Ajax close on the leaders
Teenager Viktor Fischer scored a first-half brace to inspire hosts Ajax to a 3-0 win over archrivals Feyenoord in the Dutch league on Sunday. With the top two slipping up this weekend, when leaders Twente were held to a goalless draw by RKC Waalwijk and second-placed PSV Eindhoven lost 3-1 to PEC Zwolle, Ajax were able to capitalize, despite ending their match with 10 men. The victory literally brought the house down as there were dramatic scenes in the dying minutes when substitutes and coaches ran on to the pitch to avoid being covered by a huge amount of snow that suddenly crashed through the stadium’s roof. The victory put Ajax level with PSV on 40 points from 19 games and one point behind Twente. Feyenoord stay fourth on 37 points, two above Vitesse, who suffered a 4-1 defeat at AZ on Saturday. Utrecht are sixth with 33 points following a 2-0 win at Groningen, with Alexander Gerndt and Mike van der Hoorn on target.
SC Braga thump Vitoria
SC Braga beat visiting Vitoria de Setubal 4-1 on Sunday to tighten their grip on third place in the Portuguese league. Braga remain seven points behind SL Benfica and Porto, level at the top of the standings, with their ninth win in 15 games. Marcio Mossoro put the hosts ahead with an opening goal just seconds into the game. Custodio then doubled Braga’s advantage with a header two minutes into first-half stoppage-time. Ruben Amorim made it 3-0 for Braga in the 58th minute. Jorginho Sousa got Vitoria their consolation goal in the 87th, one minute before midfielder Ruben Micael capped the win for Braga. Braga’s Paulo Vinicius was shown a red card in the 90th minute.
Olympiakos extend lead
Olympiakos caretaker coach Antonis Nikopolidis celebrated his first match in charge of the champions with a 2-0 win at home to PAS Giannina in the Super League on Sunday. The 42-year-old former Greece and Olympiakos goalkeeper took over on an interim basis following the sudden departure of Leonardo Jardim on Saturday. Goals from striker Rafik Djebbour and winger Djamel Abdoun either side of halftime enabled the hosts to extend their lead at the top over PAOK to 13 points after the Black and Whites lost 1-0 at PAE Asteras Tripolis the previous day. “Tonight, I had more anxiety to be honest than when I made my debut as a player,” Nikopolidis told reporters. “As a player I have international experience and it was not so difficult to find my feet, but it’s a completely different thing to be a coach — nonetheless, I think I can do it.” In Sunday’s late game, Antonis Petropoulos headed home in stoppage-time to rescue a point for AEK in an ill-tempered 1-1 draw at Aris in which both teams were reduced to nine men.
Galatasaray sign Sneijder
Inter’s Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder signed for Galatasaray on Sunday for a fee believed to be in the region of 7.5 million euros (US$10 million), the Istanbul side announced. Playmaker Sneijder penned a three-and-a-half-year deal which will keep him at Galatasaray until 2016 as the drawn-out transfer saga was finally completed. The Gazzetta dello Sport reported that the player would earn about 5 million euros a season. Sneijder was a key figure in the treble winning season under Jose Mourinho in 2010 when Inter won the scudetto, the Coppa Italia and their first UEFA Champions League trophy since 1965, but he fell out with the club after Inter asked him to accept a reduction in salary and extend his contract to 2016.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017