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Masters postponed to ‘some later date’ due to coronavirus



Fred Ridley, Chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, attends the ceremonial start on the first day of play at the 2019 Master golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, U.S., April 11, 2019 – PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (REUTERS) – The Masters, which brings together the world’s best golfers in April for the year’s first major, has been postponed because of concerns about the coronavirus, Augusta National Golf Club said on Friday.

People from all over the world attend the Masters at Augusta National, which this year was scheduled for April 9-12, and the club said it hopes the postponement will allow it to host the event safely at a later date.

“Unfortunately, the ever-increasing risks associated with the widespread Coronavirus COVID-19 have led us to a decision that undoubtedly will be disappointing to many, although I am confident is appropriate under these unique circumstances,” Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley said in a statement.

The decision to postpone the event comes a day after the PGA Tour cancelled this week’s Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, and all events through April 5.

“I’m bummed,” world number four Justin Thomas said at TPC Sawgrass. “Selfishly I want to play, but this is way, way beyond that. You have to take a lot of other factors and measures into consideration here.”

The Masters has been played continuously since its inception in 1934 — except during World War Two when it was cancelled from 1943-45. If it is held this year it would mark the first time it has been played outside March or April.

Augusta National, the only permanent home for one of golf’s four majors, typically closes in late May to protect the course from the Georgia summer heat and does not reopen until October.

“That’s my favourite tournament of the year, so I obviously have hopes that we’ll get to play it,” said Thomas. “I don’t care if it’s 25 degrees and nobody is there, I’m going to go play it with a chance to win the Masters.”

‘Some later date’

Ridley also said the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the three-pronged junior skills competition known as the Drive, Chip and Putt competition that all lead into the Masters have also been postponed.

“Ultimately, the health and well-being of everyone associated with these events and the citizens of the Augusta community led us to this decision,” said Ridley.

“We hope this postponement puts us in the best position to safely host the Masters Tournament and our amateur events at some later date.”

Tiger Woods is the defending Masters champion after snapping an 11-year wait for his 15th major title when he came from behind to win by one shot last April.

“Postponed is a comforting word. Cancelled is another,” Xander Schauffele, who tied for second place at last year’s Masters, said at TPC Sawgrass.

“As long as it says postponed, I think the players will find hope in that word and just wait for go time.”

Source: The Saigon Times Daily (


Man United lose again, Guardiola back to see City comeback win



MANCHESTER, England – Manchester United slumped to a third Premier League loss of the season at home to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday as Pep Guardiola returned to see Manchester City side’s 3-1 comeback win at West Ham United.

Fightbacks were the order of the day as Liverpool recovered from falling behind to win 3-1 at Wolverhampton Wanderers in the early kickoff and two goals deep into stoppage time earned Tottenham Hotspur a 2-1 win over Sheffield United.

After another tumultuous week off the pitch for Manchester United, the club needed the players to lift their supporters.

Brighton ran out comfortable 3-1 winners, however, to ensure United suffered three defeats in the first five matches of a league campaign for the first time since 1989-90, leaving them languishing 13th in the table.

United fell behind in the 20th minute when Danny Welbeck slotted home against his former club when left unmarked in the penalty area.

Big-money signing Rasmus Hojlund, on his full debut, thought he had levelled before the break, but the ball was adjudged to be out of play when Marcus Rashford pulled the ball back to the Danish striker.

Brighton capitalised on that VAR reprieve as fine goals from Pascal Gross early in the second half and a Joao Pedro strike brought groans of dismay all around Old Trafford.

Substitute Hannibal Mejbri did get one back for the hosts with 18 minutes left but Brighton held on comfortably to move up to third on 12 points.

“Definitely that (losing three from five for the first time in Premier League history) is something that bothers me, but also I have to seen the way we play,” coach Erik ten Hag said.

“It is about character, we have to see how strong we are, stick together. We have to be very disappointed and annoyed at ourselves. We will turn this. There is a demand on us.”

Never-say-die City

Having recovered from back surgery, Guardiola would have been pleased with the fighting spirit of his team at London Stadium.

New signing Jeremy Doku, Bernardo Silva and Erling Haaland scored second-half goals to cancel out James Ward-Prowse’s strike and maintain City’s perfect record this season. They top the standings, two points ahead of Liverpool and three clear of Brighton.

City have now started a league campaign with five consecutive victories for the fifth time in their history, although their highest finish in any of those campaigns was third.

“I’d prefer to be here than to do a surgery that’s for sure,” Guardiola told the BBC.

“All game we played a fantastic game. Even when we were losing against at half-time. We were efficient, we were patient in the second-half. It was a big win after the international break. The team showed good spirit to survive.”

Wolves dominated the first half at Molineux against an unusually sluggish Liverpool, Hwang Hee-chan stroking in a seventh-minute goal and Wolves missing other chances.

Liverpool came out transformed in the second half, however, drawing level when Mohamed Salah set up fellow striker Cody Gakpo for a tap-in.

Wearing the captain’s armband on his 200th Premier League appearance, Andy Robertson slid in Liverpool’s second from another Salah pass in the 85th minute and they added a third in stoppage time.

There were further scenes of jubilation at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Tottenham were heading for their first Premier League defeat under Ange Postecoglou as they trailed to Gustavo Hamer’s goal against the run of play in the 75th minute.

But substitute Richarlison ended his goal drought with the equaliser in the eighth of 12 minutes added on and set up Dejan Kulusevski for the winner as Tottenham made it four wins in a row and 13 points from 15 — their best start to a top-flight season since 1965-66.

Late goals also helped Aston Villa storm back to beat Crystal Palace 3-1, Fulham secured a 1-0 victory over Luton Town, and Newcastle United move up to 11th with a 1-0 home win over Brentford, their first win in four league games.


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S.Korean football club bids farewell to Vietnamese striker Nguyen Van Toan



Seoul E-Land Football Club, currently playing in K-League 2, or the men’s second-highest division of the South Korean football league system, made an announcement bidding farewell to Vietnamese forward Nguyen Van Toan on Friday evening, prematurely ending his contract.

In a message in Korean on their verified Facebook page, Seoul E-Land stated that Toan ended his services at the football club and will be transferring to a different team in Vietnam.

“I felt extremely anxious when I first ventured overseas. I want to express my gratitude to the team, my fellow players, and all the individuals who treated me like family. It’s disheartening to bid farewell. But I must make a decision as a player,” the club cited the 1996-born striker.

Toan left Vietnam’s Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) FC, where he had built his professional career after his training years, to move to Seoul E-Land in January on a two-year contract.

At Seoul E-Land Club, Toan played a total of 388 minutes across nine appearances, four of which were starts, with no goals or assists recorded.

His last appearance for the South Korean team was on June 4. 

Following that, he sustained an injury and was sidelined for an extended period until his return to the Vietnamese national team for preparations leading up to the friendly match against Palestine in Vietnam on September 11 and contributed to the 2-0 win that day.

According to the announcement from Seoul E-Land Club, the 1996-born striker is currently in active negotiations with Nam Dinh Football Club in preparation for the 2023-24 V. League 1 season. 

Multiple sources suggest a strong likelihood that Toan will rejoin Nam Dinh in the top-tier V. League 1 on a lucrative three-year contract.

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Ho Chi Minh City football club to sign former French national team player



Leaders of Ho Chi Minh City FC have announced their plan to finalize a labor contract with former French national team player Paul-Georges Ntep next week for the 2023-24 V. League 1 season.

The length of the contract has not yet been specified, according to L’Équipe daily newspaper.

Paul-Georges Ntep has been a free agent since the end of his contract in 2022 with Boavista, a professional football club based in Porto, Portugal.

Ntep was born in Cameroon in 1992 and began his football career in France.

He represented France U18s to U21s before making his debut for the French national team in 2015.

The 31-year-old striker has had stints with several renowned French clubs, including Auxerre, Rennes, Saint-Étienne, and Guingamp.

In 2018, Ntep switched to playing for the Cameroon national team, where he participated in four matches and netted one goal.

Though his transfer fee reached a staggering 10 million euros (US$10.7 million) in 2015, his market value has since dropped to about €250,000 ($268,300).

Now, with his prime playing years arguably in the past, Ntep’s move to Ho Chi Minh City FC has garnered attention from the French media.

Last season, Ho Chi Minh City FC came close to relegation from the top-tier V. League 1, securing just a one-point lead over relegated side SHB Da Nang.

As the season ended, the Ho Chi Minh City-based club bid farewell to Victor Mansaray and Daniel Green in a bid to acquire more proficient foreign attackers.

The planned arrival of Ntep has thus generated significant anticipation for the team’s performance during the 2023-24 season, which is set to commence on October 20.

Before Ntep’s expected recruitment, Ho Chi Minh City FC had enlisted the services of overseas Vietnamese midfielder Pierre Lamothe, whose father is Canadian and mother is Vietnamese.

However, 26-year-old Lamothe is set to be placed on loan in the near future.

For the 2023-24 season, the team will bring in overseas Vietnamese goalkeeper Patrick Le Giang from Hanoi-based Cong An Hanoi FC, under a rule that allows each club to register only one overseas Vietnamese player.

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