SPORTS DAY: It wasn't pretty, but Chiefs will take it


SPORTS DAY: It wasn't pretty, but Chiefs will take it

A roundup of international sporting highlights


Komphela finds some delight
Kaizer Chiefs’ passage to the last 16 of the Nedbank Cup wasn’t pretty or convincing‚ but coach Steve Komphela was delighted to at least find one promising aspect of his team play. Chiefs beat National First Division outfit Stellenbosch FC 2-1 at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday night to progress to the quarterfinals. Komphela highlighted his new striking combination of Leonardo Castro and Bernard Parker as “something he can work on” going forward. “I think it worked well‚” he said of his decision to leave Ryan Moon on the bench and start with Parker alongside Castro. – Sazi Hadebe
Kgatlana humbled by award
Thembi Kgatlana said she was humbled to win the Most Valuable Player award at last week’s Cyprus Cup. The Banyana Banyana forward added another accolades to a growing list as South Africa finished fifth at the Cyrus Cup. The 21-year-old Houston Dash star was the player of the tournament helping Banyana to victory at the 2017 Cosafa Women’s Championship in Zimbabwe in September‚ then nominated for the Confederation of African Football’s 2017 women’s player of the year. – Marc Strydom
Lions counting cost of shock defeat
The Lions are counting the cost of their shock defeat to the Blues at Ellis Park on Saturday. Captain Warren Whiteley left the field injured in the first half and will be ruled out of action for the next few weeks with knee ligament damage. It is a blow for the Lions as well as the player who is recovering from a crippling groin injury last year. “It seems like a grade-one PCL‚ which is not too serious. Perhaps only a couple of weeks (unavailable)‚” said Whiteley, who appeared more downcast about the dramatic 38-35 defeat than the injury. – Liam del Carme
Blues silence critics, says Umaga
It was a case of attitude over altitude as the Blues recorded a rare away win on South African soil over the Lions on Saturday. The 38-35 Super Rugby victory was only their second since 2012 on this side of the Indian Ocean, with their only other success coming against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth in 2016. What made the performance more remarkable was that the Blues lost a day in their preparation after their plane got grounded in Auckland due to technical reasons. “People question the culture within our group‚” said coach Tana Umaga. “I think you got a good glimpse of what it is. These boys play for each other.” – Liam del CarmeSOCCER
Defiant Mourinho hails United
Jose Mourinho slammed criticism of Manchester United’s cautious approach in their 2-1 win over bitter rivals Liverpool on Saturday, while West Ham fans rebelled in ugly scenes during their 3-0 defeat against Burnley. Jurgen Klopp’s side dominated possession as United sat back for long periods, and Eric Bailly’s 66th-minute own goal set up a tense finish. “If people don’t think we deserved it, I don’t care,” Mourinho said. “I am a bit tired, we have a match on Tuesday. I don’t care what people say. The boys are happy, I’m happy.” – AFP
Conte lauds Willian as Barcelona loom
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte praised the all-round contribution of Willian after the in-form Brazilian helped halt a run of back-to-back league defeats ahead of next week’s showdown with Barcelona in Europe. Willian’s deflected shot opened the scoring in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace, and it was his clever dummy that created the second, an own goal by Martin Kelly. He has scored five goals in five games, timely before Wednesday’s Champions League last-16, second-leg match in Barcelona. “He’s playing in a fantastic way but, I want to underline, not only with the ball — also without the ball,” Conte said. – AFPRUGBY
Jones’s ‘honeymoon is over’
World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward said Eddie Jones’s “honeymoon” was over after a 22-16 defeat by France in Paris on Saturday ended England’s bid for a third successive Six Nations title under the Australian. Saturday’s reverse in Paris came immediately after England’s 25-13 defeat by Scotland and meant they had lost back-to-back matches under Jones for the first time since he took charge after the team’s first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup. “Eddie Jones’s honeymoon is over, he is about to experience the other side of being the England coach,” wrote Woodward in his column for Britain’s Mail on Sunday. – AFP
Garcia dethrones Lipinets for world title
Mikey Garcia sent Sergey Lipinets to the canvas for the first time in his career on Saturday as he seized the Russian’s IBF super lightweight world title with a 12-round unanimous decision. Unbeaten Garcia, who improved to 38-0 with 30 knockouts, has now won world titles in four weight classes. His triumph in Saturday’s 140-pound (63.5kg) bout in San Antonio, Texas, made him the third fighter, along with Filipino great Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, to win world titles at 126, 130, 135 and 140 pounds. – AFP
Woods living ‘minute to minute’
Tiger Woods has made such a great recovery from last April’s spinal fusion surgery that many might wonder why he did not have the procedure sooner. Woods said, however, that he had not been prepared to risk it until he basically had no other choice if he wanted to have a chance of living pain-free and playing competitive golf again. “No one has ever had a lower lumbar fusion where I had it and come out here and played,” Woods said at the Valspar Championship. “We exhausted all the non-surgical options. My disc was still intact so we’re trying to save the disc and I just never know with the future.” – Reuters

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