Lewandowski, Robben score twice in Bayern rout

Poland international Lewandowski, yet to deliver the goal rush that was expected after he joined from Borussia Dortmund this season, has not been an automatic starter.

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Coach Pep Guardiola publicly backed the striker on Friday, saying he did not always play because of different systems.

Lewandowski, a late substitute in the goalless draw at Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League this week, opened the scoring in the 24th minute by pouncing on a superb flick from Robben.

Then, in true centre forward fashion, he tapped in a Franck Ribery cut-back 13 minutes later. Paderborn’s fate was sealed when Florian Hartherz was sent off after 62 minutes and Robben converted the resulting penalty.

Ribery and Mitchell Weiser were also on target before Robben notched his 16th league goal of the campaign to equal his best tally for the club and climb to the top of the Bundesliga scorers’ list.

“We were very serious today and allowed hardly any chances,” Guardiola told reporters. “It was at times hard to play against a five-man defence.”

Bayern, who have amassed 14 goals in their last two league games, have 55 points from 22 matches.

KEEPER STRIKES

Elsewhere, Werder Bremen stunned fourth-placed Schalke 04 as a last-minute equaliser from Sebastian Proedl snatched a 1-1 draw.

Schalke, beaten 2-0 in the Champions League by Real Madrid in midweek, took the lead through Max Meyer before Proedl levelled after meeting a free kick with a powerful header.

Marwin Hitz became the third goalkeeper in Bundesliga history to score from open play as he produced a stoppage-time equaliser to secure Augsburg a 2-2 home draw with Bayer Leverkusen.

Leverkusen, in sixth spot on 33 points, twice let the lead slip in their last game before they meet Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last 16 next week.

New Mainz 05 coach Martin Schmidt enjoyed a winning Bundesliga debut as his team eased past Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1 to climb up to 11th on 25 points.

Hanover 96 drew 1-1 at Cologne to remain 10th but will be without Joao Pereira next week against Stuttgart after he was sent off in stoppage time.

Second-placed VfL Wolfsburg, on 44 points, are in action on Sunday at home to Hertha Berlin.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Sharks earn bonus point in Lions victory

Marcell Coetzee scored two tries as the Sharks claimed a 29-12 bonus-point win over the Lions in Durban on Saturday (Sunday AEDT).

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Akona Ndungane and Cobus Reinach also touched down for the home side with Patrick Lambie kicking a penalty and three conversions in the victory.

Marnitz Boshoff scored all of the Lions’ points from the penalty tee, with the visitors reduced to 10 men for the last four minutes of the match when number eight Warren Whiteley was sent to the sin bin.

The victory is a nice rebound for the Sharks from their opening round defeat and they will be buoyed after they outscored the Lions by four tries to none.

It was the Lions who took the lead, though, through the boot of Boshoff in the second minute but it was quickly cancelled out by Lambie, who reached the 600-point mark in Super Rugby with a successful penalty kick in the eighth minute.

Ndungane then scored the first try of the night after catching a cross-field kick from Lambie, who missed the conversion.

Reinach was awarded a try by the Television Match Official in the 29th minute after going over from the base of a demolished scrum, with Lambie adding the extras to put Sharks 15-3 ahead.

Boshoff cut the deficit with his second penalty before the break, with another score 10 minutes into the second half putting the Lions six points adrift.

The fly-half’s fourth successful kick put the Lions 15-12 down but Coetzee barged over in the 63rd minute with Lambie slotting the conversion to give the hosts some breathing space.

A try was ruled out for the Sharks when SP Marais was deemed to have been offside, but the Lions’ loss of Whiteley a minute later to the sin bin after he tapped the ball out of Reinach’s hands led to the bonus point try for the hosts.

A dominant maul from the Sharks ended with Coetzee scoring a second try, with Lambie again on target with the extra two points to wrap up the victory.

Ferguson ready to roll in NRL: Robinson

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has declared Blake Ferguson is ready to end his 22-month self-inflicted rugby league exile when the tricolours kick off their NRL premiership campaign in two weeks.

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Ferguson enjoyed his first top grade hitout in almost two years in the Roosters 36-6 win over Manly at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday night.

The former NSW winger looked understandably rusty at times but carried the ball with vigour and defended strongly, enough to suggest to Robinson he is ready for the Roosters’ round one clash with North Queensland.

“He played almost the whole game bar the final couple of minutes because of a slight ankle complaint but he had some nice, physical carries and also his defence was quite physical too,” Robinson said.

“He had some nice combinations with Mitchell Pearce and Shaun Kenny-Dowall there so that was good and I’d say it was a good step up from his game with Wyong a fortnight ago and now he’s ready for the big one.”

Ferguson played his first game since 2013 two weeks ago in a Roosters’ lower grade trial and Robinson said he was progressing as well as he had hoped.

“I think definitely after 18 months of not playing, it’s a big ask for him to get straight back into footy and I think he’s had two games where he’s done really well coming back into,” Robinson said.

“He’s always had class but it’s a matter of ‘is he going to combine well, is he going to run well, how is his timing?’ and all that so I think he’s had a fair start to his return.

“People will say his footy will get better as the year goes on but I think he’s really well-placed to start the season well.”

Chelsea held in Bridge storm, five-star City cut gap

Leaders Chelsea offered a chink of light to City after a stormy game at Stamford Bridge where Nemanja Matic was sent off for retaliating to an awful challenge from Burnley’s Ashley Barnes and the hosts were denied two strong penalty claims.

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City made the most of their lifeline, emphatically exposing Newcastle’s failings with two goals from David Silva among the highlights of a crushing victory that reduced their deficit at the top of the Premier League to five points.

It was another ominous display from second-placed City who have scored nine goals in their last two games and look back to their very best.

SIMMERING MOURINHO

In typical fashion, all of Saturday’s action, that included a 2-1 win for Arsenal at Crystal Palace and defeat for Manchester United at Swansea City by the same scoreline, was largely overshadowed by the simmering Mourinho.

It began so brightly for Chelsea as Branislav Ivanovic’s knack of scoring crucial goals looked to have set the hosts on the way to a routine win after 14 minutes.

Then an Ivanovic shot struck Michael Kightly’s arm and Diego Costa was pushed over by Jason Shackell but both penalty appeals were waved away by referee Martin Atkinson who then became public enemy number one.

Barnes flew into an ugly challenge on Matic, catching the Serbian enforcer on the shin. The Burnley player escaped without a booking while Matic, who chased the striker before throwing him to the floor, was dismissed with 20 minutes left.

Any sense of injustice may have been mitigated had the home side clung on but Ben Mee rose to power in a header at the back post and Mourinho was left to seethe.

“I am punished when I refer to these situations and I don’t want to be punished,” he told the BBC.

His mood would not have improved when Manchester City took the lead in Saturday’s late game after two minutes, with Sergio Aguero coolly converting from the spot.

Samir Nasri fired into the roof of the net for the second and Edin Dzeko, felled for the penalty, added a third after being fed by Silva.

The Spanish playmaker then scored twice in three minutes at the start of the second half.

SWANSEA DOUBLE

Manchester United will be sick of the sight of Swansea who completed the double over Louis van Gaal’s side, having also won on the opening day of the season.

There was an element of role reversal at the Liberty Stadium where United, who have frequently this season played poorly and still won, dominated but were undone when Bafetimbi Gomis deflected in Jonjo Shelvey’s long-range strike for Swansea.

United, who took the lead through Ander Herrera before Ki Sung-Yueng levelled, slipped to fourth, 13 points off the top, after only their second defeat in 20 games.

They are a point adrift of Arsenal who made it five league wins out of six by beating Palace.

A Santi Cazorla penalty and an eighth league goal of the season for Olivier Giroud allowed Arsene Wenger’s side to survive a late scare when Glenn Murray reduced the deficit in stoppage time.

Tim Sherwood’s first match as Aston Villa manager ended in disappointment as his new charges squandered a first-half lead to lose 2-1 at home to Stoke City who scored an injury-time penalty from Victor Moses to snatch the points.

At the bottom of the table Hull City moved four points clear of the relegation zone with a 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Queens Park Rangers who had midfielder Joey Barton sent off in the first half.

Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion drew 0-0.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

Halep beats Pliskova in Dubai tennis final

Top-seeded Simona Halep earned her second title of the year by beating 17th-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-4 7-6 (7/4) in the Dubai Championships final on Saturday (Sunday AEDT).

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Halep benefited from a large contingent of Romanian compatriots, who constantly cheered “Si-mon-a” from the stands.

“It’s really nice to hear your name during the changeover,” Halep said.

“It’s amazing that they can come to support me. I see the love, you know.”

Halep also won in Shenzhen, China, last month, and this marked her second Premier 5 title, the highest level of WTA events after the Grand Slams. The previous was the Qatar Open a year ago.

Pliskova was playing at a career-high ranking of No.18 and the Czech will next week move up to No.12 following her performance in Dubai.

“I still can’t imagine myself, I’m 12 in the ranking,” Pliskova said. “I just hope I’m going to start to feel like I belong there.”

Despite the loss, Pliskova added five aces to her yearly tally. She has a tour-leading 149 in a tour-high 22 matches.

Pliskova surrendered her serve in the seventh game of the first set at love to give Halep the needed advantage for the set.

The Czech, who started the second set with a 2-0 lead, took an off-court medical timeout for a left hip issue after losing the advantage.

In all, there were eight service breaks leading into the second-set tiebreaker.

“I was just tying to do my best, and trying to stay in the second set,” Pliskova said.

“My serve, I wouldn’t say it wasn’t good, but she’s just great returning.”

In the second set, Halep served for the match twice, failing to take advantage of a match point in the 10th and 12th games.

“I did two double faults at 6-5, I don’t know how,” Halep said. “But in the tiebreak I was strong, and I was fighting till the end.”

At 4-4 in the tiebreaker, Halep won the final three points of the match. She took her third match point with a forehand winner into an open court.