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Harrington defends selection as he benches McIlroy for Saturday foursomes

Padraig Harrington has defended his parings after electing to bench Rory McIlroy for the second set of foursomes at the Ryder Cup.

Europe suffered a chastening day on Friday, losing both the foursomes and fourballs to trail 6-2 overnight.

For the first time in his Ryder Cup career, McIlroy lost both matches in a day – with Ian Poulter in the foursomes and Shane Lowry in the fourballs.

Ryder Cup

USA and Europe reveal opening foursomes pairings at 2021 Ryder Cup

YESTERDAY AT 07:55

McIlroy looked totally out of sorts, but it is still a big call by Harrington to rest the most talented player on his team.

Harrington also elected to rest Tommy Fleetwood, despite his excellent performance in grinding out a half alongside Viktor Hovland in the anchor match in the Friday fourballs.

“I’m very comfortable again with the team I’ve put out,” Harrington said.

Wait and see in each of those matches whether they can create their own momentum and then bring that to the team.

USA captain Steve Stricker has opted for consistency, with the quartet of pairings that won the foursomes session 3-1 on Friday going again on Saturday.

Saturday Foursomes pairings

  • 13:05 – Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger vs Sergio Garcia and John Rahm
  • 13:21 – Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa vs Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton
  • 13:37 – Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas vs Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger
  • 13:53 – Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele vs Matthew Fitzpatrick and Lee Westwood

“We identified some groups that would be very good in foursomes and we feel really comfortable with them,” Stricker said. “They enjoy playing foursomes. They played great, so we won that session 3-1.

“In our mind, it’s like, you know what, let’s just send those four groups right back out there again.”

McIlroy was wayward off the tee, his irons lacked precision and he struggled on the greens. It was a rare poor day for the man from Northern Ireland, but Harrington has backed his talisman.

“The golf didn’t go as well as he would have liked, but I’m not second-guessing him for a second in terms of his leadership and what he does for my team,” Harrington said.

For the latest news and sharpest analysis on golf, visit GolfDigest.com

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Piastri prepared to sit out F1 2022, targeting 2023 race seat

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The FIA Formula 2 championship leader, who is a member of the Alpine Academy, is currently without a seat for next year if he clinches the F2 title.

With only one F1 seat available at Alfa Romeo, which Piastri says he is “not very confident about,” the Australian is instead focusing his attention on securing the Alpine reserve driver role for next season.

But he says if he was forced to spend more than one year out of a race environment, there would be “some serious discussions about what I do moving forward.”

PLUS: How F2’s biggest talent could be forced to spend 2022 on the bench 

Speaking to Autosport, Piastri said: “Looking forward, that Alfa seat, I’m not very confident about that.

“Realistically, the most logical pathway is to try and be reserve driver for Alpine for next year and put in a lot of hours in the sim and really working with the team to try and get a 2023 seat.

“I’d be okay with spending one year on the sidelines I think. Obviously, it’s still not ideal, but it’s happened to quite a lot of drivers out there.

“That one I can accept, but if it was looking like more than one year out, then there’d some serious discussions about what I do moving forward.

“The aim would definitely be to try and be reserve driver at Alpine and then target a 2023 season. Given how the cards have been played this year, I think that’s the most realistic target now.”

Oscar Piastri, Prema Racing, 1st position, with his trophy

Oscar Piastri, Prema Racing, 1st position, with his trophy

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The F2 rookie, who took pole for the Sochi feature race on Friday, says part of the problem stems from him exceeding both his own expectations and those of Alpine.

He had initially planned to race in Formula 3 for two years before doing the same in F2, but won F3 in his rookie season and looks set to accomplish the same feat in F2 – a feat achieved previously by Charles Leclerc and George Russell.

“I think I caught myself out with how well it’s gone to be honest,” said Piastri, who is managed by nine-times grand prix winner Mark Webber.

“Naturally if it caught myself out, and I know more or less what I can do, then I think that’s naturally going to catch out a few other people as well.

“The original plan from even when I got into F3 was two years of F3 and two years of F2. And F3 obviously went better than planned and F2 is also probably going better than planned.

“Not trying to sound arrogant, but there’s very few drivers that have managed to do what I’ve done and what I’m doing.

“George and Charles are kind of the only two that have had a similar fate. So without blowing my own horn, it’s not a very common situation.”

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3. Freies Training abgesagt – Qualifying heute oder am Sonntag

Aufgrund anhaltenden Starkregens ist das letzte freie Training vor dem Formel-1-Rennen in Sotschi abgesagt worden.

Die Fahrer werden in die Box zurück beordert: Starkregen in Sotschi verhindert das 3. Freie Training.

Die Fahrer werden in die Box zurück beordert: Starkregen in Sotschi verhindert das 3. Freie Training.

imago images/Motorsport Images

In der russischen Schwarzmeerstadt gab es am Samstag derart heftige Niederschläge, dass die Sicherheit der Fahrer auf der Strecke nicht gewährleistet werden konnte und das Fahren schlicht unmöglich war. Diesen Schritt beschloss die Rennleitung des Motorsport-Weltverbandes Fia in Absprache mit den Stewards wenige Minuten vor dem Start.

Qualifying um 14 Uhr – oder am Sonntag

Fia-Renndirektor Michael Masi hatte am Samstagvormittag zuvor bereits gesagt, dass es die oberste Priorität sei, dass für den Nachmittag geplante Qualifying durchzuziehen. Dafür gibt es auch noch einen zeitlichen Puffer, damit es, später als um 15 Uhr Ortszeit (14 Uhr MEZ) angesetzt, beginnen kann. Am Nachmittag soll der Regen schwächer werden, allerdings kann nur bei Tageslicht gefahren werden. Sollte die Qualifikation am Samstag ebenfalls nicht möglich sein, könnte sie auch am Sonntagvormittag kurz vor dem Rennen stattfinden. Das hatte es in der Vergangenheit schon mehrfach gegeben.

Es ist nicht das erste Mal, dass heftiger Regen den Zeitplan der Formel 1 in diesem Jahr beeinflusst. Erst vor einem knappen Monat hatte das Wetter im belgischen Spa-Francorchamps dafür gesorgt, dass kein normales Rennen möglich war. Nach einer Regen-Farce, bei der nur wenige Runden hinter einem Safety Car absolviert werden konnten und Max Verstappen als Erster der Qualifikation zum Sieger gekürt wurde, hatte es heftige Kritik an dem Prozedere gegeben.

Vann Lidingöloppet efter osannolik comeback

Kenyanskan Sylvia Medugu, som vann 2019 på rekordtid, vann damklassen ohotad med 2.49 minuters marginal. Men inte till Hällelöparen Samrawit Mengsteab som legat tvåa i stort sett hela loppet, utan till Hässelbys Linnéa Sennström. Mengsteab tog helt slut efter Abborrbacken och Sennström, som tagit in mer än 1.30 minuter, sprang förbi. Mengsteab höll undan och blev trea, 21 sekunder efter Sennström.

Halvvägs i herrklassen såg det ut att bli samma tätduo som i fjolårets 15-kilometerslopp, men sedan släppte eritreanerna Samuel Russom och Samuel Tsegay. I stället drog ugandierna Oscar Kibet och Oscar Niyonzima ifrån. Duon, de enda internationella löpare som kommit inresande till Sverige, hade mer än 20 sekunder till godo på Russom vid den beryktade Abborrbacken.

Vann med marginal

Men med 3,4 kilometer kvar kom Russom som skjuten ur en kanon och drog ifrån ugandierna. Hässelbylöparen gick i mål på 1.36.56, 1.24 före Kibet och 1.45 före Niyonzima. Tsegay, som tävlar för Hälle, slutade fyra.

Russom, som gjorde debut i 30-kilometersloppet, säger i segerintervjun att det var ett tufft lopp, att han försökte att komma ikapp tätduon och att det kändes skönt att gå om dem.

Fick springa själv

David Nilsson blev bäste svensk på femte plats, drygt tre minuter efter segraren. Långlöparen Nilsson missade OS efter att i våras drabbats av malaria.

– Jag har fortfarande inte haft en normal träningsvecka ännu. Och att springa själv i 22 kilometer passar inte mig mentalt, jag blev inte tillräckligt tänd. Att jag ändå gjorde min näst bästa tid tar jag med mig, säger han i Lindingöloppets tv-sändning.

Tävlingarna i Lidingöloppet avgörs i år utspritt över drygt en vecka. Den klassiska tremilen på lördagen avgjordes med både publik- och deltagarbegränsningar.

Jordie Barrett lands magnificent penalty to beat Boks

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The All Blacks, ridden with handling errors, secured victory over Boks via a magnificent Jordie Barrett penalty with two minutes to play from distance and five metres from touch; Will Jordan and S’bu Nkosi traded tries in first half; All Blacks clinch Rugby Championship title with win

Last Updated: 25/09/21 10:43am


Watch highlights as New Zealand secured victory over South Africa in their Rugby Championship clash

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Watch highlights as New Zealand secured victory over South Africa in their Rugby Championship clash

Watch highlights as New Zealand secured victory over South Africa in their Rugby Championship clash

New Zealand earned a hard-fought 19-17 win over South Africa in Townsville on Saturday to secure the Rugby Championship title with a match to spare.

The 100th Test between rugby’s two most successful nations did not disappoint and it was not until Jordie Barrett kicked his fourth penalty two minutes from the end that the All Blacks took the lead for the final time.

Jordie Barrett's boot proved the difference as the All Blacks beat the Springboks Jordie Barrett's boot proved the difference as the All Blacks beat the Springboks

Jordie Barrett’s boot proved the difference as the All Blacks beat the Springboks

All Blacks winger Will Jordan and his Springboks counterpart S’bu Nkosi scored early tries but from then on it was a kicking duel between South Africa flyhalf Handre Pollard and Barrett to decide the spoils.

Ultimately, Barrett’s 14 points from the tee were enough to give New Zealand a 12th southern hemisphere Test championship title and a 10th successive test win.

South Africa, coming off back-to-back losses to Australia, were improved but did not carve out nearly enough scoring opportunities to keep alive their hopes of winning the tournament into next week’s return match on the Gold Coast.

Will Jordan notched the opening try at huge speed in the opening minutes Will Jordan notched the opening try at huge speed in the opening minutes

Will Jordan notched the opening try at huge speed in the opening minutes

“We knew this game was going to come down to the wire, it was tit-for-tat out there,” said New Zealand forward Ardie Savea. “They put us under a lot of pressure. Just relieved really.”

Scrum-half Faf de Klerk sent box-kick after box-kick into the Townsville sky and his forwards muscled up in the tight and at the set piece.

The All Blacks scored first in the third minute when hooker Codie Taylor latched onto a loose ball and found room to burst up the middle before finding Jordan in support with a clear sprint to the line.

The Springboks hit back almost immediately with All Blacks winger George Bridge losing a de Klerk bomb in the evening sky and Nkosi pouncing to touch down.

The Springboks hit back through S'bu Nkosi after a poor defensive lapse from George Bridge The Springboks hit back through S'bu Nkosi after a poor defensive lapse from George Bridge

The Springboks hit back through S’bu Nkosi after a poor defensive lapse from George Bridge

Two Handre Pollard penalties gave South Africa an 11-7 lead after 13 minutes but Jordie Barrett put the All Blacks back in front with two of his own, the second after Nkosi had been sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock down.

New Zealand held the 13-11 half-time lead until Pollard’s third penalty just before the hour mark but Barrett was quickly able to restore the slender advantage.

Another penalty after the collapse of a rolling maul allowed Pollard to put South Africa 17-16 in front in the 67th minute – a sixth change of lead – but Barrett was unerring when his chance came to seal the win.

Barrett's late kick was a superb strike to clinch the victory Barrett's late kick was a superb strike to clinch the victory

Barrett’s late kick was a superb strike to clinch the victory

“It was tough, it was an awesome contest and it was a fair contest,” said Springbok captain Siya Kolisi.

“It’s been a tough two weeks but I’m proud of the way the boys stood up today.”

Dritte deutsche Rad-Medaille in Flandern: Riedmann holt WM-Bronze

Juniorin Linda Riedmann hat dem Bund Deutscher Radfahrer  die dritte Medaille bei der Straßenrad-WM in Flandern beschert. Die 18-Jährige holte am Samstagvormittag im Straßenrennen der Juniorinnen Bronze.

Stolz auf die Bronzemedaille: Linda Riedmann (rechts) mit Zoe Backstedt (Gold) und Kaia Schmid (silber).

Stolz auf die Bronzemedaille: Linda Riedmann (rechts) mit Zoe Backstedt (Gold) und Kaia Schmid (silber).

imago images/Sirotti

Auf dem Kurs im belgischen Löwen musste sie sich nach 75 Kilometern nur Zoe Backstedt aus Großbritannien sowie der Amerikanerin Kaia Schmid geschlagen geben. Backstedt und Schmid kamen mit einem Vorsprung von 57 Sekunden ins Ziel, Riedmann gewann dahinter den Sprint einer Gruppe. Zuvor hatten Juniorin Antonia Niedermaier (Bronze im Einzelzeitfahren) und das Zeitfahr-Mixed (Gold) Edelmetall für Deutschland geholt.

Erst vor zwei Wochen hatte Riedmann bei der Europameisterschaft im italienischen Trient die Goldmedaille im U-19-Straßenrennen gewonnen.

Endergebnis:
1. Zoe Backstedt (Großbritannien) 1:55:33 Std.; 2. Kaia Schmid (USA) +0 Sek.; 3. Linda Riedmann (Marktheidenfeld) +57; 4. Elise Uijen (Niederlande); 5. Makayla Macpherson (USA); 6. Millie Couzens (Großbritannien); 7. Marith Vanhove (Belgien); 8. Eglantine Rayer (Frankreich); 9. Eleonora Ciabocco (Italien); 10. Mijntje Geurts (Niederlande); … 28. Lana Eberle (Oberhausen) +4:30 Min.; 33. Selma Lantzsch (Lübben) +5:28; 40. Jette Simon (Kaiserslautern) +6:04; 76. Antonia Niedermaier (Bruckmühl) +10:11

Alpine “won't stand in the way” of Zhou F1 drive at Alfa Romeo

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The 22-year-old Chinese driver is understood to be favourite to become Valtteri Bottas’s team-mate at Alfa in 2022, with a decision set to be made in the next few weeks.

Although Zhou’s recent efforts have been guided by the Alpine Academy, having joined the programme under its then Renault guise back in 2019, the French car manufacturer won’t stand in his way if he finds a full-time race seat with a rival squad.

Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski said: “There are rumours flying around, and I am not going to comment on rumours here, or on driver contracts.

“We are evaluating options for our academy drivers, but the success of an academy is also measured through its output.

“We are running this academy because we want to generate Formula 1 drivers, Formula 1 drivers for Alpine.

“The academy as such is only successful if it does generate Formula 1 drivers, so we can’t stand in the way of our drivers, who are mature for F1 and ready to take that challenge.

“That would be obviously negative for their careers and for them as individuals, and also it would reflect badly on our academy.

“So these are the parameters, if you want, we need to take into account when assessing our plans for next year.”

 

Photo by: Alpine

Rather than being concerned about potentially losing drivers, Budkowski says any deal elsewhere for Zhou would be positive for showing how effective its academy is.

“It’s a great problem to have, isn’t it?” he said, when asked about the complications of Zhou being released to race elsewhere.

“What we are basically saying is that our academy has been successful at generating great talent and, in a way, a few of them are coming to maturity and are ready for F1 at the same time.

“So, credit to the academy that we have been running for a few years and to Mia Sharizman, our academy director, who has been preparing all these youngsters and taking them through all these various categories successfully.”

With F1’s rules set to change for 2022 to make it mandatory for teams to run rookie drivers in a number of Friday practice sessions, Zhou would have been an obvious candidate to do this for Alpine.

If he does end up at Alfa Romeo, however, then that could open the door for fellow academy driver Oscar Piastri to take an F1 Friday role, after his impressive rookie campaign in F2.

Speaking about Alpine’s 2022 young driver plans, Budkowski said the team could not ignore what Piastri had done this year.

“Definitely Oscar’s been extremely impressive,” he said. “He is potentially on course to win his third championship in three years.

“He has won F3, he won the Renault Eurocup in the previous years, so what a streak already. Even if he doesn’t win it [F2], it’s a pretty strong three years for a young driver.

“I think there’s very few that have managed that in the past, so does that impress us, at Alpine? Of course it does. Will he win the championship? We’ll know that soon.

“But certainly it does have an influence on the plans we are making for next year for the reserve driver’s seat and for the output of the academy in general.”

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer expecting Cristiano Ronaldo to play into his 40s

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted that he expects to see Cristiano Ronaldo playing well into his 40s.

Now approaching 37 years old, Ronaldo remains in freakishly good condition and continues to be a level above most on the pitch. He has bagged four goals in his first three appearances for United this season and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Ronaldo has two years left on his United contract, which also includes an option for an extra 12 months, and Solskjaer confessed that he wouldn’t be surprised if Ronaldo had another contract or two left in his legs.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he was still playing at 40, not at all,’’ Solskjaer told reporters (via Goal).

‘’The way he looks after himself, that’s the key, that’s the key to it all and, of course, some genes. There must be some genes in there! He has put every single ounce of energy and effort into becoming the player he is.

‘’He deserves every single plaudit that he gets for first, his own physical state but, even more impressively, when you have achieved as much as he has. He is still just as hungry as ever.

‘’His mentality is still absolutely spot on and that’s just desire from inside of him and he’s going to keep going until his legs or even his head say no that’s it, I’ve given everything now.”

Having sat out the Carabao Cup defeat to West Ham in midweek, Ronaldo is expected to reclaim his space in the starting lineup on Saturday, when Aston Villa make the trip to Old Trafford.

He will be looking to extend his scoring streak to three games, but also to keep United in the race at the top of the Premier League table. They are currently level on points with rivals Chelsea and Liverpool but sit below the two because of an inferior goal difference.

Pep Guardiola admits Man City need to sign a striker

Pep Guardiola has admitted that Manchester City need to sign a striker in the near future to replace Sergio Aguero, who left the club in the summer.

Man City did attempt to replace Aguero in the summer, making multiple bids for Tottenham and England star Harry Kane, but they ultimately failed to get a deal across the line. As such, City have been turning to Ferran Torres to play as a false nine in most games this season.

Ahead of his side facing off against one of the best centre-forwards in world football, Guardiola has lamented (via Daily Mail) the lack of a striker in his squad.

“There are two options that we have right now: complaining or say we have exceptional players. These players have taken this club to another level and I’m still fascinated by the way they train, their commitment. That is enough for me.

“We don’t have this weapon that others teams have like Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham or other teams. We don’t have a player to score 25 league goals for himself, so we have to do it as a team. I cannot deny what a player Romelu Lukaku is.

“You will not hear me moaning for one single moment in this season that we don’t have this player, because the players that have been given to me by the club – what things they have give to us in recent years.

“We survived without Sergio in a good way, in the way we played. I think the club knows – and not for me – that it needs a striker in the next years. Sometimes it is possible, sometimes not because they’re the more expensive ones.”

In light of these comments, the Daily Mail have also reported that Guardiola is to be given a ‘mandate’ to sign Kylian Mbappe in January. Real Madrid have been the favourites to sign the French superstar for a while, but City are said to be confident of bringing him in on a cut-price deal before his contract at PSG runs out in June.

Itten: “Wir haben es verdient, heute ein Tor zu schießen”

Er hat bei der 1:3-Niederlage gegen Bayern München für das Highlight aus Sicht der SpVgg Greuther Fürth gesorgt: Kurz vor Schluss erzielte Cedric Itten den Ehrentreffer. Daraus will er Mut für die kommenden Wochen schöpfen.

Erzielte gegen Bayern sein erstes Bundesliga-Tor: Cedric Itten.

Erzielte gegen Bayern sein erstes Bundesliga-Tor: Cedric Itten.

imago images/Zink

Das Fürther Heimspiel gegen den Rekordmeister war im Grunde entschieden, als Itten in der 76. Minute für Kleeblatt-Kapitän Branimir Hrgota eingewechselt wurde. Trotz Unterzahl führte der FCB zu diesem Zeitpunkt mit 3:0 und steuerte einem letztlich ungefährdeten Sieg entgegen. Dann war die 88. Minute gekommen: Die Hausherren suchten – wie schon das ganze Spiel über – mutig den Weg nach vorne, Timothy Tillman schlug eine Flanke vom rechten Flügel und fand vor dem Kasten von Manuel Neuer den richtig postierten Itten, der die Hereingabe per Kopf in die Maschen lenkte. “Ein wunderschönes Gefühl”, beschrieb der Joker seinen Treffer nach dem Spiel, “auch für die Fans. Wir haben es verdient, heute ein Tor zu schießen.”

Mein Ziel ist es, jede Minute zu nutzen, wenn ich reinkomme und den Trainer zu überzeugen.

Cedric Itten

Vom Beginn an hatte sich der Underdog vom Ronhof nicht versteckt und dem schier übermächtigen Gegner aus München das Feld überlassen. Vielmehr ging die SpVgg mit Leidenschaft und Engagement zu Werke. “Die Art und Weise, wie wir gespielt haben, ist sehr positiv”, sagte auch Itten. Dennoch erspielte sich der FC Bayern ohne größeren Aufwand eine 2:0-Pausenführung, die die nach dem Platzverweis für Benjamin Pavard dezimierten Münchner im zweiten Durchgang sogar noch ausbauten. 

Dass Itten die Partie bis dahin von der Bank aus verfolgen musste – am 4. und 5. Spieltag hatte der Schweizer zweimal von Beginn an gespielt -, störte ihn nicht. “Das Wichtigste ist immer die Mannschaft”, betonte der 24-Jährige, der nach seiner Hereinnahme umso entschlossener zu Werke ging: “Mein Ziel ist es, jede Minute zu nutzen, wenn ich reinkomme, und den Trainer zu überzeugen.”

Bei aller Freude über das Tor gegen den FC Bayern und die geschlossene Mannschaftsleitung bleibt das Kleeblatt allerdings trotzdem auf dem letzten Tabellenplatz stehen, mit nur einem Punkt aus sechs Partien. Zuversicht gibt Itten aber “der Teamspirit, der Zusammenhalt über die vollen 90 Minuten”. Mit Blick auf die kommenden Herausforderungen in Köln und gegen Bochum sagt er: “Ich bin überzeugt, mit dieser Art, wie wir heute gekämpft haben, werden wir Punkte holen”.