x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

NHL's Crosby not ready; Murray reigns in Thailand

Sidney Crosby says he will not be ready for the Pittsburgh Penguins' season opener on Thursday; Andy Murray reigns in Thailand and Humaid Al Masaood has early disappointment in the Petit Le Mans.

Sidney Crosby is expected to miss the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season-opener next week because of long-term effects of a concussion he suffered in January.

After Pittsburgh practised Saturday, the Penguins’ captain said he did not think there was a chance he would play in the NHL 2011-12 regular season opener against Vancouver on Thursday.

“No. I wouldn’t expect it. No,” said Crosby, who has not played since being diagnosed with a concussion on January 6.

Crosby has skated during practice but is not cleared for contact.

WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP: HIRVONEN'S TITLE BID BOOSTED

Mikko Hirvonen’s fourth place in Rally Franceon Sunday moved him to within three points of Sebastien Loeb in the World Rally Championship.

The Abu Dhabi Ford driver was helped as teammate Jari-Matti Latvala took a time penalty to drop to fifth to allow Hirvonen an extra two points.

Hirvonen said: “I owe Jari-Matti a big thank you.”

Sebastien Ogier won the event for Citroen and is also now three points behind Loeb in the standings.

AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES: EARLY END FOR AL MASAOOD

Humaid Al Masaood suffered a disappointing end to the American Le Mans Series on Saturday.

The Emirati driver, who shared an Oryx Racing Mazda-powered Lola Coupe with Butch Leitzinger and Steven Kane, was forced out of the Petit Le Mans race at the Road Atlanta circuit after just 29 laps of the 10-hour event.

The trio of Franck Montagny, Stephane Sarrazin and Alex Wurz drove on to win in their Peugeot.

FOOTBALL: QATAR TO HOST IRAQ'S HOME QUALIFIERS

The Qatar Football Association have said the Gulf nation will host Iraq’s home qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup and 2012 Olympics.

Sunday’s announcement came after a decision last month by Fifa, football’s world governing body, to ban Iraq from playing any home qualifiers.

Fifa said the decision was prompted by the “general security situation” in Iraq, and stadium failures in Irbil when Iraq hosted Jordan in a qualifier last month.

TENNIS: MURRAY REIGNS IN THAILAND

Andy Murray said he had put in one of the best performances of his tennis career on Sunday as he took just 48 minutes to claim the Thailand Open, sweeping aside the challenge of Donald Young 6-2, 6-0.

It was the third title of the year for men’s world No 4, and the Briton said: “I barely made any errors. I was able to take all of my opportunities. It was a great match for me. I made it difficult for him to do anything.”