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Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Liverpool were held 1-1 by second-bottom West Bromwich Albion on Sunday and also drew with struggling Fulham earlier this month. Juergen Klopp’s team lead the table going into the New Year with 33 points from 16 games, but second-placed Manchester United are only three points behind with a match in hand.

* Real Madrid were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw at struggling Elche on Wednesday, losing ground in the La Liga title race to leaders Atletico Madrid. The draw halted a six-match winning streak in all competitions for Real and left them second in the standings on 33 points, two behind city rivals Atletico who also have two games in hand.

* A Luis Suarez header gave Atletico Madrid a 1-0 home win over Getafe on Wednesday in coach Diego Simeone’s 500th game in charge, moving them two points clear at the top of La Liga with two games in hand. The Uruguayan glanced in a lofted pass from Yannick Carrasco to put Atletico ahead in the 20th minute and they ground out the win to preserve their remarkable record of never conceding a goal to Getafe since Simeone became coach nine years ago.

* The Premier League is not discussing a possible pause to the season because of surging COVID-19 infections in England, it said on Wednesday.

* American Sam Querrey was handed a suspended US$20,000 fine by the ATP for breaching COVID-19 protocols at the St Petersburg Open in October, the governing body for men’s tennis said on Wednesday. Querrey, 33, was withdrawn from the tournament after he returned a positive COVID-19 test a day before the main draw began but left the country on a private plane despite being placed in isolation by Russian authorities.

* Seven-times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton was awarded a knighthood in the UK New Year’s honours list published on Wednesday. The 35-year-old this year became the most successful F1 driver of all time after equalling Ferrari great Michael Schumacher’s record seven titles and beating the German’s 91 race wins.

* Fulham’s Premier League match at Tottenham Hotspur that was scheduled to kick off at 1800 GMT on Wednesday has been postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the West London club, the league said. The match is the third in the English top flight to be postponed due to COVID-19 cases after Newcastle United’s trip to Aston Villa earlier this month was called off, as was Monday’s match between Everton and Manchester City.

* Manchester City kick off the New Year at Chelsea on Sunday, eager to move on from a recent COVID-19 outbreak and get back to putting pressure on Premier League leaders Liverpool. The match, cast into question when COVID-19 forced City to close facilities and postpone Monday’s game at Everton, is set to go ahead after the visitors returned to training on Wednesday.

* The ticketing process for the 2021 Masters has been delayed as organisers of the year’s first major seek a way to allow some spectators to return after holding the most recent edition without fans, ESPN reported. ESPN said Augusta National Golf Club, which is scheduled to host the 2021 Masters from April 8-11, updated patrons of the delay amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in an email sent on Tuesday.

* Austria’s double Olympic gold medallist Matthias Mayer edged out team mate Vincent Kriechmayr to win the Bormio men’s World Cup Alpine skiing downhill on Wednesday. Mayer’s winning margin on the second longest piste of the season was only 0.04 of a second. Switzerland’s Urs Kryenbuehl was third, a further 0.02 back.

* Mexico’s Club America have appointed former Real Madrid manager Santiago Solari as their new head coach to replace Miguel Herrera, who was sacked earlier this month.

* Derby County’s 4-0 thrashing of Birmingham City on Tuesday not only lifted them out of the Championship’s bottom three, for caretaker manager Wayne Rooney it was a sign the players are starting to believe in themselves. Player-coach Rooney was initially assisted by Liam Rosenior, Shay Given and Justin Walker following the sacking of Dutchman Phillip Cocu last month before he took sole charge of the side for the visit of Wycombe Wanderers on Nov. 28.

* The sixth edition of the Asian Beach Games in Sanya, China, have been postponed for a second time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Olympic Council of Asia said on Wednesday.

* Women’s world number one Ash Barty will partner US Open semi-finalist Jennifer Brady of the United States in doubles at the 2021 Australian Open in a high-profile pairing between top singles players, organisers said on Wednesday. World number four Kenin has changed her doubles partner for the 2021 edition of the Australian Open and will play with Swiss world number 12 Belinda Bencic.

* Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho is set to undergo knee surgery after sustaining an injury during Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Eibar, the Spanish club said on Wednesday. Coutinho, 28, started the game on the bench and came on in the second half but limped off the pitch during stoppage time as Barcelona finished the game with 10 men having made all their substitutions.

* Belgium’s Standard Liege on Wednesday named Senegalese Mbaye Leye as their new coach in a major breakthrough for Africans seeking opportunity at top clubs in Europe. The 38-year-old, who previously played at the club and worked as an assistant coach, takes over from Philippe Montanier. He has signed a deal to the end of the 2020-21 campaign, the club said in a brief statement.

* The government of Catalonia has given the go-ahead for Spanish Grand Prix organisers to agree a contract extension with Formula One for 2021. The May 9 race at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya is listed as subject to contract on the sport’s record 23-round provisional calendar.

* Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has joined Roger Federer in withdrawing from the 2021 Australian Open after failing to recover fully from a lower back injury. The 35-year-old has not played since retiring from his first-round match at Melbourne Park in January when trailing Alexei Popyrin 6-7(5) 6-2 6-1.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News