World Sports News in Brief

Football: Liverpool rout Villa to reach FA Cup fourth round

Liverpool strolled into the FA Cup fourth round with a 4-1 win at an understrength Aston Villa on Friday (Jan 8) after the home side were forced to field academy players due to a mass COVID-19 outbreak among their ranks.

Soccer Football - FA Cup - Third Round - Aston Villa v Liverpool - Villa Park, Birmingham, UK - January 8, 2021 Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring their third goal. (Reuters)
Soccer Football - FA Cup - Third Round - Aston Villa v Liverpool - Villa Park, Birmingham, UK - January 8, 2021 Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring their third goal. (Reuters)

Sadio Mane scored twice for the English champions while Georginio Wijnaldum and Mohamed Salah added one each to cancel out a fine goal by Villa's 17-year old striker Louie Barry, who netted on his senior debut for the Midlands side.

* Borussia Moenchengladbach battled back from two goals down to stun champions Bayern Munich 3-2 on Friday (Jan 8), with a double from Jonas Hofmann and another from Florian Neuhaus.

* Former Chelsea winger Damien Duff has stepped down from his role as one of Ireland's assistant coaches, the country's football association (FAI) said. The 41-year-old, who was capped 100 times by Ireland, was appointed to manager Stephen Kenny's staff in August last year alongside Keith Andrews.

* Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka will join Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic in playing a pre-Australian Open warm-up exhibition in Adelaide after serving their quarantine in the South Australian city, Tennis Australia (TA) said on Saturday. The "A Day at the Drive" event will take place at the city's Memorial Drive Tennis Centre on Jan. 29, a week before the delayed Grand Slam gets underway at Melbourne Park.

* Sergio Aguero could make his first Manchester City start since October when the club face Birmingham in the FA Cup third round on Sunday (Jan 10). Aguero, City's record goalscorer, has made just nine appearances so far this season, with six of those from the bench, following a series of fitness problems.

* The Premier League on Friday (Jan 8) issued clubs new measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, threatening disciplinary action against players who breach training or matchday protocols. In a letter to all 20 top flight clubs, the league reiterated that players should not hug each other and shirt-swapping should stop in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus.

* Juventus said on Friday (Jan 8) that Netherlands defender Matthijs De Ligt has tested positive for COVID-19, the third player from the Serie A champions to test positive this week. Brazilian defender Alex Sandro returned a positive result on Monday, while winger Juan Cuadrado tested positive on Tuesday.

* Olympic long jump silver medallist Luvo Manyonga has been provisionally suspended for anti-doping whereabouts failures, the Athletics Integrity Unit said on Friday. The South African has been issued a notice of charge and could face up to two years suspension if found guilty, which would rule him out of the Olympic Games in Tokyo that are scheduled to start on July 23.

* Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said goalkeeper Sergio Romero and defender Marcos Rojo are free to leave the club in the January transfer window. Solskjaer said the Argentine duo, who have not played this season, will not have their contracts extended beyond the end of the season.

* The English Football League, which governs the three divisions below the Premier League, said on Friday that 112 individuals tested positive for COVID-19 in the latest round of testing. This week's testing included 66 EFL clubs that will play in the FA Cup third round, while the remaining six clubs which did not feature will be tested before their league games.

* Belgian Kirsten Flipkens retired against top-seeded American Sofia Kenin at the WTA 500 event in Abu Dhabi after suffering a freak left ankle injury during the second round match on Friday.

* Ajax Amsterdam have paid a club record 22.5 million euros to sign striker Sebastien Haller from West Ham United on a four-and-a-half-year contract, the Dutch league leaders announced on Friday. The 26-year-old returns to the Dutch league, where he scored 51 goals for Utrecht between 2014 and 2017, and revives his relationship with Ajax coach Erik ten Hag, in charge of Utrecht when the French-born striker played there.

* Eight Indonesian badminton players who breached the integrity regulations of the sport's governing body were slapped with suspensions ranging from three years to life, said the Badminton World Federation (BWF) in a press release on Friday (Jan 8).