The sports wrap 22 April 2019

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Leinster celebrate their Champions Cup victory over Toulouse

Saracens to meet Leinster in Champions Cup final

Defending champions Leinster will face Saracens in the Champions Cup final next month after grinding down fellow four-time winners Toulouse 30-12 at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday. James Lowe’s smart finish and Luke McGrath’s drive over gave Leinster a deserved 11-point lead at the break. Thomas Ramos’ boot briefly brought French Top 14 leaders Toulouse back within range, but Scott Fardy burrowed over to convert a spell of second-half pressure. An increasingly desperate Toulouse rarely threatened a comeback. Leinster will be aiming to become the first team in the competition to lift the trophy for a fifth time in the 11 May showpiece. Their opponents Saracens overwhelmed Munster 32-16 on Saturday, sealing the match with a late try from Billy Vunipola who was named man of the match, and was briefly confronted by a Munster fan as Saracens powered into the final. Vunipola, who was booed throughout, wrapped up a deserved victory for Sarries. His try came in a week he was warned by English rugby chiefs for defending Australian international back Israel Folau’s social media post in which he said “hell awaits” gay people. Vunipola added to Michael Rhodes’ try for Sarries in Coventry, with England fly-half Owen Farrell kicking 22 points. That ensured Darren Sweetnam’s score for Munster was in vain and carried the two-time champions to their fourth final in six seasons. In the Challenge Cup, it was be an all-French final as La Rochelle beat Sale 24-20 and Clermont Auvergne defeated Harlequins 43-27 in the two semi-finals. Both finals will be played at St James’ Park Newcastle.

Liverpool go top again after beating Cardiff 2-0

Liverpool leapfrogged Manchester City once again to go two points clear at the top of the Premier League after beating relegation-threatened Cardiff City 2-0 on Sunday. Their victory followed defending champions Manchester City’s 1-0 home defeat of Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, revenge after Spurs knocked them out of the Champions League in dramatic fashion in mid-week. It left Spurs still in third place after fourth-placed Arsenal, only one point behind, were surprisingly beaten 3-2 at home by Crystal Palace. Chelsea, in fifth place, could move up to third if they beat Burnley at home on Monday night. The big shock of the weekend was Manchester United’s dismal 4-0 thumping by Everton at Goodison Park which marked new permanent manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sixth loss in eight games in all competitions. He apologized to United fans for their abject performance. At Cardiff City Stadium, Liverpool were made to work hard for their vital victory in the chase for their first Premiership in 29 years.  Liverpool made the breakthrough in spectacular fashion in the 57th minute, as Georginio Wijnaldum met Trent Alexander-

Georginio Wijnaldum after scoring Liverpool;s first goal with a rasping shot from a low corner

Arnold’s low corner with a thunderous first-time effort which threatened to break the net. However, they then had to negotiate some nervy moments, most notably a staggering miss by Cardiff captain Sean Morrison, who miscued a header with the goal at his mercy. Things then got worse for Morrison, who conceded a penalty after grappling with Mohamed Salah, and substitute James Milner confidently converted the spot-kick to seal victory for the visitors. Cardiff remain in the relegation zone, three points adrift of safety. At the Etihad Stadium, 18-year-old England Under 21 international Phil Foden’s first Premier League goal gave Manchester City a 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur, his diving header, created by Sergio Aguero, after only five minutes ensuring the reigning champions maintain the pressure on rivals Liverpool. It was, however, a nervous performance as City relied on goalkeeper Ederson to make several crucial saves. They also lost key midfielder Kevin de Bruyne to injury. In the Scottish Premiership, defending champions Celtic’s lead stands at nine points as Hibernian held them to a goalless draw at Easter Road. With four games remaining, Neil Lennon’s side require four points to wrap up the title. Rangers remain second after a 3-1 away to Hearts.

PSG beat Monaco and finally wrap up Ligue 1 title

Paris Saint Germain beat Monaco 3-1 on Sunday night after earlier claiming their eighth Ligue 1 title without kicking a ball when second-placed Lille were held to a goalless draw at Toulouse. A hat-trick from French international striker Kylian Mbappe in the 15th, 38th and 55th minutes put PSG 19 points ahead of Lille.  The title holders have 84 points after 33 games with five games remaining. Lille have also played one game more. The Parisians have now won the title six times in the past seven seasons.and could win the domestic double when they face Stade Rennais in the French Cup final next Saturday. Lyon lie third six points behind Lille after a 2-1 home victory over Angers while local sides Montpellier and Nimes both had good wins, the former beating Strasbourg 3-1 away from home to go sixth on the ladder, the latter beating Bordeaux 2-1 to go ninth.

In the Spanish La Liga, Jordi Alba once again showed his potency in attack by scoring the winner against Real Sociedad as Barcelona won 2-1 to close in on the title. It re-established their nine-point lead which was temporarily reduced when second-placed Atletico Madrid earlier defeated Eibar 1-0. The Spanish full-back found the net with a brilliant low strike only two minutes after Juanmi had equalised for the visitors. Clement Lenglet, another Barcelona defender, gave Barca a first-half lead with his header from a corner. Barca now only need six points from their remaining five games to retain the La Liga crown. Real Madrid are third,13 points behind Barca, after a 3-0 home win over Athletic Bilbao.

In the Italian Serie A, Juventus wrapped up their eighth title with a 2-1 home win over Fiorentina Massimiliano Allegri’s side, who failed at the first attempt with a  2-1 loss at SPAL last week, fell behind after a Nikola Milenkovic opener. Alex Sandro equalised with a brilliant flicked header in the 37th minute. Victory was sealed after the break when German Pezzella diverted Cristiano Ronaldo’s cross into his own net. After the match, Ronaldo said he was “1,000 pct” certain of staying with Juventus despite the mid-week Champions League loss to Ajax, The Portuguese forward, who signed from Real Madrid for £99.2m last summer, has become the first player to win domestic titles in England, Spain and Italy.

In the German Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund maintained their title challenge with a 4-0 win at Freiburg to move within a point of Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich. Captain Marco Reus played through pain to inspire his side with a goal and two assists. He took a knock to his knee in a heavy challenge from Janik Haberer after firing Dortmund’s second goal. English international Jadon Sancho opened the scoring before a Mario Gotze strike and a Paco Alcacer penalty completed the rout. Defending champions Bayern remained top, however, after a 1-0 home defeat of Werder Bremen on Saturday.

Dragons cruise past Broncos to secure sixth place

Catalans Dragons returned to winning ways and sixth place on the Super League table as they inflicted a heavy 38-6 defeat on out-of-form London Broncos. The visitors from Perpignan ran in six tries in a dominant display in west London, including 18 points from full-back Sam Tomkins. Matt Whitley scored a brace while Lewis Tierney, Greg Bird and Arthur Romano all dotted down for Dragons.

Catalans’ forward Benjamin Garcia celebrates his team’s try in the easy victory over London Broncos

Broncos’ solitary try came from Mark Ioane as they fell to a fourth successive league defeat.The hosts will also be concerned over a serious-looking apparent head injury to half back Jordan Abdull, who was taken to hospital following a first-half collision with Sam Moa.who with Broncos’ former Catalans forward Eloi Pelissier were sin-binned in the aftermath. Catalans now host third-placed Castleford Tigers on Monday. At the top of the table,  St Helens cemented their first place with a superb 36-10 Good Friday derby win at Wigan. After James Roby’s early Saints try, Welsh winger Regan Grace lifted himself to joint Super League top scorer on 11 tries with his first-ever hat-trick. Saints added further second-half tries through Tommy Makinson and Lachlan Coote, who also kicked six goals. Wigan, stung by the loss of Tom Davies with a double leg break, scored through Zak Hardaker and George Williams.

Italy’s Fabio Fognini wins Monte Carlo Masters

Italy’s Fabio Fognini won a Masters 1000 event for the first time with a straight-sets victory over Dusan Lajovic at the Monte Carlo Masters. Fognini, 31, beat Serbia’s Lajovic 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 38 minutes. World No18 Fognini entered the Monte Carlo Masters on a five-match losing streak but beat Alexander Zverev, Borna Coric and 11-time winner Rafael Nadal en route to the final. Lajovic made the better start, breaking Fognini’s serve early on but the Italian fought back, breaking twice to take a 4-2 lead in the opening set. Serving for the set, he saved a break point before a backhand down the line gave him the lead. Both players had their serves broken in the first two games of the second set, but despite receiving treatment on ankle and hamstring niggles, it was Fognini who went on to dominate, serving out the match.

In the women’s Fed Cup, Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic led France to their sixth Fed Cup final as they won the doubles to seal the two-time champions’ dramatic 3-2 victory over Romania in their semi-final on Sunday. The two 25-year-olds defeated world No.2 Simona Halep and Monica Niculescu 5-7 6-3 6-4 to wrap up the tie in front of an enthusiastic home crowd in the Normandy city of Rouen, ending Romania’s dreams to reach their maiden final. France, who won the competition in 1997 and 2003, will visit Australia for the Nov. 9-10 final. Earlier on Sunday Australia, inspired by in-form Ashleigh Barty, defeated Belarus 3-2 in the other semi-final in Brisbane. In London, Great Britain ended a 26-year wait for Fed Cup promotion when Katie Boulter fought back to seal their

Great Britain team celebrate Fed Cup victory over Kazahkstan to go into the World Group

3-1 win over Kazakhstan and spark jubilant scenes at the Copper Box Arena in East London. The team raced on to the court and hugged Boulter after she beat Zarina Diyas 6-7 (1-7) 6-4 6-1. The British No.2 trailed by a set and a break – and needed a hot water bottle on her back during changeovers – but refused to give up. Johanna Konta had earlier put Britain one win away from World Group II. Konta’s made a stunning comeback from 4-1 down in the final set to beat Yulia Putintseva 4-6 6-2 7-5.

Pan handles pressure to win first PGA tournament

Taiwan’s Pan Cheng-tsung held steady when it counted and won his first PGA Tour tournament with a one-stroke victory over Matt Kuchar as world No.1 Dustin Johnson stumbled badly on the back nine at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina on Sunday. Pan, who goes by the initials C.T., collected a birdie and two pars on his last three holes to shoot a four-under par 67 and end a tense final round at 12-under 272. Kuchar, finishing ahead of Pan, used a birdie at the last to also shoot 67 and waited as Pan, ranked 113 in the world, held steady at the end. Patrick Cantlay (69), Scott Piercy (69) and Ireland’s Shane Lowry (70) tied for third at 10-under. “It’s something when I was younger I always dreamed of. Watched Tiger (Woods) playing growing up,” the 27-year-old Pan told CBS television after the victory.

Amir Khan’s world title fight ends with a low blow

British fighters Amir Khan’s WBO world welterweight title fight with Terence Crawford ended in bizarre fashion in New York on Saturday night when he was pulled out by his corner after a low blow. Floored in the opening round, Khan took an accidental shot to his groin in the sixth and, after consulting his corner, said he was in too much pain. American champion Crawford was dominant and later questioned whether Khan quit, urging the Briton to “tell the truth”. “I would never quit, I would rather get knocked out,” Khan, 32, said. “I have never been hit below the belt and was in pain. I want to apologise to all of the fans. The fight was just getting interesting.” Boos rang out at Madison Square Garden after the fight, and BBC Sport commentator Mike Costello said Khan “could be in for a storm of abuse”.

Midi CC open league campaign with win over Catus

A fine century and a six-wicket haul from all-rounder Shakeel Akram spearheaded Midi Cricket Club to an impressive 105-run victory over old rivals Catus CC and marked a perfect start to their 2019 league campaign on Sunday. Midi, the Herault’s only cricket

Midi CC after their victory over Catus in the first match of the 2019 Blevins Franks league campaign

club, won the toss and, deciding to bat first, saw their top order slump to three wickets for 16 runs, before Shakeel provided the anchor with his 109 runs to help the visitors post a competitive 183-run target. In reply, Catus lost three wickets cheaply and with Shakeel proving to be almost unplayable they slumped to 77 all out. He finished with figures of 6 for 15. Midi’s next match in the Blevins Franks South West Regional League is at the club’s Pouzolles ground against TCC Wolves on Sunday 5 May.

 

For reports on all the weekend sporting events go to: 

http://www.bbc.com/sporthttp://www.espn.comhttp://www.lequipe.frhttp://www.reuters.com/news/sportswww.skysports.comwww.eurosport.frmidilibre.fr

Calendar Keynotes: 22-28 April

Monday, 22 April

Football: English Premier League – Chelsea v Burnley, Italian Serie A – Napoli v Atalanta, German Bundesliga – VfL Wolfsburg v Eintracht Frankfurt.

Rugby League: Super League – Huddersfield Giants v London Broncos, Hull KR v Warrington Wolves, Salford Red Devils v Wigan Warriors, St Hellens v Hull FC, Wakefield Trinity v Leeds Rhinos, Catalans Dragons v Castleford Tigers.

Tennis: ATP Barcelona Open, Spain (till 28 April), ATP Hungarian Open, Budapest (till 28 April), WTA Istanbul Cup, Turkey (till 28 April), WTA WTA Tour Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Stuttgart, Germany (till 28 April).

Cycling: UCI Europe Tour, Tour of the Alps, Italy (till 26 April).

Snooker: Betfred World Championships, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, UK (till 6 May).

Tuesday, 23 April

Football: English Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion, Spanish La Liga – Alaves v Barcelona, German DFB Cup – Hamburg SV v RB Leipzig.

Tennis: ATP Barcelona Open, Spain (till 28 April), ATP Hungarian Open, Budapest (till 28 April), WTA Istanbul Cup, Turkey (till 28 April), WTA WTA Tour Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Stuttgart, Germany (till 28 April).

Cycling: UCI Europe Tour, Tour of the Alps, Italy (till 26 April).

Snooker: Betfred World Championships, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, UK (till 6 May).

Wednesday, 24 April

Football: English Premier League – Wolverhampton Wanderers v Arsenal, Manchester United v Manchester City, Spanish La Liga – Atletico Madrid v Valencia, Italian Coppa Italia – AC Milan v Lazio, German DFB Cup – Werder Bremen v Bayern Munich.

Tennis: ATP Barcelona Open, Spain (till 28 April), ATP Hungarian Open, Budapest (till 28 April), WTA Istanbul Cup, Turkey (till 28 April), WTA WTA Tour Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Stuttgart, Germany (till 28 April).

Cycling: UCI World Tour, La Fleche Wallonne, Belgium, UCI Europe Tour, Tour of the Alps, Italy (till 26 April).

Snooker: Betfred World Championships, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, UK (till 6 May).

Thursday, 25 April  

Football: Spanish La Liga – Savilla v Rayo Vallecano, Getafe v Real Madrid, Italian Coppa Italia – Atalanta v Fiorentina.

Tennis: ATP Barcelona Open, Spain (till 28 April), ATP Hungarian Open, Budapest (till 28 April), WTA Istanbul Cup, Turkey (till 28 April), WTA WTA Tour Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Stuttgart, Germany (till 28 April).

Golf: USPGA Tour, Zurich Classic of New Orleans, TPC Louisiana, US (till 28 April), PGA European Tour, Trophee Hassan II, Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, Rabat, Morocco (till 28 April).

Cycling: UCI Europe Tour, Tour of the Alps, Italy (till 26 April).

Snooker: Betfred World Championships, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, UK (till 6 May).

Friday, 26 April  

Football: English Premier League – Huddersfield Town v Liverpool, French Ligue 1 – Bordeaux v Lyon.

Formula One: Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku (till 28 April).

Rugby Union – Gallagher English Premiership – Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints, Sale v Bath, Pro D2 – Beziers v Vannes.

Tennis: ATP Barcelona Open, Spain (till 28 April), ATP Hungarian Open, Budapest (till 28 April), WTA Istanbul Cup, Turkey (till 28 April), WTA WTA Tour Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Stuttgart, Germany (till 28 April).

Golf: USPGA Tour, Zurich Classic of New Orleans, TPC Louisiana, US (till 28 April), PGA European Tour, Trophee Hassan II, Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, Rabat, Morocco (till 28 April).

Cycling: UCI Europe Tour, Tour of the Alps, Italy (final day).

Snooker: Betfred World Championships, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, UK (till 6 May).

Saturday, 27 April

Football: English Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United, Scottish Premiership – Celtic v Kilmarnock, Coupe de France – Rennes v Paris Saint Germain, Spanish La Liga – Athletic Bilbao v Alaves, Atletico Madrid v Real Valladolid, Barcelona v Levantes, Italian Serie A – Roma v Cagliari, Inter Milan v Juventus, German Bundesliga – Borussia Dortmund v FC Schalke 04, Eintracht Frankfurt v Hertha Berlin, Fortuna Dusseldorf v Werder Bremen, RB Leipzig v FC Freiburg, VfB Stuttgart v Borussia Monchengladbach.

Formula One: Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku (till 28 April).

Rugby Union: Gallagher English Premiership – Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins, Leicester Tigers v Bristol, Wasps v Saracens, French Top 14 – Pau v Racing 92, Castres v Toulouse, Agen v Lyon, Montpellier v Grenoble, Perpignan v La Rochelle.

Rugby League: Super League – London Broncos v Salford Red Devils, Wigan Warriors v Castleford Tigers.

Tennis: ATP Barcelona Open, Spain (till 28 April), ATP Hungarian Open, Budapest (till 28 April), WTA Istanbul Cup, Turkey (till 28 April), WTA WTA Tour Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Stuttgart, Germany (till 28 April).

Golf: USPGA Tour, Zurich Classic of New Orleans, TPC Louisiana, US (till 28 April), PGA European Tour, Trophee Hassan II, Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, Rabat, Morocco (till 28 April).

Snooker: Betfred World Championships, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, UK (till 6 May).

Sunday, 28 April

Football: English Premier League – Burnley v Manchester City, Manchester United v Chelsea, Scottish Premiership – Hibernian v Hearts, Rangers v Aberdeen, French Ligue 1 – Lille v Nimes, Saint-Etienne v Toulouse, Marseille v Nantes, Spanish La Liga – Valencia v Eibar, Girona v Sevilla, Real Sociedad v Getafe, Rayo Vallecano v Real Madrid, Italian Serie A  – Frosinone v Napoli, Sampdoria v Lazio, Torino v AC Milan, German Bundesliga – 1899 Hoffenheim v VfL Wolfsburg, 1. FC Nuremberg v Bayern Munich.

Formula One: Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku (race day).

Rugby Union: Gallagher English Premiership – Worcester Warriors v Gloucester, French Top 14 – Toulon v Bordeaux Begles, Stade Francais v Clermont Auvergne.

Rugby League: Super League – Hull FC v Wakefield Trinity, Leeds Rhinos v Hull KR, St Helens v Catalans Dragons, Warrington Wolves v Huddersfield Giants.

Tennis: ATP Barcelona Open, Spain (final day), ATP Hungarian Open, Budapest (final day ), WTA Istanbul Cup, Turkey (final day), WTA WTA Tour Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Stuttgart, Germany (final day).

Golf: USPGA Tour, Zurich Classic of New Orleans, TPC Louisiana, US (final day), PGA European Tour, Trophee Hassan II, Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, Rabat, Morocco (final day).

Athletics: London Marathon, Blackheath to Buckingham Palace, London.

Snooker: Betfred World Championships, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, UK (till 6 May).