Thursday Lunchtime Sports Update

lunchtime sports

SOCCER

Attention turns to Europa League action today.

Manchester United are away to Kazakhstan side Astana later on.

They have already secured their place in the knock-out stages of the competition so manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (pron: olly gunner sol-shah) is expected to experiment with his selection.

Youngsters Ethan Laird, Di’Shon Bernard and Dylan Levitt are all set to get their debuts as well as goalkeeper Lee Grant.

The United boss says it’s a great opportunity for the players.

Kick-off is at ten-to-four Irish time.

Granit Xhaka (PRON: Zh-aka) may make his first appearance since being stripped of the captaincy when Arsenal face Eintracht Frankfurt at the Emirates Stadium.

A win or a draw will be enough for the Gunners to reach the last 32.

That kicks-off at 8-o’clock tonight.

Celtic are already into the knockout stage.

They play Rennes (PRON: Ren) at Parkhead, also at 8pm.

If Rangers beat Feyenoord in Holland and Young Boys win or draw against Porto, then Steven Gerrard’s side will go through.

And Wolves will book their spot in the next phase if they take a point away to Braga in Portugal.

SNOOKER

At just 18 years of age, Ross Bulman is preparing for the biggest match of his career so far.

The Cork native takes on seven time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in the first round of the UK Championship in York this evening.

Another legend, Jimmy White, faces Antrim’s Mark Allen this evening.

Fergal O’Brien plays Michael White this afternoon.

Ken Doherty is underway against Mei Xi Wen (pr: May Zhee-Wen) in their best of 11 frame match.

The 1997 World Champion leads by 4 frames to 2.

GOLF

Jonathan Caldwell shot a 2-over-par first round of 74 at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa today.

That leaves him 8 shots off the lead and in a tie for 95th.

Cormac Sharvin is the only other Irish involvement this week in Leopard Creek.

He’s 8-over-par after today.

ATHLETICS

UK Athletics has commissioned an independent review into its dealing with Alberto Salazar and his Nike (Pron: Ny-kee) Oregon Project.

The American coach was banned for four years by the US Anti-Doping Agency in October and this month it was announced he would be challenging the sanction at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Salazar trained Mo Farah from 2011 until 2017.

The Olympic gold medallist has never failed a drugs test and has always strenuously denied breaking any anti-doping regulations.