|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Beckenham (day two):|
|Surrey 439: Jacks 120, Borthwick 95, Clarke 88 & 11-0|
|Kent 294: Dickson 128; Batty 3-49, S Curran 3-54|
|Surrey (8 pts) lead Kent (5 pts) by 156 runs|
Kent collapsed after tea to hand the initiative to defending champions Surrey on the second day at Beckenham.
Kent were 227-2 in response to Surrey’s 439 all out, but fell to 238-6 with Gareth Batty dismissing Heino Kuhn and Ollie Robinson in consecutive balls.
Opener Sean Dickson compiled an excellent 128 for the hosts before he was dismissed by Sam Curran with the new ball as Kent were all out for 294.
Surrey closed on 11-0 in their second innings, leading by 156.
After adding 19 to their overnight 420-9 in the morning, Surrey’s chances of picking up their first win of the campaign appeared to be fading on a pitch that had flattened out under sunny skies.
But 41-year-old off-spinner Batty (3-49) turned the game either side of tea, first bowling Daniel Bell-Drummond for 37 and then finding the edges of captain Kuhn and in-form Robinson.
Right-hander Dickson, who had only made 85 runs in six innings in 2019, looked at ease against an attack that included England all-rounder Curran (3-54) for the first time this season.
However, with wickets tumbling around him, he eventually nicked Curran’s opening delivery with the second new ball behind to leave them 272-8.
Matt Milnes and Harry Podmore did manage to take Kent past the follow-on target of 290, although they face an uphill battle to avoid a third defeat in four matches.
Leicester Riders won the BBL Play-offs title for a third season in a row by beating the London City Royals 93-61 in the final at the capital’s O2 Arena.
Leicester’s defensive intensity again proved decisive in a final as they held London to just 25 second-half points.
Tim Williams led Leicester’s scoring with 20 points and Jamell Anderson and JR Holder added 17 and 14 respectively.
Matthew Bryan-Amaning crowned a fine season with 19 points for the Royals and Orlan Jackman added 16.
The Royals stayed in touch in the opening two quarters with a Leicester side that has regularly won trophies in the last five years and their former Great Britain player Bryan-Amaning looking to make his presence felt close to the basket towards the end of the first half.
Down just 44-38 when Jackman scored the first basket of the second half, the Royals then conceded 11 unanswered points in a run triggered by Leicester’s Holder and Williams.
After the Riders went on a further 11-2 run, inspired by three-pointers from Anderson and Pierre Hampton, the Royals were 24 behind and they posted just 10 points in a third quarter in which the final was all but decided.
Riders continue dominance
Leicester’s win – in their sixth final in the past eight years – is their third play-offs title and equals the feat of Kingston, Worthing and Newcastle, who also scored hat-tricks in the play-offs.
Leicester coach Rob Paternostro said he had expected a closer contest but believed his team’s improvement in the second half of the season, after the rigours of their European campaign, had been instrumental in the win.
“Coming into the play-offs we became more of a group that was locked-in, especially on defence,” he said. “I’m super-proud of how locked-in mentally they were.
“We just thought that we had to get back on defence – we felt that when our defence was set up, we were going to be really tough to beat in this game. There weren’t many adjustments to make.”
Royals coach Jay Williams said: “We struggled with consistency throughout the season but in the big games we showed up – but today we just didn’t.
“Hats off to the Riders – they came out and executed their game plan and they were consistent the whole time through.
“We played hard but we didn’t play smart and the Riders exploited that. But the main thing is – we didn’t show up.”
Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek will miss the Europa League final after rupturing his Achilles tendon in a charity friendly in the USA.
The 23-year-old went down clutching his left ankle in the first half of Chelsea’s 3-0 win over New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium.
Chelsea said the player had seen a specialist on Thursday and will now have surgery.
Chelsea play Arsenal in the final in Baku on Wednesday, 29 May.
England manager Gareth Southgate had earlier confirmed Loftus-Cheek would miss the final when announcing his squad for the forthcoming Nations League finals.
The player had been in the squad – but Southgate was forced to call up a replacement after learning of his injury.
“I went to bed last night and Ruben’s in the squad and playing brilliantly,” Southgate said.
“He misses now a major European final and a brilliant opportunity for us.”
He added it was a “huge disappointment” for the Chelsea man.
Loftus-Cheek scored in the second leg of the Blues’ Europa League semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt and has been directly involved in nine goals in his past 15 competitive appearances for Chelsea.
Wednesday’s friendly raised £3.1m for organisations which combat hate crimes.
Ross Barkley scored twice either side of an Olivier Giroud header in the comfortable win in Foxborough.
Prior to the game, Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri had expressed his concerns about travelling to the US so close to a major European final.
Britain’s Cameron Norrie was knocked out in the second round of the Italian Open following a 6-2 6-2 defeat to 13th seed Borna Coric.
Norrie, 23, was the only British male to make it through to the second round after beating Australia’s John Millman.
Coric converted two of his four break points to win the opening set and broke again twice in the second to win in less than an hour in Rome.
The Croat will face Swiss Roger Federer or Portugal’s Joao Sousa next.
British number one Johanna Konta takes on American seventh seed Sloane Stephens in the women’s second round on Wednesday.
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri says the club must respect Eden Hazard’s decision about his future but is hopeful the forward will choose to stay at Stamford Bridge.
Hazard has scored 16 goals for the Blues this season and has been strongly linked with a summer move to Spanish giants Real Madrid.
The 28-year-old says he has made a decision over his future and has informed the club.
“I hope he will stay,” said Sarri.
“I think Eden has played here in Chelsea for seven seasons, trying in every match to do his best and now it’s time to respect his decision.”
Hazard has just a year left on his contract having joined from Lille for £32m in 2012.
Chelsea fans held up a banner before Sunday’s Premier League finale against Leicester, pleading with the Belgian to stay.
After a substitute appearance in Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Leicester the Belgium international revealed he has made the club aware of his decision.
“Yes. A couple of weeks ago. Yes I have made my decision but it is not just about me,” said Hazard. “I have made my decision, that’s it.”
When asked if his future will become clear after the Europa League final against Arsenal on 29 May he added: “I think so. We have a final to play and then I will see.”
Hazard also admitted he wanted his future resolved earlier to avoid it being the season-long saga it has become.
“Yes, I wanted that but that’s not happened. I’m still waiting like you are waiting and like the fans are waiting,” he said.
“When you are on the pitch, you try to be focused on the pitch with the ball. That’s it. When I am on the pitch I just try to do the best.
“I am not thinking about this and this, my situation or the club’s situation. I just try to win games.”
Sunday’s point means the Blues finish the domestic campaign in third place after Tottenham drew 2-2 with Everton.
Next up is the Europa League final in Baku, Azerbaijan.
“The season is good,” added Sarri.
“We were in trouble two or three months ago but third place is a very good result.
“Now we have to go to Baku for the Europa League final and we have the chance for our season to be wonderful.”
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The Europa League has become an “attractive” tournament everyone wants to win, says Arsenal boss Unai Emery.
Emery’s side hold a 3-1 advantage over Valencia after the first leg of their semi-final with the second leg taking place in Spain on Thursday.
The Spaniard won the trophy three times as Sevilla boss and says the incentive of a Champions League spot for the winners has improved the tournament.
“It’s an attractive title and it’s getting more attractive,” said Emery.
“I first competed for this title when it was still the Uefa Cup and was a lesser title than it is now.
“It has grown and I have seen that shift. Giving teams a Champions League place through the Europa League is a fair reward and it’s a title they all want to win.
“It’s an important title for those teams not in the Champions League – and for some who drop into it as a second chance, like Valencia did this season.”
Emery managed Valencia from 2008 to 2012 and then won the Europa League in 2014, 2015 and 2016 while in charge of Sevilla.
“The first time I won it with Sevilla, we didn’t get Champions League access; the second time, we did,” said the 47-year-old in his first season as Arsenal boss.
“The demands are high and everyone wants it, as a title, not just a way in [to the Champions League]. At any club like Arsenal or Valencia, titles have to be the objectives.
“Arsenal only have two European titles in their history: the old Fairs Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup, neither of which [still] exist, so I have a lot of ambition to win a title.”
Arsenal’s 1-1 draw at home against Brighton on Sunday all but ended their hopes of finishing in the Premier League’s top four.
“We started with two possible routes to the Champions League, one through the Premier League and the second through the Europa League,” added Emery.
“We’re finished in the Premier League, no possibility, but we have a possibility in this competition.
“With big ambition, full motivation, strong mentality, I want to enjoy this game. Games like this, away, difficult team, for an important target is all positive for us.”
Marcelino aims to take inspiration from Liverpool
Like Arsenal, Valencia are fifth in their domestic league with the Europa League representing their best chance of securing Champions League football.
Mouctar Diakhaby gave the Spanish side an early lead in London but two goals from Alexandre Lacazette and an injury-time third from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave Arsenal a healthy advantage.
Valencia coach Marcelino says his side can take inspiration from Liverpool – who overturned a three-goal first-leg deficit by beating Barcelona 4-0 on Tuesday to reach the Champions League final.
“That game demonstrates that anything can happen,” said Marcelino.
“It’s a lesson that tells us if we play to our maximum we’ll have the chance to make it to the final.
“Every game is different and just because Liverpool beat Barcelona it doesn’t mean we have to knock out Arsenal, but if we do pull it off it’s because we believed we could be in the final.”
- No team has lost the first leg of a Uefa Cup/Europa League semi-final by two or more goals and gone through since Espanyol did it against Club Brugge in 1988.
- In total, five of the previous 28 teams to lose the first leg of a Uefa Cup/Europa League semi-final by two or more goals have ended up progressing.
- Including finals, Arsenal manager Unai Emery has won his past 18 Europa League knockout ties, last being eliminated from the competition in the 2011-12 semi-finals -with Valencia.
- Arsenal have never lost a European tie in which they won the first leg by two or more goals, progressing from all 27 previously.
- Valencia are looking to reach their first major European final since the 2004 Uefa Cup, when they beat Marseille 2-0 under Rafael Benitez.
- Arsenal’s last appearances in a European final was in 2006, losing the Champions League showpiece against Barcelona. They have lost their past three major European finals (1995 Cup Winners Cup, 2000 UEFA Cup, 2006 Champions League).
- Valencia have won both of their two previous home games against Arsenal, beating them 1-0 in the 2000-01 Champions League quarter-final and 2-1 in the 2002-03 Champions League second group stage.
- Valencia were unbeaten in 20 home games in all competitions (won 15, drew five) – but then lost their most recent match at Mestalla Stadium, 1-0 to Eibar in La Liga on 28 April.
- Valencia’s Kevin Gameiro has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last 11 starts in home Europa League games, scoring nine and assisting one.
- Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette has scored eight goals in his last 10 Europa League knockout stage games.
A man arrested over the abduction and rape of three women in and around London is being investigated for other attacks involving nine further victims.
Joseph McCann, 34, was arrested in Congleton, Cheshire, after two girls, aged 14, were abducted in the town.
He is being investigated over attacks in Cheshire, Manchester and Lancashire, on victims aged between 11 and 71.
Det Ch Insp Katherine Goodwin, of the Metropolitan Police, said the attacks were “grotesque and horrifying”.
The officer urged other victims to come forward and said police wanted to hear from anyone who had been approached by Mr McCann or in contact with him between February and May.
Mr McCann was found in a tree in Smithy Lane on Sunday evening and arrested after a stand-off with police negotiators.
He had been spotted in the town after two girls were forced into a car that afternoon.
Met detectives are now investigating him in connection with a number of other attacks earlier that day.
These include the false imprisonment of a woman in Haslingden, Lancashire, in which a teenage girl and a boy, 11, were raped and the abduction and rape of a 71-year-old in Bury, Manchester.
The suspect is also being investigated over the abduction of two 13-year-old boys and the abduction and sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl in Heywood, Manchester, at about 15:30 BST on Sunday.
Det Ch Insp Goodwin said the attacks were believed to have taken place between 21 April and 5 May.
“Detectives from the Met continue to lead on this investigation and are working very closely with policing counterparts where he is suspected to have carried out further offences,” she said.
Mr McCann was also wanted for questioning over the abduction and rape of a 21-year-old woman at knifepoint in Watford, Hertfordshire, in the early hours of 21 April.
The Met Police launched an appeal to find Mr McCann after two women in their 20s were snatched off streets in London and raped in a car in London on 25 April.
AFC Wimbledon guaranteed another season of League One football after a goalless draw at bottom side Bradford City.
Bradford’s Kelvin Mellor and Anthony O’Connor had the best chances of a quiet first half as Dons keeper Aaron Ramsdale made some smart saves.
Wimbledon came to life after the break as Joe Pigott had an effort cleared off the line and Mitch Pinnock shot wide from the edge of the box.
The Dons’ run of just one loss in their final 12 games ensured a fourth successive season in the third tier as they avoided relegation by virtue of goal difference from Plymouth Argyle.
It is a remarkable escape for the club who were 10 points from safety fewer than three months ago – but just two defeats in that time saw them climb the table and move out of the bottom four last week after a 2-1 win over Wycombe.
Meanwhile, Bradford’s disastrous season came to an end having gone through three managers and won just 11 of their 46 matches to conclude the campaign nine points from safety.
A boy who flicked a piece of cheese at a teenager with a dairy allergy who later died did not mean to harm him, an inquest has heard.
Karanbir Cheema, 13, who also had other allergies and asthma, suffered from a severe reaction at his school in west London on 28 June 2017.
He was taken to hospital in a life-threatening condition and died two weeks later.
An inquest into Karanbir’s death heard a piece of cheese landed on his neck.
A boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told Poplar Coroner’s Court he did not know why he threw the cheese, describing it as “immature behaviour.”
The court heard he was given it by a friend during break time at William Perkin Church of England High School in Ealing.
He then threw the piece of cheese at Karanbir – but said he was not specifically his target.
“After that he just said ‘I am allergic to cheese’,” the boy said.
“I apologised and went to class after.”
The boy admitted he did not know how serious allergies could be and thought they could simply cause a rash or fever.
“I didn’t mean to hurt him and obviously I feel bad now”, the boy said.
In a statement, Karanbir’s mother Rina said her son was “extremely diligent” at managing his allergies.
Informed that cheese had been put down his neck, she said a consultant at the hospital questioned this because contact through the skin would not cause such a bad reaction.
Giving evidence, Rajvnder Saini who worked at the school, said an Epipen kept in the school for Karanbir had expired in July 2016.
An email was sent to the boy’s mother in February 2017 to inform her, the court heard.
The inquest continues.
Detectives investigating the abduction and rape of two women in linked attacks have released an image of a suspect.
The first victim was taken in Chingford, north London, at about 00:30 BST on Thursday, while the second was targeted 12 hours later in Edgware.
Both women, in their 20s, escaped following a struggle in Osborne Road, Watford, at about 14:30.
A man, 33, has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to rape. The hunt for the rapist continues.
The Met Police has released images of a suspect attempting to book a hotel room in the Watford area at about 13:00 on Thursday. When one was unavailable, he left the premises.
The suspect is described as white, of muscular build, aged in his late 20s or early 30s, with a bald head or shaved blond hair and a light-coloured short beard.
He is described as having a distinctive tattoo of the word “bobbie” on his stomach.
He was believed to have been driving a silver or grey-coloured Ford S-Max people carrier, with false registration plates.
Det Ch Insp Katherine Goodwin urged the public to come forward and report any unfamiliar parked cars matching its description.
She warned people not to approach the suspect and to call 999.
“Our investigation into these appalling crimes is making good process but we urgently need the help of the public to identify and trace this man.
“It is vitally important we catch this man, and while stranger attacks of this nature are thankfully rare, we would urge people to remain vigilant.”