The sports wrap, Monday 2 March 2020

Manchester City celebrate their hat-trick of League Cup wins

Manchester City make it a League Cup hat-trick

Manchester City secured their third League Cup win in succession – and their fourth in five years – with a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa at Wembley on Sunday. Pep Guardiola’s side won an historic treble of domestic trophies last season with the Premier League and FA Cup, and they thoroughly deserved their triumph despite a spirited effort from Aston Villa. Manchester City looked like they would stroll to victory when Sergio Aguero’s strike and Rodri’s header from a corner that was hotly contested by Villa put them in complete control inside 30 minutes. But Villa, while strictly second best, offered themselves a lifeline when Mbwana Samatta brilliantly headed in from Anwar El Ghazi’s cross four minutes before the interval. City continued to dominate as they sought a third goal and Villa were agonisingly close to forcing extra time when Bjorn Engels saw his header from a corner turned on to the woodwork superbly by keeper Claudio Bravo. It was their last chance and City closed out the win their superiority merited.

Brilliant Watford end Liverpool’s unbeaten run

Liverpool’s hopes of remaining unbeaten for an entire Premier League season were ended in sensational style by lowly Watford at Vicarage Road. They went down 3-0 but are still 22 points ahead of Manchester City who were involved in the League Cup final on Sunday.  Senegalese winger Ismaila Sarr scored twice while captain Troy Deeney added a late third in a sparkling second-half display from the hosts as Liverpool’s run of victories was brought to a shuddering halt. The Reds had won their past 18 Premier League games and another

Isamaili Sarr scored two of Watford’s three goals against Liverpool

victory would have made history as the longest winning run in the English top flight. But they never got going against a Watford side who were superb from start to finish. The Hornets had more chances in the first half and only a superb save from Alisson, to deny Troy Deeney, prevented them from leading at the break. Leicester City remain in third place, seven points behind Manchester City, after a shock 1-0 loss to bottom-place Norwich City at Carrow Road. Chelsea are fourth, five points behind, after battling back for a 2-2 draw at Bournemouth, who slipped into the relegation zone. Manchester United moved up to fifth with a 1-1 draw at Everton on Sunday while Wolverhampton Wanderers are sixth after beating Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 in London.

In the Scottish Cup, hot favourites Celtic moved into the semi-finals for a date with Aberdeen as a late Ryan Christie goal gave them a 1-0 victory over a dogged St Johnstone. Neil Lennon’s side join Edinburgh clubs Hibernian and Heart of Midlothian as well as their last-four opponents in pursuit of a fourth-consecutive domestic treble. Hearts beat Rangers 1-0 on Saturday while Hibernian beat Inverness Caledonian Thistle 5-2 on Friday.

PSG thrash Dijon to stay 13 points clear at top

French striker Kylian Mbappe scored twice as champions Paris Saint Germain remained 13 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 with a 4-0 home victory over Dijon. PSG made the perfect start when Pablo Sarabia turned home Marquinhos’ low cross after just three minutes. Mbappe rounded Dijon goalkeeper Runar Runarsson to double the hosts’ lead before setting up Mauro Icardi to tap home PSG’s third. The 21-year-old completed a comfortable win with a thumping finish in second-half stoppage time. The result retains 13-point lead over second-placed Marseille, who had narrowed the gap by beating Nimes 3-2 away from home on Friday night. Montpellier stay in fifth spot after beating eighth-placed Strasbourg 3-0, on the same number of points as Monaco who were held 1-1 at home by Reims. Toulouse remain rooted to the bottom, nine points behind Amiens, after a 2-0 home loss to Rennes, who are in third spot on the table, ahead of Lille.

In the Spanish La Liga,  Real Madrid beat Barcelona in a captivating El Clasico on Sunday night to move above their arch rivals at the top of the table. Vinicius Junior drove in via a deflection in a second half packed with chances after Isco saw a shot saved and an effort cleared off the goalline. Karim Benzema volleyed over for Real and substitute Martin Braithwaite went close for Barca moments before Vinicius sparked celebrations at the Bernabeu. Substitute Mariano struck in added time as Real moved a point clear of Barca.

In the Italian Serie A, Lazio went top of the table for the first time in almost a decade thanks to a 2-0 victory over Bologna. They are two points ahead of previous leaders and defending champions Juventus whose game

Luis Alberto scored Lazio’s first goal in their 2-0 victory over Bologna which took them top

against third-placed Inter Milan was one of four matches postponed on Sunday because of coronavirus in northern Italy.  Luis Alberto Romero Alconchel gave Lazio the lead from just outside the box from Ciro Immobile’s pass in the 18th minute and then set up Joaquin Correa’s deflected strike three minutes later.

In the German Bundesliga, defending champions Bayern Munich beat 1899 Hoffenheim 6-0 and stayed four points clear of RB Leipzig in one of the most bizarre conclusions in the history of football as they passed the ball between each other for 13 minutes after a long delay for an offensive banner in the crowd. Bayern were 6-0 up when their travelling fans unfurled an offensive banner about Hoffenheim president Dietmar Hopp. Coach Hansi Flick and most of the players pleaded with the fans to put it away.. Referee Christian Dingert eventually took the players down the tunnel and the game was suspended for about 20 minutes. The match eventually restarted from 77 minutes with players just kicking the ball between themselves to get the game to its conclusion.

Harlequins stun Premiership leaders Exeter

Harlequins secured an extraordinary 34-30 bonus-point win over Gallagher Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs with an injury-time penalty try at The Stoop. Trailing by three points deep into added time, Quins were camped on the Chiefs line and were awarded the try after a series of penalties. Exeter took an early lead in the tight contest through Phil Dollman, before Paul Lasike replied. Joe Simmonds’

Joe Simmonds’ double was not enough to prevent Harlequins victory over Exeter Chiefs.

double looked to have won it for the visitors but Quins dug deep to snatch victory late on. Exeter are still five points ahead of second-placed Sale who beat eighth-placed Gloucester 23-17 away from home on Friday night while Northampton Saints slipped to fourth spot after going down 27-21 to defending champions Saracens who have already been relegated and are bottom on minus 67 points after breaching salary cap rules.  Bristol moved up to third on the ladder after beating Bath 19-13 in the local.derby.

It’s free burgers as Bordeaux beat Castres to stay top

Bordeaux-Begles cemented their lead over Lyon at the summit of the French Top 14 to eight points as two second-half Ben Botica penalties helped them to a 26-24 victory on Sunday over Castres. New Zealander Botica nailed the vital kicks in the 61st and 67th minutes in a game that saw Castres outscore Bordeaux-Begles by four tries to two for a losing bonus point. The result meant that Bordeaux-Begles will now have to act on their promise to hand out vouchers for free McDonald’s burgers for the 17,172 spectators at the Stade Chaban-Delmas. Blair Connor and Mahamadou Diaby crossed for Bordeaux in the first-half to cancel out Castres tries from Julien Caminati

Ben Botica’s two vital penalties were key to Bordeaux’s victory over Castres

and former Uruguay lock Rodrigo Capo Ortega. Fiji’s Filipo Nakosi and Anthony Jelonch added further tries for Castres in the second period, but the hosts remained on top thanks to the boots of Maxime Lucu and Botica. In Saturday’s matches, Scot Finn Russell helped guide Racing 92 to a 49-0 thrashing of La Rochelle to move the Paris club up to third place behind Lyon who were beaten 30-6 at Brive. Defending champions Toulouse also slumped to a 20-10 defeat at Bayonne. Montpellier slipped to eighth spot after a surprise 19-15 at lowly Pau.

England beat West Indies for place in T20 semis

England beat the West Indies by 46 runs in their final group game in Sydney on Sunday to join South Africa and India in the Women’s T20 World Cup semi-finals. Defending champions Australia will play New Zealand on Monday to decide the last place in the final four. Natalie Sciver once again starred with the bat in England’s win, making 57 from 56 balls as England posted 143 for five wickets from their 20 overs. In response, West Indies

Injured captain Stafanie Taylor is carried off on a cart as West Indies lose to England

lost three wickets for one run and had injured captain Stafanie Taylor taken off on a stretcher as they slumped to 42 for four. Lee-Ann Kirby hit 20 from 15 balls – and was dropped twice – to give West Indies some hope, but they could only reach 97 for nine, with Taylor unable to return to the crease despite 17 balls remaining. South Africa made it through to the last four with a 17-run win over Pakistan in Sydney while unbeaten India, who had shocked Australia in their first group match, easily beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets in Melbourne to make it four wins out of four.

Djokovic and Nadal both win titles to stay at the top

Novak Djokovic stayed at world No.1 by winning the Dubai Tennis Championships while No.2 Rafael Nadal won the Mexican Open for the third time in Acapulco. Djokovic won in Dubai for the first time since 2013 with a straight-sets win over Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 32-year-old Serb, who extended his winning streak to 21 matches, clinched his fifth Dubai title with a 6-3 6-4 win over the Greek second seed. After a tight start, Djokovic broke for 5-3 with a wonderful cross-court backhand winner and held for the set.He served out for victory after another decisive break for 5-4 in the second. In Acapulco, Nadal won his third Mexican Open title after cruising past Taylor Fritz 6-3 6-2. Top seed Nadal did not lose a set all tournament and powered past Fritz at Acapulco to win his 85th singles title, and his first of the season. “I couldn’t be happier, I played great from beginning to end,” Nadal said. In the Mexican Open women’s singles, Britain’s Heather Watson beat Canada’s Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 6-1 in the final. Watson, 27, claimed victory with her 10th championship point, having withstood a second-set fightback from the 17-year-old, to win her fourth

Britain’s Heather Watson wins the Mexican Open women’s final for her fourth career title

career title and the first since 2016. Victory for the world No.69 will see her re-enter the Top 50 of the WTA singles rankings on Monday. In Doha, Aryna Sabalenka claimed her sixth WTA title as she swept past two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-3 in the Qatar Open final on Saturday. The Belarusian struck seven aces and 21 winners in an aggressive display as she proved too strong for the Czech Kvitova, who was unbeaten in her last 10 matches in Doha.

South Korean Im Sung-jae wins Honda Classic

South Korean Im Sung-jae hit a series of clutch shots down the stretch to clinch his first PGA Tour victory in style, a one-shot triumph at the Honda Classic in Florida on Sunday.  The 21-year-old Im, last year’s tour rookie of the year, broke through in his 50th start by carding a four-under-par 66 at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. He birdied the par-three 15th and 17th holes and then got up-and-down from a greenside bunker to par the last and finish at six-under 274 on the water-lined course, one of the hardest on tour. Canadian Mackenzie Hughes (66) missed a 20-foot birdie putt at the last and had to settle for second place. Overnight leader, England’s Tommy Fleetwood, needed a birdie at the par-five 18th to force a playoff, but his hopes ended when he carved his second shot into the water after a spectator screamed out “get in the hole” during the Englishman’s backswing. Fleetwood (71) made bogey and finished third, two shots behind Im.

McIlroy heads Faldo as UK’s most successful No.1

Rory McIlroy has overtaken Nick Faldo as the British golfer who has spent the most weeks as world No.1. McIlroy has now spent a total of 98 weeks at the top over eight spells, one week longer than six-time major winner Faldo. The Northern Irishman, 30, is third on the overall list behind Australia’s Greg Norman and the USA’s Tiger Woods. Norman was world No.1 for 331 weeks while 15-time major winner Woods spent a mammoth 683 weeks at the top.

Catalans fight back to win 34-29 at Hull FC

James Maloney’s late score capped an impressive Catalans Dragons comeback as Hull FC let slip an 18 point lead to lose 34-29. The crucial try came just moments after Marc Sneyd had scored what looked like a match-winning drop-goal for Hull. But Catalans fought back as Maloney won it with his own converted score. Hull led at the break, three tries to two, then added a further two to lead 28-10 before the Dragons’ rally. Dragons controversial Australian signing Israel Folau had a limited input on his English debut. That reflected the limited opportunities for protest, although he did win back the ball from the short restart to set up Maloney’s score. After two postponements, at St Helens and Wakefield, weather-hit Catalans were playing only their third game of 2020 and are now in sixth place on the ladder. Meanwhile a ruthless Wigan Warriors moved to the top running in four tries inside 10 minutes against 12 men either side of the break by beating Huddersfield Giants 42-10. Wigan’s fourth win in five matches lifts them ahead of second-placed Castleford Tigers on better points difference, two points clear of St Helens, Leeds and Huddersfield, whose three-match winning start came to an abrupt end.

Dutch and Germans dominate cycling world champs

Emma Hinze of Germany and Harrie Lavreysen of the Netherlands delivered a fitting bow on Sunday on the final day of the track cycling world championships. Hinze won her third gold medal by holding off the field from the front in the Keirin, making it a clean sweep for the host nation in the women’s sprinting events at the Berlin Velodrome. And Lavreysen

Elinor Barker wins gold on the last day of the track cycling world championships in Berlin

won his third gold in the sprint to give the Dutch team a table-leading six gold medals and nine total over the course of the five-day event. In the other two events on Sunday, Elinor Barker of Britain gained a lap on the field in the women’s points race to easily win her fifth career world championships gold medal. And in the men’s Madison, which returns to the Olympic programme this year, Danish riders Lasse Norman Hansen and Michael Morkov gained an early lap and cruised to the victory. The story of the world championships, though, were the German women sprinters and the strength of the Dutch team.

Ethiopia’s Legese wins virus-hit Tokyo Marathon

Ethiopian Birhanu Legese won the Tokyo Marathon for the second year in a row on Sunday, racing to victory in two hours, four minutes and 15 seconds along often empty streets in the Japanese capital. Locals were strongly discouraged from lining the route because of the coronavirus outbreak, and the race was restricted to a few hundred elite athletes, without the usual retinue of more than 30,000 amateur runners to limit the risk of infection. Japan has recorded more than 940 cases of coronavirus, with 11 deaths, including six from the cruise ship, Diamond Princess. Legese, wearing

Ethiopia’s Birhanu Legese wins the virus-hit Tokyo Marathon on Sunday

Nike’s much-discussed carbon-plated shoes, hit the front before the 40km mark, winning by more than half a minute but missing out on Wilson Kipsang’s 2017 record of 2:03.58. Somali-born Belgian Bashir Abdi (2:04.49) pipped Ethiopian Sisay Lemma (2:04.51) to second place in a race for the line.  Lonah Korlima Chemtai Salpeter, who runs for Israel, won the women’s race in a record time of 2:17.45, 50 seconds ahead of Birhane Dibaba with her fellow Ethiopian Sutume Asefa Kebede a distant third two minutes back.

Wilder rematch against Fury is on, says promoter 

Deontay Wilder will fight Britain’s WBC heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury for a third time this summer, according to promoter Bob Arum. The pair drew their first fight in 2018 and last weekend Fury stopped Wilder in the seventh round to win the title to win the title. The American had 30 days to call a rematch and Arum, Fury’s US promoter, says he has been formally notified by Wilder’s team that they are doing so. Arum told Ringside Reporter the bout will be “before the Olympics – July”. On Thursday, Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said talks for a heavyweight unification fight between his fighter and Fury were under way. But with the rematch clause triggered, Briton Joshua, who holds three belts, is now expected to fight Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev in a mandatory IBF bout in London in June.

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

Calendar Keynotes: 2-8 March

Monday, 2 March

Football: FA Cup fifth round – Portsmouth v Arsenal.

Tennis: WTA Lyon Open, Lyon, France (till 8 March), WTA Monterrey Open, Mexico (till 8 March).

Cricket: ICC Women’s T20 World Cup – Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, Melbourne, Australia v New Zealand, Melbourne.

Tuesday, 3 March

Football: FA Cup fifth round – Chelsea v Liverpool, Reading v Sheffield United, West Bromwich Albion v Newcastle United.

Tennis: WTA Lyon Open, Lyon, France (till 8 March), WTA Monterrey Open, Mexico (till 8 March).

Cricket: ICC Women’s T20 World Cup – Pakistan v Thailand, Sydney, West Indies v South Africa, Sydney.

Wednesday, 4 March

Football: FA Cup fifth round – Leicester City v Birmingham City, Sheffield Wednesday v Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur v Norwich City, Scottish Premiership – Kilmarnock v Aberdeen, Livingston v Celtic, Motherwell v Ross County, Rangers Hamilton Academical, Coupe de France – Lyon v Paris Saint Germain, Spanish Copa del Rey – Mirandes v Real Sociedad, Italian Coppa Italia – Juventus v AC Milan, German DFB Cup – Bayer 04 Leverkusen v 1. FC Union Berlin, Eintracht Frankfurt v Werder Bremen.

Cricket: South Africa v Australia, ODI series, Bloemfontein.

Tennis: WTA Lyon Open, Lyon, France (till 8 March), WTA Monterrey Open, Mexico (till 8 March).

Thursday, 5 March

Football: FA Cup fifth round – Derby County v Manchester United, Coupe de France – Saint-Etienne v Rennes, Spanish Copa del Rey – Granada v Athletic Bilbao, Coppa Italia – Napoli v Inter Milan, SheBelieves Cup – Spain v Japan.

Rugby League: Super League – Leeds Rhinos v Toronto Wolfpack.

Cricket: ICC Women’s T20 World Cup semi-finals, Sydney.

Tennis: WTA Lyon Open, Lyon, France (till 8 March), WTA Monterrey Open, Mexico (till 8 March).

Golf: USPGA Tour, Arnold Palmer Invitational, Bay Hill Golf Club and Lodge, Orlando, Florida (till 8 March), European Tour, Qatar Masters, Doha GC, Doha, Qatar (till 8 March).

Winter Sports: BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon, Nove Mesto, Czech Republic (till 8 March), FIS World Cup Alpine Skiing, Kvitfjell, Norway (till 8 March),

Friday, 6 March

Football: French Ligue 1 – Marseille v Amiens, Spanish La Liga – Alaves v Valencia, SheBelieves Cup – USA v England.

Rugby Union: Gallagher English Premiership – Worcester Warriors v Northampton Saints, Sale v London Irish.

Rugby League: Super League – St Helens, v Huddersfield Giants, Wakefield Trinity v Hull FC, Warrington Wolves v Castleford Tigers.

Tennis: WTA Lyon Open, Lyon, France (till 8 March), WTA Monterrey Open, Mexico (till 8 March).

Golf: USPGA Tour, Arnold Palmer Invitational, Bay Hill Golf Club and Lodge, Orlando, Florida (till 8 March), European Tour, Qatar Masters, Doha GC, Doha, Qatar (till 8 March).

Winter Sports: BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon, Nove Mesto, Czech Republic (till 8 March), ISU Speed Skating World Cup, Heerenveen, Netherlands (till 8 March), FIS World Cup Alpine Skiing, Kvitfjell, Norway (till 8 March), FIS World Cup Nordic Combined, Oslo, Norway (till 7 March).

Saturday, 7 March

Football:  English Premier League – Liverpool v AFC Bournemouth, Arsenal v West Ham United, Sheffield United v Norwich City, Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur, French LIgue 1 – Strasbourg v Paris Saint Germain, Angers v Nantes, Dijon v Toulouse, Metz v Nimes, Nice v Monaco, Spanish La LIga – Atletico Madrid v Sevilla, Barcelona v Real Sociedad, Getafe v Celta Vigo, Italian Serie A – Atalanta v Lazio, German Bundesliga – Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Eintracht Frankfurt, VfL Wolfsburg v RB Leipzig, Borussia Monchengladbach v Borussia Dortmund.

Rugby Union:  Guiness Six Nations – Ireland v Italy (postponed), England v Wales, Gallagher English Premiership – Saracens v Leicester Tigers, Exeter Chiefs v Bath, Wasps v Gloucester.

Rugby League: Super League – Catalans Dragons v Salford Red Devils.

Cricket: South Africa v Australia, ODI series, Potchefstroom.

Tennis: WTA Lyon Open, Lyon, France (till 8 March), WTA Monterrey Open, Mexico (till 8 March).

Golf: USPGA Tour, Arnold Palmer Invitational, Bay Hill Golf Club and Lodge, Orlando, Florida (till 8 March), European Tour, Qatar Masters, Doha GC, Doha, Qatar (till 8 March).

Cycling: UCI World Tour – Strade Blanche, Tuscany, Italy.

Winter Sports: BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon, Nove Mesto, Czech Republic (till 8 March), ISU Speed Skating World Cup, Heerenveen, Netherlands (till 8 March), FIS World Cup Alpine Skiing, Kvitfjell, Norway (till 8 March), FIS World Cup Alpine Skiing women, Ofterschwang, Germany (till 8 March), FIS World Cup Nordic Combined, Oslo, Norway (final day).

Sunday, 8 March

Football Premier League – Chelsea v Everton, Manchester United v Manchester City, Scottish Premeriship – Ross County v Rangers, French Ligue 1 – Saint-Etienne v Bordeaux, Rennes v Montpellier, Lille v Lyon, Spanish La Liga – Villareal v Leganes, Real Betis v Real Madrid, Italian Serie A – Inter Milan v Sassuolo, Hellas Verona v Napoli, Bologna v Juventus, Roma v Sampdoria, German Bundesliga – Bayern Munich v FC Augsburg, SheBelieves Cup – Japan v England, USA v Spain.

Rugby Union: Guinness Six Nations – Scotland v France, Gallagher English Premiership –  Bristol v Harlequins.

Rugby League: Super League – Wigan Warriors v Hull KR.

Cricket: ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final, Melbourne.

Tennis: WTA Lyon Open, Lyon, France (final day), WTA Monterrey Open, Mexico (final day).

Golf: USPGA Tour, Arnold Palmer Invitational, Bay Hill Golf Club and Lodge, Orlando, Florida (final day), European Tour, Qatar Masters, Doha GC, Doha, Qatar (final day).

Cycling: UCI World Tour – Paris-Nice (till 15 March).

Motor Cycling: Qatar MotoGP. Doha, cancelled (coronavirus).

Winter Sports: BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon, Nove Mesto, Czech Republic (final day), ISU Speed Skating World Cup, Heerenveen, Netherlands (final day), FIS World Cup Alpine Skiing, Kvitfjell, Norway (final day),  FIS World Cup Alpine Skiing women, Ofterschwang, Germany (final day).