18 Jan 2021

Today's sports news: What you need to know

1:02 pm on 18 January 2021

Latest - Manchester United stayed top of the English Premier League with a mediocre goalless draw against champions Liverpool at Anfield.

Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker.

Alisson Becker Photo: PHOTOSPORT

It was a game that failed to justify the pre-match anticipation and while United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may be happier with a point than Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp, he will also know they had the better chances to claim a statement victory.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker made two vital saves, keeping out a close-range effort from Bruno Fernandes, while the Brazilian also denied Paul Pogba late in the game.

The result leaves United on 37 points, two ahead of Leicester and Manchester City.

City jumped up after a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace.

They have 35 points and are ahead of Leicester on goal difference with Liverpool fourth on 34 points.

Palace remain in 13th place on 23 from 19 matches.

Meanwhile Tottenham Hotspur scored a 3-1 victory at bottom club Sheffield United.

Spurs are fifth, a point behind Liverpool, while Sheffield remain on five points at the foot of the table.

Meanwhile football star Lionel Messi has been sent off for the first time in his Barcelona career as the Catalans were beaten 3-2 in extra-time by Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup final.

Messi was sent off in the final minute of the game after lashing out with his arm in an off the ball incident.

India fight back

Debutant Washington Sundar and number eight batsman Shardul Thakur conjured a defiant rearguard action on Sunday to drag India back into the contest in the deciding fourth test against Australia in Brisbane.

Australian cricketers appeal while playing India 2021.


Drafted into the playing XI because of injuries to India's frontline bowlers, the duo smashed maiden test fifties to deny Australia a substantial first innings lead.

Having finally bowled India out for 336, Australia finished day three on 21 for no loss, an overall lead of 54 runs in the final match of a see-saw series which remains level at 1-1.

David Warner, batting on 20, and Marcus Harris (one) saw through the final 20 minutes at the Gabba without being separated.

Earlier, India were reeling at 186-6 in reply to Australia's first innings total of 369, but Sundar's defiant 123-run seventh wicket collaboration with Thakur rescued the tourists.

Playing only his second test, Shardul brought up his fifty with his second six, nonchalantly hitting spinner Nathan Lyon over the long-on rope.

Sundar, who had claimed three wickets in Australia's first innings, completed his fifty in the next over in a less spectacular fashion taking a single off Mitchell Starc.


Ellison joins Crusaders

The Crusaders have appointed Tamati Ellison as their new defence coach.

Tamati Ellison


Ellison replaces Weshman Mark Jones, who decided not to return from Britain.

Ellison played 12 years of Super Rugby for the Blues, Hurricanes, Highlanders and Rebels and made four appearances for the All Blacks.

He also played and coached in Japan and was a part of the Wellington Lions setup last year.

Top ten finish for Robinson

Queenstown skier Alice Robinson has finished in 9th place at the latest World Cup Giant Slalom event in Slovenia.

Alice Robinson

Alice Robinson Photo: Actionplus

It is the first top ten World Cup result Robinson has achieved since she won this race just over a year ago.

Robinson took a more conservative approach to her first run down the hard and icy course and finished run one sitting in 9th position.

"I just wanted to be a bit cleaner [on run one], I had a lot of mistakes yesterday, I think I did that, but I wasn't pushing enough, not aggressive enough".

Robinson skied a solid second run to finish 2.32 seconds behind winner Marta Bassino of Italy.

After a tough season, a top ten result today is a crucial steppingstone to help Robinson get back on top of the World Cup podium. "I think it will help build my confidence and I have still got a lot of races to go this season".

England close to victory

Spinner Jack Leach bowled England to the brink of victory in the first cricket test against Sri Lanka in Galle.

Leach took 5-122 and was England's most dangerous bowler as he helped dismiss Sri Lanka for 359 in their second innings to set a modest victory target of 74 for the touring side.

England were teetering at 14 for three in their chase, but made it to 38 at stumps on day four with seven wickets still remaining.

Jonny Bairstow and Dan Lawrence will resume on 11 and seven respectively.

The second Test is also in Galle starting on Friday.


Corent criticised

Alize Cornet has apologised after many social media users hit out at the French tennis player for criticising Australia's strict Covid-19 quarantine protocols ahead of next month's Australian Open.

French tennis player Alize Cornet.


Seventy-two players and their entourages have had to isolate for two weeks and cannot leave their hotel rooms in Melbourne to train after infections were reported on three flights ferrying players.

Cornet said the situation was "insane" because weeks of training were "going to waste" but was quickly reminded that she was better off than many Victorian residents who endured worse as authorities looked to curb the spread of the virus.

"After my last (deleted) tweet I feel like I need to apologise to you Australian people," she wrote on Twitter.

"Your reaction to this tactless comment made me realise what you've been through last year and how much you suffered. I guess I feel a bit anxious about all this and I better have shut my mouth.

The year's first Grand Slam is scheduled to begin on February 8, which will give quarantined players only one week of practice to get into shape.

New Zealand's Artem Sitak said tournament organisers Tennis Australia were doing their best in a difficult situation to make them more comfortable but admitted these were not ideal conditions, especially for singles players.


Auckland still winless

Northern Districts beat Auckland by five wickets in their rain-affected T20 SuperSmash game at Eden Park.

Auckland scored 140-6 in 14 overs with Glenn Phillips making 68.

In reply Northern achieved their revised target, finishing on 109 for five with Mitchell Santner unbeaten on 39.

Northern remain fifth in the standings and Auckland are still to win a game.

Earlier in the women's game Auckland jumped up to second in the standings after beating Northern by six wickets.

Durant and Harden impress for Nets

Kevin Durant scored a season-high 42 points and James Harden added a 32-point triple-double in his debut for the Brooklyn Nets, who recorded a 122-115 victory over the Orlando Magic in the NBA.

Durant shot 16 of 26 and set a franchise record by scoring at least 25 points for the ninth straight game as the Nets won their third straight. Harden shot 8 of 18 from the field and grabbed 12 rebounds. He added four steals and made 13 of 15 free throws in 40 minutes.

Joe Harris added 17 points for the Nets, who shot 53.8 percent and hit 16 3-pointers in their sixth straight game without Kyrie Irving (personal reasons, health and safety protocols).