25 Nov 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

12:36 pm on 25 November 2020

Latest - Chelsea have booked their place in the last 16 of the European Champions League after a 2-1 win over French club Rennes.

Mateo Kovacic of Chelsea celebrates  with his team mates after scoring.


Chelsea top Group E with 10 points from four games, level with Sevilla but ahead on goal-difference, after the Spanish side also claimed a late 2-1 victory in Russia against Krasnodar to seal their passage into the knockout stages.

A double from Bruno Fernandes helped Manchester United to a 4-1 win over Istanbul Basaksehir at Old Trafford, keeping them top of their group and just a point away from qualification.

An inexperienced Barcelona side missing Lionel Messi eventually cruised to a 4-0 win away to Dynamo Kyiv to reach the knockout stages for the 17th consecutive season and continue their 100% start in the competition.

Juventus progressed to the last 16 after a Cristiano Ronaldo goal and a late header from substitute Alvaro Morata gave them a comeback 2-1 home win over Hungarians Ferencvaros.

Former French rugby player dies

Former France and Stade Francais player Christophe Dominici, whose dazzling runs made him one of the country's best wingers, has died aged 48.

Christophe Dominici - France 2007 World Cup.


"It is with immense sadness that Stade Francais learns of the death of Christophe Dominici," Stade Francais said in a statement.

Dominici won 67 caps for France between 1998 and 2007, scoring a memorable try in France's stunning 43-31 victory against New Zealand in the 1999 World Cup.

He started his club career at RC La Valette in 1991 before joining Toulon in 1993 and Stade Francais in 1997 until he ended his career 11 years later.

He won five French national titles with Stade Francais and four Six Nations titles with Les Bleus, including two grand slams in 1998 and 2004.

"I'm devastated. With his crappy physique, he beat all the best defences in the world. It really sucks to lose him at 48," his former France and Stade Francais team mate Sylvain Marconnet said.


All Blacks know what Pumas are about

Argentina will not have the element of surprise on their side in Newcastle on Saturday when they try to repeat their shock Tri-Nations win over New Zealand, All Blacks assistant coach John Plumtree has said.

The Pumas celebrate their first ever win over the All Blacks.

The Pumas celebrate their first ever win over the All Blacks. Photo: Photosport

The Pumas produced a superb defensive effort and dominated the collisions to record a 25-15 victory against the All Blacks two weeks ago.

That defeat came after the All Blacks had lost 24-22 to Australia the week before, with the back-to-back defeats putting new coach Ian Foster and his staff under pressure.

The All Blacks have not lost three successive tests since 1998, when they went on to drop five in a row.

The Pumas followed up their first ever win over New Zealand with a 15-15 draw against the Wallabies last week, where they seemed content to allow the Australians to play all the rugby and put them under pressure to earn kickable penalties.

"We know what the Argentinians are all about now," Plumtree said. "We've seen them play twice, and we'll see how we get on against them in the weekend."

"When the All Blacks get beaten it's when defences dominate our attack," Plumtree said.

"We do see opportunities, but we've got to be good enough to take those opportunities and see that space and look to get the ball to that space.


India coach has confidence in his side

India coach Ravi Shastri acknowledged his team lack Australia's pink-ball experience but is convinced their "fabulous five" pacemen can bowl the tourists to a second successive test series victory Down Under.

Indian fast bowler Mohammed Shami

Mohammed Shami Photo: © Actionplus 2018

Australia have played seven day-night tests, the most by any country, since 2015 and won each of them.

India were late to embrace the innovation and played their only pink-ball test against Bangladesh in Kolkata last year.

A mouth-watering four-test series between the top two teams in the World Test Championship standings will get underway with a pink-ball contest at Adelaide from Dec. 17.

"We have played just one pink-ball test, but there is a qualitative difference between them (Bangladesh) and Australia. It is like cheese and chalk," said Shastri.

Skipper Virat Kohli, who led India to their maiden test series victory in Australia two seasons ago, will return home after the Adelaide test to attend the birth of his first child.

While it would take some sheen off India's batting lineup in the last three tests, Shastri was confident India's five-member pace attack, which includes Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, could defend decent totals.


World Rugby making World Cup voting more transparent

World Rugby has approved recommendations by its World Cup Board for a more transparent process of selecting hosts for future men's and women's editions of the tournament, including an open electronic vote with results published.

The women's Rugby World Cup will kick off on September 18th.

The women's Rugby World Cup will kick off on September 18th. Photo: Photosport

The sport's global body said that after an interim meeting, it was decided that awarding hosting rights for the women's 2025 and 2029 editions and men's 2027 and 2031 editions would be through a vote following a risk-based technical evaluation.

Previously, World Rugby could make its recommendations to the council members before hosting rights are awarded.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said that the new process was part of plans to bring about positive changes in his second term as head of the body.

France will host the men's World Cup in 2023, while New Zealand will stage the women's event next year.

The process for selecting the next hosts will begin in February 2021 and conclude in May 2022.


Tokyo still hoping for fans in stands

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike says the best case scenario for the 2020 Olympics postponed until next year is to have venues full of spectators, as organisers wrestle with how to plan for the Games amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

With Covid-19 infections on the rise in many countries around the world, Olympics organisers have yet to decide whether to allow spectators into venues next year and if so, how many.

Koike said organisers were still hopeful venues could be filled with spectators when the Olympics begin in July.

Organisers have said previously they will not make a decision on spectator numbers until the spring.

Although Japan has largely avoided the huge numbers of Covid-19 infections seen in other countries, daily cases in Tokyo rose to records above 500 last week.


Egyptian football rivalry ramps up this week

Africa's oldest footballing rivalry has an elevated prize on offer this weekend when Egypt's Al Ahly meet their arch rivals Zamalek in the African Champions League final in Cairo.

Bitter adversaries for more than a century, the clash for the top club trophy on the continent is the 239th meeting between the two teams, each of whom can count their support in the Arabic speaking world in the tens of millions of fans.

Al Ahly dominate the past win count 102-58 but this is first time the Cairo clubs face off in a continental competition final.

The showpiece, however, faces being overshadowed by COVID-19 infections with three Al Ahly possibly missing out, including veteran playmaker Walid Soliman. Zamalek will be without key defender Mahmoud El-Wensh.

The match is the first time since the inaugural African Champions Cup final in 1965 that the trophy is decided in a single game.