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Alex Ferguson out of intensive care, confirm United

Alex Ferguson is out of intensive care following surgery on a brain haemorrhage, Manchester United have announced.

The 76-year-old former United manager is to continue his rehabilitation in hospital in Salford.

United said: “Sir Alex no longer needs intensive care and will continue rehabilitation as an inpatient.

“His family have been overwhelmed by the level of support and good wishes but continue to request privacy as this will be vital during this next stage of recovery.”

The news came hours after present United manager Jose Mourinho said he expected his players to raise their game when they return to action for the first time since Ferguson’s surgery.

Mourinho was speaking ahead of Thursday’s Premier League match at West Ham, when he was asked about the former United manager, who won 38 trophies during his Old Trafford tenure.

“His family asked for privacy and that is what I am going to respect,” Mourinho said. “But (as a club) we are positive. We are very, very positive. We are confident.”

Asked if it would influence the mood of the players or United coaching staff going into Thursday night’s match at the London Stadium, Mourinho replied: “No, I can only think that if there is any relation, it is a positive relation.”

Gestures of support continue for the Scot, who retired in 2013 having guided United to 13 Premier League titles as well as five FA Cups and the Champions League twice.

Wales manager and former United winger Ryan Giggs was brought into the Old Trafford first team by Ferguson as a talented 17-year-old in 1991.

He developed into a key player in a squad which would go on to complete a famous treble when lifting the Champions League trophy in 1999, before later making the move into coaching which saw him take temporary charge at United in April 2014 following David Moyes’ departure.

Giggs, who eventually left Old Trafford in July 2016, echoed the sentiments of former players under Ferguson, whom he felt now brings football together in support for his recovery.

“You’ve seen the response, not just from within football but from people all around the world. It shows how much he means to people. I’m not surprised,” Giggs, speaking at the launch of the FAW and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards, said.

“No matter who you support you’ve got to recognise what he’s done for the game. Like everyone I was shocked to hear the news, I was with him just a couple of weeks ago at a dinner.

“I know him better than most and I’m wishing him a speedy recovery. Hopefully he recovers fully and wishes go to Cathy and the family.”

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Rose feeling on top of the world

It took a while for Justin Rose to get over his disappointment at losing the BMW Championship on a playoff, but moving to world number one helped.

Rose heads into this weekend’s FedEx Cup season-finale Tour Championship in Atlanta, Georgia, at the top of golf’s rankings.

His recent second placed finish, losing a Monday playoff to Keegan Bradley in Aronimink, was enough to see him climb to the highest rung on the ladder, which was some consolation.

"I knew after I signed my card after the playoff started, it was enough to be number one," he said. "But a playoff is a playoff, and they're over really quickly; if you make a mistake, it's not like you have time to recover.

"So yeah, obviously it was disappointing to finish the tournament that way.

"One of the things I'm proud of last week was the putt I hit to win the tournament. My last putt was a great putt that didn't drop.

"You've got to look at things sometimes in a positive light, so I feel like I did a lot right, just the playoff, I'd like just to leave it there. That wasn't great."

The Englishman says that the reaction he received following defeat to the news that he’d made the top of the rankings helped to cheer him up.
"The reaction on my phone; you can always judge it on your phone," he explained. "If you win a Major, your phone blows up; you win a tournament, you get a nice bunch of messages.

"And getting to world number one, my phone blew up again. You can kind of gauge it from the response really of your wider network. It was a big moment for sure. I've enjoyed it."

We did it Dad…. World Number 1⃣ Thank you so much to my family, friends & everybody that has helped me achieve this incredible goal. Also, my sponsors @TaylorMadeGolf @adidasGolf @Hublot @Mastercard @ZurichNAnews @MorganStanley @LamkinGrips Thank you! #Team🌹 pic.twitter.com/geZgcpTR7U

— Justin Rose (@JustinRose99) September 10, 2018

He continued: "I've been able to have just a glass of champagne over the weekend with a couple close friends and try to just mark it, saying this is fun, this is a moment we've worked hard for, but also you realize that life goes on at home.

"The kids were happy for five minutes and then they're on to the next thing, so nothing changes at home. I'm still number two or three there," he smiled.
Rose could be overtaken in the rankings this weekend by the likes of Brooks Koepka or Dustin Johnson, but he is determined to finish the year top of the pile.

Rose is in the swing

He said: "It's really tight up top. It could easily switch this week. I just feel that if I go to two or three this week, if Dustin and Brooks both play well, I have an opportunity the week after and British Masters, and going to China and Turkey.

"There's going to be opportunities to get back there. So I'd love to end the year number one. I'd say that's a goal.

"I think if I lose it between now and then, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it because it is so tight at the top. Literally, if I finish seventh this week and Brooks finishes sixth, he'll go to number one, so it is that tight

"If I were going to talk about my career, I'd say Justin Rose, Major champion, Olympic gold medalist, world number one.

"That's the three things I would choose to say. Not necessarily in that order maybe, but that's how I would just simplify my career. Those would be the top three."

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Ireland make impressive start at World Equestrian Games

The Irish Show Jumping team are in 10th place of 25 teams after Wednesday's opening speed competition at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in North Carolina.

Ireland, managed by Rodrigo Pessoa, are less than one fence off the medal positions at this early stage of the competition.

Shane Sweetnam and Chaqui Z are less than one fence off top spot after round 1 of the Show Jumping competition at the World Equestrian Games in the USA.

Cork’s Shane Sweetnam was the first to jump from a massive start list of 124 riders and despite the early draw, he put down an excellent marker with Chaqui Z, crossing the line clear in 80.19 seconds.

That puts Sweetnam into 15th place and they are the highest placed of the Irish individually at this early stage, just under one fence behind Swiss leader Steve Guerdat with Bianca.

The leaderboard is extremely tight, with Ireland less than one fence off the medal positions at this early stage. Another big day of jumping tomorrow before the team final on Friday. pic.twitter.com/CBgjIsqh2k

— Team IRL Equestrian (@TeamIRLEq) September 19, 2018

Riding the anchor leg for Ireland, Cian O’Connor and Good Luck had a fast time of 77.72 and despite lowering one fence, their score of 81.72 leaves them in 23rd place individually and are just over a fence outside the medal places.

Limerick’s Paul O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu knocked the very first fence, but jumped the rest of the course clear to finish on a score of 87.33, putting O’Shea into 62nd position.

Tipperary’s Shane Breen and Ipswich Van De Wolfsakker lowered a single fence in 84.26 and with four seconds added for each knocked fence, that left Breen on 88.26 in 68th spot.

Switzerland hold the lead in the team competition with Netherlands in second and Brazil in third at this early stage.

The second round of the team and individual Show Jumping competition at the World Equestrian Games takes place on Thursday after which only the top 10 teams will make it through to Friday’s round to decide the team medals.

The top six teams from Friday’s team final will have the added bonus of Olympic qualification.The leading 25 riders will then go forward to Sunday’s individual final, which is set over two rounds at a massive 1m 65, following which the new Show Jumping World Champion will be crowned.

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UCL round-up: Ronaldo sent off for Juve

Cristiano Ronaldo could miss an expected return to Old Trafford with Juventus after being sent off for the first time in his Champions League career.

The Portuguese was making his first appearance for Juventus in the competition but saw red in the 29th minute of the 2-0 Group H win over Valencia for an off-the-ball incident in the penalty area.

A main focus of the draw was Ronaldo's new team being placed in the same group as his former club Manchester United.

He stands to miss Juventus' next game at home to Young Boys on October 2 but if UEFA decides to increase the suspension, which is typical for an offence of violent conduct, he will have to sit out one or both of the matches against United.

Jose Mourinho's side host their Italian rivals on the third match day on October 23 before heading to Turin two weeks later.

Elsewhere, Ajax won 3-0 at home against AEK Athens. Nicolas Tagliafico was on target either side of Donny van de Beek's strike for the Dutch side.

Later in Group E, goals from Robert Lewandowski and Renato Sanches saw Bayern Munich win 2-0 at Benfica.

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Isco fills Ronaldo void as Real Madrid cruise past Roma

Isco stepped into the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo as Real Madrid began their quest for a fourth consecutive Champions League crown with a 3-0 victory over Roma.

On the same night that their former talisman Ronaldo was given his marching orders in Valencia in his first European outing for Juventus, Isco curled home a magnificent free-kick on the stroke of half-time at the Bernabeu.

Up to that point, Real had been frustrated by a combination of poor finishing and some fine saves from Robin Olsen but second-half goals from Gareth Bale and substitute Mariano gave them a winning start to the defence of their crown.

Real's recent dominance in this competition has owed much to their all-time record scorer Ronaldo but his decision to leave for pastures new gives others an opportunity to step up.

FULL MATCH DETAILS HERE

This was their first major test since his departure against a side that reached last season's semi-finals, but the visitors were barely given a sniff.

The Italian giants, who finished third in Serie A last term, were largely camped in their own half during the first 45 minutes, Bale serving early notice when he dragged his shot wide of the post.

Olsen did superbly to ensure the scores remained level to keep out Isco's close-range effort while Roma captain Daniele De Rossi snuffed out Bale's hopes on the rebound.

Nicolo Zaniolo was handed his Roma debut in the Spanish capital and the teenager put in an energetic display, teeing up Cengiz Under to fire over from distance.

It was barely a half chance for the visitors as Real reasserted their authority without breaking the deadlock, with Dani Carvajal and Toni Kroos both missing the target before two Sergio Ramos headers were tipped over the bar.

Still, Real kept pressing and their perseverance was rewarded just before the end of the half when Isco sent his set-piece from just outside the area over the wall and into the bottom-left corner, leaving Olsen stranded.

It was no less than the defending champions deserved and would have left their head coach Julen Lopetegui with an easier half-time team talk in his first Champions League match since succeeding Zinedine Zidane.

Roma nearly got themselves back on level terms as Cengiz forced a rare save from Keylor Navas, who started in place of summer signing Thibaut Courtois.

But their hopes of coming away with anything to show for their battling resolve took a hammer blow when Bale struck on the counter-attack in the 58th minute.

Luka Modric was the architect as his incisive pass from his own half split Roma's backtracking central defenders, allowing Bale to race on to the ball and fire across the helpless Olsen.

Moments earlier, the Welshman had rattled the crossbar but kept his composure to put Real on track for all three points.

Olsen was once again called upon to keep out Marco Asensio while, at the other end, Navas did well to deny Edin Dzeko.

Mariano, though, who has taken Ronaldo's number seven shirt after rejoining the club from Lyon last month, added further gloss to the scoreline in the first minute of added time.

The 25-year-old collected the ball from Marcelo on the edge of the box, cut inside before expertly rifling into the top corner to mark his second debut for the club in style.

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Pogba bags a brace as United brush Young Boys aside

Paul Pogba inspired Manchester United to a winning start to their Champions League campaign as Jose Mourinho's men overcame Young Boys and their potentially problematic plastic pitch.

With tough assignments against Valencia and Juventus to come, United knew just how important it would be to get three points in their Group H opener on the Stade de Suisse's synthetic surface.

United were not at their best in Bern but emerged victorious from this tricky encounter, with Pogba following his classy opener with a superb spot-kick and assist for Anthony Martial in the 3-0 win.

FULL MATCH DETAILS HERE

It was a comprehensive, if not always convincing, start to their Champions League campaign – and all the more satisfying as Mourinho's players appeared to avoid injury on the Swiss champions' controversial surface.

Young Boys started the brighter but United's quality eventually told, with Marcus Rashford's effort off the post a warning sign that was followed by Pogba's moment of class.

Wearing the captain's armband in place of Antonio Valencia – absent due to concerns over the pitch – the United midfielder followed a lovely touch with an unerring finish into the top left-hand corner.

Pogba then netted from the post after impressive Young Boys right-back Kevin Mbabu was harshly adjudged to have handled Luke Shaw's cross, with Martial's first goal in 242 days adding gloss midway through the second half.

It was comfortable in the end – but United had started Wednesday's match shakily.

While summer Diogo Dalot looked sharp on his debut, opposing right-back Mbabu was also impressing and his fine cross was nodded just wide by veteran striker Guillaume Hoarau in the eighth minute.

Young Boys' intensity and balls into the box were causing United problems, while David De Gea had to be alert when Mohamed Ali Camara tried his luck from long range.

Romelu Lukaku struck into the side-netting at the other end and Rashford flicked Shaw's driven cross onto the post, but the hosts were on top and appeared most likely to score.

Christian Fassnacht saw a shot blocked by Victor Lindelof having embarrassed debutant Dalot, with the Young Boys midfielder then denied by De Gea shortly after – let-offs which allowed United to break the deadlock.

Composed United build-up led to Pogba passing to Fred, with Camara's tackle on the Brazilian unwittingly teeing up the United captain. An elegant flick took the World Cup winner away from from the Young Boys defender and allowed him to unleashed an unstoppable strike into the top left-hand corner.

It was a moment of quality that injected new life into United, who were gifted the chance to extend their lead as referee Deniz Aytekin harshly adjudged Mbabu to have handled Shaw's first-time cross.

Having provided the exceptional crossfield ball to the left-back, Pogba took the resulting penalty and followed a staggered run-up with a thumping strike.

Whistles greeted the half-time whistle as the officials became aware of their popularity in Bern, where early appeals for handball against Chris Smalling early in the second half were ignored.

Roger Assale tried to pull the home side back into the match but United were in control and put the game out of sight with a fine counter-attack.

Pogba drove forwards from just inside the United half and smartly played wide to Martial, whose shot deflected in off Camara in the 66th minute.

Yet the noise from impressive home support only increased after the third goal, with substitute Michel Aebischer going close before Camara lost Marouane Fellaini from a corner and hit the post.

United substitute Juan Mata fired narrowly wide from Shaw's latest cross late on, but that would be it as Lukaku's stoppage-time attempt was ruled out for offside.

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