24 Feb 2021

Today's sports news: What you need to know

11:55 am on 24 February 2021

Latest - Chelsea and Bayern Munich triumph in first-leg of football's European Champions League round-of-16.

Olivier Giroud of Chelsea.

Olivier Giroud Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Chelsea have won their first European Champions League game under new manager Thomas Tuchel after Olivier Giroud's overhead kick game gives them a 1-0 win against Atletico Madrid in Bucharest.

Giroud's acrobatic goal was initially ruled offside but it was eventually awarded after a lengthy VAR review, giving Chelsea a valuable away goal.

Chelsea will head into a return leg at Stamford Bridge without midfielders Jorginho and Mason Mount who are suspended after picking up bookings.

Meanwhile, reigning European Champions Bayern Munich breezed past Italian side Lazio 4-1 in Rome with goals coming from Robert Lewandowski, Leroy Sane and youngster Jamal Musiala.

Musiala's goal makes him the youngest English player to score in the Champions League at 17-years-old, surpassing the previous record of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Lewandowski goal was his 72nd, which puts him ahead of Raul as the tournament's third-highest scorer.

In the English Premier League, Leeds beat Southampton 3-0.


The final Olympic qualifying rowing regatta has been confirmed for Switzerland for May with World Rowing expecting global participation.

NZ Men's Eight
World Championships, Austria 2019.


Rowing New Zealand was sending two crews, the men's eight and the men's quad, to Lucerne before the event was cancelled last year because of the pandemic.

World Rowing has now confirmed the regatta for May 15th to 17th.

The organisation feels health concerns, quarantines and the "fair and equal opportunity to access the event" can be achieved for teams travelling globally to participate.

The postponed Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to start on July 23rd.

New Zealand already has nine boats qualified for the games.

Landers latest recruit arrives

The Highlanders' latest addition Kazuki Himeno has joined their squad after spending two weeks in quarantine upon arrival from Japan.

The flanker was a key figure in Japan's impressive 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign and his presence will bolster the Dunedin franchise's loose forwards.

Highlanders forwards coach Clarke Dermody says they will look to get Himeno on the pitch as soon as possible but he will need to regain fitness after spending time in quarantine.

Highlanders fans will be hoping Himeno can replicate the success of Japanese halfback Fumiaki Tanaka who became a fan favourite in his time in Dunedin.

Decision on Six Nations game expected

A decision on whether Scotland's Six Nations match in Paris can go ahead is expected today after no more coronavirus cases were found in the latest round of testing.

France's rugby captain Charles Ollivon celebrates after scoring a try.


The French Rugby Federation announced on Monday that five more players - including captain Charles Ollivon - had tested positive for Covid-19.

Ten France players are isolating and will be unavailable for Sunday's (Monday morning NZ time) game.

Les Bleus are top of the Six Nations table after beating Italy and Ireland.

Scottish Rugby released a statement saying they could be without 10 players should the game be rearranged for another date.

The earliest possible date would appear to be next weekend, which is a rest week for the tournament and outside of World Rugby's designated international window.

Under World Rugby regulations, Scotland's players based in England and France will be released back to their clubs for domestic duty.


Fleming won't coach in England

The former New Zealand cricket captain Stephen Fleming has decided against coaching in England's The Hundred cricket tournament in July.

Stephen Fleming.

Stephen Fleming. Photo: Photosport

Fleming was set to coach the Trent Rockets in the inaugural tournament, but has decided against travelling because of the pandemic and has been replaced by former England coach Andy Flower.

"I'm really disappointed that I won't be coach of the side this summer but ultimately family has to come first. The current global crisis has made it very difficult to travel and the extra time needed for quarantines has made it hard to get the right work/home balance," said Fleming.

In the latest player draft the Welsh Fire added big-hitting West Indies batsman Kieron Pollard to their squad while Southern Brave signed up Australia opener David Warner.

No further New Zealanders were added with Kane Williamson and Sophie Devine already selected to play for the Birmingham Phoenix and Amelia Kerr at the Southern Brave.

The ECB has invested heavily in The Hundred, a competition it believes will attract younger audiences to the sport. Matches will comprise 100 balls per innings with a change of ends after 10 deliveries.


Toffees to get new stadium

Everton's plan for a new 52,888-capacity stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock has been unanimously approved by Liverpool City Council.

The Merseyside club have played at Goodison Park since 1892, but with a capacity of only 40,000 the team has struggled to compete with the match-day income of their rivals.

Everton formally agreed a 200-year land lease at the dock site in 2017 and announced plans to build a waterfront stadium that can help bridge the gap to the leading top-flight teams.

The $961 million scheme which it's claimed will create 15,000 jobs will now go to the government for the final say.


City beat Sydney Fc

Melbourne City have ended a three game losing streak with a 3-2 win over Sydney FC in the A-League.

In a grand final rematch in Melbourne, the homeside went ahead 3-0 early in the second half before Sydney stormed home.

Sydney are fifth on the table and Melbourne City ninth.

The Wellington Phoenix play Melbourne Victory in a bottom of the table clash tonight.


Harris deal close to signing

The Warriors have tabled star forward Tohu Harris a three-year extension as the NRL club continues to re-work its roster ahead of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's shift to rugby union.

NRL.com understands that talks between the Warriors and Harris are progressing well with a long-term deal tabled and the Kiwi international indicating he is keen to stay at the club.

The Warriors are still waiting on an answer from Storm star Jahrome Hughes on their bid to lure him away from the premiers, but the club is pushing ahead talks with Harris, their unabashed retention priority this season.


Another dementia case in football

Former Scotland, Manchester United and Leeds United football defender Gordon McQueen has been diagnosed with vascular dementia, his family have confirmed.

The 68-year-old, whose career began at St Mirren, played 30 times for Scotland and won the English First Division with Leeds and FA Cup at Manchester United.

McQueen went on to manage Airdrie and coach at Middlesbrough, before working as a television pundit.

His family said that the former centre-back was formally diagnosed in January.

Vascular dementia is estimated by the NHS to affect around 150,000 people in the UK. They say it is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, and leads to gradual changes and damage to the organ.

The family statement, attributed to McQueen's wife Yvonne, daughters Hayley and Anna, and son Edward, said that McQueen "wants footballers of today's generation to know there may be risks with persistent heading of the ball".


Former motorcycling champion dies

MotoGP team boss and motorcycling world champion Fausto Gresini has died at the age of 60 in Bologna, two months after contracting COVID-19.

Gresini won two world titles in the 125cc class in 12 seasons as a rider on the world championship circuit before making a successful move into team management.

As a rider, Gresini claimed world titles in 1985 and 1987, winning the first 10 races in the latter season to set a record that still stands.

He won two world titles as a team boss, the 250cc title in 2001 with Japanese rider Daijiro Kato and the Moto2 championship with Spain's Toni Elias in 2010.

Both triumphs were followed by tragedies for the team, however, with Kato dying in 2003 after a crash at his home MotoGP Grand Prix and Italian rider Marco Simoncelli fatally injured after a fall in the Malaysian round of the 2011 championship.