Norwegian rising star Erling Braut Haaland came off the bench to claim a hat-trick inside 20 minutes on his debut for Borussia Dortmund and inspired a 5-3 comeback win against Augsburg in the Bundesliga on Saturday — despite not being fully fit.
The 19-year-old showed why Dortmund paid Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg 20 million euros (US$22 million) for him last month when he came on in the 56th minute with his new team 3-1 down.
However, Dortmund coach Lucien Favre said that the teen lacks full fitness following a knee knock.
“He didn’t train at all in December, he had an injury, and in our training camp we couldn’t do much for three or four days,” Favre said. “He’s not quite ready to play the 90 minutes and we have another game on Friday” at home against Cologne.
Haaland said he was “pretty relaxed” about his hat-trick and brushed off questions about his fitness, asking: “did I look fit?”
“I’m at a fantastic club with great teammates and good people around me,” he said. “I came here to score goals and it was a good debut for me.”
Dortmund’s victory left them fourth in the table, level on points with defending champions Bayern Munich and Schalke 04, but seven points behind leaders RB Leipzig, who opened a five-point gap at the top with a 3-1 win over Union Berlin.
Elsewhere, Kwon Chang-hoon and Nils Petersen scored SC Freiburg’s goals in a 2-1 win against FSV Mainz 05, while Werder Bremen kept a clean sheet for the first time this season as an own-goal by Florian Kastenmeier secured a 1-0 win against Fortuna Duesseldorf.
Cologne won 3-1 win at home against VfL Wolfsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt beat TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 2-1.
AP and AFP, MILAN, Italy
Ciro Immobile scored a hat-trick on Saturday to help SS Lazio crush UC Sampdoria 5-1 as Simone Inzaghi’s side continued to look like a genuine title contender.
It was a club record-extending 11th straight Serie A win for Lazio and saw them close within three points of leaders Juventus and one behind second-placed Inter.
Lazio will be full of confidence ahead of a tough week. They face Roma in a capital derby this weekend after continuing their defense of the Coppa Italia against SSC Napoli on Wednesday.
“We’ll enjoy this 11th win, but we have to already be thinking about the next matches,” Inzaghi said. “We know what a derby means but I can’t allow myself to think about Roma.”
Napoli fell 2-0 at home against ACF Fiorentina on Saturday, leaving last season’s Serie A runners-up scrambling to save their season as they fell to 13th, closer to relegation than the Champions League.
AP, BARCELONA, Spain
Defensive specialist Casemiro scored his first brace for Real Madrid to ensure a 2-1 home win over Sevilla in La Liga action on Saturday.
Casemiro broke the deadlock for Madrid in the 57th minute when the Brazil midfielder was set up by Luka Jovic.
Sevilla striker Luuk de Jong, who had a goal ruled out by a video review in the first half, leveled in the 64th minute before Casemiro headed the hosts back in front five minutes later.
I’m pleased “not only for the goals, but also for the hard work of all the team against a great rival,” Casemiro said. “It was a typical Madrid-Sevilla [game]. These three points are important.”
The victory lifted Madrid into the lead and three points ahead of second-placed Barcelona, who were to play Granada after press time last night.
Atletico Madrid fell further behind in third place after losing 2-0 to Sociedad Deportiva Eibar.
Deportivo Alaves forward Aleix Vidal scored in the second half to secure a 1-0 win against Levante UD, while Real Valladolid and CA Osasuna drew 0-0.
COUPE DE FRANCE
Two goals and two assists from 16-year-old forward Rayan Cherki helped Olympique Lyonnais win 4-3 against Nantes and reach the last 16 of the Coupe de France on Saturday, while run of JS Saint-Pierroise from the Reunion Island Premier League ended with a 1-0 loss away against SAS Epinal.
Other Ligue 1 winners on Saturday were OGC Nice, Lille OSC, AS Saint-Etienne and RC Strasbourg Alsace.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is buying the Forum for US$400 million, ending the billionaire’s legal fight with Madison Square Garden Co (MSG) and clearing the way to build a new arena for his NBA team down the street in Inglewood, California. Ballmer on Tuesday announced his cash purchase of the venerated arena. Ballmer, a former Microsoft executive, and Clippers vice chairman Dennis Wong are making the transaction through CAPSS LLC, a newly formed entity that would continue to operate the Forum as a live music venue. “This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer said.
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EXPENDITURE: Tokyo Games organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said that ‘additional expenses are going to be quite massive’ to reschedule the Olympics The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is working with sports bodies to arrange a July-to-August window next year for the postponed Tokyo Olympics and hopes to confirm the schedule within a month, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday. John Coates, head of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics, told the newspaper that the Games would have to be held between the tennis Grand Slams of Wimbledon, scheduled to end in mid-July, and the US Open, which starts in late August. “We want to more or less finalize the dates in four weeks’ time,” the newspaper quoted Coates as saying. Coates, who is also
PROUD, BUT BOWING OUT: The Dallas center missed all of 2018 due to Guillain-Barre syndrome, but Travis Frederick returned to be a standout again last season Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick on Monday stunningly announced his retirement. Frederick, who turned 29 on Wednesday last week, was a Pro Bowl selection in five of his six NFL seasons. Frederick revealed his retirement in a lengthy letter, beginning it by writing: “After much consideration, discussion, and reflection, I have decided to retire from football. This was not an easy decision.” Frederick cited his bout with autoimmune disease Guillain-Barre syndrome as a factor. He missed the 2018 season due to the illness in which the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system, but he returned to be a standout again last