Levy takes China lead with a front nine assault

China specialist Alexander Levy blitzed the front nine to post a spotless score of nine-under-par 63 to hold a slender advantage over Pablo Larrazabal on day one of China Open at Topwin Golf and Country Club.

The 2014 winner Levy, who shared the eighth spot at Shenzhen last week, was off to a steady start on the back nine but soon found his groove with birdies on the 13th, 15th and 17th to stay in touch with early leader Larrazabal.

Magnussen fears added dangers of cockpit 'shield'

By Alan Baldwin
| SOCHI, Russia

SOCHI, Russia Danish driver Kevin Magnussen spoke out on Thursday against Formula One's plans to introduce a transparent cockpit 'shield', warning that it could make racing more dangerous in wet conditions.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) announced this week that it was focussing on the shield (screen) concept rather than a previously tested 'halo' cockpit protection system.

It said that track tests would be carried out during the season in preparation for implementation in 2018.

Allardyce wants relegation talk put to bed against Burnley

Crystal Palace will need a "big, big effort" to defeat Burnley in Saturday's Premier League clash as they aim to reach the 40-point mark and put an end to relegation concerns, manager Sam Allardyce has said.

Palace are currently 12th in the league and seven points clear of the drop zone.

"We want to beat Burnley to get over that 40-point mark and put it to bed once and for all," said the Eagles boss.

"Three points is going to do it, I don't think you'll be caught on 41 points, and we want to do it ourselves, rather than rely on other clubs," added Allardyce.

West Ham fighting relegation fight until mathematically safe - Bilic

West Ham United will fight for results until they are mathematically safe from the threat of Premier League relegation, manager Slaven Bilic said before their trip to Stoke City on Saturday.

West Ham, who are currently 14th and seven points clear of the drop zone, need two more points to reach the safety target of 40 points.

"People are talking about speculation that 38 points will be enough, but in the history of the Premier League it's always that magic number of 40," Bilic told in a news conference on Thursday.

Stakes high as White Hart Lane set to stage final derby

By Martyn Herman
| LONDON

LONDON If Sunday's clash does indeed turn out to be the last north London derby at Tottenham Hotspur's historic White Hart Lane stadium, the stakes could hardly be higher for the protagonists.

Tottenham, who are expected to announce this week that they will definitely move to Wembley next season while their new stadium is completed, will finish above Arsenal for the first time in 22 years with victory over Arsene Wenger's Gunners.

Moyes not quitting Sunderland despite fan chants

David Moyes is not stepping down as Sunderland manager despite the Premier League club's fans chanting for his ouster during Wednesday's 1-0 loss to Middlesbrough that pushed the basement side closer to relegation, the Scot has said.

Sunderland have only one win in their last 15 league fixtures and are glued to the bottom of the table, 12 points adrift of safety with five games left.

Sunderland's relegation to the Championship will be confirmed if they lose to Bournemouth on Saturday and 17th-placed Hull City get a point at Southampton.

Dejected Bayern out to secure last title on offer

By Karolos Grohmann
| BERLIN

BERLIN After a season that promised so much, Bayern Munich have been sent packing from two Cup competitions in the space of eight days and Carlo Ancelotti's side are determined to take a step closer to the league title when they travel to VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday.

A Bayern win combined with defeat for second-placed RB Leipzig against relegation candidates Ingolstadt would give them an unassailable 11-point lead with three games remaining.

AFC charges Guangzhou for fans' 'British Dogs' banner

HONG KONG China's Guangzhou Evergrande have been charged by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) after their fans unfurled a banner with the words 'Annihilate British Dogs' during their Asian Champions League match against Hong Kong's Eastern on Tuesday.

The banner, which read "Annihilate British Dogs, Eradicate Hong Kong Independence Poison", was displayed late in Guangzhou's 6-0 win over the Hong Kong champions.

'Cheater' Sharapova should not be allowed to play again - Bouchard

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard has lashed out at the WTA for giving Maria Sharapova the chance to compete in tournaments after serving a 15-month doping ban and said the Russian is a "cheater" who should never be allowed to play again.

Sharapova beat Italian Roberta Vinci in the first round of the Stuttgart Grand Prix on Wednesday after receiving a controversial wild card for the tournament, having lost all her ranking points in the wake of her suspension.

Arsenal's Koscielny a doubt for Tottenham clash

Arsenal could be without defensive kingpin Laurent Koscielny for Sunday's Premier League trip to North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, after the centre-back injured his knee in Wednesday's 1-0 win over defending champions Leicester City.

Koscielny, who has already been sidelined with thigh and Achilles injuries this season, jarred his knee in the closing stages of the game but played on till the end after receiving treatment.

"Koscielny has a knee problem but I don't know how bad yet. I have to check," manager Arsene Wenger told reporters after the match.

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