World Sports News in Brief

Richarlison, Neymar score in Brazil's 2-0 win over Ecuador

Saturday, 2021-06-05 08:50:28
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Ecuador's Alan Franco in action with Brazil's Neymar. (Photo: Reuters)
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Brazil beat Ecuador 2-0 in an insipid World Cup qualifying tie in Porto Alegre on Friday (Jun 5) to maintain their perfect record and stay top of the South American qualifying group for Qatar 2022.

The result means Brazil are top of the 10-team South America group, with 15 points from five games, four ahead of second-placed Argentina. The top four teams in the section qualify automatically for Qatar 2022 and the fifth-placed side goes into an intercontinental play-off.

* Fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was handed his first real test at this year's French Open before he subdued big-serving American John Isner 5-7 6-3 7-6(3) 6-1 to move into the fourth round on Friday. The 22-year-old, who won two titles on clay in the run-up to Roland Garros, had to endure a torrid serving barrage in the opening set but eventually found his stride to set up a fourth round clash with Spanish 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta.

* Italy swept aside the Czech Republic 4-0 on Friday with a ruthless attacking display that could make them a dangerous side when Euro 2020 kicks off next week.

* Manchester City captain Fernandinho has been included on the list of players set to be released at the end of the season, the Premier League said on Friday. Although City have not made an official announcement on the Brazilian midfielder's departure, the 36-year-old is into the final month of his current deal and is yet to agree on an extension.

* Spain and Portugal played out an entertaining 0-0 draw on Friday as both sides prepared for this month's European Championship. Spain face Lithuania in their final warm-up fixture on Tuesday before the Euros kick off next Friday, while Portugal host Israel on Wednesday before they start the defence of their Euro title.

* Syria moved closer to securing their place in the third round of Asia's preliminary competition for the 2022 World Cup after a hat-trick from Mahmoud Al Mawas secured a 4-0 win over the Maldives in Sharjah. The victory was the Syrians sixth in a row in Group A, maintaining their perfect record and opening up an eight point gap over second-placed China.

* The return of Teemu Pukki from injury took the sting out of Finland's 1-0 loss at home to Estonia in their final pre-Euro 2020 friendly in Helsinki on Friday, with the striker looking fresh in a half-hour substitute appearance. The 31-year-old, who netted 10 goals in qualifying, damaged ankle ligaments while playing for his club Norwich City a month ago, and Finnish fans have been hoping that he will be fit in time for the Euros.

* Giro d'Italia champion and 2019 Tour de France winner Egan Bernal has tested positive for COVID-19, his Ineos-Grenadiers team said on Friday. Bernal was not scheduled to take part in the Tour de France, which starts on June 26.

* Premier League champions Manchester City dominated the Professional Footballers' Association Team of the Year which was announced on Friday, with six players making the cut. Team of the year: Ederson, Joao Cancelo, John Stones, Ruben Dias, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan (all Manchester City), Luke Shaw, Bruno Fernandes (both Manchester United), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Son Heung-min, Harry Kane (both Tottenham Hotspur).

* Serena Williams powered confidently into the fourth round of the French Open with a 6-4 6-4 defeat of fellow American Danielle Collins on Friday as the draw opened up enticingly. Williams, seeking a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title, but first since 2017, will play Kazakhstan's 21st seed Elena Rybakina for a place in the quarter-finals.

* Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev put in a commanding performance against towering 32nd seed Reilly Opelka, beating the American 6-4 6-2 6-4 to storm into the fourth round of the French Open on Friday.

* The Swiss Indoors Basel, a tournament Roger Federer has won 10 times, has been cancelled for a second year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organisers said on Friday. The ATP 500 tournament was scheduled to be held from Oct. 25-31 after it was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

* Chelsea have extended Thomas Tuchel's contract until 2024 after the German manager won the Champions League this season, the London club said on Friday. Tuchel took over midway through the 2020-21 season after the Premier League club sacked Frank Lampard and the German led them to a top-four finish as well as the FA Cup final.

* About14,000 fans will be allowed to attend Euro 2020 matches in Munich's Allianz Arena this month if infection rates in Bavaria remain as low as at the moment, Bavarian State Premier Markus Soeder said on Friday.

* Former world number one Victoria Azarenka reached the fourth round of the French Open for the first time since 2013 with a 6-2, 6-2 victory against American Madison Keys on Friday. The Belarusian, who reached a career-best semi-final at Roland Garros eight years ago, was a doubt for the claycourt Grand Slam after withdrawing from the Madrid Open last month with back pain, but she has been solid so far.

* Third seed Aryna Sabalenka crashed out of the French Open with an error-filled third-round defeat to experienced Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Friday, leaving the women's draw without its top three seeds at the claycourt Grand Slam. After the exits of Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka, the Belarusian was the highest seed remaining this week in Paris but she failed to keep a leash on her unforced errors to lose 6-4 2-6 6-0 to the 29-year-old Russian.

* Red Bull's Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen set the pace in first practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Friday, with the two Ferraris close behind. The 23-year-old Dutch driver, leading the standings for the first time in his career after winning in Monaco last month, lapped the Baku street circuit with a best time of one minute 43.184 seconds.

* Australia has withdrawn Sydney FC, Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar from the 2021 Asian Champions League, the Asian Football Confederation said on Friday.