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EPL: Southampton appoint new manager following Mark Hughes’ sack

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Ralph Hasenhuttl

Ralph Hasenhuttl

Premier League side, Southampton has appointed Ralph Hasenhuttl as their new manager, following the sack of Mark Hughes.

The Saints had a disappointing start to the season, winning only one Premier League game to slip into the relegation zone.

Southampton drew 2-2 with Manchester United on Saturday, in what turned out to be Hughes’ last game in charge of the club.

Hasenhuttl has signed a two-and-a-half year deal at St Mary’s and will take over on Thursday, following Southampton’s clash with Tottenham on Wednesday evening.

Hasenhuttl led RB Leipzig to the Europa League quarter-finals last season, having finished runners-up in the Bundesliga in his first season in charge.

“The urgency to find a path back to our potential and to the results that we expect cannot be underestimated,” Metro UK quoted Southampton chairman, Ralph Krueger, as saying.

“For that reason, we are extremely pleased that Ralph Hasenhuttl has agreed to become our new manager and do all he can to help guide us back on that path.

“This manager change offers us a fresh start and, very quickly, Ralph emerged as our ideal candidate.

“As a coach, he embodies the passion, structure, communication skill set, work ethic and appetite for growth that we strive for in our Southampton Way.

“The quick, smooth and seamless negotiation process underlines the character of the person that he is.”

Krueger added, “We have been aware of Ralph since his days at FC Ingolstadt, where he showed the qualities that we believe we need at the club. ‘He has since gone on to develop those attributes with a track-record of success in the Bundesliga and with a progressive and ambitious club in RB Leipzig.

“As soon as we met, Ralph’s enthusiasm for football was contagious and his hunger to take on a new and challenging job in the Premier League was evident. In our discussions, he very quickly aligned himself with the values and the vision of the club.

“Southampton Football Club’s past success was built on a clear identity.

“The foundation of this identity was a focus on developing players, whether from within our academy or after joining from other clubs.

“Ralph’s ability to teach the game and to develop talent is evident in his past and is a centrepiece of why he is the perfect choice to be the new Saints manager.”

Hasenhuttl’s first match in charge of the Saints will be an away trip to Cardiff City this weekend.

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Ronaldo accepts prison sentence and €18.8m fine for tax fraud

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Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has accepted a 23-month prison sentence and an €18.8million fine for tax fraud.

The Juventus star attended a court in Madrid on Tuesday to ratify an agreement already reached with Spanish prosecutors.

The 33-year-old was accused of committing four crimes against the Spanish treasury between 2011 and 2014 while he was playing for Real Madrid.

Ronaldo is alleged to have concealed income earned through image rights by using offshore companies.

The Portugal international told reporters that “everything is perfect” after his short appearance in court, during which he accepted the charges as part of a plea deal with the prosecution.

Under Spanish law, he will not be required to spend any time in jail as it is a first-time offence.

Ronaldo was pictured smiling outside court, accompanied by girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez, having given a thumbs-up to waiting reporters upon arriving before signing some autographs for fans.

The forward, who left Madrid last year to join Juventus in a €112m deal, missed a penalty in his side’s 3-0 Serie A win over Chievo on Monday.

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2019 Access Lagos Marathon Expo begins

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Access Bank Marathon

Access Bank Marathon

Hundreds of runners from all walks of life including important personalities from within and outside the sports industry on Tuesday thronged the Molade Okoya Thomas Hall at the Teslim Balogun Stadium as the 2019 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon Expo got underway.

Marathon Expos are an integral part of big marathon races worldwide with major marathons like New York, Dubai, London, Boston, Chicago, Tokyo, Berlin drawing a lot of vendors and exhibitors annually.

The Expo has also been a regular feature at the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon since debuting four years ago.

At this year’s edition, a lot of companies are participating as they are showcasing their products and services to intending runners at the Lagos Marathon as well as the general public.

Some of the dignitaries at the opening day of the Marathon Expo include the Vice President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC Chief Solomon Ogba as well the Executive Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission Dr Kweku Tandoh.

Honourable Bukola Olopade was also present alongside other celebrities.

According to a statement issued by Olukayode Thomas, Head Communications and Media for the Lagos Marathon, a lot of VIP runners were also present on the opening day of the Marathon Expo.

The Access Bank Lagos City Marathon Expo will be running for the next 10 days.

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Battling Nishikori faces big test against Djokovic

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Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori’s fighting spirit could face the ultimate test at the Australian Open on Wednesday when he takes on world number one Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.

Nishikori overcame Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in his third five-setter in four rounds on Monday and has spent nearly 14 hours on court at Melbourne, more than any other player.

Djokovic is aware of Nishikori’s battling qualities having lost twice to the Japanese in 17 career meetings, including a defeat in the 2014 U.S. Open semi-finals.

“He’s a talented player. One of the quickest players on the tour, hard worker… I expect a tough one,” Djokovic, who beat Daniil Medvedev in four sets to reach the last eight, said.

“I have lots of respect for him. Every year is different, so every match that you play against each other is different… I expect him obviously to come out, to try something new.”

Djokovic, who took a tumble during his match with Medvedev, was also hampered by a back strain towards the end but shrugged off the problem.

“It was not particularly the fall. It was just a little bit of fatigue, a little bit of back. Nothing major. But there are a couple of things that have surfaced after a match like this,” Djokovic added.

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