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Man Utd crash out of League Cup

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MANCHESTER:

Manchester United’s defence of the League Cup came to a limp end in a 3-0 home defeat by Newcastle on Wednesday as Arsenal were well-beaten 3-1 at West Ham.

Liverpool overcame Bournemouth 2-1 to progress to the quarter-finals, while Chelsea saw off Championship side Blackburn 2-0.

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In a repeat of last year’s final, which Erik ten Hag’s men won 2-0, both managers named much-changed sides at Old Trafford.

But it was Newcastle’s strength in depth that showed as United slumped to an eighth defeat in 15 games in all competitions this season — their worst start to any campaign since 1962/63.

“This is not good enough. We have to take responsibility, I have to take responsibility,” said Ten Hag.

“I feel sorry for the fans, it is below our standards and we have to put it right.”

Tino Livramento and Lewis Hall have had to wait for their chance to shine since signing for the Magpies but the young full-backs played a huge role as Eddie Howe’s side got revenge for defeat at Wembley in February.

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Livramento’s surging run set up Miguel Almiron to open the scoring on 28 minutes.

Chelsea loanee Hall then volleyed home a brilliant effort from the edge of the box just eight minutes later.

Joe Willock’s solo run and stunning finish then drew the sting from any chance of a United fightback on the hour mark.

After eliminating both Manchester City and United, Newcastle’s reward is another tough draw away to Chelsea in the last eight.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was left to rue leaving Declan Rice out on his return to the London Stadium, with the England international alongside Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and William Saliba on a star-studded Gunners’ bench.

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Aaron Ramsdale was handed a rare start since he was dropped in favour of David Raya, but it was a night to forget for the Arsenal goalkeeper.

Ben White beat Ramsdale to Jarrod Bowen’s dangerous in-swinging corner but could only head into his own net after 16 minutes.

Mohammed Kudus made it 2-0 on 50 minutes with a brilliant touch and low finish from Nayef Aguerd’s long ball forward.

Rice was then introduced to a mixed response from the West Ham faithful.

But any hope of an Arsenal revival was quashed by Bowen’s strike from the edge of the box that Ramsdale should have done better to keep out.

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“I am responsible for that,” said Arteta. “We’re out of the cup and we wanted to play a very different game.”

Odegaard grabbed a consolation deep into stoppage time, but it was too little, too late as Arsenal’s 30-year wait to win the League Cup goes on.

Liverpool had to see off a spirited effort from Bournemouth and appalling weather conditions as Storm Ciaran swept in at the Vitality Stadium.

Justin Kluivert had cancelled out Cody Gakpo’s opener with his first Bournemouth goal.

But Darwin Nunez came off the bench to win the tie with a spectacular dipping strike from outside the box.

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said victory would make a long journey back north on the team bus rather than a flight due to the stormy weather more palatable.

“Now we drive home. Long trip. But with going to the next round it feels much better,” said Klopp.

Liverpool will host West Ham in the quarter-finals next month.

Benoit Badiashile and Raheem Sterling were on target as Chelsea secured a rare home win under Mauricio Pochettino to reach the last eight.

Everton’s upturn in form continued with a comfortable 3-0 win over Burnley.

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James Tarkowski, Amadou Onana and Ashley Young scored on the night the Toffees remembered former chairman Bill Kenwright, who died aged 78 last week.

Fulham will travel to Goodison Park in the next round after they avoided an upset by winning 3-1 at Championship high-flyers Ipswich.

League One Port Vale host Middlesbrough in the other quarter-final.



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Sabalenka to play in Brisbane

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SYDNEY:

Aryna Sabalenka will launch preparations for the defence of her Australian Open crown by playing at the Brisbane International, organisers said on Tuesday.

Elena Rybakina – beaten by Sabalenka in the final in Melbourne at the start of this year – will also play at the December 31-January 7 Brisbane event.

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Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka was already named in the field as she returns to tennis.

“I’m excited about starting my 2024 Australian season in Brisbane,” world number two Sabalenka said in a statement released by organisers.

“Australia holds a special place in my heart after winning my first Grand Slam there.”

Tournament director Cam Pearson said he was looking forward to welcoming the Belarusian Sabalenka and Moscow-born Kazakh Rybakina, who is fourth in the world.

“We all remember the exciting Australian Open final the girls played at the start of the year,” he told a news conference.

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“That has really kicked off what is a pretty exciting rivalry between the two players.”

On the men’s side, fast-rising world number 17 Ben Shelton of the United States will join a draw that also includes three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray.

Pearson said he would welcome Australian Nick Kyrgios to the tournament if he recovers from injury in time.

“We would love to have him here, he’s a past champion and a fan favourite but he needs to do what’s best for him and his recovery,” he said.

“If that means he’s playing in January, fantastic.”

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Kyrgios had knee surgery in January and then aborted comeback plans at Wimbledon after tearing a ligament in his wrist.



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Giro fail to reclaim top La Liga spot

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MADRID:

Surprise package Girona failed to return to the top of La Liga on Monday after they were held 1-1 at home by Athletic Bilbao.

Winger Viktor Tsygankov put the hosts ahead 10 minutes after half time but Inaki Williams scored 12 minutes later to claim a point for the away side.

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Girona trail league leaders Real Madrid on goal difference after dropping points for just the third time this season, while Athletic climbed to fifth spot.

Athletic had the better of the first half and their best chance fell to Gorka Guruzeta but the striker poked his shot straight at Girona goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga.

Girona had early chances of their own including an Aleix Garcia volley, which he skied over the crossbar, but did not find the rhythm they have found so often this season.

After the break, the hosts broke the deadlock when Tsygankov rifled home.

Williams, who started on the opposite wing from his brother Nico, equalised from a counter-attacking move that started in Athletic’s own box.

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The wide man finished smoothly for his sixth league goal of the season as the Basques went looking for their third straight win.

With 10 minutes left, Inaki Williams came close to finding the winner as he cut in from the left but his shot was parried by Gazzaniga.

Inaki Williams was replaced in the final minute of normal time for youngster Adu Ares, but both sides were forced to settle for a point.

On Sunday, Rodrygo sent Real Madrid top with a double in 3-0 win at Cadiz.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Madrid are four points clear of fourth-placed Barcelona, who drew 1-1 at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.

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PCB announces Pakistan team management for Australia tour

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The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have announced the Team Management for the upcoming Test tour to Australia, which is scheduled to take place from December 2023 to January 2024. They will be playing three Test matches in Australia.

Former England cricketer Adam Hollioake has been hired as the batting coach. Hollioake played four Tests and 35 ODIs for England. The 52-year-old transitioned into coaching, contributing his expertise to the England Lions team. His coaching abilities were further recognized when he was enlisted to join England’s coaching staff for the final two Ashes Tests during the 2021-22 series.

Meanwhile, Simon Grant Helmot will serve as the high performance coach on the tour. Helmot is an Australian cricket coach, who was formerly the coach of the Melbourne Renegades in Big Bash League.

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Last week, Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal were announced as fast-bowling and spin bowling coaches, respectively, for the Pakistan team.

Team Management:

Naveed Akram Cheema (Team manager), Mohammad Hafeez (Director – Pakistan men’s cricket team), Adam Hollioake (batting coach), Simon Grant Helmot (high performance coach), Umar Gul (fast bowling coach), Saeed Ajmal (spin bowling coach), Abdul Majeed (fielding coach), Mansoor Rana (assistant team manager), Shahid Aslam (assistant batting coach), Drikus Saaiman (strength and conditioning coach/Trainer), Cliffe Deacon (physiotherapist), Talha Ejaz (team analyst), Lt Col (Rtd) Akhtar Hussain (security manager), Raza Rashid Kitchlew (media manager), Ammar Ahsan (videographer), Dr Sohail Saleem (team doctor) and Malang Ali (team masseur).

The Pakistan cricket team will play their first Test match against Australia in Perth from 14 to 18 December, followed by a Test match in Melbourne, from 26 to 30 December. Sydney will host the last game of the tour from 3 to 7 January, 2024.

The squad is set to depart from Lahore on 30 November.

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Pakistan squad for Australia Tests: Shan Masood (captain), Aamir Jamal, Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Khurram Shahzad, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Noman Ali, Saim Ayub, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Saud Shakeel and Shaheen Shah Afridi.