From Down Under where top tennis stars are competing for the first Grand Slam of 2020, Australian Open to football updates, the helicopter crash that killed Basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other occupants, our sports news round up this week is a mixed bag.
Here are the Top Trending Sports News of the Week.
Kobe Bryant’s death:
‘We are completely devastated’ – Vanessa Bryant.
Vanessa Bryant, days after learning of the tragic news has thanked the “millions of people” who have expressed “support and love” following the death of her husband Kobe and daughter Gianna. In her first public comments since Sunday’s helicopter crash, Vanessa published a heartfelt Instagram post describing the impact the losses have had on her young family, which includes three other girls all aged under 18.
Los Angeles Lakers legend and five-time NBA champion Kobe, 41, and 13-year-old Gianna were among nine people who were killed in the crash in Calabasas, California. Vanessa Bryant shared a family photo alongside her comments and used the post to announce, that the Mamba Sports Foundation had set up a fund to support the other families who were affected by the crash. “We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately. There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved” Vanessa Bryant wrote.
“To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org” she shared of the site which states that they will contact interested donors once they start accepting donations which will benefit the families of the 7 other victims.
Tributes continue to pour in for Kobe Bryant all over the world.
Kevin Durant feels nothing will ever be big enough to honour Kobe Bryant and his impact on basketball as well as the wider world.
Los Angeles Lakers legend Bryant was killed, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday the 26th of January. Tributes have poured in for the five-time NBA champion, who won the league MVP in 2008 and was named Finals MVP on two occasions in a glittering career that featured 18 All-Star berths.
However, Brooklyn Nets forward Durant, MVP in 2014 with the Oklahoma City Thunder and a two-time Finals MVP with the Golden State Warriors, is unsure any gesture can do justice to Bryant. He told reporters: “It’s so hard to say right now [how to honour Bryant]. Just every basketball player go out and play as hard as they can to honour Kobe, I think that’d do.”
“I tried to think about what I would say, what I would write, nothing was big enough and that’s what I feel about everything when it comes to Kobe Bryant, and the mark he left on the Earth.”
“It feels like nothing will ever be big enough to truly honour Kobe Bryant but how we approach every day life. Me as a disciple of Kobe who studied him, learnt from him, I think it’s my justice is to go out there and try to be the best I can be every single day, not just in basketball, but in everything.” “I feel like everyone who loved Kobe is going to take that approach in their lives.” Durant said
Nadal bows out at Aussie Open, Federer follows suit after Djokovic showdown
Rafael Nadal suffered defeat to Dominic Thiem at the Australian Open. He however, insisted he was satisfied with his performance, as well as his attitude, in the quarter-final clash. Thiem beat Nadal for the first time in six attempts at a grand slam with a tense 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-6 (8-6) win in four hours and 10 minutes on Rod Laver Arena. The Austrian progresses to meet Alexander Zverev in the semi-final on Friday, while the world’s number one is left to reflect on a missed opportunity to draw level with Roger Federer on 20 major titles and also become the only man to have won all grand slam twice.
Nadal had a few complaints after the loss, but however, praised Thiem as a worthy winner. “He’s playing great,” the 33-year-old said of Thiem. “He’s playing with a lot of energy, aggression, and determination. So just well done to him. “I honestly didn’t play a bad match, no, no. My attitude was great during the whole match.”
“Of course, I am sad. I lost an opportunity to be in the semi-finals of another grand slam. But I lost against a great opponent and he deserved it too.” Nadal reflected.
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic met Thursday for the 50th time in a rivalry that has repeatedly produced classic matches. With today’s straight set win (7-6(1), 6-4, 6-3), Djokovic now leads their head-to-head 27-23 and that stands at 10-6 when the all-time greats have met at the grand slam. The Serbian, whose 16 grand slam titles are four shy of Federer’s 20, heads into Thursday’s semi-final in Melbourne as a favourite.
Manchester City, Liverpool move closer to EFL Cup and Premier League titles.
Manchester City will get the chance to defend their EFL Cup title in the finals against Aston Villa. This is after beating Manchester United 3-2 on aggregate, despite Nemanja Matic inflicting a 1-0 defeat in Wednesday’s second leg. City produced a wonderful display in the first meeting at Old Trafford and were arguably unlucky to only win 3-1. This proved to be enough to send Pep Guardiola’s men to Wembley even though they failed to meet expectations at home.
Despite finding themselves under extreme pressure in the first half, United managed to go into the break ahead. Thanks to Matic, whose satisfying strike in the 35th minute, casted some uncertainty over City’s command of the tie.
However, Manchester united were unable to use that goal as a launchpad. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men failed to craft further meaningful chances and Matic’s late dismissal for a second booking effectively ended their hopes.
In London, Mohamed Salah and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored the goals as Liverpool moved 19 points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 2-0 win at West Ham. The Reds completed the full set of top-flight scalps – they have now beaten every team in the division this season. This was even though Jurgen Klopp’s side were nowhere near their best at London Stadium on Wednesday.
While they dominated possession and frustrated their hosts for long periods, the Reds still allowed Manuel Lanzini chances in either half that a forward with more confidence may well have been taken.
Man Utd, Arsenal Bolster squad
Manchester United have agreed a deal to sign Bruno Fernandez from Sporting CP. The news was announced on Wednesday. Fernandez’ move to Old Trafford is subject to medical and some personal terms agreement.
Sporting CP posted a video on Twitter to say farewell to the 25-year-old Portugal international, who cost United an initial €55million (£46.5m) and a further €25m (£21.1m) in add-ons.
The bonuses will be paid by the Red Devils (€5m) after Fernandes makes a number of appearances. €5m for Champions League qualification and €15m based on individual objectives. Sporting will also be owed 10 per cent of the profit on any future sale.
Arsenal has completed the signing of Pablo Mari on a loan deal with the option to make the move permanent at the end of the season. Mari, 26, is Mikel Arteta’s first signing since taking over as head coach in December.
His switch from Flamengo was completed on Wednesday for a reported £4million loan fee. The defender arrived in London with Arsenal technical director Edu on Saturday, who praised the Gunners’ latest arrival.”Pablo is an experienced player who will provide us with additional defensive quality,” Edu said as the club confirmed the move.