World Sports News in Brief

Stunning Benzema strike crowns Real win over Valencia

Friday, 2020-06-19 09:13:39
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La Liga Santander - Real Madrid v Valencia - Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium, Madrid, Spain - June 18, 2020 Real Madrid's Karim Benzema celebrates scoring their first goal with Eden Hazard as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease. (Photo: Reuters)
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Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema scored one of the goals of the season as they beat Valencia 3-0 at home on Thursday to stay in touch with La Liga leaders Barcelona, but the visitors were left fuming after having a goal ruled out following a VAR review.

The win took second-placed Real to 62 points after 29 games, two behind champions Barca who beat Leganes 2-0 on Tuesday.

* The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) on Thursday said it would begin to gradually reopen two of its training facilities later this month. The Colorado Springs and Lake Placid Training Centers will welcome back a limited number of athletes starting on June 26, three months after they were shuttered due to the COVID-19 crisis, USOPC CEO uksaid.

* The IndyCar Series is ready to welcome spectators back to the track, saying on Thursday that a limited number of tickets will be made available to fans for a doubleheader event on July 17-18 at Iowa Speedway. After a near three-month forced delay due to the coronavirus outbreak, IndyCar launched its season on June 6 with a race without fans at Texas Motor Speedway won by New Zealand's Scott Dixon.

* Arsenal defender David Luiz might have played his last game for the club following their 3-0 Premier League defeat at Manchester City with manager Mikel Arteta unsure if the Brazilian has a future at The Emirates, he said on Thursday. Having come on as a 20th-minute substitute for the injured Pablo Mari, Luiz was sent off in Wednesday's loss at City and is suspended for ninth-placed Arsenal's trip to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday and the game at Southampton on Jun 25.

* Brazilian soccer clubs are free to negotiate broadcast rights for own home games without requiring a green light from their opponents, according to a new decree issued by the country’s president on Thursday. The law had previously only allowed transmission of games when both teams were in agreement. Matches at neutral venues will still need an accord between both sides.

* Real Sociedad's hopes of returning to the Champions League for the first time in seven years took another hit when they lost 2-0 at Alaves on Thursday as both sides finished the behind-closed-doors Basque derby with 10 men. Sociedad missed the chance to climb above Atletico Madrid back into the top four, staying fifth on 47 points, two behind Atleti who hammered Osasuna 5-0 on Wednesday.

* Britain's Ian Poulter capped an error-free opening round with a birdie-birdie finish to grab a share of the early lead with American Mark Hubbard at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, South Carolina on Thursday. With the PGA Tour staging just its second event following a three-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Poulter showed no signs of rust with a rock-solid seven-under 64 in ideal scoring conditions at the Harbor Town Golf Links.

* Stradivarius, ridden by Frankie Dettori, blew away the field to land a third successive Gold Cup at Royal Ascot on Thursday in a race run without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 4-5 favourite, trained by John Gosden, hit the front with two furlongs to go and accelerated away to win by 10 lengths from Nayef Road (11-1) and Cross Counter (7-1) in soft conditions.

* Manchester City defender Eric Garcia has been released from hospital after he was injured in a collision with goalkeeper Ederson in their 3-0 win against Arsenal, the Premier League club said on Thursday. Garcia, 19, collided with the Brazilian goalkeeper late in Wednesday's game and received treatment for several minutes before being carried off on a stretcher and taken to the Manchester Royal Infirmary Hospital for further tests.

* Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane will start in Friday's Premier League clash at home to Manchester United after a six-month absence, according to manager Jose Mourinho. Son Heung-min and Moussa Sissoko, who like Kane were ruled out by serious injuries when the Premier League was suspended three months ago, are also set to face United.

* The Premier League said on Thursday that there was one positive result from the latest round of COVID-19 tests of players and staff conducted earlier this week. Since players returned to contact training last month, tests have been carried out twice a week and the league has seen a total of 17 positives in nine rounds of testing so far.

* The rescheduled 24 Hours of Le Mans in September will be condensed into a four-day timetable incorporating free practice, qualifying, warm-up and the race, organisers announced on Thursday. In the past, practice and qualifying has started on the Wednesday before the race but the 2020 race has been postponed from June due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

* Chelsea have reached an agreement with RB Leipzig to sign striker Timo Werner, who is set to join the English side in July, the Premier League club announced on Thursday. Werner, 24, will remain at Leipzig until the end of the Bundesliga season and his transfer to the English side is subject to passing a medical.

* Spanish football's international viewing figures have increased by over 48% since the season returned after being halted for three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organising body La Liga said on Thursday. Citing a study by analytics firm Nielsen Sports of the first round of matches since the campaign resumed on Jun 11 without fans, La Liga said its biggest audience bounce came in Africa, where it received a 73% boost in viewers.

* Australia international Ellie Carpenter has agreed to join European women's champions Olympique Lyonnais from US side Portland Thorns, the French club have confirmed. The 20-year-old full back joined Thorns, who play in the National Women's Soccer League, in 2018 and played 33 games over two seasons.