Paris Saint-Germain defender Presnel Kimpembe claimed he was not informed about Kylian Mbappe replacing him as the club's vice-captain.

Mbappe scored five times as PSG beat sixth-tier Pays de Cassel 7-0 in the Coupe de France on Monday, with the France star wearing the captain's armband in the absence of regular skipper Marquinhos.

After the match, PSG coach Christophe Galtier told reporters Mbappe is now their vice-captain.

Kimpembe – who has not played since November due to a heel injury – had previously been Marquinhos' deputy.

Rumours on Tuesday suggested Kimpembe had agreed to step down from the position to allow Mbappe to take up a leadership role.

However, he insists such reports are inaccurate, instead accusing PSG of failing to inform him at all.

"In the last few hours I have been able to hear and read a lot about myself," he wrote on his official social media accounts.

"I therefore wish to make things clear in order to avoid continuing to spread false information in this regard.

"I was not made aware of this decision, this is completely false... That said, I will always respect the decisions of the club."

Joelinton's close-range finish gave Newcastle United a 1-0 aggregate lead in their EFL Cup semi-final tie against Southampton.

The Brazilian's 73rd-minute goal settled Tuesday's first leg at St Mary's Stadium in Newcastle's favour though Southampton, who had Duje Caleta-Car sent off late on, had an equaliser disallowed.

Joelinton had a goal contentiously ruled out for handball in the first half and then missed a glorious chance shortly after the restart, but atoned when he converted Alexander Isak's cross.

VAR denied former Newcastle striker Adam Armstrong a leveller less than four minutes later, with Southampton's hopes further dented when Caleta-Car picked up a second booking.

Joe Willock wasted two good opportunities early on, hitting a wild effort over the crossbar following good work from Miguel Almiron before miscuing a volley from Kieran Trippier's cross.

Willock was also involved when Newcastle were denied an opener. Gavin Bazunu parried his shot out to Joelinton, who was contentiously penalised for handball as he fired home the rebound.

Joelinton missed a huge chance seven minutes after the restart, somehow blazing over an open goal from six yards out.

He made no mistake from his next chance, finishing into a gaping net after fantastic play from Isak down the right.

Armstrong thought he had denied his old club with a scruffy finish, only for a VAR review to rule he had handled the ball, and a frustrating outing for the hosts was capped when Caleta-Car received his marching orders for fouling Allan Saint-Maximin.

Newcastle spurned chances to further their advantage in stoppage time, but head into next week's second leg knowing a draw would be enough to book their place in an EFL Cup final for the first time since 1976.

Milan missed the opportunity to close the gap on Serie A leaders Napoli after they were thumped 4-0 by a rampant Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday.  

Stefano Pioli's men were condemned to a first defeat in seven league matches after goals from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Mattia Zaccagni gave the hosts a half-time advantage.

Luis Alberto added a third from the spot after the interval before Felipe Anderson rounded off the scoring as the Rossoneri failed to win for the fifth game in a row in all competitions.

The impressive result sees Maurizio Sarri's Lazio leap from sixth to third and within a point of Milan, who remain 12 points off Napoli.

Lazio were ahead just four minutes in, Luis Alberto cleverly dummying a Zaccagni pass into the path of Milinkovic-Savic to coolly stroke into the bottom corner.

Sandro Tonali stung the palms of Ivan Provedel as Milan looked for a response, but the champions would find themselves two goals down before half-time.

Adam Marusic saw a shot come back off the post after latching onto Pedro's through-ball, but Zaccagni was there to bundle home the rebound for his third goal in three league games. 

Milan's shaky defending continued to be their downfall in the second half, with Lazio going further ahead when Pierre Kalulu brought down Pedro for a penalty, which Luis Alberto blasted straight down the middle past Ciprian Tatarusanu.

With Milan staring down the barrel of a heavy defeat, Anderson slotted home after a neat pass from Luis Alberto to further embarrass Pioli's side.

Joshua Kimmich's stunning 90th-minute equaliser spared Bayern Munich's blushes as the Bundesliga champions rescued a 1-1 draw at home to Koln on Tuesday.

Bayern had been on the verge of their first home league loss since last January before their captain took centre stage, though it was not enough to restore their six-point lead at the summit following RB Leipzig's 6-1 demolition of Schalke.

Ellyes Skhiri, who scored twice in Koln's remarkable 7-1 win over Werder Bremen on Saturday, put the Billy Goats ahead amid a purposeful opening.

Koln were under pressure for long periods thereafter, however, and they could not see the win out as Kimmich struck from distance at the end.

Barcelona head coach Xavi has hit back at "silly" criticism about Gavi's perceived overly physical playing style and told the midfielder to show even more passion.

The 18-year-old has featured in all 17 of league-leading Barcelona's LaLiga fixtures this season, starting 12 of those.

Gavi leads the way among Barca players for fouls conceded this campaign with 41 – at least 22 more than any other team-mate and the third-highest tally in the division.

He also tops the list in terms of duels contested (146) among Barca players and is behind only Sergio Busquets (1.73) for tackles per game with 1.65.

Some have suggested Gavi too often gets away with bad challenges, having been cautioned only three times, but Barca head coach Xavi does not agree with that assessment.

"That seems silly to me. There is a referee who decides, right? In the end, he is the one who decides," Xavi told reporters. "Gavi puts passion and courage into his game.

"I consider it that the whistle is blown for very few fouls on him. For me, it's the other way around. He's a player who's fouled a lot and the whistle is blown for a few of them."

 

Gavi's playing style has earned comparisons to Brazil international Casemiro, who won 18 trophies in nine years at Real Madrid prior to joining Manchester United last August.

But Xavi feels the young midfielder is only praised when representing Spain, rather than when putting on the Blaugrana strip.

"It seems to me that when he goes to the [Spanish] national team he is wonderful, and when he plays for Barca, he crosses the line," Xavi said.

"This is what it seems to me from the outside, yes. He's an example of grit and courage [for Spain] and, when he's at Barca, he is not liked, right?

"Well, it's normal. It is normal. And on top of that, if we win, he is liked even less. It is the way that it is.

"To Gavi, I say be calm, to put in the same passion, or even more, and also more courage and sacrifice... and that he doesn't stop. He doesn't have to slow down."

Gavi is in line to feature when Barca host Real Sociedad – who are third in LaLiga – in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.

"It's a key match for us," Xavi added at Tuesday's pre-match press conference. "It's a quarter-final and a one-off match. We're playing in front of 80,000 of our fans.

"We are in good form and they are in a good moment also in terms of results and confidence. I expect we'll see a good game."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is stepping up his Milan comeback after filming himself with the ball at his feet at the club's Milanello training ground.

The 41-year-old signed a one-year contract last July but has been sidelined ever since while recovering from knee surgery.

Ibrahimovic, who has scored 33 goals in 60 league appearances in his second spell with the Rossoneri, was a Serie A title winner last season.

Given his age, the end of his career is likely not far away. That is despite the former Barcelona and Manchester United player saying in September: "If I see a player stronger than me, I'll stop. But I haven't seen him yet."

Ibrahimovic's video shows him taking small steps with the ball at his feet, before pausing at the end of the penalty area and turning the camera to point at the goal. It then shows him smiling into the camera and raising his eyebrows, as though to signal his eagerness to get back into scoring action.

Milan, who are 12 points behind league leaders Napoli, have Champions League last-16 games against Tottenham coming up on February 14 and March 8, plus a Serie A derby with Inter on February 5.

Anthony Joshua is close to reaching an agreement to face Jermaine Franklin in his next bout in April, according to the American's promoter.

Joshua has not fought since failing to reclaim the WBA-Super heavyweight, IBF and WBO belts from Oleksandr Usyk last August, having first surrendered the titles to the Ukrainian in September 2021.

The 33-year-old, who has lost three of his last five fights after going unbeaten through his first 22 as a professional, has reportedly held talks with both Demsey McKean and Otto Wallin in recent weeks.

However, Franklin appears to have emerged as the favoured candidate for Joshua's next outing, which promoter Dmitriy Salita expects to take place at London's O2 Arena on April 1.

"Jermaine is a world-class heavyweight from Michigan in America, who is on his way to bringing a big win back home," Salita told Sky Sports.

"We hope to get the deal over the finish line to help Jermaine bring his lifetime dream to fruition."

Franklin made his first appearance on British soil in November, earning plaudits for his performance in a majority decision loss to Dillian Whyte, the first defeat of his professional career.

The Brooklyn Nets have received some good news on Kevin Durant's MCL sprain.

Brooklyn announced on Tuesday that Durant's right knee was evaluated on Monday by Dr. Riley Williams III and that he is pleased with the forward's progress.

Durant will begin running this week and participate in on-court training activities and will then be re-evaluated in another two weeks.

He sprained a ligament in his right knee in a January 8 win over Miami, when the Heat's Jimmy Butler fell backward onto him.

Durant was originally projected to miss about a month, so his recovery appears to be right on track with the initial timeline.

With the All-Star break beginning in just over three weeks, however, it is possible the Nets decide not to rush him back and give him some extra time to recover to have him return after the break.

An MVP candidate in his third season with Brooklyn, Durant ranks among the NBA leaders with 29.7 points per game while also averaging 6.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.49 blocks.

The Nets had won 14 of 15 prior to Durant's injury before losing their first four games without him in the lineup. They have since reeled off back-to-back wins over the Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors to improve to 29-17.

Brooklyn enter play on Tuesday in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, and five games behind the Boston Celtics for the Atlantic Division lead.

Unbeaten half-centuries from Alex Hales and Sherfane Rutherford led the Desert Vipers to a comfortable seven-wicket win over the MI Emirates in their DP World IL T20 fixture at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

The Emirates’ innings got off to the worst possible start with openers Muhammad Wasim (5) and Vritiya Aravind (3) being removed within the first three overs after the Vipers won the toss and elected to field first.

Grenadian Andre Fletcher and former West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran then combined to put on 43 for the third wicket before Fletcher fell in the ninth over for 21 to leave them 53-3.

Captain Kieron Pollard then joined Pooran at the crease and the pair batted excellently, eventually bringing up their 100-run partnership in the 19th over, the same over which saw Pooran bring up a well-compiled 50.

Pollard brought up his 50, his second in a row, in the previous over with a trademark straight six.

The partnership reached 116 when Pooran was finally dismissed, bowled by Tom Curran in the final over for 57.

In the end, the Emirates closed their innings 169-5 off 20 overs with Pollard not out on 67 from 39 balls including one boundary and six sixes.

The Vipers chase was rocked early when Trent Boult removed Rohan Mustafa for one in the first over to bring captain Collin Munro to the crease.

Hales and Munro put on a partnership before Munro was removed by a spectacular catch from Kieron Pollard for 41 in the eighth over.

One brought two for the Emirates as Samit Patel got his second wicket in the over, removing Sam Billings for just one to leave the Vipers 76-3 bringing Sherfane Rutherford to the crease.

At the halfway stage of the chase, the Vipers were 101-3 with Hales (34) and Rutherford (18) going smoothly.

The pair continued along and Hales brought up his fifth score of 50+ in a row in the 15th over before a single in the 16th over brought up Rutherford’s 50 off just 26 balls.

The match was ended in the 17th over when Rutherford hit a boundary and then a single to lead the Vipers to their fourth win in five games.

Hales ended up unbeaten on 62 from 44 balls while Rutherford faced 29 balls for his 56. Hales’ knock included six fours and two sixes while Rutherford hit four fours and three sixes.

Scores: MI Emirates 169-5 from 20 overs, Desert Vipers 170-3 from 17.3 overs.

 

 

England coach Matthew Mott says "the door is always open" for Ben Stokes to reverse his ODI retirement and play at the Cricket World Cup later this year.

All-rounder Stokes brought an end to his 50-over international career in July because of an "unsustainable" schedule alongside his Test captaincy.

However, the 31-year-old recently suggested he may potentially consider representing England at the World Cup in Pakistan in October and November.

Mott is hopeful that will be the case and will not rush Stokes – the man of the match when England beat New Zealand in the 2019 final – into making a decision.

"The door is always open for a player of that quality but we are also very aware that his main focus is red ball cricket as the captain," he told reporters. 

"We respect that and when he's ready to chat, we'll do that."

Asked if there will be a cut-off point for Stokes to decide what he wants to do, Mott said: "I've had some good discussions with Jos [Buttler] and Rob Key on this.

"Players are playing a lot of franchise cricket, coming in and out at different times, so we need to keep a really flexible, open mind to players. 

"When we sit down to pick that 15 for the World Cup, we want to pick the best players possible."

Mott was speaking ahead of England's three-match ODI series against South Africa, which begins in Bloemfontein on Friday.

Stokes may not be present, but fast bowler Jofra Archer is in line for his first international appearance since March 2021 after recovering from a series of injury setbacks.

"Having watched him from a distance, I think he's one of the most exciting things to have happened in cricket for the last decade. It will be great to have him," Mott said.

"He's full throttle, fast and brings such energy. He is one of those guys that if you are there sitting in the pub and he's bowling, you're watching. That's a big thing to have.

"Everyone here will get a lift around bowlers like him. He's spent a lot of time out and I know he's absolutely frothing to play."

Carl Cheffers will lead the team of officials for Super Bowl LVII.

Cheffers is set to take charge of his third Super Bowl, having also overseen the 2016 and 2020 season finales.

Side judge Eugene Hall and back judge Dino Paganelli joined Cheffers in officiating the latter of those Super Bowls. The duo will also be overseeing their third such game.

Jeff Bergman, the line judge, previously officiated in the 2018 Super Bowl, having first officiated in the 1996 event.

Umpire Roy Ellison will also be partaking in his third Super Bowl.

Down judge Jerod Phillips, field judge John Jenkins and Mark Butterworth, the replay official, are all set to make their Super Bowl debuts.

The Kansas City Chiefs are vying with the Cincinnati Bengals for a place in the showpiece match from the AFC. In the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers will go up against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Cheffers has history when it comes to Kansas City. In the Super Bowl two years ago, he awarded eight penalties and enforced 95 yards on the Chiefs in the first half, which were both NFL records for a Super Bowl.

Victoria Azarenka sympathised with Novak Djokovic as she stated tennis players are "not villains" after reaching the Australian Open semi-finals for the first time in a decade.

Azarenka beat Jessica Pegula 6-4 6-1 on Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday to set up a last-four meeting with Elena Rybakina.

Former world number one Azarenka came in for criticism when she took a medical timeout during her last semi-final at Melbourne Park back in 2013, delaying her match against Sloane Stephens by 10 minutes.

The Belarusian, who is now 33, returned to beat Stephens and went on to defend successfully her title.

Questions have been raised over the extent of a hamstring issue nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic has been contending with as he attempts to match Rafael Nadal's tally of 22 major triumphs this weekend.

Azarenka feels it is out of order for such suspicions to be raised by people who are not aware of the facts.

She said: "Do you know what happened 10 years ago? That's the thing.

"It was one of the worst things that I've ever gone through in my professional career, the way I was treated after that moment, the way I had to explain myself until 10:30pm at night because people didn't want to believe me. I actually can resonate what Novak said the other day.

"There is sometimes incredible desire for a villain and a hero story that has to be written. But we're not villains, we're not heroes, we are regular human beings that go through so many, many things.

"Assumptions and judgements, all those comments, are just s*** because nobody's there to see the full story. It didn't matter how many times I said my story, it did not cut through.

"Actually it's funny that you're saying that because I was thinking about it. It took me 10 f****** years to get over it. I finally am over that."

Asked to expound what the judgements or assumptions she experienced were, Azarenka said: "I've been called that I'm cheating, that I'm faking, that I was trying to throw people off their game. It's everything that is so wrong about my character if somebody actually knows me.

"At some point I've heard that she has this thing that is bad or this thing is bad, whatever. At some point you're like, 'Really? Am I?'. Those doubts starts to creep in.

"Now I just don't care. I am more and more confident in what I know about myself, and I'm at peace with that. Those comments, judgements, they're there. I notice them. But I don't care."

Shubman Gill matched an ODI record after cracking another mesmerising century for India and revealed how his rapid accumulation of the "big ones" has come about.

The 23-year-old has begun 2023 with 70, 21 and 116 against Sri Lanka, followed by 208, 40 not out and 112 against New Zealand.

Before the turn of the year, he had one century in 15 ODIs, but all of a sudden he has rattled off three in 10 days.

The difference has been a slight adjustment in focus, with Gill saying: "I don't think I've changed much of my approach when I'm batting out there. It's all about once you get the start, how often you can work those starts into big ones, and that's what I'm trying to learn.

"As soon as I get a start, [I look for] every opportunity that I get to be able to express myself and work all the starts I get into big ones.

"I think it's all about playing according to the situation, not looking at your runs, just looking at conditions and looking at the bowler, and how you can score against this particular bowler, just looking to score all the time."

Gill was speaking after his 78-ball 112 against New Zealand helped to pave the way for a 90-run victory and 3-0 series clean sweep.

It also took him to 360 runs for the series, matching the record for most runs by a batter in a men's three-match ODI series, and equalling the total of Pakistan's Babar Azam against West Indies in 2016.

"It feels nice, this was a really good wicket to bat on," Gill said.

India captain Rohit Sharma made 101 as both openers scorched to three figures in an India total of 385-9 at the Holkar Cricket Stadium.

Rohit paid tribute to his young batting partner for showing such strong form, saying it was a tribute to his attitude that he was performing so well.

Gill was player of the series, and Rohit said: "His approach is quite similar. He doesn't change too much and wants to come out and start afresh.

"As a young player just coming into the team, having that kind of attitude is so important, not to sit on your laurels. He could have taken it lightly but doesn't seem to be that way."

Speaking at the post-match presentation, as India went above England at the top of the ICC rankings, Rohit said his own century, his 30th in ODIs, was a cause for great satisfaction.

It was his first hundred in an ODI since January 2020.

"It means a lot. I've been batting well, and it's about going that extra mile," Rohit said.

"Today the wicket was good, and we knew we needed runs on the board, and it was important for me to carry on and bat for as long as possible."

Three men have been arrested for alleged homophobic chanting during Liverpool's goalless draw with Chelsea at Anfield on Saturday, Merseyside Police confirmed.

The men, aged 23, 37 and 49, were arrested on suspicion of "homophobic intentional harassment alarm and distress".

The 37-year-old male has been bailed pending further enquiries, while the other two suspects will attend a voluntary interview.

Merseyside Police also revealed in a statement on Tuesday that 16 people were ejected from Anfield for various offences during the Premier League match.

The Football Association announced earlier this month it can now charge clubs if their fans use a homophobic chant that has been aimed at Chelsea players and supporters.

The chant was defined as a hate crime by the Crown Prosecution Service last year, with Chelsea welcoming that decision at the time.

The FA has investigated a number of such chants in recent weeks from supporters of Nottingham Forest, Manchester United and Manchester City.

Merseyside Police superintendent Paul Sutcliffe said: "We'll not tolerate hate crime of any form. We'll bring to justice anyone found responsible for committing any offensive chanting.

"In this instance, if the three suspects are charged and found guilty for the offence, then we will we will be seeking football banning orders on them."

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