Adelaide United saw their A-League top-six ambitions dealt a blow as they were held 1-1 by Premiers Sydney FC on Thursday.

Victory would have put Carl Veart's side in a strong position to secure a Finals spot and they were on course for all three points when Jordan Elsey made the most of some slack marking to head in Lachlan Brook's corner after 13 minutes.

Sydney were in danger of suffering a third consecutive defeat for the first time in seven years, Paul Izzo producing a good save to deny Milos Ninkovic an equaliser.

But the Sky Blues were level six minutes before the interval, Adam Le Fondre tapping in his 19th goal of the season after Izzo had come off his line but failed to stop Trent Buhagiar's cross.

Alexander Baumjohann and Riley McGree came close to winners in the second half but it finished level, leaving Adelaide in sixth ahead of their final match of the regular season against Melbourne City next week.

While Newcastle Jets cannot now catch the Reds, Western United could make up the five-point gap as they have three games in hand, while Western Sydney Wanderers have two extra matches in which to mount their own challenge.

LeBron James says the basketball community "couldn't care less" if president Donald Trump refuses to watch the NBA because players take a knee during the national anthem.

Trump on Wednesday told Fox News he thinks it is "disgraceful" that players do not stand for the Star-Spangled Banner before matches.

Players have repeatedly stated they take a knee to protest against police brutality and social injustice and have no intention of causing insult to the flag, military or nation.

Yet Trump said: "I think it's disgraceful. We work with [the NBA]. We work very hard trying to get them open. I was pushing them to get open. And then I see everyone kneeling during the anthem. It's not acceptable to me.

"When I see them kneeling, I just turn off the game. I have no interest in the game. When I see people kneeling during the playing and disrespecting our flag and disrespecting our national anthem, what I do, personally, is turn off the game."

Trump also said he has done more for the black community than any other president, with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln.

That comment brought a smile from James, who replied when asked about that particular statement: "Trying to make me laugh right now? I appreciate it."

Los Angeles Lakers star James said it will be no loss to the basketball world if Trump is not watching and hopes Americans do their talking in the November elections.

"I really don't think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership," he added after the Lakers were beaten 105-86 by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.

"That's all I really want to say because I already know where this could go and where it could lead to for me. I'm not going to get into it, but I think our game is in a beautiful position.

"We have fans all over the world and our fans not only love the way we play the game. We try to give it back to them with our commitment to the game, but also respect what else we bring to the game with knowledge of what's right and what's wrong.

"I hope everyone – no matter their race, colour, size – would see what leadership we have at the top of our country and understand that November is right around the corner and it's a big moment for us as Americans.

"We talk about 'we want better, we want change', and we will have an opportunity to do that.

"But the game will go on with his eyes on [or] without his eyes on it. I can speak for everyone who loves the game of basketball: we couldn't care less."

Valtteri Bottas has agreed a new deal with Mercedes that will see him stay with the team for the 2021 Formula One season.

The Finnish driver has managed eight wins, 12 pole positions and 39 podium finishes since joining the German outfit in 2017.

Bottas was second in the drivers' championship last year behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton and is again battling the Briton in the 2020 standings, having taken 58 points from the first four races of the delayed season.

"I'm very happy to stay with Mercedes in 2021 and build on the success we've enjoyed together already," Bottas said.

"The past few years have been all about continuous improvement, working on every aspect of my performance.

"I'm confident that today I'm the strongest I've ever been, but I can always raise the bar. Mercedes embraces the same philosophy: they always want to get better and are always hungry for more.

"Ever since I fell in love with F1 as a kid it's been my dream to one day become world champion. I'm in the fight for the title this year and staying with Mercedes puts me in the best possible position to compete for it next season as well."

Team principle Toto Wolff said: "We are very excited that Valtteri will stay with the team for at least one more season.

"We're seeing the strongest Valtteri we've ever seen this year – in terms of his on-track performance, but also physically and mentally. He is second in the championship, finished the last season in P2 and plays a very important part in our overall team performance.

"I'm confident that we have the strongest driver pairing in F1 today and signing Valtteri is an important first step in retaining this strength for the future.

"Valtteri is a hard-working, straightforward guy who has a good relationship with the entire team – including his team-mate, which is not a given when both drivers are fighting for the championship.

"I'm looking forward to seeing him continue to raise the bar together with us this year and in 2021."

The fifth race of the year, the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, takes place at Silverstone this weekend.

At the same venue last week, Bottas dropped from second to 11th after suffering a puncture with just four laps to go, with Hamilton just crossing the line in first despite a similar problem.

Deceuninck-QuickStep rider Fabio Jakobsen remains in a serious but stable condition after undergoing facial surgery following a horrific crash during the Tour of Poland.

Jakobsen was placed in an induced coma after being airlifted to Wojewodzki Szpital in Katowice on Wednesday following the smash at the end of stage one. 

Dylan Groenewegen was disqualified and strongly condemned by governing body the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) for "dangerous behaviour", having appeared to nudge his Dutch compatriot into the barriers in a sprint finish.

Tests revealed Jakobsen did not suffer brain or spinal injuries, but he remains in a coma following an operation and doctors will attempt to wake the 23-year-old up later on Thursday.

Deceuninck-QuickStep said in a statement: "Fabio had facial surgery during the night. His situation is stable at the moment and later today the doctors will try to wake Fabio up."

Jumbo-Wisma, Groenewegen's team, issued an apology and said an internal review will take place.

"Our thoughts go out to Fabio Jakobsen and other people involved in today's terrible crash in the Tour of Poland. Crashes like these should not happen," the team tweeted.

"We offer our sincere apologies and we will discuss internally what has happened before we may make any further statement. #TDP20."

Gregg Popovich likened Nikola Jokic to a "reincarnation of Larry Bird" after he played a huge part in the Denver Nuggets' 132-126 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

Michael Porter Jr became the first Nuggets rookie to score 30 points or more and at least 10 rebounds in back-to-back games as his side move to 45-23 on Wednesday, hot on the heels of the second-placed LA Clippers in the West.

Porter poured in 30 points and provided 15 assists, but it was the performance of giant center Jokic that stood out for Spurs coach Popovich.

The Serbian landed 25 points, laid on 11 assists and grabbed four rebounds – three on offensive glass – and Popovich drew comparisons with Boston Celtics legend Bird.

He said: "Porter is a fine young talent. And Jokic, he's like a reincarnation of Larry Bird. He does everything. He's amazing. They were great."

Popovich said there was little his younger Spurs players could have done to stop Jokic from being so influential.

He added: "They've never seen anything like that,.

"He's stepping out and making threes. He's rebounding the ball, there should be an NBA rule, you can't tap it to yourself. He's Moses Malone.

"He's down there and he jumps about a quarter of an inch, then he taps it two or three times and then he gets it and he lays it back in.

"It's not just luck. He does it all the time. He is great on the board, he's obviously maybe the best big man passer in the league. If not, then close to it. He's a pretty special player."

Inter have confirmed the signing of Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez on a permanent deal.

Sanchez has put pen to paper on a three-year deal with the Serie A club following a successful season-long loan with Antonio Conte's side.

The 31-year-old Chile international joined United from Premier League rivals Arsenal in 2018, but failed to show what he is capable of at Old Trafford.

The Philadelphia 76ers are waiting to discover the extent of a knee injury Ben Simmons suffered in a 107-98 NBA victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.

Simmons left the court in the third quarter, having appeared to tweak his knee after taking a rebound.

The two-time All-Star limped to the locker room and was unable to return.

Philadelphia coach Brett Brown was unsure over how much damage the Australian point guard has done after the game.

"We don't know," Brown said. "I'm sure the club will make some announcement.

"But as far as knowing more than that, I don't. Obviously I'm very curious."

The 76ers are back in action against the Orlando Magic on Friday.

Roma have announced a deal has been reached for the sale of the club to The Friedkin Group.

Terms were agreed on Wednesday and details of the transaction were confirmed in a statement given to CONSOB, the government authority in charge of regulating the Italian securities market.

The Serie A club published that statement on their website on Thursday, revealing the deal was expected to be completed before the end of the month.

Roma president Jim Pallotta said: "I am pleased to confirm we have reached an agreement with the The Friedkin Group for the sale of AS Roma.

"We have signed the contracts and, over the coming days, will now work together to complete the formal and legal process that will result in the club changing hands.

"Over the last month, Dan and Ryan Friedkin have demonstrated their total commitment to finalising this deal and taking the club forward in a positive way. I am sure they will be great future owners for AS Roma."

The transaction will see existing owners AS Roma SPV sell the entirety of its 86.6 per cent share capital to The Friedkin Group.

Dan Friedkin, chairman and CEO of the incoming ownership group, said: "All of us at The Friedkin Group are so happy to have taken the steps to become a part of this iconic city and club.

"We look forward to closing the purchase as soon as possible and immersing ourselves in the AS Roma family."

Roma are in Europa League action at Sevilla on Thursday, having ended their top-flight campaign in fifth spot. 

Joleon Lescott remembers the time he tried to imitate one of David Silva's signature moves on the Manchester City training ground with a rueful chuckle.

Having been on the receiving end as Silva subtly changed direction to engineer space and leave his team-mate behind him, an obvious thought occurred to the former England centre-back.

It can't be that hard, surely?

"He had the ball and I've closed him down and he's kind of dipped his shoulder to go to the right and gone back on the left," Lescott explained to Stats Perform News.

"I've tried to mimic the movement he did and ended up injuring my knee.  

"I've tried to dip down to the right, tried to move as fast as him but I'm obviously a bigger frame and it was just like, 'Ooh, nah. That didn’t feel good. Let me just go and stand on the sidelines for the rest of the session'."

If feels like a handy illustration of how Silva makes the most of the things he does with a ball at his feet seem effortlessly simple, when in reality they are anything but.

THE MISSING PRIZE

Friday's Champions League last-16 match with Real Madrid could be his last for City. If Pep Guardiola's side are able to capitalise upon their 2-1 first-leg advantage, it will be on to Lisbon and the mini-tournament to conclude the closing stages of this season's competition.

Over the course of 10 trophy-laden seasons in Manchester, Silva has played an integral role in each of the club's four Premier League successes. The first of those, secured in unforgettable fashion in 2011-12, was the club's first top-division title in 44 years. The previous season, Silva played a part in Yaya Toure's winning goal against Stoke City in the FA Cup final that ended a 35-year trophy drought.

Such honours, once pipe dreams, are now the norm in east Manchester. Silva opened the scoring in last year's 6-0 final win over Watford for his second FA Cup winners' medal, completing an unprecedented domestic treble in 2018-19. This term, he lifted a fifth EFL Cup.

Another golden era ran roughly parallel in Spain colours, with Silva a cap centurion as part of arguably the finest international team of all time. A rare header in the final of Euro 2012 against Italy set up a 4-0 win, further evidence of a handy knack on showpiece occasions.

That victory made it three major tournament triumphs in succession for Spain, following Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup. Since leaving Valencia for City in the latter year, Silva has won it all apart from the Champions League.

The coming weeks could still amount to a beautifully scripted ending to the story. A 'Last Dance', perhaps. Just don't expect Silva to be the outspoken star of his own Netflix documentary a couple of decades from now.

"As difficult as this time is for everyone, he's probably in the back of his head thinking he's happy he's not receiving the attention when he leaves," Lescott said, with City poised to announce farewell plans after Silva's final game.

"He's so humble and down to earth, it's crazy. It's ridiculous to think that he lives a lifestyle that's so simple considering what he's achieved. He's a credit to everyone who was around him growing up - his parents, his family, who I've been lucky enough to meet on numerous occasions.

"I can't speak highly enough of him. There's never a time when I've asked him something – a favour or text him or contacted him – and he's not got back to me.

"Not that many people have been lucky enough to be in his presence outside of football and I can confirm that he speaks English very well!"

CHANGING THE GAME

Despite that reluctance to speak publicly too often, Silva has received plenty of warm words over recent weeks. Players and pundits alike have queued up to declare him a great of the Premier League era.

It is a situation few envisaged 10 years ago, with Lescott initially among the doubters.

"I remember me and Shaun Wright-Phillips having a discussion about the physical demands of the Premier League and would he be able to cope," he said. "It was due to the fact we were playing 4-4-2 then. We didn't play 4-3-3.

"David was going to have to play as a winger. If you look back then and think of David coming up against someone like a Micah Richards at right-back, it was going to be difficult physically.

"But with his football IQ, he was able to create a role in the team that only he was able to adopt. He'd come off the line – full-backs didn't want to be that high up the pitch and wingers didn't want to drop that deep to pick him up.

"He was able to just be free, but not shirk his defensive responsibilities. In those areas, knowing where to pick up the ball, his intelligence for that is second to none.

"His football IQ is as good as you'll see. If you think, there are not many times David Silva gets tackled."

When he arrived, players of Silva's ilk were cast somewhere between a curiosity and a luxury in the English game. Glance through top-flight squads today and most feature someone trying their hand at the art he mastered.

Elite games in England today are frequently won between the lines and in the half-spaces, as much if not more often than by a ball over the top or via a conventional winger hitting the byline. This shift and expansion in the Premier League's stylistic palate owes much to Silva and feels like his lasting gift, threaded through the division as quietly and subtly as one of his passes.

"He definitely changed the way people view the Premier League and that role," Lescott added.

"I spoke to Steven Gerrard about him and he said to play against David was unreal. So that's the ultimate kind of praise.

"Robert Pires was similar but was more direct than David. In terms of that role, David made it okay for you not to always go on the outside. That's not something he was taught at City, he just understood the game well enough in order to do it.

"He's definitely, definitely one of the all-time greats for Man City and the Premier League."

CITY'S GREATEST?

Having shared an era with Toure, Vincent Kompany, Kevin De Bruyne and the club's all-time leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero at City, it is Silva who is most often suggested the successor to Colin Bell – the ex-England midfielder widely viewed as the club's finest ever player for the best part of half a century.

While those celebrated team-mates have dealt in huge moments, Silva was there for all of them, astutely pulling the strings and knitting the whole tapestry together. Gerrard is far from alone in his admiration. He is the players' player.

Now 34, Silva's diminished capacity for the physical work he has always relished has given City an insight into a future without him. He is not a guaranteed starter against Madrid, Guardiola having carefully managed his workload in the most demanding games this season.

De Bruyne has proved a statistical marvel this season, Phil Foden is blossoming and Guardiola can also call upon the lavish gifts of Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva in his creative department. And yet, as Silva adopted a bit-part role, a yawning gap to Liverpool has opened up quickly.

Seeing him depart a European champion would be the perfect fuel to begin the task of bridging it. But even in that best-case scenario, City will soon have confirmation Silva is impossible to imitate – just as Lescott learnt all those years ago.

He might have a winners' medal in his pocket at the end of his first LaLiga season, but Eden Hazard is in no mood to spare himself.

Long touted as a potential marquee signing for Real Madrid, the Belgium star made the move to the Santiago Bernabeu for an initial €100million last June.

However, by the time Zinedine Zidane had masterminded a post-lockdown overhaul of Barcelona to claim the title, the dream had long since turned into something of a nightmare.

"We have won the title collectively this year, considering it has certainly been the worst season of my career individually," Hazard told France Info after injury woes – most notably a broken foot that required surgery – restricted him to 16 top-flight appearances.

He scored once in 1,086 LaLiga minutes and has failed to find the net in five Champions League appearances for the 13-time winners so far.

The peculiarity of this elongated season means a chance to salvage something arrives on Friday in familiar surroundings.

Madrid are 2-1 in arrears ahead of their last-16 second leg against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. If a remontada is to become reality, they will probably need an individual to step up and produce something truly special – particularly considering talismanic captain Sergio Ramos is suspended.

It was another Belgian, Kevin De Bruyne, who stole the show in the Spanish capital back in February as he majestically created Gabriel Jesus' equaliser before dispatching the winner from the penalty spot.

Although firm friends throughout their gilded careers, it is hard to imagine the distinction of being Belgium's outstanding footballer lying elsewhere sitting too well with the lavishly gifted Hazard.

Perhaps an outing in east Manchester can stir a return to his very best.

In December of the 2016-17 season, City and Chelsea were neck and neck at the top of the Premier League when the Londoners travelled north.

De Bruyne hit the crossbar from point-blank range with the hosts 1-0 up and then Hazard took over, the master conductor as Antonio Conte's Blues took apart Pep Guardiola's men on the counter-attack. He scored the game-sealing goal in a 3-1 victory as a disintegrating City finished with Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho sent off.

In the return match at Stamford Bridge, Hazard netted a brace in 2-1 win that put Chelsea on the brink of the Premier League title.

His efforts that year yielded 16 goals and five assists, sitting handsomely alongside the 14 goals and nine assists from 2014-15 when he first inspired the Stamford Bridge outfit to glory. City came second in that earlier campaign and Hazard walked off with the PFA and FWA end-of-season awards.

There is no suggestion that, at 29, Hazard will not be able to scale such heights again. Whether he can this week, however, is another matter.

Zidane seems to be as in the dark as anyone else.

"I think Eden had little [injury] problems recently because, when he finished playing [against Villarreal], he had problems; he didn't end well," he told reporters after Hazard's final appearance of the LaLiga season in Madrid's penultimate match.

In the final six games of the campaign, the after-effects of Hazard's injury woes restricted him to 70 minutes on the field. The outing against Villarreal accounted for 62 of those.

"I hope that, with this break, he recovers completely," Zidane added. "Those that know about this, about looking after players, will try to get Eden well again."

It is probably wise to look towards 2020-21 with a clean slate. But maybe all it will take is one elegant shuffle of the feet, a deft lay-off or one of those beautifully balanced dribbles for the memories to come flooding back – for both Hazard and those in sky blue trying to stop him – in the country where he forged a path to the top of the game.

South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett and St George Illawarra Dragons prop Paul Vaughan will go into self-isolation amid coronavirus concerns.

Bennett and Vaughan breached NRL biosecurity protocols by dining separately at restaurants.

The pair have been placed in a 14-day "COVID Hold" and they will isolate for two weeks and must test negative for coronavirus before returning.

"We are living in extraordinary times and we must do everything in our power to ensure the health and safety of our players, staff and the general community," NRL acting chief executive Andrew Abdo said.

"This is a regrettable decision but today's actions will operate as an important reminder to our players and staff about the importance of strict adherence to the protocols.

"Our players and staff have made significant sacrifices to ensure the season can proceed. I have sympathy for the liberties they have had to give up and I am proud of how well the overwhelming majority have complied with our protocols.

"We have worked closely with governments, biosecurity experts and our clubs to ensure a successful and entertaining season and today's enforcement of protocols will ensure no risk to the playing groups or the general community."

The Rabbitohs and Dragons are battling to finish in the top eight and face the Brisbane Broncos and Sydney Roosters respectively in round 13.

Mike Trout blasted two home runs in MLB on Wednesday, while the Boston Red Sox ended their losing streak.

Trout crushed two homers but the Los Angeles Angels' comeback bid fell short in a 7-6 loss to the Seattle Mariners.

Kyle Seager went two-for-five with three RBIs and a home run in the Mariners' win.

The Angels fell to a 4-8 record, while Seattle improved to 5-8.

The Red Sox ended a four-game losing streak by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 5-0.

Martin Perez pitched five innings, giving up just four hits while striking out four.

 

Darvish dominates, Pederson goes deep twice

Yu Darvish starred as the Chicago Cubs' good start to the season continued. He conceded just one run in seven innings, striking out four in a 6-1 win over the Kansas City Royals. The Cubs are 10-2.

Joc Pederson crushed two homers and had five RBIs in the Los Angeles Dodgers' 7-6 victory against the San Diego Padres.

Mike Clevinger got through 5.2 innings, conceding just two hits in the Cleveland Indians' 2-0 success over the Cincinnati Reds.

 

Horrible Happ

J.A. Happ struggled badly for the New York Yankees. He gave up four runs and walked six batters in three innings in an 11-7 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. The teams split their two games on Wednesday.

 

Inside-the-park homer!

Kole Calhoun delivered an inside-the-park homer in the Arizona Diamondbacks' 14-7 win over the Houston Astros

Wednesday's results

Philadelphia Phillies 11-7 New York Yankees
New York Yankees 3-1 Philadelphia Phillies
Miami Marlins 1-0 Baltimore Orioles
Miami Marlins 2-1 Baltimore Orioles
New York Mets 3-1 Washington Nationals
Boston Red Sox 5-0 Tampa Bay Rays
Minnesota Twins 5-2 Pittsburgh Pirates
Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 Atlanta Braves
Cleveland Indians 2-0 Cincinnati Reds
Chicago Cubs 6-1 Kansas City Royals
Milwaukee Brewers 1-0 Chicago White Sox
San Francisco Giants 4-3 Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks 14-7 Houston Astros
Oakland Athletics 6-4 Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Dodgers 7-6 San Diego Padres
Seattle Mariners 7-6 Los Angeles Angels

 

Yankees at Phillies

The Yankees (9-2) and Phillies (2-4) complete their four-game series on Thursday.

Romelu Lukaku "cost the same as all of Getafe", Jose Bordalas said after his side's Europa League loss to Inter.

Goals from Lukaku and Christian Eriksen saw Inter record a 2-0 win over the LaLiga side in the last-16 clash in Gelsenkirchen on Wednesday.

Signed by Inter from Manchester United for a reported €80million (£72.3m) last year, Lukaku has scored 30 goals this season.

Getafe boss Bordalas said the difference between his team and Inter was enormous, highlighting how much Lukaku cost.

"We are sad because I think the team played a great game," he said.

"We had Inter on the ropes during the second half. We had control of the game and, unfortunately, in our mistake in their first goal after practically nothing had been put forward, but the team did not fall and we had the penalty that would have put us fully into the possibility of passing this tie.

"It is a shame, but I am proud because the approach has been fantastic, the team has interpreted it great. I am very proud of the work of the players.

"The difference is very big, only Lukaku cost the same as all of Getafe."

Jorge Molina missed a 76th-minute penalty for Getafe that would have drawn them level.

Inter will face either Rangers or Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League quarter-finals.

The Los Angeles Lakers were well beaten in the NBA on Wednesday, while Joel Embiid led the Philadelphia 76ers to a win.

With the top seed in the Western Conference secured, the Lakers went down to the Oklahoma City Thunder 105-86.

LeBron James (19 points) and Anthony Davis (nine) went a combined 10-of-30 from the field as the Lakers shot at just 35.2 per cent.

Chris Paul top-scored in the Thunder's victory with 21 points.

Embiid's double-double of 30 points and 11 rebounds saw the 76ers past the Washington Wizards 107-98.

Philadelphia suffered a setback during their win, with Ben Simmons hurting his knee in the third quarter.

 

Even Celtics shine as Gobert lifts Jazz

The Boston Celtics had seven players in double-digits for points in a 149-115 thrashing of the Brooklyn Nets. Jaylen Brown (21), Jayson Tatum (19), Gordon Hayward (18) and Robert Williams III (18) led the way.

Rudy Gobert had a double-double of 21 points and 16 rebounds in the Utah Jazz's 124-115 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Fred VanVleet went eight-of-13 from the field for 21 points, to go with 10 assists, in the Toronto Raptors' 109-99 win against the Orlando Magic.

 

Davis struggles

Davis has been in good form for the Lakers, but the forward was three-of-11 from the field in their loss.

 

Diallo dunk

Hamidou Diallo delivered a huge dunk in the Thunder's win.

Wednesday's results

Utah Jazz 124-115 Memphis Grizzlies
Philadelphia 76ers 107-98 Washington Wizards
Denver Nuggets 132-126 San Antonio Spurs
Oklahoma City Thunder 105-86 Los Angeles Lakers
Toronto Raptors 109-99 Orlando Magic
Boston Celtics 149-115 Brooklyn Nets

 

Lakers face Rockets

The Lakers (51-16) will try to bounce back on Thursday in a blockbuster clash with the Houston Rockets (42-25).

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