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12:00 AM, December 17, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, December 17, 2018

Short corner

Real, Atletico close in on Barca

Karim Benzema shot Real Madrid to within two points of La Liga leaders Barcelona with the winner in a scrappy 1-0 win over Rayo Vallecano, while countryman Antoine Griezmann fired a brace in a 3-2 win over Real Valladolid to take Atletico Madrid level with Barca.

Benzema's 13th-minute strike was enough for Real to move up to third on 29 points, two behind Barca, who travel to Levante on Sunday evening, and second-placed Atleti.

Earlier, Griezmann struck the winner for Diego Simeone's Atleti 10 minutes from the end after Valladolid had fought back from a two goal half-time deficit.    --Afp


Dortmund guarantee 'autumn title'

Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund edged past Werder Bremen 2-1 on Saturday to open up a nine-point gap that guarantees they will stay top of the table going into the winter break later this month.

Goals from the league's leading scorer Paco Alcacer and Marco Reus earned unbeaten Dortmund their sixth league win in a row.

It put them on 39 points from 15 games, nine clear of Borussia Moenchengladbach, who drew 0-0 at Hoffenheim, and champions Bayern Munich, winners 4-0 at Hanover 96, with two matchdays left until the start of the winter break on Dec 23. The unofficial autumn 'Herbstmeister' title, for the team who lead the Bundesliga at the halfway mark, may mean little now but 38 of the last 55 sides to earn that accolade have gone on to also win the league title.              --- Reuters


Symonds reveals Singh's emotional apology over 'monkeygate'

Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh "broke down crying" when he finally made up with Andrew Symonds after the infamous "monkeygate" scandal had sent the Australian all-rounder into a downward spiral, he revealed Sunday.

A decade on from the ugly incident in the 2008 Sydney Test, where Singh was accused of calling Symonds a "monkey", the Australian said they emotionally called a truce three years later.

It happened when the pair were awkwardly reunited by the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.

"We go to a very wealthy man's place for a barbecue, drinks and dinner one night and the whole team's there and he had guests there, and Harbhajan said 'mate, can I speak to you for a minute out in the garden out the front'," Symonds told Fox Sports.

"He goes, 'look, I've got to say sorry to you for what I did to you in Sydney. I apologise, I hope I didn't cause you, your family, your friends too much harm and I really apologise for what I said, I shouldn't have said it'.

"And he actually broke down crying, and I could just see that was a huge weight off his shoulders, he had to get rid of it. We shook hands and I gave him a hug and said: 'Mate, it's all good. It's dealt with'."     --Afp


Ansar, BJMC in women's handball final

Bangladesh Ansar and BJMC moved into the final of women's section of Victory Day Handball tournament after winning their respective semifinals at the Shaheed Captain M Mansur Ali Stadium yesterday.

Ansar beat Jamalpur Sports Academy 34-18 in the first semifinal while BJMC handed a 37-21 goals defeat to Bangladesh Police Handball Club.

In men's section, Bangladesh Ansar beat Narinda Prograti Boys' Club 37-26 while Border Guard Bangladesh beat Bangladesh Police Handball Club 24-20.

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