World Cup dismay for Qatar as Ecuador wins opening game
AL KHOR, Qatar (AP) — Qatar’s first ever World Cup match ended in dismay for an overmatched team and with a place in unwanted soccer history. The controversy-laced tournament opened with Qatar getting outplayed in a 2-0 loss to Ecuador in front of 67,372 fans at Al Bayt Stadium. A host team had never lost its opening game in 92 years of soccer’s biggest event. The first World Cup in the Middle East is a chance for Qatar to showcase itself to the wider world but its soccer team couldn’t live up to the moment. Ecuador captain Enner Valencia scored both of his team’s goals in the first half.
AP Top 25: USC moves into top 5 for 1st time in 5 years
Southern California moved into the top five of The Associated Press college football poll for the first time in five years. Georgia received 62 of the 63 first-place votes in the AP Top 25 as the top four teams held their places after playing varying degrees of close games Saturday. No. 2 Ohio State received the other first-place vote. Michigan was No. 3 again, followed by TCU. The Trojans edged up two spots after a thrilling victory against rival UCLA. The last time USC was ranked in the top five was September of 2017, when it started at No. 4 but spent most of the season ranked in the teens before finishing at 12th.
Jalen Hurts’ late TD run gives Eagles 17-16 win over Colts
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jalen Hurts ran for an 8-yard touchdown with 1:20 remaining, and the Philadelphia Eagles rallied past the Indianapolis Colts 17-16. Coming off their first loss of the season, the Eagles trailed 13-3 in the fourth quarter. Hurts threw for a touchdown early in the period to get Philly within three. The third-year quarterback was 18 of 25 with 190 yards through the air and rushed 16 times for 86 yards as the Eagles won their seventh straight road game. Indianapolis never trailed until Hurts’ scoring run. Interim coach Jeff Saturday evened his record at 1-1 since taking over for the fired Frank Reich.
Tired No. 4 TCU has done its job for playoff so far at 11-0
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — TCU coach Sonny Dykes has a simple response for anyone who questions if the fourth-ranked Horned Frogs really deserve to be in the playoff discussion. Dykes says their job is to win football games, and they’ve done that to this point. They are 11-0 after a chaotic game-ending field goal that capped a two-score rally in the final 2 minutes, 7 seconds at Baylor. Only one of their conference wins has been by more than 10 points and they had to overcome double-digit deficits after halftime in back-to-back games last month. And they’ve played nine Saturdays in a row since their open date.
World Cup Viewer’s Guide: Qatar loses opener, US up on Day 2
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The first World Cup in the Middle East finally began Sunday night with a flashy opening ceremony and a loss by host Qatar against Ecuador. Two of the best players in the world were ruled out of the tournament with injuries before it even began. France striker Karim Benzema is out after hurting his left thigh and Senegal forward Sadio Mane has a leg injury. Monday’s matches consist of the United States against Wales, England versus Iran and the Netherlands facing Senegal. Eight of the 13 team captains of European nations have planned to wear “One Love” armbands promoting inclusivity but they could face penalties for breaking rules regarding FIFA-issued uniforms.
Qatar opens World Cup with lavish half-hour ceremony
AL KHOR, Qatar (AP) — The World Cup began in Qatar 12 years after the tiny gulf nation secured the rights. The moment was celebrated in a 30-minute, seven-act opening ceremony ahead of the match between Qatar and Ecuador. Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman and BTS vocalist Jung Kook were the slated stars of the show but the crowd was most favorable of the Middle Eastern leaders in attendance. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani drew a rousing applause when he delivered a message of inclusion in a brief speech given in Arabic. His father was also celebrated in a demonstrative autographing of an official World Cup shirt.
Irving rejoins Nets, apologizes for hurt his actions caused
NEW YORK (AP) — Kyrie Irving has returned to the Brooklyn Nets and apologized to anyone who felt threatened or hurt when he posted a link to a documentary with antisemitic material. Irving was suspended by the team on Nov. 3 hours after he refused to say he had no antisemitic beliefs when meeting with reporters at the Nets’ practice facility. He now says he should have handled that interview differently. Irving says he doesn’t stand for “anything close to hate speech or antisemitism.” He has missed eight games during his suspension. The Nets say he is available to play Sunday night against Memphis.
Lydia Ko wins LPGA finale for record $2 million payout
NAPLES, Fla. (AP) — Lydia Ko never won more in one day than on Sunday in the CME Group Tour Championship. She claims the richest prize in women’s golf at $2 million with a victory that allowed her to win LPGA player of the year. Ko outlasted Leona Maguire of Ireland in the final round. The turning point was the 16th hole. Ko made a 7-foot birdie putt for a two-shot lead. She wound up with a 70. Along with the biggest payout in LPGA history, Ko won player of the year and the Vare Trophy for having the lowest scoring average.
McIlroy clinches Race to Dubai title as Rahm wins in UAE
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Rory McIlroy finished the year as Europe’s top-ranked golfer for the fourth time – and first since 2015 – despite Jon Rahm winning the DP World Tour Championship. The Spaniard’s two-shot victory over England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Sweden’s Alex Noren was his third in six years at Jumeirah Golf Estates. But McIlroy finished the season top of the DP World rankings after Matt Fitzpatrick, his only rival for the Harry Vardon Trophy, blew up around the turn.
Djokovic matches Federer’s record with 6th ATP Finals title
TURIN, Italy (AP) — Novak Djokovic has claimed a record-equaling sixth ATP Finals title by beating Casper Ruud to top a fantastic finish to the season for the Serb. Djokovic won 7-5, 6-3 to secure his first title at the event since 2015 and match Roger Federer’s record. The 35-year-old Djokovic raised his arms out and smiled broadly after sealing the match with an ace. Djokovic earned the largest payday in tennis history as he walked away with $4.7 million for claiming the ATP Finals trophy undefeated.