17-02-2019 David Beckham sees Salford City beaten on first visit since becoming co-owner

• Salford lose in National League to struggling Dover Athletic• Beckham watching for first time since buying 10% stakeDavid Beckham saw Salford City suffer a surprise home defeat as he watched the National League club in action for the first time since becoming co-owner.Beckham last month followed his former Manchester United teammates Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt in securing a 10% stake in the club from Peter Lim, making the Class of 92 majority shareholders, with the Singapore businessman retaining 40%. Continue reading...

17-02-2019 Talking Horses: rhythm for Al Dancer at Ascot plus Saturday’s best bets

The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained unbeaten hurdler looked to have plenty more to offer when he won at CheltenhamA slightly reduced version of the Betfair Handicap Hurdle will be the main betting race on Ascot’s excellent card and it is hard to escape the claims of Al Dancer (3.20). From the Nigel Twiston-Davies yard that had a winner with its first runner back after racing restarted this week, he is unbeaten over hurdles and looked highly progressive when scoring at Cheltenham in December.That was his handicap debut and even a 12lb hike in the ratings may not stop him. Getaway Trump is a talented opponent but may find this too much of a test of speed. Continue reading...

17-02-2019 Blunt Rangers lose ground on Celtic after St Johnstone stalemate

Rangers risk losing further ground in the title race after being frustrated at home by St Johnstone. The 0-0 draw with Tommy Wright’s men may mean Rangers have trimmed Celtic’s lead at the top back to five points for 24 hours but Brendan Rodgers’ reigning champions will look to punish a wasteful display from Rangers when they travel to Kilmarnock on Sunday by stretching their advantage to eight.Wright’s St Johnstone had shipped five after opting to go on the attack on their last visit to Govan. But there was little danger of them opening up as they returned to Glasgow’s south side on the back of five straight defeats in which they had conceded 13 goals. Continue reading...

17-02-2019 European roundup: Barcelona edge to win; Pizarro is oldest Bundesliga scorer

• Lionel Messi penalty enough for leaders against Valladolid• Pizarro breaks record with last-gasp goal for Werder BremenA first-half penalty from Lionel Messi was enough to give Barcelona a 1-0 victory over Real Valladolid to preserve their comfortable lead at the top of La Liga. Valladolid goalkeeper Jordi Masip had an excellent game against his former club and saved another penalty from Messi on 85 minutes. Related: Sportswashing and the tangled web of Europe's biggest clubs Continue reading...

17-02-2019 Sri Lanka beat South Africa: Kusal Perera hits 153 not out in one-wicket win

Kusal Perera hits an unbeaten 153 as Sri Lanka chase 304 to claim a stunning one-wicket win over South Africa in the first Test in Durban.

17-02-2019 Sri Lanka v England: Pick your England team for first Test

Who do you think should be in the England side for the first Test against Sri Lanka? Choose your XI and share it with your friends.

17-02-2019 Calm, alert and brave, Gordon Banks was the ideal goalkeeper for any age | Richard Williams

For a while, as the 60s bled into the 70s, Gordon Banks, who has died at the age of 81, was accepted as the finest goalkeeper in the worldNot all of the 11 players who won the World Cup for England in 1966 would claim he was the best in his position the country has ever produced. Two or three might have a good shout, but the one over whom there could be no dissent was Gordon Banks.He was, in short, the ideal goalkeeper for any age. Calm but ever alert, organising his defenders, watching his angles, plucking the ball out of the air, anticipating what a forward with the ball at his feet might do next, as brave as a lion in an era when strikers had a licence to intimidate, his qualities were beyond dispute. Continue reading...

17-02-2019 Phil Foden ‘brilliant’ for Manchester City against Newport, says Pep Guardiola

• Manager praises 18-year-old’s influence in hard-fought win• ‘He’s a player who is ready – ready to play’Pep Guardiola praised Phil Foden for producing a “brilliant” performance against Newport County after the 18-year-old scored twice to help Manchester City reach the quarter-finals. Leroy Sané and Riyad Mahrez scored the other goals as the Premier League champions won 4-1 to break Newport’s brave resistance. Related: Sané and Foden send City through as dogged Newport are finally downed Continue reading...

17-02-2019 David Squires on … Chelsea's humiliation at Manchester City

Our resident cartoonist on Maurizio Sarri’s dismay, Mike Dean and a man trying to wear trousers as a jumperTake a look through David’s archive of cartoons Continue reading...

17-02-2019 West Brom keep pace after win at Aston Villa as Blades carve up Reading

Sheffield Wednesday leave it late to draw at RotherhamPortsmouth throw away 3-0 lead for point at SouthendWest Brom did the damage in the five minutes before the break to stay firmly in the promotion hunt with a 2-0 win at Midlands rivals Aston Villa. Hal Robson-Kanu headed the Baggies in front in the 41st minute before Jay Rodriguez added a second moments later to ensure Darren Moore’s side made the short trip home with all three points. Villa are now seven points off the final play-off place. Continue reading...

17-02-2019 Time to stand tall for Ashes: Root, Stokes, Burns and Wood can be key

Joe Root and Ben Stokes are more important than ever for England this summer while Rory Burns and Mark Wood may also step up“Cut off the head and the rest will follow” was a phrase often used in the dressing room of the great West Indies sides of the 80s. Their fast bowlers would make a point of targeting the opposition captain in the (usually justified) expectation that this would cause maximum distress. On this tour they managed this most successfully. After two Tests Joe Root had scored 55 runs. In Antigua the England captain received two brutish deliveries, which he could do little about. Job done. Series won. Continue reading...

17-02-2019 Was Infantino just too busy to get involved in freeing Hakeem al-Araibi? | Marina Hyde

Fifa has a new human rights policy, yet its president appears to have been too caught up with other things to help out a footballer jailed under false pretencesTo the Middle East, where Fifa’s brilliant plan to bring peace via the medium of football continues apace. Last month, Qatar’s extraordinary win in the Asian Cup was noisily welcomed by Fifa, presumably as retrospective justification for its decision to award the tiny Gulf state the 2022 World Cup. And in some of the regional countries currently blockading Qatar, the headlines on news coverage of the final show just how close the whole peace-dream is to becoming a reality. Which is to say, not very close, if they still can’t mention the match winner in a match report. As the UAE’s Gulf News had it: “Japan come up short in Asian Cup final.” That said, it did have two articles about the final. The headline on the other was: “The Samurai’s extra confidence caused their loss.” Related: Privileged sport officials willing to sacrifice Hakeem al-Araibi's life should be expunged | Craig Foster Continue reading...