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Tottenham shuts out Man City to go top of Premier League – Sportsnet.ca

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LONDON — With his team top of the English Premier League, Jose Mourinho enjoyed bragging rights over Pep Guardiola in their longstanding rivalry as Tottenham beat Manchester City 2-0 on Saturday.

Chelsea moved up to second while Aston Villa’s strong early form continued to fade.

A typical Guardiola vs. Mourinho game saw City enjoy the lion’s share of possession, only to be frustrated by Tottenham’s compact defence and sliced apart on counter-attacks.

“Everyone worked their socks off,” Tottenham forward Harry Kane told Sky Sports. “We knew in the second half that chances would be available and thankfully we took some in the end.”

Kane has either scored or assisted at least one goal in each of his last eight league games. Mourinho was marking a year in charge at Tottenham, while Guardiola acknowledged he had work to do to turn City’s season around after signing a two-year contract extension.

Son Heung-min gave Tottenham the lead in the fifth minute when Kane pulled both City centre-backs out of position, leaving the way clear for the South Korean to latch onto Tanguy Ndombele’s pass and score. With a one-goal advantage, Tottenham was happy to sit back and deflect City’s attacks.

City has yet to score at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in three visits since Tottenham moved in last year. Aymeric Laporte briefly thought he had ended that run, but his goal was disallowed because Gabriel Jesus controlled the ball with his arm before passing to Laporte.

City pushed up and left space for Tottenham to counter. Kane had three passing options on a 65th-minute break and he opted for Giovani Lo Celso, who scored with his first action after coming on as a substitute.

Tottenham has 20 points, two more than Chelsea and Leicester.

MANCHESTER UNITED GETS FIRST LEAGUE WIN AT HOME WITH HELP FROM VAR

MANCHESTER, England — Two favourable video reviews helped Manchester United beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Saturday for its first home win in the English Premier League this season.

First, a review overturned a penalty awarded to West Brom for an apparent foul on Conor Gallagher by Bruno Fernandes.

Soon after, Fernandes stepped up to take a spot-kick after Darnell Furlong handballed Juan Mata’s cross. Fernandes’ first effort was saved by West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, but a replay showed that Johnstone had come off his line just before the Portugal midfielder hit the ball. The penalty was retaken and Fernandes scored.

West Brom fought hard, with substitute Callum Robinson hitting the crossbar, and United goalkeeper David De Gea producing a good save to deny West Brom’s Conor Townsend. Anthony Martial had a good chance to double United’s lead but was blocked by Furlong in stoppage time.

The three points lifted United to ninth in the Premier League, seven points off leader Tottenham. It was United’s first EPL victory of the season at Old Trafford, after a winless run that included defeat to Crystal Palace and a heavy loss to Tottenham. But this wasn’t the kind of comfortable victory which would have shored up the position of United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

“It was important to get the first win at home. Delighted with the points. We know we can do better, but three points are three points and we got a clean sheet,” Solskjaer said.

“The league this season, there are going to be ups and downs and inconsistency, unpredictable. The league is not really settling. It is very tight, it is very early on so points are more important than performances sometimes.”

Paul Pogba didn’t play with what United said was a minor injury following his time with the France team during the international break. The French player could return when United plays Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League on Tuesday.

United hosted the game a day after the club reported it had been attacked by cyber criminals. The club said it was confident “critical systems” required for matches to be staged at Old Trafford were secure and that it was not aware of any breach of supporters’ personal data.

WERNER KEY FOR CHELSEA

Timo Werner missed chances to score for Chelsea, but he still lifted the team to a 2-0 win at Newcastle.

The Germany forward brought the ball out of his own half on a lightning solo counter before laying it off to Tammy Abraham to score the winning goal. It was Abraham’s third goal in his last three games for Chelsea.

Chelsea had earlier taken the lead when Newcastle defender Federico Fernandez knocked Mason Mount’s cross into his own net. Scoring at the correct end of the field was much tougher for Newcastle, whose first shot on goal didn’t come until a deflected shot in the 82nd minute.

Chelsea ends the day second in the Premier League, above Leicester on goal difference.

VILLA LOSES AGAIN

After its high-flying start to the season, Aston Villa looks increasingly earthbound.

Solly March’s goal from the edge of the box gave Brighton a 2-1 win at Villa, but it could have finished differently after a contentious stoppage-time incident.

March reached for the ball and caught Mahmoud “Trezeguet” Hassan and the referee gave a penalty, only to reverse his decision after watching the incident again. Video review indicated March played the ball.

Villa has lost three of its last four league games, while Brighton claimed its first win since Sept. 20 and now has a six-point cushion to the relegation zone.

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The absurdity of medal ceremony mask-wearing at the Tokyo Olympics – Yahoo Canada Sports

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TOKYO — The International Olympic Committee on Sunday reminded athletes to keep wearing masks, especially at the one time when mask-wearing is completely unnecessary.

Dozens of athletes have now stepped up onto podiums here at the Olympics. They’ve draped medals around their necks, and listened to national anthems, with nobody within six feet of them. And in perhaps the proudest moment of their lives, with emotions washing over their faces, their families, forced to watch from home, haven’t been able to see those faces, because they’re covered by masks.

And when pictures circulated of a few swimmers posing on podiums with masks off?

A reporter asked IOC spokesman Mark Adams whether there’d been a relaxation of COVID-19 rules that require mask-wearing during medal ceremonies. “There is no relaxation,” Adams responded. “We would urge and ask everyone to obey the rules.”

But at the Tokyo Aquatics Center on Sunday, Olympic officials made a mockery of those rules. A non-story became a story because pictures circulated of swimmers arm in arm with masks off. But multiple athletes said after their competitions that they’d been directed to remove their masks for photos.

American swimmers Chase Kalisz (right) and Jay Litherland both had to wear masks on the podium ... at least for some of it. (Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Network)

American swimmers Chase Kalisz (right) and Jay Litherland both had to wear masks on the podium … at least for some of it. (Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Network)

“Someone in the front was holding a sign that said, ‘Don’t wear a mask,’” said gold medal-winning American swimmer Chase Kalisz. “So, um, I can’t speak for what the proper protocol was, but he had a sign that said ‘mask off’ and ‘mask on.’”

Hours later, silver medal-winning Canadian diver Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu confirmed: “At one point they said to take off masks for a picture.”

And then, after the medal ceremonies, swimmers and divers alike paraded around the pool deck, stopping for more pictures, arm in arm with their fellow medalists, masks sometimes on, sometimes off. They hugged coaches. One German diver put her mask on the ground, then in a pocket.

There are all sorts of protocol violations here. On the first night of competition, U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe took her mask off for an interview with a dozen reporters in the post-match mixed zone. On Sunday, Tunisian swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui lined up for an impromptu video interview against a wall outside the Aquatics Center after his improbable gold medal. Reporters surround him. A Tunisian Olympic committee official literally pulled Hafnaoui’s mask off, so cameras could see his beautiful face.

Tunisian swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui speaks to reporters after winning gold ... without his mask on. (Henry Bushnell/Yahoo Sports)Tunisian swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui speaks to reporters after winning gold ... without his mask on. (Henry Bushnell/Yahoo Sports)

Tunisian swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui speaks to reporters after winning gold … without his mask on. (Henry Bushnell/Yahoo Sports)

Protocols are enforced inconsistently. And yet, at the most prominent moment of virtually zero danger, with swimmers who’ll soon hug maskless separated by several feet, and with nobody in their immediate line of breath, the IOC and Tokyo organizers have decided that they must wear masks. At most of more than a dozen medal ceremonies tracked by Yahoo Sports thus far, including those in archery, judo, taekwondo and fencing, athletes have been masked up.

There is an argument that doing so models proper behavior, and perhaps that’s what Adams, the IOC spokesman, meant when he said that mask-wearing “sends a strong message.” But there is an obvious counterargument, that behavior modeling must be reasonable, or else the world will see it for what it is: all for show. Hygiene theater is prevalent at these Olympics. Medal ceremony mask-wearing is just another version.

Yahoo Sports’ Jack Baer contributed reporting.

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Vancouver Canucks place Jake Virtanen on waivers for purpose of buying out contract – ESPN

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The Vancouver Canucks placed Jake Virtanen on unconditional waivers Sunday for the purpose of buying out the final year of his contract.

Canucks general manager Jim Benning confirmed the decision in an announcement on the team’s official Twitter account.

Virtanen was placed on leave on May 1 after being accused in a lawsuit of sexually assaulting a women four years earlier. The organization said at the time that it “does not accept sexual misconduct of any kind and the claims as reported are being treated very seriously.”

The suit, filed in British Columbia, alleges Virtanen took the woman to a hotel in West Vancouver in September 2017 and assaulted her as she repeatedly said no and pleaded with him to stop.

The Canucks said at the time they had “engaged external expertise” to assist in an independent investigation. The NHL said then it would not comment until the investigation was complete.

The Canucks are on the hook for paying a third of Virtanen’s remaining $3 million base salary, while freeing up $2.5 million in cap space.

Virtanen, 24, had five goals in 38 games last season, a year after scoring a career-high 18 goals in 69 games. Overall, Vancouver’s 2014 first-round draft pick has 55 goals and 100 points in 317 games.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime first-round upset Tokyo Olympics – TSN

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TOKYO — It was far from the performance Felix Auger-Aliassime was hoping for in his Olympic debut.

Playing on centre court of Tokyo’s Ariake Tennis Park on Sunday, Auger-Aliassime was eliminated in just under two hours by a player ranked 190th in the world who was not even scheduled to compete.

Australian Max Purcell, replacing the injured Andy Murray, upset the 15th-ranked Canadian in straight sets 6-4, 7-6 (2) in the first round.

The 20-year-old Auger-Aliassime never got into any kind of rhythm, except for a three-game winning streak that saw him go from down 1-3 to up 4-3 in the second set.

The Montrealer’s performance otherwise did not live up to expectations.

“It’s difficult to explain,” said the ninth-seeded Auger-Aliassime a few minutes after the loss. “You have to give credit to Max for playing such a good match. Even if he’s more of a doubles player, he’s dangerous, he serves well.

“Despite everything, I still had chances to do better in this match. I had a very bad service game in the first set, which cost me. After that, I did not find ways to get back into the match. A little in the second set, but it was not enough.”

Purcell broke the Canadian to take a 4-3 lead in the first set and won all four points in the next game to go up 5-3.

“I played with confidence,” said Purcell. “I just had two great tournaments in singles. I won a Challenger just last week.

“I need to make the most every time I get in. I went out there thinking I could win, and I think I had just as much to lose as Felix in my mind.”

The Australian earned another break early in the second set to take a 3-1 lead. Auger-Aliassime then strung together his best tennis of the encounter, winning three games in a row to give renewed hope to his team gathered around the court.

But it was short-lived. The two players exchanged serves until the tiebreaker, where Auger-Aliassime fell flat.

“You always have to try to find solutions, to adapt,” said the Canadian. “It’s difficult, we don’t always play our best tennis. That was the case today.

“My first service game has been good. There was no reason (to struggle today). In training (Saturday), I served well. (Sunday,) I didn’t have a lot of good first serves, I couldn’t find the right pace.

“In the second set I started to serve better, but it was almost too late. He had gained confidence, he was leading the game and I was going through it. I tried to find solutions, but it didn’t work out.”

Auger-Aliassime was supposed to face Murray, but the two-time defending Olympic champion withdrew a few hours before his clash with the Quebecer.

Murray, 104th in the world, suffered a quadriceps injury in his right leg. He is still lined up to play the doubles portion of the tournament with teammate Joe Salisbury.

“It’s not easy for anybody, adjusting at the last second,” said Frank Dancevic, Auger-Aliassime’s coach. “You think you’re going to play one guy and somebody else comes, a different game style than Andy. So it was just a little bit of mental adjustment.”

Auger-Aliassime now turns his attention to mixed doubles, which kicks off later this week, with teammate Gabriela Dabrowski of Ottawa.

“It doesn’t change that much for me. Whether I play against Andy or Max, I had to play a good game” said Auger-Aliassime. “I would have had to find solutions.

“It for sure hurts. Coming here, I had the possibility of having a better tournament. Leaving so early is a bit unexpected and I am very disappointed. I have to accept it and I will try to bounce back in the mixed doubles.”

Purcell will next face Germany’s Dominik Koepfer, who downed Argentina’s Facundo Bagnis 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 25, 2021.

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