Barcelona blew away Athletic Bilbao to win the Copa del Rey

MADRID: Lionel Messi scored twice, including a stunning solo goal, as Barcelona blew away Athletic Bilbao to win the Copa del Rey on Saturday. The cup was won and lost in a whirlwind 12 minutes in Seville, which saw Barca score four times to clinch an emphatic 4-0 victory, with Messi at his devastating best. Koeman took over a team at rock bottom, humiliated by a historic loss to Bayern Munich and wounded by the attempts of Messi to leave the club for free. But this 31st Copa del Rey…

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Team Sapura Cycling with high hopes for Turkey

A year without international action, Team Sapura Cycling are looking to mark their return to racing on a bright note at the Tour of Turkey on April 11-18. Sapura will be up against a strong field at the UCI ProSeries race which includes WorldTour teams such as Astana-Premier Tech and Deceuninck-Quickstep. The UCI Continental team, who left for Turkey yesterday, have included Danilo Celano (Italy), Jesse Ewart (Ireland), Ahmet Orken (Turkey), Nur Aiman Rosli, Zawawi Azman and national road champion Akmal Hakim Zakaria in their squad. “Danilo has been especially…

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Few more tweaks on custom built bikes for Azizul and Shah

National Sports Institute (NSI) will make a few more tweaks to the custom-built track bikes used by Azizulhasni Awang and Shah Firdaus Sahrom before they head to Tokyo in July for the Olympics. “This Olympic bike development project is in its fourth year now after beginning in 2017. The intention is to build a bike which is tailored to each rider’s physiology,” said NSI chief executive officer Ahmad Faedzal “Azizulhasni and Shah each have one bike, and they have been using it for some time now. But we feel there…

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Liverpool has eye on Champions League

LONDON: Liverpool made light of their Premier League woes to ease into the quarter-finals of the Champions League by beating RB Leipzig 2-0 in Budapest for the second time in three weeks. The Champions League this season and next is now the Reds focus as they try to salvage a campaign decimated by injuries and a drastic decline in form after romping to a first league title in 30 years last season. With a seven-point gap to make up on a resurgent Chelsea or 10-point deficit to bridge to third-placed…

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Kyril Louis-Dreyfus has become English football's youngest chairman

LONDON: Kyril Louis-Dreyfus has become English football’s youngest chairman after the 23-year-old completed his takeover of League One side, Sunderland, on Thursday. Son of late Marseille owner and billionaire Robert Louis-Dreyfus sealed the deal after being granted approval from the English Football League. Louis-Dreyfus originally agreed to purchase a controlling interest in the Black Cats in December. “I am proud to become a custodian of this esteemed institution, but I also recognise the significant responsibility that comes with it,” Louis-Dreyfus said. Sunderland is seventh in the third-tier, a point outside…

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says 'I do not need a break'

LONDON: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said “nobody has to worry about me” as he dismissed social media rumours he was ready to quit the club or take a break. The Reds lost a third league game in a row when a late collapse saw them beaten 3-1 at Leicester on Saturday. The defeat left the champions in fourth place and 13 points behind leaders Manchester City. “We will sort it. We will sort it by playing football, by being even more together, by learning more than you can learn in each…

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The Malaysian Nicol David named Greatest Athlete of All Time

Eight-time world champion Nicol David has been ceremoniously crowned the World Games’ Greatest Athlete of All Time. In an online poll voting, the 37-year-old was by far the popular choice as she tallied a whopping 318,943 votes to take home the award. The award is a great recognition to the Penangite who has won everything that has to be won before retiring in 2019. Throughout an illustrious career that spanned nearly 20 years, Nicol had won the world title a record eight times and also holds the record of being…

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Badminton's greatest rivalry

MALAYSIA – Fifteen years ago in a packed Kuala Lumpur stadium, rising stars Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei met in a final for the first time, setting the stage for what would become badminton’s greatest rivalry. Malaysia’s Lee, at the time 22, reached the floor, punched the air and blew kisses to the crowd after his see-sawing, 88-minute 17-15, 9-15, 15-9 victory, when he fought back from behind in the first and last games. It was an extremely tense start for a match-up that would span two Olympic finals…

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Messi returns with a goal in the Copa del Rey

MADRID: Lionel Messi marked his return from suspension with a goal in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday as Barcelona survived a scare against Rayo Vallecano to reach the quarter-finals. With Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid already out, another upset looked on the cards when Fran Garcia gave Rayo a surprise lead at Vallecas early in the second half. A victory over Barcelona, 30-time winners of the competition and now strong favourites to make it 31, would have delivered a brief boost to morale, even if this compelling cup tie…

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2021 FA Cup cancelled, deferred to March 5

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia Football League (MFL) has cancelled the 2021 FA Cup and deferred the start of the Malaysian League (M-League) to March 5 due to the enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) in the country. MFL chief executive officer Datuk Ab Ghani Hassan said the FA Cup was dropped from this year’s calendar to avoid burdening teams with a tight competition schedule which might affect the quality of the M-League. The MCO will be in force until Feb 4 in all states except Sarawak, where only certain…

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