Edinson Cavani Leads Manchester United to Come-From-Behind Win Against Southampton

Edinson Cavani is the comeback king…

The 33-year-old Uruguayan professional footballer and Manchester United substitute inspired the team’s come back from two goals down to win 3-2 at Southampton on Sunday, scoring two goals and creating another.

Edinson Cavani

Southampton led 2-0 at half-time but a Bruno Fernandes strike and Cavani double won the game for the visitors.

United goalkeeper David de Gea limped off at halftime after suffering a knee injury when attempting to save Southampton’s second goal.

United became the first side in Premier League history to come from behind to win four successive away games and they had Cavani to thank for the dramatic turnaround on the south coast.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s men moved into the top half of the table with the win, up to seventh on 16 points, one point behind Southampton, who saw their seven-match unbeaten league run brought to an end.

Cavani replaced Mason Greenwood in the second half and set up Fernandes to score on the hour mark to get ManUnited back in the game.

Fernandes returned the favor 14 minutes when his shot was turned into the back of the net by a Cavani header.

United dominated the latter stages, and Cavani struck again in stoppage time, his near-post header from Marcus Rashford‘s cross earning all three points.

“Great impact of course,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said of Cavani. “He is always on the move, he wants to get in front of you and I am very pleased with him.

“His hunger to get on the end of things is the key for a centerforward. Sometimes it hurts and sometimes it doesn’t but to score you have to be in there.”

Lionel Messi Dedicates Latest Goal to the Late Diego Maradona

Lionel Messi is paying tribute to a soccer legend… 

The 33-year-old Argentine futbol star dedicated a goal to the late Diego Maradona in his return to the F.C. Barcelona team in a 4-0 romp against Osasuna on Sunday.

Lionel Messi

Messi, who’d been rested for the 4-0 win against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League on Tuesday, scored the fourth goal and celebrated by revealing a Newell’s Old Boys shirt in Maradona’s honor, following his death at the age of 60 on Wednesday.

Messi began his youth career at Newell’s before joining Barcelona and Maradona was on the books at the Rosario-based club at around the same time, toward the end of his playing career.

The Catalans had paid homage before kickoff to Maradona, who played for the club in an eventful yet disappointing spell from 1982 to 1984, hanging a framed signed shirt of his above the presidential box while the players held a minute’s silence in front of an old Barca shirt bearing the No. 10.

Barca, who had begun the day 14th in La Liga, won comfortably with Martin BraithwaiteAntoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho also on the score sheet.

“Maradona deserved an emotional tribute like that, we have lost a global idol,” Coutinho said. “Everyone in football admired him and we’ll all miss him.”

Griezmann added: “We didn’t know what Messi had prepared in tribute to Maradona, it was a beautiful surprise.

J.J. Barea Re-Signs with Dallas Mavericks

J.J. Barea is still a maverick

The 36-year-old Puerto Rican professional basketball player and NBA point guard has agreed to re-sign with the Dallas Mavericks on a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum of $2.6 million, according to ESPN.

JJ Barea Dallas Mavericks

With Barea’s return, the Mavericks anticipate entering training camp with 16 players on guaranteed contracts, one over the regular-season roster limit. Dallas plans to have competition for the final roster spots in camp.

Barea has spent 11 of his 14 NBA seasons with the Mavericks, playing a key role on the 2010-11 championship team. He played a limited role last season after returning from a ruptured Achilles, averaging 7.7 points and 3.9 assists in 29 games, but provides valuable leadership in the locker room and has an especially strong relationship with superstar Luka Doncic.

The 5-foot-10 Barea, who first made the Mavs as an undrafted rookie, has career averages of 8.9 points and 3.9 assists per game. He has coaching ambitions after his playing career ends.

Deiveson Figueiredo Easily Defends UFC Flyweight Title Against Alex Perez

Deiveson Figueiredo has easily retained his title…

The 32-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist finished Alex Perez via guillotine choke at 1 minute, 57 seconds of the first round on Saturday night to retain the UFC flyweight title in the main event of UFC 255 in Las Vegas.

Deiveson Figueiredo

The incredibly fast, explosive Figueiredo found Perez’s neck in a scramble, locked in the choke and squeezed until Perez tapped out. It was Figueiredo’s first title defense.

“I came to the flyweight division to knock out, to submit everybody,” Figueiredo said. “To bring back the excitement, show the world the power of the flyweight division. I always thought I was gonna save this weight class, because people don’t know my power.”

Figueiredo, nicknamed “God of War,” and his dynamic, all-action style has reinvigorated the 125-pound weight class.

“If you don’t like this guy, stop watching fights,” UFC president Dana White said. “You need to find a new hobby if you don’t like watching him.

“Obviously I’m glad we didn’t [get rid of flyweight]. The division needed a little bit of rebuilding. We rebuilt it, and this is the result.”

White said at the postfight news conference that Figueiredo won’t return to Brazil after this fight and will instead stay in Las Vegas to defend his title again in December.

The plan, White said, is to have Figueiredo fight top contender Brandon Moreno, who beat Brandon Royval in the UFC 255 prelims.

Sources confirmed to ESPN that Figueiredo and Moreno had verbally agreed to fight at UFC 256 on December 12.

Figueiredo asked for Moreno in his postfight interview.

“Dana, make this happen,” Figueiredo said. “That’s the fight that I want to happen.”

Going in, ESPN had Figueiredo ranked No. 2 (behind Johnson) and Perez at No. 5 in the world at flyweight. ESPN also has Figueiredo ranked No. 8 in the world in its pound-for-pound rankings.

Ryan Garcia’s WBC Title Bout Against Luke Campbell Moved to January 2021

Ryan Garcia will have to wait a month to get back in the ring…

A date has been finalized for the rescheduled vacant WBC title bout between the 22-year-old Mexican American boxer and Luke Campbell. The two will fight on Saturday, January 2, DAZN has announced.

Ryan Garcia

Garcia and Campbell were scheduled to fight on December 5 in Los Angeles, but the fight was postponed after Campbell tested positive for COVID-19 on November 10.

“My mindset going into this fight hasn’t changed, and my training hasn’t stopped,” Garcia said. “I’m excited we have a new date and can finally bring this to the fans. I’m here, and I’m ready to ring in the new year with a victory … let’s go!”

Campbell, who has resumed training back in England, doesn’t seem too concerned about the short delay. “New date, new year, same result,” said Campbell. “I’m fully back in training and have never felt better. What a way to start 2021. This is going to be with a clinical Luke Campbell win.”

Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) hasn’t fought since a first-round KO victory over Francisco Fonseca in February. Garcia trains with Eddy Reynoso, who also trains middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez, junior lightweight contender Oscar Valdez and former heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr.

Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs), 33, lost a unanimous decision challenging then lightweight unified champion Vasiliy Lomachenko in August 2019.

Devin Haney is theWBC lightweight titlist and Teofimo Lopez Jr. is the WBC “franchise” champion.

Giovanni Reyna Signs New Long-Term Contract with Borussia Dortmund

Giovanni Reyna isn’t going anywhere…

The 18-year-old half-Argentine American soccer player and U.S. Men’s National Team international has signed a new long-term contract with Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund until 2025.

Giovanni Reyna 

Reyna, who made his USMNT debut earlier this week against Wales, is regarded as one of the most promising talents in the Bundesliga.

Sources told ESPN there was interest in Reyna from the Premier League and La Liga, but he was focused solely on continuing his career with Dortmund.

BVB are a big club that can challenge for titles and are in all the important competitions,” Reyna said. “Young players in particular have the chance to develop here.

“I have already learned a lot in Dortmund and I want to learn a lot more in future. I look forward to being with BVB in the long term.”

Reyna signed an initial three-year deal when he agreed to join Dortmund from MLS side New York City in November 2018. He arrived at BVB in July 2019 and went on to make his debut in February 2020.

He has been an ever-present this season, making 12 appearances for Dortmund, scoring twice, and contributing five assists.

“It’s a great thing for Borussia Dortmund to have a player like Gio, he has a lot of potential,” coach Lucien Favre said at a pre-match news conference on Friday. “If he continues like this, then he’ll be an extremely important player for BVB throughout the future.”

Sporting director Michael Zorc added: “Gio’s development in recent months has been incredible. He will definitely be an important part of Borussia Dortmund’s sporting future.

“I am personally very pleased that he has decided to extend his contract with BVB in the long term with complete conviction.”

Reyna is part of Borussia’s highly rated bunch of young attackers along with Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland.

Reyna’s debut for the USMNT was due to happen earlier this year, but the fixture schedule was interrupted due to COVID-19. Reyna has now followed in father Claudio Reyna‘s footsteps in playing for the USMNT.

Rafael Nadal Defeats Defending Champion Stefanos Tsitsipas to Advance to ATP Finals Semifinals

Rafael Nadal is still in the running… 

The 34-year-old Spanish tennis star has advanced to the semifinals at the ATP Finals for the first time in five years after knocking out the defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 Thursday at the O2 Arena.

Rafael Nadal

It is the sixth time in 10 appearances that Nadal has reached the semifinals of the season-ending tournament, which is the biggest title he has yet to win in his illustrious career.

Tsitsipas won it on his first try last year, but exited after a second loss of the group stage, done in by a shaky serve in the third set, during which he was broken three times.

Nadal never looked threatened on his serve against Tsitsipas until the final game of the second set, when he double-faulted to hand the Greek player a way back into the match.

“I think I was winning my serves quite comfortably until that moment,” Nadal said. “After that, everything changed.”

Suddenly, neither player could hold serve as the third set started with three straight breaks, with Nadal taking a 2-1 lead. The Spaniard finally held and broke again for a 5-2 lead before clinching the win on his second match point.

Nadal, who improved to 6-1 against Tsitsipas, will play Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals on Saturday.

Canelo Alvarez to Fight Callum Smith Next Month in Texas

Canelo Alvarez is heading back to the ring…

Following months of conflict between the 30-year-old Mexican boxer, his promoters and his broadcast partners, Alvarez is finally ready to rumble.

Canelo Alvarez

Alvarez will meet Callum Smith in Texas this December to unify WBA super middleweight titles, according to ESPN. This will be Alvarez’s first appearance since his 11th-round TKO victory over Sergey Kovalev in November 2019.

The target dates for the fight are December 18, 19 or 20.

Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) faces “Mundo” Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) after he announced himself as a free agent last week. His first business partner will be Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. It’s very possible that DAZN, the broadcaster partner Alvarez was working with before severing ties with longtime promoter Golden Boy Promotions, could carry the fight in the U.S.

The fight — targeted for AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, or the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas — will come a year after a meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, where Smith’s trainer, Joe Gallagher, spent a few minutes with Eddy Reynoso, Alvarez’s trainer, to tell him about his interest in an Alvarez-Smith fight.

Smith, 20, is seven inches taller than Alvarez and has about eight inches reach advantage. Smith, like Alvarez, hasn’t fought since last November when he scored a contested unanimous decision victory over John Ryder.

Smith is the WBA “super” super middleweight world titlist, and Alvarez has the WBA “regular” belt, but the fight could also be for the WBC super middleweight title that was left vacant when David Benavidez missed weight for his fight against Roamer Alexis Angulo in August and was stripped of the belt.

Alvarez starts a new era as his own promoter with a title fight against a legit opponent. Smith is considered one of the elite fighters in the division, and is ranked No. 1 by ESPN.

Giovanni Reyna Scores First International Goal as U.S. Beats Panama in Friendly Match

It’s a special first for Giovanni Reyna

The 18-year-old half-Argentine American soccer player scored his first international goal as the United States beat Panama 6-2 in a friendly on Monday in Wiener Neustadt, Austria.

Giovanni Reyna

But Reyna wasn’t the only player to do so…

20-year-old Chilean & Mexican American soccer player Sebastian Soto and Nicholas Gioacchini also scored their maiden international goals during the match.

 

The second-youngest U.S. team ever fielded — with an average age of 22 years, 154 days — started brightly but found itself trailing inside of 10 minutes when Jose Fajardo‘s glancing header from an Alejandro Yearwood cross beat Zack Steffen and gave Panama the early lead.

The Americans got back on level terms 10 minutes later, when Reyna scored from a free kick at the top of the penalty area after Yunus Musah was brought down following a nice run at the Panama defense.

The goal was the first in Reyna’s U.S. career, just days after his 18th birthday and a reported new deal with German club Borussia Dortmund.

Gioacchini then fired the U.S. in front with his first international goal, pouncing on a rebound from Ulysses Llanez‘s shot after some sloppy play out of the back from Panama.

Firmly on the front foot, the U.S. made it 3-1 in the 26th minute, with Gioacchini — who plays at Ligue 2 side Caen — netting his second with a close-range header following some neat buildup play in the penalty area.

Panama came out of halftime trailing by two goals and looked dangerous in the opening 15 minutes of the second period, but were unable to find another goal.

Gioacchini had a chance to make it a hat trick on the night, but he missed from the penalty spot after Panama’s Oscar Linton was whistled for hand ball in the area.

Panama clawed one back before the 80-minute mark in a bizarre sequence that saw Fajardo break free in the U.S. area with only Steffen to beat, and he sliced a left-footed volley into the net to make it 3-2.

Substitutes Soto and Richie Ledezma put the game away soon after the Panama goal, with the former meeting the latter’s cross in the box and heading home for his first tally in the U.S. senior side.

Sebastian Lletget made it 5-2 before full-time with a header of his own before Soto headed in his second from Ledezma to reach the final scoreline.

Rafael Nadal Wins Opening Group Match at ATP Finals

Rafael Nadal has started his ATP Finals experience on a winning note…

The 34-year-old Spanish tennis star made easy work of Andrey Rublev in Sunday’s late match, beating the Russian 6-3, 6-4 in just 1 hour, 17 minutes inside a largely empty O2 Arena.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal is hoping to cap off a season in which he earned his record-equaling 20th Grand Slam title and 1,000th match win on tour by capturing his first-ever trophy at the ATP Finals. He has qualified for the season-ending event for a record 16 straight years, but has lost in the final twice and missed six editions because of injuries.

Nadal steered the evening match in his direction from the start, losing just five points on his serve in the first set. He broke for a 4-2 lead when Rublev sent a shot long, and the Russian then slammed his racket into the ground in frustration.

Rublev entered the tournament as one of the hottest players on tour, having won five titles this season, but looked unsettled against Nadal and continuously gesticulated and shouted to himself between points.

Nadal broke in the opening game of the second set as well and never faced a break point of his own. He served out the win on his second match point when Rublev’s return sailed long.

This is the 12th and last year that the ATP Finals is played at the 02 Arena before moving to Turin, Italy, next year. Because of the coronavirus pandemic there are no fans inside the 20,000-capacity venue this time — meaning the normally raucous atmosphere has been replaced by an eerie silence interrupted only by muted applause from the players’ boxes between points.

There are also no line judges, as the tournament is using electronic line calling for the first time. The system means players can no longer challenge whether a ball was in or out as those calls get made automatically. However, they can request a video review for other disputed situations, such as double bounces.