The PNG side drew 3-3 with Auckland Central Academy Football Club in the friendly match on Saturday, January 28, at Mt Smart in Auckland, New Zealand.Auckland Central Academy was too good, scoring three quick goals in the first 30 minutes of the first half.PNG came back very strong in the dying minutes of the first half to score through Jonathan Allen and Yagi Yasasa within five minutes to bring the score to 3-2 at half time.In the second half, PNG dominated the game but all attempts ended up off target.PNG’s Barthy Kerobin scored the only goal in the second half, just minutes to full time to equalize 3-3.PNG will end their preparation with a last friendly against One Hunger Mangere on February 4 before they leave for Tahiti on the 6th.The OFC championship will be hosted in Tahiti, scheduled from February 11-24.PNG is pooled in Group A alongside New Caledonia, Tahiti and Vanuatu.Group B consists of Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands and New Zealand.(Picture courtesy of PNG Football Association)
Britain finished top of Pool C to earn a play-off against Pool B winners Croatia on Saturday after wins for Johanna Konta and Heather Watson secured victory over Turkey.Konta had to fight back from a set down to beat Cagla Buyukakcay 5-7 6-4 6-3 while Watson thrashed Ipek Soylu 6-0 6-1, while in the dead rubber, Laura Robson and Jocelyn Rae beat Ayla Aksu and Pemra Ozgen 6-2 6-2 in the doubles to complete a comfortable 3-0 triumph.If Britain beat Croatia, they will progress to another play-off in April to move out of Euro/Africa Zone Group I, the competition’s third tier, and into World Group II.Konta’s task will be to overcome Croatia’s talented 19-year-old Ana Konjuh, ranked 37th in the world and widely considered to be one of the game’s rising stars.Watson will be up against another youngster in 20-year-old Donna Vekic. Vekic’s progress has slowed slightly since she burst onto the scene as a teenager but she will push Watson who, at 72, is ranked only 12 places higher in the world.
Order of play on the showcourt on day 13 of the French Open on Friday (all times GMT, prefix numbers denote seeding):Court Philippe Chatrier (play starts at 1045)Men’s singles – Semi-finals 1-Andy Murray (Britain) v 3-Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) 4-Rafael Nadal (Spain) v 6-Dominic Thiem (Austria)
Watford came from 2-0 down to earn a draw with Southampton but the Saints felt they had been robbed of the victory by what they saw as a clear late handball goal from Abdoulaye Doucoure.The Southampton players ended up surrounding the referee after Doucoure’s 90th minute leveller. He had stooped to meet Troy Deeney’s headed pass but the ball appeared to come off his hand to beat Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.James Ward-Prowse had earlier struck twice in the first half, in the 20th and 44th minutes, as Southampton looked set to end their dismal nine-match winless streak.Yet lacklustre Watford brought on their totem Deeney and roused themselves in the second half with Andre Gray heading home in the 58th minute before the late drama surrounding the home side’s equaliser.
Real Madrid cruised into the Champions League quarter-finals with Cristiano Ronaldo’s second-half goal helping them to a 2-1 victory at Paris St Germain on Tuesday as the 12-time European champions went through 5-2 on aggregate.Ronaldo headed home seven minutes into the second half and Casemiro added a second 10 minutes from time against a toothless PSG, who were without their injured talisman Neymar and had Marco Verratti sent off for a second booking in the 66th minute.Ronaldo scored for the ninth Champions League game in a row, matching Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record in the competition, before PSG striker Edinson Cavani equalised with 19 minutes left, only for Casemiro to give Real victory at the Parc des Princes.Zinedine Zidane’s side, who are 15 points adrift of arch-rivals Barcelona in La Liga, were solid throughout as the home side rarely threatened and fully deserved their win.
Rory McIlroy staged a spectacular back nine charge to claim a three shot victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday, collecting his first PGA Tour win since 2016 and putting himself among the red-hot favourites for the U.S. Masters.Two back of overnight leader Henrik Stenson when the day began, McIlroy overhauled the Swede with a brilliant error-free final round eight-under 64.The Northern Irishman hit five birdies over his last six holes, including a nerve-wracking clutch 25-foot birdie at the 18th to clinch his first PGA Tour title since the 2016 Tour championships.“I kept saying the last few weeks, I wasn’t that far away and it just takes something to click into place,” McIlroy said in a greenside interview.“Something clicked into place with my game and obviously something clicked into place in my putting and this is the result.“It’s so nice to see everything come together finally.”McIlroy arrived in Orlando with plenty of concern over the state of his game having missed the cut in two of his four PGA Tour starts this year with his best result a tie for 20th.After Sunday’s round, though, the Northern Irishman was right back in the conversation about who will win next month’s U.S. Masters at Augusta, where he will have another chance to complete his collection of all four major titles.McIlroy strung together four consistent subpar rounds for an 18-under 270 total and a three shot victory over American Bryson DeChambeau (68).Briton Justin Rose (67) finished alone in third while Stenson (71) faded to fourth.Tiger Woods, an eight-time winner at Bay Hill, had a 69 to cap another solid comeback effort and finished in a tie for fifth.“OWN HISTORY”After a tense afternoon at Bay Hill Golf Club, McIlroy had looked poised for an uneventful finish when he stepped onto the 18th tee with a three shot lead.But before McIlroy could get to his second shot, DeChambeau turned up the pressure with an eagle at 16 to trim the advantage to one.McIlroy, however, had the answer and rolled in a 25-footer for birdie at the last, triggering a roar from the massive gallery and a huge fist pump from the Northern Irishman.“I’ve seen Tiger making this one enough times, so I was just trying to emulate that,” said McIlroy.“Just to be able to create my own little bit of history at the 18th green here is pretty special and I’m just really proud of myself to have hung in there over the last few months.“The last time I won a PGA Tour event was the day Mr. Palmer passed away and so it’s a little bit ironic I come here and win.”McIlroy’s dramatics overshadowed another patented charge from Woods, who had put himself within one shot of the lead with four to play.Decked out in his familiar final round red, Woods mixed six birdies with a single bogey through his opening 13 holes but watched his charge fizzle with back-to-back bogeys at 16 and 17.While it was disappointing end to promising week, the 14-times major winner will take away plenty of positives as he looks ahead to next month’s U.S. Masters.Still in the early stages of his comeback from spinal fusion surgery and years of back issues, Woods result offered more evidence that he is getting close to his old form coming on the heels of a runnerup finish last Sunday at the Valspar.“I felt pretty good out there, I hit the ball probably a little bit better than I did last week,” said Woods.“This golf course affords the opportunity to go ahead and stretch it out a little bit, the greens were really smooth and really fast and I felt like I really putted well the entire week.”
England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will miss the World Cup in Russia after sustaining knee ligament damage while playing for Liverpool against AS Roma in the Champions League on Tuesday.The 24-year-old left the field on a stretcher after a collision with Roma fullback Aleksandar Kolarov in the first half of Liverpool’s 5-2 first-leg victory at Anfield.“Liverpool FC can confirm Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s 2017-18 season is over for both club and country due to a knee ligament injury sustained against AS Roma on Tuesday evening,” the Premier League club said in a statement.“The extent of the injury means Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to miss the remainder of the campaign for Liverpool, as well as the World Cup finals in Russia with England.”The 2018 World Cup will be the third international tournament that Oxlade-Chamberlain has missed due to a knee problem.The midfielder, who moved to Liverpool from Arsenal at the start of the season, missed the World Cup in 2014 after being injured in a warm-up match with England.He also sat out the 2016 European Championship with a similar injury.
Manchester City had to battle back from behind to earn a 1-1 draw against Premier League newcomers Wolverhampton Wanderers who gave the champions a real test at Molineux on Saturday.Last season’s Championship winners showed no inferiority complex as defender Willy Boly put them ahead with a controversial 57th-minute diving header which TV replays showed may have been offside and actually went in off his arm.City, who had largely controlled proceedings but were vulnerable to Wolves’ bold counter-attacks, equalised with Aymeric Laporte’s first goal for the club, a header from Ilkay Gundogan’s free kick.City, who have seven points from three games, hit the post twice in the first half, through Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling, soon after Raul Jimenez’s strike for Wolves was ruled out for offside, and Aguero hit the bar from a free kick in the dying seconds.
Former Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany was ruled out of his own testimonial with a hamstring injury on Wednesday but received some consolation after the club said it would commission a statue in his honour.The match will kick off at City’s Etihad Stadium later on Wednesday and the irony of being unable to play was not lost on the 33-year-old Belgium international, who spent a large chunk of his time in England in the treatment room.Kompany, who was at City for 11 years, left before the start of the current season to join Anderlecht as player-coach.“Unfortunately I won’t be starting tonight or playing. It’s typical of me, right?” he told reporters before the game. “I’m usually just there for the end of the season. I’ve got a slight hamstring injury. I couldn’t risk it tonight.“There are still plenty of awesome players to be watching and it’s about the celebration and to say goodbye – I don’t need to be on the pitch as such.”Kompany was set to play for a City legends team against a team of Premier League legends, with proceeds from the match going towards a charity he set up to help combat homelessness in Manchester.There was some consolation, however, with City announcing they would name a road at their academy after Kompany and unveil a statue at The Etihad of their most successful captain.Kompany made 360 appearances for City, helping the club emerge as one of the dominant forces in English football and genuine title rivals to neighbours Manchester United.He was part of the team that won the FA Cup in 2011, ending the club’s 35-year trophy drought, and led City to four Premier League titles, four League Cups and two Community Shields.“It is an incredible honour to be recognised by this special club in this way,” Kompany said.“The journey that we went on together throughout my 11 years in Manchester changed my life and I am delighted to have played my small part in altering the course of this club’s history during that time.”
Ben Stokes took the last three wickets as England subdued a stubborn South Africa to win a thrilling second test by 189 runs late on day five on Tuesday, their first victory at Newlands since 1957.Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen had frustrated England for 44 overs before Stokes provided late drama to finish the match with 8.2 overs to spare and level the four-match series.The win will be especially pleasing for England for the way they stuck to their task on a flat fifth-day wicket, with Stokes’s superb burst earning the all-rounder figures of 3-35.“A great day’s play and a great test match,” England seamer Stuart Broad told Sky Sports. “We had to work incredibly hard, we knew we were going to have to do that.“It was incredible discipline from South Africa throughout the day but we kept saying one bit of magic.“We set some funky fields. One breakthrough and we could apply some pressure. You need a lot of character and skill to chase 10 wickets. We are proud of taking our chances.”Chasing a test record 438 to win, South Africa looked relatively comfortable as they reached 237 for five with 26 overs remaining in the match.For the second time in the innings, however, a key man gave his wicket away. De Kock (50) attempted to pull a dragged down delivery from part-time leg spinner Joe Denly and succeeded only in picking out Zak Crawley at mid-wicket.It was an unnecessary stroke that opened the door for England and when Broad removed the obdurate Van der Dussen (17 from 140 balls), it was well and truly ajar.Stokes accounted for Dwaine Pretorius and Anrich Nortje in successive balls, both caught at slip, and sealed the victory in front of an ecstatic Barmy Army when Vernon Philander was caught fending a lifting delivery to Ollie Pope.South Africa had given themselves a chance with some stern resistance, not least from debutant opener Pieter Malan who lasted 288 balls for his 84.But England looked on course for victory at lunch after grabbing the key wicket of South Africa captain Faf du Plessis (19), who will be disappointed with his shot selection as he tried to take on spinner Dom Bess with a powerful sweep and picked out Denly at square leg.“The boys fought very hard. They bowled really well and congrats to them,” De Kock said.“Obviously we tried to push them as far as we can. Unfortunately we fell just short. I was disappointed because we had a good partnership going and I smoked one straight to a fielder.”South Africa won the first test in Pretoria by 107 runs.The third match in the four-test series starts in Port Elizabeth on Jan. 16.