Man Utd, Chelsea, Everton enjoy Cup wins


Super-sub Bruno Fernandes’ fantastic free kick secured Manchester United’s 3-2 FA Cup fourth-round victory over bitter rivals Liverpool as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer enjoyed his first triumph against Jurgen Klopp’s men.

Earlier on Sunday, Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham grabbed a hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Championship side Luton Town at a snowy Stamford Bridge to also book their place in the fifth round.

Top-flight sides Leicester City, who came back from a goal down to beat second-tier Brentford 3-1, and Burnley, who were grateful for Jay Rodriguez’s double in a 3-0 win at Fulham, also progressed.

Everton dispatched Sheffield Wednesday by the same score at Goodison Park thanks to Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Yerry Mina goals.

A week on from a tense goalless draw at Anfield between the Premier League leaders and reigning champions, all eyes were on Old Trafford as United’s home hosted a far more entertaining encounter between these old foes.

Mohamed Salah’s fine opener was cancelled out by Mason Greenwood in an entertaining first half.

Marcus Rashford coolly then put United ahead after the break only for Salah to level with his second, setting up a grandstand finish in which star man Fernandes came off the bench to score a superb free kick winner, his 28th goal for United since his debut last February.

“When you leave him out like I did today, he stayed about 45 minutes after training yesterday shooting free kicks so I was pretty confident he could score one if he got the chance,” United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whose side have lost only once since exiting the Champions League in early December, said.

A home clash against West Ham is the reward for United, who Solskjaer led to victory against Liverpool at the fifth time of asking – 22 years to the day after he scored the winner against them at the same stage of the competition.

Defeat made this the fifth time in six seasons that the Reds had failed to progress beyond the fourth round under Klopp.

At Stamford Bridge, Abraham scored his first Chelsea hat-trick, netting in the 11th, 17th and 74th minutes.

“Great to score a hat-trick and win the game so comfortably,” Abraham said.

“It is always nice to get a win and play well. Hopefully we will take that confidence on.”

Leicester, who were without striker Jamie Vardy due to a hernia, were stunned in the seventh minute when Danish defender Mads Sorensen put Brentford ahead.

But second-half goals from Cengiz Under, Youri Tielemans, from the penalty spot, and James Maddison saw the Foxes through to face Brighton & Hove Albion in an all-Premier League tie.

Rodriguez’s double, plus a goal from Kevin Long, earned Burnley a meeting with either fourth-tier League Two side Crawley Town or Bournemouth.

DRAW FOR THE FA CUP FIFTH ROUND

Manchester United v West Ham United

Barnsley v Chelsea

Swansea City v Manchester City

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Southampton

Sheffield United v Bristol City

Leicester City v Brighton & Hove Albion

Burnley v Bournemouth or Crawley Town

Everton v Wycombe Wanderers or Tottenham Hotspur.

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Stan Sport price set with Shute Shield, Hospital Cup next priority


Stan Sport has settled on a price for its sport package as the launch date for the new home of rugby nears.

Sources with knowledge of Stan’s pricing discussions say the streaming company will charge a supplementary fee of about $10 a month for access to its sports package, which includes every Wallabies Test, Super Rugby, Shute Shield, the Hospital Cup, Mitre 10 and the Currie Cup, as well as tennis grand slams Wimbledon and the French Open.

Rugby fans will be able to watch every match of the season live on Stan Sport.Credit:Getty Images

To access the sports package, fans must also have a subscription to Stan’s main non-sport streaming service. Given the cheapest main-service subscription is $10, the total cost for access to Stan Sport will be about $20 per month.

Stan, which is owned by Nine Entertainment, publisher of this masthead, settled on the cost after price-sensitivity testing.

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Diamonds to face Silver Ferns in NZ as Constellation Cup resumes


New Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich will take charge of the side for her first tour and will lead a four-day ‘pre-embarkation’ camp starting on February 11 at a yet to be decided location where the players will need to be passed as fit and healthy to travel on February 15 to begin quarantine.

“Whilst the environment surrounding this tournament is unique, our team are working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that our squad will be as prepared as they possibly can be to take on the Silver Ferns coming out of two weeks quarantine,” Marinkovich said.

Caitlin Bassett of Australia is challenged by Karin Burger of New Zealand during the 2019 Constellation Cup match between the Australian Diamonds and the New Zealand Silver Ferns at Qudos Bank Arena on October 20, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. Credit:Getty Images

“I feel confident that we will embrace each challenge and experience as we look to learn, evolve and build towards our marquee events. The Diamonds are absolute professionals in their approach and they’re now fully focused on preparing the body, mind and team for the upcoming series.

“In bringing the entire squad into a camp prior to our departure to New Zealand, we will bring our game plan to life on court and build on our connections prior to the team having to move into quarantine, and the final week leading into the first match will let us really refine that approach and ensure we’re ready for game one.”

NA general manager of performance Stacey West said the players were ready for the new challenges after facing quarantine and other challenges during the Super Netball hub season in Queensland last year.

“Our players, through Super Netball in 2020, have learnt to be agile and adaptable and this tour will be no different,” West said.

“We will look at innovative ways to prepare to take on our biggest rival in what has been a long-awaited encounter.

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“We have a new-look squad and staffing panel and we’re confident this tour is going to be a great first stepping stone that will allow us to explore our capabilities and strengths as we move towards our pinnacle events in the 2022 Commonwealth Games and the 2023 Netball World Cup.”

The Constellation Cup will be broadcast on either Channel Nine or 9Gem along with the Netball Live app with broadcast information still to be confirmed.

Constellation Cup March 2021

First test – Christchurch Arena, March 2

Second test – Christchurch Arena, March 3

Third test – Trustpower Baypark, Tauranga, March 6

Fourth test – Trustpower Baypark, Tauranga, March 7

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Socceroos coach Graham Arnold seeks government help to play home World Cup qualifiers in 2021


FIFA ruled last year that clubs could block players from leaving for international duty if they were are due to play in a country with an enforced quarantine period of five days or more. Football Australia expects that rule will apply again in 2021, making it impossible for Arnold to call upon star players like Mathew Ryan, Aaron Mooy and Awer Mabil, who play for clubs in Europe and Asia.

In anticipation of exemptions being denied in March, Football Australia’s contingency plan is to postpone the Kuwait game until June.

Graham Arnold didn’t coach a single Socceroos match in 2020 but will tackle a backlog of World Cup qualifiers this year.Credit:Getty

The AFC has added another week to the June international window, when the Socceroos are due to play two more home games against Chinese Taipei and Jordan. The federation is warming to the idea of adding Kuwait as a third and brokering a deal with a state government to play them all in one region.

With the Matildas also expected to be in Australia at the same time to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics, that month could bring a feast of international football for action-starved fans.

By then, Football Australia is hopeful that vaccine distribution will make it easier to gain the necessary approvals for teams to enter and exit the country, with nine of their next 14 World Cup qualifiers on the road to Qatar 2022 due to be played on home soil.

The only other alternative, which Arnold is desperate to avoid, is being forced to play all those home games in a neutral country.

Arnold said football was “unique” in Australian sport because in other codes like cricket, rugby league and rugby union, almost all national team players live here – but the vast majority of Socceroos and Matildas players ply their trade at overseas clubs.

“Our players live overseas, play overseas, and we would like to work with government to find a way to get them back into the country for them to be able to represent Australia,” Arnold said.

“We don’t want to have to host our home games in neutral territories. Home games are important, not only for the players – who haven’t been able to play in front of fans, family or friends – but for the supporters and for the brand of the Socceroos and Matildas.

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“We are going to need the government’s help to make this happen and help us get to the World Cup. We know how big World Cup qualification is. We need to work together and see if we can make it work.”

It’s been 430 days since the Socceroos’ last match away to Jordan in November 2019. By the start of March, it will be the longest break between games for the national team since 1964 – a year after Australia was re-admitted to FIFA following a five-year suspension from the world governing body.

Top of Group B after four wins from four qualifiers in 2019, the Socceroos are close to sealing their spot in the next stage of the process, which will begin later this year.

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Australia up to host mini rugby World Cup


Cash-strapped Rugby Australia has thrown up the prospect of hosting a mini World Cup during the Southern Hemisphere winter in what would be a huge boost to rugby-starved fans.

With France due to tour Australia in July and the Rugby Championship featuring South Africa, Argentina, and NZ set to go ahead in 2021, the prospect of a mini World Cup doesn’t seem far fetched.

RA chairman Hamish McLennan plans to ask other nations to also join, with the proposed tournament to run in parallel with the Rugby Championship.

“We are still expecting the Rugby Championship to go ahead this year but perhaps we can add to it and create a mini World Cup,” McLennan told the Financial Times.

“We have the French (coming) in July but if anyone else wants to come out, great. We have a significant British and Irish population here and South Africans. We are open to creating a new tournament and keeping the international calendar going.”

South Africa didn’t make it to Australia in 2020 for the Rugby Championship due to player welfare concerns and logistical difficulties.

It remains unclear whether the world champions are definite starters for this year’s edition.

European and South African rugby calendars remain up in the air due to the growing spread of COVID-19.

Australia has been one of the best countries in the world at handling the pandemic, and the prospect of sizeable crowds at international rugby matches has the potential to generate much-needed income for the sport.

The next official rugby World Cup will be held in France in 2023.





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Sailing: Top Gun on water with flight key to America’s Cup fight



FILE PHOTO: A rainbow appears on the Auckland skyline featuring Sky Tower in New Zealand, July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Reed/File Photo

January 15, 2021

By Alexander Smith

(Reuters) – Kitted out more like fighter jet pilots than sailors, three crews from Britain, Italy and the United States begin a series of dog fights this week to claim the Prada Cup in New Zealand.

At stake for INEOS Team UK, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team and New York Yacht Club American Magic is the chance to challenge Emirates Team New Zealand for the 36th America’s Cup.

While the America’s Cup may be the oldest trophy in international sport it has always been a design-led race, with the AC75 class of “foiling” monohulls which the teams have developed for this event now at the cutting edge of engineering.

Critical to how the teams fare in the Prada Cup, which begins off Auckland on Friday to decide on who gets to challenge the Kiwis in March, is how they “fly” the futuristic craft.

The AC75s lift out of the water on hydrofoils and have already hit nearly 50 knots (93 kilometres per hour), testing the limits of their 11-man crew and making helmets, body armour and emergency breathing apparatus essential to safety.

Racing was curtailed in 2020 by the coronavirus pandemic, but a short December World Series event which included the defenders gave a glimpse of how tight the two-boat battles might be as teams hone sails, hulls and foils to eke out extra speed.

Although the home team won overall they were beaten once by American Magic, led by veteran Terry Hutchinson, who came second and go into the Prada Cup as favourites ahead of Max Sirena’s Luna Rossa and INEOS Team UK.

The British had a disastrous series aboard Britannia, wrestling with technical problems which prevented them from finishing some races and meant they were at times much slower.

“It’s a development game,” skipper Ben Ainslie said after losing to the Kiwis, and in a series of practice races this week the British have shown much improved boat speed and stability.

The Prada Cup runs from Jan. 15, when American Magic race INEOS Team UK in the first encounter, to Feb. 22 and is followed by the America’s Cup itself from March 6 to March 15.

(This story corrects spelling of Hutchinson in paragraph 7)

(Reporting by Alexander Smith; Editing by Toby Davis)



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Stockport County 0-1 West Ham: Craig Dawson scores only goal in FA Cup third-round tie


West Ham moved into the fourth round of the FA Cup as they battled past National League side Stockport County.

Said Benrahma nearly grabbed his first Hammers goal in the sixth minute but his shot hit the foot of the post.

With the match played in heavy rain, chances were at a premium before Craig Dawson headed in from Jarrod Bowen’s cross late on for the winning goal.

The Hammers will play at home to League One side Doncaster Rovers in round four over the weekend of 23-24 January.

The winners of that tie will then be away at Manchester United or Liverpool – currently second and first respectively in the Premier League – in the fifth round.

Stockport’s defeat means Chorley of the National League North, who beat a Derby County side that had to use members of their Under-23s because of Covid-19 cases involving the first team, are the only non-league outfit left in the competition.

David Moyes named a strong side and his team dominated possession in the first half but could not break down a resolute home defence.

As a result of the coronavirus restrictions, there were no fans in attendance at Edgeley Park, although there was a brief stoppage early on when a large number of fireworks were let off close to the ground.

A firework display close to Edgeley Park lit up the first half

However, there was little sparkle on the pitch as the Hammers were largely restricted to long-range efforts, with Andriy Yarmolenko, Benrahma, Michail Antonio and Declan Rice all shooting wide, while Stockport failed to have a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes.

Indeed, Manuel Lanzini’s strike straight at home goalkeeper Ben Hinchliffe in the 33rd minute was the only first-half effort on target – the lowest number in all of this season’s FA Cup third-round matches.

The game was played in torrential rain with the ball repeatedly holding up in the puddles on the pitch after the break.

England midfielder Rice tried to stamp a bit of quality on proceedings with a fine run from the halfway line before he was crowded out by Stockport defenders in the penalty area.

Stockport, fourth in the National League and 86 places below their opponents, were reliant on set-pieces, although the deliveries repeatedly frustrated boss Jim Gannon, who was taking charge of his 501st game over three spells with the Hatters.

As the rain continued to lash down, John Rooney, brother of former England captain Wayne, got into a good position but could only send the ball into West Ham goalkeeper Darren Randolph’s hands.

The breakthrough moment came in the 82nd minute when West Ham played a short corner and Dawson met Bowen’s cross to head the Hammers into round four.

Craig Dawson
Craig Dawson’s goal was his first for West Ham

Dawson ends long wait for another FA Cup goal – the stats

  • West Ham have progressed from all eight of their FA Cup ties against non-league sides when they were a league side at the time.
  • Stockport County have been eliminated from each of their last four third-round ties in the FA Cup, last progressing in January 2001 against Preston North End.
  • West Ham manager David Moyes has progressed from each of his four FA Cup ties against non-league sides.
  • Stockport have lost their last six FA Cup ties against top-flight opponents, last knocking out a top-flight team back in January 1994 when they beat QPR.
  • West Ham’s Craig Dawson scored his first FA Cup goal since netting for Rochdale versus FC United of Manchester in November 2010, 10 years and 67 days ago.

‘The lads did really well’ – what they said

Stockport manager Jim Gannon, speaking to BT Sport: “The players are disappointed but I think is that not a testimony to how they played?

“West Ham had lots of possession but the lads did really well. They gave a chance of getting a goal and possibly winning the game with the opportunities we had. But it was always a stretch for us but the performance showed we are a cut above this level [National League].

“We were disappointed with a couple of aspects of our game – set-pieces for example – because we thought we had the opportunities to score. We expected them to up the game but I think we contained and managed them quite well. We tried to play them and tried to play our game, so we showed what we were about.

“We are still a team that are growing together, trying to mix my coaching principles and their qualities and I think you saw that tonight.

“The club is going the right way. There is a lot to take out of this tonight. It’s been tough year for everyone this year but we want go one better than last year and go for the play-offs and hopefully promotion.”

West Ham assistant manager Alan Irvine said: “The main thing is we’re through and we were pleased with the way the players went about things.

“One of the big worries about these kind of ties is your players think it might be a bit easier than we knew it was going to be, so we were pleased with the attitude.

“Our football up until the final third was good but we didn’t penetrate enough against a very well organised, hard-working and disciplined Stockport defence.

“I did feel we needed to start putting some crosses into the box, because we’d been sliding things through a very compact defence.

“The goal came from one cross that led to a corner then another cross that obviously led to a fantastic header.

“We weren’t worried about the attitude but we were looking at extra time, that was becoming a possibility. It would have meant playing on in even more difficult conditions – for both teams, not just for us.”

What’s next?

West Ham return to Premier League action when they entertain Burnley on Saturday, 16 January (15:00 GMT), while Stockport play at home to Notts County in the second round of the FA Trophy at the same time.

Line-ups

Stockport

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Hinchliffe
  • 2MinihanSubstituted forPalmerat 86′minutes
  • 16Keane
  • 4Hogan
  • 14Kitching
  • 18Croasdale
  • 6Maynard
  • 10JenningsSubstituted forSoutham-Halesat 82′minutes
  • 8RooneySubstituted forHinchyat 86′minutes
  • 11WilliamsSubstituted forThomasat 86′minutes
  • 19ReidSubstituted forBennettat 62′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Jennings
  • 5Palmer
  • 7Thomas
  • 9Bennett
  • 15Stott
  • 17Southam-Hales
  • 21Barnes
  • 22Gilmour
  • 27Hinchy

West Ham

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 35Randolph
  • 5Coufal
  • 15Dawson
  • 21Ogbonna
  • 31JohnsonSubstituted forCresswellat 73′minutes
  • 16Noble
  • 41Rice
  • 7YarmolenkoSubstituted forBowenat 68′minutes
  • 10LanziniSubstituted forSoucekat 68′minutes
  • 9BenrahmaSubstituted forFornalsat 90′minutes
  • 30AntonioSubstituted forOdubekoat 90′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Cresswell
  • 14Alves
  • 18Fornals
  • 20Bowen
  • 28Soucek
  • 34Trott
  • 37Holland
  • 45Odubeko
  • 75Baptiste

Live Text

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Ski World Cup Tommy Ford crash video, injury update


American skier Tommy Ford was airlifted to hospital after crashing in a World Cup giant slalom on the weekend.

Ford crashed three gates from the finish after going wide into rough snow beside the course. His skis touched and he fell forward, sliding down the hill first on his neck and left shoulder.

The United States ski team later said Ford’s “head and neck injuries are minor and resolving nicely. He has a knee injury that is undergoing further evaluation”.

EuroSport later reported Ford had broken his leg and was out for the season.

Ford knocked over a course-side worker before coming to a stop close to safety nets beside the finish. He initially lay still with his face against the snow though was soon conscious and talking with medical staff.

A helicopter landed by the course 20 minutes later to airlift the 31-year-old racer, who is from Bend, Oregon.

Ford has one giant slalom win and two more podium finishes in 12 seasons on the World Cup circuit. He wore bib No. 4 on Saturday as one of the top-ranked racers after top-10 finishes in his past four starts.

Ford will miss next month’s world championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

– New York Post



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Premier League side Leeds suffer shock Cup loss, dream ends for Marine


So, the dream is over for Marine, though a match broadcast live in 40 territories worldwide will be a huge money-spinner and potential life-changer for a tiny club from England’s north-west whose world has been turned upside down amid a pandemic that prevented any fans from attending the biggest game in its history.

For Crawley, the road to Wembley Stadium is still very much open, with the dominant win over Leeds proving a fairytale moment for one of its late substitutes, in particular.

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho watches on directly below a fan watching from outside the ground during Spurs’ 5-0 FA Cup win over Marine.Credit:Getty

Summing up the “magic of the Cup” — a phrase often trotted out at the third-round stage of the competition when the country’s top teams enter — was the sight of Mark Wright coming on for Crawley in the final minutes for his debut in professional soccer.

The 33-year-old Wright has taken part in reality TV shows The Only Way Is Essex, I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! and Strictly Come Dancing but has continued to pursue his dream of becoming a footballer, and joined Crawley last month on a non-contract basis in a move that is being documented in a BBC program.

For some, Wright’s late showing summed up a triumph of perseverance. For others, it simply capped a humiliating day for Leeds and its widely admired Argentine manager, Marcelo Bielsa, whose record in three seasons in the FA Cup reads: played three, lost three.

“He was very complimentary afterward,” Crawley manager John Yems said of Bielsa, “but I suppose when you lose 3-0, you can’t be anything but.”

Crawley Town players surround Jordan Tunnicliffe after the side's third goal against Leeds United.

Crawley Town players surround Jordan Tunnicliffe after the side’s third goal against Leeds United.Credit:AP

Among the scorers for Crawley was Nick Tsaroulla, who was released by Tottenham after being involved in a car crash in 2017 that led to him being out of football for a year. After some time at Brentford, Tsaroulla is making his way in the game at Crawley and was in tears after the full-time whistle having scored his first senior goal.

There were no such fairytales in the games involving Chelsea and Manchester City, who dealt much better with lower-league opposition — albeit at home.

Timo Werner scored for the first time in 13 games to help Chelsea to a 4-0 win over fourth-tier Morecambe. Kai Havertz, another Germany international struggling for form, also netted at Stamford Bridge.

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City manager Pep Guardiola fielded a strong team — including star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne — and was rewarded with a 3-0 win over second-tier Birmingham, with Bernardo Silva scoring the first two goals.

Sergio Aguero was expected to start for City but the striker had to miss the game because he was in isolation after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

Elsewhere, Barnsley beat Tranmere 2-0 while Bristol City were too good for Portsmouth, running out 2-1 winners, and Cheltenham beat Mansfield Town by the same scoreline.

On Saturday, sixth-tier Chorley eliminated second-tier Derby and Premier League team West Bromwich Albion was ousted by third-division Blackpool.

AP

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Premier League Leeds suffer shock 3-0 FA Cup loss to fourth-tier Crawley


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The third came when Nadesan’s low drive was saved by Casilla at close-range but Jordan Tannicliffe pounced to smash the ball home.

Chelsea cruise to victory

Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount scored on his 22nd birthday as Frank Lampard’s side eased to a 4-0 victory over fourth-tier Morecambe.

Mount gave Chelsea an early lead at Stamford Bridge with a fierce shot from 25 yards, leaving Morecambe goalkeeper Mark Halstead with no chance.

Chelsea striker Timo Werner scored his first goal in two months with a simple tap-in from Kai Havertz’s knockdown shortly before halftime.

Callum Hudson-Odoi and Havertz also got their names on the scoresheet in the second half as Chelsea secured their first win in four games in all competitions.

Manchester City beat Birmingam City

Bernardo Silva scored two goals and Phil Foden another as Manchester City strolled to a 3-0 win over second-tier Birmingham City in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday.

Portuguese midfielder Silva scored his first goal at the Etihad Stadium in over a year when he fired the ball into the top corner in the eighth minute after Birmingham defender George Friend failed to clear.

Silva doubled City’s lead seven minutes later, finishing off a brilliant team move with a simple tap-in and Foden made it 3-0 before the break with a low strike from outside the box.

Riyad Mahrez thought he had added City’s fourth around the hour-mark when he slotted in at the back post, but the goal was disallowed after the Algerian was ruled to have been offside.

Elsewhere, Barnsley beat Tranmere 2-0 and Bristol City were too good for Portsmouth, running out 2-1 winners.

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