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After beating Newcastle 3-1, Solskjaer says Man U not giving up on EPL title

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not giving up hope that Manchester United can challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title, despite the scintillating form of the league leaders.

City have soared 10 points clear of their local rivals thanks to an 18-game winning streak in all competitions.

United’s own inconsistent form has helped open up the gap, but the Red Devils beat Newcastle 3-1 on Sunday to win for just the second time in six league games.

“We’ve got to be there just in case,” said Solskjaer. “Every time we get three points we’ve done our job and that’s what we’ve got to do and see what other teams do.”

Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford were again on target on a night United needed their star men to paper over the cracks of another unconvincing performance.

Solskjaer made five changes to the side that impressively thrashed Real Sociedad 4-0 in the Europa League on Thursday and was lucky not to be punished for a disjointed start from the hosts.

“We had to find a way to win it in the second-half. The first-half wasn’t up to the standard that we wanted,” added Solskjaer.

“Maybe because of Newcastle, maybe because of what we did in the week. We asked them to go again after a high-intensity game and it took us to half time to get our legs and energy.”

A run of two wins in 14 games has left Newcastle just three points clear of the drop zone, but Steve Bruce remains confident his side will survive.

“Fulham have had a good week and won a couple of games, which at the bottom end of the table is big, but there are a few of us: Brighton, Burnley and maybe Crystal Palace looking over their shoulders,” said Bruce.

“My message to the supporters is that I’m convinced we’ll be ok.”

Poor goalkeeping cost Bruce’s men the opening goal on the half hour mark as Rashford wriggled free inside the area, but his shot should have been kept out by Karl Darlow.

United’s sloppy defending from set-pieces was punished six minutes later, though, when Saint-Maximin swept the ball into the top corner after Harry Maguire only half-cleared a cross into the box.

After a blistering start to his United career last season, Dan James has struggled for game time, but the Welshman has now scored in his last three appearances as he blasted past Darlow from close range just before the hour mark.

More good footwork from Rashford then drew Joe Willock into an ill-advised challenge inside the box and the on-loan Arsenal midfielder conceded a penalty.

Darlow had saved the only spot-kick Fernandes has missed as a United player when the sides met earlier in the season.

But he was wrong-footed this time as the Portuguese playmaker coolly converted to give United the two-goal cushion they craved.

-SuperSport

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Tiger Woods lucky to be alive after rollover car crash

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Famous American golfer, Tiger Woods, is recovering after undergoing surgery following a single-vehicle car accident in a Genesis GV80 in Palos Verdes, California, on Tuesday.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva says Woods is “lucky to be alive” after what he calls a single vehicle rollover traffic collision.

The surgery was to repair “significant orthopaedic injuries” to his lower right leg and ankle, which included the insertion of a rod into his tibia and the use of “a combination of screws and pins” to stabilise his foot and ankle.

Chief Medical Officer at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center,  Anish Mahajan, said in a statement released on the golfer’s Twitter account late Tuesday.

“He is currently awake, responsive, and recovering in his hospital room,” the Twitter statement added.

An earlier statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff confirmed that the 45-year-old golfer neither struck nor was struck by another vehicle.

The LA County Sheriff noted that Woods had to be pulled out of the GV80 by the fire department, as the LA Times reports.

Woods was the sole occupant of a Genesis GV80 SUV that was travelling north on Hawthorne Boulevard at Blackhorse Road when he crashed, the authorities said.

The vehicle sustained major damage, and Woods had to be extricated from the wreckage by personnel from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, sheriff’s officials said.

Sources said he had to be removed through the car’s windshield.

“Because of the situation and the way that you found the vehicle, he wasn’t able to open the door and come out,” L.A. County Fire Department spokesman Henry Narvaez said.

He added, “We extricated him; we helped him out of the vehicle.”

The LA Times further notes that Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva claimed Woods is “lucky to be alive.”

His car was 30 yards off the road where it landed. The LA Times also reports that he is in serious condition at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and cites an unnamed source that Woods’ injuries include a shattered ankle.

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Super Falcons thrash Equatorial Guinea 9-0, win Antalya tourney

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Super Falcons on Tuesday beat Equatorial Guinea 9-0 to emerge champions of the Festival Women’s Cup 2021 Antalya.

In the encounter, Barcelona forward, Asisat Oshoala, scored four goals.

Apart from the Falcons and Equatorial Guinea, Uzbekistan and CSKA Moscow Ladies participated in the competition.

Falcons recorded a maximum of nine points from three matches, scoring 11 goals and conceding none to emerge champions.

Glory Ogbonna opened the scoring for the nine-time African champions in the ninth minute, before captain Oshoala scored two goals from the spot in the 12th and 13th minutes, and then added a third in the 26th minute.

Uchenna Kalu made it 5-0 in the 36th minute, while Eibar forward Charity Adule scored the sixth goal with a fine header three minutes later.

Toni Payne’s 43rd-minute thunderous strike after shielding off two of her opponents gave the Falcons a seven-goal advantage into the half-time break.

Falcons coach Randy Waldrum brought on Gift Monday, Ramat Abdulkareem, Esther Sunday, and Maryam Ibrahim for Chiwendu Ihezuo, Chidinma Okeke, Payne and Kalu, which ensured that all the 23 players for the tournament took part in the encounter.

The Falcons scored two goals in the second half of the match, with substitute Gift of Robo FC, scoring the eighth goal in the 69th minute and Oshoala netting in the ninth and her fourth goal of the game in the 85th minute.

Two minutes later, Equatoguinean defender, Gina, was given the marching orders after a harsh tackle on Ramat Abdulkareem on the left flank.

With the result, the Falcons become the first African team to win the tournament, following three straight wins.

Speaking on the encounter, Oshoala said, “As a team, I’m really happy with the attitude the girls put up in the tournament because we came all out to make sure we had fun.

“Also, we worked very hard. We just want to make sure that we give our best and keep getting good results and goals as much as we can.”

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Beyond the ‘big three’, King Djokovic sets sights on Williams, Court

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Not content with challenging Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the men’s Grand Slams record, Novak Djokovic has Serena Williams and Margaret Court in his sights after claiming an astonishing ninth Australian Open title.

The world number one’s bold statement followed Sunday’s final, when he ended a turbulent tournament marked by a muscle injury and media attacks by humbling an in-form Daniil Medvedev.

Djokovic’s 18th major crown placed him within striking distance of the men’s record of 20, jointly held by Nadal, who lost in the quarter-finals, and Federer, who was absent through injury.

But the Serb also raised the prospect of a bigger goal: reaching the 23 held by Williams, and even the 24 won by Court straddling the amateur and Open era.

“Getting closer to maybe Roger’s, Rafa’s record, Serena, Margaret,” said Djokovic, when asked about his goals and schedule for this year.

“Everyone has their own journey and their own way of making history. They’ve made history already. They made a tremendous mark in our sport.

“I think about winning more Slams and breaking records, of course. And most of my attention and my energy from this day forward, until I retire from tennis, is going to be directed in majors, trying to win more major trophies.”

Djokovic, 33, said he would play a slimmed-down schedule focusing on the majors, rather than the rankings, now he’s guaranteed to surpass Federer’s record of 310 weeks as world number one on March 8.

His triumph follows a difficult tournament, after he suffered a muscle tear in the third round and was criticised for requesting better conditions for players during quarantine.

“It hurts,” he said of the criticism. “I’m a human being. I have emotions.”

The Serb’s 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 win over the 25-year-old Medvedev, who was on a 20-match winning streak, was also a sobering moment for the younger players hoping to dislodge the ‘Big Three’.

“The three knights of tennis,” Djokovic smiled.

“Roger and Rafa inspire me,” he added. “I think as long as they go, I’ll go. In a way it’s like a race who plays tennis more and who wins more.

“It’s a competition between us in all areas. But I think that’s the very reason why we are who we are, because we do drive each other, we motivate each other, we push each other to the limit.”

Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic said the Big Three were producing “better and better tennis” and also noted that Court’s record was on the horizon.

“I don’t know where is the end. Maybe they’re going to overtake Margaret Court and Serena, maybe not,” he said.

“But it’s amazing what they doing on the court. It’s amazing how they perform in the big matches.”

And Djokovic, dubbed the “king of Melbourne” by Medvedev, had a warning for the generation coming up behind the Big Three.

“Roger, Rafa, myself are still there for a reason,” he said. “We don’t want to hand it to them and we don’t want to allow them to win Slams.

“I think that’s something that is very clear. Whether you communicate that message or not, we are definitely sending that vibe out there.”

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