16 Sep 2021

Today's sports news: What you need to know

10:29 am on 16 September 2021

Latest - Last season's runners-up Manchester City crushed RB Leipzig 6-3 to kick off their new Champions League campaign.

Pep Guardiola celebrates with Manchester City players.


There will be some defensive concerns for City who allowed Christopher Nkunku to score a hat-trick for the German side... only the fourth player to do that in the competition and end up in the losing side.

In the same group Paris St Germain lacked any spark up front despite having Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in their lineup as they drew 1-1 with Club Brugge.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson struck a rare Champions League goal to earn his side a 3-2 victory over AC Milan at Anfield.

Atletico Madrid and Porto drew 0-0 in the other game in the group.

Elsewhere Real Madrid scored in the 89th-minute to beat Inter Milan 1-0, while FC Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova also won their opening game 2-0 over Shakhtar Donetsk.


Fisher returns to international competition

Three New Zealand paddlers will lineup in the Canoe Sprint World Championships in Copenhagen starting tonight, led by former Olympian Aimee Fisher..

Kayaker Aimee Fisher..

Aimee Fisher Photo: PHOTOSPORT

None of the New Zealand Tokyo Olympic team are competing.

The World Championships and Olympics aren't not normally held in the same year.

Fisher, who is returning to the national team following a stand-off with the national body last year, will compete in the women's K1 500.

The other two New Zealanders competing are Taris Harker in the K1 200 and Quaid Thompson in the K1 1000.

Thompson is the first Kiwi in action tonight.

Just four Olympic gold medalists from Tokyo are competing in Copenhagen with most paddlers deciding to take time off after the games.

Salazar appeal fails

American Alberto Salazar, who has coached some of the world's top long-distance runners, had his four-year suspension upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Nike running coach Alberto Salazar.

Photo: AFP

The 63-year-old Salazar, who guided Britain's Mo Farah to Olympic titles, received the ban in 2019 from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for "orchestrating and facilitating" doping as head coach of the Nike Oregon Project, an elite camp designed primarily to develop U.S. endurance athletes.

A full report by CAS is due to be published within days, the BBC reported.

USADA said at the time of the suspension that Salazar, who also coached American Olympian Matthew Centrowitz, trafficked the banned performance-enhancing substance testosterone to multiple athletes.

Salazar also tampered or attempted to tamper with Nike Oregon Project athletes' doping control process, the agency said after concluding its four-year investigation.

Salazar won three consecutive New York City Marathons from 1980 before coaching a number of Olympians, including Farah, who won gold medals in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Games.

Farah has never failed a drugs test and has not been accused of any wrongdoing.


Springboks lose lock

South Africa will be without key lock Lood de Jager for the second Rugby Championship test with Australia in Brisbane on Saturday, one of two changes by coach Jacques Nienaber for the must-win game.

Lood de Jager of South Africa


De Jager suffered a concussion in the 28-26 defeat in the Gold Coast on Sunday and his absence will be keenly felt in the second row.

He has been replaced by the less experience Marvin Orie, who will add to his six caps and partner schoolboy friend Eben Etzebeth at lock, the first time they have played together in a test match.

"Lood's experience will be missed, he has played 50 tests and Marvin only six. But having said that, Marvin has played with Eben since schoolboy level and has experience in domestic rugby. We trust Marvin as a player and look forward to see what he can bring to the party," Nienaber said.

Prop Trevor Nyakane takes over from Steven Kitshoff in the front row, with the latter dropping to the bench in the place of Ox Nche.

The Boks are still without wing Cheslin Kolbe, who missed the defeat by Australia with a leg injury.

South Africa will likely have to win their remaining three games in the Rugby Championship to retain the title they won in 2019, which includes the fixture against the Wallabies and then two tests versus New Zealand.

- Reuters

US offers equal contracts

The US Soccer Federation has offered identical contracts to its men's and women's national teams in an attempt to resolve its gender pay dispute.

The USA won the women's football world cup in France in July.

The USA won the women's football world cup in France in July. Photo: Photosport

In May 2020, a lawsuit from the women's team for equal pay was dismissed by a judge, with an appeal pending.

The USSF says a single equal pay structure is "the best path forward".

The federation called on players and their unions for support in helping to "equalise" World Cup prize money, which is at the root of the teams' pay gap.

USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone said in an open letter, "until Fifa equalises the prize money that it awards to the men's and women's World Cup participants, it is incumbent upon us to collectively find a solution," she said.

"US Soccer will not agree to any collective bargaining agreement that does not take the important step of equalising Fifa World Cup prize money," a USSF statement said.

The United States won the Women's World Cup for the fourth time in France in 2019 and have claimed Olympic gold five times. The men's team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Prize money at the 2018 men's World Cup totalled US$400m, the prize fund for the 2019 Women's World Cup was US$30m.


IPL to return with fans

The remainder of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) season will have spectators back inside stadiums when it resumes later this week in the United Arab Emirates.

Shikhar Dhawan of the Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL.


The IPL was suspended in May with 31 matches left to play after several players and backroom staff tested positive for COVID-19 amid a devastating second wave in India.

"Matches will be played at Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi with limited seating available keeping in mind the COVID protocols and UAE government regulations," organisers said in a statement.

The league, however, did not specify the number of fans that would be allowed, or if a vaccine certificate would be mandatory for entry.

The tournament resumes with the Chennai Super Kings playing the Mumbai Indians at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

- Reuters

Barty's WTA Finals defence in doubt

World number one Ash Barty might not defend her title at the season-ending WTA Finals in Mexico because of the "ridiculous" playing conditions at the venue and the timing of the tournament, her coach Craig Tyzzer said.

Australian tennis player Ashleigh Barty.


The WTA Finals, contested by the world's top eight singles players and eight doubles teams, were moved to Guadalajara from Shenzhen this week due to the Covid-19 pandemic and will begin on Nov. 8.

Tyzzer said Barty, who won the 2019 WTA Finals before the 2020 edition was cancelled, might also compromise her 2022 Australian Open preparation if she plays in Mexico as she would have to undergo two weeks of home quarantine on her return to Australia.

"We only just found out it's in Mexico at 1500 metres (above sea level) and they're using pressure-less balls," Tyzzer told the Australian Associated Press.

"Pressure-less balls absolutely fly. It's a ball that, if you use it in normal conditions, it doesn't bounce. It's not the greatest advertisement for the best girls in the world to be playing something they've never done before.

"In conditions they've never played, in a country they don't play and at altitude, I just feel it's ridiculous. As a spectacle, it's just frightening."

- Reuters

Bathurst world champs postponed

Next year's world cross country championships have been pushed back to 2023 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in Australia, governing body World Athletics said.

Australia has some of the tightest restrictions in the world aimed at preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus, including limiting the number of arrivals and imposing a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine on those entering the country.

World Athletics and the local organising committee for the championships said in a statement https://www.worldathletics.org/news/press-releases/world-cross-country-championships-bathurst-postponed-2023 that the quarantine requirements were "not practical for a one-day event".

The championships, which had been scheduled for Feb. 19 in Bathurst, New South Wales, would now take place on Feb. 18, 2023 at the same venue.

- Reuters

PSG expect Mbappe to recommit

Paris St Germain sports director Leonardo is confident Kylian Mbappe will extend his contract with the club at the end of the season.

Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain.


Real Madrid tried to sign the France striker, whose deal expires in June next year, during the close season but the Ligue 1 club deemed the offer too low.

"The fact that he's staying, that was the only thing that could happen. We never thought about doing all this without Kylian. We were not happy with the behaviour of Real Madrid," Leonardo told Canal Plus.

"We were clear about the offer they made. It was not enough from our point of view. It was less than what we paid. As for their last offer, it never arrived."

Mbappe has been in great form this season and is expected to start Wednesday's Champions League game at Club Brugge alongside Lionel Messi, who joined last month, and Neymar.

"I don't see Kylian leaving at the end of this season. Mbappe's relationship with PSG is deep. I don't think anyone here sees the future without him," added Leonardo.

- Reuters

Barcelona boss asks for patience

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has asked fans to show patience with the team in the aftermath of Tuesday's 3-0 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League, adding he had foreseen the club's difficult start to the season.

Barcelona's Nou Camp stadium

Barcelona's Nou Camp stadium Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"I'm as disappointed and upset as all of you are. I need to tell you that what is happening is one of the situations we expected and I ask for your patience and that you continue supporting our club," Laporta said in a video on his official Twitter account.

Laporta was elected as president for a second time in March by a huge majority after predecessor Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned last year to avoid facing a motion of no confidence.

But Laporta has had a rough start to his tenure, with Barca coming third in LaLiga last season and Lionel Messi leaving for Paris St Germain for free even though the Barcelona president had repeatedly pledged to ensure the Argentine remained at the club.

Tuesday's dismal defeat to Bayern was yet another low point for the club although coach Ronald Koeman and defender Gerard Pique appeared less than surprised after the loss.

Laporta has long warned of the Barca's dire financial situation, revealing last month that the club had debts of 1.35 billion euros.

But he said the club would soon rise again.

"I also ask for your trust in us, the people who are managing the club. We need your trust and time and do not doubt that we will solve this situation," he added.

- Reuters