SPORTS DAY: Breakneck derby screeches to a draw
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
Pirates share spoils with Chiefs in derby
The 166th Soweto derby was brutally fought out at a pace that kept a capacity crowd on the edge of their seats‚ as Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates sharing the spoils 1-1 ultimately seemed the fairest result. About 87‚000 supporters braved a sun-baked FNB that was hot enough for referee Abongile Tom to call first-half water breaks in the Absa Premiership fixture. Chiefs controlled much of the game‚ leading to Daniel Cardoso putting them ahead via a 53rd-minute penalty. Pirates only notably lifted their tempo after conceding‚ and then might have wished they had displayed that level of aggression from the start‚ Thembinkosi Lorch equalising in the 80th. Overall‚ though‚ it was another furiously competitive derby‚ played at a breakneck pace‚ if perhaps just lacking the skill and refinement much sentimentalised over from the game’s glorious past.
Black Caps survive tight close to claim T20 series
Colin Munro’s explosive 72 set up a four-run win for New Zealand over India in a cliffhanger finish to Sunday’s Twenty20 match in Hamilton, handing the hosts a 2-1 series victory. India looked to be on the ropes when they needed 47 off the last three overs. But Dinesh Karthik and Krunal Pandya together plundered 32 off overs 18 and 19 before Tim Southee restricted the duo to 11 in the 20th. “It was obviously touch-and-go there for us,” said Munro whose whirlwind knock at the start of the match laid the platform for New Zealand’s 212 for four with India 208 for six at the close.
United can mount title challenge next year: Matic
Nemanja Matic says Manchester United can mount a title challenge next season after they moved into the Premier League’s top four for the first time since the opening weekend of the campaign. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s superb start to life as caretaker manager continued with a comprehensive 3-0 victory for United at strugglers Fulham. Anthony Martial scored a superb solo effort in between two Paul Pogba goals at Craven Cottage, putting United back in the Champions League spots after a six-month absence. They had been 11 points off fourth when Jose Mourinho was sacked in December, but Solskjaer’s side have dropped just two points since his December appointment and Matic was buoyed by the latest win. “We knew that if we win then we will be in fourth position,” said the defensive midfielder. “Of course, Chelsea have one game less, but we are happy for three more points.”
Klopp ‘calm despite Liverpool pressure’
Liverpool defender Andrew Robertson has laughed off suggestions that manager Jurgen Klopp is feeling the strain after the wobble that allowed Manchester City to return to the Premier League summit. Back-to-back 1-1 draws against Leicester and West Ham enabled City to edge ahead on goal difference before Liverpool reclaimed top spot with a 3-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday as they chase a first top-flight title since 1990. But, Robertson said, the German manager is unflustered, despite seeing their lead disappear. “He has been calm and the backroom staff have been a different class,” said the Scotland captain. “They are the team behind the team and they are the ones who keep us going and positive.
Vonn in bronze as Stuhec defends world downhill
US ski star Lindsey Vonn brought her illustrious career to a close with a hard-fought bronze at Sunday’s world downhill which was won by defending champion Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia. Vonn, the most successful women skier of all time with a record 20 World Cup titles to her name and 82 victories on the circuit, clocked 1min 02.23sec, briefly leading before slipping behind Stuhec and Swiss silver medallist Corinne Suter in the Swedish resort of Are. While all the build-up had been about Vonn, Stuhec became the first skier to successfully defend the women’s downhill world title since Swiss Maria Walliser (1987, 1989), with only three others having previously won twice in a row.
Townsend backs Scotland against France
Scotland coach Gregor Townsend bemoaned a game of two halves as his side slipped to a 22-13 Six Nations loss to Ireland at Murrayfield on Saturday, but has backed the team to bounce back with a win against France in two weeks. Scotland trailed 12-10 at the break, having created a number of opportunities to score tries in the opening period, but their execution in the second half was poor, especially at set-pieces, contributing heavily to their defeat. “We got a lot of our attacking game into play as well as really good decisions, really good work-rate off the ball, which meant we were finding space and the first half. If we were able to replicate that in the second half I think we’d be here with a win,” Townsend said.
Law seals Vic Open win with eagle on final hole
Briton David Law produced a sparkling eagle on the 18th hole to snatch a one-stroke victory at the Vic Open in Barwon Heads, Australia, and claim his maiden European Tour title on Sunday. The 27-year-old Scot’s six-under 66 at 13th Beach Golf Links left him with an 18-under total of 270, one ahead of local duo Wade Ormsby and Brad Kennedy. Law, who began the day three shots off overnight leader Ormsby, struck a brilliant approach to within 3m of the pin on the par-five 18th, and coolly rolled in the eagle putt to pressure the leading Ormsby. Ormsby, playing the hole behind, crumbled with a double bogey on the par-three 17th to give Law the clubhouse lead when he dragged his tee shot left and failed to make the green with a chip before missing the bogey putt from about 3m. The Australian also missed a long eagle putt on the last that would have forced a playoff.
Gatland warns no-holds barred as Wales eye record
Wales coach Warren Gatland warned there would be no-holds barred when his team targets a record 12th consecutive Test victory in two week’s time after a sloppy 26-15 win over Italy in Rome on Saturday. Gatland’s side went top of the Six Nations table after away wins against France and Italy and next play England, who last week bumped Wales from third in the world rankings, in Cardiff on February 23. But the New Zealander conceded “sometimes you have to win ugly” after Welsh errors allowed the gritty Italians back into the game at the Stadio Olimpico. “There will definitely be no lack of motivation in trying to beat England and break that record,” said the New Zealander. “We’ve got a chance, we’re at home, the stadium will be full, it’ll be some atmosphere at the Principality Stadium.”
Wrestling for glory at ‘Vat Cau’ festival
Bare-chested men in brightly coloured belts grapple for possession of a giant wooden ball at a Vietnamese festival, tumbling from corner to corner as hundreds of excited spectators cheer them on. They are playing Vat Cau, a centuries-old sport which began as a training exercise for soldiers and contains elements of wrestling and rugby. Vat Cau is the main draw of a three-day annual festival held during Vietnam’s Tet Lunar New Year in Thuy Linh village, 10km from the capital Hanoi. A single match has four separate teams of eight men wearing waist straps of different colours. They tussle over a 17kg ball made from the wood of a jackfruit tree, laboriously inching it towards one of the holes dug in each team’s corner.
Pacers win by 15, avenge earlier home loss to Cavs
Bojan Bogdanovic led a balanced Indiana offence with 23 points and the Indiana Pacers on Saturday defeated the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers 105-90 on Saturday. Bogdanovic scored more than 20 points for the fifth game out of six as the Pacers won for the fifth straight time. Cory Joseph came off the bench to finish with 10 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists. Domantas Sabonis did not score in the first half, but finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, also off the bench Reserve Jordan Clarkson led Cleveland with 18 points. A day after seeing his first action after missing the previous 50 games, Cleveland’s Kevin Love did not play. The Pacers dodged a bullet when Myles Turner suffered a right knee injury early in the third period when he blocked a dunk attempt by Marquese Chriss. Turner left the game in serious pain, received treatment and returned with 4:29 left in the quarter.
– AFP, Reuters and TimesLIVE