Sports World

Tranmere psyched for Cup money-spinner

LONDON • Tranmere are expecting a "very professional" Manchester United side to turn up at Prenton Park for their FA Cup fourth-round tie tomorrow, but have warned their opponents they "will give it everything we have got".

The League One side, languishing in 21st place in English football's third tier, set up the lucrative clash after beating Watford 2-1 at home in extra time in their third-round replay on Thursday night.

While manager Micky Mellon conceded that his players are rank outsiders, he also promised they would "run their socks off again".


LeBron, Giannis again captain All-Star sides

LOS ANGELES • LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo headline a star-studded group of starters for this season's National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star game.

Los Angeles Lakers star James will captain the Western Conference team for the second consecutive season, while Milwaukee Bucks' Antetokounmpo, the reigning Most Valuable Player, will once again take charge of the East.

Both captains will select the rosters for their own teams on Feb 6 from the pool of available players, including debutants Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young.


Korda unfazed by rain, tops Gainbridge

MIAMI • Jessica Korda waited out a late rain halt to cap her six-under 66 with her eighth birdie of the day, taking a two-shot lead over a chasing trio in the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio in Florida on Thursday.

She did not let a 40-minute delay distract her, keeping South Korean Kim Sei-young, Thailand's Patty Tavatanakit and Japanese Yui Kawamoto at bay.

The American is gunning for her first LPGA title in two years since winning at Siam Country Club in 2018.


Pieters leads by one in Dubai Desert heat

DUBAI • Belgian Thomas Pieters carded a five-under 67 in difficult conditions to open up a one-shot lead over American David Lipsky after the opening round of the Dubai Desert Classic on Thursday.

Narrowed fairways and extremely fast greens combined with blustery conditions meant only 29 players finished under par at Emirates Golf Club.

After lifting his 25th European Tour title in Abu Dhabi last weekend, England's Lee Westwood had a day to forget as he finished with a disappointing 78.


Club allows Williams' bookmaker snub

TORONTO • Rugby star Sonny Bill Williams has refused to wear the logo of Super League sponsor Betfred owing to his religious beliefs, and it is a stance his club, Toronto Wolfpack, are willing to accommodate.

Wolfpack chairman Bob Hunter revealed that the Kiwi, who is reportedly the highest-paid player in the sport with a £2.6 million (S$4.6 million) annual contract, was "very clear on the matter" about the British bookmaker.

Hunter also called on Betfred to "respect and honour" the former All Black's Muslim faith.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 25, 2020, with the headline 'Sports World'. Subscribe