Sports Sports en Rochdale stun Spurs to force FA Cup replay
It seemed Spurs had done enough to book their place in the quarter-finals when in-form England striker Harry Kane, on as a substitute, scored from the penalty spot with two minutes of normal time remaining to make it 2-1 to the visitors.

But Rochdale, who had opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time through Ian Henderson, equalised when substitute Steve Davies scored from 12 yards in the third minute of stoppage time.

This result means Rochdale, bottom of third-tier League One, can now look forward to a lucrative replay at Wembley — the national stadium is London club Tottenham's temporary home while their successor ground to White Hart Lane is completed.

"They say it's every kid's dream (to play at Wembley) and we have done enough to go there," Davies told the BBC, before saying of his equaliser: "I've done my job, it's dropped to me and I've finished it."

Rochdale went ahead when Henderson crowned a slick move that made a mockery of the club's league position with a composed finish after an excellent angled through-ball from Andrew Cannon split Spurs' defence.

Lucas Moura, however, drew Spurs level, exchanging passes with Moussa Sissoko and beating Rochdale keeper John Lillis just shy of the hour-mark.

It seemed Spurs' recovery was complete when Rochdale defender Harrison McGahey brought down Dele Alli and Kane beat Lillis, who dived the right way, with a well-struck penalty.

But there was still time for one more twist which means Spurs are facing a Wembley replay for the second round in a row, having needed two games to end fourth-tier strugglers Newport County's FA Cup run.

"It's unbelievable," said Henderson. "We played some incredible football against Spurs. We cannot wait to go to Wembley to play them."

'FA Cup magic'

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, tried to play down the inconvenience of an unscheduled extra game for his side, still involved in the Champions League and in the hunt for a top-four finish in the Premier League.

"The FA Cup is magic," said Pochettino, as the Argentinian gave voice to one of English football's best-loved, but in this case apt, cliches.

"We have another opportunity at Wembley, the same situation like before."

Pochettino paid tribute to Rochdale, saying the way they had raised their game for the FA Cup was no shock in his eyes.

"I was not surprised," he said. "This competition is completely different. Newport gave us a fantastic game and they lost their next game in the league 5-0."

Whichever club wins at Wembley will face either Sheffield Wednesday or Swansea, who will also need a replay after Saturday's goalless draw at Hillsborough, in the quarter-finals.

Saturday's draw saw four of the top Premier League's top five kept apart in the quarter-finals, with Manchester United hosting Brighton — a repeat of the 1983 final won by United in a replay — and Chelsea away to Leicester.

Romelu Lukaku scored twice for United as they won 2-0 in a match where Jose Mourinho's side had to make do without Paul Pogba after the midfielder withdrew on the morning of the match with an unspecified "illness".

United's first brush with the controversial Video Assistant Referee saw them denied a goal when, leading 1-0, technology helped decide 'scorer' Juan Mata had been offside, although it was a desperately close call that took several minutes to resolve — much to the frustration of players and fans alike.

"I think our game is so beautiful that to change we have to change for the better," said Mourinho. "If they find a way in the VAR that the VAR is always right and always bring the truth, I'm happy."

Manchester City continue their quest for a historic quadruple of Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup with a fifth round trip to Wigan on Monday.

Should Pep Guardiola's men avoid a repeat of the Latics' shock 2013 FA Cup final victory, City will be at home to Southampton in the quarter-finals. — AFP]]>
Sports Sun, 18 Feb 2018 23:25:08 +0000 theSundaily 526967 at
Higuain, Bernardeschi blow for Juventus in bruising derby win
Argentinian striker Higuain suffered "a sprain and bruising of his left ankle," the team said, with Bernardeschi having ligament damage which could rule him out for up to five weeks.

"For both players, further tests are planned in the coming days," Juventus said in a statement.

Higuain has scored 24 times this season for the champions including a double in the first nine minutes of last Tuesday's Champions League last 16 first leg tie against Tottenham in Turin before the English club forced a 2-2 draw.

The 30-year-old pulled up three minutes into the game at Torino following a clash with rival goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu.

He continued on for another 12 minutes before being replaced by Bernardeschi, who set up Brazilian Alex Sandro to score the only goal on 33 minutes.

Bernardeschi, 24, then went off injured late in the second half.

Higuain will likely miss next weekend's Serie A tie against Atalanta, while Bernardeschi could face a longer time sidelined, ruling him out of the Champions League return leg at Wembley on March 7.

Juventus — second in the league table one point behind Napoli — already have a long injury list with Mario Mandzukic, Blaise Matuidi and Juan Cuadrado recovering but there was good news with Argentine Paulo Dybala making his comeback from a hamstring injury in the second half and playing half an hour. — AFP]]>
Sports Sun, 18 Feb 2018 23:25:08 +0000 theSundaily 526966 at
New Leeds boss hails fans after Bristol City draw
Heckingbottom's first home game in charge was heading for defeat, with Leeds booed off by the Elland Road faithful at half-time after gifting goals to Bristol City's Famara Diedhiou and Bobby Reid inside 16 minutes.

But Leeds supporters roared their side on in the second half and their backing was rewarded with goals from Pierre-Michel Lasogga and substitute Kemar Roofe scored in the final 18 minutes to secure a point.

"I thought they were fantastic," Heckingbottom said.

"It was still 2-0 and there were not many people not singing. The scarves were out and they played a part in getting the point for their team today, possibly even three.

"That is what the fans' support deserved because that is what spurs the players on. My job is done at half-time and with the substitutions.

"I can't shout as loud as 30,000 here. They made a huge difference today."

The draw saw Bristol City stay in play-off contention, although only the top two at the end of the season are guaranteed automatic promotion to the lucrative Premier League and leaders Wolves are already 11 points clear of the chasing pack.

Elsewhere, Norwich scored deep into stoppage time to secure a 1-1 draw with bitter local rivals Ipswich as the East Anglian derby produced a thrilling finale at Carrow Road.

Norwich were on the brink of losing to their local rivals for the first time since 2009 when Ipswich captain Luke Chambers headed the visitors into the lead with just two minutes of normal time remaining.

But with nearly five minutes of stoppage-time completed, Timm Klose headed in an equaliser to the delight of the Carrow Road fans.

"Sometimes a late equaliser like this feels better than an easy win, even though you are only getting one point," said Norwich manager Daniel Farke. "I thought it was a typical crazy derby game, with aggressive tackles, duels and the two late goals." — AFP]]>
Sports Sun, 18 Feb 2018 23:25:09 +0000 theSundaily 526970 at
Pitch battle as Reus ends goal drought in Dortmund win
The two teams were forced to play on a highly uneven surface in Moenchengladbach after recent poor weather had badly-affected the pitch at Borussia-Park.

There were chances for both Lars Stindl and Raul Bobadilla early on, but the pitch remained the focus of attention, as Andre Schuerrle appeared to slip and hurt himself.

Schuerrle recovered to set up Reus as Dortmund took the lead against the run of play on 32 minutes.

Picking up a pinpoint long pass from Mario Goetze, Schuerrle squared the ball to Reus, whose dipping shot glanced off the crossbar on its way in.

"I actually wanted to hit it further to the left," Reus told Sky. "But the main thing is that the ball went in. We had to scrap today, and we have a lot of work ahead of us."

Reus has missed most of the current campaign with a cruciate ligament tear, and had not been on the scoresheet for Dortmund since scoring a brace on the final day of last season.

Jannik Vestergaard found the net for Gladbach just before half-time, but was judged to be offside by the video assistant referee.

Thorgan Hazard should have equalised moments later, darting into the box from the left wing before slicing the ball wide.

Gladbach continued to push forward after the break, chances falling to both Denis Zakaria and Matthias Ginter before Sokratis denied Bobadilla with a goal-line clearance on 55 minutes.

As the second half wore on, Roman Buerki was forced into a string of saves, denying Stindl, Bobadilla and Nico Elvedi to keep Dortmund ahead.

At the other end, Reus saw his fizzing half-volley beaten away by Yann Sommer.

Earlier in the day, Mario Gomez's goal was enough to secure a first away win of the season for Stuttgart, and inflict a first home defeat since October on Augsburg.

The veteran striker gave Stuttgart the lead just before the half-hour mark. After Erik Thommy's free-kick was blocked by the defensive wall, Gomez pounced on the loose ball and swept it into the bottom corner.

Michael Gregoritsch appeared to equalise for Augsburg ten minutes later, but he too was correctly ruled offside after a two-minute long consultation with the video assistant referee.

Only a superb save from Marwin Hitz stopped Stuttgart from doubling the lead on 65 minutes, the Augsburg goalkeeper denying Gomez from point blank range.

"We should really have won by three or four goals today," Gomez told Sky. "But we showed amazing character, and we're going in the right direction."

The win lifts Stuttgart four points clear of the bottom three, while Dortmund move into second ahead of RB Leipzig's visit to Eintracht Frankfurt on Monday. — AFP ]]>
Sports Sun, 18 Feb 2018 23:25:08 +0000 theSundaily 526968 at
Celtic boss questions rivals after shock draw, Rangers win goal-fest
It was the second time this season that Tommy Wright's side had come away from leaders Celtic's headquarters with a point, following a 1-1 draw in August.

Yet heading into Sunday's match they had won just one of their previous eight games since beating Rangers at Ibrox in December — against Albion Rovers in the Scottish Cup.

In what seemed to be an attempt to deflect attention from the performance of his much-changed team following a 1-0 win over Zenit St Petersburg in the Europa League on Thursday, Rodgers said: "I think there are questions there for Tommy's players.

"Tommy's a fantastic manager but I am sure he walks away happy with a point but probably really frustrated.

"How can you win a game 3-1 at Ibrox in December 16, not win a game right the way through, apart from the Albion game then your next big result is away at Celtic?"

The Northern Irishman added: "So I think the question goes with the St Johnstone players.

"Today you've seen them organised, committed, fighting, running — doing all of that.

"If they do that in every game they would probably win a lot more games."

Wright, whose side are now one point behind eighth-placed Dundee, said: "We have had performances like that at other stadiums but not often enough.

"We are still unbeaten after playing them (Celtic) twice here and that performance should give the confidence to kick on for the rest of the season."

It was a very different story in Sunday's other top-flight match as Rangers won 5-3 away to Hamilton, with Josh Windass scoring a hat-trick in a victory that left the second-placed side nine points adrift of Celtic.

Windass and strike partner Alfredo Morelos, also on target against Hamilton, now have 31 goals between them so far this season and Rangers manager Graeme Murty said: "That tally is a reflection of where they are currently but both should use it as a stepping stone to improve in all aspects.

"They are young, maturing and there is still more to come from them."

Murty added: "As happy as I am, they will get better and stronger. This is a lovely marker on their journey but they will improve." — AFP]]>
Sports Sun, 18 Feb 2018 23:25:08 +0000 theSundaily 526969 at
Real Madrid win eight-goal thriller, Atletico keep up Barca chase
Madrid had been 2-1 down at half-time in a fantastic game at the Benito Villamarin, but they came roaring back in the second half with Sergio Ramos, Asensio — who had scored the opener - Ronaldo and Karim Benzema all finding the net.

They survived a late Betis onslaught, and after their 3-1 Champions League last 16, first-leg win against Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, this victory confirms that Zinedine Zidane's side is looking better in La Liga now too.

They remain fourth, a huge 17 points behind leaders Barcelona. However, this was their fourth win in five league outings, and they are back to within a point of third-placed Valencia with a game in hand to come at Leganes in midweek.

Asensio had come off the bench to set up the two late goals that allowed Real to beat PSG and he was rewarded with a start on Sunday in Seville, while Gareth Bale also came in as the likes of Benzema and Luka Modric dropped to the bench.

Asensio duly headed Madrid into an 11th-minute lead after Antonio Adan had saved a Ronaldo shot, but Betis had won when the sides last met at the Santiago Bernabeu and they hit back brilliantly.

Loren and Joaquin, the latter from a free-kick, both came close before Aissa Mandi headed in a Joaquin cross to make it 1-1 in the 33rd minute.

It was 2-1 shortly after, as visiting defender Nacho could only help a Junior shot into his own net, and the home fans in the crowd of over 53,000 erupted.

Real also saw Marcelo limp off in the first half — a potentially worrying sign ahead of the PSG second leg — but they recovered superbly after the restart.

Ramos, whose Sevilla past always ensures a hot reception from the Betis fans, levelled with a bullet header from a Lucas Vazquez corner.

Dani Carvajal then set up Asensio for his second and Real's third as the hour approached, and Ronaldo smashed in their fourth goal in the 65th minute.

The Portuguese, supposedly in decline, has now scored 10 times in six games between league and Champions League.

Betis may lack the consistency to properly contest a European place, but they do provide entertainment, and Cristian Tello set up fellow substitute Sergio Leon to make it 4-3 late on.

Benzema, on from the bench, completed the scoring at the death with a goal that will boost his confidence.

Super-sub Gameiro

Earlier, Kevin Gameiro came off the bench in the second half to score one goal and make another for Diego Costa as second-placed Atletico Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0.

It was another clinical performance from Diego Simeone's side, who have now recorded four consecutive league victories, all without conceding a goal.

They remain second, seven points behind unbeaten leaders Barcelona, who won 2-0 at Eibar on Saturday ahead of their Champions League trip to Chelsea.

"We are not stopping, we are playing well at the moment, and we are enjoying ourselves," said Gameiro when asked about his team's pursuit of Barcelona.

Atletico, who have conceded a paltry nine goals in 24 La Liga games this season, will hope to stay within striking distance of Barcelona before going to the Camp Nou in a fortnight.

Villarreal is sixth after a 1-1 draw at Espanyol, while Real Sociedad beat Levante 3-0. — AFP]]>
Sports Sun, 18 Feb 2018 23:25:08 +0000 theSundaily 526965 at
Fatehah wins bronze in women's 500m time trial
Fatehah recorded a time of 34.114 seconds in the elite women's 500-metre time trial behind gold medalist Lee Wai Sze from Hong Kong with the fastest time of 33.395 seconds.

Song Chaorui from China earned a silver medal at 34.114 seconds.

Also picking up a bronze medal was the men's junior team in the pursuit event, comprising Zulhelmi Zainal, Muhammad Shafiq Mohamad, Muhammad Hakimi Nor and Muhammad Shabrir Riduan with four minutes 13.110 seconds.

They beat the Kazakhstan team.

The gold medal belonged to the South Korean team comprising Jang Hun, Joo Somang, Park Jooyoung, Park Youngkyun with a new Asian record of 4:09.908 seconds.

They beat Ryuta Sato, Taisei Hino, Naoki Kojima, Hiroyuki Umakoshi from Japan with 4:12.070 seconds.

The second day of the championship also saw Malaysia winning two gold medals delivered by the country's paralympic cycling squad and bronze medal by world champion Mohd Azizulhasni Awang. — Bernama]]>
Sports Sun, 18 Feb 2018 00:53:53 +0000 theSundaily 526828 at
Illness rules Pogba out of United's visit to Huddersfield
"U23s midfielder Ethan Hamilton has taken his place in the squad," United posted on Twitter.

United boss Jose Mourinho angrily insisted on Friday that rumours his relationship with Pogba has broken down were "lies".

The French midfielder, who returned to United from Juventus for a then world record £89 million (RM486 million) in 2016, hasn't completed 90 minutes since a 1-0 win at Burnley just under a month ago.

Pogba was substituted with United trailing in recent defeats at Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United, and dropped when Huddersfield visited Old Trafford on league duty two weeks' ago.

"Paul accepts that he has not been playing well in the last few matches but that's all," said Mourinho.

"He is not playing well, period. And the team needs him at a good level.

"And when he is not playing at a good level the team is not as good as the team can be.

"I think it happens with every team when the best players, the most crucial players, for some reason are not performing."

Pogba's absence robs Mourinho of a final opportunity to find the right blend with his star midfielder and January signing Alexis Sanchez both in the side before United travel to Sevilla on Wednesday night for the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie. — AFP]]>
Sports Sat, 17 Feb 2018 12:54:32 +0000 theSundaily 526807 at
Conte happy to have selection headache for Barca clash
Willian was the star of the show with two fabulous strikes from outside the box, while Pedro Rodriguez and Olivier Giroud with his first for the club also struck as all four goals came in the first-half.

Conte had left Thibaut Courtois, Cesar Azpilicueta, N'Golo Kante and Eden Hazard out of his squad before Barcelona's visit to Stamford Bridge for the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Tuesday.

"Before an important game, against Barcelona, tonight I go to my house with many doubts in my mind, which is the best starting XI to start the game against Barcelona," said Conte.

"But it's right to be so. We must take the right time to make the best decision to pick the best XI to start that game."

In between the two legs against the Catalan giants, Chelsea travel to Manchester United and Manchester City on Premier League duty as they battle for a place in the top four.

However, Conte believes victory, allied to a 3-0 win over West Brom on Monday, has restored the confidence needed to beat Barca to a Chelsea side that was reeling after back-to-back defeats against Bournemouth and Watford less than two weeks ago.

"We are talking about a massive game. But now, we must be confident," added the Italian.

"I consider Barcelona one of the best teams in the world. In one side, you must be a bit sad to play against them, but, on the other hand, you must be excited.

"You have to try and compete with them at this level. It won't be easy, for sure, but we must have the right confidence and then we'll see what happens."

Willian makes case

Willian did more than most to try and force his way into Conte's side for Tuesday.

The Brazilian scored from long-range off both feet and saw another effort come back of the post two minutes from time.

"The hat-trick was almost there, I tried, but the most important thing was the win," said Willian.

"After a difficult moment we are back to winning games. When you are winning games the confidence goes high. Now we have to carry on."

A perfect night for Chelsea was rounded off by Giroud bagging his first goal for the club following a deadline day move from Arsenal last month.

"I was waiting for it. I had a couple of chances in previous games. It was important for me to score my first goal. It's relieved me a little bit," he said.

"We can see the team had a good team cohesion. It was important to bounce back after some disappointing results."

Conte was forced to field a side without a natural striker for defeats against Bournemouth and Watford, but now has competition for places up front as Alvaro Morata continued his comeback from a back injury for the final 20 minutes.

And in a further injury boost, Conte confirmed left wing-back Marcos Alonso will be fit to face Barca. — AFP]]>
Sports Sat, 17 Feb 2018 12:50:44 +0000 theSundaily 526805 at
Woods 'close' in comeback bid, McIlroy insists
McIlroy, owner of four major titles himself, played alongside Woods in the first two rounds of the Genesis Open.

Even though Woods missed the cut, McIlroy believes the man who once seemed certain to challenge Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 major titles can contend again.

"He's very close," McIlroy said. "Give him a little bit of time. He's still figuring a few things out with equipment, I think, sort of in between drivers and whatever, but he's close."

Woods struggled to hit fairways at the Riviera Country Club, just as he did en route to a tie for 23rd at Torrey Pines three weeks earlier – his first US PGA Tour event in a year.

He was also irked by his irons and, on Friday, uncomfortable with his putter.

But McIlroy said there were enough glimpses of the old short-game magic to warrant optimism.

"I thought his short game display (Thursday) was very, very impressive," McIlroy said. "He struggled a little bit more (Friday), but he hits enough good shots to know that if he sort of pieces it all together, he's going to be right there.

"I think everyone just has to be patient with him, especially him being patient with it and just give himself time," added McIlroy, himself coming off a lengthy break after enduring an injury-ravaged 2017.

While aspects of Woods's game may be missing, his passion for golf remains plain, McIlroy said.

"There's no bigger golf nerd in the world than Tiger Woods," McIlroy said. "He absolutely loves it."

And golf fans still love him, for both good and ill, McIlroy found as he coped with the boisterous galleries that followed Woods's every move -- with little regard for the efforts of his playing partners.

"I swear, playing in front of all that, he gives up half a shot a day on the field," McIlroy said of the jostling and jockeying and unsolicited advice from fans.

"It's tiring," McIlroy conceded. "I've got a headache after all that. He has to deal with that every single time he goes out to play." — AFP]]>
Sports Sat, 17 Feb 2018 12:41:50 +0000 theSundaily 526803 at