La Liga clubs to resume full training next week

Press photographers raise their cameras as they protest in front of Spanish La Liga headquarters in Madrid against the restrictions imposed to cover football matches on May 28, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 30 May 2020

La Liga clubs to resume full training next week

  • La Liga suspended fixtures due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 12

MADRID: La Liga have confirmed players will be allowed to return to full training on Monday, giving them 10 days to work together before the season restarts in Spain on June 11.
This is the final phase of La Liga’s staggered training program as teams get set to complete the remaining 11 rounds of the season, which will finish on July 19.
European competitions, including the Champions League, could then resume in August.
“La Liga clubs will start collective training on Monday, June 1,” the league said in a statement on Saturday.
“The fourth phase, which starts next Monday, is the last step in this protocol that will lead to clubs starting competition on June 11.”
La Liga president Javier Tebas has said the plan is for games to be played every day. The Spanish football federation (RFEF) gave its permission last week for matches to be staged on all days of the week.
Players in Spain’s top two divisions began training in groups of up to 10 from May 18 and then 14 shortly after, having initially begun working individually at training grounds from May 4.
La Liga suspended fixtures due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 12, meaning the break between games stopping and restarting will be almost exactly three months.
Matches will be held behind closed doors, with the Seville derby between Sevilla and Real Betis expected to be the first game back on June 11.
Barcelona, who are two points clear at the top of the table, will resume away at Real Mallorca while their closest challengers Real Madrid are at home against Eibar.
Madrid have the approval of La Liga to stage their remaining home games at their Valdebebas training ground to allow construction work to go ahead at the Santiago Bernabeu.
All games will be played according to strict medical protocol, with players and officials undergoing tests for coronavirus the day before games and having their temperatures taken before entering stadiums.
La Liga’s timetable, which includes next season beginning in September, is dependent on both the trajectory of the coronavirus and continued approval of the Spanish health authorities.
The Spanish health ministry reported on Friday there had been 39 deaths from coronavirus in Spain during the last week while on Thursday it confirmed there had been only one death over the previous 24 hours.


Murray to the rescue as Nuggets hold of Lakers

Updated 23 September 2020

Murray to the rescue as Nuggets hold of Lakers

  • The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99

ORLANDO: Jamal Murray scored 28 points as the Denver Nuggets held off a ferocious late fightback from the Los Angeles Lakers to roar back into contention in the Western Conference finals series on Tuesday.

Murray nailed two crucial late three-pointers in the closing minutes as Denver held on for a 114-106 victory in game three to reduce the Lakers’ lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

But the Nuggets — who looked in complete control for long periods of the contest — were given a mighty scare by the Lakers in a thrilling fourth quarter battle.

The Lakers had trailed by 20 points with just over 10 minutes remaining but whittled away the Denver lead to just three points with 3min 53sec left on the clock in Orlando.

But just as it looked as if LeBron James and Anthony Davis were poised to complete a remarkable comeback, Murray regrouped to take the game away from the Lakers.

The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99 and he then provided the assist for Paul Millsap to make it 108-99.

With less than a minute on the clock, Murray struck the dagger blow with a 29-foot three-point jumpshot to make it 111-99 and effectively seal victory.

Denver coach Michael Malone said his team — who had suffered an agonizing buzzer-beater defeat in game two on Sunday — were determined not to go 3-0 down in the series.

The Nuggets have already overturned 3-1 series deficits en route to the Western Conference finals.

“I had no doubt we were going to show up tonight,” Malone said.

“We have won six straight elimination games. Everybody always has us packing our bags and leaving, but we’re not ready to go. They’re a very resilient group and they have proved that time and time again.”

Asked about his late flourish, Murray said he had set out to lead by example.

“That’s my whole energy, my whole approach to the game, not getting down if I miss a couple of shots,” Murray said.

“I’m just trying to be aggressive ... but the most important part is the energy I bring when I’m talking to my team-mates, being a vocal leader, getting up and down and pushing everybody so they tend to follow. I just wanted to see them have a lot of fun today.”

The Lakers, meanwhile, were left reflecting on an uneven display which ultimately left James and Davis with too much to do.

James led the scoring with a triple double comprised of 30 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, with six turnovers. Davis had 27 points, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12) and Kyle Kuzma (11) the only other Lakers players to crack double figures.

Murray, who also had 12 assists, was backed with 26 points from Jerami Grant while Nikola Jokic weighed in with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

“You put yourself in an 18-point hole, it’s tough to climb out of that,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

“I thought Denver played with great energy throughout the game. We didn’t match it early, we matched it late. They’re a great basketball team so credit it to them for the win. They played a really good basketball game.

“We were not as sharp as we could have been on both ends of the floor. We were playing at a high level, but were a little bit off in the first half.

“But I liked the spirit that the guys competed with down the stretch to try and make it a game.”