In The Spotlight
MADRID - Atletico Madrid secured a 2-1 victory at Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday as keeper Jan Oblak made a pivotal first-half penalty save and goals from Angel Correa and Yannick Carrasco wrapped up victory after the break. It looked as if the visitors would pay for their early profligacy when Atletico's former player Raul Garcia won a contentious penalty on the stroke of halftime, as defender Filipe Luis appeared to win the ball outside the box.
Oblak, however, kept out Aritz Aduriz’s effort to extend his impressive record from the spot to six saves from his last 10 penalties faced. Angel Correa then opened the scoring 10 minutes after the restart before Carrasco’s effort secured the points.
Atletico were left nervously hanging on after Garcia scored with a stoppage-time volley for Bilbao.
Diego Simeone’s side held on, however, to extend their unbeaten start to the season and move into second place ahead of the night’s late kickoff between Real Madrid and Real Betis. (Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli; Editing by Toby Davis)
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PRAGUE-- Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will set aside their long-time rivalry when they play for Europe against the rest of the world in the inaugural Laver Cup tournament which starts on Friday.
Team Europe, featuring the world's top two players, are overwhelming favourites to win the three-day tournament, which is named after Australian great Rod Laver, with a squad boasting a combined 36 grand slam titles against one for Team World.
The teams are captained by Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, whose own rivalry starting in the 1970s featured a contrast in temperament and style that made their matches the kind of must-watch events that Laver Cup organisers hope to showcase.
"I've been watching these guys play for so many years, it's going to be a fun weekend," Borg, now 61, told reporters on Wednesday. "But make no mistake, we are here to win."
Conceived by Federer and his sports management company Team8, the tournament is the latest to join a crowded calendar and comes on the heels of the Davis Cup semi-finals last week.
World number two Federer played down the impact of another event, saying matches over a short period were manageable and gave players on the two teams the chance to build camaraderie.
"I don't think it's too much otherwise all the players wouldn't be here," the Swiss great told a news conference.
"The best (players) in the world are very picky in what (tournaments) they play, which (is why it) is great they made this a priority."
"(We're) looking forward to making friendships because we play together and not against each other for a change."
Team Europe also includes German Alexander Zverev, Croatia's Marin Cilic, Austrian Dominic Thiem and Czech Tomas Berdych.
Team World features Americans Sam Querrey, Jack Sock, John Isner and Frances Tiafoe plus Australia's Nick Krygios and Canadian Denis Shapovalov.
With five players inside the world's top 10, the Borg-led European squad is heavily favoured against a world team hit by Argentine Juan Martin del Potro's late withdrawal due to injury.
"I'm expecting a lot of fun but at the same time I know it's going to be very competitive," the 22-year-old Krygios told reporters. "We are the underdogs."
The tournament, which will rotate between Europe and the rest of the world each year, features three singles and one doubles match each day. A win is worth one point on Friday, two on Saturday and three on Sunday.
In a bid to keep the pace humming, the indoor hard court matches at Prague's O2 Arena will be best-of-three sets with a 10-point tiebreak deciding the final set.
With no player featuring in singles more than twice during the first two days, Nadal and Federer could see themselves on the same side of the net in a mouthwatering doubles pairing.
"We don’t even know if captain Borg is going to pick us but, of course, I would love to play with Rafa and see that forehand do damage on the other side (of the net)," Federer said.
"I’m sure that the crowd would go absolutely crazy and just because of that it would just be great to play us potentially."
GENEVA-- FIFA president Gianni Infantino appealed to European football bosses on Wednesday to help reform the sport's transfer system and described the current set-up as a "rat race" which had cast football in a negative light.
"It is the responsibility of all of us to tackle the transfer system," Infantino said in a speech at the extraordinary congress of European soccer body UEFA.
"We have to come up with some positive solutions for agents, transfer regulations, for loans and transfer windows, (salary) caps and all these items which are somewhere in the air but which have never been addressed... in a significant way."
Later, Infantino told reporters from international news agencies of his ideas for new regulations governing the roles of agents, limits on the sizes of club squads and the co-ordination of transfer windows so they closed before major championships start.
"We have to make sure that transfers don't affect the integrity of the competitions, they should indeed stop before the start," he said.
Referring to the way teams could strengthen their squads after a poor start to the season, he added: "When you run a marathon, you don't run for 10 kilometres and then take a bike."
Infantino, who was elected FIFA president in February of last year, said that spending on international transfers had totalled around 4.6 billion euros ($5.5 billion) during the northern hemisphere summer compared to 3.6 billion euros for the same period the year before.
These included Brazilian forward Neymar's record-shattering 222 million euro move from Barcelona to Paris St Germain, plus 18-year-old French forward Kylian Mbappe's move to the same Ligue 1 club.
He also said that the transfer market "doesn't necessarily reflect very well" on the sport, although he still believed it played an important role in redistributing resources.
"What is worrying is the inflation that these transfers trigger and the rat race that this entails with all the other clubs," he said.
"All these negative headlines bring the whole football movement into a negative light. From a perception point of view, it doesn't feel right."
The Swiss, who previously told Reuters in an interview last November that he wanted to reform the transfer system, said that leagues and clubs felt the same way.
"I see it from the discussions I had with players, clubs, leagues, associations," he said.
"I have never felt it is as strongly as I do now. It's not limited only to Europe and we need to have a framework at worldwide level."
BERGEN, Norway-- Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands crushed his rivals to claim a maiden individual time trial title at the road cycling world championships on Wednesday, crowning a superb season after winning the Giro d'Italia in May.
Despite the rain that hurt the chances of the late starters, Dumoulin clocked 44 minutes 41 seconds on the 31km course in Bergen, cheered on by massive flag-waving crowds.
He beat second-placed Primoz Roglic of Slovenia by 57.79 seconds, while Briton Chris Froome finished third, 1:21.25 slower.
Dumoulin came close to overtaking Tour de France champion Froome after starting 1:30 behind him.
Germany's defending champion Tony Martin lost too much ground in two passages of a brutal 3.4km climb at an average gradient of 9.1 percent to have a chance of adding to his four titles.
"I can't believe it, wow, it's really amazing. I had such a good day I felt really, really good," said Dumoulin.
"Then it started raining and I had to take the corners really slow especially in the climb."
Dumoulin, whose previous best result was third in 2014, also won the team time trial with Sunweb last Sunday.
Some riders switched from their time trial bikes to climbing bikes just before the second passage on the ascent, at the top of which the finish line was drawn, but Dumoulin did not.
"At first I thought I would (change bikes) but then I felt I could do well with my TT bike," he said.
Froome stayed on his time trial bike as well, but the Briton was never going to beat Dumoulin, possibly too exhausted after winning a brutal Vuelta 10 days ago.
Roglic switched bikes and was the fastest on the last climb, taking almost five seconds off Dumoulin's lead, but the Dutchman already had the title in the bag.
Froome only managed the ninth best time in that section.
Frenchman Alexis Gougeard lost a podium chance when he suffered a mechanical on the last climb while he was still in the mix and finished 13th.
LONDON-- Leicester City grabbed second-half goals through Shinji Okazaki and record signing Islam Slimani to earn a 2-0 victory over Liverpool in the League Cup third round on Tuesday.
A night of wholesale team changes for the 11 Premier League sides in action produced one notable upset with top flight Stoke City losing 2-0 at second-tier Bristol City.
Former England manager Roy Hodgson enjoyed his first victory in charge of Crystal Palace as the Premier League's bottom club defeated Huddersfield Town 1-0 at Selhurst Park.
Tottenham Hotspur were frustrated for 65 minutes at Wembley by second-tier Barnsley before Dele Alli secured a 1-0 win and a first domestic victory of the season at their temporary home.
West Ham United beat second-tier Bolton Wanderers 3-0 at the London Stadium while Swansea City dispatched Reading 2-0.
Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was given his first start by manager Juergen Klopp following his move from Arsenal, while Phillipe Coutinho was also in the lineup at the King Power Stadium where the visitors dominated play before the interval.
Coutinho was instrumental in eight-times League cup winners Liverpool's superiority but he went off at halftime with the score still level and after the break Liverpool paid dearly for failing to take their chances.
Klopp's side did not deal with a corner in the 65th minute and Okazaki's deflected shot crept inside the post. Algerian Slimani scored the home side's second goal with a stunning left-foot shot into the top corner in the 78th.
"We led a charmed life in the first half and Liverpool could have been out of sight," Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare said. "To get the first goal was massively important."
The teams meet again at the weekend in the Premier League.
Bristol City's Famara Diedhiou and Matty Taylor were on target at home to Stoke, while Palace found some respite after losing all five of their league games to edge past top-flight rivals Huddersfield thanks to Bakary Sako's early goal.
Bournemouth enjoyed their second victory over south-coast Premier League rivals Brighton & Hove Albion in five days as Josh King's goal in extra time gave them a 1-0 win.
A clash of two former League Cup winners saw Middlesbrough beat Aston Villa 2-0 away, while Norwich City, who have also won the competition, beat fellow second-tier side Brentford 2-0.
Bristol Rovers, one of two third-tier clubs in round three, went down 1-0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers after extra time.
Bairstow century propels England to easy win over West Indies
LONDON-- An unbeaten century from Jonny Bairstow helped England stroll to a seven-wicket victory over West Indies in the opening match of their one-day series at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
BERGEN, Norway- Annemiek van Vleuten claimed an emotional world road title in the women's individual time trial on Tuesday, beating fellow Dutch rider Anna van der Breggen to the gold medal.
BERGEN, Norway- - Annemiek van Vleuten won the women's individual time trial at the road world championships on Tuesday in a Dutch one-two.
CAY BAY--The Windward Islands Soccer Academy Foundation is preparing to resume training.
LONDON - Former England striker Alan Shearer has said Liverpool have made no significant headway under Juergen Klopp since the German replaced Brendan Rodgers as the Merseyside club's manager in 2015.