Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Without a win in any competition since their 1-0 first-leg defeat by Leipzig in London last month, Tottenham must try to turn their Premier League season around if they are to have any chance of being back in the Champions League next term.
* Manchester City’s English Premier League home match against Arsenal on Wednesday has been postponed because players from the London club have had contact with the owner of Greek side Olympiakos, who has contracted the coronavirus. Olympiacos owner, Evangelos Marinakis, who also owns English Championship side Nottingham Forest, said on Tuesday he had contracted the coronavirus.
* Wolverhampton Wanderers’ request to European soccer’s governing body UEFA to have Thursday’s Europa League last-16, first leg at Olympiakos Piraeus postponed due to the threat of coronavirus has been rejected, the Premier League club said on Tuesday. The game will be played without fans after the Greek government enforced a temporary suspension of spectators attending sporting events to limit the spread of the virus.
* Atalanta’s Josip Ilicic scored four goals in a stunning individual display to lead them to a 4-3 Champions League last-16, second-leg win over Valencia, that completed an 8-4 aggregate victory, at an empty Mestalla on Tuesday. Playing in the Champions League for the first time this season, Atalanta’s European adventure continued in emphatic fashion as Slovenian Ilicic netted twice in each half to guide his side comfortably into the quarter-finals.
* Chilean football stars Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal will be quarantined when they return to their home country from Europe to play in a World Cup qualifier this month, Chile’s health minister said on Tuesday. Alexis Sanchez plays for Inter Milan and Vidal plays for FC Barcelona. Another Chilean player likely to be impacted is Gary Medel, who plays for the Italian club Bologna.
* Real Sociedad climbed to fourth in La Liga with a 2-1 win at Eibar on Tuesday, in the first Spanish match played without fans as part of measures to combat the spread of coronavirus. Following a decision by the Spanish sports council earlier in the day, La Liga said the next two rounds of fixtures would be played in empty stadiums, starting with Tuesday’s Basque derby.
* The PGA Tour is in excellent health, commissioner Jay Monahan said on Tuesday but the coronavirus epidemic is threatening to disrupt some of golf’s biggest tournaments. Sports from Formula One to tennis have cancelled events due to the coronavirus outbreak, but the PGA Tour has so far resisted similar action for any of its US stops.
* Germany’s fiercest soccer rivalry between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 will be played out in front of empty stands on Saturday after the Bundesliga became the latest league to ban spectators following the coronavirus outbreak. The City of Dortmund said the decision to keep the Signa Iduna stadium off limits for fans was taken to protect people from a wider spread of the virus.
* Augsburg on Tuesday appointed Heiko Herrlich as their head coach until 2022, a day after parting ways with Martin Schmidt following a poor run in the Bundesliga. Schmidt was sacked on Monday, the day after a 2-0 loss to Bayern Munich, Augsburg’s third league defeat in a row. Augsburg are 14th in the standings after winning only one of their last nine games.
* The Italian football federation (FIGC) admitted on Tuesday that the Serie A season might not finish because of the coronavirus outbreak. The FIGC confirmed in a statement that Serie A would stop until at least April 3 following a government decree issued on Monday and said that its president Gabriele Gravina had put forward several alternatives in case the championship could not be concluded.
* The March 31 friendly international between Germany and Italy in Nuremberg will take place behind closed doors due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, Germany’s Football Association said on Tuesday.
* The start of the MotoGP season was delayed for a third time in succession on Tuesday after organisers announced that the Grand Prix of the Americas had been postponed and rescheduled for November. The race was scheduled to take place from April 3-5 in Austin, Texas, and will now take place from Nov. 13-15, with the season-ending Valencia Grand Prix being pushed back to Nov. 20-22 as a result.
* Paris St Germain coach Thomas Tuchel will make a last-minute decision on whether striker Kylian Mbappe will take part in the team’s Champions League last-16 return leg against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday. Mbappe has been suffering from a sore throat and has missed training for the last two days.
* All Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 soccer matches until April 15 will be played without spectators amid the coronavirus outbreak, the French League said on Tuesday.
* Manchester United’s Europa League last-16 tie against LASK will be played in an empty stadium due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Austrian Bundesliga side said on Tuesday. The first-leg tie is scheduled to be played in Linz on Thursday.
* Slovakia will host Ireland in their Euro 2020 qualifying playoff semi-final on March 26 without any spectators present as the country seeks to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the Slovak Football Association said on Tuesday.
* Poland’s international friendlies against Finland on March 27 and Ukraine four days later will take place without spectators, the Polish Football Association said in a statement on Tuesday.
* Real Madrid will almost certainly be without injured goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and defender Marcelo for their Champions League last 16 second leg clash with Manchester City on March 17. The Spanish club confirmed on Tuesday that Courtois has a groin injury and Marcelo is suffering from a hamstring problem. Spanish media reported that the injuries will keep them both out of Friday’s La Liga match against Eibar and the Champions League showdown with City.
* Barcelona’s Champions League last-16 second leg match with Napoli scheduled for March 18 will take place without spectators due to fears over the spread of the coronavirus, a club spokesman said on Tuesday. The match will take place at Camp Nou after a 1-1 draw in Napoli, but no supporters will be allowed to enter the stadium.
* The International Table Tennis Federation said on Tuesday it was postponing next month’s ITTF World Tour Japan Open because of concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. The tournament had been scheduled for April 21-26 in the Southern Japanese city of Kitakyushu.