The sports wrap 24th February 2019


Wales stun England in Six Nations for 12th successive win.

Wales blew the Six Nations wide open with an epic 21-13 victory over England on Saturday as late tries for Cory Hill, after a monumental 34-phase goal-line assault, and Josh Adams at the death secured a national record 12th successive victory. In the other Six Nations matches, France (pictured) opened their account with a 27-10 home win over Scotland while Ireland laboured to a 26-16 victory over winless Italy to go third on the Six Nations table behind Wales and England. At the Principality Stadium, the Welsh win over England, who had beaten Grand Slam champions Ireland and France in their first two Six Nations matches, left the rugby world looking ahead to the Welsh chances at this year’s World Cup in Japan. England were leading 13-9 after a first-half Tom Curry try and looked set to make it three wins in a row before the hosts turned the match, and possibly the championship, with a relentless attack that sent Hill over 12 minutes from time. Winger Adams then brilliantly caught a high kick in the corner to settle it and send the home fans into raptures, bringing back memories of 2013 when England arrived in Cardiff seeking a Grand Slam but were sent packing 30-3. Saturday’s game was a different beast, with momentum swings and nail-biting tension, but the outcome produced the same outpouring of emotion. Wales top the standings on 12 points, with England second on 10, though, thanks to their earlier bonus points and with home games against Italy and Scotland to come, they are still well-placed to win the title. At the Stade de France, Scotland’s 20-year wait for a victory in Paris goes on after France showed glimpses of their old flair to record their first win of this year’s Six Nations. Damian Penaud and Gael Fickou had first-half tries ruled out but Romain Ntamack finished a stunning counter-attack to put the hosts ahead. Greig Laidlaw’s penalty was the Scots’ only response and Yoann Huget crossed barely a minute into the second half. Gregory Alldritt plunged over twice late on either side of Ali Price’s try. But the replacement scrum-half’s score was the smallest of consolations for Gregor Townsend’s team, who were overpowered at times and hampered by poor decision-making at critical moments.

Man City win League Cup final in penalty shoot-out against Chelsea

Manchester City won the League Cup for the second successive season in a penalty shoot-out at Wembley after Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga bizarrely defied manager Maurizio Sarri’s attempt to substitute him. City claimed the first major trophy in their four-pronged assault on silverware but this stale final, which was goalless after extra-time, will be remembered for an almost unprecedented challenge to Sarri’s authority by the world’s costliest goalkeeper. The 71-million sterling Spanish keeper had been struggling with cramp in the closing stages of extra-time and Sarri decided to send on substitute Willy Caballero, who saved three penalties in a shootout to help Manchester City win this trophy against Liverpool in 2016. Arrizabalaga refused to come off and Sarri backed down in a rage, before his misery was completed as City won the shootout, with Raheem Sterling scoring the winning penalty. Ilkay Gundogan, Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva scored from the spot for City and even though Arrizabalaga saved from Leroy Sane it was to no avail. Jorginho’s spot kick was saved by Ederson and David Luiz hit the post as Chelsea were sunk, despite Cesar Azplicueta, Emerson and Eden Hazard converting their kicks.

Liverpool go top after draw at Man Utd while Spurs are beaten by Burnley

Liverpool got the point they needed to return to the top of the Premier League ahead of defending champions Manchester City but were left frustrated by their failure to break down a Manchester United side that was ravaged by injuries. A goalless draw at the home of their fiercest rivals would usually be seen as mission accomplished for Jurgen Klopp’s side, but this has to go down as a wasted opportunity to get some daylight over Manchester City. Injuries to three midfielders meant United were forced to use all of their substitutes in a bizarre 25-minute period before half-time with one of them, Jesse Lingard, quickly being replaced himself. Liverpool did not escape unscathed, with Roberto Firmino only lasting until the half-hour mark, and without him his side struggled to pose any sort of threat in front of goal in what was a typically intense encounter. Tottenham Hotspur remain third but missed an opportunity to close the gap on the top with a 2-1 defeat a Burnley, while North London rivals Arsenal moved up to fourth ahead of Manchester United with an easy 2-0 home win over relegation-threatened Southampton. In the Scottish Premiership, both the top two teams had easy wins with Celtic beating Motherwell 4-1 at home and Rangers dispatching lowly Hamilton 5-0. Celtic are eight points ahead of their city rivals.

PSG beat Nimes to extend Ligue 1 lead to 17 points

French striker Kylian Mbappe passed 50 Ligue 1 goals with a double as Paris Saint Germain beat newcomers Nimes 3-0 to extend their lead at the top of the table to 17 points. Christopher Nkunku scored from Marco Verratti’s pass over the top to put the champions ahead. Mbappe’s landmark strike came when he prodded home Juan Bernat’s cross to make it 2-0. And the 20-year-old added a second after chasing on to Nkunku’s pass as PSG countered from a corner. The World Cup winner is the French top flight’s top scorer with 22 goals in 20 games, and he has scored 27 in 31 matches in all competitions. Second-placed Lille dropped further back behind PSG with a 1-1 draw at Strasbourg while Montpellier failed to recover from their 5-1 mid-week thrashing by PSG with a 4-2 home defeat at the hands of Reims who moved up to sixth place three points ahead of them. In the Spanish La Liga. Lionel Messi scored his 50th career hat-trick to fire Barcelona to a 4-2 win at Sevilla on Saturday after the champions had twice fallen behind, giving the Catalans a seven-point lead at the top of the table. Sevilla, who have only won once in the league in 2019, took the lead midway through the first half through veteran winger Jesus Navas but were soon pegged back by an unstoppable volley from Messi who added two more after the interval. Atletico Madrid remain second after a 2-0 home win over Villareal. In the Italian Serie A, unbeaten leaders Juventus needed a goal from substitute Paulo Dybala to beat Bologna 1-0. The Turin side, who have won the past seven titles, are 13 points above second-placed Napoli, who beat Parma 4-0 away from home to cement second spot nine points ahead of Inter Milan. Dybala converted from close range after Blaise Matuidi’s cross was not cleared properly. Nicola Sansone almost equalised in injury time, but keeper Mattia Perin tipped his 20-yard shot on to the post. In the German Bundesliga, England international Jadon Sancho scored an excellent volley as leaders Borussia Dortmund beat Bayer Leverkusen for their first win in six games in all competitions. Dan-Axel Zagadou put Dortmund ahead from Sancho’s corner before Kevin Volland deservedly levelled with a low 20-yard strike.Teenager Sancho scored his ninth goal of the season with a fine strike from Abdou Diallo cross. Mario Gotze smashed a third before Jonathan Tah’s consolation header. Dortmund are three points ahead of second-placed champions Bayern Munich, who beat Hertha Berline 1-0 on Saturday.

Exeter return to top of Premiership table after Gloucester do them a favour

Exeter Chiefs reclaimed top spot in the Premiership after Gloucester’s victory over Saracens on Friday and also piled the pressure on bottom-placed Newcastle Falcons. Five tries from Exeter moved them four points clear of second-placed Saracens as they bounced back from defeat by Gloucester last weekend. Santiago Cordero, Jack Yeandle and Olly Woodburn scored in the first half around Tane Takulua’s try for Falcons. Nic White and Greg Holmes added two more Exeter tries, while Zach Kibirige bagged a consolation brace. Gloucester had helped Exeter’s cause by beating Saracens 30-24 at Kingsholm. Seven days after seeing off Exeter, the Cherry and Whites inflicted a third loss of the season on the defending champions. Ben Morgan scored tries in each half and Ed Slater also crossed from close range to cap an impressive display. But Jackson Wray’s last-gasp try earned Sarries an unlikely losing bonus point. Gloucester, who have climbed to fourth, spurned early chances for points but opened up a 16-3 half-time lead with Morgan’s converted score and three Billy Twelvetrees penalties.

Toulouse consolidate Top 14 lead with win over Montpellier

Top 14 leaders Toulouse moved six points clear with a 27-14 defeat of Montpellier while Stade Francais halted La Rochelle’s four-match winning run on Saturday. Clinical Toulouse stretched their run of victories to four at Stade Ernest-Wallon, where Australian fly-half Zack Holmes helped himself to 15 points. Holmes and Francois Cros went over in the second half following a penalty try for the home side in the first, with Jacques du Plessis claiming the only Montpellier try to open the scoring after 15 minutes. Three penalties from Benoit Paillaugue was all ninth-placed Montpellier could add in the second half as they slumped to a fourth defeat in a row. Stade boosted their play-off hopes with a 27-14 success at Stade Marcel-Deflandre. The Paris side laid the foundations in the first half, Siegfried Fisi’ihoi and Hendre Stassen crossing the whitewash and Nicolas Sanchez scoring 12 points from the tee. Piet van Zyl added a third Stade try following a couple of Ihaia West penalties and the damage had already been done by the time Jeremy SInzelle came up with fourth-placed La Rochelle’s only try. Lyon continued with their fine recent form when they edged out Clermont 19-13 on Sunday to move up to third place on the Top 14 ladder. Both sides scored a try apiece with former All Blacks centre Charlie Ngatai crossing the whitewash for Lyon while Paul Jedrasiak scored Clermont’s try. However, Jonathan Wisniewski was the home side’s hero as he contributed 14 points after slotting four penalties and a conversion. Clermont’s other points came via the boot of Patricio Fernandez, who added a couple of penalties and a conversion. It was The result was Lyon’s fifth successive win and it moves them four points adrift of second-placed Clermont.

Pro D2 leaders Bayonne beat Beziers to stay ahead of Oyonnax

Beziers slipped back to sixth place on the Pro D2 table after Bayonne beat them 21-15 at home to stay top ahead of Oyonnax. Beziers were 12-5 ahead at half-time with tries from scrum-half Arnaud Pic in the 13th minute and Francisco Fernandes just before the interval. But Bayonne dominated the second half, thanks mainly to Argentine back Bustos Moyano who scored a try and scored 16 points to condemn the Bitterois to defeat. Beziers are still in contention for a play-off place in sixth place on the ladder with 56 points after Mont-de-Marsan overtook them following a 16-10 win over lowly Montauban.

Castleford defeat Broncos to go top of Super League table

Castleford Tigers moved to the top of the Super League table as they ran in seven tries to comfortably beat London Broncos 40-6 on Sunday. Peter Mata’utia scored for the Tigers but Rhys Williams’ try put the hosts on level terms in the first 10 minutes. Jacob Trueman, Junior Moors and Jesse Sene-Lefao extended the away side’s lead prior to half-time and Liam Watts added another. Greg Eden added to Castleford’s haul to extend their sizable lead, while Jordan Rankin wrapped up the victory. Meanwhile, the Catalans Dragons could not follow up their first victory of the season over Huddersfield Giants, going down to Wakefield Trinity 33-12 last Thursday to give the West Yorkshire side their first win of the season. The defeat meant Catalans have now won one and lost two of their opening three Super League matches – the same record as Wakefield. Warrington Wolves and St Helens are the only other unbeaten sides and sit behind Castleford at the top of the Super League table.

Sri Lanka win second Test in South Africa and make history

Sri Lanka became the first team from Asia to win a Test series in South Africa as they chased down 197 to win the second Test in Port Elizabeth. Oshada Fernando and Kusal Mendis struck unbeaten half-centuries as the tourists completed an eight-wicket victory. Before the two-Test series the Sri Lankans had not won a game in any format since October 2018. Sri Lanka’s victory in the first Test came in thrilling style after they chased 304 to claim a one-wicket win in Durban, with Kusal Perera hitting an unbeaten 153 to guide the tourists to victory after they had been 229 for nine. They outplayed South Africa in the second Test at St George’s Park, bowling the hosts out for 128 in their second innings on Friday. Sri Lanka resumed on day three at 60-2 and Mendis reached 84 while Fernando contributed 75 in an unbeaten stand of 163 for the third wicket in their successful chase. In Bridgetown, West Indies produced an inspired fightback to claim a thrilling 26-run victory over England and level the one-day series at 1-1 in Barbados. Chasing 290 for victory, England lost their last six wickets for 35 runs as they subsided to 263 all out. Two days previously, England chased down a record 360 with ease to win the opening match of the series by six wickets. The third ODI takes place in Grenada on Monday.

Tsitispas wins Marseille Open 13 Provence final in straight sets

Australian Open semi-finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas claimed his first ATP title of the year with victory in the Open 13 Provence final in Marseille on Sunday. The Greek top seed recovered from 4-2 down in the second set to beat Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 7-5 7-6 (7-5). Kukushkin survived an early break point but could do nothing when serving to stay in the first set at 6-5. Tsitsipas lost his serve in the second, but broke back to make it 5-5 and held his nerve in the tie-break. The 20-year-old, who is now No.12 in the world, beat Roger Federer on his way to the last four in Melbourne, where he lost to Rafael Nadal. He became the first Greek player to win an ATP World Tour title when he claimed the Stockholm Open in October. In Florida, Britain’s Dan Evans produced a double fault on championship point – after failing to convert three of his own – to miss out on his first ATP title. Evans, 28, lost 3-6 6-3 7-6 (9-7) in a dramatic Delray Beach Open final against Radu Albot, who became the first Moldovan to win an ATP title. Despite the agonising defeat, Evans is now back on the verge of the world’s top 100 after a great week in Florida. Evans was unranked when he came back last April from a one-year ban for testing positive for cocaine. In Dubai, Belinda Bencic upset world No.4 Petra Kvitova to win the Dubai Championships, her third WTA title. Switzerland’s Bencic, ranked 45th, beat the Czech 6-3 1-6 6-2 to claim her first WTA title since 2015. Saturday’s victory was also the 21-year-old’s fourth in a row against a player ranked in the world’s top 10 at the tournament.

Johnson seals runaway win in WGC-Mexico Championship

Dustin Johnson collected his 20th PGA Tour victory in style when he ran away with the WGC-Mexico Championship by five strokes on Sunday. Johnson carded a closing five-under-par 66 at Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City to claim the World Golf Championships event for the second time in three years. The lanky American finished at 21-under 263, while Northern Irishman McIlroy shot 67 for second place on 16-under. McIlroy cut the margin to two shots after three holes, but could get no closer, with six back nine birdies being too little, too late. Johnson finished 10 strokes clear of third-placed Englishmen Paul Casey and Ian Poulter plus Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat. Tiger Woods (69) tied for 10th, 13 shots behind Johnson, who started the final round four strokes ahead of McIlroy. Johnson’s second worldwide win in three weeks — after the European Tour’s Saudi International — lifts him to No.2 in the world rankings, just behind Englishman Justin Rose.

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

Calendar Keynotes: 25 February – 3 March 

Monday, 25 February

Football: German Bundesliga – RB Leipzig v 1899 Hoffenheim.

Cricket: West Indies v England 3rd ODI, St George’s, Grenada (series tied at 1-1).

Tennis: ATP & WTA Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC (till 3 March), ATP Brasil Open, Sao Paolo (till 3 March), ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, UAE (till 3 March). 

Tuesday, 26 February

Football: English Premier League – Cardiff City v Everton, Huddersfield Town v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leicester City v Brighton & Hove Albion, Newcastle United v Burnley, Coupe de France – Paris Saint Germain v Dijon, Coppa Italia – Lazio v AC Milan.

Tennis: ATP & WTA Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC (till 3 March), ATP Brasil Open, Sao Paolo (till 3 March), ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, UAE (till 3 March). 

Wednesday, 27 February

Football: English Premier League – Arsenal v AFC Bournemouth, Southampton v Fulham, Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace v Manchester United, Liverpool v Watford, Manchester City v West Ham United, Scottish Premiership – Aberdeen v Hamilton Academical, Hearts v Celtic, Kilmarnock v Motherwell, Rangers v Dundee, St Johnstone v Hibernian, Coupe de France – Rennes v Orleans, Lyon v Caen, Copa del Rey – Barcelona v Real Madrid (agg 1-1), Coppa Italia – Fiorentina v Atalanta. SheBelieves Cup – England Women v Brazil Women.

Cricket: West Indies v England 4th ODI, St George’s. Grenada, International Twenty20, India v Australia, Bangalore.

Tennis: ATP & WTA Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC (till 3 March), ATP Brasil Open, Sao Paolo (till 3 March), ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, UAE (till 3 March). 

Cycling: UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Pruszkow, Poland (till 3 March).

Thursday, 28 February

Football: Spanish Copa del Rey- Valencia v Real Betis, SheBelieves Cup – USA Women v Japan Women.

Rugby League: Super League – Salford Red Devils v St Helens.

Tennis: ATP & WTA Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC (till 3 March), ATP Brasil Open, Sao Paolo (till 3 March), ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, UAE (till 3 March).

Golf: USPGA Tour, The Honda Classic, PGA National (Champion Course), Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, US (till 3 March), PGA European Tour, Oman Open, Al Mouj GC, Oman (till 3 March).

Cycling: UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Pruszkow, Poland (till 3 March).

Friday, 1 March

Football: French Ligue 1 – Bordeaux v Montpellier, Italian Serie A – Cagliari v Inter Milan, German Bundesliga – FC Augbsurg v Borussia Dortmund.

Rugby Union: Gallagher English Premiership – Bristol v Gloucester.

Rugby League: Super League – Castleford Tigers v Hull KR, Leeds Rhinos v Wakefield Trinity.

Tennis: ATP & WTA Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC (till 3 March), ATP Brasil Open, Sao Paolo (till 3 March), ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, UAE (till 3 March).

Golf: USPGA Tour, The Honda Classic, PGA National (Champion Course), Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, US (till 3 March), PGA European Tour, Oman Open, Al Mouj GC, Oman (till 3 March).

Athletics: European Indoor Championships, Glasgow (till 3 March). 

Cycling: UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Pruszkow, Poland (till 3 March).

Saturday, 2 March

Football: English Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal, AFC Bournemouth v Manchester City, Manchester United v Southampton, Scottish Cup quarter-final – Hibernian v Celtic, French Ligue 1 – Caen v Paris Saint Germain, Angers v Monaco, Nimes v Rennes, Spanish La Liga – Huesca v Sevilla, Real Madrid v Barcelona, Italian Serie A – AC Milan v Sassuolo, Lazio v Roma, German Bundesliga – 1. FC Nuremburg v RB Leipzig, Bayer 04 Leverkusen v SC Freiburg, Eintracht Frankfurt v 1899 Hoffenheim, Borussia Monchengladbach v Borussia Dortmund.

Rugby Union: Gallagher English Premiership – Leicester Tigers v Wasps, Sale v Exeter Chiefs, Saracens v Northampton Saints, Bath v Harlequins, French Top 14 – Racing 92 v La Rochelles, Montpellier v Bordeaux Begles, Clermont Auvergne v Grenoble, Lyon v Castres

Rugby League: Super League – Catalans Dragons v Warrington Wolves.

Cricket: West Indies v England 5th ODI, Saint Lucia. India v Australia 1st ODI, Hyderabad.

Tennis: ATP & WTA Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC (till 3 March), ATP Brasil Open, Sao Paolo (till 3 March), ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, UAE (till 3 March).

Golf: USPGA Tour, The Honda Classic, PGA National (Champion Course), Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, US (till 3 March), PGA European Tour, Oman Open, Al Mouj GC, Oman (till 3 March).

Athletics: European Indoor Championships, Glasgow (till 3 March).

Cycling: UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Pruszkow, Poland (till 3 March).

Sunday, 3 March

Football: English Premier League – Fulham v Chelsea, Everton v Liverpool, Scottish Cup quarter-final – Aberdeen v Rangers, Dundee United v Inverness, French Ligue 1 – Lille v Dijon, Nice v Strasbourg, Lyon v Toulouse, Marseille v Saint-Etienne, Spanish La Liga – Real Sociedad v Atletico Madrid, Valencia v Athletic Bilbao, Italian Serie A – Torino v Chievo, Atalanta v Fiorentina, Napoli v Juventus, German Bundesliga – VfL Wolfsburg v Werder Bremen.

Rugby Union: Gallagher English Premiership –. Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors, French Top 14 – Perpignan v Toulon, Stade Francais v Toulouse.

Rugby League: Super League – London Broncos v Wigan Warriors, Huddersfield Giants v Hull FC.

Cricket: South Africa v Sri Lanka 1st ODI, Johannesburg.

Tennis: ATP & WTA Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC (final day), ATP Brasil Open, Sao Paolo (final day), ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, UAE (final day).

Golf: USPGA Tour, The Honda Classic, PGA National (Champion Course), Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, US (final day), PGA European Tour, Oman Open, Al Mouj GC, Oman (final day).

Athletics: European Indoor Championships, Glasgow (final day).

Cycling: UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Pruszkow, Poland (final day).