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South Korea down China to top group
Abu Dhabi: Son Heung-min made his first and much-awaited AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 appearance on Wednesday as South Korea beat China 2-0 to make it three wins from three and claim top spot in Group C. With both teams already through to the competition’s knockout phase, Son, who arrived in the Emirates earlier this week after being released by Tottenham Hotspur, captained the two-time champions of Asia as goals from Hwang Ui-Jo and
 
 
Lux hat-trick catapults Kyrgyzstan into knockouts
ABU DHABI: A superb hat-trick from Vitalij Lux gave Kyrgyz Republic their first ever AFC Asian Cup win, and booked their place in the knockout stage of the tournament as the Central Asians defeated the Philippines 3-1 at Rashid Stadium on Wednesday. Lux scored once in the first half, and twice in the second to seal a historic, and crucial three points for Alexander Krestinin’s side, who finished third in Group C behind behind
   
Iran stay top after draw game against Iraq
Dubai: Iran sealed top spot in Group D of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 after playing to a 0-0 draw with Iraq on Wednesday. As group winners, Iran will play the third-placed team from either Group B, E or F in Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium on Sunday, while runners-up Iraq will face take the winners of Group E at the Al Nahyan Stadium on Tuesday. Carlos Queiroz made four changes to Iran’s starting lineup, with Alireza
 
 
Federer, Nadal on course; Sharapova, Wozniacki to face off
Melbourne: Roger Federer ground out a tough three-set win to make the Australian Open third round for an incredible 20th straight year Wednesday, with long-time rival Rafael Nadal also safely through in his drive towards an 18th Grand Slam title. Women’s defending champion Caroline Wozniacki also progressed to set up a mouth-watering clash next with in-form former world number one Maria Sharapova. But it was curtains for South
   
Signing Hernandez this January unrealistic, says Bayern director
Berlin: Bayern Munich’s sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic says Atletico Madrid defender Lucas Hernandez is unlikely to join the German champions this January as they look to replace their ageing squad with younger talent. Bayern, who trail Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund by six points, kick-off the second half of the German league season at Hoffenheim on Friday and have targeted Hernandez to beef up their defence in the
 
 
Emery confident he will be given time to rebuild Arsenal
London: Unai Emery believes he will be handed the time necessary to “get Arsenal back to where the club deserves to be” despite a recent slump threatening the Gunners’ chances of a return to the Champions League. After a 22-game unbeaten run between August and December, Arsenal have lost three of their last six Premier League matches to fall six points behind Chelsea in the battle for a top-four finish. However, the Spaniard is
   
Newcastle survive Blackburn scare
London: Newcastle survived an FA Cup scare at Blackburn as they blew a two-goal lead before hitting back to win 4-2 after extra time in Tuesday’s third-round replay. Rafael Benitez sent out an under-strength line-up featuring eight changes from Newcastle’s 2-1 defeat at Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday. The stand-ins made a fast start when Sean Longstaff scored his first goal for Newcastle. The 21-year-old found the
 
 
Bernardo welcomes return of Man.City big guns
London: Bernardo Silva says Manchester City’s squad is approaching full strength at the right time as they mount a four-pronged trophy assault Kevin De Bruyne and Benjamin Mendy have missed large chunks of the campaign through injury, while David Silva, Fernandinho, Sergio Aguero and Ilkay Gundogan have had spells out recently. But the Premier League champions are now getting close to full strength, with Mendy the only key
   
Spurs star Kane out until March with ankle injury
London: Tottenham striker Harry Kane will be sidelined until March after suffering ankle ligament damage in Sunday’s defeat against Manchester United. Kane sustained the injury to his left ankle in the closing moments of the 1-0 loss at Wembley and scans have now confirmed the extent of the problem. It is the third successive season the England captain has missed games due to an ankle injury. “Following preliminary
 
 
Leeds probed by EFL over spying scandal
LONDON: The English Football League launched a formal investigation on Tuesday after Derby County complained that Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa sent a spy to the club’s training ground last week. The incident happened the day before the Championship clubs met at Elland Road, a game which Leeds won 2-0. The EFL have now written to Leeds requesting their observations after the Yorkshire club apologised to Derby and reminded
   
Scotland name seven new caps for Six Nations
Edinburgh: Head coach Gregor Townsend has named seven uncapped players in his 39-man Scotland squad for the Six Nations, which starts next month. Three hookers — Edinburgh’s David Cherry, Leicester’s Jake Kerr and Grant Stewart of Glasgow — have been handed call-ups following injuries to Fraser Brown and George Turner. They are joined by Newcastle back-row Gary Graham, Glasgow’s tighthead prop D’Arcy Rae and centre Sam Johnson,
 
 
Kanu laments ‘saddest day’ of life after medals vanish
Abuja: Nwankwo Kanu said on Tuesday that he had suffered the “saddest day” of his life after finding out every medal won by the former Arsenal and Nigeria star had vanished from a Lagos property of his. Speaking to online outlet The Cable, Kanu lamented the “rude shock” of learning that a host of cherished keepsakes earned over his football career had disappeared from a Lagos property that is at the centre of a long-running
   
Kohli wants India to be superpower in Test cricket
Melbourne: Virat Kohli added another feather to his cap after becoming the first ever India skipper to win a Test series on Australian soil. However, the 30-year-old wants to take Indian cricket to much greater heights. Kohli has shared his vision for the Indian team, saying he wants his nation to be a superpower in the longest format of the game. “I wouldn’t say goal but I would rather speak of a vision, which is for India to
 
 
Bravo and Joseph recalled by WI for England series
Barbados: Darren Bravo could play his first Test for the West Indies in over two years after the experienced top-order batsman was recalled Tuesday for next week’s series opener against England in Barbados. Bravo hasn’t featured in a Test since a tour of the UAE in October 2016, but the 29-year-old returned to the international fold late last year as part of the one-day squad. Fast bowler Alzarri Joseph also earned a recall
   
Pandya refuses to step out of home, says father
New Delhi: All-rounder Hardik Pandya’s father said on Wednesday that his son has become a social recluse and has refused to step out of his home or attend phone calls ever since he was forced return from the Australia tour due to his controversial comments on a television talk show. Pandya and top order batsman Lokesh Rahul were asked to go home from the three-ODI series against Australia after being suspended for their comments
 
 
Stephens out to improve ‘terrible’ Oz Open record
Melbourne: Fifth seed Sloane Stephens said she was desperate to improve her “terrible” Australian Open record after advancing to the third round at Melbourne Park on Wednesday. The American has endured a horror run since reaching the semi-final in 2013, exiting in the first round in 2015, 2016 and 2018, then also missing 2017 with a foot injury. But she was hopeful her fortunes were improving after posting a second round 6-3, 6-
   
Barty enjoying taste of Open success
Melbourne: Local hope Ash Barty maintained her red-hot form to reach the Australian Open third round on Wednesday, revealing she enjoys the same qualities in her tennis as she does in her coffee. “Short and strong, that’s all I need,” the 15th seed said when questioned about her beverage preferences after a dominant 6-2, 6-3 win over China’s Wang Yafan. The Australian is currently among the standout players on the women’s tour,
 
 
Murray could be saved by metal implant: Bryan
Melbourne: American doubles legend Bob Bryan gave Andy Murray a ray of hope on Wednesday, saying he believes the former world number one could make a comeback after major hip surgery. “I personally think he can do it,” said Bryan, who was talking after enjoying a winning comeback in his first Grand Slam doubles since undergoing his own hip replacement surgery last summer. Murray bowed out of the Australian Open on Monday for
   
Warriors set new record in victory over Nuggets
Los Angeles: The reigning champion Golden State Warriors amassed an NBA record 51 first-quarter points Tuesday on the way to a 142-111 win over Denver in a duel for the Western Conference lead. The Warriors moved half a game ahead of the Nuggets atop the West, seizing control with a blistering opening period that included 10 three-pointers — a franchise record for a first quarter. They broke the previous league record for first-
 
 
Ariya ready as LPGA season opens in Florida
Miami: World number one Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand will try to follow up on a season where she swept the awards when the 2019 LPGA campaign tees off Thursday in Florida. The Tournament of Champions at Lake Buena Vista features celebrities and winners from last season in a new event, but the 23-year-old from Bangkok comes in as a favorite after taking a break with family on the beaches of southern Thailand. “(I) feel a little
   
Loeb claims Dakar stage, Attiyah close to overall win
Paris: French veteran Sebastien Loeb powered to a fourth win of the 2019 Dakar Rally in the Peruvian dunes on Tuesday with Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah closing in on overall victory by coming second. Despite a flat tyre at top speed in the opening kilometres, Peugeot’s Loeb clinched the San Juan de Marco to Pisco stage with a margin of 7min 27sec on the Qatari in his Toyota, with the Pole Jakub Przygonski third at 15min 15sec.
 
 
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