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Chelsea beats Watford 2-1 to stay top of Premier League



Chelsea's Mason Mount in action with Watford's Kiko Femenia during their match.

Chelsea stayed top of the Premier League with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Watford on Wednesday in a match that was halted for 32 minutes in the first half after a spectator suffered cardiac arrest.

Substitute Hakim Ziyech grabbed the winner for the leaders in the 72nd minute, converting a cross from Mason Mount — the England midfielder who had put Chelsea in front in the 29th.

By then, the teams had been taken off by the referee because of the medical emergency in the stands that happened after about 13 minutes. The incident happened on the side of the field where Chelsea left back Marcos Alonso was stationed and he appeared to alert the referee and the medical staff on the touchline.

The spectator was stabilized and taken away on a stretcher to applause from the crowd.

Emmanuel Dennis equalized for Watford in the 43rd after Ruben Loftus-Cheek — one of a number of fringe players handed a start by Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel because of injuries — was dispossessed in the center circle by Moussa Sissoko, who drove forward and set up his teammate to score.

Chelsea remained a point ahead of Manchester City and two clear of Liverpool on a night when all three teams won.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said his weakened team was “lucky” to come away with all three points
“That’s not us. We were absolutely not ready today for this match,” said Tuchel, who was without Reece James, N’Golo Kante, Ben Chilwell, Mateo Kovacic because of injury while Timo Werner and Jorginho started on the bench because they needed a rest.

“I missed maybe to find the right approach to make my team ready. We had the break due to very sad circumstances – hopefully the person is better — but even this break after the first (13) minutes did not change our approach. We did not cope with the pressure, with the first ball, second ball.”

Tuchel said all his team did was “hang in there.”

“I see this totally as an exception from the rule,” he said. “I will not insist too long on this match because it’s so unusual for us to play like this.”

Tuchel said he was concerned about an injury sustained by defender Trevoh Chalobah in the second half.

“The doctor was on the pitch 20 times today it felt like,” he said. “It’s a big loss, Trev. I’m a bit worried.”


Barca dumped out of cup after extra-time defeat by Athletic Bilbao




Barcelona were dumped out of the Copa del Rey on Thursday as Ferran Torres’ first goal for the club failed to prevent a dramatic 3-2 defeat after extra-time by Athletic Bilbao.

Disappointment for Barca was compounded by the sight of a visibly upset Ansu Fati going off injured in the second half of normal time at San Mames.

Fati only returned earlier this month after two months out with a hamstring problem, having also come back in September following 10 months out with a knee injury.

Another spell on the sidelines for Fati would be a huge blow to Barca’s hopes of making La Liga’s top four. Pedri also asked to go off in extra-time.

Real Madrid needed an extra 30 minutes as well to defeat Elche 2-1, with Eden Hazard scoring the winner after Marcelo’s red card forced La Liga’s leaders to come from behind with 10 men.

Barca were hoping to join them in the last eight but instead it is Athletic who advance, joining Madrid, Real Sociedad, Mallorca, Rayo Vallecano, Cadiz, Valencia and Real Betis in Friday’s draw for the last eight.

Madrid will be firm favorites, particularly after Sevilla crashed out at the hands of Real Betis, who are now perhaps the greatest threat to Carlo Ancelotti’s side winning their first Copa del Rey since 2014, during Ancelotti’s first tenure as coach.

Barca won the Copa del Rey last season and defending their title was probably their best chance of silverware this term.

They are out of sight in La Liga and were beaten by Madrid in last week’s Spanish Super Cup, with the Europa League now their only realistic remaining route to a trophy.

Only 102 seconds had passed when Iker Muniain sent San Mames apoplectic by collecting Nico Williams’ cross at the back post, before turning and bending into the far corner.

But Barcelona were level in the 20th minute, and from a similar angle, as Torres shifted right, inside Oscar De Marcos, and whipped a stunning shot into the net.

Inaki Williams hit the bar with a long-range effort late on but the real drama was still to come. Athletic thought they had won it in the 86th minute when Inigo Martinez prodded in at the back post ahead of the sliding Gerard Pique.

Barcelona, though, found a way back in the 93rd, as Dani Alves bicycle-kicked Jordi Alba’s cross back into the area and Pedri’s hit on the stretch was too powerful for Julen Agirrezabala’s right hand.

Barca celebrated like it was the winner but there was extra-time to come and injuries. Fati went off and then Pedri asked to depart.

Then in the 103rd minute, a sliding Alba stopped Nico Williams’ cross with his right arm and after consulting the replay, Jose Munuera pointed to the spot. Ter Stegen dived right, Muniain shot left.

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A commentator from Equatorial Guinea celebrates hysterically after defeating Algeria



The media circulated a video clip showing the hysterical joy of a match commentator from Equatorial Guinea, following his country’s victory over its Algerian counterpart in the second round of the first round of the African Cup of Nations currently being held in Cameroon.
And the commentator appeared jumping for joy, standing on the seats and embracing a person who was standing next to him, after his country’s team won a precious 1-0 victory in the match yesterday, Sunday.

In the 71st minute of the match, Esteban Obiang scored the first goal for Equatorial Guinea from a corner kick on the first post, which he turned with a direct shot into the net against Algeria.
It is noteworthy that with this result, Algeria bottomed in the group with an orphan point from its draw against Sierra Leone, while Equatorial Guinea’s tally rose to 3 points, to come second, after Côte d’Ivoire, which leads the group with 4 points, while Sierra Leone occupies third place with two points.

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The French Ministry of Sports confirms that Djokovic will not play at Roland Garros without vaccination



Novak Djokovic may be banned from participating in the French Open this year if he insists on not receiving a vaccine against Corona.
This comes after the French Sports Ministry confirmed that there will be no exceptions to the new measures to limit the spread of the virus, according to Reuters.

The ministry said on Monday, “The regulations are clear. The (vaccine passport) will be imposed as soon as the law is passed. The order will apply to every fan or professional athlete until further notice. Roland Garros will take place in May. The situation may change from time to time. So we will see, but Of course, there will be no exceptions.
Yesterday, Sunday, the French Parliament gave its final approval to the government’s latest measures to tackle the Corona virus, including the “vaccine passport”, which was protested by anti-vaccine protesters, paving the way for the law to enter into force in the coming days.
The new law, which has run into difficulties in Parliament, where opposition parties have found some of its provisions too harsh, will require people to obtain a vaccination certificate to enter public places such as restaurants, cafes, cinemas and long-distance trains.
Djokovic, a record nine-time Australian Open winner including the last three, left Australia late on Sunday after the government’s decision to revoke his visa was upheld by the Federal Court, ending several days filled with excitement over the country’s COVID-19 entry rules and the lack of access to the country. Serbian player on vaccination.
Under immigration law, Djokovic cannot now be granted another three-year visa unless the Australian Minister of Immigration agrees that there are compelling reasons.
Serbian Djokovic, who was denied the record number of Grand Slam titles with 21 titles after being expelled from the Australian Open, refused to receive the vaccination and was criticized for his participation in last month’s events after he contracted Corona.
“We are deeply disappointed by the Federal Court’s decision and the fact that Novak must leave Australia,” Djokovic’s family said in a statement. “Despite the disgraceful behavior towards Novak, we believe the sport must win.”
The family indicated that the court’s decision was related to “politics and other (interests)”.

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