Five days to the weekend

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The best sporting action this week.


THERE’S racing at Musselburgh this afternoon, where the gates open at 12.10pm, with the first race at 2.10pm and the final race of the day at 5.40pm. On the football front, Everton will hope to bounce back from their first defeat of the season at West Brom when they host Newcastle in the Premier League. In Colombo, there are World Twenty20 cricket warm-ups featuring England v Australia and Ireland v Bangladesh. In tennis the St Petersburg Open, the Guangzhou International Open and the Korea Open get under way.


THE Champions League group stages get under way, featuring Montpellier v Arsenal in Group B and Real Madrid v Manchester City in Group D. On the domestic front, Rangers host Queen of the South in the quarter-finals of the Ramsdens Cup, while there’s also a busy evening of football in the npower Championship, where leaders Blackburn will be hoping Scotland striker Jordan Rhodes can maintain his scoring run against Barnsley. League One and League Two also feature a host of games.


CELTIC will bid to leave their indifferent league form behind them when they enter the Champions League group action with an opening home game against Benfica. Holders Chelsea host Juventus and Manchester United are at home to Galatasaray. At Tynecastle, Scotland’s women take on France in a 2013 European Championships qualifier (kick-off 5pm). There’s racing at Beverley, Kempton, Sandown and Yarmouth, while in cricket England take on Pakistan in a World Twenty20 warm-up match.


THE three-day William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival gets under way, with further race meetings scheduled for Kempton, Pontefract and Yarmouth. On the football front, it’s the turn of the Europa League group stages to get going, with Liverpool travelling to face Young Boys in Bern, Maritimo hosting Newcastle and Spurs at home to Lazio. In golf, the Tour Championship in Georgia, the Spanish Women’s Open in Tenerife and the Navistar LPGA Classic in Alabama are all due to tee off.


BLACKBURN play their second npower Championship match of the week, and it should be a decent game with visitors Middlesbrough likely to share their hosts’ designs on a return to the Premier League. In rugby union, Glasgow host Connacht in the Rabodirect Pro12 and will be hoping to build on their first victory in the competition the previous weekend. England’s cricketers get their World Twenty20 tournament under way

with a Group A clash against Afghanistan. In motor racing, practice begins for the Singapore Grand Prix. The William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival enters its second day.