Steven Gerrard's 50th European match as a manager ended in defeat as Rangers were beaten 2-0 by Lyon in their Europa League opener.

Having reached the last 16 in each of the previous two Europa League campaigns, Rangers were looking to make home advantage count against what look set to be their toughest rivals in Group A.

But Lyon – whose previous European match was a Champions League semi-final defeat to Bayern Munich in 2020 – had too much quality on Thursday.

Karl Toko Ekambi's 23rd-minute stunner put Lyon ahead, with James Tavernier's own goal condemning Rangers to their first ever Europa League group stage defeat at Ibrox.

Connor Goldson could easily have been dismissed for a reckless challenge on Toko Ekambi in the 13th minute as Lyon settled quicker, though the visiting forward showed no signs of being hindered with an exceptional opener.

Having been given time to approach the area, Toko Ekambi fooled John Lundstram with some fine footwork before curling a sublime finish across Allan McGregor and into the bottom-right corner.

Joe Aribo stinging the palms of Anthony Lopes sparked the home crowd into life, and Lundstram almost atoned for his part in Lyon's opener with a low strike that flashed inches wide.

Lopes had to be at his best to keep Ryan Kent, though Islam Slimani might have put Lyon 2-0 up on the stroke of half-time had he connected with Malo Gusto's cross.

Yet Lyon struck again early in the second half. Rangers were cut open by Lucas Paqueta's pass and though Slimani's effort was blocked, the rebound bounced in off the unfortunate Tavernier.

Tavernier was inches away from dragging Rangers back into it with a superb free-kick, only for the post to come to Lyon's rescue as Gerrard's milestone match in Europe proved a disappointing one.

What does it mean? Ibrox no fortress for Rangers

Of his 50 European matches in charge, Gerrard has won 25, drawn 16 and lost nine, with his team conceding 48 times in total.

Rangers had never lost a Europa League group game at Ibrox before Thursday's defeat, though including qualifiers, they have now lost three of their past four home matches in European competition, and Gerrard will need to find a way to turn that around if they are to mount a challenge in this tournament.

Toko Ekambi's quality shines through

With Memphis Depay now at Barcelona, Toko Ekambi – who scored 14 Ligue 1 goals last season – has the chance to assert himself as a major threat for Lyon this season.

He had failed to score in his five Ligue 1 appearances prior to the trip to Glasgow, but his finish – from one of his two attempts – was a sign of the quality the former Villarreal forward has in his locker. It could well kick-start his campaign.

Goldson caught cold

Just back from injury, Goldson looked way off the pace at the centre of Rangers' defence, with his early booking for a lunge on Toko Ekambi limiting his impact even further. 

He was still typically combative, winning possession back on seven occasions – a joint team-high – but it often looked as though Slimani had the beating of him.

What's next?

Rangers are back at Ibrox on Sunday, hosting Motherwell, while Lyon face the small task of an away trip to Paris Saint-Germain in their next Ligue 1 outing.

Victor Osimhen completed a late double to bring Napoli from behind and salvage a 2-2 draw against Leicester City, who finished the game with 10 men.

Napoli were behind after just nine minutes thanks to Ayoze Perez's first goal in 15 games in the Europa League Group C opener at the King Power Stadium.

Harvey Barnes set up the opener and looked to have wrapped the three points up for Leicester in the 64th minute, but Osimhen got them back in the game with a beautiful lob over Kasper Schmeichel.

Osimhen then headed home a dramatic equaliser in the 87th minute to maintain Napoli's unbeaten start to the season, with Wilfred Ndidi shown a second yellow card in stoppage time to compound a disappointing end to the game for Leicester.

South Africa will attempt to spoil Michael Hooper's record-breaking Australia appearance when the Springboks go on a Rugby Championship revenge mission on Saturday.

Hooper will captain the Wallabies for a 60th time at Suncorp Stadium, surpassing the number of times George Gregan led Australia out.

A special occasion for the skipper will come six days after Quade Cooper marked his international return by kicking a dramatic winning penalty against the Boks on the Gold Coast.

Holders South Africa were consigned to a stunning 28-26 defeat in Queensland and trail leaders New Zealand by five points.

Australia are unbeaten in six Tests against the Springboks on home soil ahead of the round-four showdown, after achieving their first win of this year's tournament last weekend.

The All Blacks have maximum points from three matches and can take another stride towards regaining the title by beating Argentina.

Here, Stats Perform uses Opta facts to preview the Rugby Championship double-header in Brisbane.

 


AUSTRALIA V SOUTH AFRICA

Form

South Africa will be looking to avoid back-to-back defeats in men's Tests for the first time since November 2018.

Australia have not won back-to-back Tests since October 2019 and may need to show their staying power once again to get their hands on the Nelson Mandela Challenge Plate.

Dave Rennie's side have scored 27 points in the final quarter of games in this tournament, more than any other quarter of a match.

Nic White, James Slipper and Taniela Tupou come into the Australia team. Jacques Nienaber makes three changes to South Africa's matchday squad, with Marvin Orie and Trevor Nyakane starting. Cheslin Kolbe is not ready to return from injury.

 

Ones to watch

Andrew Kellaway scored Australia's only try in last week's win over the world champions.

The wing is the joint-leading try-scorer in the tournament with three, alongside David Havili and Malcolm Marx. 

With Lood de Jager absent due to concussion, Orie takes over at lock for South Africa.

De Jager has won a competition-high 22 lineouts, including three steals, so Orie has big shoes to fill.

 

ARGENTINA V NEW ZEALAND

Form

The All Blacks dished out a 39-0 thrashing to Argentina in round three, Luke Jacobson scoring two of their five tries.

New Zealand have kept the Pumas scoreless in each of their past two meetings and have only failed to beat them in two of 32 previous encounters.

Argentina have lost three consecutive Tests, having lost only twice in their 10 prior to that run.

Joe Moody comes into a much-changed All Blacks side and Ardie Savea returns as captain, while Samisoni Taukei'aho makes his first Test start. Patrick Tuipulotu and Ofa Tuungafasi are also among the starters.

Santiago Carreras starts for Argentina at fly-half, while Pablo Matera takes the number eight shirt as Mario Ledesma makes six changes.

 

Ones to watch

The versatile Damian McKenzie gets the chance to start a second Test at fly-half for the All Blacks.

Playmaker McKenzie can put on a show at number 10 and pull the strings in tandem with scrum-half TJ Perenara.

Pumas captain Julian Montoya won three turnovers in the defeat to the All Blacks last weekend and his tally of four is twice as many as any other player in the tournament.

Montoya has not missed any of his 40 tackles in the competition.

Tottenham lost Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn to injury as they played out a 2-2 draw with Ligue 1 side Rennes in Thursday's opening Europa Conference League match.

Lucas played a big part in Tottenham's opener, which was credited as a Loic Bade own goal, before having to make way following a poor challenge from Flavien Tait.

It was Tait who had earlier equalised for Rennes with a curled finish at an atmospheric Roazhon Park, shortly before Bergwijn was withdrawn with an apparent ankle issue.

Gaetan Laborde completed the turnaround 19 minutes from time, only for substitute Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to quickly hit back and earn Spurs a point in the Group G clash.

Tanguy Ndombele was brought into the Tottenham side for his first appearance under Nuno Espirito Santo and played a huge part in the opening goal with 11 minutes played.

The Frenchman kept the ball in play with a fancy backheeled pass in a swift move that culminated in Lucas' attempted cross hitting Bade's boot and wrong-footing Romain Salin.

Serhou Guirassy then had a shot saved by Pierluigi Gollini but exchanged passes with Tait soon after for his team-mate to curl one into the bottom-right corner for the equaliser.

That ended Rennes' 212-minute wait for a goal and the hosts spurned a big chance to edge in front before half-time when Kamaldeen Sulemana headed wide from close range.

The second half had a disrupted feel to it following a number of fouls, one of which led to Lucas' injury, with the Spurs attacker unable to run off the damage.

That all changed when Laborde converted a rebound after Gollini pushed Sulemana's shot into his path, but it took Nuno's side just five minutes to respond through Hojbjerg's poked finish from close range to ensure the points were shared.

Celtic suffered a 4-3 Europa League defeat at Real Betis after an impressive opening half an hour had Ange Postecoglu's men two up in Seville.

A tricky first Group G fixture for the Bhoys initially went entirely to plan as Albian Ajeti broke the deadlock and Josip Juranovic's penalty doubled their lead.

But Betis' class told as Juan Miranda and Juanmi netted in quick succession before half-time, a feat the hosts repeated after the break.

Borja Iglesias and a second for Juanmi did the damage for Betis, with Anthony Ralston's late header not enough to ignite an unlikely Celtic fightback as a trip that promised so much ended in disappointment, although their sublime start suggested they could yet have a major part to play in a tough group.

Ajeti, signed by Manuel Pellegrini at West Ham, was influential against his former coach, turning in Jota's cross – the goal awarded after a lengthy VAR review, having initially been ruled out for handball – and then winning a penalty from Claudio Bravo, which Juranovic dispatched.

Joe Hart, who also played for Pellegrini and was replaced by Bravo at Manchester City, made two strong stops between those goals, but he was eventually beaten after 32 minutes.

Moments after a deflected drive struck the post, Miranda burst into the Celtic box to stab past Hart, and the visitors' lead was wiped out completely just 156 seconds later when Joaquin's delicate pass set Iglesias clear to square for Juanmi in front of an open goal.

Betis needed only five minutes of the second half to complete the turnaround, Iglesias meeting Sergio Canales' low left-wing cross with a smart flick.

Again, one goal followed another, with Juanmi controlling on his chest in the area following a corner and firing beyond the rooted Hart.

Tomas Rogic thundered against the foot of the post before Ralston nodded in David Turnbull's free-kick to set up a grandstand finish, but Betis held on.

Michail Antonio and Declan Rice struck in each half to secure a 2-0 win for West Ham against Dinamo Zagreb in Thursday's Europa League opener.

Antonio opened the scoring as he capitalised on Kevin Theophile-Catherine's poor pass to finish into an empty net, before Rice doubled the lead five minutes after the break.

Luka Ivanusec almost beat Lukasz Fabianksi, who did not make a save all game, but that was Dinamo's only opportunity as West Ham secured their first win in European competition since 1999 to top Group H.

In contrast, Dinamo will be disappointed with their efforts at the Maksimir Stadium as their 13-match undefeated run in the group stage of the competition ended abruptly.

The visitors boasted almost 70 per cent possession inside the opening 15 minutes but, barring a barrage of corners, Aaron Cresswell's inaccurate long-range effort was their only half-chance.

However, Antonio made West Ham's dominance pay as he profited from Theophile-Catherine's concentration lapse to round Dominik Livakovic and score the Hammers' first goal in Europe since 1999.

Ryan Fredericks was then denied by the Dinamo goalkeeper's feet before Nikola Vlasic fired narrowly wide on the stroke of half-time.

Dinamo looked to respond immediately in the second half, with Bruno Petkovic blasting narrowly wide but it was Rice who added a second, driving forward before powering a left-footed strike through the legs of Livakovic.

Ivanusec tried to pull one back, dancing around Kurt Zouma prior to curling towards the bottom-right corner, only to see his effort trickle wide as Fabianski passed the hour-mark without making a save.

With David Moyes' men dominant, Pablo Fornals looked for a third with a low attempt but found Livakovic's hands as the visitors cruised to a memorable return to European football.

Moise Kean has insisted he does not feel the pressure of replacing Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus following his return to Turin.

Ronaldo, who scored 101 goals across 134 matches in all competitions at Allianz Stadium, moved back to Manchester United in August as he ended a 12-year absence from Old Trafford.

Moments after the Portugal captain's departure, Kean signed for Juve on an initial loan from Everton, with the Serie A outfit obliged to buy if certain objectives are met.

The Italy forward spent last season on loan at Paris Saint-Germain, where he impressed with 13 goals in 26 Ligue 1 matches.

Despite arriving in the wake of Ronaldo's move, Kean told reporters at his Juve presentation that he is focusing on achieving success with Massimiliano Allegri's team and not on who he has replaced.

"I don’t feel any pressure in replacing Ronaldo,” he said at Thursday's news conference. "I just want to lend a hand to the team where I grew up and where I lived good times.

"I just want to play, I have no pressure, I just feel the responsibility of wearing the Juventus shirt."

Indeed, the 21-year-old has played for the Bianconeri before, making his debut aged just 16 years, eight months and 21 days to become the club's youngest ever player.

He managed seven goals in 16 Serie A appearances before an underwhelming spell at Everton, where he managed only two goals in 32 outings.

Allegri has already granted Kean cameo appearances against Napoli and Malmo and Juve's new signing is looking forward to the challenge ahead.

"Wearing the black and white jersey has always given me great emotions," he continued.

"It is the right choice, I am ready for this new challenge. I'm lucky to have played in foreign championships.

"I'm here to give a big hand to the team I grew up in. I don't feel its weight, but the responsibility of wearing this shirt and giving 100 per cent.

"We didn't start well but we have great objectives. I'm sure we will aim for great results."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appreciates the expectations on his Manchester United side are high as they return to Premier League action against West Ham.

United are unbeaten in 28 away top-flight games – the longest run in English league history – conceding just 19 goals in the process.

They have also won their last two meetings with Sunday's opponents as they go in search of a third consecutive win against West Ham for the first time since 2014.

However, following a surprise 2-1 Champions League loss to Young Boys on Tuesday, Solskjaer acknowledged his side need to respond on Sunday.

"They’re focused of course, a little bit disappointed but not too downbeat. We know it's a setback and we have to do better, and we've got five games to get the 10 to 12 points we need," Solskjaer told reporters.

"[It's] not the start we wanted but we're a good team that can bounce back again and the group is very good."

Asked whether the media's reaction post-match surprised him, Solskjaer responded: "No, it doesn't surprise me. I've got my job and we do our job, you tend to in the media get judged by behaviours and outcomes rather than intentions.

"It's black and white. But we go into the game with good intentions, we make changes with good intentions, go into a tackle and make a pass with good intentions.

"The outcome always decides which headline we'll see and very, very rarely is the game fantastic or really, really bad, it just hovers about good or not good enough.

"We know the expectations are high and we expect more of ourselves as well, the performance wasn't up to our standard."

Questions piled on regarding Solskjaer's capabilities following the surrender of a one-goal lead against Young Boys, with the removal of Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo being key issues for some.

But Solskjaer evaded questions over his management style or philosophy, instead insisting the desire of the United team could prove the difference between winning and losing this term.

"I don't sit here and claim and talk... football is a simple game and it's about making good decisions and being in a team," he continued.

"Sometimes we look too much into all the intricacies – it's passion, it's desire, who wants to win the ball? Which one of the strikers has the desire to get on the end of crosses?

"You can talk about all sorts, it looks nice on paper. But when you go out on that pitch, it's who wants to win, that’s one of the big things. You want winners and I think I'm getting there with my team, team players."

The United head coach is also hoping to have Edinson Cavani back from injury soon, with the Uruguay striker's only involvement for the Red Devils this season coming in a 37-minute cameo against Wolves at the end of August.

Since then, he has struggled with fitness issues, but Solskjaer is confident the former Paris Saint-Germain star can be involved again from next week.

"Edinson [Cavani] hopefully will start training with us after the weekend, maybe Monday, so maybe involved on Wednesday," he added.

"He had a fantastic season last season, the impact he made when he got his fitness… He struggled with niggly injuries early on.

"We feel that to get the best out of him this season we need to get him 100 per cent fit and not rush him. We’ve got a strong squad that will cope with having to let players heal and not risk any further injuries.

"I see Edinson having a massive impact, he's that type of personality and player. He can't wait to play and he's working really hard to get back on the pitch."

Mikel Arteta hailed Arsenal's response to their poor start and warned there must be no let-up as they travel to Burnley on Saturday.

Arsenal avoided an unwanted club record of four defeats in their first four Premier League games thanks to a 1-0 win over Norwich City last weekend, scoring their first top-flight goal of the season.

Arteta's side now look ahead to Burnley, who they are unbeaten against in their last nine away league games, their last defeat at Turf Moor coming in 1973.

The Gunners manager is full of confidence following the learning curve that he has experienced at the start of the 2021-22 campaign.

"The boys were happy because we experienced a reaction of the fans towards the team and winning the first match, getting out of the blocks in the Premier League, it was a big part of our next moment," Arteta told a news conference.

"Now we have to put a run together and we know how much we need the results and the performances will lead to that.

"The way that everybody around me responded is the way that I responded and that's why it has been fine. It's tough because you want to see something different.

"But what you want is not always what happens. Things happen for a reason and maybe what is happening had to happen and it is going to be really good for the club. Now we have to believe.

 

"I can really see the light. I'm telling you I'm very positive most of the time. I've seen the light and I can see bright lights. There can be bumps in the road within that light, but I can see a lot of light."

Arsenal also opted to utilise new goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale against Norwich after signing him from Sheffield United in the transfer window, leaving Bernd Leno on the bench.

Indeed, Ramsdale has kept a clean sheet in both of his appearances so far in all competitions and he could become the first Arsenal goalkeeper since Wojciech Szczesny in 2010 to record a trio of shutouts in his first three starts.

Leno's demotion to the bench in recent weeks has led to reports that the Germany goalkeeper is unsettled, but Arteta assured that the competition is healthy.

"Aaron [Ramsdale] has come here to try to make us better and I decided to play him on the day, that's all," Arteta said.

"It is the same in every position. We want them to make each other better. We are competing against our opponents, we are not competing against each other here.

"We are trying to raise the level of the team and the level of the club.

"Bernd [Leno] should be disappointed, and he should support his team-mates as they all have with him. That's exactly what he's done."

Cristiano Ronaldo was destined to be one of the best footballers in the world from the outset, according to former Manchester United team-mate Louis Saha.

The pair crossed paths during Saha's four-year stint at Old Trafford between 2004 and 2008, just as Ronaldo burst onto the scene following his arrival from Sporting CP.

The Portugal captain would go on to score 118 times in 292 appearances for United before sensationally returning for a second spell last month.

Ronaldo hit the ground running with a brace against Newcastle United – the only team he has a Premier League hat-trick against – in his first game back at the club last weekend and was also on target in a 2-1 Champions League defeat at Young Boys on Tuesday.

Saha said he recognised Ronaldo was a special talent soon after he first joined United.

"I saw it straight away," Saha told Stats Perform. "When you realise that the guy at this young age can do what he was able to do after a few games you realise that the guy is just an animal of work as well outside of the field.

"He is always obsessed about his game and how to improve straightaway.

"Maybe after a few months, he was already very confident in claiming that he was the best or he would be the best player in the world.

"So all those things were a big sign that the guy has something special in terms of skill, but [also] in terms of mentality and confidence.  All this make me fairly quickly believe that he had massive potential to be a top star.

"I'm not surprised from the moment he left United, I'm not surprised that he keeps doing it at this level because when you have the talent and you manage then to work harder than anyone who is a bit laborious, that's a fantastic combo."

However, it has not all been straightforward since Ronaldo's return, with 10-man United surprise losers to Young Boys on a landmark 177th Champions League appearance for the forward as he equalled Iker Casillas' record.

Ronaldo scored against his 36th different club in the competition on Tuesday, with 12 years and 132 days the biggest gap between Champions League goals for the same club in the competition's history.

But as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side failed to defend their one-goal lead, Ronaldo could be seen animatedly issuing instructions alongside his manager and Saha is interested to see how their new relationship will work.

"I think I will say that it could be strange for Ole in some way, more than for Cristiano because I think we have seen it all when he moved to [Real] Madrid and then to Juventus and improved as a superstar," he continued.

"So now to actually manage a player like that you played with, it must be a bit strange but at the same time, he's a very smart lad and at the same time, Cristiano is here to win.

"There is no conflict there. It's just about how to actually get the result they both want.

"I think he has the luxury to get to, let's say, the finished product in his hand. It's brilliant as a manager to be in that position and to [have] one of the best players in the world.

"So I don't think that is it any difficulty for him, just the players around will need to adapt. They need to play a certain way to optimise Cristiano Ronaldo, [he] is not 25 anymore. You have to play to a certain strategy."

Nicolas Anelka fired a warning that darker days could lie ahead after Paris Saint-Germain fell flat against Club Brugge despite fielding Neymar, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe in the starting line-up.

The disappointment of a 1-1 draw in Belgium was compounded by an ankle injury sustained by Mbappe that forced the France forward off early in the second half.

PSG were out-shot 16-9 by Club Brugge, with Messi having three attempts but proving unable to mark his 150th Champions League appearance with what would have been a 121st goal in the competition.

Messi had never previously played against a Belgian side in the competition, scoring against teams from all 17 other nations he has faced. The closest he came was when he struck the crossbar in the 29th minute.

Neymar did not take a shot, while Mbappe had only one attempt before being substituted.

"It is the PSG that we do not want to see," Anelka said, speaking to French broadcaster RMC Sport.

"Nothing. There was nothing, except for the first 15 minutes. But apart from that, there was no intensity. We did not see anything offensively, it will be complicated."

The star attacking trio may take time to become a cohesive threat, given playing together is so very new, but head coach Mauricio Pochettino will be expected to return PSG to winning ways.

Manchester City visit Paris on September 28, and Anelka is already worried about the Parisians' prospects of finishing in the top two in Group A.

"If they play like that, it will not be possible," said former PSG and City striker Anelka.

The result on Wednesday evening means Messi has gone four consecutive Champions League games without enjoying a win (D2 L2). Only between March 2006 and February 2007 has he gone longer without a victory in the competition, then experiencing a run of five with Barcelona around the outset of his career.

Pochettino saw the performance of his team rather differently to Anelka's viewpoint.

"The problem today wasn't our three attackers," Pochettino said. "We just had to be more solid in both penalty areas but I'm happy with the defensive performance of our attackers."

The PSG boss defended Messi's performance, saying of the former Barcelona captain: "When you don't win, people try to put the focus on the less positive aspects.

"But I'm happy with his performance in terms of his spirit and attitude but also in terms of his adaptation to the team. It is clear that none of us is happy today as here at PSG we want to win every game and then also play well."

Bo Bichette and Robbie Ray led the way as the playoff-chasing Toronto Blue Jays took down the American League (AL) East-leading Tampa Bay Rays 6-3 in MLB.

Bichette homered and matched his career high with five RBIs, becoming the second Blue Jays shortstop to hit 25-plus home runs in a season after Tony Batista in 1999 on Wednesday.

Blue Jays ace Ray struck out 13 batters over seven innings in a dominant display to claim the strike-out lead in MLB.

Ray allowed one run and four hits for his fourth successive decision – the starting pitcher is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 91 strikeouts since July 21.

He is also just the second Blue Jays pitcher to have double-digit 10-plus strike-out games in a season after Roger Clemens in 1997 and 1998.

Ray leads AL starters in ERA (2.64), strikeouts (223), innings (177.2) and quality starts (22).

The Blue Jays (82-64) – who have won six straight series, New York Yankees (82-64) and Boston Red Sox (83-65) are in a three-team tie in the AL Wild Card race.

 

Yankees win… again

The Yankees topped the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 to clinch their 29th consecutive winning season – the second longest streak in MLB history, behind their own 39-year run from 1926-64.

Jonathan India of the Cincinnati Reds became the first rookie in MLB history with at least 20 homers, 20 hits by pitch and 10 stolen bases in a season, according to Stats Perform. The Reds lost 5-4 to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Kansas City Royals lost a wild clash with the Oakland Athletics 12-10, but it was a memorable outing for Andrew Benintendi. Over his last seven games, Benintendi has 19 hits and 17 RBI. According to Stats Perform, he is the first MLB player to reach both of those numbers over a seven-game span since Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr in 1950.

 

Megill struggles in Mets sweep

It was a rough outing for rookie Tylor Megill as his New York Mets were crushed 11-4 by the St Louis Cardinals in a series sweep. In three innings, Megill gave up six runs, a homer and two walks on nine hits.

The Minnesota Twins suffered a 12-3 defeat to the Cleveland Indians as Jovani Moran allowed four hits and four runs in just 1.2 innings of work. Twins team-mate Andrew Albers gave up three runs, two homers and two walks on three hits in 2.2 innings. It came after starter Griffin Jax pitched 4.2 innings, which included seven hits, five runs, a home run and a walk.

The high-flying San Francisco Giants had their nine-game winning streak snapped following a 9-6 defeat to Wild Card hopefuls the San Diego Padres.

 

Perez extends homer rally in milestone appearance

While the Royals lost, star Salvador Perez hit his 44th home run of the season in the fifth inning, moving into a tie with Shohei Ohtani and within one of MLB leader Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Perez's 196th career home run came in his 1,000th start behind the plate.

 

Wednesday's results 

Miami Marlins 8-6 Washington Nationals
Detroit Tigers 4-1 Milwaukee Brewers
Toronto Blue Jays 6-3 Tampa Bay Rays
Boston Red Sox 9-4 Seattle Mariners
Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 Cincinnati Reds
Philadelphia Phillies 6-5 Chicago Cubs
New York Yankees 4-3 Baltimore Orioles
St Louis Cardinals 11-4 New York Mets
Colorado Rockies 3-2 Atlanta Braves
Cleveland Indians 12-3 Minnesota Twins
Houston Astros 7-2 Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels 3-2 Chicago White Sox
Oakland Athletics 12-10 Kansas City Royals
San Diego Padres 9-6 San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3 Arizona Diamondbacks

 

Yankees at Orioles

The Yankees (82-64) will be out to extend their winning streak when they lock horns against with the Orioles (46-99) on Thursday. Jordan Montgomery is set to start for the Yankees, while the Orioles counter with Chris Ellis.

Sporting Kansas City crushed Minnesota United 4-0 in MLS to go top of the Western Conference standings, while Real Salt Lake prevailed in a seven-goal shoot-out.

Johnny Russell scored a goal and assisted two others as Sporting KC routed Minnesota at Children's Mercy Park on Wednesday.

Russell converted a penalty as part of a three-goal first half, with Khiry Shelton and Daniel Salloi also on target against the visitors.

Cameron Duke added a fourth goal seven minutes into the second half as Sporting KC found the back of the net in their 28th consecutive regular-season home game dating back to August 2019 – the longest active streak in MLS.

Sporting KC are a point clear in the west, though second-placed Seattle Sounders have played two games less, while Minnesota are two points outside the play-off positions.

San Jose Earthquakes star Javier Lopez scored a hat-trick, but Real Salt Lake still prevailed 4-3 in a wild clash.

Lopez opened the scoring in the 26th minute and completed his treble in the second half, however, RSL emerged victorious thanks to Rubio Rubin's brace.

The result snapped a five-match away losing streak for RSL, who ended San Jose's run of three consecutive wins over their rivals in MLS – a run that had equalled the longest streak by either team in history.

Elsewhere, former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez salvaged a 1-1 draw for LA Galaxy against Houston Dynamo.

Another ex-United star, Nani, was sent off in the first half as Orlando City were beaten 4-2 by Montreal, Ola Kamara's opening-half hat-trick lifted DC United past Chicago Fire 3-0, Atlanta United were 4-0 winners against FC Cincinnati courtesy of a Josef Martinez double, Los Angeles FC edged Austin 2-1 and 10-man Portland Timbers drew 2-2 with Colorado Rapids.

Damian McKenzie will start at fly-half in a Test for the first time in three years as New Zealand overhauled their XV for the Rugby Championship clash against Argentina.

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has made wholesale changes after last week's 39-0 rout of the Pumas on the Gold Coast, with McKenzie to start at number 10 in Brisbane on Saturday having been introduced off the bench.

New Zealand's backline at Suncorp Stadium will feature only four players who started against Argentina last time out as the All Blacks look to maintain their 100 per cent record in the competition – Ardie Savea returning to captain the side.

"With five Tests in a row and a six-day turnaround between these two Argentinian Tests, we were always going to make some selection changes," Foster said. "Five Tests in a row demanded that. 

"But the good thing is that we have a group that has been focussing on the same opposition for the last two weeks, so our preparation time hasn’t been compromised.

"We are expecting a huge response from Argentina and we have to make sure we are prepared for that because we know what a wounded beast is like. The key is not so much how they respond, but how we respond. If we go into this Test match thinking it's just going to happen for us like last week without earning the right to have the scoreboard in our favour, then we are in trouble."

New Zealand have won 30 of their 32 previous men's Tests against Argentina (D1, L1), including their last two in succession. They have also won three of their four meetings on neutral territory in that time (L1).

The All Blacks have kept Argentina scoreless in each of their last two meetings – only twice since 1900 has any Tier 1 nation kept another Tier 1 nation scoreless for more consecutive games (England – four games against Ireland from 1956 to 1959; France – three games against Italy from 1959 to 1961).

New Zealand have won their last eight consecutive Tests by an average margin of 40 points. A ninth straight victory would equal their longest winning streak since a run of 18 victories from August 2015 to October 2016.

 

New Zealand: Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Quinn Tupaea, George Bridge, Damian McKenzie, TJ Perenara; Joe Moody, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Tyrel Lomax, Patrick Tuipulotu, Tupou Vaa'I, Ethan Blackadder, Ardie Savea, Hoskins Sotutu.
Replacements: Codie Taylor, George Bower, Ofa Tuungafasi, Scott Barrett, Luke Jacobson, Finlay Christie, Beauden Barrett, Braydon Ennor.

Michael Hooper will become the Wallabies' most-capped captain when he leads Australia out against world champions South Africa.

The Wallabies announced their side for Saturday's clash with the Springboks as Hooper prepares to make history in the Rugby Championship showdown at Suncorp Stadium.

Hooper – who debuted in 2012 – will captain Australia for the 60th time in Brisbane, surpassing George Gregan after equalling the record in last week's dramatic victory over South Africa.

"It's an incredible milestone for Hoops on Saturday evening in Brisbane and it's a testament to him as a person and a player," Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie said on Thursday.

"I've been so impressed with his leadership both on and off the field and his drive to be better every day.

"We were really proud of the effort from our men last Sunday and we're well aware of the ferocity that a wounded Springboks outfit will bring to Suncorp Stadium."

Rennie has elevated Nic White and Taniela Tupou to the starting side for the second Test against the Springboks.

White replaces Tate McDermott and Tupou comes in for Allan Alaalatoa, while James Slipper returns to the starting line-up, though James O'Connor remains on the sidelines.

Australia will be looking to claim consecutive Test wins in men's international rugby for the first time since October 2019 after a two-point win over South Africa – that was also the last time the Wallabies won a Test by more than three points.

The Wallabies are undefeated in their last six men's Tests against South Africa on home soil (W5, D1); although, none of their five wins in that span have come by a margin of seven points or more on the day.

 

Australia: Tom Banks, Andrew Kellaway, Len Ikitau, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Quade Cooper, Nic White; James Slipper, Folau Fainga'a, Taniela Tupou, Izack Rodda, Matt Philip, Lachlan Swinton, Michael Hooper, Rob Valetini.
Replacements: Feleti Kaitu'u, Angus Bell, Tom Robertson, Darcy Swain, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, Reece Hodge, Jordan Petaia

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