunday. Alcaraz plays Dan Evans later on Saturday in the other semifinal.
Musetti twice went a break up in an entertaining first set, but Tsitsipas, runner-up at the Australian Open in January, battled back immediately both times.
The Italian saved a match point in the second set at 4-5 to force a decisive third set, but was outplayed in it by his opponent, who showed more focus than earlier on.
Tsitsipas wrapped up the win after two hours and 28 minutes, seeing out his final two service games without dropping a point.
Mo Farah set for London Marathon farewell
British long-distance running legend Mo Farah says he is determined to enjoy his final London Marathon as he eyes the end of a brilliant career.
Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track, announced in January that 2023 would be his final year as a top-flight athlete.
He missed last year’s London Marathon with a hip injury but the 40-year-old, who has been in training in Ethiopia, is now ready for one final appearance.
Victory on the streets of London has eluded Farah, the 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres champion on the track at the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Games, and it would be a major shock were he to win on Sunday.
“It will be my last marathon,” Farah told a pre-race news conference on Saturday. “After that, I will do a couple more races, it hasn’t been announced yet and I will not announce it yet but in terms of marathons, this is it.”
He added: “For me, it is a great way to end my marathon career here … The key thing is to make the most of it, enjoy it and I am sure the crowd will make a big difference for me on Sunday.”
Bobby Moore’s ex-wife appeals for return of missing World Cup-winning shirt
The first wife of former England and West Ham legend Bobby Moore has appealed for his missing World Cup-winning shirt to be found and “put on display to the nation”.
Moore’s red, number six jersey which he wore when he captained England to glory against West Germany in 1966 has been reported missing by ex-wife Tina, the Daily Mail reported.
“If there is somebody out there who has the shirt, I appeal for them to come to us, and explain how they came about it,” she said.
“I would really love to get that shirt back where it belongs – with me, with my family, and with the nation, for everyone to have a chance to look at it and marvel at Bobby’s achievements.”
Moore, who played for West Ham and Fulham and was capped 108 times by England, died from bowel cancer in 1993.
The FA said: “Bobby Moore is an England hero. It would be wonderful if there was a way of finding his historic World Cup-winning shirt and putting it on display for the nation.”
Photos: For Japan’s ageing football players, 80 is the new 50
Mutsuhiko Nomura’s football career has spanned 18 World Cups, or 70 years, to be exact.
Now the silver-maned former Japanese national team player is a member of the brand new over-80s division of Tokyo’s “Soccer For Life” (SFL) league, which saw its first match this month.
The sprightly 83-year-old and his teammates are among a growing number of seniors pushing the boundaries of active living in Japan, one of the world’s fastest ageing societies.
“When I was a kid, men in their 50s and 60s were considered ‘grandpas’,” Nomura, already a member of several amateur teams, said after a pre-season practice match in February.
“And now, we’re all still at it in our 80s. It’s shocking.”
Check out the picture gallery here.
Talor Gooch takes 10-shot lead into final round of LIV Australia
Talor Gooch continues his bogey-free run at the inaugural LIV Australia tournament as he shot his second consecutive 10-under 62 to increase his lead to 10 strokes after two rounds at the Grange Golf Club.
Gooch had a 36-hole total of 124 going into Sunday’s final round. He led by four strokes after the opening round.
As tournament leader, the 31-year-old American began his round on the first hole on Saturday in the shotgun-start format and posted four birdies in five holes from the ninth hole. He birdied his final hole at the Grange to take his lead into double digits in front of a sell-out crowd of 35,000.
“Everything is just going my way,” said Gooch, who had an eagle and eight birdies on Saturday. “I’m hitting the ball where I want it to go, a couple of times when I missed a shot I ended up in a decent spot.”
There was a six-way tie for second, including Brooks Koepka, who shot 65.
Local favourite and British Open champion Cam Smith was a further stroke back and in a tie for eighth after a 66. Phil Mickelson was among that group after a 65.
Leeds United deep in relegation trouble after loss to Fulham
Leeds remain in relegation danger in the Premier League after losing 2-1 at Fulham on the back of two mistakes from goalkeeper Illan Meslier.
Both of Fulham’s goals on Saturday came in the second half after Meslier failed to deal with the crosses from the left, with Harry Wilson and Andreas Pereira benefitting from the goalkeeper only parrying the ball out into the middle of the area.
An own goal by Joao Palhinha in the 79th minute gave some late hope for Leeds, who started the game two points above the relegation zone and fell to a fourth loss in their last five games.
Leeds fans voiced their displeasure, chanting “We want Orta out” – in reference to Victor Orta, the director of football – as well as the name of former manager Marcelo Bielsa.
Fulham still have an outside shot at qualifying for European competitions next season.
Sheffield United eye FA Cup shock before promotion push
Championship side Sheffield United are hoping to spoil Manchester City’s treble ambitions in their FA Cup semifinal at Wembley on Saturday and become the first team from outside the Premier League to reach the cup final in 15 years.
Four days later, Sheffield United can seal a return to the lucrative Premier League with a home win over West Bromwich Albion in the second-division Championship.
For manager Paul Heckingbottom, the run to the FA Cup semifinals – which has included wins over Hollywood-owned Wrexham and Premier League team Tottenham – has simply been a “break from the league”.
“If we achieve what we want to achieve in the league, then this is going to be the kind of test we are facing every single week,” Heckingbottom said of the daunting match against City. “So why not try and test ourselves now?”
City manager Pep Guardiola is sure to rotate his lineup to give fringe players a run out after City knocked out Bayern in their Champions League quarterfinal in Munich on Wednesday and are set to face top-of-the-table Arsenal in midweek.
Manchester United and Brighton meet in the other FA Cup semifinal on Sunday.
Painting London Red & White! 🔴😄 pic.twitter.com/lmZDnQVG3k
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) April 22, 2023
Tennis world number one Djokovic pulls out of Madrid Masters
World number one Novak Djokovic has pulled out of the Madrid Masters, according to the organisers.
“Novak Djokovic is unable to compete at the Madrid Open,” the organisers wrote on Instagram on Saturday, days before the tournament starts on April 26.
Djokovic’s withdrawal, thought to be related to an elbow problem, is a blow to his preparations for the French Open, which starts at the end of May.
The Serb, 35, suffered a straight-set defeat by compatriot Dusan Lajovic in the quarterfinals at Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Friday.
Djokovic was beaten by underdog Lorenzo Musetti at the Monte Carlo Masters earlier in April and said in advance of the Srpska Open that his elbow was “not in an ideal condition”.
Barcelona beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea lost 1-0 to Barcelona in the Women’s Champions League semifinal first-leg at Stamford Bridge, west London, as Caroline Graham Hansen’s early wonder goal proved to be the difference for the Spanish champions.
Chelsea mounted a comeback after conceding the fourth-minute goal and had a goal disallowed for offside in the first half.
But Barcelona dominated the game and Marta Torrejon almost doubled the lead when her header hit the post.
Chelsea will have a mountain to climb when they travel to Barcelona for the second leg on Thursday.
Barcelona and England will anxiously await news of Lucy Bronze’s fitness after the Barca star hobbled off injured.
Xavi hails ‘fearless’ Yamal, 15, after Barcelona call-up
Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez praises “fearless” 15-year-old winger Lamine Yamal after including him in the squad for the first time, to face Atletico Madrid on Sunday in La Liga.
The Spanish forward is the youngest ever player to enter a Barcelona squad for an official game, and could become the youngest Barcelona player of all time this weekend.
“He’s a player who can help us because he is talented, he’s very young, 15; in July he turns 16,” Xavi said.
“He’s got a lot of personality, talent, he can play the final ball, take players on, he’s strong, we’re talking about a player who can mark an era at the club.”
Atletico breathing down Real Madrid’s neck in La Liga run-in
After eliminating Chelsea to reach the semifinals of the Champions League for the 11th time in 13 seasons, Real Madrid turn their focus back to the domestic league and a game against Celta Vigo at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium on Saturday.
Madrid are virtually out of contention for the title, as they trail Barcelona by 11 points, but are in danger of losing second place to Atletico Madrid if they do not finish strong.
They have a two-point gap against Atletico, who on Sunday visit Barcelona. Celta, sitting in 12th place, are winless in three matches.
- Osasuna v Real Betis (Saturday 12:00 GMT)
- Almeria v Athletic Bilbao (Saturday 14:15 GMT)
- Real Sociedad v Rayo Vallecano (Saturday 16:30 GMT)
- Real Valladolid v Girona (Saturday 16:30 GMT)
- Real Madrid v Celta Vigo (Saturday 19:00 GMT)
- Elche v Valencia (Sunday 12:00 GMT)
- Barcelona v Atletico Madrid (Sunday 14:15 GMT)
- Real Mallorca v Getafe (Sunday 16:30 GMT)
- Sevilla v Villarreal (Sunday 19:00 GMT)
What’s the social impact of Africa’s sports betting boom?
Sports betting has grown in popularity across sub-Saharan Africa in recent years, with the rise of mobile money apps and online betting platforms making it even simpler for people to gamble.
But as betting companies reap profits in markets across the continent, researchers, psychologists and gambling support groups warn that the ease with which people can place bets is pushing many into life-altering debt and harming their mental health.
In this episode of The Stream, Al Jazeera looks at the rise of sports betting in sub-Saharan Africa and its effect on individuals and families.
Union Berlin on verge of first Champions League qualification
Union Berlin managing director Oliver Ruhnert is still pinching himself as the club close in on a first Champions League berth and says it will open up new opportunities.
Union sit third in the Bundesliga with six games left, starting with Sunday’s trip to Borussia Monchengladbach. They were only promoted to the German top flight for the first time in 2019 and played in the Conference League and Europa League the last two seasons.
Union, the only former East German club in the Bundesliga, almost went bust in 2004 and fans had to help rebuild their stadium.
“It would be the next surreal step after what has already been described as surreal in recent years,” he told the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper on Saturday.
“It would show that you can still write a bit of a modern football fairy tale.”
Inter Milan condemns punishment of racism victim Lukaku
Inter Milan’s striker Romelu Lukaku will miss his side’s Italian Cup semifinal second leg on Wednesday after the Italian Football Federation’s (FIGC) appeals court confirmed his suspension for the sending-off he received after he was racially abused by Juventus fans.
Lukaku received the suspension after picking up two yellow cards, the second for his goal celebration in front of Juventus fans after a stoppage-time penalty which secured Inter a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Turin.
The Belgian striker held his finger to his mouth as he has after scoring for his country and told Juve supporters to “shut up”.
On Friday, Inter Milan said it was saddened “that the victim has become the only guilty party”.
On Wednesday, Juventus won their appeal against a one-match stand closure imposed for their fans’ abuse of Lukaku.
Napoli focus on Serie A after Champions League heartbreak
Napoli will resume their quest for a first Serie A title in 33 years on Sunday, after they lost to fellow Italian giants AC Milan in the Champions League quarterfinals in midweek.
But Napoli face a tough tie away at Juventus, who were buoyed by news on Friday that their 15-point deduction for alleged illicit transfer activity reversed – pending further legal moves.
Lazio, who are second in Serie A and currently trail Napoli by 14 points, will hope to close the gap at the top at home to Torino on Saturday.
- Salernitana v Sassuolo (Saturday 13:00 GMT)
- Lazio v Torino (Saturday 16:00 GMT)
- Sampdoria v Spezia (Saturday 18:45 GMT)
- Empoli v Inter Milan (Sunday 10:30), Monza v Fiorentina (Sunday 13:00 GMT)
- Udinese v Cremonese (Sunday 13:00 GMT)
- AC Milan v Lecce (Sunday 16:00 GMT)
- Juventus v Napoli (Sunday 18:45 GMT)
A lively week in snooker
It’s been an interesting week in snooker as the world championships have unfolded.
A Just Stop Oil protester interrupted a match at the World Snooker Championship on Monday by jumping on the table and releasing a packet of orange powder, causing play to be suspended.
— David Coverdale (@dpcoverdale) April 17, 2023
Meanwhile, the World Snooker Tour hailed the “momentous announcement” of three tournaments in China this year, including one in Wuhan, as the return of international sport to the country after COVID gathers pace.
The World Snooker Tour will stage the first professional snooker tournament in mainland China in four years with the showpiece Shanghai Masters on September 11-17, the WST said.
That will be followed by the Wuhan Open on October 9-15 and the International Championship in November at a Chinese city yet to be confirmed.
And next week promises more action as the world championship heads into the latter stages at the same time as 10 Chinese players face an independent disciplinary hearing on Monday over charges of match-fixing.
Half-Time: Chelsea 0-1 Barcelona
Chelsea rallied after conceding an early goal with the Blues finding the back of the net, only for it to be disallowed for offside.
The first half of the Women’s CL semifinal finished with Barcelona protecting their slender lead, courtesy of Hansen’s wonder strike:
GOAL | Chelsea(F) 0-1 Barcelona(F) | Graham Hansenpic.twitter.com/fh0EU0BcW4
— VAR Tático (@vartatico) April 22, 2023
‘Welcome to Wrexham’ Season 2 set for Hollywood ending
Spoiler alert! Season Two of Welcome to Wrexham is set to get the Hollywood ending the first one failed to deliver.
It’s hard to imagine that even the Welsh football team’s A-list owners, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, could have anticipated the edge-of-your-seat, unscripted spectacle created by this unlikely union.
“That was the most dramatic thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” a breathless Reynolds said after the 3-2 win over Notts County that put Wrexham on the brink of promotion from the National League, five steps below the Premier League. “I will never be the same again.”
When Tinseltown met a former mining town in Wales, sparks flew. And even if Reynolds and McElhenney recognised the entertainment value of a fly-on-the-wall documentary about an historic but down-on-its-luck football team run by two actors learning the ropes of sports club ownership, the end product has probably exceeded all expectations.
That is, apart from the on-field success the pair set out to deliver after completing their $2.5m takeover in 2021.
A win over Boreham Wood on Saturday would secure the league title and, with it, automatic promotion to the fourth division of English football after a 15-year wait.
“There’s a lot of pain the supporters have gone through,” Wrexham manager Phil Parkinson told The Associated Press. “We’ve got a great opportunity to finish the job this week. We know it’s not easy, but it is in our hands.”
Could this Hollywood duo take a 158-year-old football club to the Premier League? #Wrexham #PremierLeague #Football #Soccer #Deadpool #RyanReynolds #RobMcElhenney #fyp #foryoupage #nonleaguefootball #benfoster
O’Sullivan and Vafaei set to resume grudge match
In the (usually) more sedate sport of snooker, another grudge match is set to resume on Saturday as Ronnie O’Sullivan takes on Iran’s Hossein Vafaei in the second round of the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible in Sheffield, England.
Vafaei trailed 6-2 after play ended on Friday, with the game set to resume at 13:30 GMT.
The 28-year-old Vafaei is the first Iranian player to win a match at the championships, having last year become the first from his country to play in the tournament.
Vafaei has said that O’Sullivan, who is bidding to win a record eighth title, showed a lack of respect when the Iranian beat him 5-0 in last season’s German Masters qualifiers and played a wild opening shot.
The Iranian was himself accused by snooker great Steve Davis of being “disrespectful” after smashing into the balls from his opening break against O’Sullivan on Friday.
Vafaei and O’Sullivan had exchanged a war of words in the media in the run-up to the tie, with Vafaei saying the Englishman was no longer his hero and only a nice person “when he’s sleeping”. O’Sullivan had early said criticism “turned him on” and warned his opponents not to “rattle my cage”.
Barcelona take early lead against Chelsea
Chelsea 0-1 Barcelona (Hansen, 4)
Chelsea get off to a bad start as Caroline Graham Hansen strikes in the fourth minute to give Barcelona a 1-0 lead in their Women’s champions League semifinal first-leg at Stamford Bridge.
The Norwegian international darted infield from the right wing and smashed the ball with her left foot into the far corner.
Chelsea are left chasing the game already.
Davis set to fight Garcia in biggest boxing match of the year
The lightweight showdown in Las Vegas between undefeated challengers Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia is the biggest boxing match of the year so far and is marked by genuine animosity, with both unbeaten fighters in their prime and boasting good knockout records.
The American boxers had to be separated during their final weigh-in on Friday as they exchanged trash talk.
ONE DAY AWAY 🔥😮💨
Watch #DavisGarcia LIVE on PPV in the USA & Canada this Saturday, April 22.
Watch on DAZN as part of your regular subscription in selected international markets. pic.twitter.com/gfaZOEdVHA
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) April 21, 2023
“I feel like this fight is big for the sport,” the 28-year-old “Tank” Davis (28-0, 26 KOs), who is from Baltimore, said at a press conference earlier in the week. “We’re drawing in a lot of people and a win on that night is really like winning a world title again.”
Garcia, 24, said seeing his face around the Las Vegas Strip brought home the meaning of this fight.
“This is what I’ve dreamed of since I was a little boy and now I’m here,” said Garcia 23-0, 19 KOs), who lives in Los Angeles.
Davis has accused Garcia of only possessing a left hook, and Garcia said Davis lacks punching power.
The Main event ringwalks are at approximately 03:00 GMT on Sunday, with the main card starting at 00:00 GMT.
Bayern and Dortmund face big games in Bundesliga title run-in
Bayern Munich, who are seeking an 11th consecutive title, lead Borussia Dortmund in the German Bundesliga by just two points – and both sides face tough matches on Saturday.
Bayern are away at 8th-placed Mainz, while Dortmund host 7th-placed Eintracht Frankfurt.
- Hoffenheim v Cologne (13:30 GMT)
- Bochum v Wolfsburg (13:30 GMT)
- Hertha Berlin v Werder Bremen (13:30 GMT)
- Mainz v Bayern Munich (13:30 GMT)
- Borussia Dortmund v Eintracht Frankfurt (16:30 GMT)
Chelsea v Barcelona line-ups announced
Chelsea: Berger, Perisset, Mjelde, Eriksson, Carter, Cuthbert, Leupolz, Reiten, Charles, Kerry, Cankovic.
Barcelona: Panos, Bronze, Paredes, Leon Cebrian, Rolfo, Bonmati, Walsh, Guijarro Gutierrez, Hansem Paralluelo, da Silva Ferreira.
It’s surely a must-win for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge with Barcelona so dominant at home. Barca have won 25 out of 25 games in the Spanish league this season, although they have shown signs of weakness in Europe.
The game kicks off in about 10 minutes.
— Chelsea FC Women (@ChelseaFCW) April 21, 2023
Klopp urges Liverpool to use remaining games to rebuild
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he already has his sights on the next season, urging the team to use their remaining games to build a strong foundation.
Liverpool have had a disappointing run in the Premier League this season, with Klopp’s side eighth in the standings with 47 points – nine adrift of the fourth spot that ensures qualification for the Champions League next season.
Klopp’s side host relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
“So the future has started already, let me say it like this, but while we are here we have to win football games now,” Klopp told reporters on Friday.
“If we don’t qualify for any European competition, it would obviously be a massive disappointment, but we should make sure it doesn’t waste time during that period.
“I hope we can take some things from this season which are more useful than just telling us it was the wrong way.”
Fulham v Leeds United opens day of Premier League action
There are five games in the Premier League on Saturday, with Leeds United looking to halt their slide in form away at Fulham in the day’s early match.
On-form Aston Villa will fancy boosting their chances of securing a Champions League qualification spot at Brentford, who are safely ensconced in the middle of the table and have perhaps taken their foot off the gas in recent weeks.
Crystal Palace, on a free-scoring winning spree since Roy Hodgson’s return as manager in March, take on crisis-hit Everton. Leicester boss Dean Smith is hoping for the first win of his tenure at home to Wolves, with the Foxes sitting mired in a relegation battle.
And Liverpool will expect to maintain their upturn in form against a leaky Nottingham Forest defence at Anfield.
- Fulham v Leeds United (11:30 GMT)
- Brentford v Aston Villa (14:00 GMT)
- Crystal Palace v Everton (14:00 GMT)
- Leicester City v Wolves (14:00 GMT)
- Liverpool v Nottingham Forest (14:00 GMT)
Alcaraz eyes Barcelona Open final and repeat championship
Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz faces Dan Evans for a place in the Barcelona Open final on Saturday while Stefanos Tsitsipas meets Lorenzo Musetti.
Second-ranked Alcaraz beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6 (5), 6-4 on Friday to make the semifinals, while 12th-seeded Evans rallied to defeat 15th-seeded Francisco Cerúndolo 2-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Alcaraz is trying to become the first repeat champion in Barcelona since Rafael Nadal won three straight titles from 2016 to18.
Second-seeded Tsitsipas advanced to the last four with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Alex de Minaur for his 19th win of the season – and ninth straight over the Australian in his career.
Ninth-seeded Lorenzo Musetti received a walkover from fourth-seeded Jannik Sinner, who withdrew due to illness.
Mbappe grabs a brace as PSG move closer to record 11th title
Kylian Mbappe netted twice to help leader Paris Saint-Germain take another step towards a record 11th French title after winning at bottom side Angers 2-1 on Friday.
Mbappe scored the opener in the ninth minute and added another before the half-hour mark to move clear as the French top flight’s leading marksman on 22 goals for the campaign.
It looked like PSG might go on to record a big victory but they eased off in the second half and relegation-bound Angers pulled a goal back late on through Sada Thioub.
PSG are now 11 points clear at the top of the table with six games left to play, although nearest challengers Marseille can cut the gap when they visit Lyon on Sunday.
- Auxerre v Lille (Saturday 15:00 GMT),
- Lens v Monaco (Saturday 19:00 GMT)
- Reims v Strasbourg (Sunday 11:00 GMT)
- Ajaccio v Brest (Sunday 13:00 GMT)
- Lorient v Toulouse (Sunday 13:00 GMT)
- Nantes v Troyes (Sunday 13:00 GMT)
- Nice v Clermont ((Sunday 13:00 GMT)
- Montpellier v Rennes (Sunday 15:05 GMT)
- Lyon v Marseille (Sunday 18:45 GMT)
Chelsea take on Barcelona in Women’s Champions League semifinal
Chelsea Women are set for a Women’s Champions League semifinal first-leg showdown against Barcelona at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, with the west London club saying that more than 25,000 tickets have been sold for the match which kicks off at 11:30 GMT.
Chelsea overcame eight-time champions Lyon in the quarterfinals but will face a stern test against a Barcelona side sitting top of the Spanish league with a 100 percent domestic win record.
The second leg will take place in Barcelona on April 27.
German side Wolfsburg will host Arsenal in the other semifinal on Sunday.
A Sam Kerr 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝𝐢𝐞 at Stamford Bridge 😎
— UEFA Women’s Champions League (@UWCL) April 22, 2023
‘They have to win’: Canadian women footballers fight for equality
As the Women’s Champions League semifinals take place this weekend, in Canada the women’s national team are in a fight for equality.
“Now is a turning point,” Carrie Serwetnyk, a former Canadian national team player and the first woman inducted into the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame, told Al Jazeera about the team’s very public battle.
The issues that players on the Canadian women’s team have raised in recent weeks – from a lack of funding for training, staffing and other resources ahead of the World Cup to disparities in pay and opportunity compared with the men’s national team – are not new, Serwetnyk said.
But what is, Serwetnyk said, is the players’ willingness to publicly demand a solution to problems that have been going on for decades. “Having just won the Olympics and qualified for the World Cup and then their funding was cut? That was it for them,” she said.
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Pochettino favourite for Chelsea job after Nagelsmann drops out
Ex-Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino is leading the race to become the next Chelsea manager, after Julian Nagelsmann reportedly dropped out of contention.
Some Spurs fans have been calling for Pochettino to return to the club, which he took to the Champions league final in 2019. However, the Argentinian has reportedly been in talks with their London-rivals Chelsea, who have endured a miserable season and are currently on their third manager of the campaign after sacking Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter.
Interim boss Frank Lampard, who has lost all four matches since being appointed two weeks ago, is still expected to be in charge of the team until the end of the season.
Burnley manager Vincent Kompany is also among the final names under consideration to be appointed Chelsea manager.
Kompany has led Burnley to an immediate return to the Premier League this season and they will be crowned championship winners with victory against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.
NFL suspends five players for violating gambling policy
Three NFL players have been suspended indefinitely for betting on NFL games in the 2022 season, while two other players, including the 12th overall draft pick a year ago, received six-game suspensions for betting on non-NFL games at a league facility.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Quintez Cephus, Lions safety CJ Moore and Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney are sidelined for the entire 2023 season and may petition for reinstatement afterwards.
Lions wide receivers Stanley Berryhill and Jameson Williams each received a six-game suspension, though they will be able to participate in offseason and preseason activities, including preseason games. Their suspensions will start at the final roster cutdown.
The NFL said that a “league review uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way”.
Southampton coach Ruben Selles laments ‘two points dropped’
Southampton manager Ruben Selles could not hide his disappointment after his side twice threw away two goal leads to draw 3-3 away at Premier League leaders Arsenal.
Victory would have lifted Southampton off the foot of the table and taken them to within a point of the safety zone and more importantly given the squad a massive boost of confidence.
“That’s two points dropped, but from me we showed something. For me it also two points dropped, but it is very hard here. I told them they did a fantastic job and we need to continue,” Selles said. “We showed character and we showed what we can do.
“We are proud of the work ethic and that is the way we need to follow from now.”
Arsenal need ‘something miraculous’ to win league, Carragher says
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher said Arsenal needed “something miraculous” if they are to win a first Premier League title since 2004 after they dropped points at home to bottom club Southampton.
Arsenal are five points clear of City, but the champions have two games in hand due to their involvement in the FA Cup semifinals against Sheffield United on Saturday.
They are going to have to do something miraculous now. It is going to have to be really special,” the former Liverpool defender said.
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s striker Gabriel Jesus said the title race was not over, but that they needed to beat Manchester City at the Ettihad on Wednesday.
“Now is the difficult moment. It is time now to stick together until the end,” he said. “We still have a lot of things to do this season. It’s not over, we are still five points clear.
“Manchester City have two games in hand but if we want to be champions we have to go there to win the game – that is all.”
Arsenal’s chance of winning the title, according to data company Gracenote, was 55 percent on March 28 but had dropped to 32 percent before kickoff on Friday, and will have dropped further after the dropped points against Southampton.
Arteta praises players despite Arsenal’s latest slip-up
Arsenal staged an incredible comeback to salvage a 3-3 draw against bottom club Southampton on Friday evening, but the dropped points gave Manchester City the advantage in the Premier League title race.
After throwing away 2-0 leads in its last two games, Mikel Arteta’s side escaped with a point despite trailing 3-1 with just two minutes of normal time left at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal still leads by five points but City has two games in hand and the Gunners need a win against Pep Guardiola’s team at the Etihad on Wednesday to stay in control of their own fate.
“I cannot wait, these are the games you want to play. When everything is at stake you have to go there to win,” Arteta said.
“It is the beauty of this sport, you want to be in these positions. We will have an incredible trip to Manchester and we will prepare really well.”
Arteta said none of his players was “hiding” on Friday and said the fact they managed to salvage a point, and almost snatch a winner, spoke volumes for their spirit.
“This young team reacts in a way that is incredible, when it is against the odds but the chances they created and the spirit they had it was a joy to watch,” Arteta said.
“The message is clear, that I love them.”