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The sports wrap 17th September 2018

LanguedocLiving, Sep 16

Liverpool, Chelsea retain 100 per cent record to stay top of Premier League.

Liverpool and Chelsea maintained their 100 per cent starts to the English Premier League season on Saturday, while Manchester City thumped Fulham to move into third place. Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool beat a disappointing Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Wembley, before Eden Hazard scored a hat-trick as Chelsea came from behind to thrash Cardiff 4-1 and knock the Reds off the top of the table on goal difference. Watford missed the chance to join Liverpool and Chelsea at the summit with five wins out of five losing 2-1 at home to Manchester United at Vicarage Road. Goals from Georginio Wijnaldum – his first away goal for the club - and Roberto Firmino put Liverpool in control before Erik Lamela's late reply for Spurs. Cardiff took a surprise lead against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge before Hazard took centre stage, although Willian's strike that rounded off the Blues' victory was arguably his side's best of the game. Defending champions Manchester City made the fastest start in the weekend top-tier matches, with Leroy Sane scoring inside the first two minutes. David Silva and Raheem Sterling added further goals as the champions coasted to a 3-0 victory. Elsewhere, two second-half goals saw Arsenal edge out Newcastle 2-1 while Bournemouth saw off 10-man Leicester 4-2 and Wilfried Zaha gave Crystal Palace a 1-0 victory at struggling Huddersfield with a brilliant individual goal. In the Scottish Premiership, Celtic continued a stuttering start to the season with a 0-0 draw at St Mirren to stay second behind Hearts who remain top with five wins out of five after a 1-0 away win over Motherwell. Rangers moved up to fourth with a 4-0 home thumping of bottom club Dundee.

PSG continue winning start with 4-0 thumping of Saint-Etienne

Defending champions Paris St Germain are already looking unstoppable after a 4-0 home defeat of Saint-Etienne which pulled them five points clear of Lille at the top of the French Ligue 1 table. Even without suspended striker Kylian Mbappe and rested forward Neymar, PSG made it five wins out of five, going ahead through Julian Draxler's header in the 23rd minute. Edinson Cavani scored a 51st-minute penalty after he had been fouled in the area before winger Angel di Maria and Moussa Diaby added goals late on. PSG have scored at least three goals in all of their five league games this season, netting 17 in total. Lille moved to second with a 3-2 win away win over Amiens while Toulouse are third after a 1-1 home draw against Monaco. Montpellier lie fifth after a disappointing 1-1 home draw against lowly Strasbourg. In the Spanish La Liga, Barcelona moved two points clear of rivals Real Madrid, maintaining their 100 per cent record, coming from behind to beat Real Sociedad 2-1 with two second-half goals. Real Madrid’s winning start came to an end with a 1-1 draw at Atletico Bilbao with substitute Isco coming to the rescue with a second-half strike. In the Italian Serie A, Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first two goals for defending champions Juventus as the Italian champions maintained their perfect start to the season to stay top. Ronaldo, goalless in his first three games since his costly move from Real Madrid, tapped in shortly after half-time. The 33-year-old then finished off a rapid counter-attack by shooting into the bottom corner after 65 minutes. Sassuolo pulled one back in added time via Khouma Babacar and Brazilian Douglas Costa was sent off but the hosts held on. Napoli are second after a 1-0 home win over Fiorentina. In the German Bundesliga, title holders Bayern Munich predictably made it three wins out of three to stay top with a 3-1 home win over Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Borussia Dortmund lie in second place on goal difference two points behind after a 3-1 home victory over Eintracht Frankfurt.

Lewis Hamilton wins in Singapore and opens 40-point lead

Britain’s Lewis Hamilton eased to victory from pole position at the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday as the Mercedes driver extended his championship lead over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to 40 points with six rounds remaining. Hamilton held off a mid-race challenge from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to register a record-equalling fourth triumph at the floodlit Marina Bay Street Circuit track, while Vettel finished third to slip further behind in the title race. “Great job everyone, what a weekend... keep pushing, keep pushing, we’ve got this,” Hamilton told his team over the radio soon after crossing the line at the end of the 61st lap. Hamilton’s 69th overall victory was his seventh of the season and it was built on the foundations of a stunning qualifying lap on Saturday, when he stormed to pole in a car deemed inferior to the Ferraris and Red Bulls on this circuit. For Vettel and Ferrari it was another disappointing weekend after the car showed plenty of pace through all three practise sessions, the German’s cause not helped by a questionable strategy and a poor pitstop. Hamilton won this race from the third row a year ago when Vettel, Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen collided before Turn One but there was no repeat of such drama this time after the drivers got off to a clean start at the head of the field. There has, however, been a safety car period in every race in Singapore since it joined Formula One in 2008 and it was deployed on the opening lap after Sergio Perez pushed his Force India team mate Esteban Ocon into a wall after Turn Three. Vettel got past Verstappen before the safety car emerged and slotted in behind Hamilton, but his race unravelled when the German pitted first on the 14th lap but got stuck in traffic and overtaken by the Dutchman when he made his stop for fresh tyres.

Britain’s Simon Yates wins La Vuelta a Espana

Simon Yates won La Vuelta a Espana to complete a clean sweep of British victories in this year's Grand Tours. The 26-year-old Michelton-Scott rider crossed the line safely in Madrid on Sunday to secure his first Grand Tour, with Spain's Enric Mas second and Colombia's Miguel Angel Lopez third. Britons Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas won the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France respectively this year. Elia Viviani claimed the 100km final stage of the Vuelta in a bunch sprint. Yates finished third on the tour’s penultimate stage on Saturday and led Stage 20 winner Mas by one minute 46 seconds before Sunday's processional race to Madrid. Tradition dictates the race leader is not attacked on the final stage so he just needed to cross the line to win. It is the first time Britons have won all three Grand Tours in the same year. Only twice before have riders from the same country won all three races in a season, but this is the first time it has been done by different riders. And Yates' victory will be the fifth Grand Tour triumph in a row for Britain after Froome also won last year's Tour and Vuelta. "I think it's sinking in," said Yates. "I'm incredibly proud, and incredibly proud of the team also - they carried me through the entire three weeks. It's the first Grand Tour win for the team - it's unbelievable."

Exeter and Saracens continue winning start in Premiership

Defending champions Saracens and losing finalists Exeter continued their 100 per cent start to the Gallagher Premiership campaign – the Sarries defeating Northampton 38-27 away from home, while the Chiefs easily beat Sale Sharks 35-18. Exeter scored five tries and top the table on points difference. Tries from Santiago Cordero and Jonny Hill, either side of Marland Yarde's score at the other end, gave the Chiefs the edge at the break. Jack Maunder then extended the hosts' advantage before Bryn Evans went over to reduce the deficit to three points. Further tries from Alex Cuthbert and Tom Lawday secured Chiefs' bonus point. Saracens continued their perfect start as they came from behind to win at Northampton. Saracens were held 10-10 by Northampton at the break but Ben Spencer converted his own score to put Sarries in front.The hosts fought back with converted scores from Dylan Hartley and Ben Franks but David Strettle scored two late tries to give Saracens a bonus-point victory. Gloucester, with new signing Danny Cipriani, are in third place on the ladder after a 35-13 home win over 10th placed Bristol while Wasps moved up to fourth with a thrilling 41-35 victory over 14-man Leicester.

Clermont continue perfect winning start as Montpellier are thrashed

Clermont Auvergne and Toulouse both remain unbeaten in the Top 14 tournament following impressive victories, while Montpellier suffered a shock 55-13 away loss at Lyon. Last season’s champions Castres also won, beating Grenoble 29-13. Clermont ground out a 27-23 victory at Pau to make it four wins out of four and moved four points clear at the top of the table ahead of Stade Francais, Castres and Toulouse who are all on 14 points. Newcomers Perpignan are at the foot of the table and looking for their first win after going down 37-10 at La Rochelle. It was heartbreak for Pau against Clermont after Yohan Beheregaray touched down late on to help snatch the victory. Simon Mannix’s men have not been entirely convincing so far this season but they were improved against Les Jaunards and felt justifiably aggrieved when Beheregaray’s try put Clermont in front for the first time in the game. Greig Laidlaw kicked the conversion and then scored a three-pointer as Clermont went away with their fourth victory. Lyon moved up to fifth place on the ladder and got their season up and running with a thrashing of Montpellier. Pierre Mignoni’s men had struggled for consistency going into this contest but they were far too good for the visitors, scoring eight tries in all. It leaves Vern Cotter, New Zealand coach of last season’s runners up, with plenty of questions as his side drop to 11th place. Toulouse made it three wins and a draw with an impressive 30-17 victory over Racing 92.

Springboks stun All Blacks, Wallabies go down to Pumas

South Africa won an away game against New Zealand for the first time since 2009 while Argentina beat Australia also away from home in two shock Rugby Championship results at the weekend. The Springboks beat the All Blacks 36-34 in Wellington, while the Pumas won 23-19 on the Gold Coast. Jordie Barrett and Aaron Smith tries helped the All Blacks lead 12-0 but Aphiwe Dyantyi, Willie le Roux and Malcolm Marx hit back for South Africa. The Springboks crossed twice more and stood firm under their own posts as New Zealand pushed for the winning try. Argentina's win over the Wallabies gave them their first win in Australia since 1983. Nicolas Sanchez and Bautista Delguy scored first-half tries for the Pumas, while Emiliano Boffelli struck two long-range penalties between the posts in the victory. Will Genia, Israel Folau and Dane Haylett-Petty scored Australia's tries but, despite some late pressure, they could not prevent a defeat. Having also beaten South Africa, Argentina's victory gave them a second win in a single Rugby Championship series for the first time.

Catalans lose again in Super 8s while St Helens secure shield

Challenge Cup winners Catalans Dragons were still looking for their first win in the Super 8s phase after a 34-22 defeat by Wakefield Trinity while St Helens secured the League Leaders Shield with a 38-12 drubbing of struggling Hull FC. Tom Johnstone's hat-trick helped Wakefield beat the Dragons. He scored two of five first-half Wakefield tries, with Kyle Wood, Tyler Randell and Reece Lyne also going over. Benjamin Jullien and Iain Thornley crossed for Catalans, but Johnstone's third try put the result beyond doubt. David Mead and Brayden Wiliame scored consolation tries, before Trinity's Jacob Miller and Catalans' Mika Simon were sent off for clashing late on. The two players were involved in a fight moments after Trinity's Craig Huby returned from the sin-bin, as a high-quality game ended in bad-tempered fashion. Wakefield climbed above Huddersfield to fifth after their third win in five Super League games. St Helens, needing only a point to ensure they would finish top of Super League, took an early lead with tries from Mark Percival and Morgan Knowles. Jordan Lane and Brad Fash crossed for Hull, but Luke Thompson's try put Saints back in front at half-time. The hosts pulled away after half-time as two tries from Regan Grace and Percival's second sealed the result. Meanwhile, clubs have voted by a two-thirds majority to scrap the Super 8s and return to a conventional promotion and relegation system from 2019. The decision was reached at a Rugby Football League (RFL) extraordinary general meeting in Manchester.

France to play Croatia in Davis Cup Final after beating Spain

Veteran pairing Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut booked France’s place in another Davis Cup final as they won the doubles to seal the champions’ 3-0 victory over Spain in their World Group semi-final in Lille on Saturday. France will meet Croatia who beat the United States 3-2 on Sunday in Zadar. The two French 36-year-olds defeated another experienced duo in 32-year-old Marcel Granollers and 36-year-old Feliciano Lopez 6-0 6-4 7-6(7) to wrap up the tie before Sunday’s reverse singles. It gives Yannick Noah’s team the opportunity to win the last Davis Cup to be played in its current traditional format, taking on Croatia in November before the ‘men’s World Cup of tennis’ gets a major facelift next year. The final will again be in France, possibly back in the same Stade Pierre-Mauroy. Noah said winning a fourth Davis Cup on home soil — his team also sealed victory in the Lille arena last year — would be a fitting way for him to leave the job and he reckoned his team were now playing their best tennis of his inspirational reign. Croatia reached the final after Borna Coric beat Frances Tiafoe in over four hours to secure a 3-2 victory over the US. Croatia began the day with a 2-1 lead, but Sam Querrey beat Marin Cilic 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 6-4 to ensure a deciding rubber in Zadar. Coric then outlasted Tiafoe 6-7 (0-7) 6-1 6-7 (11-13) 6-1 6-3 to send Croatia into their first final since 2016.

Mexican Alvarez beats Golovkin to claim middleweight titles

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez claimed the WBC and WBA world middleweight titles by inflicting a first career defeat on Gennady Golovkin with a gripping points win in their Las Vegas rematch on Saturday night in front of a sell-out, celebrity studded crowd. The 28-year-old Mexican claimed a frenetic final round on the scorecards which proved critical in preventing a repeat of the controversial draw both men shared 364 days earlier at the same T-Mobile Arena venue. At the end of a contest which showcased the expert skill level of two of the sport's finest practitioners, Alvarez scored a 114-114 115-113 115-113 majority decision. Golovkin, 36, whose first defeat came in his 40th bout - left the ring immediately without conducting an interview as his rival - fighting for the first time since serving a six-month drugs ban - celebrated. "My corner told me that I needed to win the final round and that what's I did. I'm very emotional," said Alvarez, who has previously held world titles at middleweight and light-middleweight. Golovkin told reporters afterwards: "I'm not going to say who won tonight, because the victory belongs to Canelo according to the judges. I thought I fought better than he did."

Kenya’s Kipchoge sets new marathon world record

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge has set a new marathon world record with a time of two hours, one minute 39 seconds in the race over the distance in Berlin. The 33-year-old took more than a minute off the previous best which was set by compatriot Dennis Kimetto when he ran 2:02:57 in Berlin in 2014. "I lack words to describe this day," said Kipchoge. "I am really grateful, happy to smash the world record." The women's race was won by Gladys Cherono of Kenya in 2:18:11. Kipchoge, regarded as one of the greatest marathon runners of all time, won the London Marathon for a third time earlier this year and is the Olympic champion over the distance. "It was hard," Kipchoge added. "I ran my own race, I trusted my trainers, my programme and my coach. That's what pushed me in the last kilometres." In 2017, he missed out on becoming the first athlete to run under two hours for the marathon by 26 seconds. The Kenyan clocked 2:00.25 but because in-out pacemakers were used, the time was not be recognised as a world record.

Angela Stanford wins first major at Evian Championship

Angela Stanford won her first major title with a dramatic victory at the Evian Championship on Sunday as fellow American Amy Olson double-bogeyed the last. Olson was a shot clear of clubhouse leader Stanford going down the par-four 18th, but finished with a six. That meant a three-under-par 68 on the final day brought victory for 40-year-old Stanford, who finished on 12 under. Olson, 26, was tied for second in France with Austin Ernst, Mo Martin and Kim Sei-young. England's Georgia Hall was tied for 16th after a three-over 74 left the British Open champion six under for the final major of the season. Stanford is the first American to win a major since Danielle Kang's success at the 2017 Women's PGA Championship. "I did a bunch of stupid stuff, but deep down I'm a fighter, I'm a grinder, and I've always been that," she said. Overnight leader Olson, who was seeking her first win as a professional, missed a six-foot putt for bogey on the 18th that would have forced a play-off.

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

Calendar Keynotes: 17-23 September 

Monday, 17 September

Tennis: ATP Open de Moselle, Metz, France (till 23 September), ATP St Petersburg Open, Russia (till 23 September), WTA Guangzhou International Women’s Open, China (till 23 September).

Tuesday, 18 September

Football: European Champions League, Group A – Club Brugge v Borussia Dortmund, Monaco v Atletico Madrid, Group B – Barcelona v PSV Eindhoven, Inter Milan v Tottenham Hotspur, Group C – Red Star Belgrade v Napoli, Group D – FC Schalke 04 v FC Porto, Galatsaray v Lokomotiv Moscow.

Tennis: ATP Open de Moselle, Metz, France (till 23 September), ATP St Petersburg Open, Russia (till 23 September), WTA Guangzhou International Women’s Open, China (till 23 September). 

Wednesday, 19 September

Football: European Champions League, Group E – Ajax v AEK Athens, Benfica v Bayern Munich, Group F – Shakhtar Donesk v 1899 Hoffenheim, Manchester City v Lyon, Group G – Real Madrid v Roma, Viktoria Plzen v CSKA Moscow, Group H – Valencia v Juventus, Young Boys v Manchester United.

Tennis: ATP Open de Moselle, Metz, France (till 23 September), ATP St Petersburg Open, Russia (till 23 September), WTA Guangzhou International Women’s Open, China (till 23 September).

Thursday, 20 September

Football: Europa League (major clubs) – Sevilla v Standard Liege, PAOK Salonika v Chelsea, Celtic v Rosenborg, Slavia Prague v Bordeaux, Arsenal v Vorskla Poltava, F91 Dudelange v AC Milan, Villareal v Rangers, Lazio v Apollon Limassol, Marseille v Eintracht Frankfurt.

Rugby League: Super League Super 8s – Huddersfield Giants v Wigan Warriors.

Tennis: ATP Open de Moselle, Metz, France (till 23 September), ATP St Petersburg Open, Russia (till 23 September), WTA Guangzhou International Women’s Open, China (till 23 September).

Golf: Tour championship, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia, US (till 23 September).

Friday, 21 September

Football: French Ligue 1 – Monaco v Nimes, Spanish La Liga – Huesca v Real Sociedad.

Rugby Union: Gallagher Championship – Newcastle v Exeter.

Rugby League: Super League Super 8s – Castleford Tigers v Wakefield Trinity.

Tennis: ATP Open de Moselle, Metz, France (till 23 September), ATP St Petersburg Open, Russia (till 23 September), WTA Guangzhou International Women’s Open, China (till 23 September).

Golf: Tour championship, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia, US (till 23 September).

Motorcycling: MotoGP Rd 14, Aragon Grand Prix, Alcaniz, Spain (till 23 September). 

Saturday, 22 September

Football: English Premier League – Cardiff City v Manchester City, Liverpool v Southampton, Manchester United v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Brighton & Hove Albion v Tottenham Hotspur, Scottish Premiership – Aberdeen v Motherwell, Hearts v Livingston, French Ligue 1 – Angers v Toulouse, Montpellier v Nice, Reims v Dijon, Spanish La Liga – Getafe v Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid v Espanyol, Italian Serie A – Fiorentina v SPAL, Sampdoria v Inter Malin, German Bundesliga – Hertha Berlin v Borussia Monchengladbach, 1899 Hoffenheim v Borussia Dortmund, Vfl Wolfsburg v SC Freiburg, FC Schalke 04 v Bayern Munich,

Rugby Union: Gallagher Championship – Bath v Northampton, Bristol v Harlequins, Sale v Wasps, French Top 14 – Bordeaux Begles v Clermont Auvergne, Grenoble v Perpignan, La Rochelle v Lyon, Toulon v Agen, Racing 92 v Castres.

Rugby League: Super League Super 8s – Warrington Wolves v St Helens, Hull FC v Catalan Dragons.

Tennis: ATP Open de Moselle, Metz, France (till 23 September), ATP St Petersburg Open, Russia (till 23 September), WTA Guangzhou International Women’s Open, China (till 23 September).

Golf: Tour championship, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia, US (till 23 September).

Motorcycling: MotoGP Rd 14, Aragon Grand Prix, Alcaniz, Spain (till 23 September).

Cycling: UCI Europe Tour – Tour de l’Eurometropole, Belgium. 

Sunday, 23 September

Football: English Premier League – West Ham United v Chelsea, Arsenal v Everton, French Ligue 1 – Rennes v Paris St Germain, Guingamp v Bordeaux, Lyon v Marseille, Spanish La Liga – Levante v Sevilla, Villareal v Valencia, Barcelona v Girona, Italian Serie A – Torino v Napoli, Bologna v Roma, Lazio v Genoa, AC Milan v Atalanta, Frosinone v Juventus.

Rugby Union: Gallagher Premiership – Leicester v Worcester, Saracens v Gloucester, French Top 14 – Pau v Stade Francais, Montpellier v Toulouse.

Tennis: ATP Open de Moselle, Metz, France (final day), ATP St Petersburg Open, Russia (final day), WTA Guangzhou International Women’s Open, China (final day),

Golf: Tour championship, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia, US (final day).

Cycling: UCI Road World Championships, Innsbruck-Tirol, Austria (till 30 September).

Motorcycling: MotoGP Rd 14, Aragon Grand Prix, Alcaniz, Spain (race day).






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