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Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam

After 18 ties spread over three and a half hectic days at La Caja Magica, the quarter-final line-up is now complete. Canada face Australia in Thursday’s evening session with the other three quarter-finals – Serbia v Russia, Spain v Argentina and Britain v Germany taking place on Friday.

* Diego Maradona decided to stay on as coach of Argentine club Gimnasia y Esgrima in a surprising about turn on Thursday, two days after saying he was leaving his job at the struggling first division side.

* American Webb Simpson birdied his last three holes to take a one-stroke lead in the first round of the RSM Classic in Georgia on Thursday. Simpson’s lone bogey came on his second hole but he recovered to finish with eight birdies for a seven-under-par 65 on a sunny day at the Plantation course on Sea Island, one of two courses used in the PGA Tour’s final event of the year.

* Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut has withdrawn from the Davis Cup Finals after the death of his father on Thursday. Agut, who reached this year’s Wimbledon semi-finals, played in Spain’s victories over Russia and Croatia but left the team and returned to Castellon after the health of his father Joaquin deteriorated.

* Real Madrid forward Lucas Vazquez will be out of action for weeks after breaking his toe by dropping a weight on it while working out in the gym, Spanish media reported on Thursday. Vazquez joins James Rodriguez, Nacho and Asensio on the injury list ahead of second-placed Real’s game against Real Sociedad, who sit two points behind them.

* Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka, who was stripped of the captaincy for swearing at supporters last month, could return to the team when they host Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday, manager Unai Emery said. Xhaka has not played for the club since the Oct. 27 bust-up at the Emirates following a 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace with Emery later saying he was unsure about the Swiss international’s future at the club.

* New Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho has paid tribute to his predecessor Mauricio Pochettino and backed the Argentine to find happiness again at a different club. Speaking in his first news conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash against West Ham United, Mourinho said the club’s door will always be open for Pochettino, who guided Spurs to the Champions League final last season.

* Newcastle United defenders Florian Lejeune and Fabian Schar are available for Monday’s Premier League clash against Aston Villa, manager Steve Bruce said on Thursday. French defender Lejeune has not featured for Newcastle since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in April, while Schar has spent a month on the sidelines with a knee injury.

* Borussia Moenchengladbach hope the international break has not slowed their momentum as they prepare to face Union Berlin on Saturday after their surprise run to the top of the Bundesliga. Gladbach are enjoying their best season since they last won the Bundesliga title in 1977 and have won eight of their 11 games so far, two more than any other team. They are top on 25 points, four ahead of RB Leipzig and champions Bayern Munich, and travel to Berlin on Saturday as the league resumes.

* Crystal Palace must find a way to weather spells of sustained Liverpool pressure in the opening periods of each half if they are to get a result on Saturday, Palace winger Andros Townsend has said. Liverpool are unbeaten in the league this season and hold an eight-point lead at the top after a 3-1 win over champions Manchester City in their last game. Eight of their 28 league goals have come in the first 15 minutes of each half.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News