The sports wrap 27 May, 2019

Hamilton points to his Niki Lauda dedicated helmet after his victory in the Monaco GP

Lewis Hamilton wins nail-biting Monaco GP

Lewis Hamilton held off Max Verstappen, and survived a late collision with the Red Bull driver, to win a nail-biting Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday. The British world champion was left struggling with the tyres on his Mercedes after fitting softer rubber than the Dutchman at pit stops during an early safety-car period. Britain’s Hamilton repeatedly complained that he was not going to be able to make the tyres last to the end but by careful management held on to take his fourth win of 2019. Hamiltaon now has 77 career wins and a 17-point lead over team mate Valtteri Bottas in the championship. Verstappen dropped from second on the road to fourth in the results because of a five-second penalty, promoting Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to second and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas to third. Verstappen’s punishment was for an unsafe release in the pits when all the leaders pitted on lap 12 as a safety car was deployed to clear up debris laid by Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari. Although Mercedes’ run of consecutive victories at the start of this season continued, their sequence of one-twos is over as a result of Bottas’ bad luck. “That was definitely the hardest race I’ve had,” said Hamilton.“I really was fighting with the spirit of Niki. I know he will be looking down and taking his hat off. I was trying to stay focussed and make him proud,” he added of the Austrian, a triple world champion and non-executive chairman of the Mercedes team who died on Monday, aged 70.  Mercedes, who extended their winning run to six, lead Ferrari by 118 points in the constructors’ standings. Hamilton has 137 to 120 for Bottas, with Vettel moving up to third place on 82.

France’s Pagenaud wins Indianapolis 500

Simon Pagenaud held off competition from 2016 winner Alexander Rossi to win the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. The 35-year-old Frenchman beat Rossi in a fierce finishing

France’s Pagenaud celebrates victory in the fIndy 500

duel to seal an Indy 500 victory at the eighth attempt. The Penske driver, who came sixth last year, started from pole position and led for more than 100 laps of the 200-lap race on the 2.5-mile oval. Britain’s Pippa Mann, 35, was the only female driver and came 16th, her best finish in seven Indy 500s. Pagenaud passed Rossi on turn three of lap 199 to become the first driver to win from pole in the famous race since Penske team-mate Helio Castroneves in 2009, with 2017 winner Takuma Sato of Japan a close third.

Cataldo wins first ever stage as Carapaz extends lead

Italy’s Dario Cataldo claimed his first Giro d’Italia stage win as Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz stretched his lead over Primoz Roglic in the overall standings. Cataldo, 34, edged Mattia Cattaneo in a sprint finish to stage 15 while British riders Simon Yates and Hugh Carthy crossed third and fourth in Como. Slovenian Roglic lost 40 seconds having had to change to a team-mate’s bike before crashing on the final descent. Yates, 26, rose from ninth to eighth in the overall standings. Cataldo and

Italy’s Dario Cataldo claims his first Giro d’Italia stage win in his ninth year of competing in his home race

compatriot Cattaneo broke away early in the 232km stage, leading by over 15 minutes at one stage, before Cataldo claimed his first Giro stage win in his ninth year racing in his home race. “It’s amazing,” said the Astana rider. “It’s something I’ve been dreaming of all my life. “I was not thinking of a breakaway because I’d had two difficult days. I was thinking I just have to get to the finish line, but at the beginning my legs were OK so I tried to stay with Cattaneo. Monday is a rest day while Tuesday’s 16th stage features the gruelling ascent of the Mortirolo pass, although the climb up the Gavia pass has been cancelled because of avalanche risks.

Monaco survive in Ligue 1 despite Nice loss

Monaco secured French Ligue 1 survival despite failing to get the point they needed to guarantee safety on the final day, instead ending a dreadful season with a 2-0 defeat in Nice. Leonardo Jardim’s men knew only an improbable set of results – defeat at Nice, victory for Caen and an eight-goal swing – could send them into a relegation play-off after last week’s vital home win over fellow strugglers Amiens.  Jardim had urged his side to keep their fate in their own hands, and Cesc Fàbregas hit the crossbar after 12 minutes – but Benoît Badiashile’s own goal left them relying on Bordeaux to put in a performance against Caen. Mickaël Le Bihan doubled Nice’s lead after 67 minutes from the penalty spot, but Younousse Sankharé’s opener for Bordeaux proved enough to save last season’s runners-up and relegate Caen outright, along with Guingamp.  Dijon climbed above the Normandy side into 18th place after coming from behind to beat Toulouse, and will now face Ligue 2 side Lens in a two-legged promotion play-off. Montpellier, having failed last week to win a place in Europe, went down 1-0 to Marseille and finished behind them in sixth place on the Ligue 1 ladder. Champions Paris Saint Germain continued their disappointing finish to the season with a 3-1 defeat at Reims.

In the Scottish Cup final, Celtic secured a historic treble of domestic trophies for the third consecutive season as Odsonne Edouard’s two goals overcame Hearts 2-1. Neil Lennon has now led Celtic to a league and cup double after succeeding Brendan Rodgers mid-season and has been offered the manager’s job permanently. His side overcame the setback of Ryan Edwards’ second-half strike. Edouard equalised from the penalty spot before coolly hitting the winner. The Edinburgh side fought hard for an equaliser of their own in the closing stages, but Celtic stood firm to establish a new mark of triumph in the history of Scottish football.

In the Spanish Copa del Rey final, Valencia shocked La Liga champions Barcelona 2-1 with goals from Kevin Gameiro and Rodrigo. Barcelona, still smarting from their 4-0 defeat by Liverpool in the Champions League, were sub-par again in the Seville heat.  French forward Gameiro fired in a superb strike to give Valencia the lead before Rodrigo headed in the second. Lionel Messi’s 73rd-minute strike gave Barca hope but they fell short. After the match, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu backed Ernesto Valverde to continue at the Nou Camp.

In the Italian Serie A,  Inter Milan and Atalanta joined champions Juventus and Napoli in qualifying for the Champions League after Inter beat Empoli 2-1 and Atalanta overcame Sassuolo 3-1 on Sunday night in the final matches of the season. AC Milan beat SPAL 3-2 away from home but had to settle for a fifth-placed finish and a berth in next season’s Europa League. It is the first time that Atalanta have qualified for the Champions League. Juventus bade farewell to their coach Massimiliano Allegri’s reign with a disappointing 2-0 loss to mid-table Sampdoria. Allegri won Serie A titles in each of his five seasons with Juventus plus four Coppa Italia titles,

In the German Cup, champions Bayern Munich beat RB Leipzig 3-0 on Saturday thanks to two goals from Robert Lewandowski to win their 19th cup and complete a domestic league

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer celebrates with his team after winning the German Cup

and cup double. Bundesliga top scorer Lewandowski headed the champions into the lead in the 29th minute, wrong-footing keeper Peter Gulacsi, and Kingsley Coman’s superb first touch and shot in the 78th made it 2-0. Polish striker Lewandowski sealed the win with a fine run and superb finish in the 85th minute. It was the 12th time Bayern have won the double as coach Niko Kovac, who lifted the Cup with Eintracht Frankfurt last year and led them to the 2017 final, became the first man to win the double with Bayern both as player and coach.

Saracens face Exeter again in Premiership final

Nick Tompkins’ second-half hat-trick helped Saracens cruise past Gloucester 44-19 in the semi-final play-offs and set up another English Premiership final against Exeter Chiefs who easily beat Northampton Saints 42-12. Saracens’ easy win kept them on track for a second domestic and European double. Ben Morgan’s second-minute try for Gloucester was cancelled out by scores from Sean Maitland, Ben Spencer and Liam Williams as Owen Farrell kicked eight points in an engrossing first half. Replacement Tompkins’ treble came in the first 16 minutes after the break. Ruan Dreyer and Lewis Ludlow got consolation tries for Gloucester. Tompkins’ first score was a 40-metre dash a minute after the restart, while his second came at the end of some slick inter-passing from his team-mates and his third was from a metre out after Goode was held up on the Gloucester line. At Sandy Park,  Exeter reached their fourth successive Premiership final in easily beating Northampton Saints.  Having led through Harry Williams and Joe Simmonds, Exeter were pegged back by a penalty try and Ahsee Tuala’s score in a pulsating first half. But two tries in three minutes soon after the restart from Dave Dennis and Tom O’Flaherty put Exeter in control. Sam Simmonds and Sam Hill went over late on as Exeter beat Saints for a second successive week. Exeter face Saracens at Twickenham on Saturday, 1 June – the third time in the past four years those two sides have contested the showpiece final.

Montpellier beat Clermont and make it to play-offs

Montpellier performed a minor miracle in winning eight of their last nine matches in Top 14 and beating Clermont Auvergne 28-27 away from home on Saturday in the last match of the league season to make it to the quarter-final play-offs with a match at Lyon. An amazing set of weekend results saw last season’s champions Castres beaten 26-15 at home and eliminated from the play-offs by Toulon

Fly-half Aaron Cruden makes a penetrating run in Montpellier’s 28-27 victory over Clermont Auvergne

and La Rochelle destroying Bordeaux-Begles 81-12 to earn a quarter-final at Racing 92. In other matches Top 14 leaders Toulouse beat relegated Perpignan 47-7 while Stade Francais overcame Pau 31-17. But the main talking point was Montpellier’s win at Clermont. Coach Vern Cotter’s team led 16-14 at half-time with three penalties from fly-half Benoit Paillaugue and a try from Youri Delhommel. With Montpellier hanging on in the second half, it looked all over for them when Clermont full-back Stariki Tuicuvu went over for what seemed like a match-winning try four minutes from the end. But the referee disallowed the try for an offside against John Ulugia, who had scored seven minutes earlier to bring the score down to one point. The whole of the Herault breathed a sigh of relief.

Catalans beat Wakefield to cement third place 

Catalans Dragons got the 2019 Magic Weekend under way with an entertaining 25-18 victory against Wakefield at Anfield on Saturday. Fouad Yaha put Catalans ahead and they extended their lead before the break through Tony Gigot’s try and goal. Wakefield broke back moments after the restart through Kyle Wood and Danny Kirmond before Garcia tipped the game in Catalans’ favour once more. Trinity levelled at 18-18 thanks to Ben Jones-Bishop but Gigot’s drop goal and Garcia’s second try won it for Dragons. A week

Ben Garcia’s two tries proved vital for the Dragons as they saw off a Wakefield second-half fightback

after a Super League record crowd of 31,555 watched Catalans’ win against Wigan at Barcelona FC’s Nou Camp, Steve McNamara’s side made it two consecutive wins on the road and puts them firmly in third place on the Super League ladder, two points ahead of Hull FC and behind leaders St Helens and Warrington Wolves. Wakefield made amends for a poor first half when they got on the board moments into the second period as good work down the wing from Mason Caton-Brown led to Wood touching down before Kirmond crossed moments later. In an entertaining second half, Jones-Bishop’s try then cancelled out Garcia’s first score to set up a tense finale but Ryan Hampshire failed to convert to put Wakefield ahead. Gigot then scored his second drop goal in as many Super League games to wrap up an entertaining victory for Catalans prior to Garcia’s late touchdown.

Smith spurs Australia win over England in warm-up

England fell to a 12-run defeat by Australia in a thrilling World Cup warm-up match in Southampton after Steve Smith’s first century since being banned for his part in the ball-tampering scandal. Smith hit 116 off 102 balls in an impressively composed innings to steer his side to 297-9. James Vince and Jos Buttler struck fine fifties to seemingly put England on course for victory, only for Australia to regularly peg the hosts back. Needing 15 off the last over, England lost their two final wickets to end a disappointing and disjointed chase. England face Afghanistan in another warm-up on Monday before facing South Africa in Thursday’s World Cup opener. In the One-Day Cup final at Lord’s, Somerset beat Hampshire by six wickets to lift the trophy. Without their two England men, James Vince and Liam Dawson, holders Hampshire were outplayed to lose only a second final in nine Lord’s visits. Somerset limited Hampshire to 244 for eight, then reached 245 for four with 39 balls left. Openers Tom Banton (69) and Azhar Ali (45) put on 112 before James Hildreth’s unbeaten 72 sealed victory.

Zverev beats Jarry to claim Geneva Open

Germany’s Alexander Zverev had the best possible preparation for the French Open with a defeat of  Chile’s Nicolas Jarry 6-3 3-6 7-6(8) in a gruelling, rain-hit final at the Geneva Open on Sunday. Top seed Zverev, looking for his first title win on clay since clinching the Italian Open last year, had endured a disappointing season so far and had not won a title since the ATP Finals in London in November. The 22-year-old did not have it easy, taking two hours and 35 minutes to eventually get the better of his unseeded opponent in a match where both players had numerous match points. Two rain delays added to the drama. Zverev was not as his best with eight double faults punctuating his victory, five of which came in the final set, and he converted only one of 12 break points over the course of the match. Jarry, who beat Zverev in Barcelona on the same surface in a three-setter last month, fired six aces to Zverev’s three but there was nothing to separate the two players until the third-set tie-break. On the opening day of the French Open, Roger Federer made a winning return with a dominant first-round victory over Lorenzo Sonego.The Swiss 20-time Grand Slam winner, playing at Roland Garros for the first time in four years, beat the Italian 6-2 6-4 6-4. He arrived to a standing ovation on Philippe Chatrier court and left with the crowd on their feet in delight.

Na wins Charles Schwab Challenge by four strokes

Kevin Na conjured up a four-stroke victory over Tony Finau in the Charles Schwab Challenge at the Colonial Country Club in Texas on Sunday.  The South Korean-born American rattled off four birdies in his first eight holes, then after Finau pulled within two shots, Na sank two more birdies, including one at the last, to shoot a four-under-par 66 at the Fort Worth layout where he has often had low rounds but never won. “When I was standing on the first tee, I looked at that wall (of champions) and in my head I engraved my name on it,” Na told reporters after the victory, his third on the PGA Tour. His winning score of 13-under 267 included a near-course record 62 on Friday as he joined Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino as winners at Colonial. “I knew before my career was over I was definitely going to win out here, if not multiple times,” Na said.

Toronto Raptors to face Warriors in NBA finals

The Toronto Raptors reached the NBA Finals for the first time after rallying past the Milwaukee Bucks 100-94 at home in Game 6 on Saturday night. They will meet Golden State Warriors who had easily demolished the Portland Trail Blazers in a 4-0 whitewash in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals. Trailing by 15 points with 2:18 remaining in the third quarter, the Raptors scored the final 10 points of the frame.

Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard lifts the trophy after the Raptors beat the Bucks and made it to the NBA finals

Then, with Kawhi Leonard on the bench for the first 3:30 of the fourth quarter, they took a two-point lead. Leonard returned, and the game was in good hands. He finished with 27 points — seven in the fourth quarter — a career-best 17 rebounds and seven assists. The Raptors, who lost the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals before winning four straight, will open the NBA Finals at home on Thursday night against the formidable Warriors who won the title in 2015, 2017 and 2018..

For reports on all the weekend sporting events go to:

Calendar Keynotes: 27 May – 2 June

Monday, 27 May

Football: English Championship play-off final: Aston Villa v Derby County.

Tennis: French Open, Roland Garros, Paris (till 9 June).

Cycling: UCI World Tour – Giro d’Italia, Italy, rest day (till 2 June).

Tuesday, 28 May

Tennis: French Open, Roland Garros, Paris (till 9 June).

Cycling: UCI World Tour – Giro d’Italia, Italy (till 2 June).

Wednesday, 29 May

Football: Europa League final: Chelsea v Arsenal.

Tennis: French Open, Roland Garros, Paris (till 9 June).

Cycling: UCI World Tour – Giro d’Italia, Italy (till 2 June).

Thursday, 30 May  

Cricket: ICC World Cup – England v South Africa, The Oval, London.

Rugby League: Challenge Cup quarter-final – Hull FC v Catalans Dragons.

Tennis: French Open, Roland Garros, Paris (till 9 June).

Golf: USPGA Tour – The Memorial Tournament, Muirfield Village GC,  Dublin, Ohio, US (till 2 June), PGA European Tour – Belgian Knockout, Rinkven International GC, Antwerp, Belgium (till 2 June).

Cycling: UCI World Tour – Giro d’Italia, Italy (till 2 June).

Basketball: NBA finals – Golden State Warriors v Toronto Raptors (9pm local time), game 1 (at Raptors).

Athletics: IAAF Diamond League, Stockholm, Sweden.

Friday, 31 May  

Cricket: ICC World Cup – West Indies v Pakistan, Trent Bridge, Nottingham.

Football: Women’s international friendly – France Women v China Women.

Rugby Union: Top 14 play-off quarter-final – Racing 92 v La Rochelle.

Rugby League: Challenge Cup quarter-final – Hull KR v Warrington Wolves.

Tennis:  French Open, Roland Garros, Paris (till 9 June).

Golf: USPGA Tour – The Memorial Tournament, Muirfield Village GC,  Dublin, Ohio, US (till 2 June), PGA European Tour – Belgian Knockout, Rinkven International GC, Antwerp, Belgium (till 2 June).

Cycling: UCI World Tour – Giro d’Italia, Italy (till 2 June).

Saturday, 1 June

Football: Champions League final – Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool, women’s international friendly – England Women v New Zealand Women. .

Rugby Union: Gallagher English Premiership play-off final – Saracens v Exeter Chiefs, French Top 14 play-off quarter-final – Lyon v Montpellier.

Cricket: ICC World Cup – New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, Afghanistan v Austraia, The Bristol County Ground, Bristol.

Rugby League: Challenge Cup quarter-final – St. Helens v Wakefield Trinity.

Tennis: French Open, Roland Garros, Paris (till 9 June).

Golf: USPGA Tour – The Memorial Tournament, Muirfield Village GC,  Dublin, Ohio, US (till 2 June), PGA European Tour – Belgian Knockout, Rinkven International GC, Antwerp, Belgium (till 2 June).

Cycling: UCI World Tour – Giro d’Italia, Italy (till 2 June).

Boxing: Anthony Joshua v Andy Riuz Jr, WBA Super, IBF, WBO & IBO World Heavyweight titles, Madison Square Garden, New York.

Sunday, 2 June

Football: International friendly – France v Bolivia, French Ligue 1 play-offs – Dijon v Lens.

Rugby Union: International – England v Barbarians.

Cricket: ICC World Cup – South Africa v Bangladesh, The Oval, London.

Rugby League: Challenge Cup quarter-final – Bradford Bull RLFC v Halifax RLFC.

Tennis: French Open, Roland Garros, Paris (till 9 June).

Golf: USPGA Tour – The Memorial Tournament, Muirfield Village GC,  Dublin, Ohio, US (final day), PGA European Tour – Belgian Knockout, Rinkven International GC, Antwerp, Belgium (final day).

Cycling: UCI World Tour – Giro d’Italia, Italy (final day).

Basketball: NBA finals – Golden State Warriors v Toronto Raptors (8pm local time), game 2 (at Raptors).

Motor Cycling: MotoGP rd 6, Italian Grand Prix, Mugello.