World Sports News in Brief

Man United, Tottenham enjoy big wins

Friday, 2021-02-19 09:04:29
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Soccer Football - Europa League - Round of 32 First Leg - Real Sociedad v Manchester United - Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy - February 18, 2021 Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes celebrates scoring their second goal with Mason Greenwood. (Photo: Reuters)
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Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur built hefty leads with emphatic away wins in their Europa League last 32 first-leg matches but AC Milan were held to a 2-2 draw at Red Star Belgrade as the competition resumed on Thursday (Feb 18).

On night of high-scoring matches, United crushed Real Sociedad 4-0 in a game played in Turin because of COVID-19 restrictions between the UK and Spain with Bruno Fernandes scoring a brace for his side. Tottenham won 4-1 away against Austrian side Wolfsberg in the Puskas Arena in Budapest.

* Arsenal drew 1-1 in the “away” leg of their tie against Benfica, although the match was played in Rome. Arsenal fell behind against Benfica when Pizzi netted a penalty but Bukayo Saka levelled two minutes later.

* AC Milan were seconds away from victory in Belgrade but a stoppage-time header by substitute Milan Pavkov earned 10-man Red Star a 2-2 draw. Ajax secured a 2-1 win at Lille thanks to late goals by Dusan Tadic and Brian Brobbey after Timothy Weah had put the hosts in front.

* Young Boys led Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 with goals by Christian Fassnacht, Jordan Siebatcheu and Meschack Elia but Leverkusen stormed back to level with Patrik Schick twice on target. Siebatcheu struck again in the 89th minute to give Young Boys a 4-3 win.

*Olympiakos beat PSV Eindhoven 4-2 while Bruno Petkovic scored twice for Dinamo Zagreb in a 3-2 victory in Krasnodar. Leicester City were held to a 0-0 draw at Slavia Prague while Dynamo Kiev and Brugge drew 1-1.

* Molde and Hoffenheim shared six goals in a 3-3 draw while AS Roma eased to a 2-0 win at Braga with Edin Dzeko scoring early and Borja Mayoral striking late but fellow Italians Napoli suffered a 2-0 loss at Granada.

* Spain forwards Esther Gonzalez and Jennifer Hermoso scored five goals apiece as the visitors crushed Azerbaijan 13-0 to secure a place at the Women's Euro 2022 tournament. The Women's Euro, originally scheduled for this year but postponed by 12 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is scheduled to take place from July 6-31 2022.

* Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Raul Jimenez has returned to training after his recovery from an operation on his fractured skull but his return to the team will not be rushed, manager Nuno Espirito Santo said on Thursday. Jimenez was taken to hospital after a clash of heads with Arsenal defender David Luiz during a match in November and the club were initially not optimistic about the Mexican's return to action this season.

* Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini has avoided a muscle injury after being forced off during his team's Champions League defeat to Porto, the Serie A club announced on Thursday. The 36-year-old defender was replaced 35 minutes into the Turin club's 2-1 last 16 first leg defeat in Portugal on Wednesday, but serious issues have been ruled out.

* The Finals of the Billie Jean King Cup, the revamped Fed Cup which was scheduled to be held in April in Budapest, has been postponed again due to COVID-19 protocols in Hungary, the International Tennis Federation said on Thursday. The inaugural 12-nation Finals was initially scheduled to be held in March last year before the pandemic forced authorities to put it back a year.

* World number one Novak Djokovic ended the dream run of Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev in the Australian Open semi-finals on Thursday to maintain his bid for a record-extending ninth title. The 33-year-old Serb, showing no ill effects from an abdomen injury sustained in the third round, overwhelmed the 114th-ranked Karatsev 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to reach his 28th Grand Slam final.

* Bayern Munich defender Benjamin Pavard has been quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19, the German champions said on Thursday.

* Japan's Seiko Hashimoto, a woman who has competed in seven Olympics, said on Thursday she had been chosen as president of the Tokyo 2020 Organising committee.

* Fans wearing masks returned to the Australian Open on Thursday to take in the Grand Slam's semi-finals after the completion of Melbourne's five-day lockdown to contain an outbreak of COVID-19. Officials recorded no new cases of the novel coronavirus in Victoria state on Thursday, as Melbourne residents were released from social distancing restrictions.

* Naomi Osaka ended Serena Williams' bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title in a storm of power hitting on Thursday, humbling the American great 6-3 6-4 to reach her second Australian Open final.

* Jennifer Brady ensured there would be an American in the Australian Open final after Serena Williams' exit by downing Karolina Muchova 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the semi-finals on Thursday.