Liverpool holds Man City to draw
• Liverpool did Manchester United a big favor in the Premier League on Sunday, holding Manchester City to a 2-2 draw to leave the defending champions nine points behind their neighbors in the title race. Sergio Aguero’s 79th-minute goal gave City one point that will be of little comfort to manager Roberto Mancini, whose team has dropped four points in six days and is struggling to keep pace with United.
• Lionel Messi extended his record streak by scoring in his 12th consecutive Spanish league game to give leader Barcelona a 1-1 draw at Valencia on Sunday, while Atletico Madrid remained perfect at home through 20 games in all competitions. Midfielder Ever Banega struck first for Valencia in the 33rd, only for Messi to level for the visitors from the penalty spot six minutes later.
• Mario Balotelli marked his return to Serie A by scoring both goals — including the winner in added time — in AC Milan’s 2-1 win over Udinese on Sunday. Balotelli gave Milan the lead in the 25th minute at the San Siro by redirecting a cross from Stephen El Shaarawy at the edge of the box with one touch. Then after Giampiero Pinzi had brought Udinese level in the 55th, Balotelli put Milan back in front with a penalty four minutes into injury time. After cooly kicking in the winner, Balotelli held his arms out wide toward the crowd, as if saying, “Here I am.” The win moved Milan level with its city rival and Balotelli’s former club Inter Milan in fourth place, 12 points behind Italian league leader Juventus.
• Borussia Dortmund withstood a late rally from Bayer Leverkusen to win 3-2 and move above the home side into second place in the Bundesliga. Marco Reus scored in the third minute and Jakub Blaszczykowski made it 2-0 to Dortmund from a penalty kick six minutes later. Leverkusen pulled one back in the 58th, when Stefan Kiessling set up Stefan Reinartz for the midfielder’s first goal of the season. He got his second four minutes later, only for Robert Lewandowski to reply straight away for the defending champions at the other end.
Bodyguards to join Vonn at world event
• With attention on her personal life intensifying, Lindsey Vonn will be surrounded by bodyguards at the Alpine skiing world championships. An average of 30,000 fans per race are expected in this small Alpine village during the 13-day championships, which start Tuesday with the women’s super-G and end Feb. 17. She said Red Bull, her sponsor, has hired security “to make sure I can get in and out and not have any difficulty, but I don’t expect there to be any problems. But it’s better to be safe than sorry.” There has been online chatter about an alleged relationship between Vonn and Tiger Woods. She was asked by a reporter whether the golfer would be coming to watch her ski.
• Double Olympic champion Charles Hamelin won the men’s 1,000-meter race at a short-track speedskating World Cup event Sunday. The Canadian earned his third victory of the season in 1 minute, 26.957 seconds at the Iceberg arena, which will host the short-track and figure skating events at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Semen Elistratov of Russia was second in 1:27.034. American J.R. Celski was third. Wu Daijing led China’s 1-2 finish in the men’s 500. Wu won in 41.702 seconds with Yu Jiyang second in 41.814. Vancouver Olympics bronze medalist Park Seung-hi of South Korea won the women’s 1,000 meters in 1:30.553. World Cup discipline leader Elise Christie of Britain finished second in 1:30.757. Fan Kexin of China won the women’s 500 in 44.195 seconds. Italy’s Arianna Fontana was second. Russia won the men’s 5,000-meter relay, while China was first in the women’s 3,000 relay.
Goodell says child could play football
• NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he “absolutely” would want his own child to play football. After President Barack Obama said he’d “have to think long and hard” about allowing a son to take part in the sport, Goodell was asked the same question hours before Sunday’s Super Bowl during an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation. Like the president, Goodell has two daughters. The commissioner deflected the question about allowing a son to play football by noting the high incidence of concussions in girls soccer. Goodell declined to confirm that there is a proven connection between the sport and medical problems in retired players. He emphasized that the NFL is funding research to learn more about the risks.
— From wire reports