Chelsea misses a chance to close on Man. City
Chelsea’s week went from bad to worse on Saturday in a loss to Newcastle, and Manchester United took a 10-point lead in the title race by beating Fulham.
Moussa Sissoko, one of four Newcastle signings from France in the January transfer window, scored twice in his home debut to give Newcastle a 3-2 victory over Chelsea.
As Newcastle moved further out of the relegation zone, Chelsea missed a chance to close the gap on second-place Manchester City, which trails its crosstown rival by 10 points and leads Chelsea by six ahead of Sunday’s match against Liverpool.
And the pressure is being cranked up on Rafa Benitez, whose Chelsea side also drew against relegation-threatened Reading on Wednesday after being held by third-tier club Brentford in the FA Cup on Sunday.
“What I know, what I can see is the team doing well, working hard and when we have this advantage, we have to manage in a better way,” Benitez said.
Floodlight failure halted United’s match at Fulham for 10 minutes before halftime. After the break, Wayne Rooney provided the spark with a crisp finish to clinch a 1-0 win.
Arsenal won by the same score to go a point behind Tottenham and Everton, who are fourth and fifth.
Officials at Auburn University have announced the iconic oak trees at Toomer’s Corner will be removed.
University officials made the announcement Friday and said in a statement that the trees are unlikely to survive despite efforts to save them after they were poisoned with a powerful herbicide.
University officials say a new landscaping plan will be unveiled and the school will host a block party at Toomer’s Corner on April 20 to give fans a final opportunity to gather near the landmarks.
It’s unclear when the trees will be removed.
Harvey Updyke Jr. is accused of poisoning the trees and is scheduled to go to trial April 8.
The school plans to construct alternative structures for students and fans to gather around after big wins and on other special occasions. . . .
New Purdue football Coach Darrell Hazell has suspended wide receiver O.J. Ross indefinitely for a violation of team rules.
The school did not say what rule or rules were violated. In a statement, Purdue said it would make no additional comment.
Ross, who will be a senior next season, finished second on the team with 56 receptions and second in yards receiving with 454 last season. He also caught two touchdown passes despite missing two games.
He started 10 games as a sophomore, catching 33 passes for 356 yards and three touchdowns and had three carries for 20 yards. Ross played in eight games, making four starts, as a freshman, catching 11 passes for 149 yards and one score.
Second-seeded Maria Kirilenko of Russia and fifth-seeded Sabine Lisicki of Germany advanced to the final of the Pattaya Open in Thailand with straightset victories.
Kirilenko used a powerful return of serve to defeat fourthseeded Sorana Cirstea of Romania, 6-0, 6-2, in only 67 minutes and take a 3-2 lead in head-tohead encounters.
Lisicki boosted her chances of a fourth WTA title, firing eight aces to beat Nina Bratchikova of Russia, 7-5, 6-3. . . .
Earl Williams, the 1971 National League Rookie of the Year, has died. He was 64.
Williams died earlier this week at home of acute myeloid leukemia.
Williams earned the 1971 rookie award after hitting 33 home runs with Atlanta.
He hit 28 homers the next year, then was traded to Baltimore after the 1972 season in a multiplayer deal that sent Davey Johnson — now the Nationals’ manager — to the Braves.