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Wolves defy Man City to clinch PL Asia Trophy

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A sensational performance from Rui Patricio saw Wolves beat Manchester City 3-2 on penalties to win the Premier League Asia Trophy.

The goalkeeper saved three of City’s five penalties and made a number of vital stops over the 90 minutes – all while suffering a deep cut to the face that saw a long injury stoppage.

Wolves looked better in the second period but could not force a winner in normal time, taking the game to a stuttering penalty shootout, with Patricio saving Lukas Nmecha’s final effort to see Wolves win the competition ahead of their first Europa League qualifier next week.

City started the game brightly and could have taken the lead inside eight minutes. Kevin De Bruyne played a sensational ball into the area and it was almost inch-perfect for the incoming Sterling. However, he appeared to slow his run as Patricio also came to deal with the cross, seeing the ball fly wide of the goal.

Patricio was Wolves’ saviour not long after as he made two saves in quick succession. New boy Rodri flicked on a De Bruyne corner at the near post with Aymeric Laporte sending the ball goalwards, but Patricio got low to see it away with his legs.

He then got down again to swipe the ball from the path of Sterling – who was found by another super De Bruyne pass – but picked up a nasty cut to the face which saw play stopped for around seven minutes.

Just after play restarted in the 20th minute, City were awarded a penalty. Sane managed to get ahead of Traore, with the Wolves wing-back pulling at him before the pair tangled feet, sending Sane to the floor. Sterling lined it up but drove his powerful effort well wide of the top corner.

The second half was a much quieter affair with Wolves just edging the chances. The Midlands side produced a lovely move on the hour mark, with Diogo Jota driving into the area and sending Danilo the wrong way to have a clear sight of goal. However, the defender got himself across in time to see Jota’s fierce drive behind for a corner.

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City’s best chance of the second period came in the 77th minute as David Silva produced a wonderful free kick, curling the ball over the wall. It looked to be sneaking into the corner but Patricio made a sensational, leaping save to keep him out.

With neither side able to force a winner, the game went straight to penalties, and the goalkeepers took their chance to shine. Three of the first five penalties were saved – two by Patricio and one by Claudio Bravo – while Ryan Bennett was the only player to score in the sequence.

The following four were scored by each side before Nmecha stepped up for Man City’s fifth, needing to score to take the game to sudden death. But Patricio was across to keep him out and seal a first Premier League Asia Trophy win for Wolves.

-Report by skysports






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Europe beckons for South African rugby after Kiwi snub

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Jul 20World Cup-winning Springbok Schalk Brits believes the future of South African rugby lies in Europe after New Zealand said there was no room for sides from the republic in Super Rugby.

“All of this jet lag and flying across different time zones just does not work,” said the hooker who retired after the triumphant 2019 World Cup campaign.

“We have got so many South Africans playing in Europe and it would be awesome to see them in action here for European clubs.”

With New Zealand favouring a trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition, South Africa Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux will address the media Tuesday about the way forward.

There has been no rugby in South Africa since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, which claimed 5,033 lives by late Sunday, the most in an African country.

Here, AFP Sport looks at the possibilities for the world champions Springboks and Super Rugby teams the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers.

Rugby Championship

There has been speculation that the six-round annual tournament will be cut to four matches with New Zealand and Australia playing in South Africa only every second year.

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That would be a huge blow for SA Rugby coffers as the century-old rivalry with the All Blacks makes them a huge drawcard.

South Africa might consider abandoning the Championship and pursuing a suggestion by former All Blacks Justin Marshall and Jeff Wilson for three-Test tours between the great rivals.

“British and Irish Lions tours are so successful because we look forward to them,” noted another ex-All Black, John Kirwan. The same could be said of an All Blacks-Springboks series.

‘Seven Nations’

Should South African franchises move north, would the Springboks follow suit and apply to join England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in a ‘Seven Nations’ championship?

Having the world champions on board would surely excite the organisers and costs would be greatly reduced if the Springboks played their three away matches on consecutive weekends.

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England, Ireland, France and Wales, in particular, would bring freshness for rugby followers, who have not rushed to the turnstiles for Championship visits by Australia and Argentina.

Ask the SA Rugby treasurer for his ‘dream’ line-up and he would surely say a multi-Test tour by the All Blacks and participation in the ‘Seven Nations’.

Super Rugby

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Although not official yet, the reality is that New Zealand want to play some Australian sides and the Pacific Islands in a new competition while excluding South Africa and Argentina.

The original version, a Super 10 between 1993 and 1995, was a superb competition, but constant tinkering and expansion has led to waning interest in a difficult-to-follow event.

Even those supporting the Golden Lions of South Africa could not have derived too much satisfaction from a 94-7 thrashing of Japanese visitors the Sunwolves three years ago.

South Africa sides often battled with time differences in Australasia — New Zealand is 11 hours ahead of the republic — and were weary after four-match tours.

‘Pro16’

Pro14 chief executive Martin Anayi says he would welcome Super Rugby ‘rejects’ the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers into an expanded edition.

“The tournament works well but could be even better if we added some South African teams,” he said, referring to a competition that also includes Irish, Italian, Scottish and Welsh teams.

But there may be no room for the two current South African Pro14 participants, the Cheetahs and Kings, who have experienced very different fortunes.

While the Cheetahs have been competitive, the Kings won just four of 55 matches in three seasons with some of the losing margins embarrassing.

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Currie Cup

The domestic competition has survived constant format changes to remain the vital ‘nursery’ from which Springboks emerge.

First staged in 1892, it was the bedrock of South African rugby until the dawn of professionalism after the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

As Test and Super Rugby fixtures took up an increasing amount of the season, the Currie Cup often battled for calendar space.

But it survived and this year could feature the four Super Rugby sides plus the Cheetahs, Kings, Griquas and Pumas, if play is possible amid the coronavirus.

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Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19

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Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19

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Kenya’s coronavirus cases rise to 13,771 after 418 more infections

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By NATION REPORTER

Kenya on Monday reported 418 more Covid-19 infections, raising the country’s tally to 13,771 since the virus was first confirmed on March 13.

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Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman also reported four more deaths, raising the toll to 238. He rectified an earlier report about 19 deaths in a single day, which would have been the highest number ever recorded in Kenya.

The 418 new patients were found following the testing of 2,474 samples in the last 24 hours.

Four hundred and eight of them were Kenyans and 10 foreigners while male patients numbered 263 and female patients 155.

Dr Aman also announced that 494 patients had been discharged, raising the country’s total number of recoveries to 5,616.

Of the recovered patients, 465 were under home care and the rest in hospitals.

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