Neymar returns as Brazil brush aside South Korea to reach World Cup quarters

Neymar returns as Brazil brush aside South Korea to reach World Cup quarters
Brazil’s Richarlison scores his side’s third goal against South Korea at Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022. (AP Photo)
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Updated 06 December 2022

Neymar returns as Brazil brush aside South Korea to reach World Cup quarters

Neymar returns as Brazil brush aside South Korea to reach World Cup quarters
  • Vinicius Junior opened the scoring inside seven minutes before Neymar added another from the penalty spot to move to 76 goals for his country
  • Richarlison’s brilliant goal made it 3-0 and Lucas Paqueta added another before half-time to leave South Korea shellshocked

DOHA: Neymar returned from injury to help inspire Brazil to a 4-1 victory over South Korea on Monday as the favorites cruised through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
The world’s most expensive player had sat out his team’s last two matches with a sprained ankle suffered in their first game in Qatar, a 2-0 win over Serbia.
But he came back for this last-16 tie as Tite’s team clicked into gear and delivered an ominous message to their rivals, at least before easing off in the second half.
Vinicius Junior opened the scoring inside seven minutes before Neymar added another from the penalty spot to move to 76 goals for his country, leaving him just one away from equalling Pele’s all-time record tally.
Richarlison’s brilliant goal made it 3-0 and Lucas Paqueta added another before half-time to leave South Korea shellshocked.
Paik Seung-ho pulled one back but by then Brazil were thinking about Friday’s quarter-final clash with 2018 runners-up Croatia.
The five-time World Cup winners had not scored four goals in a knockout game at the tournament since 1998.
Here they played at times with the joy associated with the Brazilian national team, the players coming together to celebrate each goal by showing off their dance moves and their coach even joining in.
If they finished playing within themselves, their first-half display was superb and a fitting tribute to the great Pele.
The Brazilian legend had said he would watch the game from the Sao Paulo hospital to where he was admitted last week amid ongoing treatment for colon cancer, and supporters in Doha’s Stadium 974 unfurled a banner with a get well soon message to him.
All of it was a chastening experience for Son Heung-min and South Korea, who have still never won a World Cup knockout match outside their own country.
Tite made 10 changes to the Brazil team after rotating his squad for the 1-0 loss to Cameroon which came after qualification for the last 16 had been secured.
Danilo also returned from injury at left-back, while Eder Militao was the only player to keep his place and shifted across to right-back.
With Alisson Becker back in goal and Thiago Silva and Marquinhos playing too, this was Brazil’s first-choice defense but their forward quickly put the tie to bed.
The opener came from their first shot on target in the seventh minute as Raphinha burst away from Kim Jin-su on the right and his ball across goal came to the feet of Vinicius who coolly picked his spot.
They then won a penalty as Richarlison was caught by Jung Woo-young and Neymar duly beat Kim Seung-gyu — his last six goals for Brazil have now all come from the spot.
Alisson was then called into action to tip over a vicious long-range effort from Hwang Hee-chan, but Brazil then scored their third in style just before the half-hour mark.
Richarlison juggled the ball on his head three times just outside the area before laying it off to Marquinhos and then continuing into the box to get on the end of Silva’s pass which he slotted home for his third goal at this World Cup.
Paqueta then got their fourth nine minutes before the break with a first-time finish as he connected with a Vinicius ball held up from the byline.
They could have added more in the second half had they not taken their foot off the pedal, although Raphinha was denied on more than one occasion by the goalkeeper.
Korea though deserve credit for keeping going and they were rewarded inside the final quarter-hour as substitute Paik brought down a headed clearance and sent in a ferocious shot from 25 meters that brushed off Silva to beat Alisson.
The Brazil goalkeeper was then taken off for the final 10 minutes to be replaced by Weverton, while Neymar was also withdrawn with Tite’s mind on Croatia.


Wehrlein takes double at 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix and championship lead

Wehrlein takes double at 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix and championship lead
Updated 19 sec ago

Wehrlein takes double at 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix and championship lead

Wehrlein takes double at 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix and championship lead
  • German wins both night races, battling from back on the grid

DIRIYAH: Pascal Wehrlein of TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team steered his 99X Electric GEN3 car to a second win in as many days at the 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix.

Wehrlein once again piped Avalanche Andretti Formula E Team driver Jake Dennis to the line, while Rene Rast secured a first podium for NEOM McLaren in Formula E.

Qualifying in fifth rather than Saturday’s ninth, Wehrlein made things easier on himself ahead of round three under the magical lights of Diriyah. More than 35,000 fans attended the race weekend events and saw the Middle Eastern debut of the all-new GEN3 car — the world’s fastest, lightest, most powerful and efficient electric race vehicle.

From fifth the German always looked a threat to those ahead. Mitch Evans of Jaguar TCS Racing had taken the lead from polesitter Jake Hughes of NEOM McLaren through the first corner on the opening lap, before Hughes and Rast managed to pass the Jaguar driver during ATTACK MODE.

Rast then briefly took the lead through his first round of 50 kW boosts before Wehrlein stepped up a gear, having bided his time behind the lead trio and managing his energy. Passes on Hughes then Evans just a lap apart, each down at turn 16, put him right with race leader Rast before Wehrlein undercut the McLaren driver through ATTACK MODE and skipped into a two-second lead.

Dennis and Bird were making moves of their own as Wehrlein clambered into the lead. The Avalanche Andretti driver took fifth from Edoardo Mortara (Maserati MSG Racing) on lap 21, while Bird following suit thanks to an audacious trademark maneuver at the final corner.

Just a lap later, pre-race standings leader Dennis sliced by Hughes for fourth and in quick succession saw off Evans and made it three on the spin by taking second from Rast, with the Jaguar of Bird matching Dennis up to take third.

Wehrlein had by then drawn out a lead and looked peerless. A late-race safety car could have thrown a spanner in the works but there were no such problems for the Porsche driver who stretched his legs again to win by a margin of just over a second and become only the fifth driver to win both races of a Formula E double-header.

Bird had looked to be in the box seat for third, but lost the position and could not gain it back after taking ATTACK MODE and not converting a late attempt to usurp Rast out of position.

Hughes could not quite capitalize from taking pole but yet again scored good points to maintain his consistent start to the campaign with fifth. Sebastien Buemi of Envision Racing needed no second invitation to steal sixth from Mitch Evans of Jaguar after the Kiwi scuppered a move on Hughes over the line —getting caught with the McLaren and allowing the Swiss to nip in.

Sacha Fenestraz produced the best drive of his rookie season with eighth for the Nissan Formula E Team, while Edoardo Mortara got points on the board with ninth — something to show for Maserati MSG Racing’s tireless efforts on a testing race weekend. Dan Ticktum brought home his NIO 333 in 10th for his first points of the season — well deserved given the squad’s pace over a lap in Diriyah.

The next race in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is the 2023 Greenko Hyderabad E-Prix on Saturday Feb. 11.


Max Homa rallies from 5 back to win Farmers Open by 2 strokes

Max Homa rallies from 5 back to win Farmers Open by 2 strokes
Updated 29 January 2023

Max Homa rallies from 5 back to win Farmers Open by 2 strokes

Max Homa rallies from 5 back to win Farmers Open by 2 strokes
  • Homa closed with a 6-under 66 to finish at 13-under 275

SAN DIEGO: Southern California native Max Homa came from five shots off the lead to win the Farmers Insurance Open by two strokes over Keegan Bradley on Saturday at Torrey Pines, where Jon Rahm imploded early and missed a shot at winning his third straight start and moving to No. 1 in the world.

Homa reeled in Sam Ryder, who was trying for a wire-to-wire win, and then held off Bradley and Collin Morikawa for his sixth PGA Tour win and fourth in his home state. He took the Genesis at Riviera in 2021 and has won the Fortinet Championship in Nampa in consecutive years.

Homa closed with a 6-under 66 to finish at 13-under 275. He made a 4-foot birdie putt on No. 18 and pumped his right fist before greeting wife Lacey and infant son Cam just off the green.

Bradley also shot a 66 on the South Course. Morikawa shot 69 and finished at 10 under. Ryder shot 75, his worst round of the week, and tied for fourth with Sahith Theegala (70) and Sungjae Im (70) at 9 under.

Rahm shot a 74, his worst round of the week, and tied for seventh at 8 under with Jason Day (68), a two-time Farmers winner. Rahm got his first PGA Tour win here in 2017 and then won the US Open in 2021 at the municipal course that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Rahm won The American Express at PGA West last weekend and at the Sentry Tournament of Champions three weekends ago at Kapalua.

Homa, playing in the group ahead of Ryder, Rahm and Tony Finau, took the lead at 12 under by curling in a 16-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th after a 226-yard tee shot. Ryder, who wore magenta joggers, had a double-bogey 6 on the 15th to drop to 10 under.

Ryder, who eagled his first hole of the tournament, was in a three-way tie for first after the opening round and had sole possession of the lead after the second and third rounds.

After making an impressive run up the leaderboard on Friday to move into sole possession of second place, two shots behind Ryder, Rahm bogeyed No. 1 and missed a birdie putt by inches on No. 4 before his round fell apart on the par-4 No. 5.

Rahm drove into a fairway bunker and then flew the green into the thick rough. It took him three shots to chop his way out of the rough and by the time he sank a nine-foot putt, he had tumbled into a tie for fifth.

DIVOTS: San Diegan Phil Mickelson, a defector to the LIV Tour, took a shot at Ryder’s pants when he tweeted: “The Tour doesn’t allow shorts but does allow this week’s leader to wear joggers with ankle socks? Showing 4 inches of ankle? I’m no fashion guy, never will be, but there are some things I won’t ever understand.”


Beterbiev stops Yarde to retain world light-heavyweight belts

Beterbiev stops Yarde to retain world light-heavyweight belts
Updated 29 January 2023

Beterbiev stops Yarde to retain world light-heavyweight belts

Beterbiev stops Yarde to retain world light-heavyweight belts
  • The Montreal-based Russian dropped Yarde with a right hand and the Londoner survived the 10-count in the second minute, but his corner threw in the towel

LONDON: Artur Beterbiev successfully held his WBC, IBF and WBO light-heavyweight belts when he stopped English challenger Anthony Yarde in the eighth round on Saturday.

Beterbiev improved his record to 19-0 with his 19th knockout after taking charge from the seventh round at Wembley Arena.

The Montreal-based Russian dropped Yarde with a right hand and the Londoner survived the 10-count in the second minute, but his corner threw in the towel.

Yarde impressed in the first three rounds while Berbetiev’s class was just beginning to emerge. Beterbiev pinned Yarde in the fourth but Yarde hung on with hooks and uppercuts while a cut developed under his left eye.

Yarde lost his second world title shot and dropped to 23-2.

Beterbiev has held the IBF title since 2017, the WBC title since 2019 and added the WBO version last June when he stopped Joe Smith at Madison Square Garden.


Casemiro scores twice, Man United beats Reading in FA Cup

Casemiro scores twice, Man United beats Reading in FA Cup
Updated 29 January 2023

Casemiro scores twice, Man United beats Reading in FA Cup

Casemiro scores twice, Man United beats Reading in FA Cup
  • The Brazil international struck twice in four second-half minutes as United won against second-division Reading 3-1

MANCHESTER, England: Casemiro was a serial winner with Real Madrid and on Saturday he kept Manchester United’s trophy hunt going strong in the FA Cup.

The Brazil international struck twice in four second-half minutes as United won against second-division Reading 3-1 and progressed to the fifth round.

On Wednesday, Erik ten Hag’s improving team put a foot in the League Cup final by beating Nottingham Forest 3-0 in the first leg of the semifinals.

There is growing belief among United fans that a six-year wait for a trophy will come to an end this season, with the club also still in the Europa League where a much-anticipated clash with Barcelona is coming next month.

If Ten Hag is to lift silverware in his first season as manager, Casemiro will be pivotal to that success.

The midfielder won five Champions Leagues and three Spanish titles with Madrid but left last summer for a new challenge in England.

Ten Hag wanted to add his winning mentality to a team that had seen Manchester City and Liverpool dominate the Premier League in recent years. His influence was evident against a Reading team that withstood United’s dominance until the 54th minute.

It was a performance that underlined how much Casemiro was missed when he was suspended for the 3-2 loss to Arsenal last week, which left United 11 points behind the league leader.

With Casemiro in the starting lineup, United have lost only two of 21 games in all competitions, compared to four of 11 without him.

While he is better known as a midfield enforcer, he has showcased his other attributes in his short time at Old Trafford, including his impressive range of passing.

Against Reading, it was his clinical finishing that broke the visitor’s resistance.

First came a delicate chip to lift the ball over goalkeeper Joe Lumley after racing onto Antony’s pass into the box. Then, in the 58th, he let fly from around 25 meters to double United’s lead.

His mastery was evident when Reading forward Andy Carroll’s frustration boiled over and he was sent off for a second yellow card after a wild challenge on Casemiro in the 65th.

Another Brazilian, Fred, came off the bench to add a third for United with a backheel a minute later.

Amadou Mbengue scored a consolation for Reading, but there was never any danger of a comeback.

While they are fighting for survival in the league, Leeds, Leicester and Southampton are advancing in the cup.

Securing top-flight status remains the priority for all three, but the cup is providing welcome relief from their battles against relegation.

Leeds won against third-tier Accrington Stanley 3-1, Leicester overcame fourth-tier Walsall 1-0, and bottom-of-the-league Southampton won against second-division Blackpool 2-1 on Saturday.

Goals from Leeds’ Jack Harrison, Junior Firpo and Luis Sinisterra ended any chance of a miracle for Accrington in front of its home fans at Wham Stadium. Leslie Adekoya, however, gave them something to cheer with a late consolation goal.

It was only Leeds’ second win since Nov. 5, both of them coming in the FA Cup.

Leicester — cup winner in 2021 — needed a late goal from Kelechi Iheanacho to end Walsall’s resistance in a match that also saw Youri Tielemans miss a penalty.

Leicester’s only other win since Dec. 20 was in the previous round of the cup.

Romain Perraud scored twice in Southampton’s win. Charlie Patino pulled one back for Blackpool.

Sunderland 15-year-old substitute Christopher Rigg thought he scored a famous winner against the Premier League’s Fulham, only to see his effort ruled out for offside.

Rigg struck in time added on at Craven Cottage, but the second division team’s celebrations were soon cut short.

Sunderland took an early lead through Jack Clarke, and Tom Cairney equalized for Fulham to set up a replay.

There will also be replays for Sheffield Wednesday and Fleetwood (1-1), Ipswich and Burnley (0-0), Luton and Grimsby (2-2) and Blackburn and Birmingham (2-2).

Second division Bristol City was through to fifth round after beating West Brom 3-0.

New Tottenham signing Arnaut Danjuma scored on his debut as Spurs beat Preston 3-0.

Danjuma, who has joined on loan from Villarreal, struck late on after going on as a substitute.

Heung-Min Son had already set Tottenham on course for the next round with two second-half goals.


Atletico hit out at Real Madrid ‘influence’ on referees

Atletico hit out at Real Madrid ‘influence’ on referees
Updated 29 January 2023

Atletico hit out at Real Madrid ‘influence’ on referees

Atletico hit out at Real Madrid ‘influence’ on referees
  • Atletico had Stefan Savic sent off in extra time in the 3-1 defeat but were angry that Ceballos was not shown a second yellow card in the second half of the regulation 90 minutes

MADRID: Atletico Madrid CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin complained that Real Madrid’s “huge influence” exerts pressure on Spanish referees after his side’s Copa del Rey defeat, a suggestion dismissed by the victors.

Los Blancos beat Atletico in the cup quarterfinal derby clash on Thursday night and Atletico were convinced that Dani Ceballos should have been sent off at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“I have full respect for all the officials and I am convinced they always have the best of intentions, but anyone looking in from the outside can see that for decades the same thing almost always happens,” said Gil Marin in a statement. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t surprise anybody anymore, it isn’t news. It’s very clear and you just have to look back at history.

“Madrid are a club with a huge influence, with a lot of interests around them. They create so much pressure that it’s normal that it affects the people who have to take decisions.”

The officials are “aware of what awaits them if they harm them with a mistake, or even if they get something right. We often see a campaign against whoever they believe has hurt them,” Gil Marin added

The Atletico boss said his club cannot change the “system” alone and that the color of a team’s shirt should not have an impact on fair decision-making.

Atletico had Stefan Savic sent off in extra time in the 3-1 defeat but were angry that Ceballos was not shown a second yellow card in the second half of the regulation 90 minutes.

“The second yellow was obvious, undoubtable,” Marin insisted.

“But at 1-0 down in the 71st minute, playing for the semis of the cup in their own stadium, it would be a big thing to leave Madrid with 10 players.”

Atletico, out of the Champions League and the Spanish Cup are languishing in fourth, 13 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona, having played an extra game.

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti dismissed Atletico’s concerns in a news conference on Saturday.

“It was a hard-fought, even game, I think for our part we deserved to win,” said the Italian.

“The rest is topics I won’t speak about. The only ‘system’ I know is the one that I will use tomorrow.”

Real Madrid, second in La Liga, face third place Real Sociedad on Sunday night.