SPORTS DAY: Neymar sticks the knife into Mexico
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
Mexico fold under Neymar’s lash
Neymar and Firmino were on target as Brazil beat Mexico 2-0 in their World Cup last 16 clash on Monday to earn a quarterfinal spot. After an open but goalless first half in hot conditions, tournament favourites Brazil broke through in the 51st minute when a Neymar backheel sent Willian clear on the left and the star striker was on hand to slide in to reach his team mate’s low return cross. Impressive goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa kept Mexico in touch with good saves from Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Paulinho but though the Central Americans worked tirelessly, and showed a real willingness to attack, they struggled to create any clear chances as their second-round curse struck again. Neymar then set up Firmino for the second goal two minutes from time as Mexico exited in the last 16 for the seventh successive World Cup.
PSL questions after court decision on Ajax
Ajax Cape Town have effectively been restored to 15th position in the Absa Premiership after they succeeded in their bid to set aside the ruling for arbiter Advocate William Mokhari. Judge Denise Fisher said on Monday only Fifa had the jurisdiction to rule on the matter. The only logical way forward now for the Premier Soccer League is either to replay the promotion/relegation play-offs‚ that were won by Black Leopards‚ or expand the league to 18 teams for next season‚ set to start on August 3, with four relegated at the end of the campaign.
France get Sidibe boost ahead of Uruguay clash
France are expected to be at full strength when they take on Uruguay in their World Cup quarterfinal on Friday after assistant coach Guy Stephan described Djibril Sidibe’s injury as a minor scare. Full back Sidibe limped out of Sunday’s training session with an ankle injury a day after France beat Argentina 4-3 in the last 16. “It’s nothing serious. I can’t say he’ll train with the others today and his ankle is bruised but it’s nothing big,” Stephan told a news conference on Monday.
‘Salah’s new contract shows belief in Liverpool’
Egyptian international Mohamed Salah’s stunning first season with English Premier League side Liverpool earned him a long-term contract with the club on Monday. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said the fact the 26-year-old striker — who scored 44 goals in just 52 appearances last season — signed such a deal reflected his belief the club were on course for a successful era. “When someone like Mo Salah commits and says this place is my home now, it speaks very loudly I think.”
New-look Federer breezes in Wimbledon furnaceDefending champion Roger Federer marked the start of his 20th successive Wimbledon with a new look and a comfortable 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 win over Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic on Monday. Top seed Federer marched out on Centre Court dressed for the first time in gear designed by Japanese giant Uniqlo in a deal reported to be worth $300-million after a two-decade association with Nike. Federer was joined in the second round by the man he defeated in the 2017 final, Marin Cilic. But US Open champion and fourth seed Sloane Stephens became the tournament’s first big name casualty when she slumped to a 6-1, 6-3 loss to Croatia’s world 55 Donna Vekic.
Froome cleared of wrongdoing in anti-doping case
Chris Froome was cleared Monday of wrongdoing in his anti-doping case which had cast a shadow over his participation in the Tour de France. Team Sky’s four-time Tour de France champion has been under a cloud since he was found to have twice the permissible amount of asthma drug Salbutamol in his system during September’s Vuelta a Espana, which he won. Froome welcomed the news which means he can attempt to win a record-equalling fifth Tour de France.
Faf calls for tougher ball tampering punishments
Proteas captain Faf du Plessis has called for the International Cricket Council (ICC) to dish out tougher punishments for players found guilty of ball tampering. “I know they (ICC) met a while ago but it doesn’t look like anything has changed. It’s still the same rules and stuff, so they need to change that,” Du Plessis, who has twice been found guilty of ball tampering, told reporters ahead of South Africa’s tour of Sri Lanka. “The penalties needs to be harsher for ball tampering.”
Hollywood delight as ‘King James’ seals $154m dealHollywood rolled out the red carpet for LeBron James on Sunday as the basketball superstar confirmed his blockbuster move to the Los Angeles Lakers. Tinseltown celebrities and Lakers legends, including Kobe Bryant, expressed delight at news of the deal, worth $154-million for four years. The Lakers have not made the NBA playoffs for five straight years, the longest streak of futility in franchise history.
Tiger’s fiery finish boosts confidence
Tiger Woods produced his best final round since 2012 for a fourth-place finish on Sunday at the US PGA Quicken Loans National, a new putter reviving his game ahead of the Open. The 14-time major champion fired a four-under-par 66 at TPC Potomac, his lowest final-round score since a 63 at the 2012 CIMB Classic at Kuala Lumpur, for the second-best showing in his comeback season from spinal fusion surgery. Woods even asked tournament winner Francesco Molinari of Italy about his secret after shooting 62. “I told him pasta,” Molinari said. “Pasta is the secret.”
Tearful Park claims Women’s PGA Championship
South Korean Park Sung-hyun won her second major title when she overcame compatriot Ryu So-yeon and Japan’s Nasa Hataoka in a three-way playoff at the Women’s PGA Championship outside Chicago on Sunday. The normally stoic 24-year-old burst into tears when victory was secured as she hugged her caddie David Jones after barely displaying a hint of emotion all day.
No excuses for Mercedes after Austrian agony
Mercedes made no attempt to gloss over their mistakes in Spielberg on Sunday in a race where it all went wrong for the Formula One champions but they are determined to get their act together for Lewis Hamilton’s home British Grand Prix this weekend. “We weren’t reliable enough, we didn’t make the right strategy call, our starts weren’t good enough and we didn’t manage the tyres as well as we could have done,” said chief engineer Andrew Shovlin.
AFP, Reuters, TimesLIVE