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Norway bounces Australia in PKs to reach World Cup quarters

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Norway needed 120 minutes and penalty kicks to do it, but the Grasshoppers topped Australia to join Germany as the first two nations to reach the quarterfinals of the 2019 Women’s World Cup on Saturday.

[ MORE: All of PST’s Women’s World Cup coverage ]

Same Kerr went inches from giving Australia a dream start and putting the Matildas ahead inside 25 seconds. After timing her run perfectly to split the Norwegian defense, she cut inside and pulled her right-footed shot just wide.

[ MORE: Germany handles Nigeria, books quarterfinal spot ]

Norway went ahead with a flawlessly taken goal in the 31st minute. Karina Saevik played one of the best 40-yard through balls we’ll see all summer, and that put Isabell Herlovsen one-on-one against the goalkeeper as she raced into the box. Her right-footed finish was strong and full of conviction, just inside the near post, to ripple the back of the net.

Australia were briefly awarded a penalty and a chance to draw level in the 42nd minute, as Maria Thorisdottir was initially deemed to have played the ball with her upper arm on a cross by Kerr. However, upon video review, the referee reversed her call and Norway were let off the hook.

[ MORE: USMNT faces T&T for first time since Couva ]

Australia were again on the wrong side of a crucial — and correct — refereeing decision in the 60th minute. Kerr deftly placed the ball in the back of the net after a nearly catastrophic error at the back by Norway, but she was spotted in an offside position during Australia’s quick transition from defending to possession, and the flag went up.

Australia left themselves in limbo until the 83rd minute, when Elise Kellond-Knight scored what was almost certainly an unintentional Olimpico goal after everyone the box — Aussies and Norwegians alike — were unable to get a touch on the tantalizing curler.

Australia was reduced to 10 players in the final seconds of the first period of extra-time. Alanna Kennedy was sent off for dragging Caroline Graham Hansen down by her shirt, denying what the referee deemed to be an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, despite the goalkeeper being quick off her line to challenge for the through ball.

Despite a handful of heart-stopping chances for both sides, neither side was able to break through in extra-time, forcing the first penalty shootout of the knockout rounds.

Norway converted all four of their spot kicks, while Kerr sent hers well wide and high in the first round. Ingrid Hjelmseth then proceeded to deny Emily Gielnik one round later to give the Norwegians an insurmountable lead and a place in the quarterfinals.

Fernandes scores first goal, says Ronaldo backed Manchester United move

Bruno Fernandes Ronaldo
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It’s probably not a surprise that a young Portuguese player would fancy Manchester United given the heroics of Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford early his career.

Bruno Fernandes admits that those images danced through his head well before he signed with the Red Devils in January.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

It’s also not a shock that United would turn to their former player for a take on the playmaker before buying him from Sporting Lisbon.

Fernandes says he’s grateful that CR7 endorsed BF18. From Sky Sports:

“I know some people asked Cristiano what he thought of me and what I was like as a player and a person,” Fernandes said. “I know he spoke highly of me and gave me a good reference, so I sent him a message after to thank him for his kind words.”

Fernandes has 19 caps and two goals for Portugal, while Ronaldo has a few more with 164 and 99.

He now has a goal and an assist in four appearances for United. Ronaldo finished with 118 goals and 69 assists in 292 appearances for the Red Devils.

Here’s the finish:

Eden Hazard suffers fracture ahead of Man City in UCL, El Clasico

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Eden Hazard is set to miss the Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League first leg against Man City with a broken fibula.

Hazard had only returned to the lineup for two matches following a three-month absence with an ankle injury.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The 29-year-old has made just 15 appearances for Real since arriving in a big-money move from Chelsea, scoring once with five assists.

He has never appeared in less than 30 league matches over the course of his career, five times missing one or zero matches.

Of course, all of his absences show that Real is very comfortable playing and winning without Hazard. Zinedine Zidane’s men lost Sunday to drop behind Barcelona in La Liga, but that was just its second loss of the league season.

Real will be taxed in depth like its rivals, with Wednesday’s visit from Man City followed by an El Clasico at the Bernabeu on March 1. Barcelona hosts Napoli on Tuesday.

Whether you like the playmaker or despise him, there must be some sense of sympathy for his latest ailments (even if Man City and Barca fans will likely offer a Jerry Seinfeld-esque, “That’s a shame”).

Watch Live: Manchester United, Wolves host bottom three battlers

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A pair of Premier League basement dwellers face stiff tests in their bids to win another season in the top flight.

Manchester United hosts Watford on NBCSN while Wolves welcome Norwich City on CNBC as both home sides aim to improve the health of their top four hopes in 9 a.m. ET kickoffs.

[ WATCH: Man Utd-Watford | Wolves-Norwich ]

Lineups notes from both matches:

LINEUPS

Manchester United

Watford


Wolves

Norwich City

Three Serie A matches suspended due to virus deaths in Italy

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ROME (AP) Three Serie A soccer matches scheduled for Sunday in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto were suspended late Saturday after the deaths of two people infected with the virus from China.

On orders from the Italian government, the games called off were: Inter Milan vs. Sampdoria, Atalanta vs. Sassuolo and Hellas Verona vs. Cagliari.

Three other matches in Genoa, Turin and Rome on Sunday are going ahead as scheduled.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

A dozen towns in northern Italy effectively went into lockdown on Saturday after the deaths of two people infected with the coronavirus from China, and a growing cluster of cases with no direct links to the origin of the outbreak abroad.

“The government is working on urgent measures to decisively confront and contain the cases of coronavirus contagion,” read a letter from Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora to Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago shortly before midnight local time on Saturday. “Those measures also include the sports world in order to prevent risks and to better take care of the health of those involved in the events and competition.

“Following measures taken by the cabinet for protective reasons and maximum precaution, on orders of the government I’m asking you to suspend all sports events of every level and discipline planned for the Lombardy and Veneto regions on Sunday.”

The secondary contagions prompted local authorities in the Lombardy and Veneto regions to close schools, businesses and restaurants and to cancel sporting events and Masses.

The mayor of Milan, Italy’s business capital and the regional capital of Lombardy, shuttered public offices.

A 78-year-old man infected with the virus died in Veneto. A postmortem on a 77-year-old woman in Lombardy came back positive, though it wasn’t clear if illness from the virus caused her death.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Andrew Dampf on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf