GLASGOW: Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara has accused Slavia Prague of « deliberate and premeditated » racial abuse and dismissed defender Ondřej Kudela’s rejection as an « outright lie ».
Kamara issued a statement after UEFA announced it would investigate incidents from the Europa League game between Rangers and Slavia on Thursday. The Czech team would like the Scottish Police to investigate a suspected physical attack on Kudela after the game.
Late in Slavia’s 2-0 win, Kudela covered his mouth with both hands and said something in Kamara’s ear during a break in the game.
Kamara, who is black, said it was racist language audible to a teammate nearby. Kudela admitted to berating the 25-year-old Finnish player, but denied any racial abuse.
« I was shocked and appalled to hear such racist abuse from a professional soccer player, » said Kamara in a statement released by his lawyer.
« The heinous racist abuse by Ondrej (Kudela) took place on an international level and any failure by UEFA to act is seen as a green light to racism, » he said.
Kamara said, « He told me to shut up and then said, » Just a second, my friend « before approaching and allegedly making the racist remark. He described Kudela’s actions as » deliberate and willful « .
Slavia denied the allegations, claiming that Kamara beat 33-year-old Kudela after the game because the Czech team « were not allowed to enter the dressing room » at the Ibrox Stadium.
« Slavia firmly denies the disgusting accusation of one of the team captains Ondřej Kúdela of racist behavior, » the team said in a statement.
« It was said in emotion, but I absolutely deny that there was anything racist in those words, » said Kudela as part of the team’s statement.
Kudela’s explanation, Kamara said, is an « outright lie that does not stand up to any form of control ».
The Czech team reached the quarter-finals of the Europa League 3-1 and met Arsenal.
Slavia said she filed a criminal complaint with the Scottish Police for assaulting Kúdela despite not identifying any Rangers players.
« The attack was brutal and carried out with full force to injure and cause physical damage to our player, » said the team.
UEFA opened an investigation on Friday and appointed a disciplinary inspector to gather evidence after previously saying it was awaiting reports from match officers.
« More information on this investigation will be made available in due course, » said a UEFA statement.
LOS ANGELES: LeBron James left the company in the second quarter with a high right ankle sprain that the Lakers said will be on hold indefinitely, and Los Angeles fell between 99 and 94 against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.
Two hours after the game, the Lakers announced that James would be indefinitely out. The defending NBA champion is already without the great All-NBA man Anthony Davis, who missed 14 games in a row with an injury to his right calf and won’t play again until April.
James was injured rolling his ankle under Solomon Hill, who was called for a foul when he awkwardly reached for a theft. The 36-year-old superstar screamed and fell on the pitch, clutching his ankle, but got up and stayed in the game for a moment.
« I haven’t necessarily seen him scream and scream like that, probably never, even with that groin, » said Kyle Kuzma, who was with the Lakers when James missed 17 games with a groin injury two seasons ago. « It must have hurt a little. »
After the injury, James hit a 3-point corner kick that extended his NBA record streak to 1,036 with at least 10 points. However, he called for a time-out and left the field shortly afterwards. James knocked over a chair in frustration as he walked into the locker room.
« The mood of the team is that we are disappointed that we lost and we have to come back tomorrow and get one, » said Lakers coach Frank Vogel. « I’m not going to reveal what LeBron was like (in the locker room). It’s in the house. »
John Collins had 27 points and a season high of 16 rebounds, and Trae Young added 14 points and 11 assists for the Hawks. They opened an eight-game journey with their eighth straight win under new coach Nate McMillan – but only after their defending champions lost their 17-time all-star to an injury that could shake the NBA’s balance of power if it emerges that this is serious.
After James was eliminated, the remaining Lakers rallied and took the lead by one point at half time, but missed the first eleven shots of the second half. Danilo Gallinari scored 14 of his 18 points at halftime for the Hawks, who have had their longest winning streak since January 2015.
« That was the first thing I said to the guys, we can’t relax because LeBron isn’t in the game, » said McMillan. « We have to keep the pressure on and I thought our boys did that. »
James’ absence left the Lakers without three starters in the second half, and the Hawks took advantage of their first road win over Los Angeles since March 2016. Along with Davis, Marc Gasol missed his seventh straight game since February after being under the health of the NBA Had sat and security logs.
« It’s different without (James) without AD, » said Gallinari. « Of course they are a different team. At the same time, all the players who have promoted are NBA veterans with experience, guys who have won championships. I would say it’s a very good win anyway. »
Montrezl Harrell had 23 points and 11 rebounds while Dennis Schröder had 16 points and seven assists against his former team for the Lakers, whose four-game winning streak ended under much greater concern.
Harrell suggested that Hill’s actions during James’ injury were « not a basketball game » and said officials should have considered giving him more than one personal foul.
Hawks: « It’s definitely a different type of game when Bron is out, » said Young. « Everything you do goes through him and AD. » … Clint Capela had 16 rebounds.
Lakers: Gasoline cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols, but coach Frank Vogel said the Spaniard wasn’t ready to play because he hasn’t trained since February. RONDO RETURNS
The Lakers played a tribute video to former security guard Rajon Rondo, who had five assists in 14 minutes during his first trip to the Staples Center since the Lakers championship run in the Florida Bubble. Rondo, who had already received his championship ring in the mail earlier this season, watched the video appreciatively.
Rondo also sparked more nostalgia among Lakers fans when he got a technical foul in the third quarter for a strange piece of game art that Schröder inexplicably shoved in the face after a whistle.
« I love competitors who really try to play against me on the pitch, but that’s not a competition, » said Schröder. « I’ll leave it at that. » UP NEXT
Hawks: Monday night at the Los Angeles Clippers
Lakers: On Sunday evening in Phoenix.
LONDON: Southampton put their bouts aside in the Premier League to advance to the FA Cup semi-finals with a 3-0 win at Bournemouth.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team broke into the relegation battle of the Premier League after losing 10 of their last 12 top games.
But Southampton was immune to these problems in the FA Cup this season and thanks to Nathan Redmond’s doubles they booked a place in the Wembley semi-finals after Moussa Djenepo’s opener.
Southampton, 1976 FA Cup winner, is back in the semifinals for the first time since 2018. The last final took place in 2003 after a loss to Arsenal.
Bournemouth, who played in the FA Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 1957, were outdone by a Southampton team in desperate need of a morally positive win.
While survival is a priority in the Premier League, Hasenhuttl insists the FA Cup was a « big goal » and made only two changes against a team from Bournemouth that finished seventh in the championship.
It turned out to be a smart move when Southampton built up Bournemouth’s defense in the 37th minute to take the lead.
Redmond’s enterprising run led him past two defenders to the edge of the field and he slid a neat pass to Djenepo, who took a composed finish from 8 yards into the far corner.
After supporting the winger’s first goal in Mali since October, Redmond went out of his way to double the lead in the first half.
After Diego Rico failed to deal with Stuart Armstrong’s possession, Redmond sped up the Saints area, leaving Steve Cook behind before stabbing a superb blow into the top of the net.
Redmond put the result with his third goal of the season in the 59th minute beyond doubt. The midfielder shot home from 10 yards after Armstrong’s shot bounced off the post.
For the last eight games on Sunday, Manchester United travel to Leicester in a clash between the teams currently second and third in the Premier League.
United are hoping to win the first trophy of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign of the season after four years without a big silver.
United last won the FA Cup in 2016, while Leicester has not reached the final since 1969 and is still waiting to win the competition for the first time.
Chelsea, beaten by Arsenal in last year’s final, will seek to extend Thomas Tuchel’s undefeated start as coach to 14 games when they face Sheffield United.
AHMEDABAD: India beat England by 36 runs in the crucial fifth game on Saturday to win their Twenty20 series 3-2.
England chased a mammoth 225 to victory and managed only 188 for eight of 20 overs despite a 68 from Dawid Malan. Bhuvneshwar Kumar returned an impressive number of 2-15 in Ahmedabad.
The two teams will now play three one-day international matches in Pune on March 23, 26 and 28.
Rohit Sharma and skipper Virat Kohli blew up half a century when India scored a new Best Twenty20 score of 224 for two against England.
With the series level of 2-2, England won the throw in Ahmedabad, but Sharma shot 64 and sat with Kohli on 94 for the first wicket. India’s captain made an unbeaten 80.
Sharma hit five sixes in his 34-ball flash before pulling a slower Ben Stokes leg trimmer onto his stumps.
Suryakumar Yadav continued the attack with a flurry of sixs and fours in his 32 of 17 balls, but a jaw-dropping field maneuver by Chris Jordan disrupted his innings.
Yadav hit an Adil Rashid ball to the limit for likely six, and Jordan sprinted from Long-On to try a one-handed catch.
Firmly standing to complete his third 50 in the series, Kohli joined forces with Hardik Pandya when India beat their previous best of 218 at the 2007 World Cup against England in Durban.
Kohli, who hit seven fours and two sixes on his 52-ball stroke, and Pandya, who crushed 39, put on 81 for the third wicket.
DUBAI: Russian Aslan Karatsev continued his remarkable season by winning his first ATP Tour title on Saturday and defeating Lloyd Harris in the Dubai final.
The 27-year-old, who was the first to reach the semi-finals on his Grand Slam debut in the Open era at the Australian Open last month, overtook South African Harris 6: 3, 6: 2.
Karatsev, who rose from 114th to 42nd place in the world rankings after the Australian Open, broke Harris’ serve in the middle of the opening set and twice in the second set.
It was his first ATP individual final after winning an event together with compatriot Andrey Rublev for the first time on tour in last week’s doubles tournament in Doha.
He knocked out Rublev in shape in the semi-finals on Friday and secured that against Harris.
Karatsev saved the only two breakpoints he faced as he raced to victory in less than an hour and 20 minutes.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: In the Middle East, where sport and diplomacy are closely linked, political passions can spill over onto the pitch.
With the Palestinian cause at the core problem that has united Arabs across the region for decades, Israeli players meeting Arab opponents on the field have learned that the age-old conflict is always imminent. Spectators threw shoes and mocked them. Egyptians, Saudis and others have turned down handshakes or withdrew from matches.
But politics played a completely different role on Friday. Months after the United Arab Emirates normalized relations with Israel, an Israeli national rugby team landed in Dubai to meet the Emirati team on the field for the first time. The more experienced Israeli team quickly defeated the UAE 33-0 in the first 7v7 friendly match, which was played without the crowds due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The rugby players and a few spectators rose as Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem, boomed across the grass field and through rows of skyscrapers. The players shook hands, slapped each other on the back, and poked their fists over a booming electronic beat.
Emirati gamblers only seemed uncomfortable when asked about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While the United Arab Emirates and Israel were never at war and had covert relationships for years, the Federation of Seven Sheikhs officially viewed Israel as an enemy.
After establishing formal ties last year, the UAE’s public backlash has been dampened, if not at all. For their part, the Palestinians have condemned the normalization between Israel and the United Arab Emirates as a betrayal of their cause for statehood.
« We don’t think about whether Israel is a good or a bad country, » said Ibrahim Doree, an Emirates player whose face was drenched in sweat after the game. « We just follow our leaders, » he added, declining to discuss the conflict before rushing to join the Israelis for a barbecue dinner in the desert.
The Israelis were more emotional. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin beamed with a dramatic speech about friendship on the field.
« This is crazy, crazy, » said Israeli player Ori Abutbul, shaking his head in disbelief. « I have no words when people ask me how I feel. »
Sport has already become a key to new relations between Israel and the Emirates. Hamad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, a member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, acquired a 50% stake in Beitar Jerusalem, a club notorious for its racist fan base and refusal to have an Arab player on its roster. However, reports questioning the sheikh’s finances have since put the deal on hold.
There are also signs of friction in the diplomatic relations between the countries. The UAE opposed attempts by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to embed the country in his election campaign.
On Friday on the field, the Emirati team captain Younes Al-Blooshi said he did not want to talk about the region’s political intrigues and rivalries. However, he expressed his relief that certain old cracks were starting to heal. Earlier this year, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries announced the end of a year-long boycott against Qatar.
During the bitter dispute, the UAE rugby team was playing in Qatar, but « it was pretty difficult, » admitted Al-Blooshi, declining to elaborate.
« Fortunately, everything is clear now, » he said, noting that the team would fly straight to Doha in May, a first since 2017 when the boycott closed the borders.
Meanwhile, Israel will again compete against European countries. The 2021 European Rugby Championship Cup starts next month.
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