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The sports wrap 1st October 2018

LanguedocLiving, Sep 30

Europe produce crushing victory to reclaim Ryder Cup from US.

Europe thrashed the United States 17½-10½ to regain the Ryder Cup - prompting wild celebrations, tears, and one player dressing as a pillar box at Le Golf National in France on Sunday. Open champion Francesco Molinari beat Phil Mickelson to get Europe to the 14½-point winning mark, simultaneously becoming the first European to win five points in one Ryder Cup. The Italian, who was immediately drenched in beer by celebrating fans, said it "means more than winning majors". Spaniard Sergio Garcia secured a victory of his own to surpass Sir Nick Faldo as the Ryder Cup's leading points scorer with 25½, then sobbed as he was called a legend by team-mate Justin Rose. "I don't usually cry, but I couldn't help it, what a week," he said. "It's been a rough year, but we fought hard. I'm so thankful to Thomas Bjorn for believing in me." Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy led 'thunder clap' cheers with an exuberant 70,000-strong crowd, while captain Bjorn embraced each of his "amazing" players. Jon Rahm, Ian Poulter, Thorbjorn Olesen, Henrik Stenson and Alex Noren joined Molinari and Garcia in winning singles matches on Sunday after the Americans, trailing 10-6, had threatened a comeback by winning 3½ of the first five points on the final day. Poulter - nicknamed 'The Postman' because he 'always delivers a point' - found a pillar-box fancy-dress outfit to the delight of the partisan crowd, then led the charge on to the 18th green when Noren holed a 35-foot putt to win the final match. That spirit has prevailed throughout the European team all week. They went in to the match as underdogs despite the US not having won in Europe since 1993. The American side boasted 31 major titles, and 11 of their players are in the world's top 17.

Bottas lets Hamilton win Russian GP to extend championship lead

Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas moved aside to let Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton win the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi on Sunday and surge 50 points clear in the Formula One championship with five races remaining. The victory was a landmark 70th for the Briton, who is well on his way to a fifth title and is now 21 wins behind the all-time record of 91 held by seven times champion Michael Schumacher. Hamilton’s closest rival Sebastian Vettel finished third for Ferrari with Bottas, who led from pole position but was told to let Hamilton through after 25 of the 53 laps, securing the Mercedes one-two. In a race with little other drama, Dutchman Max Verstappen celebrated his 21st birthday in style by steering his Red Bull from the back to the front, dropping back to fifth after finally pitting with 10 laps to go. Mercedes remain unbeaten in Russia, Sunday being their fifth win in Sochi since the Olympic Park circuit first appeared on the calendar in 2014. Hamilton has now won eight races this season. The Briton, who pulled off an impressive overtake on Vettel for fourth after he dropped behind the German at the pitstops, stayed in the car for some time after he parked up at the finish. He then went over to thank Bottas and commiserate. At the podium ceremonies, with Russian president Vladimir Putin doing the honours, Hamilton manoeuvred the Finn on to the top step alongside him. “It’s actually quite a difficult day,” explained the Briton. “He was a real gentleman to let me by. Usually I’d be elated but I can understand how difficult it was for Valtteri.”

Man City go top of Premiership as Liverpool slip up at Chelsea

Defending champions Manchester City moved to the top of the English Premier League as Liverpool lost their 100 per cent record with a 1-1 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, a point rescued by substitute Daniel Sturridge who scored a brilliant late equaliser. Man City moved top on goal difference over Liverpool with a comfortable 2-0 home win over Brighton & Hove Albion with goals from Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero. The outcome of the match was never in doubt once Sterling broke the deadlock after 29 minutes, sliding home Leroy Sane's cross after a swift counter-attack opened up the Seagulls’ defence for the first time. City continued to dominate and Aguero made sure of the points on 65 minutes, firing home from a Sterling pass to finish a move he started. At Stamford Bridge, Eden Hazard’s 25th-minute strike, driven low past Alisson, had threatened to end Liverpool’s unbeaten start to the season but Sturridge curled a magnificent shot into the top corner from 25 yards to rescue a point in the 89th minute. Tottenham Hotspur moved up to fourth spot on the table with a 2-0 win at Huddersfield, both goals scored by Harry Kane, and city neighbours Arsenal moved into fifth spot with a 2-0 win over Watford. In the Scottish Premiership, Hearts remained top with a 2-1 home win over St. Johnstone, five points clear of city rivals, Hibernian, who beat St. Mirren 1-0 away from home. Champions Celtic moved up to fifth with a 1-0 home win over Aberdeen while Rangers slipped down to sixth after a surprise 1-0 defeat by Livingston who moved to third on the table.

PSG keep up 100 per cent start and go eight points clear

Neymar scored twice as Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint Germain kept up their 100 per cent winning start to the season with a 3-0 away victory over 10-man Nice. Lille moved up to second spot eight points behind with a convincing 3-0 win over Marseille while Montpellier moved up to third with an easy 3-0 home win over neighbours Nimes. Brazil forward Neymar curled his first into the bottom corner from outside the box for PSG and tapped in his second late on. In between, Christopher Nkunku stroked in for the away side to finish off a neat team move. In the Spanish La Liga, Real Madrid failed to win for a second straight game and missed the chance to go top as they drew 0-0 at home to city rivals Atletico Madrid. Real, beaten by Sevilla in midweek, could have overtaken Barcelona, who drew 1-1 at home against Athletic Bilbao. Both are on 14 points, one point ahead of Sevilla. In the Italian Serie A, champions Juventus made it seven wins in a row at the start of the season, coming from behind to beat second-placed Napoli 3-1 and move six points clear. The visitors led when Dries Mertens tapped into an empty net. Cristiano Ronaldo had a hand in all three Juve goals, first crossing for Mario Mandzukic to head an equaliser. He had a shot come off the post, with Mandzukic scoring the rebound - and then flicked a header on for Leonardo Bonucci to score. In the German Bundesliga, champions Bayern Munich lost for the first time this season, beaten 2-0 at Hertha Berlin, and have been nudged into second place on the table after Borussia Dortmund beat Bayer 04 Leverkusen 4-2 away from home. Hertha and Bayern are level on points behind Borussia. English teenager Jadon Sancho set up his fourth and fifth goals of the season as Borussia came from 2-0 down to beat Bayer Leverkusen. Sancho, 18, has now assisted more goals - in 124 minutes - than anyone else in Europe's top five leagues this season. The hosts led 2-0 after the first half but Dortmund scored four in the last 25 minutes through Jacob Bruun Larsen, Marco Reus and Paco Alcacer (2).

Saracens and Exeter continue unbeaten start to season

Premiership champions Saracens continued their 100 per cent winning start to the season with a 50-27 victory over Bath while Exeter Chiefs kept pace with a fifth straight victory, dispatching Worcester at home by 28-11. Saracens top the table with 25 points, one point ahead of Exeter who are five points ahead of Wasps who edged Newcastle 23-22 on Friday night. Saracens scored eight tries to beat Bath, with Liam Williams bagging a hat-trick. Williams, Alex Goode, Jamie George and Nick Tompkins all scored for Sarries before the break, with Chris Cook and Tom Homer replying for the visitors. Wales wing Williams crossed twice after the restart and then Homer got his second with an interception try. Sean Maitland and Christopher Tolofua added late tries as Sarries dominated. Meanwhile, Exeter avenged last season's shock home defeat by Worcester. After trailing to Chris Pennell's 18th-minute penalty, the Chiefs turned the game with three converted tries in the final 15 minutes of the first half. Ted Hill crossed on his first Worcester start but Harry Williams got the bonus-point try seven minutes from time.

Clermont bounce back from first defeat to beat Toulon

Clermont Auvergne bounced back from last weekend’s defeat by Bordeaux Begles to move five points clear at the top of the Top 14 table with a comfortable 28-8 victory over Toulon which left the 2014 Top 14 champions languishing in 12th position. Sitting behind Clermont are the Parisian rivals Stade Francais and Racing 92 who played each other on Sunday with the former going down 16-17 at home but retaining second spot, one point ahead. Last season’s champions Castres are fourth after a 26-22 victory at Toulouse while Montpellier continued their resurgence, moving to sixth spot with a 23-20 victory at newcomers Perpignan who remain rooted at the foot of the table without a win in six games. Clermont got off to a perfect start in their match against Toulon, touching down in the sixth minute when Morgan Parra’s long, looping pass was collected and finished by Damian Penaud. Although Anthony Belleau responded for the visitors with an effort off the tee, Camille Lopez scored an individual try and then played a part in Les Jaunards’ third try as Penaud burst through and gave the fly-half an opportunity to find Remy Grosso on the left-wing. Clermont were not quite as relentless in the second period but did manage to add a brace of three-pointers via Parra which increased their buffer to 20 points. Marcel van der Merwe was sent to the sin-bin but, to Toulon’s credit, they battled and were rewarded through Romain Taofifenua, who touched down after an excellent maul. Clermont were not finished, however, and after a powerful drive of their own Yohan Beheregaray went over.

New Zealand win Rugby Championship for sixth time

New Zealand won the Rugby Championship for the sixth time with a 35-17 win over Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday. Victory gave the All Blacks an unsurpassable seven-point lead over South Africa with one game to play. A shock 36-34 win in Wellington a fortnight ago had given South Africa hope that they could overtake New Zealand and win the competition for the first time. But they failed to secure a bonus point in a 23-12 win over Australia in Port Elizabeth. 

Catalans Dragons beat Huddersfield 22-12 in last Super 8s game

Catalans Dragons winger David Mead ran in four second-half tries to help his side come from 12-0 down at half-time to beat Huddersfield Giants 22-12 in Perpignan on Saturday. After dismal form following their Challenge Cup victory in July, the Catalans have won their last two Super 8 matches over Hull FC and the Giants. The Catalans finished eighth on the ladder with St Helens playing Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors playing Castleford Tigers in the play-off semi-finals this week. After going behind to two early tries, Mead replied for the Dragons with two tries in 11 second-half minutes, before adding two more, with Lucas Albert kicking three goals. The match was marred by three sinbinnings - for Lambert Belmas for a dangerous tackle, then for Australian veteran Ryan Hinchcliffe, who in his final appearance before retirement went to the bin with Catalans prop Mickael Simon following a brawl. Super League leaders St Helens warmed up for their play-off semi-final against Warrington with a one-sided 26-0 victory against Castleford Tigers. Tigers, who take on Wigan in their semi-final having finished third, failed to register a point against Saints who delivered in the first half. Matty Lees' first try for Saints and scores for Morgan Knowles and Ben Barba established an 18-0 lead at the break.Barba scored his second after half-time, completing the try-scoring.

Valverde wins men’s race at Road World Championships

Spain's Alejandro Valverde edged a sprint finish to win the men's race at the Road World Championships. Valverde finished just ahead of France's Romain Bardet, Canada's Michael Woods and Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands in Innsbruck, Austria. The 38-year-old had previously finished on the podium a record six times. Valverde, Bardet and Woods raced the final few kilometres of the 258-km mountainous route together, before being joined by Dumoulin going into the final kilometre. Valverde led the final sprint for the line and remained unchallenged to beat Bardet by just over a bike length, with Woods third. "It's incredible, after missing it for so many years. It's a victory for the team," said Valverde, who had twice finished second, with four third place finishes, at the World Championships.

Tomic wins first ATP World Title in more than three years

Australian Bernard Tomic won his first ATP World Tour title in more than three years on Sunday, beating world No.13 Italian Fabio Fognini 6-1 3-6 7-6(7) in the final of the Chengdu Open. Tomic had to battle hard against the top seed, saving four match points in a tense final set before wrapping up the match in two hours and 15 minutes. The Australian sent down 12 aces and won 70 percent of his first serves to claim his first title since his victory in Bogota in 2015. The last few years have been hard on Tomic, who slipped out of the world’s top 20 after a significant slump in form. This year, Tomic has managed to mostly stay away from the sort of unwanted headlines that have dogged him in the past and has climbed to 123 from 243 in the world rankings since May. Defeat denied Fognini the chance to become the first Italian man to win four singles titles in the same season, after his victories in Sao Paulo, Bastad and Los Cabos.

India beat Bangladesh in Asia Cup final thriller

Kedar Jadhav took India to a thrilling final-ball victory over Bangladesh in the final of the Asia Cup in Dubai. .As India chased 223, Jadhav retired hurt with an injury to his right leg but returned at the fall of the seventh wicket with nine needed from 11 balls.That became one off the last ball, with leg byes off the pads of Jadhav (23 not out) getting India home. Bangladesh were earlier bowled out for 222 - Liton Das made a century - but they lost all 10 wickets for 102 runs. Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav claimed three for 45 and Jadhav took three for 41 with his off-breaks.

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

Calendar Keynotes: 1-7 October

Monday, 1 October

Football: Spanish La Liga: Celta Vigo v Getafe

Tennis: ATP & WTA China Open, Beijing (till 7 October). 

Tuesday, 2 October

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

Tennis: ATP & WTA China Open, Beijing (till 7 October).

Wednesday, 3 October

Football: European Champions League (major clubs), Group A – Atletico Madrid v Club Brugge, Borussia Dortmund v Monaco, Group B – PSV Eindhoven v Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur v Barcelona, Group C – Paris Saint Germain v Red Star Belgrade, Napoli v Liverpool, Group D – Lokomotiv Moscow v FC Shalke 04.

Tennis: ATP & WTA China Open, Beijing (till 7 October).

Cycling: UCI Europe Tour, Sparkassen Munsterland Giro, Germany.

Thursday, 4 October

Football: Europa League (major clubs) – Bayer 04 Levekusen v AEK Larnaca, FK Krasnodar v Sevilla, FC Astana v Rennes, Chelsea v MOL Vidi, FC Red Bull Salzburg v Celtic, FK Qarabag v Arsenal, Bordeaux v FC Copenhagen, AC Milan v Olympiakos, Rangers v Rapid Vienna, Apollon Limassol v Marseille, Eintracht Frankfurt v Lazio,

Rugy League; Super League semi-final – St Helens v Warrington Wolves.

Tennis: ATP & WTA China Open, Beijing (till 7 October).

Golf: Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, St Andrews, Carnoustie & Kingsbairns, Scotland (till 7 October).

Friday, 5 October

Football: French Ligue 1 – Toulouse v Nice, German Bundesliga – Werder Bremen v VfL Wolfsburg.

Formula One – Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka (till 7 October).

Rugby Union: Gallagher Premiership – Bath v Exeter.

Rugby League: Super League semi-final – Wigan Warrors v Castleford Tigers.

Tennis: ATP & WTA China Open, Beijing (till 7 October).

Golf: Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, St Andrews, Carnoustie & Kingsbairns, Scotland (till 7 October).

Saturday, 6 October

Football: English Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur v Cardiff City, Watford v AFC Bournemoutn, Manchester United v Newcastle United, Scottish Premiership – Dundee v Kilmarnock, Hibernian v Hamilton Academical, Motherwell v Livingston, French Ligue 1 – Guingamp v Montpellier, Nimes v Reims, Spanish La Liga – Alaves v Real Madrid, Italian Serie A – Udinese v Juventus, Empoli v Roma, German Bundesliga – Mainz 05 v Hertha Berlin, Borussia Dortmund v FC Augsburg, Bayern Munich v Borussia Monchengladbach.

Formula One – Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka (till 7 October).

Rugby Union: Gallagher Championship – Northampton v Leicester, Wasps v Gloucester, Harleuqins v Saracens, French Top 14 – La Rochelle v Clermont Auvergne, Grenoble v Bordeuax Begles, Pau v Perpignan, Racing 92 v Lyon, Toulouse v Agen.

Tennis: ATP & WTA China Open, Beijing (till 7 October).

Golf: Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, St Andrews, Carnoustie & Kingsbairns, Scotland (till 7 October).

Cycling: UCI Europe Tour, Giro dell’ Emilia, Italy.

Sunday, 7 October

Football: English Premier League – Fulham v Arsenal, Southampton v Chelsea, Liverpool v Manchester City, Scottish Premiership – Rangers v Hearts, St Johnstone v Celtic, French Ligue 1 – Bordeaux v Nantes, Marseille v Caen, Monaco v Rennes, Paris St Germain v Lyon, Spanish La Liga – Atletico Madrid v Real Betis, Espanyol v Villareal, Sevilla v Celta Vigo, Valenci v Bercelona, Italian Serie A – Lazio v FIorentina, AC Milan v Chievo, Napoli v Sassuolo, SPAL v Inter Milan.

Formula One: Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka (race day).

Rugby Union: French Top 14 – Castres v Stade Francais, Montpellier v Toulon.

Tennis: ATP & WTA China Open, Beijing (final day).

Golf: Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, St Andrews, Carnoustie & Kingsbairns, Scotland (final day).

Cycling: UCI Europe Tour, Paris – Tours Elite, France. UCI Europe Tour, Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli, Italy. 

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