LONDON: Eddie Howe became the first English manager to go 15 games unbeaten in the Premier League – but it comes as no consolation as Newcastle United let two top flight points slip through their fingers against Crystal Palace.
As has been the case so often against the Eagles, United came up short in the final third, failing to take advantage of their utter dominance from start to finish at Selhurst Park.
The result, although flavoured with disappointment, does take Howe’s men back to third in the table, leapfrogging Manchester United who take on Premier League runaway leaders Arsenal on Sunday.
Howe now stands alone as the only homegrown manager to put together such a lengthy unbeaten run in the top flight, but his side have lost ground in their bid to cement a Champions League spot as their own.
Despite injury fears, Newcastle were able to name an unchanged team from the side that battled to a late, late 1-0 win over a resilient Fulham at St James’ Park six days earlier.
Fears Bruno Guimaraes would miss the encounter with an ankle problem were unfounded as the popular Brazilian lined up in the United midfield engine-room.
Last week’s goal hero Alexander Isak, as well as Allan Saint-Maximin started on the bench again at Selhurst Park.
And Bruno & Co started where they left off against the Cottagers as Joe Willock found space down the left having been set away by the Brazilian, only for his cross to be turned wide by in-form Miguel Almiron at the back post. It was an opportunity that has so often this season hit the back of the net for the Magpies’ top scorer.
Dan Burn was next to pepper the Palace goal with a powerful half volley that stung the palms of Vicente Guaita after some silky build up play by Sean Longstaff and Kieran Trippier.
United were lining them up as the first 45 wore on and Joelinton could and should have done better when found by the marauding Fabian Schar. His shot, though, was weak and comfortable for Guaita.
United then had a penalty call turned down when a goal-bound Joelinton strike was deflected off a Palace arm and then on to Guaita, but referee Craig Pawson refused to be swayed.
Palace’s only chance of the half came right as the 45 closed with Chris Richards nodding a corner wide from the penalty spot. It would have been a goal the Eagles scarcely deserved.
After the break the one-way traffic continued as Trippier’s well-worked corner routine ended up on the head of Wilson, but the No.9 could not break the stalemate with a guided header.
The Magpies kept knocking on the Palace door, but couldn’t quite find that finishing touch. Sven Botman, a colossus at the back in United’s push up the table, headed another Trippier corner wide.
Totally against the run of play this one almost slipped away from United. Over complicating things in their own third, the ball was lost and, and Palace pounced on it as substitute Jean-Philippe Mateta smashed one goalwards, only for Nick Pope, a relative spectator to that point, produce one of the saves of the season to keep things level.
Having thrown on their big guns from reserve, United went for the jugular and it was a player called from the bench who almost won it – Isak rose highest in a crowded area but his header was straight at Guaita. An inch or two either side and it was another late goal and three points claimed. Fellow sub Saint-Maximin also saw a shot deflected wide late on.
It very much feels like two points dropped for United and Howe, however with battles on another valuable front ahead – they play Southampton in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final on Tuesday – coming through unscathed with a point was the bare minimum.
INDORE, India: Powered by centuries from openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill, India beat New Zealand by 90 runs on Tuesday to win the third one-day international and sweep the series.
Gill scored 112 runs off 78 balls and Sharma struck 101 off 85 as India piled up 385-9 in 50 overs.
In reply, Devon Conway scored 138 off 100 but it wasn’t enough as New Zealand were bowled out for 295 runs in 41.2 overs at Holkar Cricket Stadium. Shardul Thakur (3-45) and Kuldeep Yadav (3-62) did most of the damage.
The Black Caps lost the three-match series 3-0. India won the first ODI in Hyderabad by 16 runs and the second ODI in Raipur by eight wickets.
Put in to bat, the Indian openers shared an impressive stand of 212 runs in 26.1 overs.
It was the highest first-wicket partnership in ODIs against New Zealand, exceeding 201 runs by Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir for India in 2009.
Sharma reached 100 off 83 balls, his second-quickest ODI century. India’s skipper hit nine fours and six sixes for his 30th ODI hundred.
At the other end, Gill scored a third ODI hundred in four innings. He hit 13 fours and five sixes to reach the landmark off 72 balls.
Overall, Gill scored 360 runs in three innings against New Zealand. It was the joint-highest for any batsman in a bilateral three-match ODI series along with Pakistan’s Babar Azam against West Indies in 2016.
India then lost both openers in 12 deliveries, and continued losing wickets at regular intervals. From 230-2 in 28 overs, its last seven wickets added only 155 runs in 22 overs.
Hardik Pandya held anchor with a 38-ball 54 after Virat Kohli (36), Ishan Kishan (17) and Suryakumar Yadav (14) were out cheaply on a batting-friendly pitch.
Jacob Duffy took 3-100 in 10 overs, and Blair Tickner finished with 3-76.
Chasing 386, Pandya bowled Kiwi opener Finn Allen for a two-ball duck.
But Conway held his end to propel New Zealand’s innings. He scored 50 off 41 balls, and then accelerated to 100 off 71 balls, including seven fours and seven sixes.
Conway’s 138 was New Zealand’s third-highest ODI score against India. Overall, he hit 12 fours and eight sixes. Henry Nicholls scored 42 off 40 balls to put on 106 runs for the second wicket.
Thakur struck a double blow in the 26th over to remove Daryl Mitchell (24) and Tom Latham (0) off successive deliveries. He also dismissed Glenn Phillips for 5 to break New Zealand’s resolve.
Contributions from Mitchell Santner (34) and Michael Bracewell (26) were not enough to trouble India’s score.
BERLIN: Bayern Munich needed a late goal from Joshua Kimmich to salvage a 1-1 draw at home against Cologne in the Bundesliga on Tuesday as the 10-time defending champions were left waiting for their first win of 2023.
Kimmich struck in the 90th minute with a central shot in under the crossbar from around 30 meters.
It denied the visitors a statement victory after taking the lead in the fourth minute and then fending off all of Bayern’s attacks. But after Cologne managed to only half-clear the ball, Kimmich returned it with all the power he could muster from his right boot.
Bayern had been looking for their first win of the year after a 1-1 draw in Leipzig the previous Friday in their first game following the extended winter break.
After 10 straight victories across all competitions before the World Cup, Bayern were keen to kick off another winning run.
Cologne had started 2023 with a 7-1 rout of Werder Bremen — but Bayern is a different caliber.
Still, Ellyes Skhiri stunned the favorites with Cologne’s opener in the fourth minute, going behind Alphonso Davies at the far post to guide in Julian Chabot’s header from a corner.
Bayern’s new goalkeeper Yann Sommer had to be alert to deny Skhiri a second goal on a counterattack.
Both coaches reacted with two changes at the break and Bayern increased its pressure in the second half — only to be met by more resolute defending.
Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann brought on French forward Mathys Tel for Davies in a final gamble with eight minutes of regular time remaining, but it was Kimmich who provided the breakthrough.
Bayern moved four points clear of Leipzig, who routed last-place Schalke 6-1 away earlier.
Eintracht Frankfurt, Union Berlin and Freiburg can all cut Bayern’s lead to three points by winning their respective games Wednesday. Freiburg host Frankfurt and Union visits Bremen.
Also Tuesday, Hertha Berlin dropped deeper into relegation trouble with a chastening 5-0 loss at home to Wolfsburg, just days before it hosts city rival Union for the derby.
While Hertha and Schalke remained mired in the relegation zone, Stuttgart moved out of it despite conceding an injury time equalizer to Hoffenheim for a draw 2-2.
Stuttgart midfielder Naouirou Ahamada set up Serhou Guirassy for his team’s equalizer in first-half injury time, then Wataru Endo for the equalizer in the 77th.
But Ahamada were sent off with his second yellow card for his celebrations, and Andrej Kramarić scored very late – his second of the game – to end Hoffenheim’s run of four defeats in a row.
KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY: Kevin Na, Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra, Jason Kokrak and Talor Gooch have been confirmed for the Asian Tour’s flagship $5 million PIF Saudi International, powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers, which will take place at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club from February 2-5.
The four Golf Saudi ambassadors join a strong field, featuring World No. 3 Cameron Smith and defending champion Harold Varner III, who memorably secured a thrilling last-gasp victory with an unforgettable 90-foot eagle putt on 18 last year. The Asian Tour’s top 30 players at the close of the 2022 season have also earned a spot at the big-money event.
Kokrak secured three PGA Tour titles, the CJ Cup, Charles Schwab Challenge and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open, in a 13-month period from 2020-2021, while evergreen golfer Kevin Na has five PGA Tour wins, including the Sony Open in Hawaii in 2021, and one Asian Tour victory — the Volvo Masters of Asia — under his belt in a long and storied career.
American star Gooch, 31, won the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic in 2021, and Spaniard Lopez-Chacarra reached No. 2 on the World Amateur Golf Ranking system before turning professional and claiming his first tournament win in just five starts last season.
Na, who finished T28 at least year’s PIF Saudi International, said: “I really enjoyed playing the Royal Greens course last year, it was a real challenge and I am looking forward to playing here again in the PIF Saudi International this year, it is the perfect tune-up for the coming season.”
Kokrak, who also finished in the top 50 at Royal Greens last time out, added: “The PIF Saudi International is a highly regarded event which always draws a strong field and it is a great privilege to be teeing it up in the tournament again this year.”
MELBOURNE: Stefanos Tsitsipas closed in on a first Grand Slam title by reaching the Australian Open semi-finals on Tuesday in impressive fashion, as Victoria Azarenka also powered into the last four.
Tsitsipas was a convincing 6-3, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 winner over unseeded Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic and faces Karen Khachanov next.
The 24-year-old Tsitsipas is the highest remaining seed left at three and with Melbourne’s large Greek community roaring him on, his title charge is gathering pace.
“I’m feeling great with my tennis. I don’t think I felt so good in a long time,” said Tsitsipas, after making the Australian Open semi-finals for a fourth time.
“I’m a different player, playing different. My mentality is different.”
Tsitsipas, who will become world number one should he win the title, was pretty much in control throughout against the 71st-ranked Lehecka.
But he did lose his cool at one point in the third set, smacking the ball into the wall after losing a point as a ball boy went to collect it nearby.
“What I did, definitely I’m not happy about that. I shouldn’t have done it,” Tsitsipas said about the incident.
The other quarter-final at Rod Laver Arena between Russia’s Khachanov and Sebastian Korda had been warming up nicely until the American hurt his wrist.
The 18th seed went through when Korda retired in the third set, down 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 3-0.
The 22-year-old Korda, who had been attempting to emulate his father Petr’s Australian Open victory in 1998, said afterwards that he could barely hold the racquet.
He said he first felt the injury while playing the Adelaide International this month, where he made the final and forced a championship point before being beaten by Novak Djokovic.
But it had not bothered him in the opening four rounds at Melbourne Park until he hit a return in the second set.
“Volleying was almost impossible for me, so it was a little tough,” he said.
For Khachanov it is a second consecutive Grand Slam semi-final, having reached the last four at the 2022 US Open.
Nine-time Melbourne champion Djokovic is still on the scene, with a quarter-final against Russian fifth seed Andrey Rublev on Wednesday.
The other quarter-final is an all-American clash between Ben Shelton and Tommy Paul.
Azarenka is back in the last four in Melbourne for the first time since she won the tournament in 2013 and will face big-serving Elena Rybakina.
The Belarusian Azarenka, who also triumphed in 2012, secured an impressive straight-sets victory over Jessica Pegula.
Third seed Pegula was hotly tipped to win the title but the American simply had no answers to Azarenka’s pounding forehand groundstrokes.
The 33-year-old Azarenka rolled back the years in a surprisingly one-sided quarter-final to triumph 6-4, 6-1.
“Well, it hurts to beat her because I always want her to do well,” the 24th seed said of Pegula, a close friend and practice partner.
Asked how her young son Leo would receive his mum’s latest achievement, Azarenka said: “He’s more worried about his football and when we’re going to play again.
“He definitely wants his mum to be home.”
Leo will have to wait at least a few more days because Azarenka faces Moscow-born Kazakh Rybakina on Thursday for a place in the final.
Rybakina blasted her way into the semi-finals with a ruthless 6-2, 6-4 win over Jelena Ostapenko.
The 23-year-old Rybakina sent down 11 aces to blow former French Open champion Ostapenko off court in 79 minutes.
The 22nd seed has blasted 35 aces so far, more than any other woman at the tournament.
Ominously, she said her serve is better now than when she won Wimbledon last year.
“I gained even more power. It’s my weapon on the court and of course we are trying to work on it,” she said.
GAZA: In Gaza’s only boxing club for girls, 15-year-old Farah Abu Al-Qomsan is practicing her moves, trading jabs and punches with the other girls training with coach Osama Ayoub at the Palestine Boxing Center.
Since taking to the sport at the age of nine, Farah has found a release from the daily stresses of life in Gaza, a narrow coastal strip where some 2.3 million Palestinians live blockaded by both Israel and neighboring Egypt.
“We used to train in a small garage. Now we train according to the full rules and release bad energy,” the 15-year-old girl, at the territory’s first women-only boxing center.
Six years ago, Ayoub, started with two girls. As more joined, they moved out of the garage and began training on the beach or in rented spaces before moving into the new club building.
“The girls are ready. I trained them hard for five years,” said Ayoub. “We are setting an example.”
Now around 40 girls train in the center with its full-size boxing ring, training equipment and posters of boxing heroes such as Mike Tyson on the walls, defying expectations in a region where boxing has traditionally been a sport for men.
“Some people used to tell me ‘Why boxing, what are you going to benefit from it, go and learn something girly’,” Farah said. “I benefit a lot from boxing and today my ambition is to represent my Palestinian people and take part in world championships.”