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Emiliano Sala’s funeral to take place in hometown in Argentina


The funeral of Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala will take place in his native Argentina on Saturday.

The 28-year-old died when the plane he was in with pilot David Ibbotson crashed in the English Channel en route from Nantes to Cardiff on 21 January.

His funeral will take place in his hometown of Progreso and a wake will also be held at the club Sala played for as a youth.

Among those due to attend is Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock

GETTY IMAGES/DAVID IBBOTSON

Emiliano Sala (left) was on board a plane being flown by pilot David Ibbotson

Sala was killed when a single-engine light aircraft, flown by pilot Mr Ibbotson, crashed near Alderney just two days after he became Cardiff City’s record transfer,

His body, which was recovered from the wreckage following a privately-funded search last week, was repatriated in Argentina on Friday.

It was then driven from Buenos Aires to the Sante Fe province, where Sala grew up.

Emiliano Sala: Search for footballer and pilot called off

Emiliano Sala: £220,000 raised for private search Emiliano Sala: £220,000 raised for private search

Ahead of the service, boyhood club San Martin de Progreso posted a message on social media saying: “We are waiting for you … like the first day you left but this time to stay with us forever.

“Eternally in our hearts.”

San Martin de Progreso club entrance
GETTY IMAGES / AFP

Sala played football at San Martin de Progreso until he was 15

As well as Cardiff’s delegation of Warnock and chief executive Ken Choo, Sala’s former club FC Nantes will be represented by defender Nicolas Pallois and its general secretary.

Sala’s mother Mercedes and sister Romina, who travelled to Europe after his disappearance, have already rejoined the footballer’s dad Horacio back in Argentina.

Meanwhile, a campaign to raise funds to find the body of Mr Ibbotson has reached £240,000

The family of the 59-year-old, who is feared dead, are hoping to raise £300,000.

Marco Asensio tried more shots (five) than passes (four) after coming off the bench


WED 13 FEB 2019CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – ROUND OF 16 – 1ST LEGAjax1Real Madrid.

Real Madrid claimed a fortunate win at Ajax in the Champions League last-16 first leg.

Ajax played well and had a Nicolas Tagliafico goal ruled out by the first Champions League video assistant referee consultation.

Holders Real took the lead when Karim Benzema blasted into the top corner after fine work by Vinicius Jr.

Hakim Ziyech levelled from 10 yards but Marco Asensio scored the winner from Dani Carvajal’s cross.

The Dutch side had the game’s best chances, with Dusan Tadic hitting the post in the first half and David Neres, who set up Ziyech’s goal, shooting straight at Thibaut Courtois in a one-on-one chance.

Substitute Kasper Dolberg missed a big chance in injury time as he slipped while shooting in the box, with Courtois able to get a hand to it.

VAR introduced at wrong time for Ajax

Dusan Tadic was standing in Thibaut Courtois’ way and in an offside position from Nicolas Tagliafico’s header

The video assistant referee system has been brought into the Champions League for this season’s knockout phases – and it got its first major usage at the Johan Cruyff Arena.

Ajax thought they had taken the lead when Tagliafico headed the ball in following a goalmouth scramble. Lasse Schone’s corner found Matthijs de Ligt, whose header was scooped by Courtois into the air. Tagliafico headed the ball into the air over the keeper and Tadic and into the back of the net.

But after a consultation with the video assistant referee team, referee Damir Skomina went across to watch the incident again on his screen and disallowed the goal.

The official had decided Ajax forward Tadic was marginally offside and interfering with play – standing in front of Courtois at the exact moment Tagliafico got his header in. It was the correct decision technically, however without VAR the goal would have stood.

On the balance of play, Ajax had more than deserved Ziyech’s equaliser, which came with his 30th shot of the season – more than any other player in the Champions League.

They failed to make the most of their 19 shots and now face a real task on Tuesday, 5 March at the Bernabeu.

This was Ajax’s first Champions League knockout game in 13 years and with star midfielder Frenkie de Jong already agreeing to join Barcelona this summer, and teenage captain De Ligt among other star players expected to leave, they could have to wait a while before getting to this stage again unless they can overturn their deficit in Madrid.

Real find a way to get the job done again

Real Madrid have had a real aura of invincibility in the tournament, winning the past three finals in a row, all under Zinedine Zidane. No team had managed to defend the Champions League successfully until then.

Zidane has gone, his replacement Julen Lopetegui has been sacked and Santiago Solari is the man in charge now – but they still manage to win in Europe without performing well.

After riding their luck, they got the breakthrough when 18-year-old Vinicius Jr, the youngest player to make a Champions League knockout phase appearance for Real, controlled a long ball on the left wing, cut inside two defenders and squared it for Benzema to blast home his 60th Champions League.

Following Ziyech’s equaliser, substitute Asensio stole away from his marker at the back post to turn home Carvajal’s sumptuous cross into an empty net for a smash-and-grab win.

Captain Sergio Ramos, making his 600th Real appearance, picked up a late yellow card for fouling Dolberg, which means he will miss the second leg – but he will be back for the quarter-finals if Real are there.

Man of the match – Dusan Tadic (Ajax)

Ex-Southampton player Dusan Tadic (left) has scored 22 goals for Ajax this season and caused Real all kinds of problems. As well as hitting the post, he made five key passes, more than any other player

Match stats – Benzema equals Messi haul

  • Ajax have lost their last seven games in European competition against Real Madrid, scoring three and conceding 22.
  • Real have won six of their last seven Champions League away games in the knockout stages (L1), winning each of the last four.
  • Ajax are winless in their last six Champions League knockout games at home (D3 L3), their last win coming in March 1996 against Borussia Dortmund.
  • Real’s Karim Benzema has either scored or assisted a goal in each of his six Champions League matches against Ajax (four goals, four assists).
  • No other La Liga player has scored more goals than Real Madrid’s Benzema in 2019 in all competitions (eight, level with Lionel Messi).
  • Vinicius Jr has provided eight assists in all competitions for Real – more than any of his team-mates.

England in West Indies: Mark Wood takes 5-41 as tourists claim 142-run lead


Third Test, Daren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia (day two of five)
England 277 (Stokes 79, Buttler 67, Roach 4-48) &19-0
West Indies 154 (Campbell 41, Wood 5-41, Moeen 4-36)
England lead by 142 runs
Scorecard

Mark Wood claimed his first five-wicket Test haul to help England to a 142-run lead over West Indies on day two of the final match of the series.

Wood, playing for the first time since May 2018, bowled at 95mph as he took 5-41, with Moeen Ali claiming 4-36 as West Indies were dismissed for 154.

Rory Burns and Keaton Jennings guided England to 19-0 at stumps.

Earlier, the tourists lost their final six wickets for 46 runs as they were bowled out for 277 in St Lucia.

England arrived in St Lucia on the back of four batting collapses and having lost the first two matches of the series.

After their improved batting performance on the opening day, they again collapsed but their fielding was sharp and their bowling disciplined as they dismissed their hosts cheaply to take control of the match.

Wood bowled with a hostility and speed the side have been missing, regularly exceeding 90mph, and was backed up by Moeen’s off-spin and England’s close fielders.

Stuart Broad, who took 1-42, claimed a stunning one-handed catch, throwing himself backwards to dismiss Alzarri Joseph as West Indies’ innings fizzled out.

It will be frustrating, however, for England and their fans that they enjoyed their best day of the tour so far with the series already lost.

Wood brings pace on England return

Mark Wood
Mark Wood claimed two wickets in his first over in St Lucia

Wood has long been tipped as the bowler who could add extra zip to England’s attack, but a long-term ankle injury and some disappointing returns have limited his appearances.

In the past England have used him in an enforcer role, coming round the wicket and consistently bowling short, but he struggled to maintain his pace for long spells.

However, in St Lucia, Root simply let Wood run in and bowl, with the 29-year-old’s new, lengthened run-up allowing him to generate extra pace at an awkward angle.

Introduced in the 21st over, Wood claimed two wickets in two deliveries, with Shai Hope and Roston Chase both playing loose drives and edging to Rory Burns at gully.

Wood’s ball to Hope was 92mph; his hat-trick delivery to Darren Bravo was clocked at 95mph. He mixed up his lengths, going short to throw the batsmen off-balance and backing it up with full, straight deliveries.

He had Shimron Hetmyer caught in the slip cordon from a short ball before Bravo edged a full delivery to Root at first slip to leave West Indies 79-6.

Root then rested Wood, bringing him back to bowl at the tail, and the Durham man bowled Shannon Gabriel with a yorker to claim his fifth wicket

His pace was complemented by the spin of Moeen, who dismissed openers Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell with consecutive deliveries after they had put on 57 for the first wicket.

Campbell had been the aggressor, twice striking James Anderson down the ground for four, but he was trapped lbw by a ball that straightened, immediately after Brathwaite had been caught at mid-wicket following an uncharacteristic stride down the pitch.

Keemo Paul was tidily stumped by Bairstow off Moeen before Broad’s superb catch, running back from mid-on, to dismiss Joseph put England firmly on top.

Gabriel sparks England collapse

Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow has been bowled 30 times in 109 Test innings

England have collapsed in every innings this series, usually because of a series of rash shots.

However they were simply overpowered in the morning in St Lucia, with a superb spell of fast bowling from Gabriel seeing them lose their final six wickets in 95 minutes.

Resuming on 231-4, England added just one run before Buttler was bowled by a full Gabriel delivery, and the same bowler tormented a jittery Jonny Bairstow.

Bairstow was struck on the grille as he tried to evade a 93mph bouncer and Gabriel dropped a tough caught and bowled chance with the wicketkeeper on two and struggling for rhythm.

“I’ve caught balls off Shannon Gabriel in practice and he nearly blows your hand off,” ex-Windies coach Stuart Law told The Cricket Social.

“He’s such a big strong bloke – physically and mentally strong, and he bowls it with a certain pace and heaviness. It’s amazing to see it come at you.”

Having come through Gabriel’s spell, Ben Stokes was caught spectacularly at square leg by keeper Shane Dowrich after top-edging a pull, before Bairstow was bowled once again trying to drive a Roach inswinger.

The wickets fell quickly, with Moeen loosely edging behind and Wood holing out at fine leg, before Anderson fended a bouncer to fourth slip.

‘Today I felt like an England player’ – what they said

Stuart Broad
Stuart Broad claimed a superb catch to dismiss Alzarri Joseph

Former England captain Alastair Cook on The Cricket Social: “I don’t think there will be a happier dressing room than there is right now for Mark Wood.

“He always said to me he has always felt like he has underachieved. It has been really fiery stuff from him. You can see how popular he is within this team.”

Mark Wood speaking on Sky Sports: “It feels fantastic – all the hard times I’ve had with injury, and the self doubt, today I felt like an England player.

“I have had some bad times. There were times where I was desperate to do well but it wasn’t quite happening for me. I am here on merit not potential.”

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew:“We’ve realised yet again what a difference pace can make to any attack. We saw some terrific bowling and wonderful catching.”

West Indies wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich: “I think we’ve missed an opportunity to capitalise on a good pitch. Mark Woody came in and made a difference – it was a decent spell and he was sharp – but there were some soft dismissals in there as well.”

Contact Email (BBCNEWS.CO.UK@bbcnewslight.co.uk) or (mrbenrory@europe.com)

Kemoy Campbell: Jamaican taken to hospital after collapsing during 3,000m


Jamaican distance runner Kemoy Campbell has been taken to hospital after collapsing during the men’s 3,000m at the Millrose Games in New York.

Campbell, 28, was acting as a pace-setter when he collapsed and fell into the infield after the second turn just beyond the 1,000m mark.

He was given medical attention by the side of the track and then carried out of the stadium on a stretcher.

The athlete is in a stable condition in hospital, according to reports.

However, organisers have yet to provide official information on his condition.

The Jamaica Gleaner, quoting the athlete’s agent Ray Flynn, said Campbell had to be revived by defibrillator before being taken to an intensive care unit.

“We were all shocked to see what happened, but thank God, he is doing better. He has his girlfriend and his brother beside him,” Flynn told the newspaper.

Fed Cup: Johanna Konta felt ‘light-headed’ & was given option to retire in GB win


A “light-headed” Johanna Konta was given the option of retiring during her Fed Cup win over Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic by captain Anne Keothavong.

The exhausted British number one – playing her third three-set match is as many days – was slumped on the floor during a break after the second set.

But she recovered to win 7-6 (7-1) 3-6 6-2, sending GB into April’s play-offs.

“She didn’t have to continue if she felt like she couldn’t, but she wanted to,” Keothavong said.

“She showed so much courage and determination to find a way.”

Konta’s defiant win and an earlier 6-4 6-3 victory for an in-form Katie Boulter over Ivana Jorovic clinched Saturday’s tie for Britain in Bath, sending them through to their third consecutive World Group II play-off.

Great Britain – bidding to return to the World Group for the first time since 1993 – were playing on home soil this week for the first time in 26 years and won all of their rubbers across four fixtures in four days, with Boulter and Konta winning all of their singles rubbers.

I felt ‘out of body’ – Konta

Johanna Konta
Johanna Konta was in tears at the end of the match

Konta, who needed to be helped to her feet at the end of her win over Krunic, was seen lying on the floor in a gangway during a comfort break between the second and third sets.

“I progressively just started feeling more and more unwell, feeling light-headed, shaky, feeling a little bit out of body,” the 27-year-old world number 39 said.

“It got the better of me at the end of the second set. I really just tried to not panic, and just assess what I could do and basically do the best that I could with that.

“I had to quickly assess what my limitations were. I tried to zone in on the ball and time it as well as I could and try to direct the ball as well as possible, and I was able to do that, which made it difficult for her to do what she wanted with the ball, which I think is what basically enabled me to come through.”

Keothavong told BBC Radio 5 live: “Going into this match, I knew fatigue could possibly be an issue. It’s been a tough week.

“Every match she has played this week has been incredibly tough.”

Asked if Konta came close to retiring after the second set, Keothavong replied: “I gave her the option.

“She said she wanted to keep going, to give herself a chance, to give herself the opportunity to win her match for the team.

“She should be really proud of herself, because we all are.”

Boulter said she was “so proud” of Konta, adding: “She worked so hard and pushed through barriers I’m sure she didn’t want to go through today.”

‘A long timeout’

Johanna Konta
Johanna Konta lay on the court after sealing victory

Krunic said she had thought Konta had taken “a very long timeout” but that if she had health problems then she could not complain.

“It’s difficult for everybody. None of us are fresh,” the Serb said.

“If she almost fainted and she was lying on the ground, then take as long as you need to get up.

“Regarding her play, I didn’t see anything wrong with her on the court.”

What happens next?

Great Britain team with medals
Britain may have won this event in Bath but they still need to win April’s play-off to earn promotion

Great Britain now await Tuesday’s draw [12:00 GMT] for the play-offs that will offer the chance of promotion to the second tier of women’s team tennis and Keothavong has one simple wish.

“A home tie,” she said.

There will be eight teams in the play-offs, including the other three winners of this week’s regional third-tier events and the four sides who lose World Group II ties this weekend.

It is at this stage that Great Britain have fallen four times in the past seven years, most recently last April when they lost the deciding doubles rubber against a Japan team that featured current world number one Naomi Osaka.

Gareth Bale scores 100th Real Madrid goal – so why is his career under a cloud?


Is Gareth Bale’s time in Spain coming to an end?

Yes, yes… you’ve heard it all before.

It feels as though the flying winger has spent almost his entire five-and-a-half year Real Madrid career being confronted by rumours that the club are preparing to sell him, and the build-up to Saturday’s derby at Atletico Madrid was no different.

After being sidelined by the latest in a long line of injuries during the opening weeks of 2019, the former Tottenham man has again slipped down the pecking order, relegated to the subs’ bench behind rising star Vinicius Jr and hard-working Lucas Vazquez, a personal favourite of coach Santiago Solari.

Six Nations: Warren Gatland says Wales will be ‘a lot better’ against England

Most fans have been in no hurry to see Bale recalled: in an online poll by newspaper AS, 54% wanted the Welshman to stay on the bench despite recovering from injury, while 37% said Vazquez should not start and just 9% wanted Vinicius to be dropped. And that was even before the return of another popular wide man, Marco Asensio.

Poor displays last weekend against Alaves and in midweek at Barcelona hardly helped Bale’s cause, and former Real star Predrag Mijatovic summed up the general mood by telling the Cadena SER radio network that Bale was approaching “his last opportunity”, ominously adding: “We are all fed up with him.”

And with Eden Hazard seemingly set for a summer move to the Bernabeu to further increase the competition for places in attack, surely this latest round of reports that Bale is on his way out will finally prove to be accurate. Won’t they?

Reminder of talents… but remaining aloof

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale made it 3-1 to Real Madrid

The problem for the detractors – and there are many – who would like to bring Bale’s time in Spain to an end is that, when he plays, he is often good. Very, very good.

And his ability was once again demonstrated in the 3-1 derby victory at Atletico, in which Bale came off the bench to score an exquisitely taken goal, once again forcing his doubters into thinking he could have a future at the club after all.

As expected, he was left on the bench by Solari, further suggesting that he has slipped behind Vinicius in the Bernabeu pecking order.

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And Vinicius did not disappoint, with his pace and trickery providing a constant threat on the break. The teenage Brazilian particularly showcased his ability shortly before the break, winning a penalty – which Sergio Ramos converted for a 2-1 lead – by racing clear and forcing Atletico right-back Santiago Arias into a desperate challenge.

Surprisingly, though, Bale was still called into action in place of Vinicius 10 minutes into the second half, leading Spanish television pundit Axel Torres to wryly observe that the decision “doesn’t have much to do with meritocracy”.

After a quiet start, though, Bale justified the change by running onto a perfectly weighted through ball from Luka Modric and producing an emphatic finish, crunching a low, angled shot into the far corner for his 12th goal of the season – and his 100th in Real colours.

But part of Bale’s problem is that he often manages to give the impression of being an outsider, someone who is there without really being emotionally present.

On Saturday, he once again didn’t help himself in that respect by celebrating his goal with a strangely aggressive gesture and later marching straight down the tunnel when the final whistle was blown, leaving his team-mates to celebrate in the centre circle without him.

Bale’s outward unwillingness to fully engage with life in Spain – he has still only carried out one full (heavily staged) interview in Spanish – makes it easy for fans and pundits to turn against him when he struggles for form or fitness. And although his goal on Saturday will allow the pressure to abate for now, we can expect it to re-emerge once again before too long. That, unfortunately, is just the nature of the beast.

In truth, very few people really know whether he has a future at the club – probably not even Bale himself.

Morata nearly the hero on home debut

Alvaro Morata
Alvaro Morata had a brilliant chipped goal ruled out for offside

Bale’s points-clinching century strike partly overshadowed the involvement of two more players – both of whom previously played for Chelsea – who faced an interesting reception from Atletico fans inside the Wanda Metropolitano.

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Firstly, there was a home debut for Alvaro Morata. His arrival at Atletico last month was controversial because he had previously progressed through Real Madrid’s youth ranks to play almost 100 games for Los Blancos, helping secure a La Liga and Champions League double in 2017.

However, it’s not quite as straightforward as that, because Morata had already performed the ‘turncoat’ act during his youth, having originally joined Atletico as a child before leaving to join nearby Getafe and only then moving again to Real at the age of 15.

And when he signed for Atletico in January, the Spain striker and his new club were quick to underline his credentials as a lifelong fan, with Morata tweeting a photo of himself as a young boy wearing a red and white replica shirt.

There was still a fairly significant element of opposition to his signature among Atletico fans, so a dream home debut against his former club would have gone a long way towards winning over the dissenters.

After initially looking like a player who has not scored a league goal since November, he showed his pedigree with a brilliant first touch and then a delicate lobbed finish, only to be ruled offside.

When Morata was replaced with 20 minutes to go, he headed to the sidelines with the vast majority of the stadium offering warm applause, and just a few Atletico fans failing to forgive his Real past by whistling him to the bench.

Most of their whistles, though, were reserved for someone else…

Courtois plaque greeted with toy rats

Thibaut Courtois
Thibaut Courtois spent three seasons at Atletico Madrid – all on loan from Chelsea

Real keeper Thibaut Courtois launched his career as a teenager with a three-year loan spell at Atletico, during which he became a firm fans’ favourite by playing a vital role in the team’s unexpected title triumph in 2014.

Courtois was then recalled by his parent club Chelsea without being given much say in the matter, but Atletico fans have still taken a highly unsympathetic view of his decision to return to the Spanish capital and join Real – even though it is widely known the move was motivated by personal reasons, with his children living in Madrid.

As planned, Atletico fans expressed their feelings towards their former goalkeeper by ‘decorating’ a commemorative plaque – to mark his 100 games for Atleti – with toy rats and other uncomplimentary items.

Courtois was subjected to intense whistling when he emerged for the pre-game warm-up, and that continued every time he touched the ball once the action got under way.

Courtois only had one real save to make, doing well to repel a powerful drive from Gimenez when his team led 2-1, but on the whole his hostile return to Atletico passed by a lot more comfortably than he might have feared.

Six Nations: Warren Gatland says Wales will be ‘a lot better’ against England


Wales coach Warren Gatland says he will be happy if his side are underestimated following the scrappy win over Italy.

Gatland’s side top the Six Nations table after away wins against France and Italy and next face England in Cardiff on 23 February.

He said: “A lot of people will write us off, which is a good position to be in. Hopefully we’ll go under the radar.

“You’re not always brilliant and we weren’t today. We will be a lot better against England.”

Josh Adams and Owen Watkin scored second-half tries while Dan Biggar kicked 14 points to see off a resilient Italy side 26-15 in Rome.

“A lot of people will look to criticise us but you have to give Italy some credit for how they played,” added Gatland.

“That’s probably the best Italian performance I’ve seen since I’ve been in charge of Wales.”

Wales will achieve a record-breaking 12th successive Test win if they defeat England to beat the milestone set in 1910.

“We didn’t speak about the record at all this week but we will probably talk about it before England,” said Gatland.

“If this group of players achieve that, it’ll be something nobody can take away from them.

“We’ve got a chance, we’re at home, the stadium will be full, it’ll be some atmosphere at the Principality Stadium. So there will definitely be no lack of motivation in trying to beat England and break that record.”

Six Nations: Beating Italy 'a lesson in how to win ugly' - Gatland
Six Nations: Beating Italy ‘a lesson in how to win ugly’ – Gatland

Gatland said he had no regrets about making 10 changes against Italy from the side that beat France 24-19. He has used 31 players in those two victories and said the World Cup later this year was behind his decision.

“I was looking at the bigger picture,” said Gatland, whose contract with Wales ends after the tournament in Japan.

“For us as coaches, in our last year, we want to have as good a World Cup as we can. That was the plan all along. There’s no regret.

“If it was a normal year, on reflection, maybe we wouldn’t have made so many changes. We wanted to give everyone in the 31 an opportunity to be involved in the first two games.

“We’ll put this game behind us and the most satisfying thing was coming away with a win.”

Six Nations 2019: Ireland ‘muscled through’ Scotland win


Head coach Joe Schmidt says Ireland have to improve despite getting their Six Nations title defence back on track with a  dogged victory over Scotland.

A second-half try by Keith Earls saw the Grand Slam champions escape from Edinburgh with a crucial 22-13 win.

Conor Murray and Jacob Stockdale also scored as Ireland survived a first-half onslaught to rebound from their heavy opening-round loss against England.

“We just muscled our way through it to be honest,” said a relieved Schmidt.

“It wasn’t the prettiest game, we got a peach of a set-piece try and we got a couple of broken-field running tries and I think we restricted them to an intercept try so from that perspective (it’s positive).”

Scotland dominated the opening half at Murrayfield but Gregor Townsend’s side were unable to convert their pressure into points as Murray pounced on a mix-up between Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland to cross for the opening try. Stockdale then scored a superb training-ground move to push the visitors into a first-quarter lead.

The home side fought back to within two points through Sam Johnson’s score after Finn Russell intercepted a Joey Carbery pass but Scotland failed to profit from a sustained spell of pressure at the end of the opening half when the Irish defence repelled 25 phases before a knock-on allowed them to lift the siege.

Schmidt added: “In that first half, we were in our 22 for 34% of the time and in our half for about 72% of the time so that was a massive defensive effort and even the intercept was on our advantage so we went to sleep a little bit there and we’ve got to be better than that.”

England defeat demanded a ‘physical reaction’

The humbling defeat to England was Ireland’s first Six Nations loss in Dublin since 2013 and Schmidt issued a robust defence of his team’s style of play as the world number two side found themselves under pressure to produce a response on the field.

A poor first-half performance at Murrayfield eventually gave way to an improved display by the champions after the break as they held Scotland at arm’s length.

'We muscled our way to victory' - Schmitt on Ireland win over Scotland
‘We muscled our way to victory’ – Schmitt on Ireland win over Scotland

“We have a lot of belief in what we’re doing and how good a team we are,” insisted Ireland captain Rory Best.

“That was a really tough game and it was also tough mentally in the build-up to it, but we asked for a physical reaction that we probably didn’t get last week and by and large we got that.

“It maybe wasn’t the most spectacular game of rugby that was ever played but it was two teams that went hard at each other and we’re very grateful to win.”

In a game of tight margins, the Ulster hooker said his team’s ability to convert their opportunities was vital: “We had a couple of chances and we took them and we were quite clinical when we had the ball.

“We’ve obviously got a lot of improving to do as well but we had to wear them down, they’re well-organised in defence and we knew they would be very dangerous in attack, and by and large we fronted up to our task as we had to.”

Ireland will travel to Rome to play Italy in round three on 24 February.

Emiliano Sala search team recover body from plane wreckage


It is not yet known whose body was recovered from the plane wreckage

A body has been recovered from the wreckage of the plane which crashed with Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson on board.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch said specialist contractors joined the operation in “challenging conditions”.

It was carried out in “as dignified a way as possible” and the men’s families were kept updated throughout, it said.

The wreckage of the plane, which vanished two weeks ago over the English Channel, was found off Guernsey.

The Geo Ocean III, the boat carrying the body, arrived at Portland Port in Dorset on Thursday morning as it is the nearest part of the British mainland to where the plane was located.

Dorset Police said: “The arrival of the body into Dorset has been reported to the coroner for Dorset.

“The coroner will investigate the circumstances of this death supported by Dorset Police. A post-mortem examination will be held in due course.”

No formal identification has taken place, but the force said both families had been updated.

Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson
Emiliano Sala (left) was on board a plane being flown by pilot David Ibbotson

The Piper Malibu N264DB was en route from France to Cardiff, after the 28-year-old Argentine striker made a quick trip back to his former club Nantes two days after his £15m transfer to Cardiff was announced.

Mr Ibbotson, 59, from Crowle, North Lincolnshire, was at the controls when the flight lost contact with air traffic controllers on 21 January.

An official search was called off on 24 January after Guernsey’s harbour master said the chances of survival were “extremely remote”.

But an online appeal started by Sala’s agent raised £324,000 (371,000 euros) for a private search led by marine scientist and oceanographer David Mearns.

Working jointly with the AAIB, his ship and the Geo Ocean III, began combing a four square mile area of the English Channel, 24 nautical miles north of Guernsey, to make best use of the available sensors.

Mr Mearns said the plane was identified by sonar, before a submersible with cameras was sent underwater to confirm this.

Footballers and fans pay tribute to Emiliano Sala at Cardiff City Stadium
A minute’s silence was held for Sala and Mr Ibbotson ahead of Cardiff’s home game against Bournemouth
Fans place flowers and T-shirts with messages in tribute of Emiliano Sala before Cardiff's Premier League match against Bournemouth at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday
Cardiff fans left a sea of flowers outside the Cardiff City Stadium in tribute to Emiliano Sala

The AAIB used a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) to aid the search, with no divers involved.

The body was moved first, and separately from the wreckage, to maximise the chances of it being successfully brought to the surface.

It said efforts to recover the crashed plane as a whole proved unsuccessful, before being abandoned due to poor weather.

“The weather forecast is poor for the foreseeable future and so the difficult decision was taken to bring the overall operation to a close,” the AAIB said in a statement.

However, the AAIB said video footage captured by the ROV would provide “valuable evidence” for its safety investigation.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Sala’s former club, French Ligue 1 side Nantes, has demanded Cardiff City pay his £15m transfer fee.

Sala, 28, was Cardiff’s record signing but never played for the club.

The fee was due to be paid over three years but Cardiff have withheld the first scheduled payment until they are satisfied with the documentation.

A supporter stands in front of flowers placed in front of a giant portrait of Emilianio Sala outside La Beaujoire stadium before Tuesday's French Cup match between FC Nantes and Toulouse FC
Supporters in Nantes have also been paying tribute to Sala

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Briton held in UAE in Qatar football shirt row”:


A Briton has been arrested and detained in the United Arab Emirates after reportedly being assaulted when he wore a Qatar football team shirt to a match.

Ali Issa Ahmad, 26, from Wolverhampton, is said to have been unaware of a law against “showing sympathy” for Qatar – brought in amid a diplomatic dispute.

His friend says he was held after telling police he had been attacked.

The UAE embassy in London said Mr Ahmad has been charged with wasting police time and making false statements.

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Responding to earlier media reports, a UAE official said he was “categorically not arrested for wearing a Qatar football shirt”.

The Foreign Office said it is providing assistance to a British man and is in touch with the UAE authorities.

The UAE and four other countries in the region are currently engaged in a political and diplomatic stand-off with Qatar after they accused the state of supporting radical and Islamist groups.

On its website, the Foreign Office warns travellers to the UAE of a June 2017 announcement “that showing sympathy for Qatar on social media or by any other means of communication is an offence.

“Offenders could be imprisoned and subject to a substantial fine”.

‘Loved sport’

Mr Ahmad is said to have travelled to the UAE for a holiday. He was arrested after watching Qatar play Iraq in an Asian Cup match in Abu Dhabi on 22 January.

Speaking to the BBC World Service programme Newshour, his friend Amer Lokie said Mr Ahmad had called him from a police station on 30 January to tell him about the arrest.

Mr Lokie said: “After he left the stadium he was followed by a couple of people and they assaulted him.”

Mr Ahmad had been wearing a Qatar football shirt and was holding another one in his hands, he said.

“They took away his T-shirt and he went home. Afterwards he went back to police station to report the assault and they held him,” Mr Lokie said.

Asked whether Mr Ahmad had indicated whether the people who attacked him were members of the public, police or security officials, Mr Lokie said: “I was trying to ask him to clarify but he could not clarify because his time was limited.”

“He was just a person who loved sport so much,” Mr Lokie added. ” I don’t think he knew he could get into problems for wearing a T-shirt or supporting a particular team.”

‘Self-inflicted injuries’

The UAE embassy in London initially said it was unable to comment specifically on the case, adding “allegations of human rights violations are taken extremely seriously and will be thoroughly investigated”.

In a later statement issued through the embassy, a UAE official said Mr Ahmad was a dual Sudanese-British citizen.

The official said Mr Ahmad had gone to a police station to say he had been harassed and beaten up by local football fans for cheering the Qatar team.

“Police took him to hospital where a doctor who examined him, concluded that his injuries were inconsistent with his account of events and appeared to be self-inflicted,” the official said.

They said Mr Ahmad was charged on 24 January, adding: “We are advised that he has since admitted those offences [wasting police time and making false statements] and will now be processed through the UAE courts.”

The tiny oil- and gas-rich Qatar has been cut off by some of its powerful Arab neighbours – including the UAE – over its alleged support for terrorism.

The continuing rift meant there were very few Qatar fans in attendance during its Asian Cup matches.

When Qatar knocked the UAE out in the semi-final, objects and shoes were thrown at their players.

Qatar went on to win the tournament, defeating Japan 3-1 in the final on 1 February.