Firmino double eases Brazil to 5-0 rout
SAO PAULO • Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino scored a brace as Brazil romped to a 5-0 victory over Bolivia in their opening 2022 World Cup qualifier on Friday.
Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho and Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos also got on the scoresheet, alongside an own goal from Jose Carrasco, while star forward Neymar set up two goals in an encounter that sent Brazil top of the South American qualifying table.
In a Corinthians Arena deserted due to Covid-19 restrictions, Bolivia showed almost no ambition as Brazil dominated throughout, with PSG’s Neymar starting after overcoming a back problem.
Barrett injured ahead of Bledisloe opener
WELLINGTON • The All Blacks suffered a serious injury blow yesterday on the eve of the opening Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia, with full-back Beauden Barrett forced to withdraw with an Achilles tendon injury.
The two-time World Player of the Year has been replaced by Damian McKenzie, who was not in the original match-day squad and who played the last of his 23 Tests two years ago. Barrett’s injury flared up during training on Friday.
Yates catches virus and pulls out of Giro
MILAN • British rider Simon Yates has withdrawn from the Giro d’Italia after testing positive for Covid-19, his team Mitchelton-Scott said yesterday.
Team leader Yates, who won the Vuelta in 2018, was 21st in the overall standings ahead of yesterday’s eighth stage. He becomes the first rider to test positive at a Grand Tour race, after four cases were found among team members – none of them competitors – during the Tour de France.
MJ, Silver join NBA Foundation’s board
NEW YORK • Retired NBA superstar Michael Jordan and NBA commissioner Adam Silver were among eight people named on Friday to the board of directors for the NBA Foundation to oversee social activism projects.
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association said the group will direct activities and work with league clubs to support initiatives in league cities. The foundation will initially have annual funding of US$30 million (S$40.6 million) over the next 10 years from NBA team owners.