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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Just about the only thing that looked familiar about the NFL’s long-awaited return Thursday night was the sight of Patrick Mahomes effortlessly leading the Kansas City Chiefs up and down the field.

The Super Bowl MVP thew for 211 yards and three touchdowns, Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran through the rain for 138 yards and another score, and the Chiefs began defense of their first championship in 50 years by beating the Houston Texans 34-20 on Thursday night before a socially distanced crowd of about 17,000 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill each caught TD passes for the Chiefs. They have won 10 straight dating to last season. That run includes a come-from-behind 51-31 victory over the Texans in the divisional round of the playoffs.

The Texans’ Deshaun Watson threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score, but he also was under relentless pressure and was intercepted once. David Johnson provided the biggest bright spot for Houston, running for 77 yards and a score.

The world has changed dramatically in the seven months since the Chiefs hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in Miami.

Within six weeks, the term COVID-19 had become a part of everyday life, the disease killing more than 900,000 people around the globe. The death of George Floyd at the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer in May touched off the Black Lives Matter movement, which in turn has led to a summer of social unrest that has gripped the country.

Against that backdrop came an NFL opener unlike any other: masks worn by everyone from fans to the coaching staffs; a series of videos raising awareness of social justice initiatives and encouraging the public to vote; and ultimately both teams locking arms in a display of unity prior to the coin toss.

To the relief of many, kickoff finally brought 4 hours of normalcy.

The Texans, who blew a 24-point lead against Kansas City in the the playoffs, struck first when they marched 80 yards for a touchdown. The elusive Johnson finished it off by scampering 19 yards to the end zone for a 7-0 lead.

But just like that cold January day, the red-hot Chiefs quickly overcame their slow start.

They tied it moments later when Mahomes threw a short touchdown pass to Kelce, then took the lead when they forced a quick punt and Mahomes found Watkins in the end zone. Harrison Butker capped the first half by kicking a chip-shot field goal that sent the Chiefs to the locker room with a 17-7 lead.

Edwards-Helaire, their first-round pick, padded the lead in the third quarter. After ripping off an 11-yard gain early in the drive, the pint-sized dynamo out of LSU unleashed a wicked stutter-step before running 27 yards for another score.

The Chiefs put the game away when rookie L’Darius Sneed picked off Watson’s jump ball in the closing seconds of the third quarter. Mahomes was bailed out of a fourth-down interception by pass interference in the end zone, then he zipped a dart to Hill streaking across the field for a 31-7 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Watson threw a touchdown pass and ran for a TD later in the quarter to make the final score a bit more respectable.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW

The Chiefs had a touchdown on their opening series brought back when the officials determined Demarcus Robinson failed to control a 36-yard pass from Mahomes in the end zone. They had another overturned when Watkins caught a 9-yard pass in the second quarter, though he wound up catching a screen pass for a TD two plays later.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

The Chiefs lined up along the goal line about 30 minutes before kickoff and watched Alicia Keyes perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is often considered the Black national anthem, in a video designed to address racial inequality.

The Texans had already left the field when the demonstration occurred. They remained there until R&B duo Chloe x Halle finished a virtual performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” then ran onto the field to a chorus of boos from fans.

Some fans were still booing when the teams met at midfield and shook hands. The teams then stood together in a line that stretched from one end zone to the other for a moment of silence before the coin toss.

SUPER CELEBRATION

In a relatively muted celebration, the Chiefs unveiled their Super Bowl banner and presented the Lombardi Trophy to their fans — along with a 20-foot replica that was wheeled onto the field — about 15 minutes before the game began.

INJURIES

Chiefs: DT Khalen Saunders (elbow) left in the first quarter with an elbow injury. DE Alex Okafor hurt his hamstring in the third and did not return. CB Charvarius Ward left in the fourth quarter with a hand injury.

Texans: RB Duke Johnson left in the fourth quarter with a leg injury. He did not return.

UP NEXT

The Texans play their home opener against the Ravens on Sept. 20. The Chiefs visit the Chargers the same day.



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Welcome to FIFA.com News – Pele: The only thing I haven’t done in 80 years is play on the moon

  • Pele turns 80 today
  • FIFA had the immense privilege of interviewing ‘The King’
  • An emotional Pele expressed his gratitude to football

“In Pele’s 80 years, the only thing that’s missing is to land on the moon,” a teary-eyed Pele told FIFA on his landmark birthday. “When there’s football on the moon, I’ll go there and have a little kickaround.”

In this interview, ‘The King’ discussed everything he has achieved with Brazil, Santos and New York Cosmos, told an amusing childhood story and revealed his gratitude to football.

“I’m crying with joy,” he assured his wife Marcia as she passed him a tissue. “Can’t I cry with joy?”

You can watch the full video interview above.

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Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Carlos Cuadras 2: Fight prediction, card, odds, start time, how to watch

juan francisco estrada

When Carlos Cuadras tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week, it seemed his Friday night rematch with Juan Francisco Estrada was about to go up in smoke. Instead, Cuadras was able to turn in a negative follow-up test and the bout was saved, as were hopes of a super flyweight unification rematch between Estrada and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez.

Cuadras (39-3-1, 27 KO) will battle Estrada (40-3, 27 KO) for the WBC super flyweight championship in the main event from Gymnasio TV Azteca in Mexico City (7 p.m. ET, DAZN). Chocolatito (49-2, 41 KO) will also be in action, putting his WBA version of the 115-pound world title on the line against Israel Gonzalez (25-3, 11KO). The goal of the show for Matchroom Boxing seems to be to get to that unification bout between Estrada and Gonzalez. The two previously met in 2012, with Gonzalez taking a wide decision victory.

Cuadras is more than a mere stepping stone to a bigger fight, however. In September 2017, Cuadras battled Estrada in a highly-competitive bout. Estrada took the fight on the judges’ scorecards, winning 114-113 on all three scorecards. A knockdown by Estrada in Round 10 was the deciding factor in that fight, buti it showed that Cuadras can hang with Estrada. An upset win by Cuadras could also result in a rematch, as he has his own loss to Gonzalez in a bloody fight in 2016.

Estrada defeated Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in April 2019, a victory that established him as the top 115-pound fighter in the world and landed him the WBC world title. After one successful defense, he was linked up with Cuadras, who has struggled a bit since that first meeting with Estrada, including a stint in rehab after refusing a drug test following a loss to McWilliams Arroyo in 2018.

Can’t get enough boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the world of combat sports from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and in-depth news.

Chocolatito had staked a claim to a spot as arguably the pound-for-pound best fighter in the sport when he ran into Rungvisai, who handed Chocolatito the first two losses of his career. After a few rebound wins, he proved he still had plenty to give in the ring by thrashing Khalid Yafai for a ninth-round TKO win to capture the WBA title.

In Israel Gonzalez, Chocolatito faces a fighter who has lost his two prior shots at world championships. Gonzalez lost a shot at the IBF super flyweight title against Jerwin Ancajas in February 2018 and then lost to Yafai in a shot at the WBA title in November of that year.

In the opening bout of the card, Julio Cesar Martinez (16-1, 12 KO) will put his WBC flyweight title on the line against Moises Calleros (33-9-1, 17 KO). Calleros is stepping in for Maximino Flores after Flores tested positive for COVID-19, taking down a bout that looked like a thriller on paper. Martinez has established himself as a must-watch talent, impressing with every outing over recent years before thrashing Cristofer Rosales to win the vacant WBC flyweight title.

Estrada vs. Cuadras 2 card, odds

Juan Francisco Estrada (c) -575

Carlos Cuadras +425

WBC super flyweight title

Chocolatito Gonzalez (c) -2000

Israel Gonzalez +1000

WBA super flyweight title

Julio Cesar Martinez (c) -2200

Moises Calleros +1100

WBC flyweight title

Prediction

Estrada should not be looking past Cuadras, and likely won’t be after their first fight was so close. That said, the two men have gone in different directions since that first meeting. Cuadras had the stint in rehab and then pieced together some middling wins after returning to the ring. Meanwhile, Estrada has proved himself an elite fighter in the division and is likely one win away from getting the rematch he has wanted for nearly a decade. Expect Cuadras to give everything he has and present the best version he has left of himself, but it likely will not be enough against a man who is now simply a better fighter. Pick: Estrada via UD



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Kapil Dev undergoes heart surgery

Kapil Dev, India’s greatest allrounder and their 1983-World-Cup-winning captain, has successfully undergone an angioplasty. Dev, who is 61 years old, is understood to be in a stable condition following the procedure, which took place on Thursday evening.

According to Sportstak, who spoke to Dev’s wife Romi, the former India captain had complained of uneasiness on Thursday. At the recommendation of the family doctor Dev went to hospital where it was determined he had a blocked artery in the heart.

An angioplasty is a medical procedure that widens blocked or narrowed coronary arteries – the main blood vessels supplying the heart.

In a statement issued on Friday, Fortis Escorts, the hospital where he underwent the procedure, said Dev is in the ICU but “stable”. The statement said Dev arrived at Fortis at 1 am on Friday complaining of chest pain.

“He was evaluated and an emergency coronary Angioplasty was performed by Dr. Atul Mathur, Director of Cardiology Department, in the middle of night,” the statement said. “Currently, he is admitted in ICU and under close supervision of Dr. Atul Mathur and his team. Mr. Kapil Dev is stable now and he is expected to get discharged in couple of days.”

Dev, who played 131 Tests and 225 ODIs from 1978 to 1994, is widely hailed as one of the finest allrounders to have played the game. With 5248 runs at 31.05 and 434 wickets at 29.64, he remains the only cricketer to have achieved the double of 5000 Test runs and 400 wickets, and one of only two, alongside Ian Botham, to have completed the 5000-300 double.

An outswing bowler of great accuracy and skill, Dev broke Richard Hadlee’s record for most Test wickets (431) in 1994, and his mark of 434 stood until 2000, when Courtney Walsh went past it. Muttiah Muralitharan now holds the record for most Test wickets (800) while James Anderson – who currently has 600 – has the most Test wickets by a fast bowler.



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