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The sports wrap 12th February 2018

LanguedocLiving, Feb 11

France lose again as England defeat Wales in Six Nations.

France suffered their second Six Nations defeat at the hands of Scotland on Sunday while England’s bid for a record third consecutive title remained on track with a hard-fought 12-6 victory over stubborn Wales. A pair of first-half tries from Jonny May saw England stretch their unbeaten home run at Twickenham to 15 games. May's predatory finishing combined with resolute defence and a canny kicking game held Wales at arm's length despite a tense finale. Wales kept Eddie Jones' men scoreless in the second half as they clawed their way back into the game and Gareth Anscombe's late penalty put them within a converted try of the hosts but handling errors and debatable decisions at key moments hurt their chances. The French dismal run continued after suffering a heartbreaking loss to Ireland in their first Six Nations match of the 2018 campaign.They went down 32-26 to Scotland who can thank Craig Laidlaw for six second-half penalties against two from Baptiste Serin to steer the Scots home at Murrayfield. In the first half the first of two Teddy Thomas tries put France into an early 10-0 lead before Sean Maitland crossed for Scotland. Thomas gathered a lucky bounce to score again but the hosts replied via Huw Jones' try, only for Maxime Machenaud's second penalty to put France 20-14 up at the break. Meanwhile Ireland remained unbeaten, running in eight converted tries in Dublin to secure a bonus-point 56-19 victory over Italy in Dublin.

Man City extend lead at top to 16 points as United go down

Manchester City thrashed Leicester City 5-1 at home with four second-half goals from prolific Argentine striker Sergio Aguero to extend their lead at the top of the English Premier League to 16 points as second-placed Manchester United suffered a shock 1-0 defeat away to Newcastle United. Liverpool beat Southampton 2-0 away from home and are now only two points behind United in third place. Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-0 victory over Arsenal on Saturday, with yet another goal from Harry Kane, moved them into fourth place two points ahead of Chelsea who play bottom club West Bromwich Albion on Monday night. Newcastle’s win, thanks to a second-half goal by Matt Ritchie, was their first home victory since last October and moves them out of the relegation zone. Defeat for United raises the prospect of Manchester City being crowned champions when the teams meet at Etihad Stadium on 7 April. City manager Pep Guardiola said Aguero deserved all the credit for the win over Leicester as he took his tally to 13 in 10 games in 2018 with another display of deadly finishing, aided by a brilliant performance by Belgian playmaker Kevin de Bruyne, who set up his side's first three goals. The Premier League’s other in-form striker, Harry Kane, gave Tottenham the three points against arch rivals Arsenal with a towering header at Wembley to help his team surge towards an end-of-season top-four place. The Gunners’ defeat leaves them in sixth place, seven points behind Spurs.

PSG go 12 points clear with 1-0 victory over Toulouse

Paris St-Germain have gone 12 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 after Neymar's goal beat Toulouse 1-0 away from home. Defending champions Monaco moved up to second place with a convincing 4-0 away victory over Angers, replacing Marseille who stumbled to a 2-2 draw at Saint-Etienne. PSG’s Angel di Maria, who earlier hit the crossbar directly from a corner, found Neymar with a ball over the top and the Brazilian's shot was deflected in to maintain his team’s stranglehold on the table. The world’s costliest player also hit the post and the crossbar in the space of two minutes after scoring his goal. Unai Emery's side visit Champions League holders Real Madrid in the last 16 first leg on Wednesday. Montpellier continued their good new year form and are in sixth spot after a 1-0 win at bottom club Metz. In the Spanish La Liga, unbeaten Barcelona were surprisingly held goalless at home by mid-table Getafe, failing to score for the first time in La Liga this season. However, the hosts remain unbeaten in the league and are still seven points above second-placed Atletico Madrid who beat Malaga 1-0 on Saturday. Real Madrid have moved up to third place, 17 points behind Barca, after a hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo helped them to a 5-2 home defeat of Real Sociedad. In Italy’s Serie A, Napoli returned to the top after a dominant 4-1 victory over Lazio, despite conceding the opening goal. The hosts fell behind to a Stefan de Vrij tap-in but Jose Callejon equalised just before half time after beating the offside trap and poking home. Napoli then took control in the second half as a Wallace own goal made it 2-1 before Mario Rui's shot deflected off Piotr Zielinski and flew into the net. Dries Mertens then finished off a fine move, flicking home Zielinski's pass. The win was Napoli's eighth in a row in Serie A and moved them one point clear of Juventus who had beaten Fiorentina 2-0 away from home on Friday. In the German Bundesliga, Robert Lewandowski equalled a scoring record set by his absent manager Jupp Heynckes as Bayern Munich beat Schalke 2-1 to go 18 points clear at the top. The Pole has scored in the first 11 home games of the Bundesliga season, something only Heynckes has done, for Borussia Monchengladbach in 1972-73. Heynckes was bed-ridden with flu as Bayern won their 12th game in a row. Earlier, Michy Batshuayi scored his third goal in his second game for third-placed Borussia Dortmund as they beat Hamburg 2-0. RB Leipzig remain second after a 2-0 home win over FC Augsburg on Friday.

Teenager Gerard snatches dramatic win for first US gold

Teenager Red Gerard snatched a dramatic victory in the men's slopestyle to win the United States' first gold of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea. The 17-year-old scored 87.16 on his final run to beat Canadians Max Parrot (86.00) and Mark McMorris (85.20). Austrian David Gleirscher was the surprise winner of the men's luge and Norway's Simon Hegstad Kruger won the men's skiathlon despite an early fall. Elsewhere, Dutch speed skater Sven Kramer took a third consecutive gold medal in the 5,000m, German biathlete Arnd Peiffer was a surprise winner of the 10km sprint while 19-year-old French skier Perrine Laffont triumphed in the women's moguls. Germany top the medals table after two days of competition with three gold and one bronze medal, followed by The Netherlands who have two gold, two silver and one bronze medal. Norway, with a population of only 5.3 million, is third on the table with one gold, four silver and three bronze medals.

Australia in Twenty20 tri-series final after beating England

An in-form Glenn Maxwell, who thrashed a quickfire 39, spearheaded an Australian seven-wicket victory over England to send the home side into the Twenty20 tri-series final. Maxwell, D'Arcy Short (36 not out), Chris Lynn (31) and Aaron Finch (20 not out) peppered the boundary with fours and sixes to seal a comfortable win at the MCG on Saturday. England earlier posted a modest 137-7 from their 20 overs with stand-in captain Jos Buttler (46) top scoring. Kane Richardson took 3-33 and Billy Stanlake claimed 2-28 for the hosts. Australia won with 33 balls to spare and have booked their spot in the final in Auckland on 21 February thanks to their three tri-series victories. England, who thrashed Australia 4-1 in the one-day series, now face back-to-back matches with New Zealand in Wellington (13 February) and Hamilton (18 February) as they attempt to join Australia in the final.

St Helens condemn Catalans Dragons to second loss

Catalans Dragons suffered their second defeat of the new Super League season as St Helens survived the dismissal of back-rower Morgan Knowles to beat them 21-12 in Perpignan. St Helens made it two wins from two after establishing a first-half lead with tries by Jonny Lomax and Regan Grace, as Catalans went in scoreless. David Mead's score reduced the deficit before Knowles was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Thibaud Margalet. Adam Swift added a third Saints try and Danny Richardson took his points tally to nine before Alrix Da Costa's reply. Also unbeaten at the top of the 12-team table are Wigan Warriors, who beat Hull FC 24-10, Wakefield Trinity, who beat Salford 14-12, and last season’s champions, Leeds Rhinos, who despatched Hull KR 20-11 on Thursday. Wigan Warriors made history with their win as it was the first Super League Match to be played outside Europe. The Warriors maintained their 100 per cent start to the 2018 season in humid conditions in Wollongong, Australia. Sam Tomkins' penalty gave Wigan a two-point lead at half-time after Hull duo Fetuli Talanoa and Jordan Abdull had replied to Liam Marshall's two tries. Ryan Sutton's score forged an eight-point lead and fellow prop Ben Flower powered over late on to seal victory.

Pouille beats Gasquet to win Open Sud de France 

Lucas Pouille won his fifth ATP title by beating Richard Gasquet 7-6(2) 6-4 in an all French final at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier on Sunday. The second seed and world No.17 was solid on serve throughout, not facing a single break point as he prevailed on his fourth match point for his first title of the year. It was Beziers-born Gasquet’s sixth consecutive final in Montpellier, but his second defeat in a row after he was beaten by Germany’s Alexander Zverev last year. World No.33 Gasquet won the title here in 2013, 2015 and 2016. Gasquet saved three break points and forced a tiebreak in the first set. Pouille won two points on his opponent’s first serve to win it 7-2 and take the lead. Pouille broke decisively in the seventh game of the second set and did not look back.

Venus Williams puts US into Fed Cup semi-finals

Venus Williams put the United States into the Fed Cup World Group semi-finals with a straight sets victory over Richel Hogenkamp of the Netherlands that gave the reigning champions an insurmountable 3-0 lead in their first-round tie on Sunday. Williams’s 7-5 6-1 victory on the indoor hard court in Asheville, North Carolina, means the United States will travel to France, who beat Belgium earlier on Sunday, for the April 21-22 semi-finals. French pair Kristina Mladenovic and Amandine Hesse beat Kirsten Flipkens and Elise Mertens in the deciding doubles rubber to put France through to the semi-finals for the third time in four years. Williams had to fight off a determined Hogenkamp in the first set but dominated throughout the second when her 108th-ranked opponent, who spent nearly three hours on the court in Saturday’s loss to CoCo Vandeweghe, showed little resistance. In Prague, Petra Kvitova sent the Czech Republic into their 10th consecutive semi-final when she clinched the first round tie against Switzerland with a 6-2 6-4 win over Belinda Bencic in the third rubber. Germany will face the Czech Republic.

Potter keeps cool to win Pebble Beach Pro-Am by three shots

American golfer Ted Potter Jr, ranked 246th in the world, kept his cool as he outplayed some of the game’s biggest names to win the Pebble Beach Pro-Am by three shots in California on Sunday. Few gave Potter a chance as he started the final round tied for the lead with world No.1 Dustin Johnson, and a bogey at the first seemed to suggest the stocky left-hander was destined to fall short. But he stormed back with four birdies in the next six holes, punctuated by a 20-foot chip-in at the par-three seventh, to jump clear and was never overtaken thereafter as he posted a three-under-par 69 in fine conditions at Pebble Beach.By parring the final 11 holes, he forced his closest pursuers to make something happen. Potter finished at 17-under 270 for his second PGA Tour win, after his previous success in 2012. Overnight co-leader Johnson made four bogeys in his even-par 72 to blow his chances for an 18th PGA Tour title and ended tied for second with fellow Americans Phil Mickelson and Chez Reavie and Australian Jason Day on 14-under.

For full reports on all the weekend sporting events go to:

http://www.bbc.com/sport, http://www.espn.com, http://www.lequipe.fr, http://www.reuters.com/news/sports, www.skysports.com,

The 2018 Winter Olympics started in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on 9 February. For a sport-by-sport guide go to the BBC Sport website: http://www.bbc.com/sport/winter-olympics/42769664

Calendar Keynotes: 12-18 February

Monday, 12 February

Football: English Premier League – Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion, Spanish La Liga – Deportivo La Coruna v Real Betis..

Tennis: ATP ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, Rotterdam, Netherlands, (till 18 February), ATP New York Open, USA (till 18 February), WTA Qatar Total Open, Doha (till 18 February).  

Tuesday, 13 February

Football: European Champions League Round of 16 – FC Basel v Manchester City, Juventus v Tottenham Hotspur.

Tennis: ATP ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, Rotterdam, Netherlands, (till 18 February), ATP New York Open, USA (till 18 February), WTA Qatar Total Open, Doha (till 18 February).

Cricket: South Africa v India, one-day international series, Port Elizabeth.

Wednesday, 14 February

Football: European Champions League Round of 16 – FC Porto v Liverpool, Real Madrid v Paris St Germain,

Cricket: New Zealand v England, Twenty20 tri series, Wellington, NZ.

Tennis: ATP ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, Rotterdam, Netherlands, (till 18 February), ATP New York Open, USA (till 18 February), WTA Qatar Total Open, Doha (till 18 February).  

Thursday, 15 February

Football: Europa League Round of 32 (major clubs) – Borussia Dortmund v Atalanta, Ludogorets Razgrad v AC Milan, Marseille v Sporting Braga, Nice v Lokomotiv Moscow, Ostersunds SK v Arsenal. Celtic v Zenit St Petersburg, FC Copenhagen v Atletico Madrid, Steaua Bucharest v Lazio, Lyon v Villareal, Napoli v RB Leipzig.

Golf: USPGA Tour, Genesis Open, Riviera CC, Pacific Palisades, California (till 18 February).

Tennis: ATP ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, Rotterdam, Netherlands, (till 18 February), ATP New York Open, USA (till 18 February), WTA Qatar Total Open, Doha (till 18 February).

Rugby League: Super League – Hull KR v Catalans Dragons

Friday, 16 February

Football: English FA Cup fifth round – Leicester City v Sheffield United, Chelsea v Hull City, French Ligue 1 – Monaco v Dijon.

Rugby Union: Aviva Premiership – Newcastle v Bath, Sale Sharks v Sarcens,

Rugby League: Super League – Widnes Vikings v Warrington Wolves, World Club Series – Melbourne Storm v Leeds Rhinos.

Winter Olympics: Pyeongchang 2018, South Korea (till 25 February)

Tennis: ATP ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, Rotterdam, Netherlands, (till 18 February), ATP New York Open, USA (till 18 February), WTA Qatar Total Open, Doha (till 18 February).

Golf: USPGA Tour, Genesis Open, Riviera CC, Pacific Palisades, California (till 18 February).

Cricket: New Zealand v Australia, Twenty20 tri series, Auckland, NZ, South Africa v India, one day international series, Centurion, SA. 

Saturday, 17 February

Football: English FA Cup fifth round – Sheffield Wednesday v Swansea City, Brighton & Hove Albion v Coventry City, West Bromwich Albion v Southampton, Huddersfield Town v Manchester United, French Ligue 1 – Paris Saint Germain v Strasbourg, Amiens v Toulouse, Montpellier v Giungamp, Spanish La Liga – Las Palmas v Sevilla, Eibar v Barcelona, Malaga v Valencia, Italian Serie A – Udinese v Roma, Genoa v Inter Milan, German Bundesliga – Hamburg SV v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, VfL Wolfsburg v Bayern Munich, FC Schalke 04 v 1899 Hoffenheim..

Rugby Union: Aviva Premiership – Leicester v Harlequins, Northampton v London Irish, Worcester v Gloucester, French Top 14 – Toulon v Stade Francais, SU Agen Lot-et-Garonne v Stade Toulouse, Oyonnax v Montpellier Herault, Lyon v Clermont Auvergne.

Winter Olympics: Pyeongchang 2018, South Korea (till 25 February)

Tennis: ATP ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, Rotterdam, Netherlands, (till 18 February), ATP New York Open, USA (till 18 February), WTA Qatar Total Open, Doha (till 18 February).

Golf: USPGA Tour, Genesis Open, Riviera CC, Pacific Palisades, California (till 18 February).

Sunday, 18 February

Football: English FA Cup fifth round – Rochdale v Tottenham Hotspur, Scottish Premiership – Hamilton Academicals v Rangers, Celtic v St Johnstone, French Ligue 1 – Nice v Nantes, Spanish La Liga - Atletico Madrid v Athletic Bilbao, Espanyol v Villareal, Real Betis v Real Madrid, Italian Serie A – Torino v Juventus, Napoli v SPAL, AC Milan v Sampdoria, German Bundesliga – Borussia Monchengladbach v Borussia Dortmund.

Rugby Union: Aviva Premiership – Wasps v Exeter, French Top 14 – Racing 92 v La Rochelle.

Winter Olympics: Pyeongchang 2018, South Korea (till 25 February)

Tennis: ATP ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, Rotterdam, Netherlands, (till 18 February), ATP New York Open, USA (till 18 February), WTA Qatar Total Open, Doha (till 18 February).

Cricket: New Zealand v England, Twenty20 tri series, Hamilton, NZ.

Golf: USPGA Tour, Genesis Open, Riviera CC, Pacific Palisades, California (till 18 February).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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