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High-flying Manchester City turn attention to FA Cup, as Everton meet Spurs

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High-flying Manchester City turn attention to FA Cup, as Everton meet Spurs

English Premier League (EPL) leaders Manchester City will turn their attention to the FA Cup this week when they travel to Wales to face Swansea for a place in the quarter-finals.

Fresh from extending their lead at the top of the league table to five points with a 4-1 win at champions Liverpool, Manchester City will try to extend their winning streak.

They will extend it to 15 matches overall by beating the Championship side on Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola’s side are in rare form, even without Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero, and perhaps their only issue might come if they win a penalty kick.

On Sunday, Ilkay Gundogan joined a growing list of Manchester City players to miss from the penalty kick spot, and Guardiola hinted he is considering something radical.

“It’s a problem that we have,” he admitted.

“In important moments, we cannot miss it, and it doesn’t matter the taker. Again, I’m going to think about Ederson (the goalkeeper), he might be the taker next time.”

Swansea will go into the match with the confidence of their own after 12 matches unbeaten at the Liberty Stadium.

Third in the Championship, Swansea have also kept 15 clean sheets this season and goalkeeper Freddie Woodman says it’s been a team effort.

“It’s testament to the lads in front of me,” he said.

“On Friday night, I only made one save. The lads in front of me are working their socks off.

“I’m really happy to get 15 clean sheets on a personal note, but I can’t stress enough that it’s not just a goalkeeper’s thing. It’s really important to help us move forward.”

The fifth round includes four all-Premier League ties, with Everton facing Tottenham at Goodison, and Manchester United meeting West Ham United at Old Trafford.

Also read:  2021 CHAN: It’s hosts Cameroon vs holders Morocco, Mali vs Guinea for places in the final

In the other ties, Leicester City host Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton are away to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Manchester United go into their clash with West Ham having conceded in the last minute of a 3-3 draw with Everton last time out.

Forward Bruno Fernandes, who has been instrumental in Manchester United’s success this season, says the club have to learn from their mistakes.

“We have time,” he said. “We have time to think again. Everyone knows the past is the past and you can do nothing, but the future you can do something about.

“So, everybody has to be ready and learn from his game. Everything we learn from this game we have to put in the next one and try to win. We have to win.”

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho takes his side to Everton having ended a run of three straight defeats with a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at the weekend.

That match saw the return to action of Harry Kane after injury and Mourinho reiterated how important his captain is.

“He is one of the best strikers in the world, period,” Mourinho said. “There is nothing else to say.

“The team depends a lot on him, we can’t hide that. It’s the goals he can score, the assists he can make, the link play he has, that personality that the players can have and he is always an important influence for us.”

Premier League stragglers Sheffield United host Bristol City, Burnley play Bournemouth and Chelsea go to Barnsley in the round’s other ties.

 

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Djokovic reaches Australian Open semi-finals, Paul also through

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Djokovic reaches Australian Open semi-finals, Paul also through

Novak Djokovic equalled the record of former coach Andre Agassi with a 26th consecutive victory at the Australian Open on Wednesday to reach the semi-finals.

The nine-time champion was again in superb form, painting the lines consistently in a 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory over fifth seed Andrey Rublev on Rod Laver Arena.

It helped to set up a clash with unseeded American Tommy Paul.

Djokovic has not been beaten at Melbourne Park since 2018 —- part of a 39-match winning run in Australia.

This has now matched the sequence of victories of Agassi between 2000 and 2004.

Djokovic said: “I cannot be happier with my tennis. I’ve been playing very solid. I love playing in these conditions, on this court.

“Overall I think the scoreline in the first two sets doesn’t speak the truth of the match.

“Andrey is a great player. With all the important moments and the important shots, I found my best tennis. So, that’s what I’m most pleased about tonight.”

The fifth seed at times did again appear bothered by his left hamstring.

But it did not affect his ability to hare around the court, repelling everything big-hitting Russian Rublev threw at him.

He was more affected by a heckler who called out “Come on Andrey, send him home” during the first set.

It drew loud boos from the largely pro-Djokovic crowd and prompted the Serbian to complain to British umpire James Keothavong.

It was Rublev’s turn to appeal to Keothavong in the second set when he felt Djokovic should have received a time violation.

But the Russian, bidding to reach his first slam semi-final at the seventh attempt, was mostly frustrated by the man down the other end of the court.

Djokovic, who has never lost once he has reached the semi-finals at Melbourne Park, was virtually flawless in the big moments.

He saved all five break points he faced and wrapped up victory in two hours and three minutes.

Earlier, Paul got the better of fellow American Ben Shelton to reach his first grand slam semi-final.

The run of 20-year-old Shelton, in just his second grand slam and on his first trip outside the U.S., has been one of the stories of the tournament.

But Paul used his greater experience to secure a 7-6 (6) 6-3 5-7 6-4 victory.

The 25-year-old said: “I’m really excited. It wasn’t the prettiest match ever today but it was how I needed to play the match.

“He’s a great server. I had to just put in as many returns as I could.”

Paul, who will break into the top 20 for the first time after the tournament, becomes the first American man to reach the semi-finals here since Andy Roddick in 2009.

With Sebastian Korda also in the last eight, this was the best display by American men at a grand slam for nearly 20 years.

It appears to herald an exciting era for the country, which has been searching for a successor to Roddick for the last decade.

There is a lot of excitement about Shelton, who has not yet left college, and he might turn out to be the best of the lot, but this was Paul’s day.

Paul was cheered on by his mother, who hopped on a plane after his fourth-round win and arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday morning.

“It was awesome,” he said. “I was actually, when I first heard, pretty nervous because we’ve had a good thing going here and I didn’t really want to change anything.

“After a little bit of thinking, I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m in the quarter-finals of a slam. She’s sacrificed a ton to get me here. She deserves to be here and deserves to see me win big matches”.

“I was really excited to see her and have her here.”

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Lions of Teranga roar into CHAN knockout stage

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Lions of Teranga roar into CHAN knockout stage

Senegal powered into the quarter-finals of the 2022 African Nations Championship (CHAN) after an emphatic 3-0 victory over DR Congo on Sunday.

The Lions of Teranga defeated the two-time winners in their final Group B match played at the 19 May 1956 Stadium in Annaba to secure their place in the knock-out stage of the ongoing tournament in Algeria.

A first half goal by Osmane Diouf, along with a Pape Diallo strike which was coupled by an unfortunate own goal by Siadi Baggio, ensured the west Africans top the group.

They subsequently advanced to the last eight.

Looking at redeeming themselves from the loss to Uganda, Senegal were the first to ask questions as early as the 6th minute.

This was when Ousmane Kane thought he had beaten the offside trap with his goal, but was judged to be offside by VAR.

Papa Diallo, who was a nuisance to the DR Congo defence, should have put his side ahead in the 11th minute after a through ball from Elimane Cisse found the forward free on goal.

But he dragged his shot wide off target with the goalkeeper at his mercy.

Minutes later, it was DR Congo’s Elie Mpanzu who squandered a glorious opportunity to grab the lead after doing well to control a cross from the left.

But with just the goalkeeper to beat, the forward opted for a cross which went wayward as Senegal survived the threat.

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Nketiah Strikes late as Leaders Arsenal edge Manchester United in thriller

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Nketiah Strikes late as Leaders Arsenal edge Manchester United in thriller

Arsenal restored their five-point lead at the top of the 2022/2023 English Premier League (EPL) on Sunday, with Eddie Nketiah scoring twice in a 3-2 defeat of Manchester United.

His goals included a 90th-minute winner, in a rip-roaring clash at The Emirates.

It had looked as though it would end honours even after Manchester United withstood a late siege.

But Nketiah tapped in from close range to send the home fans into raptures.

A game that fully lived up to expectations saw Marcus Rashford give Manchester United the lead with a stunning early opener.

But Nketiah headed Arsenal level in a frantic first half.

Bukayo Saka’s flashing drive gave Arsenal the lead in the 53rd minute but Lisandro Martinez’s header levelled it up before the hour mark to set up an absorbing finale.

Saka struck the post and Nketiah was denied by David de Gea.

But the hosts were relentless as they avenged their loss to Manchester United earlier in the season — their sole defeat.

Mikel Arteta’s side has 50 points from 19 games, with Manchester City on 45 and Manchester United in fourth place on 39, below Newcastle United on goal difference.

– Reuters

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