The sports wrap, 2 December 2019

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Virgil van Dijk headed two goals as Liverpool held on to beat Brighton 2-1

Leicester claim last-gasp win to stay second

Liverpool were only seconds away from going 11 points clear at the top of the English Premier League but Leicester City came from behind to beat Everton with an injury time winner on Sunday to retain second place eight points behind but three points ahead of Manchester City who could only draw 2-2 away to Newcastle. Tottenham Hotspur  moved up to fifth spot on the table behind Chelsea after a 3-2 win over Bournemouth to retain their 100 per cent record under new manager Jose Mourinho. Chelsea were surprisingly beaten 1-0 at home by West Ham.

At the King Power Stadium, Leicester City kept on the heels of Liverpool with a late injury-time winner to give them a 2-1 victory. Kelechi

Kelechi Iheanacho slides home Leicester’s winner against Everton

Iheanacho placed a composed finish past Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford with the linesman’s flag raised for offside but after a lengthy wait, the goal was given amid wild home celebrations. Everton deservedly led at half-time after Richarlison headed in powerfully from Djibril Sidibe’s cross. But they were pulled back after 68 minutes when Jamie Vardy arrived unmarked at the back post to steer in Iheanacho’s effort as it flew across the face of goal.

At Anfield, Liverpool keeper Alisson was sent off for a blatant handball outside his penalty area as the Reds had to hang on for a 2-1 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion.  Jurgen Klopp’s side were coasting to victory after two Virgil van Dijk headers from Trent Alexander-Arnold assists in the space of six first-half minutes. But Alisson’s red card gifted the visitors a lifeline. Substitute Adrian’s first touch was to gather the ball out of his own net after Lewis Dunk’s cute free-kick left the keeper – who was still organising his wall – stranded, before Liverpool’s stopper saved late on from Australian midfielder Aaron Mooy.

At St James Park, Manchester City’s hopes of retaining their title were dealt another blow when Jonjo Shelvey’s stunning late equaliser earned Newcastle a point with a 2-2 draw. It looked all over for the home side when Kevin de Bruyne found the net in the 82nd minute with a brilliant long-range effort which went in off the crossbar. But with two minutes of normal time remaining, home substitute Christian Atsu pulled the ball back for Shelvey, who beat the dive of Ederson. Guardiola’s side have now dropped 13 points this season.

Hamilton winds up GP season with 11th victory

Six-times world champion Lewis Hamilton wrapped up the Formula One season in style on Sunday by cruising unchallenged to a dominant victory in Abu Dhabi in his 250th Grand Prix. The 34-year-old Mercedes driver led every lap from pole position to chequered flag,

Lewis Hamilton celebrates his 11th win of the Grand Prix season

banging in a fastest lap for good measure to emphasise his supremacy under the Yas Marina floodlights. Red Bull’s Dutch driver Max Verstappen was runner-up, 16.7 seconds behind the Briton, to cement third place in the championship. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third but in danger of disqualification for a fuel irregularity.Valtteri Bottas finished fourth for Mercedes after starting last on the grid due to engine penalties, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel fifth. “That was an absolute master class,” said Hamilton’s engineer over the radio, congratulating the Briton — who won his sixth title in Texas last month — on the cool-down lap. His 84th career victory, record fifth in Abu Dhabi and 11th of the season meant the Briton equalled his own Formula One record of 33 consecutive finishes in the points. The 11 wins in a season matched his personal best for a campaign, achieved in 2014 and 2018, with a record points haul of 413. He is now only seven wins short of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 91. Mercedes had already won both championships for an unprecedented sixth season in a row.

Marseille beat Brest to cut PSG lead at at the top

Substitute Nemanja Radonjic scored a fine last-minute winner as second-placed Marseile beat Brest 2-1 to move five points behind French league leaders Paris Saint Germain whose match against Monaco was postponed because of bad weather. Serbia winger Radonjic netted 57 seconds after Brest equalized in the 89th minute through striker Irvin Cardona, who saw an effort early in the first half hit both posts. Radonjic accelerated down the left and curled a shot into the top right corner to send the Stade Velodrome crowd home relieved after Marseille had 34 attempts on goal. Montpellier moved up to fourth place on the table after a 4-2 home win over Amiens and are now only one point behind Angers who slipped up 3-1 away to Nice. Nimes remain in the relegation zone, one off the bottom, after a disappointing 1-1 home draw against lowly Metz. Toulouse are bottom are losing 2-1 away to Nantes – their fourth straight loss.

In the Spanish La Liga,  Barcelona remain top on goal difference after Lionel Messi scored a late goal in the 86th minute for a 1-0 away win over Atletico Madrid.  Luis Suarez received the ball, laid it neatly into the path of Messi and the Argentine fired a curling shot into the corner of Jan Oblak’s goal from the edge of the box. Real are neck and neck with Barca after Welsh international Gareth Bale made his first start since 5 October as they beat Alaves 2-1. Real captain Sergio Ramos opened the scoring with a flicked header 10 minutes into the second half. Lucas Perez equalised from the penalty spot, but Dani Carvajal bundled home from close range to earn Real the win.

In the Italian Serie A, Lautaro Martinez scored twice as Inter Milan edged past SPAL 2-1 to move top of the table one point ahead of defending champions Juventus who could only 2-2 at home to Sassuolo.  The Argentine striker, 22,

Lautaro Martinez’ goals helped put Inter Milan on top of the Serie A table

fired in a 16th-minute opener from the edge of the area and headed in the hosts’ second four minutes before half-time. Mattia Valoti responded for SPAL after the break, while goalkeeper Etrit Berisha denied Martinez his hat-trick. In-form Martinez has now scored five goals in three games and has 12 in his last 12 in all competitions.

In the Germany Bundesliga, Borussia Monchengladbach reclaimed top spot with a deserved 4-2 home victory over FC Freiburg. Marcus Thuram scored a third-minute opener for the hosts but Jonathan Schmid’s spectacular free-kick brought Freiburg level three minutes later. Breel Embolo put Marco Rose’s side back in front a minute after half-time and, after missing a penalty, assisted for Patrick Herrmann after 51 minutes. Lucas Holer responded for Freiburg, but Embolo’s second sealed victory. Monchengladbach move one point above RB Leipzig at the summit, after Julian Nagelsmann’s side beat Paderborn 3-2 on Saturday. Defending champions Bayern Munich slipped to fourth after a surprise 1-2 loss at home Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

Montpellier thrash Top 14 leaders Lyon

Montpellier ran in five tries in a 33-8 rout of Top 14 leaders Lyon as Bordeaux Begles closed the gap at the summit by edging past Racing 92.  Lyon – beaten in the semi-finals last season – had won eight of their first nine games in this campaign but they were blown away by Montpellier, who were 21-0 up at half-time thanks to tries from Nemani Nadolo, Bismarck Du Plessis and Louis Picamoles. The visitors finally got on the board with a Jonathan Wisniewski penalty in the 51st minute but further scores from Nico Janse van Rensburg and Youri Delhommel increased Montpellier’s lead before Xavier Mignot crossed for a consolation late on. The win moved Montpellier up to third spot on the table behind Bordeaux who took advantage of Lyon’s slip up with a 34-30 victory over Racing 92 as Matthieu Jalibert got 14 points from the boot. Semi Radradra will join Premiership side Bristol Bears for next season but the Fiji international showed he was not distracted by his upcoming move with two of Bordeaux’s four tries.

Northampton win to stay top of English Premiership

Northampton Saints ran in five tries to emphatically beat Leicester Tigers 36-13 to stay two points ahead of Bristol at the top of the Gallagher English Premiership after the Bears had to settle for a 27-27 home draw against London Irish.  Matt Proctor’s early brace on his debut was followed up by scores from Api Ratuniyarawa, Tom Collins and Fraser Dingwall in

Matt Proctor scored two tries to keep Northampton Saints at the top

a free-flowing display. Guy Thompson had crossed in the opening quarter to give Leicester the lead before Saints took charge and secure a fourth victory in five games. Defending champions Saracens, now adrift at the bottom of the table on minus18 points after being penalized for breaching the salary cap rules, remain the team to beat after Owen Farrell kicked 20 points in their 25-12 defeat of Bath – their first  game since opting not to contest their 35-point deduction. Three Rhys Priestland penalties helped Bath edge a scrappy first half hour. But Sean Maitland’s try and 11 points from England captain Farrell’s boot saw Sarries lead 16-9 at the break. Farrell kicked a further three penalties as the champions eased clear in the second half to seal victory.

Root hits 226 as England battle to square series

Captain Joe Root made a double century but England face an uphill task to win the second Test against New Zealand in Hamilton. Root’s painstaking 226 from 441 balls and 75 from Ollie Pope helped England to 476 and a first-innings lead of 101. The Black Caps fell to 28 for two wickets but captain Kane Williamson

England captain Joe Root hits a double century in 2nd Test against the Kiwis

and Ross Taylor guided them to 96 for two at the close of day four, trailing by only five runs. England must win at Seddon Park to draw the two-Test series. Weather may be England’s biggest obstacle, with rain forecast for much of the final day. In Adelaide, Australia beat Pakistan by an innings and 48 runs as the home side wrapped up the two-Test series 2-0. Pakistan were dismissed for 238 runs after tea on the fourth day. It was their second consecutive innings defeat after their collapse in Brisbane in the 1st Test.

Larrazabal wins fifth European PGA title

Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal survived an alarming run to capture his fifth European Tour title with a one-shot win at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa. The 36-year-old No.261 began the final round at Leopard Creek with a three-shot lead but had six bogeys and a double bogey in his first 13 holes. He recovered to hole from inside three feet at the last for his fifth birdie of an eventful three over 75.

Spains’ Pablo Larrazabal wins fifth European PGA title in South Africa

His eight under total was one clear of Swede Joel Sjoholm, who had a 69. Larrazabal, who was affected by blisters on his feet, and Dutchman Wil Besseling were seven under playing the par-five 18th in the first event of the new season, but Besseling’s second shot embedded itself next to a stone wall guarding the green. The 33-year-old No.307, seeking his first European Tour win, dropped a shot and finished in a share of third with South Africans Branden Grace and Charl Schwartzel, the former Masters champion.

Trump eyes all three Triple Crown events

Judd Trump maintained his quest of holding all three Triple Crown events simultaneously with a 6-1 win over Mei Xiwen in the UK Championship on Sunday. Trump, 30, claimed his maiden World title at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre in May after winning the Masters in January. The world No.1 made frame-winning runs of 105, 93, 86, 68 and 51, as Mei knocked in a superb 127 clearance. “I did not feel great out there. I struggled a bit today,” Trump said. Two-time champion Ding Junhui beat Michael Georgiou 6-2 to progress to the third round. The Chinese player, who lifted the trophy in 2005 and 2009, has endured a difficult season with three first-round defeats but compiled breaks of 100, 70 and 50 to go through. Three-time UK champion John Higgins made light work of China’s Lu Ning with a 6-1 victory.

NZ claim trio of medals at Track Cycling World Cup

A stunning performance from debutant Callum Saunders has seen New Zealand claim a trio of medals on the penultimate day of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Hong Kong. The Kiwis came away with two golds and a silver, highlighted by Blenheim rider Saunders, in his first World Cup, out-gunning both Dutch world champion Matthijs Buchli and Britain’s Olympic champion Jason Kenny to win the keirin final. The 24-year-old earned his opportunity in the individual events with the team sprint unit having returned to Cambridge to prepare for their home World Cup next weekend.

Calendar Keynotes: 2 – 8 December

Monday, 2 December

Football: Italian Serie A – Cagliari v Sampdoria.

Cricket: New Zealand v England, 2nd Test, Hamilton (final day – New Zealand lead series 1-0), Australia v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Adelaide (until 2 December – Australia lead series 1-0).

Tuesday, 3 December

Football: English Premier League – Burnley v Manchester City.

Cricket: Australia v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Adelaide (final day – Australia lead series 1-0).

Snooker: Betway UK Championship, Triple Crown event (till 8 December).

Winter Sports: FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup, Lake Louise, Canada (till 8 December), FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup, Beaver Creek, USA (till 8 December).

Wednesday, 4 December

Football: English Premier League – Chelsea v Aston Villa, Leicester City v Watford, Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool v Everton, Scottish Premiership – Aberdeen v Rangers, Celtic v Hamilton Academical, Hearts v Livingston, Kilmarnock v St Johnstone, Ross County v Hibernian, St Mirren v Motherwell, French Ligue 1 – Amiens v Reims, Dijon v Montpellier, Saint-Etienne v Nice, Toulouse v Monaco, Paris Saint German v Nantes.

Golf: USPGA Tour, Hero World Challenge, Albany GC, Bahamas (till 7 December),

Snooker: Betway UK Championship, Triple Crown event (till 8 December).

Winter Sports: FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup, Lake Louise, Canada (till 8 December), FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup, Beaver Creek, USA (till 8 December).

Thursday, 5 December

Football: English Premier League – Arsenal v Brighton & Hove Albion, Italian Coppa Italia – Cagliari v Sampdoria.

Golf:  USPGA Tour, Hero World Challenge, Albany GC, Bahamas (till 7 December), PGA European Tour, AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, Heritage GC, Mauritius (till 8 December).

Snooker: Betway UK Championship, Triple Crown event (till 8 December).

Winter Sports: FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup, Lake Louise, Canada (till 8 December), FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup, Beaver Creek, USA (till 8 December).

Friday, 6 December

Football: French Ligue 1 – Nimes v Lyon, Spanish La Liga – Villareal v Atletico Madrid, Italian Serie A – Inter Milan v Roma.

Rugby Union: European Champions Cup – Pool 3, Bath v Clermont Auvergne, European Challenge Cup – Pool 1, Yensiey STM Kransoyarsk v Castres, Pool 3, Agen v Bordeaux Begles, Edinburgh v Wasps.

Cricket: International T20 – India v West Indies, Hyderabad.

Golf: USPGA Tour, Hero World Challenge, Albany GC, Bahamas (till 7 December), PGA European Tour, AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, Heritage GC, Mauritius (till 8 December).

Cycling: Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup IV, Cambridge, New Zealand (till 8 December).

Snooker: Betway UK Championship, Triple Crown event (till 8 December).

Winter Sports: FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup, Lake Louise, Canada (till 8 December), FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup, Beaver Creek, USA (till 8 December), FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Lillehammer, Norway (till 8 December), FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Nizhny Tagil, Russia (till 8 December).

Saturday, 7 December 

Football: English Premier League –.Everton v Chelsea, AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley, Manchester City v Manchester United, Scottish Premiership – Hibernian v Aberdeen, Livingston v Kilmarnock, Motherwell v Hearts, French Ligue 1 – Montpellier v Paris Saint Germain, Monaco v Amiens, Nice v Metz, Rennes v Angers, Strasbourg v Toulouse, Spanish La Liga – Real Madrid v Espanyol, Barcelona v Mallorca, Italian Serie A – Atalanta v Hellas Verona, Udinese v Napoli, Lazio v Juventus, German Bundesliga – Borussia Dortmund v Fortuna Dusseldorf, Borussia Monchengladbach v Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig v 1899 Hoffenheim, FC Freiburg v VfL Wolfsburg, Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Schalke 04.

Rugby Union: European Champions Cup – Pool 1, Lyon v Benetton, Northampton Saints v Leinster, Pool 2, La Rochelle v Glasgow Warriors, Pool 3, Ulster v Harlequins, Pool 4, Munster v Saracens, Ospreys v Racing 92, European Challenge Cup, Pool 1, Worcester Warriors v Dragons, Pool 2, Toulon v London Irish, Bayonne v Scarlets, Pool 4, Bristol v Stade Francais, Zebre v Brive, Pool 5, Leicester Tigers v Rugby Calvisano, Cardiff Blues v Pau.  :

Golf:  USPGA Tour, Hero World Challenge, Albany GC, Bahamas (final day), PGA European Tour, AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, Heritage GC, Mauritius (till 8 December).

Cycling: Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup IV, Cambridge, New Zealand (till 8 December).

Snooker: Betway UK Championship, Triple Crown event (till 8 December).

Winter Sports: FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup, Lake Louise, Canada (till 8 December), FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup, Beaver Creek, USA (till 8 December), FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Lillehammer, Norway (till 8 December), FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Nizhny Tagil, Russia (till 8 December).

Sunday, 8 December

Football  English Premier League – Aston Villa v Leicester City, Scottish League Cup fina – Rangers v Celtic, French Ligue 1 – Reims v Saint-Etienne, Marseille v Bordeaux, Spanish La Liga – Eibar v Getafe, Real Betis v Athletic Bilbao, Real Valladolid v Real Sociedad, Osasun v Sevilla, Italian Serie A – Sassuolo v Cagliari, Bologna v AC Milan.

Rugby Union: European Champions Cup – Pool 2, Sale v Exeter Chiefs, Pool 5, Gloucester v Connacht, Toulouse v Montpellier.

Cricket: International T20 – India v West Indies, Thiruvananthanthapuram.

Golf: PGA European Tour, AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, Heritage GC, Mauritius (final day).

Cycling: Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup IV, Cambridge, New Zealand (till 8 December).

Snooker: Betway UK Championship, Triple Crown event (final day).

Winter Sports: FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup, Lake Louise, Canada (final day), FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup, Beaver Creek, USA (final day), FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Lillehammer, Norway (final day), FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Nizhny Tagil, Russia (final day).