Fri, Jul 22, 2016 - Page 16 News List

SPORTS BRIEFS

Agencies

SOCCER

United step up Pogba chase

Manchester United are said to have stepped up their world-record chase for Paul Pogba by reportedly thrashing out a huge financial package with his agent, while the Juventus midfielder eagerly awaits developments in sun-kissed Miami. United coach Jose Mourinho has made Pogba his top transfer target as he bids to make a big impact in his first season at Old Trafford and a record-breaking £100 million (US$130 million) deal looked to have moved closer on Wednesday. British media reported United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward pulled out of the club’s pre-season tour to China to meet Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, when the pair negotiated a prospective five-year contract worth £220,000 per week after tax.

OLYMPICS

hina condemns doping

A top Chinese sports official said the nation has committed to a zero-tolerance stance on doping ahead of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Vice Director of the General Administration of Sports Gao Zhidian yesterday said that Olympics-bound athletes and coaches are required to sign pledges not to cheat, saying violators would be severely punished. Gao said athletes, coaches and team doctors must also pass a written exam on banned substances, with only those scoring 80 percent or higher permitted to go to Rio.

RUGBY UNION

All Blacks impress Carter

The All Blacks’ class of 2016 have “extremely impressed” former flyhalf Dan Carter, who is not surprised by the team’s ability to move on quickly after losing stalwarts to international retirement last year. Steve Hansen’s side lost six veterans, including Carter and captain Richie McCaw, after their successful Rugby World Cup defense, raising suggestions the team would be vulnerable this year. However, the new-look side under captain Kieran Read swept Wales aside 3-0 in the Test series last month and appear as strong as ever leading into next month’s Rugby Championship. “I was extremely impressed, but it is what I expected. They are such a formidable outfit,” Carter told TVNZ yesterday. “I knew they were just going to continue from the success at the World Cup. All the young guys stepped up and I have become a huge fan now. I can sit back and watch them, and have really enjoyed the style of play in June.”

SOCCER

Guardiola loses first match

Pep Guardiola’s reign as Manchester City coach started with a 1-0 defeat in a friendly at his former club Bayern Munich on Wednesday in a game watched by 68,000 spectators. Erdal Ozturk scored the only goal of the game in the 76th minute, although both sides were under-strength at the Allianz Arena, with many of their leading players enjoying longer summer vacations following Euro 2016 and the Copa America Centenario. Belgium defender Vincent Kompany was an unused substitute for City after recovering from thigh surgery that kept him out of the Belgium team at the Euros. “I had a special feeling — it was like coming home once again,” said Guardiola, who has been replaced at Bayern by former Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti.

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