14 Jan 2021

Today's sports news: What you need to know

11:46 am on 14 January 2021

Latest - Manchester City moved to within four points of the English Premier League summit after a 1-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion at the Etihad Stadium.

Phil Foden of Manchester City.

Phil Foden Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Phil Foden's clinical finish just before halftime proved enough for City to claim a fourth successive league win.

City move into the top four with 32 points from 16 games, four behind leaders Manchester United and one behind champions Liverpool having played one match less.

Brighton's winless league run now extends to nine and they are perched one place above the relegation zone.

Portuguese forward Ivan Cavaleiro rescued a precious point for an impressive Fulham as they came from behind to draw 1-1 at Tottenham Hotspur in their hastily rearranged London derby.

The draw left Spurs sixth in the standings, six points off the top. Fulham remained in the bottom three but are only two points from the safety zone.


Uncertainty remains around Olympics

Japan has expanded a state of emergency declared for the Tokyo area to seven more prefectures, with a senior government adviser adding it is uncertain whether the Olympics can go ahead due to the coronavirus pandemic.

General view of the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo.


Amid a steady rise in Covid-19 cases, the governors of Osaka, Kyoto and other hard-hit prefectures requested the government to announce the emergency, which gives local authorities the legal basis to place restrictions on residents' movements and businesses.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has been wary about taking measures that would hamper economic activity, while he has put on a brave face against the mounting challenges of hosting the delayed Olympics in Tokyo this year.

But Takeshi Niinami, chief executive of beverage giant Suntory Holdings and an economic adviser to Suga, told Reuters he was unsure whether the Olympics could be held as planned and that a decision will likely be made by end-March.

"I'm not sure whether we'll be able to hold the Tokyo Olympics or not," Niinami told Reuters in an online interview on Wednesday.

- Reuters

Breakers centre hyper-extends knee at training

A further injury setback for the Breakers little over a week out from their NBL season opener against the Adelaide 36ers.

Rob Loe with basketball in hand after a New Zealand Breakers training session held on Auckland's North Shore on the 17th October 2019. 
Credit; Peter Meecham/ www.photosport.nz

Photo: Photosport Ltd 2019

Centre Rob Loe has hyper-extended his knee at training in Hobart.

He's had an MRI scan and is now awaiting results.

The Breakers will already be without fellow Tall Black Corey Webster, after he put a knife through his hand removing the pit from an avocado.

Webster has received secondary advice from another plastic surgeon in Hobart who says he should expect to be out for six weeks, not four, and he might not get full feeling in his finger for a year.

First yellow jersey awarded in NZ Cycle Classic

New Zealand National team's Regan Gough will wear the leader's yellow jersey on stage two of the New Zealand Cycle Classic after his team won the teams' time trial event in Masterton.

Masterton circuit team time trials - Stage One of 2021 NZ Cycle Classic UCI Oceania Tour at Mitre 10 Mega in Masterton, New Zealand on Wednesday, 13 January 2021.

The NZ national team in action in the opening teams' time trial in Masterton. Photo: Dave Lintott Photography

Gough and his teammates blitzed the 10km, flat, rural course in 11min 35.6seconds, while pre-race favourites Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy, led by Aaron Gate, finished second in 11min 40 sec.

Coupland's Bakeries finished third with 12mins 04 secs - having to endure a nervous wait after clocking this time as the second team off the start line.

"We were a group of guys who had not ridden as a team before but we're like-minded blokes and really enjoyed the fast conditions tonight," Gough said.

"We executed the time trial really well … today really suited us."

Stage two takes riders north of Masterton towards Eketahuna and back and finishes outside the Masterton Golf Club.

Women's Six Nations postponed

This year's Women's Six Nations has been postponed for logistical and safety reasons amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scotland's scrum-half Mairi McDonald (C) offloads the ball during the Women's Six Nations rugby union match between Scotland and France at Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow on October 25, 2020.

Photo: AFP

England's Rugby Football Union (RFU) says that the tournament, which was due to begin on February 6, will be played later this spring or early summer.

"This is not a decision that we rushed into and we are confident that in looking at a new later window, we will be in a far stronger position to deliver... ensuring the safest possible environment for our players," Six Nations CEO Ben Morel said.

The women's Six Nations is a key event for teams preparing for the World Cup, which is due to be held in New Zealand starting in September.

Three women's Six Nations games were cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

The men's event "remain as scheduled."

- Reuters

Peterhansel consolidates Dakar Rally lead

French veteran Stephane Peterhansel was heading for a record-extending 14th Dakar title after ending Wednesday's 10th stage in Saudi Arabia with a 17 minute advantage over his closest rival Nasser Al-Attiyah.

Mini driver Stephane Peterhansel of France on 2020 Dakar Rally.


While 'Mr Dakar' maintained his comfortable lead in the car category, overnight motorcycle leader Jose Ignacio Cornejo saw his dreams evaporate when he crashed and had to retire on medical grounds with two stages to go.

That left what looked like a straight fight between defending champion Ricky Brabec of the United States and his Argentine Honda team mate Kevin Benavides.

X-Raid Mini driver Peterhansel was third in the 342km stage from Neom to Al-Ula, behind Qatar's Al-Attiyah in second and Saudi winner Yazeed Al Rajhi.

Defending car champion Carlos Sainz remained third overall but more than an hour off the lead.

The rally ends in Jeddah on Friday.

- Reuters

England front-rower suspended for swearing at referee

England prop Kyle Sinckler will miss their Six Nations opener against Scotland after being hit with a two-week ban for swearing at a match referee.

British and Irish Lions prop Kyle Sinckler.

British and Irish Lions prop Kyle Sinckler. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Sinckler appeared before a citing panel and was found guilty of "failing to accept the authority of the match official" after swearing at Karl Dickson, his former Harlequins team mate for six years, during Bristol's win over Exeter on Saturday.

The 27-year-old Bears prop said to Dickson "are you f****** serious?" after the official ruled there had been no foul play in a no-arms tackle by England colleague Luke Cowan-Dickie - a decision he reversed after review with the TMO.

Sinckler will be unavailable England's opening Six Nations match against Scotland at Twickenham on Feb. 6 as well as Bristol's next Premiership game.

Sinckler has already apologised for the incident on social media.

- Reuters