The sports wrap, Monday 24 February 2020

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Tyson Fury on his way to a TKO against Deontay Wilder

Fury batters Wilder to win WBC heavyweight title

Tyson Fury produced the most destructive performance of his boxing life to end Deontay Wilder’s five-year reign as WBC heavyweight world champion in seven thrilling rounds of their Las Vegas rematch. The fight ended on a TKO with the towel being thrown in by the American’s corner. The Briton, 31, pummelled his rival in a way few could have imagined following their 2018 draw, flooring him in the third and fifth rounds while constantly backing up the most-feared puncher in the division in a way no-one has done before. A jab and right hand – the combination with which Wilder has wiped men out repeatedly – sent the American down in the third, stunning the MGM Grand Arena. Wilder, making his 11th defence, fell again before the round was out – this time a slip – and looked ragged under the pressure, before a right and left hand to the body sent the 34-year-old down in the fifth. Fury delivered everything he had promised, transitioning from his hit-and-move style to overpower, outwork and bully his previously undefeated rival until the towel came. This was more than a world title win, it was a statement – and as Fury was held aloft by his corner after victory was sealed, the days of depression, weight gain and despair that cost him the belts he claimed in 2015 seemed a lifetime away.

France eye first Six Nations Grand Slam in 10 years

France made it three wins out of three in the Six Nations tournament with a thrilling 27-23 victory over defending champions Wales in Cardiff while England remained in the hunt with a decisive 24-12 win over Ireland at Twickenham. France head the table with 13 points, four ahead of England and Ireland.

At the Principality Stadium, France remain on course for a first Grand Slam in 10 years after winning in Cardiff for the first time since 2010. Man-of-the-match fly-half Romain Ntamack’s 17-point haul included a try, while full-back Anthony Bouthier and second-row Paul Willemse also crossed. Defending champions Wales responded with 18 points from Dan Biggar including a

Fly-half Romain Ntamack scores a brilliant intercept try in the French victory over Wales

late try. Prop Dillon Lewis also crossed for his first international try. France overcame yellow cards for Gregory Alldritt and Mohamed Haouas while Wales were left to wonder if they should have received a penalty try in the second half for a deliberate knock-on. The captivating contest was Wales’ second defeat in three matches under new coach Wayne Pivac and hopes of defending their Six Nations title appear to have disappeared. It was Wales’ first home Six Nations defeat for three years and France’s second win in 10 games against their opponents.

At Twickenham, England ended Ireland’s Grand Slam hopes in brutal fashion as they won  24-12 to reignite their own title hopes. First-half tries from George Ford and Elliot Daly after Irish defensive errors plus two conversions and a penalty from Owen Farrell gave England a commanding 17-0 lead. Ireland struck back with a try from Robbie Henshaw but with Johnny Sexton uncharacteristically wayward off the tee, they never seriously threatened a comeback. Luke Cowan-Dickie drove over for England’s third midway through the second half, with replacement Andrew Porter’s late try no consolation for Ireland. With Wales at home in a fortnight before a trip to Italy, Eddie Jones’ men will believe they can finish the championship in style, although they may need Ireland to do them a favour and beat France in Dublin next month.

At the Stadio Olimpico, Scotland ran in three tries for a 17-0 victory against Italy to earn their first win in six games in the Six Nations and ease the pressure on head coach Gregor Townsend. Captain Stuart Hogg’s stunning solo effort in Rome was the Scots’ first of the campaign and was added to after the break by centre Chris Harris and late on by fly-half Adam Hastings. Italy, searching for a first Six Nations win in 25 matches since beating Scotland in 2015, failed to breach a resolute defence and are rooted at the bottom of the table after three games.

Man City beat Leicester to cement second 

Gabriel Jesus came off the bench to score a late winner at Leicester City and cement Manchester City in second spot seven points ahead of the Foxes.  Jamie Vardy had hit the post for Leicester in the first half, but both sides wasted numerous chances before Jesus slotted home with a cool finish after a surging run from Riyad Mahrez had opened up the home defence. Chelsea remain in fourth spot four points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur whom they beat 2-1 at Stamford Bridge. Olivier Giroud, in for Michy Batshuayi, fired low past Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris for Chelsea’s opener in the 15th minute after the recalled Ross Barkley hit the post.  Three minutes after the break Marcos Alonso hit the second. An Antonio Rudiger late own goal gave Spurs some hope but Chelsea were worthy winners. Sheffield United are in sixth spot after a 1-1 home draw against Brighton while Manchester United are sixth after a comfortable 3-0 home win over relegation-threatened Watford. Runaway leaders Liverpool, 19 points ahead of Manchester City, play West Ham United on Monday night.

In the Scottish Premiership. Champions Celtic recovered from losing an early Kilmarnock goal to win 3-1 and march 12 points

Leigh Griffiths scores Celtic’s third goal in their victory over Kilmarnock

clear at the top of the table. With second-placed Rangers drawing at St Johnstone, Neil Lennon’s men took advantage as they bid to win a ninth title in a row. Eamonn Brophy’s penalty had initially rocked Celtic but Kristoffer Ajer and Odsonne Edouard had the hosts ahead.Leigh Griffiths added a third shortly after Kilmarnock were reduced to 10 men following Alan Power’s second yellow.

PSG extend Ligue 1 lead to 13 points 

Paris Saint Germain extended their Ligue 1 lead to 13 points with a 4-3 home victory against Bordeaux on Sunday but the champions were again exposed at the back and had Neymar sent off. Edinson Cavani’s 200th PSG goal and a goal by French striker Kylian Mbappe put the capital side on 65 points from 26 games but they lost captain Thiago Silva to a muscle injury and Brazil striker Neymar picked up a straight red card for a late challenge in stoppage time. Bordeaux, who scored through Hwang Ui-jo, Pablo and Ruben Pardo, are 12th on 35 points. Third-placed Rennes beat visiting Nimes 2-1 to reduce the gap to second-placed Marseille to eight points. Marseille had on Saturday seen their 14-game unbeaten run snapped with a 3-1 home defeat to mid-table team Nantes.

In the Spanish La Liga, Lionel Messi  scored four goals as defending champions Barcelona thumped Eibar 5-0 to move two points ahead of Real Madrid at the top after their arch rivals surprisingly lost 1-0 at mid-table Levante. The Argentine superstar ended a

Lionel Messi (left) celebrates after his fourth goal against Eibar

four-game wait for a league goal in the 13th minute when he nutmegged Anaitz Arbilla before lofting the ball over the goalkeeper. He added his second from a tight angle and then completed his hat trick, rolling in from 6 yards. Substitute Martin Braithwaite, on his club debut, was then involved in the final two goals. He set up Messi’s fourth late on before Arthur scored the fifth.

In the Italian Serie A, Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated his 1,000th professional match by scoring for a record-equalling eleventh consecutive Serie A appearance to set leaders Juventus on the way to a 2-1 win at SPAL in a top-versus-bottom match on Saturday. In-form Lazio moved within one point of Juve after beating relegation-threatened Genoa 3-2. Third-placed Inter Milan’s home game against Sampdoria was among four Serie A fixtures postponed on Sunday over fears of the spread of coronavirus.

In the German Bundesliga, Norwegian striker Erling Braut Haaland scored his 12th goal in eight games as Borussia Dortmund beat Werder Bremen 2-0 to remain in touch in the title race. Haaland, 19, fired in from Achraf Hakimi’s cut-back after 66 minutes to put the game beyond struggling Werder. Dan-Axel Zagadou had converted from Jadon Sancho’s 52nd-minute corner to open the scoring. Dortmund are four points behind leaders Bayern Munich, who scored late to beat bottom side Pderborn on Friday. They sit third after RB Leipzig thrashed Schalke 5-0 to move to within one point of Bayern.

Exeter thump Northampton to go eight points clear

Exeter Chiefs drove home their domination of this season’s Premiership by scoring eight tries to thrash Northampton Saints 57-7. Three tries in the final 10 minutes of the first half at Sandy Park saw Jonny Hill, Elvis Taione and Jannes Kirsten go over. Tom Hendrickson then secured the bonus point early in the second period before Ben Moon crossed to make it 36-0. Hendrickson got his second soon after

Tom Hendrickson’s first try secures the bonus point for Exeter Chiefs

before James Grayson got a consolation for Saints, but Tom O’Flaherty and Sam Simmonds added more scores late on. The win was the joint third-highest points total Exeter have scored in a Premiership match. The Chiefs go eight points clear of Sale Sharks, who are one ahead of third-placed Northampton after their 36-3 win over Leicester on Friday. At the other end of the table, relegated Saracens were thrashed 60-10 as Wasps demolished the reigning Premiership champions.The hosts played some delightful rugby at the Ricoh Arena to run in eight tries against the English and European champions, who have been deducted 105 points to ensure they finish bottom after repeated breaches of the salary cap.

Bordeaux beat Clermont to extend lead at top

Geoffrey Cros grabbed a double as Top 14 leaders Bordeaux Begles beat Clermont Auvergne 31-22 to go eight points clear after Toulon were beaten at La Rochelle on Saturday. Versatile back Cros scored a try in each half at Stade Marcel-Michelin, where Remi Lamerat also crossed in the first half and Jules Gimbert touched down to give Bordeaux breathing space late on. Seta Tamanivalu’s yellow card, which resulted in Morgan Parra slotting over a fifth penalty, set up a tense finale but Gimbert’s score ensured Bordeaux took maximum points. Clermont led 19-14 at half-time courtesy of 14 points from the boot of Parra and a Paul Jedrasiak try, yet they were unable to finish off the job and sit in sixth place. La Rochelle leapfrogged Toulon to go third with a 17-12 victory at Stade Marcel Deflandre. Struggling Stade Francais had claimed a surprise win over La Rochelle last weekend, but Arthur Retiere scored the only try of the game in the second half and Jules Plisson landed four first-half penalties to get them back on track.

South Africa beat England in Women’s T20 World Cup

England suffered a tense six-wicket defeat against South Africa as their Women’s T20 World Cup campaign began with a narrow loss in Perth. South Africa, chasing 124, were 85 for one with five overs to go but lost Dane van Niekerk (46) and Marizanne Kapp (36) in the space of five balls. When Chloe Tryon fell, it left them needing nine runs from the last over. But Mignon du Preez struck Katherine Brunt for a six to level the scores, before a boundary secured a fine win.Brunt thrashed the stumps in annoyance after her final delivery, while South Africa’s players raced on to the pitch to congratulate Du Preez.It is the first time South Africa have beaten England at a T20 World Cup, and shows how much their batting has improved since the previous tournament. Champions Australia were also shocked in their opening match, losing to India by 17 runs. In Wellington, New Zealand beat India by 10 wickets in the 1st Test.  Fast bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult shared nine wickets as the tourists were all out for 191 in their second innings, a lead of just eight. New Zealand knocked off those runs inside two overs to seal victory and go 1-0 up in the two-Test series.

Halep beats Rybakina in Dubai final

World No.2 Simona Halep won her 20th WTA title on Saturday, beating Elena Rybakina 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) in the Dubai Tennis Championships final. The Romanian, who reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open last month, struggled in the first set but fought back to lift the trophy. Rybakina, 20, playing her fourth final this year, took the two-time Grand

Romania’s Simona Halep wins her first title of 2020 in Dubai

Slam winner to a third-set tiebreak. The world No19 Russian broke into the top 50 in September and in 2020 has reached the finals of the Shenzhen Open and St Petersburg Ladies Trophy as well as winning the Hobart International. Victory at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre is former world No.1 Halep’s first title of 2020. “I have such crazy emotions right now, it has been a great match,” Halep said. “Rybakina is still really young and has many years ahead of her in the game.”

Huddersfield Giants go top of Super League

Huddersfield moved to the top of Super League as their 100 per cent start continued with a comfortable 22-4 win at Hull KR. The visitors put in a dominant display in and out of possession to lead 10-0 at the break thanks to tries from Louis Senior and Lee Gaskell. Huddersfield, who had prop James Gavet stretchered off in the opening minutes of the second half, extended their lead through Paul Clough and Suaia Matagi. Ben Crooks scored a consolation for the hosts in the final minutes. The Giants have now won their opening three games, with all three wins coming away from home. Catalans Dragons’ away match against champions St Helens was postponed. The Dragons are in eight spot with two points from two matches.

Germany’s Friedrich wins 10 bobsledder world titles

Germany’s Francesco Friedrich became the first bobsledder to win 10 world titles when the reigning Olympic champion won the two-man event at the IBSF World Championships on Sunday in Altenberg, Germany. Before Sunday, Friedrich had shared the record with Italy’s Eugenio Monti, who won nine gold medals between 1957 and 1966. Friedrich has won gold in the two-man, four-man and mixed team events. With brakeman Thorsten Margis tucked in behind him, the pair finished with a combined time of three minutes 40.44 seconds, hitting a top speed of 126.34 kph. Their time was 1.65 seconds faster than compatriots Johannes Lochner and Christopher Weber, who took silver, while Latvia’s Oskars Kibermanis and Matiss Miknis finished third.

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

http://www.bbc.com/sporthttp://www.espn.comhttp://www.lequipe.frhttps://www.insidethegames.biz/http://www.reuters.com/news/sportswww.sports.yahoo.com,www.skysports.comwww.eurosport.frmidilibre.fr

Calendar Keynotes:  24 February – 1 March

Monday, 24 February

Football: English Premier League – Liverpool v West Ham United, German Bundesliga – Eintracht Frankfurt v 1.FC Union Berlin.

Tennis: ATP & WTA Mexican Open, Acapulco (till 2 March), Dubai Tennis Championships, UAE (till 29 February), WTA Qatar Total Open, Doha (till 2 March).

Cricket: ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, Australia v Sri Lanka, Perth, India v Bangladesh, Perth.

Tuesday, 25 February

Football: Champions League round of 16 – Chelsea v Bayern Munich, Napoli v Barcelona, Scottish Premiership – Motherwell v St Mirren.

Tennis: ATP & WTA Mexican Open, Acapulco (till 2 March), Dubai Tennis Championships, UAE (till 29 February), WTA Qatar Total Open, Doha (till 2 March)

Wednesday, 26 February

Football: Champions League round of 16 – Lyon v Juventus, Real Madrid v Manchester City, Europa League round of 32 – Sporting Braga v Rangers.

Cricket: ICC Women’s T20 World Cup – England v Thailand, Canberra, West Indies v Pakistan, Canberra, Twenty20 international, South Africa v Australia, Hambantota.

Tennis: ATP & WTA Mexican Open, Acapulco (till 2 March), Dubai Tennis Championships, UAE (till 29 February), WTA Qatar Total Open, Doha (till 2 March)

Thursday, 27 February

Football: Europa League round of 32 – FC Basel v Apoel Nicosia (agg 3-0), Espanyol v Wolves (agg 0-4), FC Porto v Bayer 04 Leverkusen (agg 1-2), Istanbul Basaksehir v Sporting Lisbon (agg 1-3, KAA Gent v Roma (agg 0-1), LASK v AZ Alkmaar (agg 1-2), Ajax v Getafe (agg 0-2), Arsenal v Olympiakos (agg 1-0), Benfica v Shakhtar Donesk (agg 1-2), Celtic v FC Copenhagen (agg 1-1), RB Salzburg v Eintracht Frankfurt (agg 1-4), Inter Milan v Ludogorets (agg 2-0), Manchester United v Club Bruges (agg 1-1), Sevilla v CFR Cluj (agg 1-1).

Rugby League: Super League – Hull KR v Castleford Tigers.

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

Tennis: ATP & WTA Mexican Open, Acapulco (till 2 March), Dubai Tennis Championships, UAE (till 29 February), WTA Qatar Total Open, Doha (till 2 March)

Golf: USPGA Honda Classic, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (till 1 March), PGA European Tour, Oman Open, Muscat (till 1 March).

Winter Sports: World Allround Speed Skating Championships, Hamar, Norway (till 1 March).

Friday,  28 February

Football: English Premier League – Norwich City v Leicester City, Scottish Cup quarter-final – Hibernian v Inverness CT, French LIgue 1 – Nimes v Marseille, Spanish La LIga – Real Sociedad v Real Valladolid.

Rugby Union: Gallagher English Premiership – Gloucester v Sale.

Rugby League: Super League – Leeds Rhinos v Warrington Wolves.

Cricket: ICC Women’s T20 World Cup – South Africa v Thailand, Canberra, New Zealand v India, 2nd Test, Christchurch (till 3 March).

Tennis: ATP & WTA Mexican Open, Acapulco (till 2 March), Dubai Tennis Championships, UAE (till 29 February), WTA Qatar Total Open, Doha (till 2 March)

Golf: USPGA Honda Classic, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (till 1 March), PGA European Tour, Oman Open, Muscat (till 1 March).

Winter Sports: World Allround Speed Skating Championships, Hamar, Norway (till 1 March), FIS World Cup Alpine Skiing, Hinterstoder, Austria (till 1 March), FIS World Cup Alpine Skiing women, La Thuile, Italy (till 1 March), FIS World Cup Cross Country Skiing & Nordic Combined, Lahti, Finland (till 1 March).

Saturday, 29 February

Football:  English Premier League – AFC Bournemouth v Chelsea, Watford v Liverpool, Scottish Cup quarter-final – Hearts v Rangers, St Mirren v Aberdeen, French LIgue 1 – Paris Saint Germain v Dijon, Brest v Angers, Monaco v Reims, Montpellier v Strasbourg, Toulouse v Rennes, Spanish La LIga – Valencia v Real Betis, Italian Serie A – Lazio v Bologna, Napoli v Torino, German Bundesliga – Borussia Dortmund v SC Freiburg, FC Augsburg v Borussia Monchengladbach, 1899 Hoffenheim v Bayern Munich, 1.FC Koln v FC Schalke 04.

Rugby Union:  Gallagher English Premiership – Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs, Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors, Northampton Saints v Saracens, French Top 14 – Racing 92 v La Rochelle, Agen v Clermont Auvergne, Bayonne v Toulouse, Brive v Lyon.

Rugby League: Super League – Toronto Wolfpack v St Helens.

Cricket: ICC Women’s T20 World Cup – New Zealand v Bangladesh, Melbourne, India v Sri Lanka, Melbourne, New Zealand v India, 2nd Test, Christchurch (till 3 March), ODI – South Africa v Australia (Paarl).

Tennis: ATP & WTA Mexican Open, Acapulco (till 2 March), Dubai Tennis Championships, UAE (till 29 February), WTA Qatar Total Open, Doha (till 2 March)

Golf: USPGA Honda Classic, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (till 1 March), PGA European Tour, Oman Open, Muscat (till 1 March).

Winter Sports: World Allround Speed Skating Championships, Hamar, Norway (till 1 March), FIS World Cup Alpine Skiing, Hinterstoder, Austria (till 1 March), FIS World Cup Alpine Skiing women, La Thuile, Italy (till 1 March), FIS World Cup Cross Country Skiing & Nordic Combined, Lahti, Finland (till 1 March).

Sunday, 1 March

Football  League Cup final – Aston Villa v Manchester City,, English Premier League – Everton v Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanders, Scottish Cup quarter-final – St Johnstone v Celtic, French Ligue 1 – Nantes v Lille, Bordeaux v Nice, Lyon v Saint-Etienne, Spanish La Liga – Espanyol v Atletico Madrid, Mallorca v Getafe, Real Madrid v Barcelona, Italian Serie A – AC Milan v Genoa, Lecce v Atalanta, Calgiari v Roma, Juventus v Inter Milan, German Bundesliga – RB Leipzig v Bayer 04 Laverkusen.

Rugby Union: Gallagher English Premiership –  London Irish v Wasps, Bath v Bristol, French Top 14 – Bordeaux Begles v Castres, Toulon v Stade Francais.

Rugby League: Super League – Huddersfield Giants v Wigan Warriors, Hull FC v Catalans Dragons, Salford Red Devils v Wakefield Trinity.

Cricket: ICC Women’s T20 World Cup – South Africa v Pakistan, Sydney, England v West Indies, Sydney, New Zealand v India, 2nd Test, Christchurch (till 3 March).

Tennis: ATP & WTA Mexican Open, Acapulco (till 2 March), Dubai Tennis Championships, UAE (till 29 February), WTA Qatar Total Open, Doha (till 2 March)

Golf: USPGA Honda Classic, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (final day), PGA European Tour, Oman Open, Muscat (final day).

Winter Sports: World Allround Speed Skating Championships, Hamar, Norway (final day), FIS World Cup Alpine Skiing, Hinterstoder, Austria (final day), FIS World Cup Alpine Skiing women, La Thuile, Italy (final day), FIS World Cup Cross Country Skiing & Nordic Combined, Lahti, Finland (final day).