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The sports wrap 14th May 2018

LanguedocLiving, May 13

Hamilton wins Spanish GP to extend championship lead.

Britain’s Lewis Hamilton won the Spanish Grand Prix in a commanding Mercedes one-two in Barcelona on Sunday to stretch his Formula One lead over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel from four to 17 points. The victory, from pole position in a race that stayed dry despite the threat of rain, was the Briton’s second of the season, 64th of his career and third at the Circuit de Catalunya. Finland’s Valtteri Bottas was second, 20.5 seconds behind, with Dutchman 20-year-old Max Verstappen completing the podium for Red Bull and Vettel fourth. Hamilton’s win followed his lucky victory in Azerbaijan two weekends ago. “This is more like it, let’s keep this up,” Hamilton told his celebrating team over the radio as he swept past the chequered flag. Hamilton now has 95 points to Vettel’s 78 after five rounds of the 21-race championship. Mercedes regained the lead in the constructors’ standings from Ferrari, who had 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen retire from the race. Australian Daniel Ricciardo was fifth for Red Bull, ahead of Denmark’s Kevin Magnussen for Haas and Spaniards Carlos Sainz (Renault) and Fernando Alonso (eighth for McLaren). While Hamilton pulled away cleanly at the start, and Vettel passed Bottas into the first corner for second place, there was carnage behind as Romain Grosjean spun his Haas in a cloud of smoke.

Britain’s Yates wins Stage 9 to stretch Giro d’Italia lead

Britain's Simon Yates won Stage 9 of the Giro d'Italia to extend his lead in the general classification as compatriot Chris Froome lost more time. Mitchelton-Scott rider Yates, 25, broke clear with 100m remaining on the summit finish to Gran Sasso d'Italia on the 225km stage from France’s Thibault Pinot. He has a 32-second lead over Colombian team-mate Esteban Chaves in second with reigning champion Tom Dumoulin 38 seconds back. Team Sky's Froome is two minutes 27 seconds down in 11th place. Monday is the second rest day in the race, which finishes in Rome on 27 May.. This was Yates' first stage win at a Giro and it brought the wearer of the pink jersey a bonus 10 seconds. After a 12-man break had gone away early, the last survivor was swallowed up with 3km to go and the real race began. Yates was happy to sit in the wheels as first Guilio Ciccone and then Pinot attacked into a stiff headwind but came out of their slipstream to go clear and celebrate with a clenched fist as he crossed the line. It was another chastening day for Froome, the four-time Tour de France champion. He had looked short of his best throughout the first week, twice crashing, and this was further evidence that his bid to become only the third rider in history to win three Grand Tours in a row is in real trouble. Dutchman Dumoulin, in third place overall behind Yates, will perhaps be less concerned, the time-trial on Stage 16 offering him the chance to perhaps take as much as a minute and a half out of Yates.

Liverpool slam Brighton to confirm Champions League berth

Liverpool sealed their place in next season’s Champions League with an emphatic 4-0 home win over Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday while English Premier League champions Manchester City finished the season with a record 100 points after a 1-0 away win against Southampton. The winning goal by Gabriel Jesus with almost the last kick of the match prompted wild scenes from players and coach Pep Guardiola. City's 32nd win also broke Tottenham's 57-year-old record for victories in a single top-flight season. The last round of EPL matches also confirmed Swansea City’s drop to the Championship following a 2-1 home defeat to already relegated Stoke City. At Anfield, Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah set a new scoring record by opening his team’s account with a low finish from Dominic Solanke's pass. It marked his 32nd goal of the campaign - the most by a player in a 38-game Premier League season. Liverpool would have slipped out of the top four had they lost and had Chelsea beaten Newcastle, but they made sure the Blues' performance - a 3-0 defeat at St James' Park - was irrelevant. Manchester United finished second beating Watford 1-0 at Old Trafford but 19 points behind their city rivals. Tottenham Hotspur took third spot by beating Leicester City in a thrilling topsy-turvy 5-4 encounter at Wembley.

Lyon loss to Strasbourg could cost Champions League place

Lyon blew a chance to secure a place in next season's Champions League as Strasbourg staged a thrilling late comeback on Saturday to snatch a 3-2 victory and ensure safety. Fourth-placed Marseille's 3-3 draw at Guingamp on Friday had left the door open for Lyon, but instead they lost second place to Monaco on a dramatic evening as Fabinho's 90th-minute penalty grabbed the principality club victory over Saint-Etienne. Lyon led with only a minute of normal time to play, but Joia Nuno Da Costa's header and Dimitri Lienard's brilliant injury-time free-kick gave Strasbourg a famous victory. Champions Paris Saint Germain suffered a surprise 2-0 home loss to Rennes after securing the domestic treble in mid-week by winning the Coupe de France with a 2-0 win over third division Les Herbiers. Monaco are now two points clear of Lyon with one game remaining and visit lowly Troyes on the final day of the season on May 19, while Lyon host Nice and Marseille - just one point further back – face Amiens. In the Spanish La Liga, Barcelona's dream of going a whole La Liga season unbeaten ended in their penultimate game on Sunday evening as they were beaten by lowly Levante 5-4 in a remarkable game.The hosts went into a 5-1 lead, with Emmanuel Boateng scoring a hat-trick and Enis Bardhi netting twice. Philippe Coutinho scored a hat-trick of his own and Luis Suarez netted a penalty to set up a tense finale. But Barcelona could not find an equaliser as they fell to a first La Liga defeat in 44 games. Atletico Madrid clinched second behind Barcelona and ensured they will finish above Real Madrid for the first time in four years after winning 1-0 at Getafe on Saturday. Welsh international Gareth Bale scored two fine goals as Real Madrid thumped Celta Vigo 6-0 in their last home game of the season. In Italy’s Serie A, Juventus sealed a seventh consecutive title with a draw away to 10-man Roma. Second-placed Napoli won at Sampdoria, but a point was enough to give Juventus their 37th top-flight title. It adds to Wednesday's Coppa Italia success, meaning coach Massimiliano Allegri has won the Italian double in each of his four seasons in charge. Roma ended with 10 men at Stadio Olimpico following Radja Nainggolan's red card. Inter Milan players were in tears after a 2-1 defeat at home to Sassuolo on Saturday left their chances of qualifying for the Champions League in tatters. The result meant Roma qualified. In the German Bundesliga, Jupp Heynckes' Bundesliga managerial career ended with defeat as champions Bayern Munich suffered a first home league loss in over two years. Stuttgart won 4-1 on the final day to end Bayern's 37-game unbeaten home run in the Bundesliga with two goals from Daniel Ginczek and strikes from Anastasios Donis and Chadrac Akolo. Corentin Tolisso had made it 1-1. Schalke 04 confirmed second place with a 1-0 home win over Frankfurt while Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund took the final two Champions League places on goal difference from Bayer Leverkusen. At the bottom, Hamburg were relegated from the Bundesliga for the first time despite a 2-1 home win over Borussia Monchengladbach.

Occitanie welcomes two more football clubs into top tier

Nîmes drew 2-2 away to Ligue 2 champions Reims on Friday evening as both teams celebrated promotion to Ligue 1, marking the Gard capital’s return to the top flight after an absence of quarter of a century. Les Crocodiles had clinched promotion last weekend with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Gazélec FC Ajaccio in front of 17,337 spectators packed into their Stade des Costières. Moroccan international Rachid Alioui scored twice for Bernard Blaquart's side, leaving him on 17 goals for the season. In rugby union, Perpignan have earned promotion to the Top 14. The Catalans won the Pro D2 Final last weekend, downing Grenoble 38-13 and are now back in France’s elite after four years of playing in the second division. The Catalans are seven-time French champions, winning titles in 1914, 1921, 1925, 1938, 1944, 1955 and 2009. The 2018-2019 Top 14 season sees Perpignan replace Brive. Grenoble claimed the last remaining spot beating Oyannax 47-22 in the promotion – relegation match on Saturday.

Leinster win record-equalling fourth Champions Cup

Leinster beat Racing 92 in a nail-biting, forward-dominated, Champions Cup final in Bilbao, to be crowned European champions for a record-equalling fourth time. Three penalties apiece meant the scores were tied at 9-9 after 70 minutes. Racing briefly re-took the lead through scrum-half Teddy Iribaren's fourth successful penalty. But the soon-to-retire Isa Nacewa took over the kicking duties from Johnny Sexton and landed two penalties in the final six minutes to secure victory. Racing failed with a final shot to take the match to extra time when replacement Remi Tales hooked a drop-goal wide with the clock in the red. It was the last act of a tryless final in which neither team ever led by more than three and Leinster went in front for the first time with less than two minutes to go. Amid the tickertape and sprayed champagne, Leinster matched the record set by French giants StadeToulouse with their fourth crown. Their latest triumph lacked the thrills of their five-try demolition of Ulster in 2012 or the drama of their comeback against Northampton in 2011, but meant no less to tearful Leo Cullen, who becomes the first man to win the trophy as a player and coach, and his No.2 Stuart Lancaster, who has rebuilt his reputation after England's dismal 2015 World Cup campaign. In the Challenge Cup final, Cardiff Blues overhauled Gloucester in a stirring comeback to win a thrilling match 31-30. Tries from Henry Trinder and Mark Atkinson - the second a superb team score - gave Gloucester a 20-6 lead. Blues hit back with Tomos Williams' brilliant footballing dribble and Garyn Smith's try, only for James Hanson to restore Gloucester's lead. But Blaine Scully's late try and Gareth Anscombe's nerveless last-minute penalty snatched victory for the Blues.The Wales international's kick capped a wildly dramatic finale and prompted the Blues' players and staff to rush on to the pitch at the final whistle to celebrate.

Dragons thrash Whitehaven for last-eight place in cup 

The Catalans Dragons booked their place in the last eight of the Challenge Cup by beating a spirited League One side Whitehaven 56-10 on Saturday at Stade Gilbert Brutus in Perpignan, writes Jake Hazell. Their recent improved form could mean they now pull away from the bottom of the Super League to avoid the bottom four places. The Dragons are now away to Huddersfield Giants in the cup who beat Wakefield Trinity 24-14. Two tries from Jodie Broughton and one from Michael Mcllorum in the first 10 minutes had the home crowd excited but soon after the score evened out with tries from Whitehaven. However the Cumbrian side struggled in the second half and the Dragons wrapped up the match with 11 tries in all. Broughton, from Leeds, completed a hat trick and Vincent Duport equalled Greenshields try score record. The result will give the players and coach Steve McNamara a great boost in confidence ahead of their Super League match away to Salford Red Devils on 20 May. In other quarter-final matches, cup holders Hull FC face Super League leaders St Helens, Wigan Warriors play Warrington Wolves while Leeds Rhinos entertain Leigh Centurions, the only Championship club remaining in the tournament.

Simpson wins Players’ Championship as Woods’ falls short

Tiger Woods' final-round charge fell short as fellow American Webb Simpson held his nerve to win the Players Championship by four shots at TPC Sawgrass in Florida on Sunday. Simpson, seven shots clear overnight, carded a one-over 73 to triumph on 18 under and claim a first win since 2013. Woods (69) birdied the 12th to close within four, but double bogeyed the par-three 17th to end on 11 under. Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele all carded 67 to finish tied for second on 14 under. Dustin Johnson's run of 64 weeks as world No.1 came to an end after he could only manage a level-par 72 to finish tied for 17th. Fellow American Justin Thomas takes over after his six-under-par closing round moved him into a tie for 11th with the likes of Woods, Ian Poulter (69) and Brooks Koepka, who had an albatross two in a course record-equalling 63. Poulter finished one behind fellow Englishman Tommy Fleetwood (68), while Justin Rose, who was among the early starters, reeled off six birdies in seven holes at the start of the back nine en route to finishing nine under.

Zverev beats Thiem to win Madrid Open for third Masters title

World No.3 Alexander Zverev beat Austrian Dominic Thiem in straight sets to win the Madrid Open on Sunday and claim his third Masters title. The 21-year-old German, who did not drop a set in the tournament, broke early in both sets to win 6-4 6-4. World No.7 Thiem, who reached the final last year, had beaten Rafael Nadal on his way to the decider. But Zverev comfortably controlled both sets with a greater range of shots as Thiem struggled to exert himself. Zverev broke in the opening game of the match with what turned out to be the only break point opportunity of the set. Although he was given a moment of concern when he trailed 0-30 when serving for the first set, he quickly reasserted his dominance by winning five of the next six points. Thiem, who had won four of the pair's five previous meetings, again found himself in trouble at the start of the second set with Zverev once again breaking him in the first game. In his next service game, the Austrian dug deep to win four points in a row from 15-40 to avoid going a double break down, but he was unable to threaten the Zverev serve. The German looked confident as he sealed victory with the first of his two Championship points. In women’s singles, Petra Kvitova beat the unseeded Kiki Bertens to win a thrilling final on Saturday 7-6(8-6) 4-6 6-3 and become the first player to lift the trophy for a third time. Czech Kvitova, ranked 10th in the world, struck the first blow in a tense match which lasted two hours 52 minutes by edging the tie-break at the end of a gruelling 75-minute first set, taking advantage of a third set point when Bertens found the net. The Dutchwoman recovered well from surrendering the first set to take the second. She led by a break in the third but let her advantage slip and Kvitova broke twice in a row to take a 4-2 lead in the decider. Twice-Wimbledon winner Kvitova was forced out of action for more than five months last year after her racket hand was stabbed by a burglar who broke into her apartment in December 2016.

Ireland in deep trouble as Pakistan take control of Test

Pakistan seized control in Malahide, north of Dublin, with a 116-run lead over Test debutants Ireland who were bowled out for 130 in their first innings and closed on 64 for no wicket in reply to the visitors’ 310 for nine wickets declared. Mohammad Abbas took four for 44 as Pakistan enforced the follow-on in the one-off Test but openers Ed Joyce (39) and William Porterfield (23) gave Ireland hope by moving to 64-0 at stumps on day three. The Irish duo were fortunate to reach the close of play, with both dropped off Mohammad Amir. Joyce, out for four in the first innings, was on nought when he edged Amir low to the left of wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed, with the diving Pakistan captain unable to cling on to the chance. And Porterfield had made just three when Azhar Ali made a mess of a routine catch at third slip.

Britain’s Prescod beats Gatlin in Diamond League 100m

Britain's Reece Prescod beat American world champion Justin Gatlin to seal a shock 100m victory at the Shanghai Diamond League on Saturday. The 22-year-old Prescod crossed the line in a season's best time of 10.04 seconds, just 0.01s shy of his personal best. Fellow Briton CJ Ujah finished fourth behind the Chinese pair of Su Bingtian and Xie Zhenye. "When I saw the rain tonight I thought, 'yes' - I train in these conditions all the time in the East Midlands. It suits me.” Gatlin - the 2004 Olympic champion - was seventh. Elsewhere, Kenya's Commonwealth champion Wycliffe Kinyamal won the men’s 800m in a meeting record of 1:43.91 while Bahamas' Shaunae Miller-Uibo set another meeting record in the women's 200m. The 400m specialist won in a time of 22.06 seconds, 0.28s ahead of Dutch world champion Dafne Schippers. World and Olympic champion Omar McLeod of Jamaica won the men's 110m hurdles in 13.16 seconds, the best time in the world this year.

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

Calendar Keynotes: 14 - 20 May

Monday, 14 May

Cycling: Giro d’Italia, Italy (rest day - till 27 May) - for stage-by-stage guide, go to:

Tennis: ATP & WTA Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome, Italy (till 20 May).

Tuesday, 15 May

Cycling: Giro d’Italia, Italy (till 27 May) – for stage-by-stage guide go to:

Tennis: ATP & WTA Internztionali BNL d’Italia, Rome, Italy (till 20 May).

Wednesday,16 May

Cycling: Giro d’Italia, Italy (till 27 May).

Tennis: ATP & WTA Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome, Italy (till 20 May). 

Thursday, 17 May

Cycling: Giro d’Italia, Italy (till 27 May) – for stage-by-stage guide go to:

Tennis: ATP & WTA Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome, Italy (till 20 May).

Golf: USPGA Tour, AT&T Byron Nelson, Trinity Forest Golf Club, Dallas, Texas (till 20 May), PGA European Tour, Belgian Knockout, Rinkven International GC, Schilde (till 20 May).

Friday, 18 May

Cycling: Giro d’Italia, Italy (till 27 May) – for stage-by-stage guide go to:

Rugby Union – Aviva Premiership semi-final – Saracens v Wasps, Guinness Pro 14 semi-final – Glasgow v Scarlets, French Top 14 quarter-final play-off – Toulon v Lyon.

Tennis: ATP & WTA Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome, Italy (till 20 May).

Golf: USPGA Tour, AT&T Byron Nelson, Trinity Forest Golf Club, Dallas, Texas (till 20 May), PGA European Tour, Belgian Knockout, Rinkven International GC, Schilde (till 20 May).

Motorcyling: MotoGP – French Grand Prix, Le Mans Bugatti Circuit (till 20 May).

Saturday, 19 May

Football: English FA Cup final – Chelsea v Manchester United, French Ligue 1 – Caen v Paris Saint Germain, Lyon v Nice, Marseille v Amiens, Metz v Bordeaux, Rennes v Montpellier, Toulouse v Guingamp, Troyes v Monaco, Spanish La Liga – Sevlla v Alaves, Villareal v Real Madrid, German DFB Cup final – Bayern Munich v Eintracht Frankfurt.

Rugby Union: Aviva Premiership semifinal – Exeter v Newcastle, Guinness Pro 14 semifinal – Leinster v Munster, French Top 14 quarter-final play-off – Stade Toulouse v Castres.

Rugby League:Super League - Widnes Vikings v St Helens, Wigan Warriors v Warrington Wolves, Castleford Tigers v Leeds Rhinos.

Cycling: Giro d’Italia, Italy (till 27 May) - for stage-by-stage guide go to:

Tennis: ATP & WTA Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome, Italy (till 20 May).

Golf: USPGA Tour, AT&T Byron Nelson, Trinity Forest Golf Club, Dallas, Texas (till 20 May), PGA European Tour, Belgian Knockout, Rinkven International GC, Schilde (till 20 May).

Motorcyling: MotoGP – French Grand Prix, Le Mans Bugatti Circuit (till 20 May).

Sunday, 20 May

Rugby League: Super League – Salford Red Devils v Catalans Dragons, Wakefield Trinity v Huddersfield Giants, Hull KR v Hull FC.

Rugby Union – Guinness Pro 14 Champions Cup play-off – Ulster v Ospreys.

Cycling: Giro d’Italia, Italy (till 27 May) - for stage-by-stage guide go to:

Tennis: ATP & WTA Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome, Italy (final day).

Golf: USPGA Tour, AT&T Byron Nelson, Trinity Forest Golf Club, Dallas, Texas (final day), PGA European Tour, Belgian Knockout, Rinkven International GC, Schilde (final day).

Cricket: France South West Regional League – Midi CC v Toulouse CC, Pouzolles, start 1pm (location:

Motorcyling: MotoGP – French Grand Prix, Le Mans Bugatti Circuit (race day).





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