COUPE DE LA LIGUE
Icardi leads PSG to 6-1 win
Mauro Icardi on Wednesday scored a hat-trick as Paris Saint-Germain demolished a depleted AS Saint-Etienne 6-1 to power into the semi-finals of the Coupe de la Ligue. Icardi struck the opening goal inside two minutes at the Parc des Princes before teenage Saint-Etienne defender Wesley Fofana was dismissed for a second booking on the half-hour. PSG ruthlessly capitalized on their man advantage as coach Thomas Tuchel elected to field all four members of his fearsome attacking quartet — Icardi, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel di Maria — against a side decimated by injury and illness. Neymar doubled the lead with a nonchalant chipped finish over goalkeeper Jessy Moulin, who scored a comical own-goal on the stroke of halftime. The hosts bagged a fourth when Mbappe rounded Moulin and cut back for Icardi to add to his tally, and he completed his hat-trick when Mbappe raced clear before selflessly presenting the Argentine with a tap-in. The pair reversed roles for the sixth goal, Icardi controlling superbly and sliding across goal for a lunging Mbappe to turn home from close range. Former PSG midfielder Yohan Cabaye hit a consolation goal for Saint-Etienne. Elsewhere, Olympique Lyonnais battled into the last four with a 3-1 victory at home to Stade Brestois 29, while Luiz Araujo and Victor Osimhen were on target as Lille OSC overcame Amiens SC 2-0.
Leicester, Aston draw 1-1
Brendan Rodgers warned that Leicester City would have to suffer to reach the EFL Cup final after Kelechi Iheanacho’s late goal earned a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa on Wednesday. Rodgers’ side fell behind to Frederic Guilbert’s first-half goal in the semi-final first leg at the King Power Stadium. However, Iheanacho came off the bench to equalize with his sixth goal in eight appearances this season. Leicester will feel they should have won after dominating for long periods, but the team in second place in the Premier League will have to finish the job at Villa Park in the second leg on Jan. 28. The second-leg winners will play Manchester City or Manchester United in the final at Wembley, with City leading 3-1 after their first leg at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
SUPERCOPA DE ESPANA
Kroos shines in Real victory
Toni Kroos on Wednesday scored a wonder goal straight from a corner as Real Madrid beat Valencia 3-1 to reach the final of the controversial Supercopa de Espana in Saudi Arabia. Kroos caught Valencia goalkeeper Jaume Domenech napping with a brilliant, instinctive strike, before Isco made it two and Luka Modric added a classy third from a curling finish with the outside of his foot. After two superb goals, the only shame was that more fans were not there to see them, as the King Abdullah Sports City stadium appeared only a little more than half full. Dani Parejo scored a late Valencia penalty. Barca coach Ernesto Valverde had earlier on Wednesday said that he preferred the traditional format of the competition, which pitted the league champions against the winners of the Copa del Rey in a match in Spain in August. However, it is the new location that has grated most because of the lack of consideration for Spanish fans and the implications of associating with a country that has been heavily criticized for its treatment of women and human rights record.
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on
Growing concern over health standards in e-sports has prompted a new federation to pledge to address the problem, as players fall victim to conditions ranging from wrist injuries to obesity, stress and diabetes. The retirement of top Chinese player Jian Zihao, better known by his gaming handle “Uzi,” sent tremors through the booming sport, whose revenues are predicted to reach US$1.1 billion this year, according to industry analyst Newzoo. The 23-year-old, hailed as an “icon” of the League of Legends game, stepped away from e-sports in June, saying that “chronic stress, obesity, irregular diet, staying up late and other reasons” had given