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Crystal Palace are a club in a Premier League relegation fight.

Crystal Palace are a club in a Premier League relegation fight.

Monday's draw at fellow strugglers Everton leaves them with just one league win this year and 15th in the table, five points above the relegation zone.

Step forward Oliver Glasner. In the space of a few hours on Monday, the former Eintracht Frankfurt boss was appointed Palace manager after predecessor Roy Hodgson finally confirmed his own departure.

The 49-year-old Austrian - who was at Goodison Park to watch his new side earn a valuable point - has been described as having a "genuine talent for revitalising struggling sides", and is going to have to do just that.

But what is his background, and why have Palace brought him in?

'A genuine talent for revitalising sides'
German football expert Constantin Eckner: Oliver Glasner has shown genuine talent for revitalising struggling sides, as he did at Wolfsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt, who were both in the doldrums before Glasner arrived.

That being said, in both cases he took over the team before the beginning of the season, not some time in the middle of it while the transfer window is closed, as he is now doing.

His tactical approach can roughly be described as underdog football, in that his sides usually are most effective when they can hit opponents on the break rather than playing a proactive possession-based style. Given Crystal Palace's current squad and the way the team have played this season, his brand of football could fit q.. [read more]
Russian Emperor fifth as Rebel’s Romance wins H.H. The Amir Trophy

Russian Emperor fifth as Rebel’s Romance wins H.H. The Amir Trophy

Russian Emperor could manage only fifth in his bid to win a second straight G3 H.H. The Amir Trophy (2400m) at Al Rayyan in Doha on Saturday afternoon (17 February).

Trained by Douglas Whyte, Russian Emperor settled at the tail of the field from gate seven under jockey Alberto Sanna as Godolphin’s Rebel’s Romance ambled to an early lead before going to claim victory in Qatar’s most-famed thoroughbred race.

“It was a very brave effort. The winner was gifted the race, it was just a really slow tempo and it looked like an on-pace dominated track all day. He’s probably one of the only horses who has made ground from near last and he’s run home in good order,” Whyte said.

Taking over from North Bridge at the head of the field under jockey William Buick for trainer Charlie Appleby, Rebel’s Romance then let rip in the home straight as Russian Emperor – who returned with a cut on his right hind leg – began to make ground late.

“He got cut into, I’m not sure WHEREabouts that happened but it’s a significant cut, so that will have hindered him a little bit. It was pace orientated and that was the downfall to our winning chances. The horse has run well and I’ll go back and see him now – I’m proud of him,” Whyte said.

The winning time of the race was 2m 28.74s. Zeffiro – second in the 2023 G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m) – finished runner-up, while fellow Japanese raiders.. [read more]
England captain Harry Kane's late goal at Bochum was not enough as Bayern Munich suffered their third defeat in nine days.

England captain Harry Kane's late goal at Bochum was not enough as Bayern Munich suffered their third defeat in nine days.

Bayern took the lead through Jamal Musiala, before the first of two stoppages following fans' protests.

Bochum scored twice, with goals from Takuma Asano and Keven Schlotterbeck.

Kevin Stoger's penalty made it 3-1 after Dayot Upamecano had been sent off and, despite Kane's 25th league goal of the season, it was not enough.

Thomas Tuchel's Bayern are now eight points behind Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen.

Tuchel said winning the Bundesliga title "does not look very realistic", but added: "Last season we believed until the end and we were rewarded. So we will keep working at it."

Bayern have been German champions in each of the past 11 seasons but now face the possibility of ending the campaign without a trophy.

They lost in the German Super Cup in August and then went out of the German Cup in the second round to third-tier Saarbrucken in November.

Tuchel's side lost 3-0 at Leverkusen on 10 February and were then beaten 1-0 by Lazio in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in midweek.

Referring to the pressure on him following his team's third loss, Tuchel added: "That happens after every defeat.

"The 'how' we played is key. The 'how' was good and that's why this 90 minutes are very different from the second half at Lazio or the game at Leverkusen."

This defeat was the first time Bayern have lost three matches i.. [read more]
Atullibigeal delivers for Hall, Avdulla in TVB Cup

Atullibigeal delivers for Hall, Avdulla in TVB Cup

Thwarted by bad luck this season, Atullibigeal deservedly clinched the HK$2.84 million Class 2 TVB Cup Handicap (1400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (18 February) for trainer David Hall as Brenton Avdulla extended a powerful mid-season surge.

Beaten a short head when second in the Class 1 Chevalier Cup Handicap (1600m) and a close fourth in the Class 1 Panasonic Handicap (1400m), Atullibigeal (130lb) bravely threaded narrow gaps in the straight today to fend off Superb Boy (123lb) and Drombeg Banner (132lb) after 2.2 favourite Global Harmony refused to leave the barriers under Zac Purton.

“A little bit disappointing he wasn’t able to win the Chevalier Cup or the Panasonic Cup – he was unlucky in both those races, so (it’s) rewarding to get this race today and hopefully he’s not finished with yet,” Hall said.

“We had the barrier (gate three) and it looked like he was going to get a good run, but obviously he was in a bit of a pocket there and had to find room. But he got clear and he’s shown before he can be brave in between horses and he certainly was again today.”

Celebrating successive Sha Tin doubles with Fast Buck’s win for John Size in the Class 4 TVB Tung Wah Charity Show Handicap (1200m, dirt), Avdulla said: “Atullibigeal was good. Good result – I thought I had one of those books WHERE things would need to go right for me to ride a winner, but everything has worked out well. Can’t complain.�.. [read more]
Kylian Mbappe marked his return from injury with a goal as Paris St-Germain took control of their Champions League last-16 tie against Real Sociedad.

Kylian Mbappe marked his return from injury with a goal as Paris St-Germain took control of their Champions League last-16 tie against Real Sociedad.

The French champions have an underwhelming record in the competition and were enduring a frustrating night until Mbappe pounced.

Having missed his side's previous match with an ankle problem, Mbappe scored at the back post after a corner.

Bradley Barcola added the second with a lovely finish past Alex Remiro.

Real Sociedad keeper Remiro had earlier denied Mbappe a second when he tipped his attempt on to the crossbar.

PSG, who have never won the Champions League, were far from their best in the first half and Real Sociedad's Mikel Merino hit the bar just before half-time.

"If you told me at half-time we would win 2-0, I would be dancing for two hours," PSG manager Luis Enrique told TNT Sports.

"We had to change everything because they were pressing us very high. We couldn't press and it was like a nightmare.

"When that happens you are going to lose confidence, but football is unbelievable and we could change that. In the second half it was more what we wanted."

Real Sociedad will believe they can turn it around in the second leg in Spain on 5 March, but will have to offer a much more attacking threat than in Paris.

How PSG may find blueprint for future in Real Sociedad
Relive the action from Wednesday's Champions League action
Mbappe ignores speculation to carry on scoring
Qatar-owned PSG have spent vast sums on transfer fe.. [read more]
Atzeni, Mo bid for three wins in a row with Crystal Powerful

Atzeni, Mo bid for three wins in a row with Crystal Powerful

Entrenched in the top five of the Hong Kong jockeys’ championship, Andrea Atzeni is hopeful of extending a fine season when he chases a hat-trick of victories on Cody Mo-trained Crystal Powerful in the Class 4 Tsun Yip Handicap (1200m) at Happy Valley on Thursday night (15 February).

With 27 wins and 39 minor placings from 303 mounts, Atzeni sits behind only Zac Purton (65 wins), Karis Teetan (44) and Hugh Bowman (35) after 45 of 88 meetings and the Italian is optimistic Crystal Powerful can strike again tomorrow.

“He obviously won a Class 5 and he stepped up to Class 4 with a bit of a light weight (118lb) and he did it again, although when he hit the front, he was running around a little bit. I thought he did it quite well,” Atzeni said. “He’s still a little immature mentally. He just needs racing. Hopefully there’s a little bit more improvement.

“He obviously likes the track, the handicapper has put him up another seven pounds, he’s still in Class 4 with another nice weight. He’s won twice at the track, which is quite important and if we can overcome the draw (barrier 11), hopefully we can be competitive again.”

Unable to add to his tally of wins at Sha Tin on Monday (12 February), Atzeni had totalled 10 winners across his previous nine meetings and will take eight rides at the city circuit on Thursday.

Teetan believes Nicconi County can contend strongly for Caspar Fownes in the s.. [read more]
Manchester City resumed their Champions League title defence with a comfortable victory at FC Copenhagen in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

Manchester City resumed their Champions League title defence with a comfortable victory at FC Copenhagen in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

After Kevin de Bruyne gave Pep Guardiola's side an early lead it looked like they would go on to claim a big win as the hosts barely laid a glove on them.

But Ederson gifted the ball straight to Copenhagen with a poor clearance and Magnus Mattsson took full advantage with a fantastic strike.

Bernardo Silva put Manchester City ahead again just before half-time with a clever flick after a ball from De Bruyne deflected through to him.

De Bruyne and Erling Haaland had further chances to add to the lead after the break and, although City were not quite at their attacking best, they ensured they left with a two-goal cushion thanks to Phil Foden's late strike.

"The biggest players appear on the biggest stages," said Guardiola on TNT Sports. "It's the hour of truth. We started well. We have to do our job and finish it.

"I'm just really pleased for the result."

Manchester City will host Copenhagen in the second leg on Wednesday, 6 March.

Read reaction to Tuesday's Champions League games
What did you make of Manchester City's display? Send us your views here
City avoid potential banana skin
This was Copenhagen's first game in two months after football in Denmark was paused for a winter break but Guardiola had warned before the game that they would still not make things easy for his side.

The Danes had beaten Manchester United 4-3 at the Parken Sta.. [read more]
Pasir Pinji bounces back with gutsy win

Pasir Pinji bounces back with gutsy win

Pasir Pinji, who rose from humble Class 5 to win the Selangor Gold Cup last September, is back in the winner’s circle after three creditable runs.

The New Zealand gelding could not see out the distance when fifth to GOLDEN PAYOUT in the Piala Emas Sultan Selangor (2000m) last November but bounced back with placings over 1600m and 1500m in the past few weeks.

Despite drawn widest in a field of 10, PASIR PINJI started favourite in the Metro A set-weight event over 1600m at Sungai Besi here today.

And the son of Nadeem had to do it the hard way. Ridden by apprentice Tuan Ammar, he was amongst the rear bunch of horses early. Though he moved forward and settled in midfield, he was caught three-wide all the way till the home straight.

The field was stretched across the track at the 400m with just four lengths separating the first and last horse. SAN ANDREAS took the lead at the 200m but PASIR PINJI wore him down in the run home to win by half a length.

BLEU MARINE flashed home between horses to pip SAN ANDREAS for second.

"I know this horse (PASIR PINJI) well," said Ammar who has won three times previous on the gelding.

"My instructions were to try to get nearer the fence and sit outside of one runner for cover. But the field was well bunched up and I was caught wide all the way. However, he gave his all in the straight."

"PASIR PINJI did a good job despite raci.. [read more]
For Roony Bardghji, the spotlight has been a constant companion.

For Roony Bardghji, the spotlight has been a constant companion.

When Manchester City travel to FC Copenhagen for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday (20:00 GMT), the teenage right winger will be the major threat, especially after his winning goal against Manchester United in the group stage.

Life has been hectic for the 18-year-old, known simply as Roony.

Born in Kuwait to Syrian parents, he moved to Sweden with his mother and brother at the age of six, later reuniting with his father. His footballing journey took him to various clubs, including Kallinge SK, Rodeby AIF, Malmo, and then in 2020, Copenhagen.

By the time that move was confirmed on his 15th birthday, a lot of people in Scandinavia were well aware of him. Since then, with 12 goals in 49 league games, he has justified why.

'The height of his ceiling is himself'
Keeping his feet on the ground was always crucial for Roony's progression, as the widespread attention gathered in his days as a youth player.

"He had a very humble approach to all the things he did, in his work ethic every day," Roony's under-19s coach at Malmo Jeffrey Aubynn, who now heads up their scouting network, tells BBC Sport.

"He showed on the field he had a big belief in his ability. That combination, with the many technical tools he has, stood out for me.

"He has increased his development all the time since leaving Malmo, playing in the Champions League. The height of his c.. [read more]
Red Lion lifts Chinese New Year Cup as Size, Purton and Avdulla post doubles

Red Lion lifts Chinese New Year Cup as Size, Purton and Avdulla post doubles

Building vital mid-season momentum, John Size took training honours with a double at Sha Tin on Monday (12 February) when Red Lion clinched the HK$3.72 million Class 1 Chinese New Year Cup Handicap (1400m) in front of a crowd of 81,049.

Boosting his tally to 29 wins, Size has moved steadily into fourth place in the Hong Kong trainers’ championship behind Pierre Ng (47), Francis Lui (32) and Ricky Yiu (30) after Howdeepisyourlove followed Red Lion’s gritty success in the afternoon’s feature.

Enhancing his record to five wins and four minor placings from 18 starts with prize money of more than HK$12 million, Red Lion earned the praise of 12-time champion trainer Size after Zac Purton tracked leaders Duke Wai and Super Wealthy into the straight before angling into the clear before taking the lead.

Challenged fiercely by Mugen at the 150m, Red Lion rallied bravely to win by a neck with a fading Duke Wai eight and a quarter lengths further back third with an overall winning time of 1m 21.42s.

“He’s (Red Lion) been a good horse. He won four races last season and he’s done a fantastic job to come back on a reasonably high mark (102) and win another race,” Size said of the Belardo five-year-old, who won twice in Ireland when known as Fiach McHugh when trained by Andrew Slattery.

“He fought like a lion. We’ll see what happens to his rating and try place him in another one he can go close in.�.. [read more]
Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou says the possible introduction of blue cards and sin-bins would

Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou says the possible introduction of blue cards and sin-bins would "destroy" the game.

Football's lawmakers Ifab delayed plans to release information about four proposed trials after talks with world governing body Fifa.

Under the plans, players would get blue cards for dissent and tactical fouls and spend 10 minutes off the pitch.

"Adding another [card] one. What is that going to do? The remedy is already there," said Postecoglou.

"If it's not being enforced to the level people are satisfied, do that. That's the change. One team being down to 10 men for 10 minutes, you know what that is going to do to our game? It's going to destroy it.

"You'll have one team sitting there trying to waste time for 10 minutes waiting for someone to come back on. Every other game is trying to speed up and declutter, all we are trying to do is go the other way for some bizarre reason."

If passed into the laws of the game, the introduction of a blue card would mark the biggest single change in managing player discipline since red and yellow cards came into force at the 1970 World Cup.

Sin-bin trial plan recommended for professional games
Listen to the latest Football Daily podcast
However, the Australian's forthright views on the topic were also echoed by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, with the proposals seemingly getting little traction among Premier League managers.

"It doesn't sound like a fantastic idea in the first moment. But actually, I can't remember when .. [read more]
Karis Teetan upbeat over quality Chinese New Year Raceday rides

Karis Teetan upbeat over quality Chinese New Year Raceday rides

Trailing only Zac Purton in the Hong Kong jockeys’ championship, Karis Teetan hopes to enhance another productive season when he partners emerging talent Mugen in the HK$3.72 million Class 1 Chinese New Year Cup Handicap (1400m) at Sha Tin on Monday (12 February) when the Mauritian takes a full book of rides.

With 43 wins so far, Teetan is second in the 2023/24 standings behind six-time champion Purton (63) after 44 meetings and hopes Pierre Ng stablemates Mugen and Galaxy Patch continue to make impressive headway.

Mugen (115lb) faces only five rivals in the afternoon’s feature – Courier Wonder (135lb), Duke Wai (131lb), Super Wealthy (131lb), Red Lion (125lb) and Running Glory (125lb) – and Teetan hopes the gelding can continue the form which has seen him notch three wins and a third from four placings this term.

“He’s taking on stronger horses again, but he goes in with a nice weight. It’s a small race and I think he’s going to have his chance,” Teetan said. “The speed is going to be a tactic in the race, but if he can get the right run – of course, he’s been doing very well this season – he should run well.”

Galaxy Patch contests the Class 2 Yue Yee Handicap (1200m) bidding for a fifth win from six starts this campaign but faces a field packed with quality gallopers, including Flying Ace and Howdeepisyourlove and three fellow last-start winners – Good Luck Friend, Majestic Knight and .. [read more]
Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara is set for another spell on the sidelines after suffering an injury against Arsenal.

Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara is set for another spell on the sidelines after suffering an injury against Arsenal.

The 32-year-old, who had been out since April with a hip issue, returned to action as an 85th-minute substitute in Sunday's 3-1 defeat in north London.

However, he experienced a muscle problem during his brief appearance.

Thiago is out of contract this summer and it is unclear if he will stay with the Reds beyond the end of his deal.

Since joining the club in 2020 from Bayern Munich, he has made 98 appearances across all competitions for manager Jurgen Klopp's side but has struggled to stay clear of injuries in recent seasons.

Klopp could also be without Dominik Szoboszlai for the Premier League game against Burnley on Saturday after the midfielder aggravated a hamstring injury and missed the game at Arsenal.

Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah is also recovering from a hamstring injury sustained while on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations last month.

Japan midfielder Wataru Endo is set to be available to Klopp after returning to the club following his country being eliminated from the Asian Cup after a defeat by Iran at the quarter-final stage... [read more]
Harry Bentley notches Happy Valley double as Danny Shum shines with a brace

Harry Bentley notches Happy Valley double as Danny Shum shines with a brace

Harry Bentley notched a double at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (7 February) with Eighteen Palms and Watch Buddy as the Englishman continued to build crucial impetus at the mid-season point of the Hong Kong racing season.

Bentley struck with Eighteen Palms in the Class 3 Hong Kong Park Handicap (1650m) for Danny Shum before producing a nerveless display on Ricky Yiu’s Watch Buddy to clinch the second section of the Class 3 Victoria Park Handicap (1200m).

“It’s obviously great to get a double, whether it’s here or Sha Tin – they always mean a lot,” Bentley said after boosting his tally of wins for the season to 14. “I’m very happy. I’ve ridden two nice horses. Watch Buddy is a very generous horse, he’s got a big heart.

“I was always very comfortable with how I was going and I thought I had the leader Healthy Healthy covered a long way out but, fair play to that horse, he really battled it out with me and two big-hearted horses going at each other – a proper race.”

Bentley scored in the previous race to present Shum with a brace. Shum earlier combined successfully with Alexis Badel and Romantic Fantasy in the Class 4 Fa Hui Park Handicap (2200m). The four-year-old held a short head margin over Sharpen Bright with Serangoon a further short head away in third.

Sugar Sugar’s consistency for Caspar Fownes was rewarded when Alfred Chan closed a competitive meeting when he drove t.. [read more]
Mousa Tamari scored a brilliant curling strike to stun two-time winners South Korea and send Jordan to their first Asian Cup final.

Mousa Tamari scored a brilliant curling strike to stun two-time winners South Korea and send Jordan to their first Asian Cup final.

Yazan Al-Naimat put Jordan ahead at the start of the second half with a clever dink, before Tamari doubled their lead with a superb solo effort.

Jordan had never gone beyond the quarter-finals before this year's tournament.

They will face hosts Qatar or Iran in Saturday's final.

With Bayern Munich's Kim Min-jae absent through suspension, South Korea's defence struggled to cope with a high-pressing Jordan side in the opening half.

Son Heung-min found the back of the net with a clever chip over Yazeed Abulaila, but the Tottenham forward had mistimed his run into the box and the goal was quickly ruled out for offside.

South Korea grew into the game and were awarded a penalty in the 29th minute when Yazan Al-Arab was judged to have brought down Seol Young-woo in the area.

However, the video assistant referee intervened to show it was Seol who had committed the foul and the decision was overturned.

Jurgen Klinsmann's side were undone early in the second half when Kim Young-gwon's sloppy pass was pounced upon by Tamari and played into Al-Naimat, who calmly dinked it over South Korea keeper Jo Hyeon-woo.

Tamari doubled the Jordanians' lead 13 minutes later when he cut in from the right and dribbled past a host of South Korea defenders before passing a low curling strike into the bottom corner of the net.

South Korea, who last won the Asian Cup in 196.. [read more]
Russian Emperor aims to rule in Qatar for a second time

Russian Emperor aims to rule in Qatar for a second time

Two-time Hong Kong Champion Stayer (2021/22 & 2022/23) Russian Emperor will ship to Doha, Qatar on Friday, 9 February in his quest to secure consecutive wins in the QAT G1 H.H. The Amir Trophy (2400m) at Al Rayyan for trainer Douglas Whyte.

“He leaves on Friday night and he’ll have an easy day on Saturday (10 February) followed by a few nice canters across the next few days. I’ll jump on him on Tuesday morning (13 February) – he’ll have a turf gallop.

“He’s been there and he’s a professional at travelling – he loves it and he’s very smart. He’ll be in the same quarantine box and same environment. I’m looking forward to getting over there,” Whyte said.

Laying the groundwork for his Middle East adventure this morning (Tuesday, 6 February) at Sha Tin in a turf barrier trial over 1600m, Russian Emperor cruised through his hit-out to finish third under jockey Brenton Avdulla in a time of 1m 37.73s.

“That was a beautiful trial. He travelled nicely and did everything that was asked of him in the straight – he hit the line strongly and it was a nice top-off piece of work ahead of the 17th of February,” Whyte said.

Romantic Warrior crossed the line first in the same exercise under jockey Hugh Bowman ahead of his HK$13 million G1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m) task on 25 February for trainer Danny Shum.

Russian Emperor has earnt HK$47.99 million. Sired by Galileo, .. [read more]
Ibrahima Traore smiles as he parks his black Range Rover outside the apartment block WHERE his footballing story began.

Ibrahima Traore smiles as he parks his black Range Rover outside the apartment block WHERE his footballing story began.

He is back in Pantin, just outside the north-east corner of the peripherique - the ring road that separates central Paris from its suburbs.

Amid the din of sirens and the aroma of fast food, Traore buzzes in and takes the lift to the fifth floor. The doors open and his brother is waiting to welcome him back to their childhood home.

Inside, there are photos of the pair's Guinean father and Lebanese mother, as well as shots of grandparents and younger generations of the family. Dominating the view through the floor-to-ceiling windows, across a dual carriageway and tramline, is a vast sports complex, with two 4G football pitches.

"That's our Camp Nou, our Anfield," Traore says. "We used to jump over the fence at seven in the morning to practise our free-kicks. Before school and after school, it was football. Only football."

LISTEN: Paris - football's greatest talent factory
For many of the kids growing up here, constant practice can lead to the ultimate reward - a career in the professional game.

Traore, now 35, played more than 250 games for four different clubs in Germany's Bundesliga and captained Guinea at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

His inspiration growing up came from the success around him, rather than the television screen.

"I remember just across the street, we had the player who used to play for Manchester United: Gabriel Obertan," says Traore. "It's the .. [read more]
Hugh Bowman stars with Happy Valley quartet ahead of Hong Kong Classic Mile assignment

Hugh Bowman stars with Happy Valley quartet ahead of Hong Kong Classic Mile assignment

Preparing to partner Helios Express in the HK$13 million Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (4 February), Hugh Bowman laid the foundation for a successful week with a four-timer at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (31 January).

Reviving memories of his blazing start to the season, Bowman triumphed on Hercules, Telecom Speed, Noble Pursuit and Happy Golf to dominate the mid-week card, taking his seasonal tally to 34 to trail only Zac Purton (61) and Karis Teetan (42) in the jockeys’ championship.

Bowman slotted a race-to-race double aboard Dennis Yip-trained Hercules in the Class 5 Fleming Handicap (1200m) and Me Tsui’s Telecom Speed in the second section of the Class 4 Jaffe Handicap (1200m) in a confidence-building display before scoring with Noble Pursuit for Caspar Fownes in the Class 4 Luard Handicap (1650m).

“A four-timer, it’s been a good night,” Bowman said after Frankie Lor-trained Happy Golf landed the first section of the Class 4 Jaffe Handicap (1200m). “I had good rides. Happy Golf is the only one that really drew a good marble (barrier two) and I was able to get him into a nice rhythm. I’ve had a good association with him – that’s my third win on him.

“With the others, I had some sticky draws. The horses have all run very well. Noble Pursuit, who was tardy away last time, I thought that if he jumped better, I could take the gamble and be handier in position up in trip a.. [read more]
Arsenal will have known deep down this meeting with Premier League leaders Liverpool had the potential to effectively end their Premier League title challenge - which may explain the wild celebrations that greeted victory.

Arsenal will have known deep down this meeting with Premier League leaders Liverpool had the potential to effectively end their Premier League title challenge - which may explain the wild celebrations that greeted victory.

It may have been too early to declare this a "must-win" match but it was certainly a "must not lose" as defeat would have left Arsenal eight points adrift of a Liverpool team who had lost only one league game on arrival at Emirates Stadium.

And, in the moments after the Gunners unpicked an outstanding first-half's work by gifting Liverpool a farcical equaliser seconds before the break, the audible groans around the stadium and the stunned expressions on the faces of their players suggested old fears were about to be realised again.

In the first half in particular, Arsenal were more intense than Liverpool, pressed harder than Liverpool, the characteristics that have made Jurgen Klopp's side so feared turned back on themselves.

And yet Arsenal somehow failed to hold the lead. It was the Liverpool fans who were singing during the interval.

Were Arsenal about to be undone by Liverpool again?

Instead, with the stakes so high, Arsenal showed character to overcome the doubts, regroup and - admittedly aided by some abysmal Liverpool defending wrapped up in an abysmal Liverpool performance - place themselves right at the heart of a three-way title pursuit.

How Arsenal gave Liverpool 'a taste of their own medicine'
Arsenal beat Liverpool to close gap at top

Arsenal's joy at the final whistle was unconfined. And why not?

Martin Odegaard grabbed a camera to captu.. [read more]
Helios Express sweeps to Hong Kong Classic Mile victory for Size, Bowman

Helios Express sweeps to Hong Kong Classic Mile victory for Size, Bowman

Delivering on lofty pre-race expectations with convincing victory in the HK$13 million Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (4 February), Helios Express will next attempt to emulate Golden Sixty with success in the HK$13 million Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) on 3 March.

Golden Sixty (2020) and Rapper Dragon (2017) stand alone as the only horses to sweep the series with victory in all three legs, culminating in BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) success, and Size hopes Helios Express can continue a blazing ascent after showcasing unmistakable talent with his fifth win from seven Hong Kong starts.

By Toronado, Helios Express provided Size with his fourth Hong Kong Classic Mile win after Sun Jewellery (2016) – who also snared the Hong Kong Classic Cup – Nothingilikemore (2018) and Excellent Proposal (2021), while Hugh Bowman slotted his first Hong Kong Classic Mile victory since Furore in 2019.

Given a patient ride by Bowman behind a moderate pace set by Chancheng Glory, Helios Express forged into clear running over the final 400m to down Helene Feeling by one and three-quarter lengths, while Star Mac charged from the rear of the field to be third, a further neck back. Speed Dragon, who struggled for clear running late, finished fourth.

Acknowledging the soft tempo and an overall time of 1m 34.44s, Size has no doubts over Helios Express’ class after the gelding stamped telling authority.

“.. [read more]
His first Premier League goal was a 97th-minute winner for his childhood club to seal a 4-3 victory. No wonder Kobbie Mainoo was grinning ear to ear.

His first Premier League goal was a 97th-minute winner for his childhood club to seal a 4-3 victory. No wonder Kobbie Mainoo was grinning ear to ear.

His first Premier League goal was a 97th-minute winner for his childhood club to seal a 4-3 victory. No wonder Kobbie Mainoo was grinning ear to ear.

"It is a dream come true," the 18-year-old Manchester United midfielder told TNT Sports, following his winner in a Premier League classic against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux.

"I have still not come down from it. I still feel like I am dreaming to be honest.

"To start playing in the Premier League for my boyhood club has been amazing. Now it's about trying to win more games."

This was Mainoo's 11th senior appearance for United, with his previous games seeing him being quietly impressive in central midfield.

But this was something else entirely. This was a young man dragging his stricken comrades from the floor with a spark of individual brilliance to grab a win which United seemed to have thrown away.

Seconds after Pedro Neto had equalised for the hosts, Mainoo picked the ball up 35 yards from goal. He beat one defender, nutmegged Wolves captain Max Kilman, cut on to his right foot and curled a beautiful low finish past Jose Sa.

Mainoo is the latest teenage star to come through the United ranks and burst on to the Premier League stage.

Four of the last five 90th-minute winning goals in the Premier League by players aged 18 or younger have been for United: Federico Macheda in 2009, Marcus Rashford in 2016.. [read more]
Caspar Fownes seeks more G3 Centenary Vase success

Caspar Fownes seeks more G3 Centenary Vase success

Upbeat after a midweek double, Caspar Fownes will chase a third consecutive G3 Centenary Vase Handicap (1800m) triumph when the four-time Hong Kong champion trainer saddles last year’s winner Senor Toba and talented Straight Arron in the HK$4.2 million feature at Sha Tin on Sunday (4 February).

Fownes produced Zebrowski in 2022 before Senor Toba’s victory last season and he hopes his pair can again contend strongly this year in a capacity field of 14.

“Senor Toba appears to be well. I thought he had a nice trial on Friday (26 January). He comes with a nice galloping weight of 125 (lb) and he looks good, so we’re hopeful that he comes back and did what he did last year,” Fownes said of the grey, who will start from barrier 11 under Keagan De Melo.

Hugh Bowman, who dominated at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (31 January) with four winners, partners Straight Arron from barrier three as Fownes plots a course towards the G1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m) with the five-year-old.

“He’s good. He’s got a big weight – 135 (lb) – but it’s a nice way for Hughie to get acquainted with him before the big race three weeks later. I thought it was a nice way for him (Bowman) to get to know the horse and if things work out on Sunday, he has a chance to win.

“Either way, Hugh will just get a good feel for the horse and be cherry ripe for the big day,” Fownes said.

Fownes has del.. [read more]
Arsenal's scenes of celebration at the final whistle at the City Ground were in the sharpest contrast to their last visit to Nottingham Forest, when defeat brought the curtain down on a season-long Premier League title quest.

Arsenal's scenes of celebration at the final whistle at the City Ground were in the sharpest contrast to their last visit to Nottingham Forest, when defeat brought the curtain down on a season-long Premier League title quest.

It was Forest celebrating back in May when Taiwo Awoniyi's goal not only assured their survival but completed Arsenal's misery as a late collapse made Manchester City champions.

Here, on a cold night beside the Trent, Arsenal's title ambitions were not on the line but defeat was unthinkable, especially with Premier League leaders Liverpool the visitors to Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

And this was why there was an outpouring of elation from manager Mikel Arteta, his players and the travelling fans when the final whistle sounded on a hectic five minutes of stoppage time, after what looked like a routine victory until Awoniyi struck for Forest late on.

It was not a night or performance without its stresses, not because Forest gave Arsenal any serious anxiety until those closing stages, but because for the first 45 minutes the Gunners appeared to be sleepwalking towards the sort of result that could inflict damage on their season.

Arsenal lacked urgency and penetration in a lazy, lacklustre opening half, sucked in by Forest's strategy of sitting back in blocks of defence waiting to hit them on the counter.

Too many passes, too many stodgy attacks, not enough chances. Arsenal might, with some justification, say they were being calm and measured, showing maturity, but there was no doubt a lot more was needed.

Second-half improvement gives Arsenal deserved win

Arsenal stepped up t.. [read more]
Zac Purton chases elusive Hong Kong Classic Mile triumph

Zac Purton chases elusive Hong Kong Classic Mile triumph

Zac Purton has won every big race available in Hong Kong – nearly.

The HK$13 million Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m) is the only major Hong Kong contest to elude Purton and this Sunday (4 February) at Sha Tin he rides Helene Feeling in a bid to complete the set.

“I’ve always focused on trying to win the Derby and put more importance on a horse that has a little bit more stamina who would be able to peak on the big day and overlooked the Classic Mile,” Purton said.

Purton has won 33 out of Hong Kong’s 34 principal feature races. 31 of these carry Group status, while the remaining three comprise the HK$52 million Four-Year-Old Classic Series, which kicks off with the Hong Kong Classic Mile before the HK$13 million Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) on 3 March and HK$26 million 147th BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) on 24 March.

Helene Feeling is trained by Danny Shum and is a two-time Class 2 winner. The Irish-bred placed in the HK$4.2 million G3 January Cup Handicap (1800m) at Happy Valley last start.

“The race has fallen away a little bit. There’s a few horses in there with quite low ratings and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of depth to it. The horses that stand out are going to be pretty hard to hold out – Helene Feeling has been racing fairly consistently,” Purton said.

Purton won twice aboard Helene Feeling last season, closing that term with a success over this weekend’s .. [read more]
A decision in time sends history down two very different tracks.

A decision in time sends history down two very different tracks.

In 1998, a Hollywood film starring Gwyneth Paltrow catapulted the term 'Sliding Doors' into popular lexicon.

Ten years later, football had its own Sliding Doors moment.

In the summer of 2008, Barcelona - managed by Frank Rijkaard - were a club stalled and set to fall.

A second trophyless season in succession had ended with Barca third in La Liga and suffering ignominy at the Bernabeu.

With Real Madrid confirmed as champions in the days before, Barcelona had to give their arch-rivals a guard of honour on to the pitch before their league meeting.

The embarrassment didn't stop there. A 4-1 thrashing followed, with the Madrid fans chanting "Laporta please stay!" to Barca's under-pressure president Joan Laporta.

Off the pitch, dressing-room ringleader Ronaldinho was spending more time in the city's nightclubs than banging in goals.

Team discipline seemed to have drained away, with stories of the Brazilian being left to get his head down and sleep off the night's excesses rather than knuckle down in training.

WATCH: Pep Guardiola: Chasing Perfection
Questions over Ronaldinho's weight gain, and penchant for a night out, peppered the front and back pages of Barcelona's newspapers while in press conferences, every question directed at Rijkaard included the word "resign".

With the Madrid fans' catcalls still ringing in his ears, Laporta provided .. [read more]
Jamie Richards slots double to take Sha Tin training honours

Jamie Richards slots double to take Sha Tin training honours

Jamie Richards erased the frustrations of a challenging opening to the season with a double at Sha Tin with Magniac and G Liner on Wednesday night (24 January) as the New Zealander continued to build telling momentum.

Gathering impetus with four wins from his past 13 starters, Richards notched his first Sha Tin double of the campaign when Karis Teetan led throughout on G Liner in the Class 4 Peacock Handicap (1650m) before Hugh Bowman – substituting for an indisposed Zac Purton – triumphed on Magniac in the Class 3 Flamingo Handicap (1200m).

“It’s been frustrating, to say the least, how things have started for us this season at Sha Tin,” Richards said after the all-dirt race programme. “You can only play the cards you’ve got and what happens here in Hong Kong is that if they don’t run well, they drop (ratings) points and then they can be effective.

“Thankfully, we’re just taking our time and building for the back end of the season – our two winners tonight were courtesy of very good rides by the jockeys who were on board. It’s very important here in Hong Kong. You need every little percentage that you can get and we’re thankful for their good judgment.”

Veteran galloper All For St Paul’s took his career earnings to beyond HK$14 million with victory in the Class 2 Egret Handicap (1650m), leading all the way for Angus Chung – and claiming a small but significant piece of history in train.. [read more]
As a familiar feral atmosphere gripped Rodney Parade and the tinfoil replica FA Cup trophies glistened under floodlit skies, it felt like another shock was brewing in Newport.

As a familiar feral atmosphere gripped Rodney Parade and the tinfoil replica FA Cup trophies glistened under floodlit skies, it felt like another shock was brewing in Newport.

Within 13 minutes of kick-off, hopes of adding Manchester United to League Two Newport County's list of cup scalps appeared to be over.

Bruno Fernandes and Kobbie Mainoo had put the Premier League giants 2-0 up, and such was the air of confidence about the visitors that there seemed absolutely no prospect of them joining the likes of Leicester City, Leeds United and Middlesbrough in being humbled on this storied old ground.

But there is something about Newport and cup competitions, this one in particular.

As well as those wins over opponents from higher divisions, the Exiles had drawn with Tottenham here in 2018 and a year later they kept Manchester City goalless until Pep Guardiola's side eventually pulled clear in the second half.

Newport knew they had it in them to defy the odds. They had done it before and, even in these circumstances, they could do it again.

It is why Rodney Parade erupted when Bryn Morris scored to make it 2-1, belief coursing around the stadium. It is why Will Evans could find a way to bring County level.

Evans' equaliser represented the essence of the FA Cup. Here was a 26-year-old former farmer, who had been a full-time professional for less than two years, getting in front of four-time Champions League winner Raphael Varane to score against the club he supported as a boy.

Report: Newport County 2-4 Man Utd
As it happened & reaction: Newpor.. [read more]
Victor The Winner snares Centenary Sprint Cup for Shum, Leung as Purton rides six winners

Victor The Winner snares Centenary Sprint Cup for Shum, Leung as Purton rides six winners

Victor The Winner could embark on an ambitious overseas campaign after the lightly-raced speedster upstaged decorated opposition, including Lucky Sweynesse and Wellington, with convincing victory in the HK$13 million G1 Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (28 January).

Jumping from barrier 10, the 37/1 chance forged straight to the lead for Derek Leung and strode virtually unchallenged through a leisurely first 400m of the race, clocking 24.30s, before accelerating from the home turn and building an unassailable lead.

Clocking 22.18s for the final 400m, Victor The Winner prevailed by a length and three-quarters from Lucky With You, while Wellington was a further half length away in third place. Lucky Sweynesse, who ambled from the gates and was trapped behind a wall of runners to be 11th with 400m left to run, produced the fastest final sectional of 21.98s but was never a winning chance.

“He (Lucky Sweynesse) didn’t jump slow, but he couldn’t get into stride and then when the horses got in front of him and backed the speed right off, that made it impossible from WHERE we were,” jockey Zac Purton said. “So, he just lost it in the first part of the race.”

It was a rare rebuttal for Purton on Sunday, when the Australian dominated the undercard with six winners – Nicholson Returns, Ace Victory, Beato, Gorgeous Win, Sweet Encounter and Green N White – but it was unquestionably Leung’s time .. [read more]
Jordan Henderson's hasty retreat from Saudi Arabia to Ajax concludes a miserable episode in a previously exemplary career - one which had been conducted with a sure touch up until last July.

Jordan Henderson's hasty retreat from Saudi Arabia to Ajax concludes a miserable episode in a previously exemplary career - one which had been conducted with a sure touch up until last July.

Henderson's arrival was designed to be another shining symbol of the Saudis' unstoppable momentum in the sport, joining iconic figures such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema as their standard bearers. And yet he could not even last a full season in Saudi Arabia.

The past six months have damaged Henderson's reputation, particularly over his commitment to LGBTQ+ causes he had previously championed.

His exit has also hurt the image of the Saudi Pro League to the outside world, something it can ill-afford so early in its development and with the country determined to use it as the launchpad for its bid to stage the 2034 World Cup.

Ajax sign Henderson from Al-Ettifaq
Clearly, it does not reflect well that one of their statement signings - the former captain of Liverpool and a high-profile current England international - wanted out after only 19 games at Al-Ettifaq.

Senior Saudi sources insist they are unperturbed by his exit, accepting Henderson was unsettled and happy to cut a quick deal to solve the problem. Behind this, however, they will be surely be badly wounded by his desire to leave after a matter of months.

Henderson's short stint in Saudi was marked by poor results while playing in front of meagre crowds that, on occasion, did not even reach four figures. Al-Ettifaq, struggling in eighth place in the league, have an average home attendance of 7,854 in a 35,000-capacity stadium.
.. [read more]
Cruz upbeat over California Spangle and Beauty Joy’s G1 Stewards’ Cup hopes

Cruz upbeat over California Spangle and Beauty Joy’s G1 Stewards’ Cup hopes

Tony Cruz believes a gear change and a more favourable weight scenario could pave the way for California Spangle’s form resurgence when the gelding contests the HK$13 million G1 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (21 January).

Cruz has decided to add cheek pieces to California Spangle after the bay’s recent indifferent form and, with Hugh Bowman aboard from barrier two, the dual Hong Kong champion trainer is optimistic his stable flagbearer is primed to fire.

“He’s well. I’ve put the cheek pieces on him and otherwise he looks in great condition,” Cruz said of the 11-time winner, whose best victory so far came over Golden Sixty in the 2022 G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin.

Cruz believes California Spangle’s last run when seventh behind Taj Dragon in the G3 Chinese Club Challenge Cup Handicap (1400m) on 1 January can be overlooked.

“He got knocked down the last race and it was game over,” Cruz said. “I expect him to run well – much better – this time because of the weights.”

California Spangle carried 135lb when finishing four and a half lengths behind Taj Dragon but drops to 126lb on Sunday and meets his seven rivals on equal terms.

Cruz will also be represented by Beauty Joy, who chases his first Group 1 triumph, having twice won at Group 3 level.

“Beauty Joy, at set weights, he’s going to come late. I hope he catches th.. [read more]
England midfielder Jordan Henderson is close to joining Ajax in a permanent move, with his contract at Saudi club Al-Ettifaq set to be terminated.

England midfielder Jordan Henderson is close to joining Ajax in a permanent move, with his contract at Saudi club Al-Ettifaq set to be terminated.

Preparations are being made for his arrival in Amsterdam but no deal has yet been concluded.

The midfielder, 33, signed a three-year contract worth a reported £700,000 a week with Al-Ettifaq when he left Liverpool in a £12m deal in July.

However, reports have suggested he is unhappy and wants to return to Europe.

Henderson linked up with ex-Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who is Al-Ettifaq manager, but appears to be heading back to Europe, having made just 17 appearances in the Saudi Pro League.

Watch: Inside the Saudi Sporting Machine
The former Sunderland trainee, who was a prominent supporter of the LGBTQ+ community during his time at Anfield, was criticised by many for moving to Saudi Arabia, WHERE same-sex sexual activity is illegal.

He said he was "really hurt" by the criticism, adding his intention has always been to "help causes and communities".

Some England fans booed Henderson in his first game back in the country during the Three Lions' friendly win over Australia at Wembley in October.

Saudi Arabian Pro League clubs made 94 signings in a remarkable £750m spending spree last summer. Henderson is set to be the first major name to leave, although BBC Sport has been told French star Karim Benzema also has doubts about staying at Al-Ittihad having joined the Jeddah club on a three-year deal in June.

Saudi Pro League bosses are understood .. [read more]
Fownes, Ho and Purton post Happy Valley doubles

Fownes, Ho and Purton post Happy Valley doubles

Preparing to unleash quality stayer Straight Arron in the G1 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (21 January), Caspar Fownes extended a strong season with a double at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (17 January) to underpin his reputation as the ‘King of The Valley’.

Fownes’ brace lifted the four-time Hong Kong champion trainer to the top of the Happy Valley seasonal standings with 17 wins – one clear of overall championship leader Pierre Ng, whose tally of 44 victories include 16 at the city circuit.

Absent tonight, Fownes scored with Super Contented under Keagan De Melo and M Unicorn, who was partnered by Vincent Ho – Straight Arron’s rider.

Joining Fownes in slotting doubles were Ho and Zac Purton, while De Melo snapped a 58-run of outs when the South African coaxed the best out of Super Contented in the Class 4 Jackson Handicap (1800m).

“It’s been a bit slow for my liking, but it goes that way – you just have to keep positive and bringing my family here tonight was a bit of a positive thing to do,” said De Melo, who was watched by his wife Demi, father Dion and mother Fiona.

“Obviously my wife is 110 percent behind me on the good and the bad days as well but it was a nice relief (to win) for me and this horse is on the improve.”

Ho sealed a double when M Unicorn finished stoutly to claim the Class 3 Connaught Handicap (1650m) after earlier prevailing .. [read more]
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters says a date has been set for the hearing into Manchester City's alleged breaches of financial rules.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters says a date has been set for the hearing into Manchester City's alleged breaches of financial rules.

But, speaking in front of MPs, Masters said he could not reveal the date.

Everton, already appealing against a 10-point deduction for a previous charge, and Nottingham Forest were charged for breaching league profit and sustainability rules on Monday.

Masters said he understood why both clubs' fans might be frustrated.

"I can [understand] but they are very different charges," he told the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) committee.

"If any club, the current champions or otherwise, had been found in breach of the spending rules, they would be in exactly the same position as Everton or Nottingham Forest.

"But the volume and character of the charges laid before Manchester City, which I obviously cannot talk about at all, are being heard in a completely different environment.

"There is a date set for that proceeding. Unfortunately, I can't tell you when that is but it is progressing."

Premier League champions City were charged with more than 100 breaches in February 2023 but are yet to face a hearing.

Everton were handed a 10-point deduction in November, having been referred to an independent commission in March.

Manchester City charged with breaking financial rules by Premier League
Everton receive immediate 10-point deduction for financial rules breach
Everton and Nottingham Forest charged with breaking financial rules
City's c.. [read more]
Zac Purton hopes to seal record-extending eighth Stewards’ Cup for John Size

Zac Purton hopes to seal record-extending eighth Stewards’ Cup for John Size

John Size will aim to continue his dominance of the HK$13 million G1 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) on Sunday (21 January) at Sha Tin.

The most successful trainer in the race’s history with seven victories, Size is represented by mercurial chestnut Beauty Eternal in the first leg of the Triple Crown, who teams up with familiar ally six-time Hong Kong Champion Jockey Zac Purton.

“Beauty Eternal’s trials have looked good. He seems to have come through his run in December in good shape and it’ll be good to be back on him – hopefully he can produce his best,” Purton said.

Purton has three wins in the Stewards’ Cup, while he and Size have significant history together. The pair combined in 2022 to win with Waikuku, who downed Hong Kong’s current champion Golden Sixty in spectacular fashion.

“We know what it takes to win it. We have a good chance, it’ll just come down to barriers, race speed, track bias – there’s not a lot between them,” Purton said.

Sired by Starspangledbanner, Beauty Eternal has earnt HK$18.79 million across 13 starts. His most recent victory came in the HK$5.35 million G2 BOCHK Private Wealth Jockey Club Mile (1600m) last November.

“I’m not sure – I think what we see might be what we’re going to get. He could have reached his peak and, on his day, that’s good enough. We just need the right circumstances,” Purton said.

Voyage Bubb.. [read more]
Argentina forward Lionel Messi has won men's player of the year at the Fifa Best Awards, with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola claiming the men's coach prize in London.

Argentina forward Lionel Messi has won men's player of the year at the Fifa Best Awards, with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola claiming the men's coach prize in London.

Inter Miami's Messi edged out City striker Erling Haaland with Paris St-Germain attacker Kylian Mbappe third.

City's Ederson collected the goalkeeper award ahead of Real Madrid's Thibaut Courtois and Al Hilal's Yassine Bounou.

City won the Treble of Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup in 2022-23.

Messi wins by tightest margin
Messi, 36, began 2023 at Paris St-Germain, before moving to Major League Soccer (MLS) club Inter Miami in June.

He picked up the best men's player award for the third time since this format of the awards began in 2016, after doing so in 2019 and 2022.

He scored nine goals for PSG as they won the French Ligue 1 title and 10 goals in seven games as Inter Miami won the inaugural Leagues Cup in the United States.

Haaland grabbed a record 36 Premier League goals last season. In all competitions in 2022-23, he scored a club-record 52 goals - with 28 of them coming after the World Cup, plus another two goals this season before 20 August.

France's Mbappe, like Messi, won the Ligue 1 title with PSG - and clinched a fifth consecutive Golden Boot.

The 25-year-old netted 18 goals for his French club during the window of 19 December 2022 to 20 August 2023 - the period the awards were based on.

A mix of votes from national team managers and captains, journalists and fans on Fifa's website - with each counting for 25% - w.. [read more]
Frankie Lor, Alexis Badel take G3 January Cup with Happy Together

Frankie Lor, Alexis Badel take G3 January Cup with Happy Together

Frankie Lor’s dominance of Happy Valley’s only Group race continued at the city circuit on Wednesday night (10 January) when Happy Together extended his startling progress with an emphatic win the HK$4.2 million G3 January Cup Handicap (1800m) under a facile Alexis Badel ride.

Given a perfect run three pairs back on the fence, Happy Together provided Lor with his third January Cup triumph in six years after the previous success of Simply Brilliant (2019) – who was also partnered by Badel – and Money Catcher (2023).

Happy Together comfortably (115lb) denied La City Blanche (115lb) by three-quarters of a length, with the same margin to Helene Feeling (117lb) in 1m 48.29s.

Improving his record to four wins from five starts since joining Lor’s stable from Richard Gibson, who retired as a Hong Kong trainer at the end of last season, Happy Together has risen this campaign from Class 3 company and a rating of 73 to a Group 3 victor.

Badel said: “He’s a great horse, he’s got a lot of personality – I really like him. He’s got a great turn of foot, he’s got ability. I had a great barrier (three), I just tried to put him asleep on the rail. The pace was even and comfortable for everyone, I thought.

“I just had a look at the last corner to find a way out. I managed to get my way around them and he won brilliantly.”

Reflecting on the bitter-sweet recollections of Simply Bril.. [read more]
Tottenham came back from behind twice in a pulsating Premier League encounter to deny Manchester United a victory in front of new co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Tottenham came back from behind twice in a pulsating Premier League encounter to deny Manchester United a victory in front of new co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Ratcliffe, attending his first game since a proposed 25% purchase of his boyhood club was confirmed on Christmas Eve, said beforehand that he was "very excited" to be there.

And he saw Rasmus Hojlund drive United into a third-minute lead.

But Ratcliffe's pre-match assertion that United "normally do well against Spurs" wasn't quite borne out here.

Brazilian striker Richarlison levelled with his sixth goal in as many Premier League games for the visitors, who were without three players, including captain Son Heung-min - away with South Korea at the Asian Cup.

Marcus Rashford put the hosts ahead before the break, but Rodrigo Bentancur wiped out the advantage a minute after the restart with a blistering shot, his first goal since April, during which time he has recovered from a cruciate knee ligament injury and an ankle problem.

The rest of the game would have been an education for Ratcliffe, who sat next to Sir Alex Ferguson in the directors' box. United had less than 40% possession, nine shots against Tottenham's 16 and only a third of the visitors' six on target.

A draw was not enough to take Tottenham above rivals Arsenal and into the top four. But it did allow them to maintain an eight-point advantage over their hosts, who could drop to 10th before they are next in action against Wolves on 1 February.

How did you rate Manchester United's performance? Have your say here[read more]
Fallon underlines Four-Year-Old Classic Series hopes with brilliant Sha Tin win

Fallon underlines Four-Year-Old Classic Series hopes with brilliant Sha Tin win

Virtually unheralded until last month, Fallon has swept into Four-Year-Old Classic Series calculations with a stunning win in the Class 3 Tin Shui Wai Handicap (1600m) at Sha Tin on Saturday (13 January) as Pierre Ng extended a growing domination with a treble.

Third-last as the field turned into the straight, Fallon (117lb) unleashed a now familiar surge to cut down higher-rated opposition in a race restricted solely to four-year-olds – many of whom are being set for the HK$52 million Four-Year-Old Classic Series which features the Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m) on 4 February, the Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) on 3 March and the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) on 24 March.

Cruz immediately confirmed Keith Yeung would retain the ride on Fallon – the first of Galileo Gold’s progeny to run in Hong Kong – after the pair had also combined last month in a 68/1 success, also over 1600m.

“So far, so good. Looks like we’ll stick to the jockey, too, as he knows the horse very well and he has Classic Mile potential for sure,” Cruz said. “I’ll aim for that kind of race. Even though he’s rated so low (65 before today’s win), I’m still going for that race.

“He’ll have one more run before that, but I’ve got to find a race for him. I think this horse is still maturing and doing everything very nice. He’s a very happy horse. He’ll be fitter and better and can go further for sure, maybe all the way to th.. [read more]
Liverpool staged a second-half turnaround to beat Fulham at Anfield in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final tie.

Liverpool staged a second-half turnaround to beat Fulham at Anfield in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final tie.

The visitors had taken the lead in the first half when Willian showed great control inside the area to slot in.

It was no less than Fulham deserved after an impressive first half, but Liverpool stepped it up after the break and fought back with two goals in three minutes.

First, Curtis Jones equalised when his 68th-minute strike from distance took a big deflection off Tosin Adarabioyo to wrong-foot Bernd Leno in the Fulham goal.

Substitute Cody Gakpo then drove in a Darwin Nunez pull-back to send the home crowd wild.

It was the second time in just over a month that Liverpool had denied Fulham success at Anfield. Marco Silva's side had led 3-2 in the final 10 minutes of their Premier League clash on 3 December but lost 4-3.

The two sides will meet again in the second leg at Craven Cottage on Wednesday, 24 January, with Jurgen Klopp's men now in the driving seat as they look to keep alive their hopes of a record-extending 10th League Cup win.

But the Reds boss warned: "It's not over yet.

"I didn't expect a result WHERE we could book the hotel. Hopefully we will be better from the start. We couldn't do more than win the game -I'm absolutely happy."

Subs spark Liverpool in second-half recovery
This had the potential to be a tricky game for Premier League leaders Liverpool, who went into the game with a number of key players missing.

Trent A.. [read more]
Frankie Lor, Alexis Badel take G3 January Cup with Happy Together

Frankie Lor, Alexis Badel take G3 January Cup with Happy Together

Frankie Lor’s dominance of Happy Valley’s only Group race continued at the city circuit on Wednesday night (10 January) when Happy Together extended his startling progress with an emphatic win the HK$4.2 million G3 January Cup Handicap (1800m) under a facile Alexis Badel ride.

Given a perfect run three pairs back on the fence, Happy Together provided Lor with his third January Cup triumph in six years after the previous success of Simply Brilliant (2019) – who was also partnered by Badel – and Money Catcher (2023).

Happy Together comfortably (115lb) denied La City Blanche (115lb) by three-quarters of a length, with the same margin to Helene Feeling (117lb) in 1m 48.29s.

Improving his record to four wins from five starts since joining Lor’s stable from Richard Gibson, who retired as a Hong Kong trainer at the end of last season, Happy Together has risen this campaign from Class 3 company and a rating of 73 to a Group 3 victor.

Badel said: “He’s a great horse, he’s got a lot of personality – I really like him. He’s got a great turn of foot, he’s got ability. I had a great barrier (three), I just tried to put him asleep on the rail. The pace was even and comfortable for everyone, I thought.

“I just had a look at the last corner to find a way out. I managed to get my way around them and he won brilliantly.”

Reflecting on the bitter-sweet recollections of Simply Bril.. [read more]
Real Madrid want to add Bayern Munich and Canada left-back Alphonso Davies to their squad for next season.

Real Madrid want to add Bayern Munich and Canada left-back Alphonso Davies to their squad for next season.

Davies, 23, has a contract until June 2025 with German champions Bayern.

He has played in all but one of their Bundesliga games this season and started all six Champions League group-stage matches.

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has tended to rotate between France's Ferland Mendy, 28, and Spain's Fran Garcia, 24, at left-back this campaign.

Ancelotti has just signed a new deal with Madrid until June 2026 despite interest from Brazil.

The Italian is now looking at how he can rebuild and refresh his squad after only winning the Copa del Rey last season.

Real Madrid are still targeting France and Paris St-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe but Davies is also a key target and they are hopeful he will end contract negotiations with Bayern.

Last summer saw them sign England midfielder Jude Bellingham, but lose their main striker Karim Benzema to Saudi Arabian club Al-Ittihad.

Davies, who was born in a refugee camp in Ghana in 2000, joined Bayern from Vancouver Whitecaps in January 2019.

He has made 176 appearances for Bayern and won 13 trophies, including five Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 2020.

Davies made his Canada debut aged 16 and has been capped 44 times, scoring 15 goals, including their first at a World Cup finals at Qatar 2022... [read more]
Happy Together steps up for Group 3 January Cup

Happy Together steps up for Group 3 January Cup

Alexis Badel is hoping to time it right aboard the rapidly rising Happy Together in Wednesday night’s (10 January) HK$4.2 million G3 January Cup Handicap (1800m).

Amid a sparkling season with three wins from four starts, Happy Together continues to up the ante, enough so to warrant his shot at Happy Valley’s sole Group race with Badel confident he has found the key to unlocking even more success for the five-year-old.

“I learnt from my mistake two starts ago at Sha Tin. You need to preserve his turn of foot and you have to be a bit more patient – I didn’t make the same mistake twice and it was a good win last start,” Badel said. “He’s doing very well and he keeps improving.”

Trained by Frankie Lor, Happy Together will carry 115lb tomorrow. He most recently won a quality Class 2 at Happy Valley last month – his only race at the city circuit.

“To his credit, he has a good turn of foot. He can quicken well and he trialled well at Happy Valley when he was younger, so I was confident he was going to run a good race last time, as long as he could relax for me,” Badel said.

Happy Together tackles the Valley’s 1800m trip for the first time in the January Cup, while five-year-old’s boast a strong record with 13 wins in the race since it was first staged in 1999, including five out of the last six renewals.

“I’d prefer a good tempo – it’s easier for me. There�.. [read more]
The Premier League winter break - or mid-season player break as the league likes to call it - returns this season.

The Premier League winter break - or mid-season player break as the league likes to call it - returns this season.

The only previous break came in 2020 with the Covid-19 pandemic and last year's winter World Cup in Qatar putting paid to it since.

Here's how it works.

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When is the Premier League winter break?
Rather than the league stopping completely - like we see in Spain, Germany and France for example - the break is split over two weekends.

That means matchweek 21 is over two weekends, with five games in each. It means 10 teams play one weekend, and get the following off, with the other 10 taking a weekend off before playing.

Half of the games are across 12-14 January, with the other five taking place across 20-22 January.

In 2020, the break took place across matchweek 26 so it is happening considerably earlier this season, and much closer to the hectic Christmas period, WHERE the schedule is more condensed.

What are the fixtures during the winter break?
On both weekends, the five matches are split across three days for TV broadcast purposes. Here are the fixtures (all times are GMT and subject to change):

Friday, 12 January

Burnley v Luton Town (19:45)

Saturday, 13 January

Chelsea v Fulham (12:30)

Newcastle United v Manchester City (17:30)

Sunday, 14 J.. [read more]
Karis Teetan, Vincent Ho shine at Happy Valley as Francis Lui, Douglas Whyte post doubles

Karis Teetan, Vincent Ho shine at Happy Valley as Francis Lui, Douglas Whyte post doubles

Thriving in the absence of Zac Purton and Hugh Bowman, Karis Teetan and Vincent Ho consolidated positions inside the top five of the Hong Kong jockeys’ championship with doubles at Happy Valley on Thursday night (4 January).

Teetan, who sits second in the standings with 35 victories, combined twice with Douglas Whyte to cut Zac Purton’s lead to 15 wins with the Australian on a rare leave of absence, while Ho moved into fifth place with 19 wins after teaming up staunch ally Francis Lui on two occasions.

A remarkably consistent performer, Teetan extended his lead over third-placed Bowman (suspended) to 12 following his success on Shinkansen and Majestic Knight in the Class 2 Albatross Handicap (1200m).

“The New Year has just started and it’s great to get some winners,” the Mauritian said.

“Tonight has worked out well and I’m glad I got some winners. I had some decent rides and some good support, so it’s nice to get the wins.

“Credit to Douglas and his team. Majestic Knight, when I didn’t lead, he came back under me and when I picked him up, he really responded well. I was very impressed – Howdeepisyourlove is a very classy horse and for Majestic Knight to beat him tonight shows how well he is going.”

Whyte was elated after Majestic Knight’s (122lb) triumph after the gelding staved off Wonder Kit (119lb) by a head with Howdeepisyourlove (132lb) only a short head aw.. [read more]
Dorival Jr has left his role as coach of Brazilian side Sao Paulo and is set to take charge of the country's national team.

Dorival Jr has left his role as coach of Brazilian side Sao Paulo and is set to take charge of the country's national team.

His departure from Sao Paulo was announced by the club on X, formerly known as Twitter, but the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) is yet to confirm his appointment.

"It's a personal dream come true," said the 61-year-old.

Brazil parted company with interim coach Fernando Diniz on Friday.

The CBF was keen to appoint a coach on a permanent basis with Brazil in South America's sixth and final automatic qualifying place for the 2026 World Cup.

Brazil followed a draw against Venezuela on October 13 by losing their next three qualifiers against Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay.

Dorival's first matches in charge of Brazil will be prestigious friendlies in March against England and Spain in Europe.

He led Flamengo to the Copa Libertadores title and the Brazilian Cup in 2022 before joining Sao Paulo, whom he guided to their first Brazilian Cup last year.

The much-travelled coach has also taken charge of Atletico Mineiro, Athletico Paranaense, Internacional, Vasco da Gama, Fluminense and Palmeiras.

Dorival, a defensive midfielder in his playing days, added that the move "was only possible because I received recognition for the work carried out in Sao Paulo".

Diniz - who had a one-year contract combining the role with his post as coach of Copa Libertadores champions Fluminense - oversaw three defeats, a draw and two wins in his qualifiers in charge.<.. [read more]
Harry Bentley, Tony Cruz claim G3 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy with Whizz Kid

Harry Bentley, Tony Cruz claim G3 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy with Whizz Kid

Celebrating his third victory as a trainer in the G3 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy Handicap (1000m), Tony Cruz deflected credit for the success to jockey Harry Bentley after the Englishman crowned his comeback to riding with an upset win on outsider Whizz Kid at Sha Tin on Sunday (7 January).

Starting at 24/1, Whizz Kid (115lb) upstaged Invincible Sage (115lb) and Packing Treadmill (117lb) to provide Bentley with his first Group race triumph in Hong Kong less than a week after the lightweight rider returned to competition after serving a two-month suspension for improper conduct.

Cruz, who previously won the HK$4.2 million feature with champion sprinter Silent Witness in 2004 and 2005, praised Bentley’s display after the Briton allowed Whizz Kid to stride forward and sit outside Victor The Winner before taking a lead he would never surrender, clocking 56.86s – more than a second outside of standard time.

“He’s been a great horse for the stable, but I must give the credit to Harry Bentley. He rode a perfect race. I told him to jump and go with the flow, and he did exactly that,” Cruz said after replacing blinkers with a visor on the five-year-old gelding.

“I’ve been trying everything on him and that’s the only thing that works. It worked today. He’s a healthy horse and has never been a headache. He’s honest and he’s easy to train.

“I thought Happy Valley was his track, but with the prog.. [read more]
Paris St-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe says he has not made a decision about his future.

Paris St-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe says he has not made a decision about his future.

The 25-year-old France captain's deal with the Ligue 1 champions runs out in the summer and he has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid.

Mbappe told PSG in June that he would not be taking up an option for a further 12 months in his contract.

"First of all, I'm very, very, very motivated for this year. It's very important," said Mbappe.

Speaking after scoring for PSG as they beat Toulouse 2-0 to claim the French Champions Trophy, he added: "As I said, we've got titles to go after and we've already won one, so that's already done. After that, no, I haven't made up my mind yet.

"But in any case, with the agreement I made with the chairman [Nasser Al-Khelaifi] this summer, it doesn't matter what I decide.

"We managed to protect all parties and preserve the club's serenity for the challenges ahead, which remains the most important thing. So we'll say it's secondary."

Mbappe joined PSG in 2017, initially on loan from Monaco before a 180m euro (£165.7m) move.

He was set to leave on a free transfer at the end of the 2021-22 season but ultimately signed a two-year contract extension, with the option of a further year.

However, after Mbappe told PSG he would not agree to the additional 12 months of the deal, he was not selected for their pre-season tour to Japan in the summer.

He subsequently refused to meet with representatives of Saudi Pro.. [read more]
David Eustace readies for Hong Kong challenge

David Eustace readies for Hong Kong challenge

David Eustace made his first appearance in Hong Kong tonight (Thursday, 4 January) as a fully-fledged trainer in the city.

Meeting with local media before the first of eight races at Happy Valley, Eustace laid down the roadmap for the coming months as he prepares to make the full-time move from Australia to Hong Kong.

“It’s been fantastic. The Hong Kong Jockey Club have been extremely helpful and efficient – it’s great to be here for it to be official and the hard work starts now over the next few months. I’m looking to get an understanding of the rules, the setup, the races and most importantly try and build a stable,” Eustace said.

Formerly in a training partnership with Ciaron Maher, Eustace will finish up at one of Australia’s leading stables later this month before embarking on monthly trips to Hong Kong ahead of his permanent basing at Sha Tin in April.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge and pressure of building a team myself. It was not an easy decision. I had a great five and a half years in partnership and eight years working for him (Ciaron Maher), but I felt that it was time to take on the challenge and I’m really looking forward to that.

“I head back on Saturday evening (6 January). I will head to Magic Millions for the stable and I finish up with Ciaron at the end of January. I’ll look to move full time in April and my understanding is that I can train a horse fr.. [read more]
La Liga leaders Real Madrid gained a hard-fought win over Mallorca thanks to Antonio Rudiger's late header.

La Liga leaders Real Madrid gained a hard-fought win over Mallorca thanks to Antonio Rudiger's late header.

Mallorca hit the woodwork twice as Antonio Sanchez's header bounced off the underside of the crossbar on to the goalline, with Samu Costa also hitting the post for the visitors.

Those misses proved costly as Rudiger headed in from Luka Modric's fine left-wing corner in the 78th minute.

Real are now unbeaten in 18 games in all competitions.

The result had briefly taken Real three points clear at the top, before second-placed Girona moved back level on points thanks to a 91st-minute winning goal from Ivan Martin as they beat third-placed Atletico Madrid 4-3.

Both Real and Girona have 48 points from 19 matches at the halfway point in the Spanish league season, with the Madrid side top thanks to a better goal difference.

Real Madrid's win over Mallorca as it happened
Rare Rudiger goal proves the difference
This was the first game since boss Carlo Ancelotti ended speculation linking him with the Brazil national team as he extended his Real contract, committing him to the club until at least 2026.

Ancelotti was boosted by the return of Vinicius Jr, playing his first club game in almost two months following a hamstring injury sustained on Brazil duty in November.

Vinicius twice had efforts saved by Predrag Rajkovic - one attempt from a tight angle and another strike from outside the penalty area.

But Mallorca, 14th in the table, twice hit the frame of.. [read more]
Singapore racing best bets, race analysis looking at the full Singapore card Saturday, 6th January with selections & information on all the contenders.

Singapore racing best bets, race analysis looking at the full Singapore card Saturday, 6th January with selections & information on all the contenders.

RACE 1

FAST AND FEARLESS – Really consistent performer. Has a great record over this track and distance. Most recently finished 3rd behind Smart Gambit, was held up slightly in the straight and flew home from the back of the field. Can measure up again.

SUPERMAX – Has been a little frustrating for punters most recently. Had every chance last start and faded early in the straight. Usually has a break between races. Distance will suit. Is still a danger.

RED ROAR – One of the more experienced horses in the field. Raced wide last start but ran home well for a minor placing in early December. Can sometimes be one-paced and will need to peak.

BEN WADE – Had excuses last start and is on the quick-backup. Finishes its races off strongly and will need to sit closer in the run.

RACE 2

FIRE – Racing well, sits in the second half of the field and works home late. Been around the placing in its short career and has had a nice trial behind Pacific Crown on the 28th of December.

FLYING SUCCES – A promising 3yo, has shown ability in its four starts. Trials have been average but saves it for race day. Could be right in this.

ROYAL COMISSION – Can get keen in its races and is still learning. Got in for a minor placing in open maiden company on the 9th of December. Trials have been okay.

LIM'S SMYTHE – Will need to find another level. Can begin .. [read more]