Arsenal fight back to reach Europa League last 32 as group winners

Arsenal came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Standard Liege and progress to the last 32 of the Europa League as group winners.

The Gunners were all but through before kick-off, with the hosts needing to win 5-0 to prevent the visitors from going through to the knockout rounds - a result that looked even more unlikely after a first half Arsenal edged.

However, Samuel Bastien put the hosts ahead just after the restart when his shot deflected off Sokratis and beyond the wrong-footed Emiliano Martinez.

The goal boosted the hosts but visibly knocked the fragile confidence of the Arsenal players, who became even more nervy when Standard Liege got a second as Selim Amallah's strike from inside the area flew into the far corner via a slight deflection off Konstantinos Mavropanos.

 

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Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is expected to make plenty of changes for Thursday's Europa League game against Beskitas at Molineux.

he hosts have already secured their place in the last 32 and with a tough game against Tottenham to come on Sunday, Nuno is likely to rest a number of his first-team players.

Youngsters Taylor Perry, Luke Cundle and Chem Campbell could feature.

However, striker Raul Jimenez is unavailable through suspension.

The Mexican has collected three cautions in their last three Europa games, earning him a ban.

"I'm not going to tell you the team, but we're ready to compete well," said Nuno.

 

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Carlo Ancelotti: Napoli sack manager despite Champions League progression

Napoli have sacked manager Carlo Ancelotti less than three hours after he guided them into the Champions League knockout stages.

The Serie A club had not won in nine games in all competitions until Tuesday's 4-0 success at home to Genk.

Ancelotti was in his second season in charge of Napoli but they sit seventh in the league after that poor run.

They are the only team to beat Liverpool in 90 minutes this season, defeating the Reds 2-0 in September.

Last month the manager and Napoli players were in a high-profile dispute with president Aurelio de Laurentiis.

 

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Russia doping: Athletes wait in fear of fresh world ban

Russia has become the master of denial in recent years. From military incursions to hacking to assassinations, the Kremlin has sworn blind it's not involved.

But now the country's athletes are waiting nervously, facing sweeping sanctions for another doping-linked scandal, and senior officials are keeping their silence.

There is one, striking exception.

Yuri Ganus has been warning for months that Russian sport stands on a "cliff-edge" and needs to radically clean up its act.

For that, the head of Russia's anti-doping agency, Rusada, says he has received pressure and threats.

 

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Pep Guardiola: 'Man City might not be able to compete with top teams'

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City "might not be able to compete" with the best teams in Europe and have to "accept that reality".

His side lost 2-1 to local rivals Manchester United in the Premier League on Saturday and trail leaders Liverpool by 14 points.

Last season, City won the domestic treble and retained the league title but have lost four games in 2019-20.

"We have to improve and accept it and move forward," said Guardiola.

"[Manchester] United have the quality to defend and the quality to attack on the counter-attack and you have to accept that," he added.

 

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Aleksander Ceferin: Uefa president says football needs to do more to tackle racism

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin says he doesn't think "anybody is doing enough" to tackle racism in football.

European football's governing body has repeatedly come under fire for failing to deal with the issue following several high-profile incidents.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Ceferin said that European football's governing body "could do more".

But he added racism is a "societal problem", blaming the "frightening" rise of right-wing politics in Europe.

"I don't think that anybody's doing enough for racism," said the Slovenian, who became Uefa president in 2016.

 

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Liverpool pile pressure on Everton boss Silva with derby win

Liverpool pushed Everton manager Marco Silva closer to the sack and retained their eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a crushing win at Anfield which dropped the Toffees into the relegation zone.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, already missing suspended goalkeeper Alisson and injured Fabinho, still felt able to rest key attacking duo Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino from his starting line-up and win in comfort.

Liverpool effectively won the game with four goals in the first half - Sadio Mane creating two early strikes for Divock Origi and the recalled Xherdan Shaqiri.

Michael Keane pulled one back for shambolic Everton but Liverpool were soon back in control when Origi controlled Dejan Lovren's pass for a brilliant third and Mane got the goal he deserved when he crowned a sweeping counter-attack from Trent Alexander-Arnold's inviting delivery.

 

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Mark Cavendish faces 'extremely challenging' path to compete at Games

Mark Cavendish has been warned he faces an "extremely challenging" path to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Cavendish, 34, won silver in the omnium at Rio 2016 but wants to ride in the madison next year.

British Cycling's head coach Iain Dyer has questioned if the 34-year-old will be able to earn enough qualification points and force his way into a competitive five-man squad.

"There are people there that have had their hand in the air," Dyer said.

"The door is open but it's extremely challenging to carve out an opportunity."

 

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Lionel Messi: Barcelona forward wins Ballon d'Or for record sixth time

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d'Or award for the world's best player for a record sixth time.

It is the 32-year-old Argentine's first Ballon d'Or since 2015 and comes after he scored 54 times for club and country in 2018-19, in which Barca won La Liga.

Virgil van Dijk was second - one of four Liverpool players in the top seven, including Sadio Mane in fourth.

Juventus and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won the award five times, was third in the voting.

England defender Lucy Bronze was beaten to the women's award, finishing second behind Megan Rapinoe, who was Golden Ball winner as USA claimed a second successive World Cup in 2019.

 

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Lewis Hamilton dominates in Abu Dhabi GP for 11th victory of the season

Lewis Hamilton dominated the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to end the season in which he won a sixth world drivers' title on a high.

The Mercedes driver led away from pole position and cruised off into the distance, untroubled by anyone behind.

In a soporific race, Red Bull's Max Verstappen took a comfortable second after Ferrari slipped backwards.

Charles Leclerc ran second in the early laps, ahead of Verstappen, but slipped back to third.

Leclerc held off an attack from Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages, the Finn right on his gearbox on the final lap, after an excellent race from the back of the grid.

 

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Portstewart to host 2021 Irish Open when event will return to Northern Ireland

The Irish Open will return to Northern Ireland in 2021 when Portstewart hosts the European Tour event for the second time in four years.

The news was announced at the club's AGM on Thursday evening.

Portstewart's members were told that discussions between the European Tour and the club resulted in an agreement being finalised last week.

The Irish Open returned to Northern Ireland after a 59-year gap when it was played at Royal Portrush in 2012.

The event proved to be a huge success as it attracted a then record attendance for a European Tour event.

 

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Messi scores on 700th Barcelona appearance to help beat Dortmund

Lionel Messi scored on his 700th Barcelona appearance as they reached the knockout stages of the Champions League with a win over Borussia Dortmund.

The Argentine, who has now scored 114 goals in the competition, was the catalyst for Barcelona's best work throughout.

His deft pass released Luis Suarez for the opener, with the Uruguay forward finding the bottom left corner of the Dortmund goal, moments after being caught offside when converting another Messi pass.

Messi doubled the hosts' lead four minutes later, registering his 613th goal for the club, with a left-foot effort from eight yards.

Antoine Griezmann completed a comfortable evening for Ernesto Valverde's side, with his rasping drive into the bottom right corner coming from another incisive Messi pass.

 

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Tottenham produce stirring fightback to reach Champions League last 16

Jose Mourinho made a dramatic entrance at his new home as Tottenham came from two goals down to beat Olympiakos and qualify for the Champions League knockout phase.

Mourinho made a low-key entrance for his first game as manager at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium - but then it was drama all the way as he was subjected to all facets of the side he inherited from sacked Mauricio Pochettino.

Spurs were dreadful at the back in the first half, going behind after only six minutes to Youssef El-Arabi's low drive and conceding a second 13 minutes later when Ruben Semedo scored from close range at a corner.

Mourinho acted quickly, sending on Christian Eriksen for Eric Dier, but it still took a horrendous error from Yassine Meriah to gift Dele Alli a goal in first-half stoppage time to throw Spurs a lifeline they accepted with relish.

 

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Sports Personality 2019: Shortlist of six contenders announced for BBC award

A shortlist of six contenders has been announced for the 2019 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

The nominees are athletes Dina Asher-Smith and Katarina Johnson-Thompson, cricketer Ben Stokes, Formula 1's Lewis Hamilton, footballer Raheem Sterling and rugby union's Alun Wyn Jones.

Voting will be open to the public during the Sports Personality programme on BBC One on Sunday, 15 December.

The sell-out show is being broadcast from Aberdeen in Scotland.

Presenters Gary Lineker, Clare Balding and Gabby Logan will take to the stage to celebrate the year of sport in front of an audience of 10,000, with millions more watching live on BBC One.

 

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Race to Dubai: Jon Rahm denies Tommy Fleetwood to win Tour Championship

Jon Rahm birdied the final hole to win the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai on 19 under par and clinch the European Tour's season-long Race to Dubai title.

Rahm holed a three-foot putt to finish one ahead of England's Tommy Fleetwood and win the event for the second time.

The win also meant the 25-year-old Spaniard also pipped Fleetwood, 28, to be the number one in Europe for 2019.

Rahm becomes the second Spaniard to achieve the feat after the late Seve Ballesteros, who won it six times.

"Seve was such an idol for us," said Rahm. "To put my name there, it's hard to believe. I can't believe some of the things I have accomplished."

 

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Presidents Cup: Brooks Koepka withdraws from United States team for event in Australia

World number one Brooks Koepka has withdrawn from the United States' Presidents Cup team because of injury and will be replaced by Rickie Fowler.

Koepka, 29, re-injured his left knee during October's CJ Cup in South Korea and will miss the event at Royal Melbourne from 12-15 December.

The Presidents Cup sees a US side compete against an international team, excluding European players.

"I regret not being able to compete. I need more time to heal," said Koepka.

"I'm sorry I won't be able to represent the red, white and blue and I wish my team-mates nothing but the best as they work to retain the Presidents Cup.

 

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Manchester City post record £535.2m revenue in 2018-19 annual report

Manchester City brought in a record £535.2m last season, the club's 2018-19 annual report says.

It was City's 11th successive year of revenue growth and closes the gap on local rivals Manchester United, the Premier League's richest club.

The figure is projected to rise again next year given City have already qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Payments from a £45m-a-year Puma kit deal will also start to take effect.

United have already said their turnover will fall to between £560m and £580m this year because of their failure to qualify for the Champions League.

 

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Red Bull & Honda title contenders in 2020?

Only a hit from Lewis Hamilton put a taint on Red Bull's day at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

As Alexander Albon was sent spinning out of second place behind team-mate Max Verstappen on the penultimate lap, it ruined the team's chance of a double podium, or perhaps even a one-two finish.

Albon's misfortune, though, did promote former Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly - now back at Toro Rosso after his demotion mid-season - into second place.

That gave Red Bull's junior team their second podium of the year, after Daniil Kvyat's third place in Germany, and engine partner Honda the biggest boost of all.

Not only did Honda get a one-two, but they achieved the second place in the best manner possible for an engine manufacturer - a drag race to the line, against the formerly dominant Mercedes power.

 

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Italy put nine past sorry Armenia

Italy recorded one of the biggest wins in their history as they completed their successful Euro 2020 qualifying campaign by thrashing Armenia 9-1.

Ciro Immobile and Nicolo Zaniolo both scored twice while Chelsea's Jorginho converted a penalty in the second half.

Nicolo Barella, Alessio Romagnoli, Riccardo Orsolini and Federico Chiesa also scored for the dominant Italians.

Edgar Babayan did manage to grab a consolation for Armenia with a stunning long-range strike.

Babayan's finish stopped Italy equalling their biggest win - a 9-0 defeat of the United States in Brentford in 1948.

 

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Ronaldo promises to break men's goals record after Portugal reach Euro 2020

Cristiano Ronaldo vowed to break the world record for men's international goals after scoring his 99th Portugal goal in a 2-0 win over Luxembourg to clinch their place at Euro 2020.

He is 10 behind Iran legend Ali Daei's tally of 109, after his most prolific year for Portugal with 14 goals.

"All records must be broken and I will beat that record," he said.

Bernardo Silva's ball over the top allowed Bruno Fernandes to fire them ahead and Ronaldo scored a late second.

Holders Portugal needed to beat Luxembourg to make sure of a place at next summer's tournament.

 

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