ROUND-UP: Anti-racism monkeys; CL 16 draw; Hamilton’s challenge; Proteas newbies; and the NBA’s latest
International Round-up: Serie A using images of monkeys in anti-racism campaign; Champions League last 16 draw confirmed; Lewis Hamilton wants to prove himself against new generation; Six uncapped South Africans in Test squad to face England; Marnus Labuschagne and Mitchell Starc into top five; and all the latest NBA action.
FOOTBALL: Serie A using images of monkeys in anti-racism campaign
Serie A has used images of monkeys in an anti-racism campaign less than three weeks after its clubs pledged to combat Italian football’s “serious problem”.
The ‘No To Racism’ posters show three monkeys with painted faces. The monkey artwork will be displayed at Serie A headquarters in Milan.
“Question for the league is how they can’t see what a loaded and misguided collaboration this is for an anti-racism initiative,” European football expert James Horncastle said.
“If you wondered why a select group of Serie A clubs are taking anti-racism into their own hands, faith in the league is sub-zero.”
In November, Brescia’s Mario Balotelli called fans who shouted racist abuse at him “small-minded” and “imbeciles”.
Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku said the abuse he suffered in September, when Cagliari fans made monkey noises after the Belgian scored a penalty against their team, showed the game was “going backwards”. (BBC Sport)
FOOTBALL: Champions League last 16 draw confirmed
Manchester City will face Real Madrid while holders Liverpool have been drawn against Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Chelsea play Bayern Munich in a repeat of the 2012 final while Tottenham take on another German side, RB Leipzig.
In the pick of the other ties, Borussia Dortmund will play Paris St-Germain and Napoli take on Barcelona.
The first legs will be played on 18, 19, 25 and 26 February with the return matches on 10, 11, 17 and 18 March.
This season’s final is on 30 May at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul, the ground where Liverpool won the epic 2005 final against AC Milan when they came back from three down to draw 3-3 and win on penalties. (BBC Sport)
F1: Lewis Hamilton wants to prove himself against new generation
Lewis Hamilton says he sees 2020 as a fresh start and another chance to prove himself against Formula 1’s new generation of drivers.
The Mercedes driver won his sixth world championship in 2019 and next year can equal Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of seven drivers’ titles.
Hamilton said it was “surreal” to be mentioned in relation to the German.
“Each year, it’s a new, fresh start for everyone, a new chance to rise to the challenge,” Hamilton said.
The 34-year-old was speaking during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award show, in which he finished second in the public vote to cricketer Ben Stokes.
“You know, honestly, I never look at records,” Hamilton said. “I don’t really know why.
“I just remember growing up in Stevenage and watching Michael Schumacher win world championships, so it’s very, very surreal still to this day to have my name brought up in the same sentence as his.
“That’s a real honour and something my family are very, very proud of.” (BBC Sport)
CRICKET: Six uncapped South Africans in Test squad to face England
South Africa have named six uncapped players in their squad for the first two Tests of the home series against England.
Batsmen Pieter Malan and Rassie van der Dussen have been included, as well as bowlers Dane Paterson and Beuran Hendricks.
All-rounder Dwaine Pretorius and wicketkeeper Rudi Second have also made the squad. The first of four Tests between the two sides will start on December 26.
“The high number of uncapped players coming into the squad is a reflection of our policy to acknowledge players who do well at franchise level and have put their hands up for selection,” said Cricket South Africa selector Linda Zondi.
South Africa Test squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar, Beuran Hendricks, Keshav Maharaj, Pieter Malan, Aiden Markram, Zubayr Hamza, Anrich Nortje, Dane Paterson, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Rudi Second, Rassie van der Dussen. (BBC Sport)
For Labuschagne, the rise has been meteoric. He is just 12 Tests old, and had an unremarkable run in the first five of those, between October 2018 and February 2019. But after walking out as Steven Smith’s concussion substitute at Lord’s during the Ashes Test in August this year, he has been spectacular, tallying 893 runs in 11 innings and averaging 81.18 – he has centuries (185, 162 and 143) in each of his last three Tests too.
Starc, meanwhile, had match figures of 9 for 96 in Perth, where Australia won by 296 runs.
Elsewhere, Babar Azam has entered the top ten of the Test batting rankings for the first time, moving four spots up to No. 9 after his century in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi. That made him the only one currently apart from Virat Kohli to be in the top ten among batsmen across formats – he is No. 1 in T20Is and No. 3 in ODIs. (ESPNCricinfo)
NBA: Nets beat Embiid-less 76ers 109-89
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 24 points as the Brooklyn Nets capitalised on Joel Embiid’s absence and led most of the way in a 109-89 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night in New York.
The Nets led for the final 41:54 in the first meeting between the teams since the first round of last spring’s postseason. Embiid averaged 24.8 points in the four games he played in that series but sat out with an upper respiratory illness and missed his sixth game of the season.
Dinwiddie helped the Nets improve to 10-5 without Kyrie Irving (right shoulder impingement) by shooting 9 of 21 from the field and adding six assists. It was Dinwiddie’s fourth straight 24-point game and 13th game scoring at least 20 since being elevated to the starting lineup to replace Irving.
Orlando Magic 130 – New Orleans Pelicans 119
Eight Orlando players scored in double figures in handing host New Orleans its franchise-worst 12th consecutive loss.
Jonathan Isaac led the Magic with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Nikola Vucevic, returning from an 11-game absence due to a sprained ankle, scored 20. D.J. Augustin scored 17, while Evan Fournier had 16. Terrence Ross added 14, Mo Bamba 13 and Michael Carter-Williams and Markelle Fultz had 10 each.
Los Angeles Lakers 101 – Atlanta Hawks 96
LeBron James scored 32 points to lead visiting Los Angeles to a win over Atlanta and extend their road win streak to 14 games.
James made 12 of 21 from the field, four of them 3-pointers, and added 13 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks to help the Lakers extend their overall winning streak to seven.
Indiana Pacers 107 – Charlotte Hornets 85
Aaron Holiday scored 23 points off the bench as Indiana rode a dominant fourth quarter to a victory over Charlotte in Indianapolis.
Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis recorded his 12th consecutive double-double after collecting 12 points and 12 rebounds to propel the Pacers to their 11th win in 14 games.
Denver Nuggets 111 – New York Knicks 105
Nikola Jokic had game highs of 25 points and 10 rebounds, Will Barton scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and host Denver beat New York.
Jokic has recorded double-doubles in six straight games, including a triple-double against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night.
Sacramento Kings 100 – Golden State Warriors 79
Bogdan Bogdanovic recorded 25 points, five rebounds and five assists off the bench to lead Sacramento to a win over Golden State in San Francisco. (Reuters)