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The sports wrap 16th April 2018

LanguedocLiving, Apr 15

Australia’s Ricciardo wins Chinese GP in dramatic finish.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo raced to a sensational victory in the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday as a chaotic final 20 laps threw the championship wide open.The Australian drove brilliantly in Shanghai to pass five cars after Red Bull chose to pit for fresh tyres in a safety-car period. Team-mate Max Verstappen stopped at the same time but the Dutchman threw away his chances with two errors caused by over-optimistic driving. Last season’s champion Lewis Hamilton finished a frustrated fifth, but was promoted back to fourth ahead of Verstappen, who was penalised for causing a collision with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who finished eighth. The result means Vettel still heads the drivers’ standings on 54 points but his lead over Hamilton has been cut to nine points after three races. Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, who finished second, is only five behind the Briton, and Ricciardo a further three behind the Finn. Bottas appeared on course for an excellent victory over Vettel before the safety-car period, having jumped Ferrari during their pit stops. There will be a post-mortem at Ferrari as to how they let that happen, given Vettel was leading by more than three seconds before Bottas' stop on lap 19 of 56. Vettel stopped a lap later. But the safety car changed all that and Red Bull grabbed their chance. It was introduced so marshals could clear debris from the hairpin after a collision between Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly and Brendon Harley.

Man Utd hand city rivals title with loss to West Brom

Manchester City won the English Premier League title as city rivals Manchester United went down 1-0 in a shock loss to bottom club West Bromwich Albion on Sunday. Second-placed United are now 16 points behind Pep Guardiola's side with only five games left to play. It is City's third title in seven seasons but their first under the Spaniard in his second campaign in charge. They have dominated the title race, scoring 93 goals and losing just twice. Manchester City had on Saturday beaten Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 at Wembley with goals from Gabriel Jesus, Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterlling. The Premier League title is the 24th trophy of the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss' managerial career. The 47-year-old has previously won league titles in Spain and Germany, as well as two Champions Leagues with Barca. Since Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan took ownership of the club in 2008 City have won seven trophies, adding an FA Cup, two League Cups and an FA Community Shield to their league titles. West Bromwich Albion secured their win at Old Trafford with a Jay Rodriguez header from Chris Brunt's corner as the home side failed to clear their lines. United's best chance of the game was a Romelu Lukaku header, which was superbly saved by Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster. Liverpool remain third on the table, only one point behind United, after an emphatic 3-0 home win over AFC Bournemouth which included another goal from the prolific Egyptian striker Mohamad Salah, who has now scored 40 goals in 45 appearances for the Reds this season. Tottenham remain fourth three points behind, despite their loss to City.

PSG thrash Monaco 7-1 to reclaim French Ligue 1 title

Paris Saint Germain regained the Ligue 1 title in style after an emphatic 7-1 thrashing of defending champions Monaco at the Parc des Princes on Sunday. A devastating display from PSG gave the Qatar-owned club an unassailable 17-point lead over second-placed Monaco. Giovani lo Celso and Angel di Maria both scored twice while Edinson Cavani and Julian Draxler were also on target. Radamel Falcao scored an own goal as Rony Lopes netted a consolation for Monaco in a one-sided contest. Monaco clinched their first title in 17 years in the 2016-17 season, spearheaded by a reinvigorated Falcao and the emergence of French teenager Kylian Mbappe. Falcao remains with Monaco but Mbappe, who joined PSG, and other key players left the club last summer. PSG beat Monaco 3-0 in the French League Cup final at the end of last month and this performance was even more emphatic. Lyon and Marseille are battling it out for third spot on the ladder with both teams on 66 points. Lyon are ahead on goal difference after beating Amiens 3-0 at home, while Marseille defeated Troyes 3-2 away. In the Spanish La Liga Barcelona set a new La Liga record as a narrow 2-1 win over fourth-placed Valencia extended their unbeaten league run to 39 matches. The leaders, badly bruised by a shock Champions League exit to Roma, led when Philippe Coutinho played in Luis Suarez to beat Neto at his near post. They looked comfortable when Samuel Umtiti headed in Coutinho's corner. But the visitors gave them a late scare when Dani Parejo's penalty squirmed underneath Marc-Andre ter Stegen after Ousmane Dembele fouled Andreas Pereira. Barca, who are now six results from the first unbeaten 38-game La Liga season, only need seven more points to seal the Spanish title. Real Madrid are third after a 2-1 win over Malaga four points behind city rivals Atletico Madrid who beat Levante 3-0 at home. In Italy’s Serie A,. Juventus went six points clear at the top as they bounced back from their controversial Champions League exit to Real Madrid with a 3-0 victory over Sampdoria. Douglas Costa, a 43rd-minute substitute, assisted all three goals. Mario Mandzukic slammed home Costa's cross at the end of the first half and Benedikt Howedes headed in his first Juve goal from another centre. Costa then found Sami Khedira to guide home a third goal. Second-placed Napoli, who play Juve next Sunday, lost further ground in the title race as they were held to a 0-0 draw by AC Milan earlier on Sunday. Champions League semi-finalists Roma drew 0-0 with Lazio in the capital derby to stay in third place, ahead of Lazio on goal difference. In the German Bundesliga, Bayern Munich came from behind to thrash Borussia Monchengladbach 5-1 in their first Bundesliga game since wrapping up a sixth consecutive title. Coach Jupp Heynckes rested several first-team players and saw Josip Drmic put Gladbach ahead. But Sandro Wagner scored twice from Thomas Muller crosses to put Bayern 2-1 up before Thiago netted from close in. David Alaba smashed home from 20 yards and Robert Lewandowski added a fifth. FC Schalke 04 move to second position overtaking Borussia Dortmund who they defeated 2-0 at home.

England restore some pride as Australia dominate Games

England won gold in both the men's and women's 4x100m relays and shocked Australia to win gold in the netball tournament as they restored some pride after disappointment in the swimming and cycling events at the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast. Harry Aikines-Aryeetey anchored home the men's quartet, holding off South Africa's 100m champion Akani Simbine. Lorraine Ugen then resisted Jamaica's double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson to take gold for the women's team. In the netball final, England stunned overwhelming favourites Australia to record the greatest result in their history. Helen Housby scored in the final second to give England a dramatic 52-51 victory. They shocked the home crowd by overturning a four-point deficit in the final quarter to claim a dramatic win. It was the first time since netball was introduced at the 1998 Games that the final did not feature Australia, the world's top-ranked team, and New Zealand. But Australia’s domination of swimming, track and road cycling - 42 golds in total - helped them achieve a huge medal tally. The host country topped the medals table with 80 golds and an overall 198 medals, 35 more golds than England in second place. India broke the predicted Games table-topping trio of Australia, England and Canada, by finishing third with 26 golds, 11 ahead of the Canadians. While England were soundly beaten by Australia, Scotland and Wales had their best overseas results, and Northern Ireland matched their medal total of four years ago. Including the Isle of Man's sole silver, the four home nations won 229 medals between them.

Saracens assured of Premiership play-off place with Bath win

Saracens confirmed their place in the Aviva Premiership play-offs with a resounding bonus-point victory over Bath. Sarries were 14-0 up inside 21 minutes at Allianz Park, with Schalk Brits and Liam Williams both touching down.Two Rhys Priestland penalties kept the visitors in touch, but England scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth crossed to make it 22-6 early in the second half. Owen Farrell's interception try sealed the bonus point before Schalk Burger and Ben Spencer completed the scoring. Sarries are now eight points ahead of fourth-placed Newcastle Falcons and 10 points beyond Leicester Tigers in fifth - but their place in the top four is already assured because the pair are still to play each other next Friday. Mark McCall's side require one more victory from their remaining two fixtures to secure a home semi-final, with league leaders Exeter Chiefs already certain of a last-four tie at Sandy Park after a 45-5 thumping of London Irish. Sam Simmonds scored a hat-trick as the defending champions outclassed their opponents to seal a top-two finish and put their opponents on the verge of relegation. Exeter stay eight points clear of their nearest rivals, with a home play-off semi-final confirmed.

Montpellier Herault remain six points clear despite loss

Montpellier Herault remain six points clear at the head of the Top 14 table despite a 32-17 loss at fourth-placed Toulon. Stade Toulouse did the league leaders a favour by defeating Racing 92 42-27 to move into second place on the same number of points as the Paris side. In the Toulon defeat, Chris Ashton broke the record for tries scored in a Top 14 season as Toulon kept their semi-final hopes alive. Fabien Galthie’s men dominated the opening 20 minutes and Ashton crossed for his 22nd try of the domestic campaign, overtaking Napolioni Nalaga’s 2008/09 haul for Clermont Auvergne. Although Toulon were not playing at their usual home, with the 2014 champions moving it to Marseille, it did not affect the play-off contenders. They scored twice more through Semi Radradra and Mathieu Bastareaud before Anthony Belleau extended their buffer to 22-0 with a penalty. Vincent Martin provided a response for the visitors but Facundo Isa barged over to give Galthie’s charges a comfortable buffer going into the interval. Montpellier battled in the second period and put pressure on the opposition rearguard, but they initially struggled to get their reward. Vern Cotter’s men did finally cross for a try via Gabriel Ngandebe, but it was Ashton’s – and Toulon’s – day as Belleau effectively completed the win from the tee, despite Kelian Galletier’s consolation score.

Catalans Dragons thrashed by Castleford in Super League

Castleford Tigers made easy work of Super League's bottom side Catalans Dragons thrashing the Perpignan side 41-0 at home The hosts took complete control in the opening 40 minutes through unanswered tries from Paul McShane, Michael Shenton and Oliver Holmes. McShane went over for his second after the restart before James Clare touched down in a dominant Tigers display. Wardle scored his first try for the club and Holmes finished the scoring with his second of the day as Catalans failed to get on the scoresheet. It took 15 minutes for the Tigers to score their first try but it was a procession thereafter, as Daryl Powell's team showed the kind of form that saw them win the League Leader's Shield last season. The win moved Castleford up to fourth place with St Helens still on top, two points ahead of Wigan Warriors, despite a 24-20 loss to Wakefield Trinity, who ended a string of five defeats. Victory for Chris Chester's men consigned the leaders to just their second defeat of the season. The hosts took the game away from Saints when they ran in four unanswered tries in 18 first-half minutes, with Tupou's powerful effort the pick of the bunch. Wigan Warriors are in second place on 16 points after a tight 9-8 win over champions Leeds Rhinos, while Warrington Wolves also stand on 16 points following a 40-26 victory over Hull KR.

Kyle Edmund loses maiden ATP final in Marrakesh

British No.1 Kyle Edmund lost his maiden ATP Tour final as he was beaten by Spain's Pablo Andujar at the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakesh. Andujar, 32, a two-time former champion who has fallen to 355th in the world after a series of elbow operations, won 6-2 6-2 in 83 minutes. Edmund, 23, won twice on Saturday but struggled on a slow surface and had his service broken six times. Andujar's fourth career title was his first since the Swiss Open in 2014. Previously ranked as high as 32nd, Andujar is the lowest-ranked ATP singles champion since Lleyton Hewitt won the Adelaide International in 1998 ranked 550th in the world. Despite the loss, Edmund will rise to a career-high of 23rd in the world rankings.

Rahm wins Spanish Open to claim third European title

World No.4 Jon Rahm won the Spanish Open to claim his third European Tour title on Sunday after holding his nerve against fellow Spaniard Nacho Elvira and Irishman Paul Dunne in a tight finale. Rahm began the day third on the leaderboard, two shots behind Dunne, who had set the pace in the first three rounds, and one behind Elvira. He signed off, however, with an impressive five-under 67 to win by two shots, finishing with a 20-under-par total of 268, as Dunne and Elvira both carded final-day 71s. Basque Country native Rahm returned to Spain less than a week after finishing fourth in the Masters. He was hunting a first national title as a professional to add to his two previous European Tour wins in Dublin and Dubai last year. He becomes the sixth Spaniard to win the Spanish Open since it became part of the European Tour in 1972, joining some illustrious company including Seve Ballesteros, Sergio Garcia and Miguel Angel Jimenez. In South Carolina, Japan's Satoshi Kodaira birdied the third play-off hole to win the RBC Heritage as England's Ian Poulter faded on the final day. Poulter held a one-shot lead going into Sunday but five bogeys on the back nine led to a final-round 75. Kodaira shot a five-under-par 66 to force a play-off against South Korea's Kim Si-woo, and both players parred the 18th hole. However, Kodaira went on to claim his first US PGA Tour victory. Poulter had hopes of winning his second title of the month after his victory at the Houston Open, but he could not hold on to his lead at the end of his sixth consecutive week of playing. The 42-year-old was one stroke behind Kim after the ninth hole, but he ultimately finished five over par.

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

Calendar Keynotes: 16-22 April

Monday, 16 April

Tennis: ATP Monte-Carlo Masters, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (till 22 April)

Tuesday, 17 April

Football: English Premier League – Brighton & Hove Albion v Tottenham Hotspur, Spanish La Liga – Deportivo La Coruna v Sevilla, Celta Vigo v Barcelona, Italian Serie A – Inter Milan v Cagliari, German DFB Cup – Beyer 04 Leverkusen – Bayern Munich.

Tennis: ATP Monte-Carlo Masters, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (till 22 April)

Wednesday, 18 April

Football: English Premier League – AFC Bournemouth v Manchester United, French Coupe de France – Caen v Paris Saint Germain, Spanish La Liga – Valencia v Getafe, Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao, Italian Serie A – Crotone v Juventus, Fiorentina v Lazio, Napoli v Udinese, Roma v Genoa, Torino v AC Milan, German DFP Cup – FC Schalke 04 v Eintracht Frankfurt.

Tennis: ATP Monte-Carlo Masters, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (till 22 April)

Thursday, 19 April

Football: English Premier League – Burnley v Chelsea, French LIgue 1 – Dijon v Lyon, Spanish La LIga – Real Sociedad v Atletico Madrid.

Rugby League: Super League – Hull FC v Leeds Rhinos

Tennis: ATP Monte-Carlo Masters, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (till 22 April) 

Friday, 20 April

Rugby Union: European Rugby Challenge Cup semifinal – Gloucester v Newcastle

Rugby League: Super League – Wigan Warriors v Castleford Tigers, Salford Red Devils v Wakefield Trinity, St Helens v Huddersfield Giants.

Tennis: ATP Monte-Carlo Masters, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (till 22 April) 

Saturday, 21 April

Football: FA Cup semifinal – Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, English Premier League – West Bromwich Albion v Liverpool, Scottish Premiership – Hibernian v Celtic French Ligue 1 – Marseille v Lille, Guingamp v Monaco, Toulouse v Angers, Spanish Copa del Rey – Sevilla v Barcelona, Spanish La Liga – Celta Vigo v Valencia, Italian Serie A – SPAL v Roma, AC Milan v Benevento, German Bundesliga – Hanover 96 v Bayern Munich, Hamburg SV v SC Freiburg, RB Leipzig v 1899 Hoffenheim, Borussia Dortmund v Beyer o4 Leverkusen.

Rugby Union: European Rugby Champions Cup – Leinster v Scarlets, European Rugby Challenge Cup semifinal – Cardiff Blues v Pau.

Rugby League: Ladbrokes Challenge Cup (major clubs) – Widnes Vikings v Coventry Bears, Warrington Wolves v Bradford Bulls.

Tennis: ATP Monte-Carlo Masters, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (till 22 April), Fed Cup World Group semifinals – Germany v Czech Republic, France v USA (till 22 April).

Sunday, 22 April

Football: English FA Cup semifinal – Chelsea v Southampton, English Premier League – Arsenal v West Ham United, Macnhester City v Swansea City, Scottish Premiership – Rangers v Heart of Midlothian, French Ligue 1 – Nice v Montpellier, Bordeaux v Paris Saint Germain, Spanish La LIga – Atletico Madrid v Real Betis, Italian Serie A – Chievo v Inter Milan, Lazio v Sampdoria, Juventus v Napoli, German Bundesliga – 1. FC Koln v Schalke 04.

Rugby Union: European Rugby Champions Cup – Racing 92 v Munster.

Rugby League: Ladbrokes Challenge Cup (major clubs) – Oldham v Hull KR, York City Knights v Catalans Dragons.

Tennis: ATP Monte-Carlo Masters, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (final day), Fed Cup World Group semifinals – Germany v Czech Republic, France v USA (final day).


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