World Sports News in Brief

United hit nine, Saints and Arsenal end with nine

Manchester United reignited their title challenge in spectacular fashion with a record-equalling 9-0 thrashing of hapless Southampton on a night of goals, red cards and yet more VAR controversy in the Premier League on Tuesday (Feb 2).

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Southampton - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - February 2, 2021 Manchester United's Victor Lindelof, Daniel James, Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Martial celebrate after the match. (Photo: Pool via Reuters)
Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Southampton - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - February 2, 2021 Manchester United's Victor Lindelof, Daniel James, Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Martial celebrate after the match. (Photo: Pool via Reuters)

Seven different players were on the scoresheet for United as they ran riot after Southampton’s teenaged midfielder Alexandre Jankewitz was shown a straight red card after two minutes.

* Southampton ended with nine men, as did Arsenal whose revival hit the buffers with a 2-1 loss at Wolverhampton Wanderers for whom Joao Moutinho secured victory with a second-half wonder strike.

* Like Wolves and Palace, Sheffield United also came from a goal down to beat West Bromwich Albion in the battle of the bottom two at the Hawthorns. Billy Sharp scored the winner as Chris Wilder’s side earned a third win in five league games having won none of their first 17.

* Newcastle United came back to earth with a bump as Crystal Palace recovered from conceding an early goal to claim a 2-1 victory in the Premier League at St James' Park on Tuesday.

* Bottom side Sheffield United gave their Premier League survival hopes a shot in the arm with a third victory in five games after coming from behind to beat fellow relegation candidates West Bromwich Albion 2-1 on Tuesday.

* Sevilla overcame second division Almeria 1-0 on Tuesday to reach the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey thanks to a second half header from Lucas Ocampos. Argentine forward Ocampos glanced a cross from Suso into the far corner to break the deadlock in the 67th minute and score for the second game in a row after netting a penalty in Saturday's 2-0 La Liga win at Eibar.

* Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice to fire Juventus to a 2-1 comeback win over Inter Milan in a hard-fought Coppa Italia semi-final first-leg clash at San Siro on Tuesday.

* German fourth division side Rot-Weiss Essen pulled off a stunning comeback in extra-time to beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 and reach the quarter-finals of the German Cup on Tuesday.

* Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo has joined Argentina’s Boca Juniors for an undisclosed fee, the Premier League club said on Tuesday. Rojo joined United from Portugal’s Sporting Lisbon in August 2014 and made 222 appearances for the English club, scoring two goals.

* Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland struck the decisive goal in extra-time after having a previous strike ruled out to seal a 3-2 win at home to Paderborn to reach the German Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday after a dramatic fightback from the visitors.

* Second division side Holstein Kiel followed up their penalty shootout win over holders Bayern Munich in the last round by beating Darmstadt 7-6 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Werder Bremen also made it into the last eight, beating Greuther Fuerth 2-0 at home.

* The Formula E electric motor racing series still plans to start its season in Saudi Arabia this month despite the kingdom suspending entry from 20 countries to limit the spread of COVID-19, organisers said on Tuesday.

* Paris will be ready to host the 2024 Olympics even if the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing as organisers have been working on contingency plans, Tony Estanguet, the head of the organising committee, said on Tuesday.

* The Six Nations is set to go ahead in full after France eased its strict COVID-19 quarantine protocols for the annual tournament, the country's sports minister Roxana Maracineanu said on Tuesday.

* Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is out of COVID-19 isolation but still weeks away from returning, manager Pep Guardiola said on Tuesday.

* Liverpool centre back Virgil van Dijk will need a miracle to play any part in the club's Premier League title defence this season, manager Juergen Klopp said on Tuesday. The 29-year-old Dutch defender was injured against Everton in October, needing knee surgery after goalkeeper Jordan Pickford's reckless challenge.

* World number one Ash Barty marked her return to competitive tennis after almost a year out with a 6-3 6-3 win over Romania's Ana Bogdan in the second round of Yarra Valley Classic on Tuesday.

* Olympique de Marseille coach Andre Villas Boas said on Tuesday that he had offered his resignation, citing a disagreement over the Ligue 1 club's sporting policy.

* Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has tested positive for COVID-19, the Spanish champions said on Tuesday. A statement from Real said Perez, 73, had returned a positive result during the club’s routine testing and was currently asymptomatic.

* Nick Kyrgios shook off some rust to come from behind and beat France’s Alexandre Muller 3-6 6-4 7-6(4) at the ATP Murray River Open on Tuesday as the Australian made his return to the court for the first time in nearly a year. The ATP 250 event is a warm-up tournament for players who have travelled to Melbourne for the Australian Open which begins on Monday.

* Mercedes will unveil their 2021 Formula One car in a digital launch on March 2, the reigning world champions announced on Tuesday. Seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton, whose contract expired at the end of December, has yet to be confirmed by the team but the 36-year-old Briton has been busy training as usual in the United States.

* Naomi Osaka settled her nerves and stepped up her preparations for the Australian Open by beating Alize Cornet 6-2 6-2 to reach the last 16 of the Gippsland Trophy warm-up tournament in Melbourne on Tuesday.

* Roger Federer said he is hoping to make his comeback from double knee surgery in 2020 by competing at a smaller tournament after skipping the Australian Open. The 39-year-old, who is tied with Rafa Nadal on 20 Grand Slam titles, has not played a competitive match since losing to Novak Djokovic in the Melbourne Park semi-finals last January.

* World number two Rafael Nadal said he pulled out of Spain's opening ATP Cup tie in Melbourne on Tuesday with a lower back problem with less than a week left before the Australian Open. Nadal was due to play the second singles against Alex De Minaur in Spain's tie against hosts Australia at the Rod Laver Arena but pulled out hours before his match.

* Dominic Thiem's Australian Open preparations got off to a slow start on Tuesday as the US Open champion slumped to a 6-2 6-4 defeat to Italy's Matteo Berrettini in his opening match of the ATP Cup in Melbourne.