Moldovan teenager Vladislav Gradinari went from a country with just “three or four” snooker tables to becoming the youngest player to win a televised match.

The 14-year-old beat three-time women’s world champion Ng On-yee in the first round of the one-frame BetVictor Snooker Shootout in Leicester.

The momentous victory sees Gradinari, who lives in Leeds, advance into the next round at the Morningside Arena as he explained snooker is not the most accessible sport in his homeland.

“It is not really popular, we have three or four tables in the whole country,” the reigning England under-14 champion told World Snooker Tour.

“It (the win) feels amazing. I played my best game, at the table I felt calm. At the age of seven I started playing snooker and we moved here two years ago.”

World number seven Mark Williams, beaten finalist in the Shootout last year, also made it through to round two by racking up 98 points in victory over Craig Steadman.

Iran’s Hossein Vafaei beat Williams last year but will not retain his title after losing to former world champion Shaun Murphy.



Harry Kane’s record-breaking goal fired 10-man Tottenham to a 1-0 win over Manchester City to further dent the champions’ titles hopes.

Kane slotted home after quarter of an hour to break the deadlock and move past Jimmy Greaves as Spurs’ all-time leading marksman, having gone level with the late forward against Fulham two weeks ago.

It proved enough to keep up Tottenham’s excellent record against City, who could have gone within two points of leaders Arsenal following their defeat at Everton on Saturday.

Fifth-placed Spurs instead claimed a third victory from their last four matches against Pep Guardiola’s side despite Cristian Romero’s late red card to aid the recovery of absent manager Antonio Conte, who is still in Italy after having his gallbladder removed on Wednesday.

Despite Conte recovering from surgery, he was involved in team selection and deadline-day signing Pedro Porro was only on the bench for Spurs with City surprisingly naming Kevin De Bruyne amongst the substitutes too.

The visitors had seen title rivals Arsenal drop points 24 hours earlier and signalled their intentions with Riyad Mahrez and Julian Alvarez having shots blocked in the opening exchanges.

City were dominating possession but they soon felt the familiar feeling of trailing to Tottenham and it proved a record-breaking goal.

Eric Dier urged his team-mates to press higher and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg stole in ahead of Rico Lewis outside the away penalty area before he passed into the path of Kane, who scuffed an effort beyond Ederson and into the corner.

It moved Kane past Greaves as the club’s all-time leading scorer with 267 goals for Spurs and saw jubilant celebrations both on and off the pitch with the screens inside the stadium acknowledging his achievement before the forward waved to his family in the West Stand.

Bookings followed with Rodrigo Bentancur and Romero cautioned in quick succession, the latter for clattering into peripheral figure Erling Haaland.

Tottenham assistant Cristian Stellini was attempting to match the animated presence of the absence Conte on the touchline but saw his side enjoy a slice of luck before the break.

After Rodri and Jack Grealish had failed to find the net with curled efforts late in the half, Mahrez sent a stinging half-volley crashing against the crossbar from 12 yards that bounced away to safety to ensure Spurs were ahead at the break for the first time at home since October 12.

Ben Davies headed wide for the hosts at the start of the second period before Guardiola turned to De Bruyne with 57 minutes played.

De Bruyne’s first real involvement saw his short free-kick find Alvarez, who saw a low shot diverted over by Dier’s thigh.

It sparked a frantic spell with Romero blocking Manuel Akanji’s shot and seconds later Ivan Perisic’s cross agonisingly evaded the Argentina defender and Kane at the back post.

Kane was in the thick of the action minutes later, sending one effort wide before Ederson denied him after Tottenham’s record scorer had bulldozed his way past Kyle Walker and Akanji.

More drama was to follow with referee Andrew Madley showing Romero a second yellow card for a foul on Grealish before five minutes of stoppage time was added on.

Despite plenty of City possession, it was Tottenham who held firm to move within a point of the top four and do rivals Arsenal a favour in the title race.



Conor McGregor is set to make his long-awaited return to UFC action later this year, it has been announced.

The Dublin-born former two-weight world champion, who has not fought since suffering a serious leg injury in July 2021, is set to take on American Michael Chandler.

The details are yet to be finalised but it will come after the pair first try to outwit each other as team coaches in Ultimate Fighter.

UFC president Dana White said in a video posted on his Twitter account: “Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler will go head to head as the coaches of the Ultimate Fighter – Team McGregor versus Team Chandler.

“This season premieres Tuesday, May 30 and runs through Tuesday, August 15.

“Then, at the end of the season, McGregor and Chandler will fight. I do not have a date or a location for that, but we will announce it soon.”



Lucas Paqueta dented Newcastle’s Premier League charge as West Ham came from behind to draw at St James’ Park.

The 25-year-old Brazilian, a summer target for the Magpies, clinched a 1-1 draw with a 32nd-minute equaliser after Callum Wilson had ended his 10-game drought with an early strike.

A point was no more than the Hammers deserved after recovering from a dreadful start in front of a crowd of 52,256 to deny Eddie Howe victory in his 600th game as a manager.

The Carabao Cup finalists badly missed the suspended Bruno Guimaraes, and even the introduction of £45million January signing Anthony Gordon for his debut could not get them over the line.

If Howe had feared any hangover from Tuesday night’s semi-final success, he need not have worried – at least early on – as his side raced out of the blocks.

Joe Willock had already seen a first-minute strike ruled out by VAR after the ball had run out of play during the build-up when Wilson latched on to Sean Longstaff’s defence-splitting pass to fire confidently past Lukasz Fabianski, his first goal in 11 appearances in all competitions.

The shell-shocked visitors found themselves pinned back deep inside their own territory as Longstaff, Kieran Trippier and Willock worked to feed Miguel Almiron and the returning Allan Saint-Maximin at regular intervals.

However, as they grew into the game, the Hammers started to threaten on the break and Sven Botman had to make an important block after Michail Antonio had worked his way into a promising position on the edge of the box.

To their credit the visitors, who had been made to pay for their catastrophic defending, looked far more compact as the half wore on and while Newcastle still enjoyed plenty of possession, they lacked any real penetration.

West Ham might have been level with 28 minutes gone had Said Benrahma not spooned his shot high over Nick Pope’s crossbar after the Magpies had surrendered possession inside their own half, and Paqueta went close twice within seconds, seeing his first attempt blocked and his second deflected wide, with the home side guilty of sloppiness.

The South American was not to be denied, however, and stabbed home at the far post after the Newcastle defence had failed to deal with the excellent Declan Rice’s corner.

Benrahma dragged an effort wide after cutting inside Fabian Schar with David Moyes’ men gaining the upper hand, prompting a concerted response from the hosts with Joelinton and Longstaff making their presence felt in an increasingly physical midfield battle.

The Hammers picked up largely where they had left off after the restart, defender Nayef Aguerd flicking a 50th-minute header high and wide from Benrahma’s cross after a sustained spell of pressure.

Vladimir Coufal made an important block from Saint-Maximin’s volley four minutes later as Newcastle hit back, but for all the effort they expended, genuine chances proved elusive, prompting Howe to throw on Gordon with 21 minutes remaining.

Wilson might have doubled his tally twice as time ran down, Aguerd’s superbly-timed challenge and Fabianski’s safe hands denying him in quick succession, and his side ultimately had to settle for a point.



Kaoru Mitoma headed home an 87th-minute winner to earn Brighton a 1-0 victory over struggling Bournemouth at the Amex Stadium.

The Japan international, whose goal in stoppage time helped the Seagulls knock holders Liverpool out of the FA Cup last week, nodded past goalkeeper Neto to send his side into sixth place.

Both sides threatened throughout a pacey first half, the Cherries somehow surviving an onslaught that saw Deniz Undav denied three times within a matter of seconds.

Bournemouth put pressure on the hosts after the restart but failed to find the finishing touch as Brighton looked close to a breakthrough.

That finally came when substitute Jeremy Sarmiento sent a cross to Mitoma, who sealed all three points with his third goal in as many games.

Brighton had picked up 10 points from their previous five Premier League contests while the Cherries were looking for their first win in six matches.

The hosts had a chance inside the first two minutes when Danny Welbeck rose to meet Tariq Lamptey’s cross inside the six-yard box but the Cherries avoided conceding an early opener when referee Michael Oliver ruled the Seagulls forward had fouled Neto.

Hamed Traore, one of six January signings for Gary O’Neil and making his Cherries debut, sent an inswinging corner from the left which Chris Mepham could only tap into the side-netting with the outside of his foot.

Undav then saw his initial effort blocked by Mepham before Neto parried the rebound only for the Brighton striker to ping his third attempt off the left post.

Jefferson Lerma skied an effort at the other end before Pervis Estupinan brought down Dango Ouattara but a VAR check determined there was no penalty.

Bournemouth were initially able to fend off a Pascal Gross corner but Neto had to punch away a second set-piece before picking Estupinan’s attempt from the left out of the air.

Philip Billing put his body on the line to clear another threatening Albion attack before Welbeck tried to nod Solly March’s cross past Neto but instead directed it straight at the keeper.

Jordan Zemura and Billing were denied and the visitors survived an added-time onslaught as Undav sent a cross in the direction of the six-yard box but Welbeck could not connect.

Ouattara headed Zemura’s cross wide after the break for Bournemouth and Mitoma had a shot stopped by a diving Neto, who then tipped Welbeck’s attempt over the bar before Billy Gilmour shook the side-netting from close range.

Sarmiento tried to make an instant impact for the hosts as he came on for Welbeck and called Neto back into action with a decent effort.

Bournemouth debutant Antoine Semenyo was next to try to break the deadlock but his run down the centre of the pitch was halted by Estupinan’s perfectly-timed sliding tackle.

Ouattara tested Robert Sanchez with a soft effort to the bottom corner but neither side was able to break the deadlock as the clock ticked past the 80-minute mark.

The hosts, who had threatened all afternoon, finally scored when Sarmiento whipped a cross into the area from the left and Mitoma nodded into the upper-left corner.

A leaping Neto got a hand on the ball but was unable to keep it out.



Keylor Navas immediately showed his class on his Nottingham Forest debut as he helped his new club to a 1-0 win over Leeds in a crunch clash at the bottom of the Premier League.

The three-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid was part of Forest’s recruitment drive in January, making a loan switch from Paris St Germain, and he produced a string of saves in the first half to keep Leeds at bay.

He had already saved from Luis Sinisterra by the time Brennan Johnson’s 14th-minute goal put Forest ahead and then he kept out Luke Ayling and Willy Gnonto to ensure the three points.

The win is massive for Forest in their bid to move clear of the bottom three and they are now six points above 18th-placed Everton and may now begin to look up rather than down after strengthening their squad last month.

Leeds are definitely looking over their shoulders as after a seventh game without a win they are out of the bottom three on goal difference alone, with two games against Manchester United coming up in the next seven days.

They will live to regret coming up against Navas in this form as they squandered good chances in the first half, but could not find that cutting edge in the second half.

Forest enjoyed a busy end to the transfer window as they added three signings on deadline day and brought in Andre Ayew as a free agent two days later.

Highly decorated goalkeeper Navas was the only starter of those and immediately proved his calibre as he was forced into an early save.

Sinisterra darted into the penalty and flicked an effort towards goal but the former Real Madrid man got down well to keep it out.

Forest took a while to get going but once they did they soon went ahead.

Morgan Gibbs-White sent in a free-kick from the right which went all the way through to Johnson at the far post and the Wales international lashed in a low drive from the edge of the area.

Despite having the advantage, Forest could not take control of the game and Leeds pushed for an equaliser.

They created two big chances within the space of five minutes but could not convert either.

First Sinisterra blazed over Gnonto’s ball back across goal from just six yards out and then Navas came to Forest’s rescue again with another good stop.

Gnonto got in down the left again and squared a ball to Patrick Bamford, who completely missed his kick, but it fell invitingly to Ayling at the far post. However Navas was equal to the shot and palmed it away.

The 36-year-old was being worked hard and he made another save on the stroke of half-time to deny Gnonto’s fierce shot.

Italy forward Gnonto was again causing trouble for Forest early in the second half, but it was the hosts who had a great chance to double their lead.

Gibbs-White sent Neco Williams through on goal but, after lacking the legs to race clear, he cut back on to his left foot and sent his effort clear of the crossbar.

For all of Leeds’ possession they were not creating much and instead it was Forest who were enjoying the better moments in front of goal.

A good chance to seal the win fell to substitute Sam Surridge with 12 minutes remaining, but he curled over from a good position inside the area after being fed by Gibbs-White.



Manchester United were made to sweat for their 13th successive home win after star midfielder Casemiro’s red card for violent conduct sparked a frenzied conclusion against Crystal Palace.

Fresh from sealing their place in the Carabao Cup final on Wednesday, Erik ten Hag’s side looked set to make light work of Patrick Vieira’s Eagles in a rare Saturday afternoon kick-off.

Bruno Fernandes’ early penalty and a close-range Marcus Rashford goal had in-form United cruising to victory, only for Casemiro’s sending-off to make for an uncomfortable ending at Old Trafford.

Jeffrey Schlupp, whose shove on Antony led to the melee in which the Brazil star grabbed Will Hughes around the throat, pulled one back and Ten Hag’s 10 men dug deep to see out a 2-1 win.

The relief was as palpable as the joy at the final whistle, just 17 days after Palace grabbed a draw with a stoppage-time leveller in the reverse fixture at Selhurst Park.

Casemiro’s suspension was the main talking point after that match and will be again, with this red card leading to a three-match domestic ban that will keep him out until the Carabao Cup final.

United fought to the end on an afternoon that began with Old Trafford falling silent to remember those that lost their lives in the Munich Air Disaster ahead of its 65th anniversary on Monday.

There was a lively atmosphere when play got under way, with United players haranguing the referee just minutes into the match claiming that Hughes had handled a Rashford cross.

Nothing was given but VAR Tony Harrington advised Andre Marriner to check the pitchside monitor, leading the official to point to the spot.

Fernandes stepped up and coolly sent Vicente Guaita the wrong way with seven minutes on the clock.

United were playing with confidence and went close to a second in the 13th minute when the Palace goalkeeper impressively got across to deny Wout Weghorst’s looping header.

Rashford showed skill and strength to hold off Chris Richards and force Guaita into a save from a narrow angle, with Antony seeing a right-footed curling effort stopped from the resulting corner.

The United onslaught continued as Fred directed a Weghorst cutback just wide as he attempted to score in a third straight game.

Palace had created precious little in a one-sided first half, but David De Gea had to be alert to prevent a Schlupp fizzer from distance as half-time approached.

Vieira’s men showed flashes of quality early in the second half, but Lisandro Martinez made a couple of key interventions to quell the danger.

Rashford lifted over at the other end before Ten Hag moved him to centre forward after Alejandro Garnacho replaced target man Weghorst.

The decision quickly paid dividends. Luke Shaw drove in a low left-footed cross at the end of a fine team move and Rashford directed home in front of the Stretford End in the 63rd minute.

United looked home and hosed, only for a coming together between the sides to change the dynamics.

The teams clashed after Schlupp unceremoniously barged over Antony, with Casemiro grabbing Hughes by the throat as players from both sides fumed.

Referee Marriner ended up dishing out a straight red card to the Brazil midfielder after being advised by the VAR to check the pitchside monitor.

Palace, emboldened by their man advantage, attacked with renewed vigour for the final 20 minutes.

De Gea produced a fine stop to deny Marc Guehi, but Palace reduced the deficit in the 76th minute as Schlupp superbly turned home a wayward Cheick Doucoure shot.

The Eagles continued to push. Michael Olise had an attempt before Martinez brilliantly blocked Eberechi Eze’s attempt.

United brought on deadline-day signing Marcel Sabitzer in a bid to see out a game, with Ten Hag then turning to Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof after Jean-Philippe Mateta headed off target.

The United faithful roared their team through seven minutes of stoppage time, with man-of-the-match Martinez throwing himself in front of a late cross.

Vieira marched straight to the officials at full-time.



Leicester eased their Premier League relegation concerns as they twice came from behind to secure a pulsating victory in a six-goal thriller at Aston Villa.

Brendan Rodgers’ side were only outside of the bottom three on goal difference before kick-off in a Midlands derby that ended 4-2 in favour of the Foxes.

An Ollie Watkins strike and an own goal from Harry Souttar, on his Leicester debut, twice had Unai Emery’s Villa ahead – but they were pegged back by James Maddison and Kelechi Iheanacho.

Tete, also making his Leicester bow, put the visitors in front at the break before substitute Dennis Praet wrapped up the win – all four goals coming from poor Villa defending.

Emery’s men started the brighter of the two sides and duly took the lead with just nine minutes on the clock.

Emiliano Buendia had time and space to curl in a shot from outside the box and, after it smacked against the crossbar, Watkins reacted quickest to flick the ball home.

Leicester reacted well to the early set-back and were level soon after – although it was a goal of Villa’s own making, setting the theme for the afternoon.

Emiliano Martinez rolled a goal-kick into Boubacar Kamara, who had the ball stolen off him by Iheanacho, his pass then coolly converted by Maddison on his first league start since the World Cup.

In an end-to-end first-half, Watkins missed a fine chance to put the hosts back in front, failing to tap a Buendia cross into an open goal.

The busy Buendia hit the woodwork for a second time as he flicked a header against the crossbar from a near-post corner.

Villa’s second would come about in unfortunate circumstances for Foxes new-boy Souttar, who inadvertently deflected a low Watkins cross into his own goal.

Souttar’s blushes would be spared as the fourth goal of a thrilling contest came before the interval as Harvey Barnes crossed to the back post for Iheanacho to bring Leicester level.

Even better for the visitors, they would hit the front for the first time in the game just moments before the break, Kamara again losing possession as Iheanacho fed Tete – who marked his Leicester debut with a well-taken goal.

Emery responded by making a double change for the second half as Alex Moreno and Philippe Coutinho were introduced.

But it was Leicester who should have struck, moments after the restart. This time Iheanacho unable to hit the target having been played through one-on-one with Martinez.

Tete, too, came close to a brace as Leicester started the second half in the same manner they ended the first.

Villa began to come back into the game and thought they had drawn level through Coutinho, although the offside flag ruled out the Brazilian’s close-range finish.

Leicester gave themselves some breathing space as Moreno failed to clear a ball through the middle, allowing Praet a simple finish past Martinez.

For Rodgers, who got the better of Emery in both games between the pair when the Spaniard was at Arsenal, it was a vital three points as Leicester moved up to 13th place in the table.



UEFA will introduce a quarter-final stage and promotion/relegation play-offs to the men’s Nations League from 2024, with future World Cup and Euro qualifying groups to be capped at no more than five teams each.

The top two in each of the four groups in League A of the Nations League will now progress to a two-leg quarter-final stage, with games to be played in the March international window in non-tournament years, under changes approved by UEFA’s executive committee on Wednesday.

The promotion-relegation play-offs will also be over two legs, and will be played between the teams finishing third in League A and second in League B, and the teams finishing third in League B and second in Group C. These games will also be played in the same March windows.

The League A semi-finals and final will continue to be single-leg ties played in June in non-tournament years as they are now.

The first Nations League using this format will begin in September next year and run through to the finals in June 2025.

UEFA confirmed its intention to stick with a 24-team format for the 2028 Euros, which the UK and Ireland are bidding to host.

There will be no more six-team qualifying groups for Euros or World Cups from 2024, with groups now featuring a maximum of five teams.

In the scenario of a single host nation, 12 group winners and six best runners-up from six groups of five and six groups of four would qualify automatically, with the other six group runners-up playing off against the best-performing Nations League sides which have not already qualified.

In the event of the UK-Ireland bid succeeding, UEFA has already stated that the automatic qualification of any more than two of the host nations cannot be guaranteed.

Teams will continue to be seeded and placed in five pots.

Giorgio Marchetti, UEFA deputy general secretary and competitions director, says the intention of the measures is to make for more “compelling and attractive” international fixtures.

He said the new formats would have no impact on either of the two new initiatives announced by Fifa president Gianni Infantino last month – for a 32-team Club World Cup in 2025 and for a Fifa World Series event featuring national teams, to be played in the March window in even years.

However, players at clubs competing in the Club World Cup whose countries are also involved in the Nations League final four would face a busy summer in 2025.

UEFA’s executive committee has also agreed to switch the 2023 Super Cup from Kazan in Russia to Athens.

Russia’s clubs and national teams are currently barred from UEFA competitions following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.



Manchester United put one foot on Wembley Way after taking firm control of their Carabao Cup semi-final with a 3-0 first-leg win at Nottingham Forest.

First-half goals from Marcus Rashford and Wout Weghorst and Bruno Fernandes’ late third at the City Ground mean that only a miraculous turnaround in next week’s second leg will stop United appearing in the League Cup final at the national stadium next month.

Rashford’s strike was a moment of individual brilliance as he raced 50 yards and converted, Weghorst celebrated his first goal for the club since his loan move from Burnley while Fernandes effectively killed the tie at the death.

The win put United on the brink of returning to Wembley for their first domestic showpiece since losing the 2018 FA Cup final and Erik ten Hag will have the possibility of ending the club’s trophy drought, which stretches back to 2017, firmly in his sights in his first season at Old Trafford.

Forest, whose history in the League Cup is almost as rich as United’s with four titles in 12 years under Brian Clough, will see this as a missed opportunity to go to Old Trafford next week with something to hold on to.

They had a strong period in the first half where Sam Surridge had a goal disallowed and Morgan Gibbs-White and Brennan Johnson had decent opportunities.

But Ten Hag’s side cruised to the win on the banks of the Trent and will be circling February 26 in their calendars for a Wembley day out, while Forest will need to channel their former manager Clough in hope of a miracle.

The two sides famously met in the 1992 League Cup final at Wembley, which United won thanks to Brian McClair’s goal, and the current crop showed they are keen to get back there this year.

Ten Hag named his strongest side possible and was rewarded with an early lead as Rashford’s sublime form continued with a brilliant individual goal.

The England international, who has scored in the previous three rounds of this competition, picked up the ball in his own half, carried it to the other end of the pitch, darted in between Joe Worrall and Remo Freuler before beating Wayne Hennessey at the near post.

It was his 10th goal in 10 games since the resumption after the World Cup and his form has been the driving force behind United’s impressive run of results.

There were more goals for the taking in a dominant start for the visitors but Antony twice drifted shots wide of the post from good positions after cutting in from the right.

Forest had been overrun in the opening 15 minutes but they came to life and thought they had levelled in the 23rd minute.

A brilliant counter-attack saw Gibbs-White feed Sam Surridge, who produced a fine first-time finish into the bottom corner.

However, it was ruled out after VAR found Surridge’s knee to be offside.

Forest to their credit did not let that disappointment affect them and they continued to push forward and had chances for an equaliser.

David de Gea produced a flying save to keep out Gustavo Scarpa’s volley from the edge of the area, then got down well to stop a Gibbs-White effort before watching Johnson fire over after gliding past a couple of United tackles.

Having soaked up that pressure, United got a killer second goal on the stroke of half-time.

They expertly manoeuvred the ball from back to front and, after Hennessey palmed out Antony’s shot, Weghorst reacted first to fire home the rebound and break his United duck.

The hosts struggled to recreate the verve they showed in the first half and United kept them at arm’s length.

Indeed, it was the visitors, who won 8-1 on their last visit to the City Ground in 1999, who strengthened their grip on the tie as, after Christian Eriksen had earlier hit the crossbar, Fernandes drilled home a low finish in the 89th minute.