7 Nov 2019

Today's sport news: what you need to know

2:12 pm on 7 November 2019

Latest - Manchester City were unable to secure their place in the last 16 of the Champions League after Atalanta grabbed a 1-1 draw at San Siro.

Raheem Sterling of Manchester City.

Raheem Sterling Photo: PHOTOSPORT

A win would have sent City through to the knockout stage but they remain five points clear at the top of their group despite failing to win for the first time in the group stages this season.

Tottenham Hotspur closed in on a berth in the next round with a resounding 4-0 win at Red Star Belgrade.

The result left Spurs second in the group on seven points from four games, five behind leaders Bayern Munich who sealed a last-16 berth with two games to spare after a 2-0 home win over Olympiakos Piraeus.

Juventus also moved through to the next stage after a 2-1 win away to Lokomotiv Moscow and Paris St Germain secured their place with a 1-0 win over Clubbe Bruges.

Softball loses legendary coach Ed Dolejs.

The former New Zealand women's softball coach Ed Dolejs has died at the age of 90.

White Sox at the 1982 World Champs.

The White Sox sole world championship win was in Chinese-Taipei in 1982, under coach Ed Dolejs. Photo: Supplied: TERA

The former New Zealand women's softball coach Ed Dolejs has died at the age of 90.

Dolejs was arguably the country's greatest softball coach, leading the White Sox to four world championships medals from 1978 to 1990 - including its first and only title in 1982.

As New Zealand's national director of coaching for 17 years, Dolejs stamped his mark on softball from Northland to Bluff spreading his love for the game.

Dolejs never lost his strong American accent despite living in Nelson for 54 years, but he always insisted he built his deep knowledge of softball in New Zealand, not his native United States.

IAAF trims Diamond League programme

The International Athletics Federation has confirmed that three disciplines will be dropped for next year's Diamond League meetings.

Diamond League steeplechase

Diamond League steeplechase Photo: Photosport

The discus, triple jump and 3000m steeplechase won't be a permannent part of the series although they will feature at some meetings.

The 200 metres will also only have limited inclusion in 2020.

The IAAF wanted to trim their Diamond League programme into a 90-minute window for better promotion of the sport.

It said the three most popular disciplines in the Diamond League are the 100 metres, the long jump and high jump.


Tonga to celebrate league success

Tonga is set to celebrate the historic rugby league wins over Australia and Great Britain with a public holiday and reception for players next Friday.

Tonga celebrate their rugby league win over Australia

Tonga celebrate their rugby league win over Australia Photo: Photosport

Tongan government officials are expected to announce a public holiday following the 16-12 win over the Kangaroos, by far the highest profile win in the team's history.

It came just a week after Tonga also caused a massive boilover by defeating Great Britain, the runners-up behind Australia from the 2017 World Cup.

Players will also travel to the country next week to be a part of the celebration, albeit without coach Kristian Woolf as he heads to the English Super League with St Helens.

Tonga have already begun planning for a full-blown assault on the 2021 World Cup, with the majority of the team still young enough to be in their prime in two years' time.

Tonga's next matches will be in the Oceania Cup next year, likely against New Zealand in a mid-year Test.


Mexican cyclist takes commanding Tour lead

Mexican cyclist Eder Frayre holds a 28-second lead heading into today's fourth stage of the Tour of Southland.

Eder Frayre

Eder Frayre Photo: Photosport

Frayre shook up the standings with a convincing win in yesterday's stage which included a solo ride up Coronet Peak.

Southland's Corbin Strong is in second place with another five seconds back to defending champion Michael Vink.

Today's 157km fourth stage starts in Invercargill and finishes at Bluff Hill.

Mtawarira calls time on Springboks career

South Africa World Cup winner Tendai Mtawarira has announced his retirement from international rugby and bows out as the most capped prop in Springbok history.

Tendai Mtawarira,

Tendai Mtawarira, Photo: Photosport

The 34-year-old, whose ball carries led to affectionate chants of 'Beast' in stadia around the world, was a stand-out performer as the Boks beat England 32-12 to lift the Webb Ellis trophy in Yokohama on Saturday, the last of his 117 tests.

He won a number of scrum penalties on the loose-head side as South Africa dominated the set-piece to lay the platform for their third World Cup title.

Mtawarira retires as the third most capped Springbok behind former lock Victor Matfield (127 caps) and wing Bryan Habana (124).

He won his first cap in 2008 and also has the most appearances of any South African in Super Rugby with 159, all for the Durban-based Sharks.


Salazar investigation pointless: US anti-doping agency

There is no point in the World Anti-doping Agency looking into athletes who trained under banned coach Alberto Salazar because the US Anti-doping Agency has already done that, USADA chief Travis Tygart said.

WADA chief Craig Reedie said this week the anti-doping body would begin investigating athletes who were a part of the Nike Oregon Project.

Salazar, who counts Britain's Olympic and world champion Mo Farah among the top distance runners he has coached, was last month banned for four years by USADA for doping violations.

However, USADA did not sanction any of his athletes after finding no evidence of any wrongdoing by them.

Tygart said he had asked WADA to operate as observers in this case.

Tygart has had an uneasy relationship with WADA in recent years and has remained critical of the body's handling of a major Russian doping scandal.


Fowler on the outer for Presidents Cup

Rickie Fowler looms as the unlucky omission when Tiger Woods and Ernie Els finally reveal their captain's picks for next month's Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.

Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler Photo: Icon

After months of speculation, Els will name his final International line-up today before Woods settles on his powerhouse USA outfit tomorrow.

Unless he pulls a surprise, such is the embarrassment of riches at his disposal, Woods' four captain's picks - including himself - will all be ranked above the Internationals' top player Adam Scott.

World No.7 Woods all but confirmed his playing presence with his recent wire-to-wire victory at the Zozo Championship, while US Open champion Gary Woodland and perennial major contender Tony Finau also appear locks.

That leaves Woods having to choose between 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed, the man who presented the skipper with his fifth green jacket in April, and five-year Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup mainstay Rickie Fowler.

The International team hasn't won the Presidents Cup since 1998 at Royal Melbourne, losing eight of the past nine contests and drawing the other.


Saracens titles in doubt: Exeter coach

Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter says if the decision to punish Premiership champions Saracens for breaching salary cap regulations was upheld, then their title triumphs in 2018 and 2019 were illegitimate.

European and English champions Saracens were docked 35 points and fined $NZ10 million by the Premiership this week after being found guilty of breaching salary cap regulations.

Saracens, who said they would appeal the Premiership's decision, beat 2016-17 champions Exeter in the final in both years.

"If this is upheld, it's pretty obvious those titles have been won unfairly," Baxter said at the Champions Cup launch in Cardiff.

"I believe the way we played in the final last year would have beaten any other team in the Premiership... The whole truth is if Saracens had been operating with a different group of players last season, they may not have got to the final."


Russia tightens legislation after doping scandal

Russia is drawing up legislation that would bar people serving doping suspensions from working as sports officials or in sports schools, Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said, as the country boosts efforts to put its doping scandals behind it.

Russia has faced heightened scrutiny in recent months after Reuters reported that two athletics coaches and one doctor suspended for doping were still working with athletes.

Another Reuters report in June found that race walking coach Viktor Chegin, banned for life in 2016, had been awarded state contracts to provide security at the venue where he was formerly head coach.

Kolobkov did not provide any timeline for these potential legislative amendments, nor did he say whether the measures would apply to both athletes and athlete support personnel.

He did not provide any detail on the proposed consequences for violating these measures.


Fifa rules on neutral venues for Iraq

Global football's governing body Fifa says it has told Iraq to play two 2022 World Cup qualifiers they were due to host this month at a neutral venue due to the security situation in the country.

Iraq played their first competitive match on home territory for eight years last month when they hosted Hong Kong in a World Cup qualifier in the southern city of Basra where this month's games were also scheduled to be played.

However, they must again look for an alternative venue for their matches against neighbours Iran on 14 November and Bahrain five days later.

Iraqi security forces shot dead at least 13 protesters on Monday and Tuesday, dispensing with weeks of relative restraint in favour of trying to stamp out demonstrations against political parties that control the government.

Iraq, whose only appearance at the World Cup was in 1986, top Group C in the second round of Asian qualifiers with seven points from three games, ahead of Bahrain on goal difference.


Woman boxer retires over eyesight concerns

Britain's Nicola Adams, the first woman boxer to win an Olympic gold medal, has announced her retirement from the sport at the age of 37 due to concerns about her eyesight.

In an open letter to the Yorkshire Evening Post, Adams, who won gold at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, said she was proud of what she had achieved but added that boxing had taken a toll on her health.

"I've been advised that any further impact to my eye would most likely lead to irreparable damage and permanent vision loss," said Adams, who won the vacant WBO flyweight title in July.

Adams ends her professional career with an unbeaten record of five wins and one draw.