Defending champion Arsenal moved five points clear in the Premier League title race with a 3-1 beating of Aston Villa on Saturday as second place Chelsea tumbled 1-0 at Manchester City \nThe Gunners now have eight victories from nine Premier League games this season. It also stretched the Gunners' record unbeaten league streak to 49 games and next up is Manchester United. \nBy contrast, Chelsea lost its unbeaten record and the culprit was former Arsenal star Nicolas Anelka, who stroked home an 11th minute penalty at the City of Manchester Stadium. It was only the second league goal conceded by Jose Mourinho's Blues but it cost them. \n"The game is over. They got the three points and we go home with zero, but we have to accept it. But we deserved more," Mourinho said after his first loss in English soccer. \nThe former PC Porto coach said he did not think the foul by Paulo Ferreira on Anelka was a penalty because it happened outside the area. \n"I think the penalty's not a penalty, because I think [Ferreira's] not at fault and, if he's at fault, he's outside the box," Mourinho said. \n"I think the referee's too far away to see. The referee is not magic so he stays 50m away from the spot, but he points to the penalty spot very easily." \nA serious knee injury to Chinese defender Sun Jihai took much of the gloss of City's victory which moved Kevin Keegan's team up two places to 10th. \nLee Hendrie stunned the Gunners fans at Highbury with an early strike for a Villa side coached by former Arsenal hero David O'Leary. But Pires leveled from the penalty spot before Thierry Henry put the Gunners ahead and then set up the third for his countryman. \nIn the best fightback of the day, Liverpool rallied from two goals down to win 4-2 at Fulham even down to 10-men after the ejection of defender Josemi for two yellow cards. \nAfter Luis Boa Morte had given Fulham a two-goal lead at Craven Cottage, Rafael Benitez' team hit back with goals by Milan Baros, Xabi Alonso, Igor Biscan after an own goal by Cottagers' defender Zat Knight. \nWhat Alex Ferguson would have given for one. \nManchester United slipped two places to sixth and surrendered two more points in its title challenge after a 0-0 tie with a Birmingham City side coached by former United defensive star Steve Bruce. \nUnited failed to take any of its chances at St. Andrews despite playing for the last half hour with four strikers on the field. \nAlthough United made it eight league games without a loss, five of those matches have been tied and Ferguson's team, with 14 points from nine games, remains 11 behind leader Arsenal. \nFerguson decided to take 18-year-old Wayne Rooney off the starting lineup after the teenager's busy recent schedule since a four-month injury layoff. When he went on as a second half substitute, United had four strikers on the field -- Ruud van Nistelrooy, Louis Saha, Alan Smith and Rooney. \nBolton edged last place Crystal Palace 1-0 thanks to a header by Kevin Davies to return to fourth place while a hat-trick by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink helped Middlesbrough win 4-0 at Blackburn and move up to fifth. \nScottish League \nBrazilian World Cup star Juninho scored his first goal in Celtic colors on Saturday as Martin O'Neill's men beat Hearts 3-0 to move eight points clear of Rangers in the Scottish title race. \nHenri Camara volleyed Celtic ahead four minutes before half time before Juninho, signed from Middlesbrough in July, swapped passes with John Hartson to score the second in the 57th. After teenage Celtic 'keeper David Marshall had saved a Steven Pressley penalty, Welsh international Hartson added the third eight minutes from the end and O'Neill's defending champion team now has eight victories and a tie from nine outings for a total of 25 points out of a possible 27. \nSpanish League \nPortugal midfielder Deco scored an early goal Saturday to help leader FC Barcelona edge crosstown rival Espanyol 1-0 and maintain its spectacular start in the Spanish league. \nUnbeaten Barcelona, which has won six of its last seven matches at Espanyol's Lluis Companys Olympic Stadium, is five points head of second-place Valencia, which was hosting third-place Sevilla today. \nAlso, struggling Real Madrid needed Ronaldo's 66th-minute equalizer to earn a 1-1 draw against Real Betis. \nRonaldo, who scored two goals for Brazil last weekend in a World Cup qualifying match at Venezuela, got his first goal for Madrid since the season opener against Mallorca. Ricardo Oliveira netted Betis' goal in the 31st. \nThe draw at Betis' Manuel Ruiz de Lopera Stadium extended Madrid's winless streak to three games and left it in 10th place in the standings with 10 points. \nBarcelona is in first place with 19 points, followed by Valencia with 14. Sevilla and Deportivo La Coruna, which beat Getafe 2-1, have 11. It was Deportivo's first win at home in the league this season. \nBundesliga \nVfB Stuttgart moved into top spot in the Bundesliga with a 2-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, while Bayern Munich suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat to Schalke. \nDefending champion Werder Bremen also lost, going down 2-1 to newcomer Mainz, which jumped into third place. Wolfsburg could regain the lead today with a win at Hannover. \nAndreas Hinkel won the ball from Florian Kringe and charged forward to put Stuttgart ahead after 52 minutes. Cacau connected with a pass from fellow striker Kevin Kuranyi to notch his sixth goal of the season and seal Stuttgart's victory in the 68th. Kuranyi made a comeback after missing one month with an ankle injury. \nMatthias Sammer's team is unbeaten this season with six wins and two draws and has collected 20 points, two more than surprising Wolfsburg. \nMainz is third with 15 points, one ahead of Bayern. \nItalian League \nJuventus increased its lead in the Serie A on Saturday by beating newcomer Messina 2-1, ending the hopes of the unheralded Sicilian team to earn a historic first place in Italy's top league. The fifth win in six league matches lifted La Juve to 16 points, five clear of Messina. \nDutch League \nPSV Eindhoven was leading host ADO The Hague 2-0 Saturday when the Dutch league match was suspended in the 80th minute because of racist chants from the home fans. \nReferee Rene Timmink halted the match after unruly fans began to insult him and sing anti-Semitic chants. Many fans continued to chant after the match was stopped, but soon left the stadium. \nFrench League \nMathieu Bodmer and Geoffrey Denis scored a goal each Saturday to help Lille beat Bastia 2-1 in the French first division, but it wasn't enough to take over the top spot from three-time defending champion Lyon. \nLyon beat Caen 4-0 on Friday.
A sudden shortage of locks in Australian rugby union has opened the door for Matt Philip to reclaim his Wallabies jersey, but the Melbourne Rebels player says that the uncertainties wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic have left him with a difficult choice. The Australian yesterday named Philip among 16 Rebels players either set to leave the Super Rugby club or seriously considering it, underscoring the challenge Rugby Australia faces to retain talent. Linked with a move to Section Paloise Bearn Pyrenees, commonly referred to as Pau, in France’s Top 14, Philip said that he had yet to settle his playing future, and
The Rakuten Monkeys remained atop the CPBL table, despite a 5-7 loss to the Uni-President Lions in Taoyuan yesterday, while the CTBC Brothers fell to the Fubon Guardians at the Taichung Intercontinental Stadium. The visiting Guardians blasted three home runs in their 7-3 triumph, helping Dominican pitcher Henry Sosa pocket his second win of the season. Improving his record to 2-2, Sosa sailed through seven innings, allowing six hits while striking out five. He gave up one earned run in the opening frame, with two Brothers relievers mopping up the final two innings. Fubon’s marquee stars, designated hitter Hu Chin-lung and first baseman
When Chinese Super League club Tianjin Tianhai surprisingly thrashed Rafael Benitez’s Dalian Yifang 5-1 to stay in the league in November last year, disgruntled fans were quick to allege corruption — the legacy of a murky past that exploded into scandal 10 years ago. Benitez, who led Liverpool to the 2005 UEFA Champions League title, was perplexed by one of the heaviest defeats of his coaching career, saying: “This is a game that I don’t quite understand.” Despite fan complaints to the Chinese Football Association (CFA), no case was brought and there is no evidence of wrongdoing. However, the haste with which some
Georgian tennis star Nikoloz Basilashvili, ranked 27th in the world, was on Sunday charged with physically assaulting his ex-wife, prosecutors said. A court in Tbilisi charged Basilashvili with perpetrating “violence against a family member committed in the presence of a minor,” before releasing him on US$30,000 bail, prosecutor Natia Guruli said. He faces up to three years in prison if found guilty. Basilashvili’s ex-wife, Neka Dorokashvili, on Sunday told Mtavari TV that Basilashvili “physically assaulted” her on Friday in the presence of their five-year-old son. Basilashvili denied the charges, his lawyer Irma Chkadua said. The 28-year-old won his second ATP Tour title at the China