Daily Briefing

Sport shorts: Man Utd to face LASK in Europa League last 16 and swimming star Sun is banned for eight years

Ten things from the world of sport on Friday 28 February

1. Europa League draw is made

Manchester United, Wolves and Rangers have found out their Europa League last-16 opponents following today’s draw. 

United will face Austrian side LASK Linz, Wolves will play Greek team Olympiacos and Rangers will take on German outfit Bayer Leverkusen. 

Red Bull Salzburg and Eintracht Frankfurt play their round of 32 second leg today at 5pm.

Eintracht are 4-1 up after the first leg and will be heavy favourites to meet Basel in the next round. 

First leg matches in the Europa League last 16 will be played on 12 March and the second legs are on 19 March.

Europa League last-16 draw
  • Istanbul Basaksehir vs. FC Copenhagen  
  • Olympiacos vs. Wolves 
  • Rangers vs. Bayer Leverkusen  
  • Wolfsburg vs. Shakhtar Donetsk  
  • Inter Milan vs. Getafe 
  • Sevilla vs. Roma  
  • Red Bull Salzburg or Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Basel 
  • LASK Linz vs. Manchester United

2. Arsenal’s Greek tragedy

While Man Utd, Wolves and Rangers enjoyed progressing to the last 16 of the Europa League, it was a bad night for Arsenal who crashed out of the competition against Olympiacos.

Gunners captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a superb overhead kick in extra-time but later missed a sitter as the Greek side won 2-1 on the night to go through on away goals. 

Scottish champions Celtic are also out after a 3-1 loss at home against FC Copenhagen. The Danes went through 4-2 on aggregate.

Arsenal suffer a Greek tragedy in Europa League - reactions and highlights

3. City and Villa are up for the cup 

The first footballing silverware of the English season is up for grabs this weekend as holders Manchester City take on Aston Villa in the final of the Carabao Cup. Sunday’s final at Wembley Stadium in London kicks off at 4.30pm (GMT) and is live on Sky Sports Main Event

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4. Swimmer Sun banned for eight years

Chinese swimmer Sun Yang, the three-time Olympic gold medal winner, has been banned for eight years for missing a doping test in September 2018. 

The BBC reports that the 28-year-old had initially been cleared of wrongdoing in January last year but the decision has been overturned following an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).

Sky News sports correspondent Martha Kelner tweeted: “Wow, Cas gives swimmer Sun Yang - China’s equivalent of David Beckham - maximum eight year ban after one of his entourage smashed his blood vial with a hammer during attempted drugs test.”

Sun said: “This is unfair. I firmly believe in my innocence. I will definitely appeal to let more people know the truth.”

Talking Points: why everyone’s talking about Sun Yang

5. South Africa and England win in T20 World Cup

In today’s matches at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup South Africa beat Thailand by 113 runs and England beat Pakistan by 42 runs. 

Tomorrow’s games see New Zealand play Bangladesh (12am GMT) and India take on Sri Lanka (4am). On Sunday South Africa are in action against Pakistan (4am) and England face the West Indies (8am).

6. Becks wants Messi or Ronaldo in Miami

Inter Miami owner David Beckham wants to bring Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to the new Major League Soccer franchise. 

In an interview with US chat show host Jimmy Fallon, the former England captain said: “If we have the opportunity to bring in big name players from Europe into our city, we will do that. 

“Every team in the world would want Messi and Ronaldo in their teams, but we always talked about us being different from any other team, which I am sure every other owner says exactly the same thing.”

Messi vs. Ronaldo: it’s El Clasico and the Derby d’Italia this weekend

7. Coronavirus halts UAE Tour 

The final two stages of the UAE Tour, Chris Froome’s comeback event, have been cancelled after two Italian cyclists tested positive for coronavirus.

Froome - who suffered serious injuries after a crash last summer - and the others riders at the UAE Tour, including Britons Mark Cavendish and Adam Yates, will be tested for the virus. 

What events may be cancelled due to coronavirus?

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8. Smith hits ‘amazing’ nine-darter

English darts player Michael Smith hit a nine-darter in his 7-5 win over Daryl Gurney in Dublin last night - the first in the Premier League since April 2017. 

After two maximum 180s and a 141 checkout the 29-year-old said: “It’s a feeling you can’t explain - it’s amazing. I’ve never hit a nine-darter on TV before and this was special. I’ve never felt my heart beat so fast in my life.”

9. Kane targets April return 

Tottenham and England could be set for a huge boost with the news that star striker Harry Kane is targeting a return to action in early April. 

The Three Lions captain has been out with a hamstring injury since New Year’s Day and there were fears he could miss the rest of the Premier League season and Euro 2020. 

However, The Sun understands that Kane’s recovery is going better than expected and he could be back playing in just six weeks. 

10. Back pages: Man Utd’s five-star show 

Manchester United’s easy ride to the last 16 of the Uefa Europa League makes the back page of the Daily Mirror under the headline “Bruges cruise”.

The Red Devils, who drew the first leg 1-1 in Belgium, put five unanswered goals past Club Bruges in a dominant performance at Old Trafford.

Today’s back pages

Bruno Fernandes stars as Man Utd enjoy Bruges cruise

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