The sports wrap, Monday 17 August, 2020

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Kylian Mbappe joins goalscorer Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting in celebrating PSG's win over Atalanta

Champions League semis serve up a Franco-German contest

It will be a surprising Franco-German match-up in the Champions League semi-finals this week after Paris Saint Germain dispatched Atalanta, Lyon stunned Manchester City, Bayern Munich thrashed Barcelona and RB Leipzig overcame Atletico Madrid in quarter-final matches in Lisbon.

Bundesliga champions Bayern were the most impressive with an astonishing 8-2 mauling of Barcelona on Friday night while RB Leipzig, who were founded only 11 years ago by the Red Bull group, upset Atletico Madrid 2-1. The Spanish side, who were chasing their third final in five years, were beaten with a late deflected goal from American midfielder Tyler Adams. Lyon, who had knocked out Juventus in the last 16, again provided the shock result beating Manchester City 3-1 with two late second-half goals from substitute, former Celtic striker Moussa Dembele. The star-studded Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint Germain, seeking their first cup semi-final berth in Europe’s top competition in 25 years, came from behind to beat Atalanta with a goal deep in injury time from ex-Stoke City striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.

RB Leipzig play PSG on Tuesday while Lyon play Bayern on Wednesday with the final on Sunday, 23 August, in Lisbon.

In the Europa League, Spanish side Sevilla beat Manchester United 2-1 in the semi-final in Cologne on Sunday night and will play the winner of Monday’s match between Inter Milan and Shakhtar Donetsk in Friday’s final. Five-time winners Sevilla came back from an early penalty converted by Bruno Fernandes in the 9th minute to claim the winner through substitute Luuk de Jong in the 78th minute. Disappointing United squandered a host of chances against a resilient Sevilla and were frustrated by goalkeeper Yassine Bounou who produced a string of brilliant saves.

Hamilton easily wins the Spanish GP in Barcelona

World champion Lewis Hamilton won the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix for the fourth year in a row on Sunday to take a record 156th career podium finish and stretch his championship lead to 37 points. The victory from pole position was the 88th of the Mercedes driver’s career, and one of the more straightforward, leaving him three short of Ferrari great Michael Schumacher’s all-time record 91 wins. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, Hamilton’s closest challenger in the championship, finished second at Barcelona’s Circuit de

Lewis Celebrates raises the SpanishGP trophy after an easy win in Barcelona on Sunday

Catalunya with Valtteri Bottas third for Mercedes and taking the fastest lap. In temperatures of 30C, the race was gruelling physically for all the drivers, but there was no sign of the expected challenge to Hamilton from Dutchman Verstappen who won last weekend at Silverstone. Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff had said on the eve of the race that Verstappen was favourite because he had shown stronger pace when the teams were doing their race preparation in practice. But once converting his pole position into a lead at the first corner, Hamilton was always in command. He took it easy in the opening laps, to ensure he could make his required pit-stop schedule but after 10 laps started to increase the pace and Verstappen could not keep up. “I was just in a daze out there,” Hamilton said. “It felt really good. It was a surprise because we had this problem with the tyres (at the last race) and the work we did was what meant we could do this.”

Brilliant O’Sullivan wins sixth World Championship title 

Ronnie O’Sullivan claimed his sixth World Championship title and a record 37th ranking event with a dominant 18-8 victory over world No.6 Kyren Wilson at the Crucible in Sheffield on Sunday night. Arguably the greatest of all time,  O’Sullivan draws level with boyhood hero Steve Davis on Crucible crowns and surpasses Stephen Hendry on the all time list of ranking winners. Although Wilson battled back to 10-7, O’Sullivan wrested total control with a run of eight frames on Sunday.

A smiling Ronnie O’Sullivan on the way to winning his sixth World Championship title on Sunday night

O’Sullivan, 44, is the oldest champion since Ray Reardon, who was 45 in 1978. The Englishman collects £500,000 in prize money, moving back up to second in the world behind last year’s champion Judd Trump. It was the biggest winning margin in a final since 2008, when O’Sullivan defeated Ali Carter by the same scoreline. There has long been a debate about who is the greatest snooker player of all time but O’Sullivan’s latest accomplishment lifts him to the top of the pile, having won his first title back in 1993 at the UK Championship aged just 17, and he also collected a record-extending 20th Triple Crown title. An enigmatic character, O’Sullivan often has to battle his own demons but he hammered Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 10-1 in his opening match in a record 108 minutes, defeated the dangerous Chinese player Ding Junhui and responded from large deficits to oust three-time winners Mark Williams and Mark Selby.

Exeter beat Leicester for eight-point lead at top of table

Exeter Chiefs eased to a 26-13 victory against a new-look Leicester Tigers to give them an eight-point lead at the top of the Premiership table after 14 matches as the competition resumed after a 161-day hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic. Stuart Hogg helped put Exeter 12-6 up at the break, with Dave Ewers grabbing the hosts’ first try after two George Ford kicks gave Tigers an early lead. Luke Cowan-Dickie added a third try for the leaders after the break. Both sides then had a

Stuart Hogg scored a great team try for Exeter

man sin-binned and conceded a penalty try in the behind-closed-doors return to action. For Tigers it was a defeat to mark Steve Borthwick’s first game as head coach, although the former England forwards coach had his Leicester side – only off the bottom of the table because of the points penalty applied to Saracens for salary breaches – competing for long periods against the competition’s benchmark side. Bristol are in second spot on the ladder after they edged past the already-relegated Saracens 16-12. Sale are third despite a 15-10 home loss to Harlequins on Friday night. Wasps move up to  fourth after a bonus-point 34-21 win at Northampton.

Dragons breathe fire in 10-try trouncing of Trinity

The Catalans Dragons ran in 10 unanswered tries to thrash Wakefield Trinity 58-0 on Saturday to move into second place on the Super League table behind champions St Helens who beat Castleford Tigers 10-0 on Sunday. Two Tom Davies tries and scores from Matt Whitley and Samisoni Langi put the Perpignan-based Catalans 24-0 up at the break. Davies got his hat-trick before Julian Bousquet and Fouad Yaha went over. Whitley’s own treble

Catalans Dragons Tom Davies has now scored five tries in his last two matches

and a second Langi try completed the win for Catalans, who flew in by private jet just hours before kick-off as they stick to strict travel protocols during the pandemic. The only French club in Super League have been given a special exemption to travel to the UK to continue their campaign despite the new quarantine restrictions and have reportedly been spending 50,000 Euros on each round trip to the south of France on matchdays. For their latest journey, a week after hammering Castleford 40-14, the Dragons were without dual-code Australian international Israel Folau, who remained in Perpignan for the birth of his first child. However, the side were boosted by the return of lively England full-back Sam Tomkins, who helped create early tries for both Langi and Davies. Tomkins’ cut-out pass for Yaha saw Langi touchdown on the left edge just moments after Whitley opened the scoring, and the full-back again popped up with the decisive pass on the right to send Davies over in the 16th minute. Davies added a second try before the interval, but just as impressive for the Dragons was their ability to completely stifle Wakefield in attack.

England Test v Pakistan looks set for a draw after more rain

The second Test between England and Pakistan looks certain to end in a draw after more rain meant there was only an hour’s play on day four at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on Sunday Just 96.2 overs have been bowled in the match from a possible 360 because of rain and bad light. The little play available on Sunday saw England finally bowl Pakistan out for 236 in their first innings when Mohammad Rizwan fell to Stuart Broad for 72. Rory Burns was dismissed by the fourth ball of England’s reply but rain stopped play for the day with the hosts 7 for one. More rain is forecast for day five, meaning a positive result is all but impossible in the three-match series which England lead 1-0. The third Test begins on Friday at the same ground.

Martinez wins Criterium du Dauphine after Roglic pulls out

Colombian rider Daniel Martinez won the Criterium du Dauphine on the final day on Sunday after overnight leader Primoz Roglic pulled out. Slovenian rider Roglic withdrew before the final stage in France because of injuries sustained in a crash on Saturday which left the Jumbo-Visma rider in a lot of pain. EF Pro Cycling’s Martinez started the day 12 seconds behind Thibaut Pinot of Groupama-FDJ, who inherited the lead. The stage was won by Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma team-mate Sepp Kuss.

Slovenian rider Primoz Roglic pulled out of the Criterium du Dauphine after injury on Saturday

The 153.5km stage saw Pinot lose his lead and a further 29secs to Martinez, 24, on the climbs from and back to Megeve in the Haute Savoie, as several lead riders expected to perform at the Tour struggled. 2019 Tour de France winner Egan Bernal pulled out of the race on Saturday to rest a bad back, according to fellow Team Ineos rider Geraint Thomas. The younger riders have impressed during this race, no more so than Kuss, 25, who helped lead Roglic into the yellow jersey with some strong performances on the climbs before showing his strength on Sunday. Kuss, from the United States, is yet another talented prospect from Jumbo-Visma who also celebrated Milan-San Remo winner Wout van Aert’s claiming of the green jersey in this race, not to mention taking the first stage. The Dauphine is the final warm-up race for many riders before the Tour de France, which begins on 29 August.

Halep beats Martens to win the Prague Open

World No.2 Simona Halep won her first title since before the coronavirus lockdown at the Prague Open with a straight-set victory over Elise Mertens on Sunday. The Romanian beat Belgium’s Mertens 6-2 7-5 for her first title on clay since the 2018 French Open. Halep, 28,

Romanian Simona Halep on her way to winning the Prague Open

becomes only the second top seed to win the Prague Open, after Karolina Pliskova did so in 2015. Victory in the Czech capital gives Halep her second title of 2020. In February, she won the Dubai Tennis Championships – her last tournament before the WTA Tour was suspended because of the global Covid-19 pandemic. The win is her 21st on the WTA Tour, placing her fifth among current players behind Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters and Petra Kvitova. Halep said on Monday she would not be playing in the US Open which starts on 31 August. She is the sixth top 10 player to opt out of the Grand Slam.

Uganda’s Cheptegei breaks 5,000m world record in Monaco

Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei produced an astonishing run in Monaco on Friday night to break the 16-year-old 5,000m world record by almost two seconds at an IAAF Diamond League event.. The 23-year-old, who won the 10,000m world title in Doha last year, had said he would have a go at the record but success had

Joshua Cheptegei smashes the 5000m world record by two seconds in Monaco on Friday night

seemed unlikely. However, guided by trackside lights illustrating world record pace, he came home in 12 minutes 35.36 seconds. The previous mark, set by Ethiopian great Kenenisa Bekele, was 12:37.35. Remarkably it is Cheptegei’s second world record in Monaco this year, despite the season being badly disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. He broke the 5km road world record in February.   “Monaco is a special place and it’s one of these places where I could break the world record,” he said.

Dovizioso wins Austrian GP after horror crash

Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso won an action-packed Austrian Grand Prix which was halted for 20 minutes after Franco Morbidelli’s Yamaha collided with the Avintia Ducati of Johann Zarco in Spielberg on Sunday. The red flag came out early in the race when Morbidelli and Zarco came together at turn three, with their cartwheeling bikes nearly taking out Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales as the two Yamahas navigated the turn. Dovizioso, who said on Saturday that he would not be renewing his contract with Ducati, took the

Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso won the Spanish MotoGP in Barcelona on Sunday

chequered flag to keep the team’s perfect record at the Red Bull Ring intact. Ducati have won every race since the circuit was introduced on the calendar in 2016 and it was the Italian rider’s third victory on the track having won in 2017 and 2019 while it was Ducati’s 50th premier class win. However, the manufacturer lost out on a one-two finish when Joan Mir capitalised on Jack Miller’s mistake on the final lap as his Pramac Ducati went wide to give the Suzuki rider second place. Championship leader Frenchman Fabio Quartararo could only finish eighth, so Dovizioso is now just 11 points behind him in second place, while Vinales was back in 10th.

For full coverage of sporting events go to: 

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Calendar Keynotes: 17 – 23 August

Monday, 17 August

Football: Europa League semi-final – Inter Milan v Shakhtar Donetsk.

Cricket: England v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Old Trafford, Manchester (final day – England lead series 1-0).

Tuesday, 18 August  

Football: Champions League semi-final – RB Leipzig v Paris Saint Germain, Lisbon, Portugal.

Wednesday, 19 August   

Football: Champions League semi-final – Lyon v Bayern Munich, Lisbon, Portugal.

Thursday, 20 August

Football: Scottish Premiership – St Johnstone v Aberdeen.

Golf: USPGA Tour, The Northern Trust, TPC Boston, Norton, Massachusetts  (till 23 August), European Tour, Wales Open, The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport (till 23 August).

Tennis: ATP and WTA Western & Southern Open, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York (till 27 August).

Friday, 21 August

Football: Europa League final, Cologne, Germany.

Cricket: England v Pakistan, 3rd Test, The Ageas Bowl, Southampton (till 26 August).

Golf: USPGA Tour, The Northern Trust, TPC Boston, Norton, Massachusetts  (till 23 August), European Tour, Wales Open, The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport (till 23 August).

Rugby Union: Gallagher English Premiership, Sale v Exeter Chiefs, Goucester v Bristol, Wasps v Worcester Warriors.

Tennis: ATP and WTA Western & Southern Open, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York (till 27 August).

Saturday, 22 August

Football: Scottish Premiership – Motherwell v Hamilton Academical, Rangers v Kilmarnock, St Mirren v Ross County, Dundee United v Celtic, French Ligue 1 – Bordeaux v Nantes, Lille v Rennes.

Cricket: England v Pakistan, 3rd Test, The Ageas Bowl, Southampton (till 26 August).

Golf: USPGA Tour, The Northern Trust, TPC Boston, Norton, Massachusetts  (till 23 August), European Tour, Wales Open, The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport (till 23 August).

Rugby Union: Gallagher English Premiership – Saracens v Harlequins, London Irish v Northampton Saints, Leicester Tigers v Bath.

Rugby League: Challenge Cup – Catalans Dragons v Wakefield Trinity.

Tennis: ATP and WTA Western & Southern Open, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York (till 27 August).

Athletics: IAAF Diamond League, Stockholm.

Sunday, 23 August

Football: Champions League final, Scottish Premiership – Aberdeen v Livingston, St Johnstone v Hibernian, French Ligue 1 – Monaco v Reims, Dijon v Angers, Lorient v Strasbourg, Montpellier v Lyon, Nimes v Best, Nice v Lens.

Cricket: England v Pakistan, 3rd Test, The Ageas Bowl, Southampton (till 26 August).

Golf: USPGA Tour, The Northern Trust, TPC Boston, Norton, Massachusetts  (till 23 August), European Tour, Wales Open, The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport (till 23 August).

Tennis: ATP and WTA Western & Southern Open, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York (till 27 August).

Motorcycling: MotoGP – Grand Prix of Styria, Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Austria.