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The Observer Sport - March 11, 2018

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•
Cricket
New Zealand blown
away by brilliant
Bairstow ton
Page 18
Sport
11.03.18
Jacob Stockdale
races away to
score for Ireland
in their 28-8 win
against Scotland
DAN SHERIDAN/INPHO/
REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
Green
kıngs
Ireland take
title with a
game to spare
after England
flop in Paris
Page 2
Mayhem at London Stadium
West Ham to hold ‘emergency talks’
after players and fans clash on pitch
West Ham 0 Burnley 3 Page 10
•
2
The Observer
11.03.18
Rugby union
NatWest Six Nations
Critical
time to
score
BRIAN LAWLESS/PA WIRE; CHARLES MCQUILLAN/GETTY IMAGES; DAVID GIBSON/FOTOSPORT/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
Jacob
Stockdale
scores
Ireland’s
second try on
the stroke of
half-time.
Ireland in the sun
Two tries from Jacob Stockdale
help conquer Scotland to clinch
Six Nations title and set up
grand slam match with England
28
IRELAND
8
SCOTLAND
Michael Aylwin
Aviva Stadium
The title is Ireland’s with a game to
spare – and a third grand slam in
their history may follow next week at
Twickenham. A trip to Dublin proved
an assignment too far for Scotland
after the euphoria of the Calcutta
Cup a fortnight ago and Ireland duly
secured a third consecutive bonuspoint win at home to open up an
unassailable lead at the top of the
table after England’s defeat in Paris.
Ireland were not perfect but they
didn’t have to be such was the looseness of a Scotland team playing
at 100mph, as ever. At the pivotal
moments, it was Irish accuracy – and
power – that prevailed, the home
team amassing the requisite four ties
with a certain inevitability.
Scotland played a full part in a
match that began breathlessly – and
if it started to lose its mojo in the second half it was only for the relentless
excellence of Ireland, who killed off
their visitors by degrees. The result of
the match was pretty much assured
from early in the second half.
If points were awarded for artistic impression, Scotland would have
been far more competitive but the
gulf in maturity between the sides
was incalculable. Ireland wove their
fair share of patterns too but always
while seeming in control. And, ultimately, they had the power to be
direct in a way Scotland did not.
But the cruellest cuts Scotland suffered were inflicted by themselves. A
team who live by the sword die by
it too, and the dazzling manner in
which they wield their blade tends
to wound them at least as much as it
does the opposition – against opposition as good as this, at any rate.
Where every wonder play came
off against England, here enough
broke down to prove horribly costly
by half-time. Every man in that
How they stand
Ireland (C)
England
France
Scotland
Wales
Italy
P W D L F
A B
4 4 0 0 136 67 3
4 2 0 2 87 68 2
4 2 0 2 95 80 2
4 2 0 2 72 101 0
3 1 0 2 67 56 2
3 0 0 3 51 136 0
Pts
19
10
10
8
6
0
Yesterday Ireland 28 Scotland 8
France 22 England 16
Today
Wales v Italy, 3pm
Saturday Italy v Scotland, 12.30pm; England v
Ireland, 2.45pm; Wales v France, 5pm
midfield, so lauded last time out at
Murrayfield, was guilty at least once
of a costly error. Peter Horne suffered most, his passing off target
and his inside shoulder exploited.
After some brilliance of the highest order from Stuart Hogg had
Scotland deep in Ireland territory
and on the offensive – not to mention 3-0 up at the time – Horne’s
ambitious cut-out pass landed in
the arms of Jacob Stockdale, who
streaked clear for the game’s first try
at the start of the second quarter. But
that error almost paled into insignificance against that committed a
few minutes later by Horne’s partner in the centres, Huw Jones. More
brilliance, from Jones himself this
time, had him honing in on the last
man with Hogg outside – as certain
a try-scoring opportunity as can be
engineered … but only if the simple
pass finds its man. Nothing spoke
more loudly of Scottish edginess
than the way Jones shovelled it a
yard in front of Hogg.
It was agonising to behold. Unlike
against Wales, though, when Scotland
unravelled around an interception,
they held their line, and it was not
until the stroke of half-time that
Ireland finally made their own imaginative approach play tell. Both sides
had struggled at the lineout,but when
Ireland were on to another loose
Scottish throw, Rob Kearney was soon
breaking past Blair Kinghorn before a
lovely loop by Garry Ringrose round
Bundee Aki put Stockdale in for his
second. Suddenly, Ireland were halfway to the full house.
And then three-quarters of the
•
Cronin
wraps
up win
Sean
Cronin is
congratulated
by his teammates after
scoring
Ireland’s
fourth try to
seal the allimportant
bonus point.
The Observer
11.03.18
Jones perfect day
a dream as he is
kept hanging on
Andy
Bull
Stade de France
England coach
must face reality
that Ireland
overtook his
team last spring
Scotland
centre Huw
Jones looks
to the skies
after a pass to
Stuart Hogg
went astray
– one of
several errors
that his side
made against
Ireland
One that
got
away
way. Just as against Wales the round
before, they turned up the heat after
the break. A 50-50 call from a sliced
up-and-under earned them position
and, from a penalty to the corner, Conor Murray broke round the
fringes of a maul to score Ireland’s
third.
Still Scotland kept butchering
chances. Twice passes to Kinghorn
were beyond even his reach, the
second after Horne had broken brilliantly from his 22, but Kinghorn was
worked into the corner in the sweetest of fashion off an attacking scrum
to pull Scotland back to 21-8 down
with half an hour to play.
Alas, they were spent. Ireland took
control of the ball and the territory
for the next 20 minutes, culminating
in that fourth try for the bonus point,
with 10 minutes to go.
Uncharacteristic wobbles from
Johnny Sexton were ridden out, the
maestro missing touch with one penalty and the posts with another, but
the pressure Ireland were exerting
now was relentless.
For the third time in the match,
Ireland went for the corner from a
kickable penalty and, for the second
time, they scored. C J Stander secured
the ball and, with noticeably less
resistance now, Scotland were driven
back for Sean Cronin to finish.
Scotland mounted a last, forlorn
assault on the Irish line but the game,
like the championship, felt done and
dusted before it ought to have been.
Ireland are in acquisitive mood.
They secured an 11th consecutive
win – an Irish record – and the Six
Nations title. They now march on
Twickenham with the ultimate, a
grand slam, on their mind.
Ireland
Scotland
R Kearney (Larmour 75);
Earls, Ringrose, Aki,
Stockdale; Sexton (Carbery
73), Murray (Marmion 71);
Healy (J McGrath 51), Best
(capt, Cronin 66), Furlong
(Porter 62), James Ryan,
Toner (Henderson 55),
O’Mahony (Murphy 55),
Leavy, Stander
Tries Stockdale 2, Murray,
Cronin Cons Sexton 4
Hogg; Kinghorn, H Jones,
Horne (Grigg 73), Maitland;
Russell, Laidlaw (Price 67);
Reid (Bhatti 55), McInally
(Brown 60), Berghan
(Nel 55), Gilchrist, J Gray
(Swinson 71), Barclay
(capt), Watson, Wilson
(Denton 18)
Try Kinghorn Pen Laidlaw
Referee Wayne Barnes (Eng) Attendance 51,733
Eddie Jones dreams about coaching
the perfect game. The thought of
it is one of the reasons he is still in
this business 25 years after he first
took charge of Randwick, back in
Sydney club rugby.
“It’s always going to be
impossible to do but striving to do
it, and getting the players to play
with that intensity and purpose, is
the fun part,” he said when he was
asked about it last summer.
Well, even the perfect game will
not win England the championship
now and the truth is that in the two
years since Jones took charge they
have never looked so far away from
playing it anyway. They were as off
the pace in the first half in Paris as
they had been in Edinburgh two
weeks ago.
According to the world rankings
England are still the best team
in Europe, second behind New
Zealand, with Ireland one spot
further back. That may all change
in the next few days. And in truth,
Ireland overtook them in Dublin last
spring, when they beat them 13-9,
and they have pulled further ahead
since. Ireland have won 11 Tests in a
row, a national record. All the while,
Joe Schmidt has been strengthening
Reaction
‘We have a lot
of big leaders
in the squad’
Michael Aylwin
No sooner had the dust settled
on what proved Ireland’s
championship-winning fourth
victory of the Six Nations than
Rory Best, their captain, was being
asked about what the completed
job of a grand slam would mean.
After three consecutive home wins,
his team. He has given debuts to 29
players in the last two years, and a
handful of them, Jacob Stockdale,
Bundee Aki, Garry Ringrose, Dan
Leavy, are already key members of
the squad. They look a side to be
reckoned with.
England were warming up while
the second half of Ireland’s game
against Scotland was under way,
so they missed one of the crucial
moments of the championship. In
the 68th minute Sean Cronin dived
over the line to score Ireland’s
fourth try, and just like that,
England’s task became that much
harder, their chances of winning
the Six Nations so much more
remote.
To even have a chance of doing
it now they needed to score at
least four tries against France,
something they had done in Paris
Garry Ringrose is
a key member of
squad as Schmidt
has given debuts
to 29 players in
the last two years
all of them with bonus points,
have secured them the title, Ireland
must win at Twickenham next
Saturday to secure the third grand
slam of their history. It is nine years
since their second, the triumph of
2009 after a long wait following the
success of 1948.
“It’s going to be a big game for
us now,” said Best. “To put yourself
in a position to win everything, it
becomes massive. There will come
moments next week when we have
to dig deep.
“I’m the one lucky enough to
be captain but we have a lot of big
leaders in the squad. It showed at
times today. When Scotland tried to
play chaotic, uncontrolled rugby, we
were able to get our breath and get
control back.”
3
only once in the last 100 years
and the way the match turned out,
that was the last thing they had to
worry about. Never mind four tries,
England struggled to score the one.
For most of the match they were
far too busy fighting to stay in the
game to worry about the title. They
never played like a team who had
a target of four tries in mind. The
most ambitious thing they tried
in the first half was Elliot Daly’s
penalty kick at goal from five metres
deep in his own half. Their cautious
strategy was probably the right way
to play, given the complications of
the bonus point system (which has
added nothing to the championship
except needless mathematics) had
made their chances so impossibly
remote anyway.
But still, England’s struggles
made for a sharp contrast with the
way Ireland had gone about their
business against Scotland. Ireland
had been on the back foot in their
match too, they struggled to get
into the game during the first 30
minutes. But even in that period,
when they were up against it, they
were still turning down penalty
shots at goal so they could try to
force their way over the line from the
lineouts. Which spoke plenty about
both their ambition and just how
much self-assurance they have now.
England, on the other hand, seem
hesitant and confused, unsure of
what to do except put their heads
down and charge harder. They kept
going, just like they had against
Scotland, but they did not get
anywhere. So, next week’s game
has turned into a mirror image
of the final match in last year’s
championship, when England won
the title in the fourth round, but
then had to travel away to play
an Irish side who had already lost
twice, to try to win a grand slam.
Ireland found enough
motivation in the idea of spoiling
England’s grand slam and proving
themselves to be a better side than
they had shown in the tournament
so far. Jones will hope England do
too. Because looking back now it
seems clear the match between
them last year was a turning point
in the fortunes of both teams, the
point at which England started to
falter, and Ireland swept past them,
gathering speed and strength as
they went.
Best’s coach, Joe Schmidt, is
no less enthusiastic about the
prospect of enhancing his third
title as Ireland coach with Ireland’s
first grand slam since 2009. “I
think it would give me incredible
satisfaction,” he said, “because I
work with these young men, who do
an incredibly difficult job and work
incredibly hard. It would give me
satisfaction to see that rewarded.
They’re a great bunch.”
Even the vanquished coach,
Gregor Townsend, was excited
by the idea, saying a grand slam
“would be huge”. He added:
“Winning the home games is hard,
and Ireland managed to get an away
win against France in the 82nd
minute. Winning at Twickenham
would be a huge achievement.”
•
The Observer
11.03.18
4
Rugby union
NatWest Six Nations
Jones’s title hat-trick ambitions come to an
undistinguished end as a penalty try tilts a
scrappy contest away from the flat visitors
England’s
reign ends
22
FRANCE
16
ENGLAND
Paul Rees
Stade de France
England should seek sponsorship
from the RAC. Their title challenge
broke down in the French capital,
their chariot not so much swinging
low as missing a wheel and a couple
of cylinders. They secured the bonus
point they needed to delay Ireland’s
coronation but not the victory that
had to come with it.
Eddie Jones’s side had to win and
score four tries to take the Six Nations
title race into the final weekend. They
also had to dent Ireland’s vastly superior points difference but after a first
half largely notable for the mistakes
of both sides and the persistence of
the referee’s whistle, they were drawing a kicking contest 9-9, desperately
seeking inspiration.
England were without their captain,
Dylan Hartley, and, if his replacement
as hooker, Jamie George, led the tackle
count at the break with 13, the champions lacked direction and, at times,
purpose. The earlier rain had given
way to the balm of Paris in the spring
Analysis
England bow
out bluntly to
cast doubt on
Jones blueprint
Gerard
Meagher
Stade de France
and, if both teams took up the invitation to move the ball, they were both
lacking in the fundamentals.
France struggled in the set pieces.
They lost their first three lineout
throws and their tighthead prop,
Rabah Slimani, was twice penalised for taking down a scrum. The
look of disbelief on his face the first
time he was called by the referee, Jaco
Peyper, was replaced by an expression of weary resignation on the next
occasion, matching the understated
nature of the game.
England’s weakness was, again, the
breakdown when they were in possession. Too often they were more
concerned with setting up the next
move than delivering the ball and
conceded penalties after being outnumbered. Neither side was able to
sustain pressure and the few openings
that were created came from kicks.
England were 6-0 ahead after 21
minutes, Owen Farrell’s early penalty
supplemented by one from Elliot Daly
a few metres inside England’s half.
However, not even the interval teamtalk refreshed them because, within
three minutes of the restart, Mako
Vunipola was tackled by Mathieu
Bastareaud in France’s 22 and gave
away a penalty for holding on, with
the support too slow to reach him.
Another breakdown penalty later,
and an unguarded ruck that saw the
France captain, Guilhem Guirado,
award himself the freedom of the
ground, and the home side took the
lead for the first time.
Peyper was already playing advantage for another offence after a tackle
when François Trinh-Duc chipped
to the left-hand corner where Rémy
Grosso tapped the ball back. It landed
in the arms of Benjamin Fall, who
had moved to full-back at the start
of the second half in place of Hugo
Bonneval. He seemed certain to score
only for Anthony Watson, another
wing at 15, to fell him with a high
tackle. Peyper reviewed the incident
and sent Watson to the sin-bin before
awarding a penalty try that put France
16-9 ahead.
They should have extended their
advantage immediately when Grosso
skipped out of Danny Care’s tackle
to prompt a counter-attack that saw
Their set-piece
moves were easily
snuffed out by
a defence led
by Bastareaud
and Guirado
Gaël Fickou tackled just short of the
line and Maxime Machenaud held up
over it. France had not started like a
team expecting to win but the longer
the match was played at a pace they
were comfortable with, the more they
grew into it.
Three Machenaud penalties, the
last for a high tackle on Fall by Maro
Itoje, had taken them into the interval
level. Farrell had earlier made it 9-3
but the initial failure to find their way
over France’s line meant that England
had scored one try in three hours. The
early loss of the No8, Nathan Hughes,
with a knee injury hardly explained
their impotence: their set-piece
moves were easily snuffed out by a
defence led by Bastareaud and reinforced by the remarkable Guirado,
who by the time he was replaced 15
minutes from the end had carried the
ball more than any other forward and
made 10 tackles.
The battle was lost and the war
long gone with barely a shot fired
in anger until the closing stages.
England unravelled in Paris to the
extent that they are now at their
lowest ebb under Eddie Jones. A
late glimpse of what Owen Farrell
can do when he is let off the leash
may make for a silver lining if he
is given free rein from fly-half in
the future. But make no mistake:
the clouds looming over English
heads have darkened.
Ultimately England were
beaten by a mediocre French
side, thrown together at the
start of the championship, who
defended resolutely and bossed
the breakdown before finally
stumbling across the finish line.
Yes, England rallied and were
pushing for a late try at the end
but a strong last 10 minutes
cannot mask their failings and
there can be no doubting France
were deserved winners.
Again it was the breakdown
where England were exposed.
They conceded three penalties
there inside the opening quarter
and continued in a similar vein
thereafter. They had been warned
that Mathieu Bastareaud was as
effective in that area as Scotland’s
fetchers and Jones’s refusal to
alter his back row was baffling.
Sam Underhill may have sustained
an untimely injury but doing the
same thing over and over again
and expecting a different outcome
is not a good look for a coach of
Jones’s standing, not to mention
salary.
Equally concerning to Jones
will be just how rudderless
England were in the second
half until Farrell forgot
the script – maybe
even forgot he was
captain for the day –
and made a telling
intervention for
Jonny May’s try. It
would be easy to
say Dylan Hartley’s
leadership was
missed – and the
first hour was hardly
Farrell’s finest – but
while that may be
true of the first half, he does not
finish matches anyway.
No, this was a chance for
England to reassert their
dominance of Europe, to
prove that Murrayfield was
indeed an off-day and to
blow France apart. They
did not come close to
doing so and they have
now lost their last
three away matches
to the old Five
Nations. When such
a premium is placed
on winning, as it is by
Jones, it can backfire
badly when the habit
is lost. Win, lose or
draw against Ireland,
•
The Observer
11.03.18
Benjamin Fall is held up by a high
tackle from England’s Anthony Watson
which resulted in a France penalty try
How they rated
France
DAN MULLAN/GETTY IMAGES
Machenaud’s fourth penalty on
the hour extended France’s lead to
10 points, not enough of an advantage for a team to remove its most
influential player. England fought
their way back, Daly’s inside pass
for Jonny May to cross the line a
real contrast to the one attempted
by Bastareaud at the end of the first
half which went many metres forward and at the time summed up an
error-ridden contest.
At 16-19 England had the scent
of victory, if not the title, but when
a Courtney Lawes pass was intercepted, they conceded yet another
penalty at the breakdown through
Chris Robshaw which Lionel Beauxis
turned into three points.
Still France tried to throw it away:
when Luke Cowan-Dickie overthrew
a five-metre lineout with time up,
Beauxis failed to kick the ball dead
and they had to defend another
lineout. They were saved by the breakdown, Cowan-Dickie losing control of
the ball near France’s posts as he tried
to wriggle over and England had been
beaten more than once in the championship for the first time since 2010.
this has been a campaign in which
they regressed under Jones, whose
No 1 priority must surely be to
appoint an attack coach.
Jones (left) had predicted a
“slogathon” and there were
times when one could almost
hear England’s gears grinding.
This may not be a side built to
carve teams open but, when the
bludgeon was not working, there
was no sign of any blade with
which England could scythe their
way through France’s defence.
One-out passes to willing
forwards are all well and good but
get one nowhere if the ball is not
recycled quickly enough.
That Farrell decided England
would kick at goal whenever
within his or Elliot Daly’s range
gave a clue how they would
approach their bonus-point
mission. Grind France down, build
a lead, break their spirit and hope
their superior fitness would lead
to a flurry of late tries. The only
occasions in which England
looked to threaten the try-line in
the opening half, however, was
when Daly came off his wing
and joined the line. Maro Itoje
may have pinched a couple of
lineouts, too, but there was an
obvious lack of inspiration.
The penalty try for France
ensured the volume – already high
– was turned up further and, while
this can be one of the more hostile
environments to be chasing a
deficit in, England lost their way.
The bench was emptied but the
problem was it was full of players
– James Haskell, Mike Brown,
Richard Wigglesworth – far better
suited to starting.
A late linebreak from Ben Te’o
led to a period of pressure as
Farrell began to play what he saw
in a manner reminiscent of Danny
Cipriani’s late cameo here not
long before the 2015 World Cup,
because it suddenly all seemed
so simple. That defeat spooked
the England management to the
extent that it was the start of their
demise. Jones has far longer to
prepare his squad for Japan 2019
– but how he responds to this
setback will be just as fascinating.
France
England
Try Penalty
Pens Machenaud 4,
Beauxis
Try May
Con Farrell
Pens Farrell 2, Daly
Sin-bin Watson (48)
Referee Jaco Peyper (SA) Attendance 80,000
Ian Malin
England
5
Hugo Bonneval
Couldn’t repeat his thrilling form
against Italy after departing for
a head injury assessment. He
didn’t return after the break.
6
Anthony Watson
Part of England’s quickest back
three he offered more attacking
threat than Mike Brown. Unlucky
to concede penalty try.
6
Benjamin Fall
Denied a try by Anthony Watson’s
high tackle but the resulting
penalty try turned the game
France’s way just after the break.
6
Jonny May
His late try was a consolation but
he made some dangerous runs
and was England’s most threatening back.
7
Mathieu Bastareaud
The biggest back in the tournament. It often took two or three
English defenders to stop him.
The centre was always a danger.
6
Ben Te’o
Picked to counter the pace of
Bastareaud and offered some
direct running of his own.
Justified his selection.
6
Geoffrey Doumayrou
He is largely unheralded outside
La Rochelle but is proving a good
foil to Bastareaud and made
some good half-breaks.
7
Owen Farrell (capt)
England’s new captain has had
another excellent tournament.
He kicked astutely and landed
penalties when they mattered.
6
Rémy Grosso
The Clermont man always looked
a menace when he cut inside
from the left wing and cut out
the threat of Jonny May.
6
Elliot Daly
Announced his comeback with
a mammoth penalty and played
a key role in May’s try. Looked
short of match practice.
5
François Trinh-Duc
Return of the Toulon No 10 was
a qualified success. His kicking
was inconsistent but quick thinking led to France’s penalty try.
5
George Ford
Out-of-sorts at Murrayfield and
again didn’t control the game.
Substituted and his place is
under threat next weekend.
8
Maxime Machenaud
The Racing scrum-half was identified by Eddie Jones as France’s
danger man and so it proved.
One thumping tackle on May.
5
Danny Care
France’s back-row control at
the breakdown made the evening difficult and he is not making
those trademark sniping runs.
6
Jefferson Poirot
Solved the problem of scrummaging against the powerful Dan
Cole. Not the biggest loose-head
but made a major impression.
7
Mako Vunipola
He may not have relished meeting Clermont’s Slimani again
but he coped well in the scrums
alongside fellow Saracen George.
7
Guilhem Guirado (capt)
An important figure in the set
piece and loose; led by example
with another wholehearted display of heavy industry.
6
Jamie George
Dylan Hartley’s injury gave him
a starting opportunity but he
did not have things his own way.
Forceful in the loose.
6
Rabah Slimani
France’s most powerful scrummager made some important
tackles and was a key figure in a
dominant forward display.
5
Dan Cole
Made some big carries in the second half and was strong in the
scrums but Kyle Sinckler gives
them more energy in the loose.
6
Paul Gabrillagues
The Stade lock, on only his second Six Nations start, made
another big impact and was
strong in the set pieces.
6
Joe Launchbury
England’s most consistent
forward in the tournament was
playing well until surprisingly
substituted in the second half.
6
Sébastien Vahaamahina
The giant second-row struggled at the lineout against Itoje
but made some big carries and
crunching tackles after the break.
7
Maro Itoje
By his standards the lock has had
an average Six Nations but put
pressure on the French lineout in
his best display this year.
6
Wenceslas Lauret
The Racing man has had a strong
tournament and was another
key figure at the breakdown. He
made some decent line-breaks.
7
Courtney Lawes
Important figure in lineouts
and after Hughes left he was
England’s best ball-carrier
before going to the second row.
6
Yacouba Camara
He made some rampaging
runs in the first half and gave
the English back row an
uncomfortable evening.
5
Chris Robshaw
Needed to master Camara at the
breakdown but couldn’t manage
it. He worked industriously and
made some telling tackles.
6
Marco Tauleigne
France’s key ball-carrier against
Italy was prominent again and
was important at the breakdown
where France were impressive.
6
Nathan Hughes
He had been impressive on his
return from injury and made
some good carries before limping off with an injured left leg.
Man
of the
match
REPLACEMENTS
Adrien Pélissié (for Guirado 65) 6; Dany Priso (for
Poirot 65) 6; Cedate Gomes Sa (for Slimani 58) 6;
Bernard Le Roux (for Vahaamahina xx) 6; Kélian
Galletier (for Lauret 65) 6; Baptiste Couilloud (for
Machenaud 71) 6; Lionel Beauxis (for Trinh-Duc 71) 6;
Gaël Fickou (for Bonneval ht) 7
5
REPLACEMENTS
Luke Cowan-Dickie (for George 63) 6, Joe Marler (for
Vunipola 63) 6, Kyle Sinckler (for Cole 58) 7, James
Haskell (for Launchbury 53) 6, Sam Simmonds (for
Hughes 23) Added extra pace to the back row 6, Richard
Wigglesworth (for Care 66) 6, Jonathan Joseph (for
Ford 59) 6, Mike Brown (for Watson 66) 6
•
6
The Observer
11.03.18
Rugby union
NatWest Six Nations
Owen Watkin, who makes a first
Six Nations start today, plays a pass in
training, watched by Gareth Anscombe
Youngster’s bravado
epitomises coach’s
free-running tactical
shift, writes Paul Rees
Mum has not been the word in
the Wales camp in the build-up to
today’s Mother’s Day match against
Italy at the Principality Stadium, a
sideshow involving the also-rans
or, in the case of the Azzurri so far,
nonstarters.
“I would like to think we could
win quite comfortably,” says the
Wales centre Owen Watkin, who
will make his first start in the
Six Nations, one of 10 personnel
changes from the last-round defeat
in Dublin. When Wales have taken
a scalpel to selection in the past
its edge has been blunt and they
have not taken comfort in the
performances, such as against
Georgia last November or Japan a
year before.
“You are damned if you do and
damned if you don’t,” says the
Wales attack coach, Robert Howley,
when asked if making so many
changes to a side already without
Sam Warburton, Jonathan Davies
and Rhys Webb was disrespecting
the opposition. If you cannot have
a stocktake against a side that have
lost their last 15 matches in the Six
Nations, when can you?
The Italy head coach, Conor
O’Shea, does not take Wales’s
remodelling as an insult. He should
feel relieved as he scours for his
first victory in the Six Nations since
taking charge two summers ago
and, if Italy either win or come close
to doing so for the first time in
Cardiff, he may have a different take.
In his playing days he was capped
by his opposite number, Warren
Gatland, who was in charge of
Ireland between 1998 and 2001,
and he has a deep respect for the
New Zealander.
Gatland confidently predicted
at the Six Nations launch that
Wales would win the title for the
first time since 2013 but, with two
rounds to go, they are playing for
the consolation prizes after defeats
away to England and Ireland in
matches that were in the balance
in the closing seconds. In political
terms they were only a small swing
away from going into this weekend
on top.
There is a sense of Gatland
asserting his authority in selection.
He publicly questioned the wisdom
of selecting Dan Biggar at fly-half
against Ireland after he had missed
the first two matches through
injury. He has often deferred to his
specialist coaches in his 10 years
in charge but the way he went
out of his way to reveal he had
told Biggar’s replacement, Gareth
Anscombe, before the Ireland
match that he was not sure they had
made the right call at 10, suggested
that he would have preferred
Anscombe in the position at the
start of the tournament ahead of
Rhys Patchell.
The Wales team are a rugby world
away from the brawny lineups they
fielded when they were at their
peak, like a fen to a mountain:
Watkin may be raw but he has the
footballing instincts of the players
the country produced a couple of
generations ago. Gatland has picked
a team to run and keep running:
he has opted for two openside
flankers in Justin Tipuric and the
BEN EVANS/HUW EVANS/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
Watkin struts
into Gatland’s
Wales reboot
uncapped James Davies, has left out
his three best goal-kickers and has
omitted his captain, Alun Wyn Jones,
a player who can hold the team
together when they are in danger of
falling apart.
Davies and Tipuric are both
ancillary three-quarters, revelling
in open spaces. Wales will need to
guard rucks, with Sergio Parisse
Watkin has
the footballing
instincts of the
players produced
a couple of
generations ago
It may be the same for Wales who,
while picking a side to play fast
and wide, have included only four
players from the region who have
patented the approach in Wales, the
Scarlets, although Liam Williams
and George North are both alumni.
Victory is not a given against a side
who matched them for 50 minutes
last season.
O’Shea, who confined himself
to one change from Marseille, will
use Wales’s selection as a spur
for his players but they will need
to control possession and snare
their opponents between desire
and reality. Two years ago Wales
recorded the mother of all victories
over the Azzurri, piling up 67
points in the match before O’Shea’s
takeover. It is unlikely to be so easy
this time.
The Blindside
Festival of Women’s Sport
STEVE BARDENS/GETTY IMAGES FOR HARLEQUINS
past his best but still influential,
and Sebastian Negri blessed with
an eye for an opportunity and the
power to exploit it. Italy may not
have won in the Six Nations since
Jacques Brunel was in charge but
they had their moments against
England, crafting two tries, and
went one better in Dublin, albeit
after trailing by 28 points at
the break.
The defeat in Marseille in the last
round showcased their vulnerability.
They lost concentration at vital
moments in defence and attack
in losing 34-17 against France but
O’Shea has blooded players, such as
the full-back Matteo Minozzi and
the flanker Negri, who have made
an impact. O’Shea’s problem is that
Italy’s strength has been individual
rather than collective.
A crowd of 4,542
were at the Stoop to
see the Premier 15s
match between
Harlequins Ladies and
Richmond FC – thereby
setting the record for the
highest attendance for a
women’s club rugby match
in the UK. Elsewhere,
England Women were
hoping to outperform their
male counterparts in the
Six Nations by winning
away to France, in Grenoble.
Both sides went into the
game with three wins, with
the victors chasing a grand
slam next weekend.
Man of the day
Consistency of the day
King of the
intercept Jacob
Stockdale – the
first player to score
multiple tries in
three straight
Four/Five/Six Nations games
since Cyril Lowe in 1914.
Ireland used every minute well –
grabbing a try just before half-time
for the second game in a row.
Dangerous game of the day
Viewers playing the France v England
drinking game – a drink every time a
commentator or pundit said “bonus
point” – were in trouble early on.
Letdown of the day
The otherwise-top notch Stuart Hogg
played a key role in Scotland’s three
most glaring missed try chances. He
threw two overpowered passes to
Blair Kinghorn out wide and suffered
from a Huw Jones blunder when just
a saunter from the posts.
Celebration
of the day
Ireland made
the most of it –
letting the kids
join the fun at
the end.
•
The Observer
11.03.18
Football
Premier League
7
Willian sparks more passionate
league display from Conte’s
men as Palace struggle to cope
with home side’s endeavour
1
Willian 25, Kelly 32og
Van Aanholt 90
CHELSEA
62%
CRYSTAL PALACE
Possession
38%
8
Shots on Target
2
27
Total Attempts
9
Paul MacInnes
Stamford Bridge
Chelsea claimed three points after
a turbulent week, but their performance still left something to
be desired as Crystal Palace nearly
clawed their way back into the match
with a display of fighting spirit.
Two goals in a dominant first half,
both of which interacted with the
body of Martin Kelly on their way in,
provided Chelsea with a platform
for victory. But the introduction of
Wilfried Zaha at half-time gave the
visitors renewed heart and Patrick
van Aanholt pulled a goal back in
the 90th minute to test the nerves of
Stamford Bridge unduly.
Antonio Conte was a manager
under pressure before this match, as
much because of his perceived pessimism over his team’s prospects as
their results. Results have not been
good, with only four victories from
18 competitive games in 2018, but as
much as anything Chelsea needed to
show some passion and endeavour
in their play.
To that end Conte will have been
grateful to recall N’Golo Kanté,
How they stand
TOP EIGHT
Manchester City
Manchester United
Liverpool
Tottenham
Chelsea
Arsenal
Burnley
Leicester
P
29
30
30
29
30
29
30
30
W D
L
25
3
1
20
5
5
17
9
4
17
7
5
17
5
8
13
6 10
11 10
9
10 10 10
F
83
58
68
55
52
52
27
45
A
20
23
34
24
27
41
26
43
GD
+63
+35
+34
+31
+25
+11
+1
+2
Pts
78
65
60
58
56
45
43
40
Willian wheels away after keeping up his fine form to give Chelsea the lead against Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge
‘Kanté returned
to the heart of
midfield and set
the high tempo
Chelsea needed’
before the game, with the return of
Mamadou Sakho and, even more
importantly, Zaha to their bench. Roy
Hodgson threw on Zaha for the second half and his talisman made an
immediate impact. Seizing on a miscontrol from Andreas Christensen in
the 49th minute, Zaha set Alexander
Sørloth clear on goal. The Norwegian
JAVIER GARCIA/BPI/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
2
missing from defeat at Manchester
City last week after fainting during
a training session. The Frenchman
returned to the heart of the home
midfield and was as busy as ever,
setting the high tempo that Chelsea
needed.
Davide Zappacosta and Olivier
Giroud were also brought into the
side, and each helped in their own
way too. Giroud offered a focal point
but also a poaching instinct, and
might have turned a Kanté shot past
Wayne Hennessey in the eighth minute had his foot been an inch longer.
The opening goal came from a
player Conte has sometimes been
reluctant to rely upon, but who has
proven highly dependable for Chelsea
this season. Willian has only completed 90 minutes six times this
season and played less than half the
matches during Chelsea’s downturn
since the new year. His 25th minute
strike was his fifth in as many games,
however, and it was all his own work.
Picking up the ball on the left hand
touchline, he drifted towards the box,
shimmying past two defenders before
hitting a low shot with his right foot.
His effort took a small deflection off
Martin Kelly, hit the inside of the post
and went in.
Seven minutes later and the home
side had doubled their lead with a
goal equal parts beautiful and gormless. It began with Cesc Fàbregas
spinning a pass from deep inside his
own half to release Marcos Alonso
down the left. Alonso crossed to
Willian, who dummied for Hazard
in the box. The Belgian pushed the
ball to his right where Zappacosta
was advancing once more. The wingback’s shot beat Hennessey but was
blocked by Kelly. Unfortunately for the
Palace defender, his clearance was in
turn blocked by his goalkeeper’s flying frame and bounced backwards,
via Kelly’s knee, into the net.
Perhaps in an act of karmic
rebalancing, Kelly’s defensive partner,
James Tomkins, denied Giroud a goal
on the stroke of half-time with an
inadvertant backheel off the line.
For Palace the good news had come
TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS
Chelsea
get mojo
working
Martin Kelly’s clearance hits Wayne Hennessey to double Palace’s deficit
striker, a January signing, let off a shot
that flew beyond Thibaut Courtois
but back off the near post.
Zaha brought an attacking threat
to Palace that had been absolutely
lacking in the first half. But Chelsea
were not about to rest on their laurels and should have increased their
lead on the hour mark. Again Willian
was the danger, forcing a save from
Hennessey with a direct free kick,
then – in the same passage of play
– producing two crosses that first
Zappacosta then Giroud should
have turned home. Six minutes later
Giroud should have scored again but
hit the post from the penalty spot.
Giroud was withdrawn for Alvaro
Morata as Chelsea’s thoughts began
to turn to midweek and Barcelona.
Palace took advantage. First Sørloth
had a goal chalked off for a foul. Then
Van Aanholt tucked home a blind pass
from Zaha on the break.
Chelsea
3-4-3
Courtois; Azpilicueta
Christensen, Cahill;
Zappacosta, Fàbregas
(Pedro, 88), Kanté, Alonso;
Willian, Hazard (Bakayoko,
88), Giroud (Morata, 72■)
Subs not used Caballero,
Moses, Emerson, Ampadu
Crystal Palace
4-4-2
Hennessey; Wan-Bissaka,
Kelly, Tomkins■, Van
Aanholt■; Townsend
(Chung-yong,81),
McArthur, Milivojevic,
Schlupp (Riedewald, 75);
Benteke (Zaha, ht), Sørloth
Subs not used Sakho,
Souaré, Fosu-Mensah
Referee Anthony Taylor Attendance 40,800
•
8
The Observer
11.03.18
Football
Premier League
Forward lights up Old Trafford in his first
league start of the year with a clinical
double to halt charge of Klopp’s Liverpool
Rashford
roars back
2
1
Rashford 14 24
Bailly 66og
MAN UTD
33%
LIVERPOOL
Possession
67%
2
Shots on Target
2
5
Total Attempts
14
Daniel Taylor
Old Trafford
As the one Mancunian in Jos é
Mourinho’s team, Marcus Rashford
will know enough about north-west
rivalries to understand why this
counts as one of the more pleasing results of Manchester United’s
season. It may not make a jot of difference when it comes to the destination
of the league title, with Manchester
City haughtily observing from a long
distance away, but Rashford chose a
good day to remind everyone of his
penetrative qualities.
This was Rashford’s first league
start since the turn of the year and,
on this evidence, maybe the break has
done him good. He has struggled at
times this season and his return to
form is certainly well-timed from the
perspective of Gareth Southgate. The
England manager was watching from
the Sir Bobby Charlton stand and
will have appreciated Rashford’s two
diagonal finishes; Southgate’s latest
England squad will be announced on
Thursday.
Of more immediacy is the fact
those goals have helped consolidate
United’s position in the battle for
second place, albeit they remain 13
points behind City.
For Liverpool that will be a source
of intense frustration when they had
so much of the ball in promising positions during the second half and the
six minutes of stoppage-time. Jürgen
Klopp was entitled to say his team
could have saved themselves during
that part of the match.
Ultimately, though, Liverpool’s
problem was that none of their bighitters reached their usual levels.
Mohamed Salah in particular picked
United’s early
confidence was
reflected in Bailly
taking the ball
around Salah
with a pirouette
Analysis
A case of Dejan vu all
over again for Lovren
The defender was
exposed for United’s
goals but pays price
for Klopp’s attacking
commitment, writes
Jonathan Wilson
A long ball. Dejan Lovren steps tight
to Romelu Lukaku, tries to shove
him, fails to move him and drops
off. Lukaku wins the header and
Marcus Rashford scores.
A long ball. Lovren steps tight
to Lukaku, fails to unsettle him.
Lukaku wins the header and
Rashford, after the brief intervention
of a block challenge on Juan Mata,
a bad day to put in one of his least
effective performances and it was
unusual to see Roberto Firmino and
Sadio Mané so subdued.
Perhaps that was because of the
way United defended so deeply in
the second half, protecting themselves against the counterattack. But
that was not so relevant in the opening 45 minutes when the home side
were clearly buoyed by Rashford’s
goals and there was even the sight
of Eric Bailly taking the ball around
Salah with a little pirouette.
The crowd loved Bailly’s impudence and, though Mourinho did
not look quite so thrilled with that
kind of risk-taking, it was a reflection of the home side’s confidence in
that period.
It was shortly afterwards when
Romelu Lukaku’s long crossfield pass
picked out Rashford on the left, the
ball was clipped into the penalty area
and Juan Mata flashed an overhead
kick narrowly wide. Had that one
gone in it would have been a goal-ofthe-season contender.
Unfortunately for Bailly, not everything he tried came off so elegantly.
Midway through the second half, the
centre-back went to clear Mané’s leftwing delivery and somehow slashed
the ball the wrong way to divert it
past David de Gea. It was an eccentric own goal, ensuring a blistering
and tense finale and, for United, it
was a desperate scramble at times
to hold on.
Their tactics throughout the final
exchanges could be encapsulated
by Mourinho’s decision to bring
on Marouane Fellaini for Rashford.
Fellaini blocked and tackled, jumped
and harried and got in the way. It was
exactly what United needed.
Liverpool will think back to the
moment 10 minutes into the second half, when Andrew Robertson’s
cross struck Antonio Valencia’s hand
inside the penalty area only for
scores. For Liverpool it was a case of
Dejan vu all over again.
This was not as bad as his
performance at Wembley against
Tottenham, when Lovren played as
though dazed, but it was another
game in which Liverpool conceded
goals that, from a defensive point
of view, came through the Croat.
There can be little doubt that José
Mourinho had isolated the weakness
and his Manchester United team
then ruthlessly exploited it.
To single out Lovren, though,
would be unfair. He is, after all,
battling injury. He did make one
excellent tackle on a breaking
Lukaku in injury time. And, when up
against a more powerful forward,
a central defender has the right to
expect some assistance from his
team-mates, to trust that they might
anticipate the striker winning a
flick-on.
This, perhaps, is simply the
nature of modern football. There is a
giddiness to it, an urge to play always
on the front foot that priorities a
certain type of defender, those who
can push high and pass the ball
but are not necessarily much good
at the more traditional aspects of
defending. Positional sense and pace
have replaced tackling and winning
aerial duels. To some extent, all
those sides who play with a high
press – not only Liverpool, but also
Manchester City, Napoli, perhaps
even Tottenham – have the same
vulnerability: they can overwhelm
the referee, Craig Pawson, to give
United’s captain the benefit of the
doubt. Klopp also mentioned a risky
penalty-box challenge from Fellaini
on Mané but there was no real explanation as to why it took Liverpool
so long to get into their stride. Their
nervousness in the first half was
unusual when they have scored even
more away goals this season than
Manchester City.
For United, perhaps the only
slight downside came in the form of
Alexis Sánchez’s continuing difficulties in adjusting to his new team. At
European hangover?
Jürgen Klopp’s
Liverpool have
now won just
one of their
seven Premier
League games
on the weekends
immediately
following a midweek
Champions League match.
They fell victim to a typically
efficient Manchester United
attacking display: the home
side had only two shots on
target – with Marcus Rashford
scoring from both of them.
•
The Observer
11.03.18
Marcus Rashford opens the scoring
against Liverpool with a crisply hit
strike after cutting in from the left
9
Mourinho slams fans
‘Reaction against kid
McTominay was bad’
José Mourinho was critical of
the Manchester United crowd
and questioned whether some
supporters were being unfair on
Scott McTominay. The manager
took exception to a moment
in the second half when the
inexperienced midfielder played
a backward pass rather than
choosing to attack.
Mourinho’s decision to
substitute Marcus Rashford
was booed by some fans but he
was more aggrieved by what
he perceived to be a negative
response to McTominay.
“The fans can do what they
want,” Mourinho said. “I am
not upset at all with
that reaction [about
Rashford]. But I am
upset with the reaction
they had with Scott
McTominay. A kid of
20 years old was
making all the
right decisions
and they wanted
him to make the
wrong decisions.
“When he
decides to break
the intensity of
the game, it was a
wonderful solution
and the fans reacted
against the kid. That
was the bad one. To
react against me, that
was not the problem.”
Daniel Taylor
one stage he had the chance to set
Rashford free but chose the wrong
pass to Lukaku and overhit it anyway. A bemused Mourinho turned
to his coaching staff and drew back
his foot to show how it should have
been played.
Sánchez had a poor match but that
did not matter too greatly when the
players around him were rising to the
occasion and it did not take long for it
to become clear that Rashford could
make this a difficult game for Trent
Alexander-Arnold. In the 14th minute,
Lukaku flicked on De Gea’s goal-kick
and Rashford had his first chance to
take on Liverpool’s right-back. He
eluded him with a clever cut-back,
changing direction at speed, and beat
Loris Karius with a shot of power and
precision.
Lukaku was involved again for
what turned out to be the decisive
goal. This time, Mata had the first
chance, running on to the striker’s
weighted pass, but Virgil van Dijk
came across to turn the ball away.
The problem for Liverpool was that
Karius was now out of position and
the ball was rolling invitingly towards
Rashford. Again, he went for the
corner he had picked out 10 minutes earlier and the ball flicked off
Alexander-Arnold’s heel to deceive
Liverpool’s goalkeeper.
opponents, but get at them and there
is a brittleness.
Mourinho stands against that
trend. He is – pathologically, it
can seem at times – conservative
in that regard which is why his
critics so often suggest his ideas
are a little passé. He does not play
an integrated, fluent, coherent
attacking style. He wants defenders
who can defend – and midfielders
who can defend, and forwards
who can defend. That’s why Scott
McTominay, unfussy and reliable as
he is, is such a boon for Mourinho.
Yesterday the 21 year old sat,
patient and unremarkable, in front of
the back four, he and Nemanja Matic
forming a breakwater against which
waves of Liverpool’s attack fruitlessly
crashed. Of McTominay’s 42 touches,
only 12 came in the Liverpool half
and eight of those were within 10
yards of the halfway line.
Liverpool have no such player and
would have no use for such a player.
Theirs is a strategy that can produce
devastating attacking football but
one that will always be prone to
this type of glitch. This was an even
game, perhaps even one Liverpool
had the better of, other than those
two goals and the overhead kick an
unmarked Juan Mata put wide in the
first half. Yet Mourinho’s side had
just 32 per cent of possession and
never really seemed under pressure.
It is hard to imagine a time
when the top flight was so divided
between two such competing styles:
the possession-driven high press on
the one side and the anti-possession
low block on the other. The former
may be more thrilling but it carries a
risk and here that was manifested in
the two aerial duels Lovren lost.
But that is not really to blame
him: there will always be a Lovren.
It may not always be the Croat but
in a system like Liverpool’s there
will always be a defender who can
be isolated. That is the risk Klopp
takes into every game. Mourinho
would love there always to be a
McTominay. It may not always
be the Scot, but in a set-up like
United’s, there will always be a
midfielder to protect the back four.
That’s the security he looks to take
into every game.
Manchester United
4-2-3-1
Liverpool
4-3-3
Karius; Alexander-Arnold
(Wijnaldum 80), Lovren,
Van Dijk, Robertson
(Solanke 84); OxladeChamberlain■ (Lallana
62), Can, Milner; Salah,
Firmino, Mané
Subs not used Mignolet,
Gomez, Henderson, Matip
Referee Craig Pawson Attendance 74,855
De Gea; Valencia■, Bailly,
Smalling, Young;
McTominay, Matic; Mata
(Lingard 89), Sánchez
(Darmian 90), Rashford■
(Fellaini 70); Lukaku
Subs not used Romero,
Lindelöf, Carrick, Shaw
SERENA TAYLOR/NEWCASTLE UNITED VIA GETTY IMAGES)
OLI SCARFF/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Kenedy wheels away after opening the scoring in the second minute
Kenedy fires neat
double to worsen
Saints’ unholy mess
3
0
NEWCASTLE
SOUTHAMPTON
Kenedy 2 29, Ritchie 57
38%
Possession
62%
5
Shots on Target
2
7
Total Attempts
6
Louise Taylor
St James’ Park
Rafael Benítez has pledged to ban
alcohol during Newcastle’s impending warm-weather training trip to
Alicante but he may now be tempted
to relax that ruling.
A thoroughly restorative win featuring two goals from the gifted loanee
winger Kenedy not only assuaged his
side’s relegation anxieties but exacerbated Southampton’s own fears of
falling into the Championship.
Mauricio Pellegrino’s side have
now won one of their last 17 league
games and they seemed to surrender here. Pellegrino was subjected
to chants of “you don’t know what
you’re doing” and later acknowledged
that his side had “given up”.
Dominant in midfield against
opponents apparently averse to competing for second balls, Mohamed
Diamé and Jonjo Shelvey, impressive
as they were, have rarely enjoyed such
a straightforward afternoon.
“I’m really disappointed,” said
Pellegrino, who worked under Benítez
at Liverpool and Internazionale. “We
were never a threat to Newcastle. I
must apologise to our supporters
because we did not represent our
club well enough. You can have good
players but without personality it’s
really difficult to compete. We have to
switch on our spirit. The players are
intelligent; they know what they did.”
While Pellegrino grimly nodded
agreement with a reporter’s assertion that Southampton had “given
up”, Benítez’s relief was obvious. “We
still have to win two or three games
but we had control today,” said the
Newcastle manager. “Kenedy’s using
his quality to make a difference to us.”
The same goes for Shelvey. In
the second minute he lifted a long
pass in Kenedy’s direction and the
Chelsea loanee responded by chesting it down, swivelling imperiously
past Cédric, who was too tight, and
guiding a shot into the bottom corner.
The frown creasing Pellegrino’s
forehead deepened when Kenedy
soon scored a second. It was initiated by Ayoze Pérez, who broke from
deep after the unconvincing Lemina
failed to win a header following a
Southampton corner. A fast, fluent
attacking move concluded with Gayle
unselfishly sliding a first-time pass to
Kenedy, whose left foot did the rest.
If Shelvey’s through-balls continually caught the eye, Diamé’s somewhat
less showy display alongside him
arguably proved just as important.
With the Senegal international diligently protecting his defence by
destroying Southampton attacks
at the source, Pellegrino’s horizon
looked as bleak as the Tyneside skies.
Icy rain was falling when Matt
Ritchie registered a third and Shelvey
was once again the provider. After
deceiving Southampton’s defence
by shaping to shoot, his pass picking up the unmarked Ritchie whose
low, side-footed shot defied the goalkeeper, Alex McCarthy.
By the time Guido Carrillo dodged
Jamaal Lascelles and unleashed
Southampton’s first shot on target, directing it straight at Martin
Dubravka, almost an hour had passed.
If that faulty connection seemed
emblematic of Pellegrino’s afternoon,
Newcastle head to Spain already feeling the first hint of sun on their backs
at the end of a long hard winter.
Newcastle
4-2-3-1
Southampton
4-3-2-1
Dubravka; Lascelles,
Yedlin, Lejeune, Dummett;
Shelvey (Merino 83),
Diamé; Ritchie, Pérez,
Kenedy (Atsu 78); Gayle
(Joselu 69)
Subs not used Darlow,
Clark, Murphy, Manquillo
McCarthy; Cedric,
Stephens■, Hoedt■,
Bertrand; Hojbjerg, Lemina
(Sims ht); Ward-Prowse,
Tadic (Long ht), Redmond,
Carrillo (Gabbiadini 66)
Subs not used Forster,
Romeu, Boufal, Bednarek
Referee Andre Mariner Attendance 52,246
•
10
The Observer
11.03.18
Football
Premier League
Chaos at West
Ham as fan fury
overshadows
defeat by Burnley
3
WEST HAM
BURNLEY
Barnes 66, Wood 70 81
53%
Possession
47%
4
Shots on Target
4
13
Total Attempts
7
Jacob Steinberg
London Stadium
West Ham are facing an investigation
by the Football Association after their
defeat by Burnley was marred by ugly
scenes on and off the pitch as stewards at the London Stadium failed to
stop angry supporters from mounting furious protests against the club’s
unpopular board.
An afternoon that was supposed to
be remembered for the 25th anniversary of Bobby Moore’s death turned
into one of chaos and farce as the
London Stadium’s security failings
were exposed again by hundreds of
supporters gathering in front of the
directors’ box after Burnley took the
lead in the second half. A female steward was knocked to the ground in the
crush, Mark Noble, West Ham’s captain, threw one of several pitch invaders
to the turf and the Metropolitan police
received two allegations of assault.
David Sullivan and David Gold,
West Ham’s co-owners, were escorted
from their seats in the 84th minute, sparking derisive jeers from the
seething protesters, who chanted for
the removal of the board. West Ham
are likely to face punishment from
the FA. The governing body will take
a dim view of what took place bearing
in mind there was crowd trouble at
the London Stadium on several occasions last season.
A spokesman for the Met said:
“Towards the end of the fixture
Saturday Sundae
Man of the day
Marcus Rashford –
officially a big-time
striker, scoring 29% of
his shots against the big
six, compared with 10% against the rest.
Gareth Soutgate was there, taking note.
Goal of the day
Eric Bailly’s back-flicked own goal
screamer. José Mourinho on Bailly:
“Fantastic performance, amazing goal.”
0
HUDDERSFIELD
81%
Clockwise from top: one of several pitch invaders attempts to plant a corner
flag in the centre circle; fans target co-owner David Sullivan; and police intervene
fans overwhelmed a handful of stewards. There were more pitch invasions.
One fan made off with a corner flag
and stuck it in the centre circle. Play
stopped briefly while the referee, Lee
Mason, spoke to both benches.
“As a supporter you can’t cross the
line,” the West Ham manager, David
Moyes, said. “You know you can’t
come on the pitch. That’s the rules.”
He was soon facing questions about
what it would be like to have to play
games behind closed doors.
Both managers praised the officials for calming the game and Moyes
admitted he was worried Noble
would be sent off. Barnes, meanwhile,
tripped one invader.
It beggared belief how long it took
before police appeared. Eventually, 16
officers marched on to the perimeter
of the pitch. Sir Trevor Brooking, sitting on his own in the directors’ box
by the end, could only shake his head
in dismay as he watched his old team
slump further into disarray.
West Ham
4-2-3-1
Burnley
4-4-1-1
Hart; Zabaleta, Collins,
Ogbonna, Cresswell■;
Noble, Kouyaté; Mário
(Hernández 71), Lanzini■,
Antonio; Arnautovic
Subs not used Adrián,
Rice, Evra, Cullen,
Browne, Hugill
Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski,
Mee, Ward; Lennon■, Cork,
Westwood■, Gudmundsson;
Hendrick (Wood 61);
Barnes (Vokes 89)
Subs not used Lindegaard,
Bardsley, Long, Marney,
N’Koudou
Referee Lee Mason Attendance 56,904
Cameo of the day
Comeback of the day
Journeys of the day
24 hours after winning Swansea’s
player of the month, Jordan Ayew
turned up energised for their
Huddersfield six-pointer. He did well
for 11 minutes, then exited via the
earliest top-flight red card this season.
Riyah Mahrez, three days after
hackers announced his retirement
from football via his Facebook account,
teeing up the equaliser at West Brom,
then scoring Leicester’s second.
Plymouth fans endured a 648-mile
round-trip to Fleetwood for a 1-1 draw.
They had a better time of it than MK
Dons fans, though, who made it through
most of their 155-mile trip to Bradford
before the game was called off.
Game of the day
Thought for the day
A quote from 25 July 2016 – West
Ham’s Karren Brady reassuring
sceptical fans: “Be in no doubt,
we are part of the most successful
stadium migration in history.”
0
SWANSEA
Possession
19%
4
Shots on Target
0
30
Total Attempts
0
Paul Doyle
John Smith’s Stadium
DAVID KLEIN/REUTERS; CHRISTOPHER LEE/WEST HAM VIA GETTY IMAGES
0
between West Ham and Burnley at
the London Stadium on Saturday
10 March, four separate pitch invasions by individual home fans took
place. During the pitch incursions an
impromptu protest took place within
the stadium with around 200 people
gathering under the directors’ box.
Two allegations of assault have been
received by police. These are being
investigated. Exit from the stadium
following the game passed without
incident. At this stage there have been
no arrests.”
West Ham, who do not play again
until hosting Southampton on 31
March, plan to take swift action.
“West Ham United have immediately
launched a full and thorough investigation into the incidents which marred
the second half of today’s match and
are committed to taking decisive and
appropriate action,” the club said in
a statement. “An emergency meeting has been called with all London
Stadium stakeholders. There will be no
further comment at this time.”
As disgraceful as the scenes were,
however, they had always felt possible
bearing in mind the ugly circumstances surrounding the cancellation
of a proposed protest march before
this game. The response from security after Ashley Barnes gave Burnley
the lead was bewilderingly slow.
The goal stemmed from an inspired
change by Sean Dyche, who replaced
Jeff Hendrick with Chris Wood and
saw the substitute tee up Barnes for a
fine finish in the 66th minute.
The mood swiftly turned sour. A fan
ran on to the pitch, with no steward
tackling him for at least a minute, and
clashed with Noble, who threw him
to the ground. While that fan was led
away, two more ran on to the pitch.
Burnley scored again in the 70th minute, Wood turning a loose ball past Joe
Hart. The striker would score his second after an error by the recalled Hart.
By then attention had turned to
the astonishing scene in front of the
directors’ box, where hundreds of
Huddersfield
fail to make
most of Ayew’s
early red card
Hull’s 4-3 comeback win over
Norwich, with features including a
first-half hat-trick and four penalties
– the first game in England’s top four
tiers to feature four spot-kicks since
Man City v Spurs in October 2014.
Excuse of the day
Lionel Messi pulled out of Barça’s game
for undisclosed reasons - then disclosed
them a few hours later on Instagram.
“Welcome Ciro! Mum and baby are
very well. We are super happy!!!!!”
Huddersfield have not become
so high and mighty that they can
look down their noses at a Premier
League point, but they were
entitled to feel shortchanged by
this one because two more seemed
tantalisingly attainable. David
Wagner’s team had almost a full
match in which to convert numerical
supremacy into victory after Jordan
Ayew was sent off in the 11th minute
but they wound up banging their
heads against the brick wall erected
by Swansea’s 10 remaining players.
Carlos Carvalhal’s celebrations
at the final whistle attested to
how highly the visitors prized this
result. “Before the game a point
would have been good; after the
game it is massive, because of the
circumstances,” he said.
What looked like being an even
contest changed when Ayew was
dismissed for fouling Jonathan
Hogg near the halfway line. The
forward’s lunging challenge looked
reckless rather than spiteful but he
ended up planting his studs into his
opponent’s knee, so the referee had
to order him off.
Swansea switched immediately
into survival mode, and barely left
their half for the rest of the match.
By full-time Huddersfield had 30
shots to Swansea’s zero.
Too few of those shots were on
target, however. Only one forced
Lukas Fabianski to display his inner
acrobat, tipping a drive by Steve
Mounié on to the crossbar.
Huddersfield’s dominance
increased in the second half but
sharpness still eluded them. Hogg
flashed a drive inches wide in the
50th minute before Scott Malone
failed to connect with the ball
from six yards out. Tom Ince came
agonisingly close to snatching
victory in stoppage time but his
header hit a post.
Huddersfield
4-2-3-1
Swansea
3-5-2
Lössl; Hadergjonaj■,
Fabianski; Van der Hoorn,
Schindler, Jorgensen,
Fernández, Mawson■;
Malone; Mooy (Williams
Naughton, King, Ki (Carroll
69), Hogg; Ince, Pritchard
89), Clucas, Olsson■; J
(Quaner■ 65), Van La
Ayew■, A Ayew■
Parra (Depoitre 78);
(Abraham 73)
Mounie
Subs not used Narsingh,
Subs not used Smith,
Dyer, Nordfeldt, Bartley,
Roberts
Sabiri, Coleman, Löwe
Referee Michael Oliver Attendance 23,567
•
LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
The Observer
11.03.18
Riyad Mahrez beats Ben Foster to put Leicester City in front at the Hawthorns
Pardew to ask West Brom
board if they want a change
1
4
Rondón
Vardy 21, Mahrez 62,
Iheanacho 76, Iborra 90
WEST BROM
LEICESTER
46%
Possession
54%
2
Shots on Target
6
6
Total Attempts
14
Stuart James
The Hawthorns
With relegation all but a formality
for West Bromwich Albion after yet
another chastening defeat, the only
question that remains is how much
longer the club’s board will tolerate
the sight of Alan Pardew presiding
over their hapless plight.
This was their seventh successive
defeat, leaving them eight points
adrift of safety with eight matches
remaining. Pardew admitted it has
now reached the stage where he
needs to approach the board to see if
they wish to make a change.
The West Brom manager made it
clear he is not the sort of character
to “lay down tools”‚ yet this was the
sort of performance that suggested
the players are resigned to their
fate. West Brom collapsed from the
moment Riyad Mahrez put Leicester
ahead in the second half and by
the time Vicente Iborra headed in
Leicester’s fourth goal, deep into
injury time, the majority of the home
supporters had already made their
way to the exits.
West Brom have won only one of
their past 28 league matches and it
is nigh on impossible to see any scenario other than relegation.
Pardew has been in charge for 15
of those games, collecting only eight
points in the process without ever
giving the impression he is capable
of hauling his club out of trouble.
“Before you even ask me the question, ‘will I speak to upstairs?’, yeah, of
course I will, because it’s getting difficult,” Pardew said. “My pride on the
sideline is such that I don’t want to
stand there for that last 15-20 minutes and watch that. My teams are
better than that and I want my team
here to be better than that. I said to the
players afterwards, that last period of
the game is unacceptable.
“In terms of the team and the
results and everything, it is what it is.
And I want the best for West Brom.
For me it’s about planning next week
and what will be a difficult game
down at Bournemouth. But I’ll still
talk to [the board] and get a feeling of
what they think because they might
think a change is a better thing for
the club.
“But the one thing I’m not going
to do is lay down tools. I was saying
to the players you’ve got to fight to
the end and I’m criticising them for
the last 20 minutes that we weren’t
fighting.
“I don’t care what job you’re in, if
you’re under pressure and you ain’t
going to fight, then don’t bother
turning up. So I’ll continue to fight,
because that’s in me.”
Although West Brom took the
lead through a well-taken volley
from Salomón Rondón and came
close to scoring a second when
Kasper Schmeichel pushed Grzegorz
Krychowiak’s volley on to the bar, their
fragile confidence was soon exposed.
Jamie Vardy equalised with an
exquisite volley – the England striker
allowed Mahrez’s perfectly weighted
pass to drop over his shoulder before
striking it sweetly into the far corner
– and Mahrez neatly tucked away
Kelechi Iheanacho’s lovely pass early
in the second half to put Leicester in
front.
Pardew withdrew Krychowiak
a few minutes before that goal and
the manager made it clear he was
unhappy with the midfielder’s reaction to be substituted. “I do have a
problem with it, because I’ve supported him and played him and stuck
11
Pardew’s pain
The story so far
West Brom were
16th when they
hired Alan
Pardew on
29 November,
without a win
since mid-August.
“This is one of the great,
traditional clubs,” he said. “I’m
thrilled to work with this talented
group.” Their form since:
D
L
D
L
L
D
D
L
W
D
L
L
L
L
L
L
2 Dec
9 Dec
13 Dec
17 Dec
23 Dec
26 Dec
31 Dec
2 Jan
13 Jan
20 Jan
31 Jan
3 Feb
12 Feb
24 Feb
3 Mar
10 Mar
Crystal Palace
Swansea
Liverpool
Manchester Utd
Stoke
Everton
Arsenal
West Ham
Brighton
Everton
Manchester City
Southampton
Chelsea
Huddersfield
Watford
Leicester
H
A
A
H
A
H
H
A
H
A
A
H
A
H
A
H
0-0
0-1
0-0
1-2
1-3
0-0
1-1
1-2
2-0
1-1
0-3
2-3
0-3
1-2
0-1
1-4
17th
17th
17th
19th
19th
19th
19th
19th
19th
19th
20th
20th
20th
20th
20th
20th
by him when he’s not been particularly great. To come off and not shake
my hand, I made it very clear to him
on the bench I’m not expecting that.
He’s a player on loan [from PSG] and
he should show respect.”
Leicester, who were without a win
in their previous five league games,
then started to turn the screw.
Iheanacho’s bright cameo saw him
score his first Premier League goal
for the club when he nodded in Ben
Chilwell’s cross and Iborra headed in
Marc Albrighton’s corner to complete
the rout.
West Brom
4-1-4-1
Leicester
4-2-3-1
Foster; Nyom, Dawson,
Hegazi, Gibbs;
Livermore■; Krychowiak
(Field 59), Brunt, Burke
(Robson-Kanu 83), Phillips
(Rodrigeuz 70); Rondón
Subs not used Myhill,
Yacob, McClean, McAuley
Schmeichel; Simpson■,
Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell;
Iborra, Ndidi■; Mahrez
(Dambaté 88), Okazaki
(Iheanacho 60), Gray
(Albrighton 67); Vardy■
Subs not used Jakupovic,
Dragovic, James, Fuchs
Referee Robert Madley Attendance 23,558
Allardyce eases the pressure with timely return of ‘quality’
2
0
EVERTON
BRIGHTON
Bong 60og, Tosun 76
59%
Possession
41%
2
Shots on Target
4
12
Total Attempts
10
Paul Wilson
Goodison Park
Everton supporters are still likely to
have more fun this season sending
each other “Big Sam Out” messages
than watching their team, though
in fairness to Sam Allardyce and
his players this was not a bad
performance in the end. The home
side started slowly but improved
and the visitors eventually lost their
composure to the extent of going
down to 10 men, but only after
Everton had scored their two goals.
“Quality told in the end,”
Allardyce said. “We’ve been missing
Leighton Baines, Séamus Coleman
and Yannick Bolasie for too long.
We’ve won seven of our last 10
home games and drawn two, so
at Goodison we are a top-six side.
Away from home we are right at the
bottom but at least we only have the
one thing to fix.”
While Allardyce was able to select
Baines for the first time, Idrissa
Gueye’s absence through illness let
in Wayne Rooney as a makeshift
defensive midfielder. Brighton
were prepared to sit back and let
their opponents have most of the
possession but for an hour Everton
struggled to find openings. Coleman
went close early on from a rare
move that led to a sight of goal but
otherwise in the first half Mat Ryan
was troubled only by a Phil Jagielka
header from a corner and Bolasie
shooting into the side netting when
Gylfi Sigurdsson sent over another
set-piece cross.
Shane Duffy blocked a Rooney
shot at the start of the second half
before Everton surprised Brighton
by taking the lead. They probably
Cenk Tosun celebrates wrapping up
victory with Everton’s second goal
surprised themselves as well.
Bolasie had spent the afternoon
searching in vain for an end product,
yet after an hour of trying he cut in
from the left and floated a delightful
cross to the far post, where Theo
Walcott popped up beside Gaëtan
Bong to pressure the defender into
an own goal. Everton had in effect
lulled Brighton into a false sense
of security, the visitors paying the
price for a momentary lapse of
concentration in defence.
It turned out not to be their only
one. All Brighton’s work counted for
nothing when Cenk Tosun crashed
in a shot off the underside of the bar
14 minutes from the end. Brighton’s
woe was complete a couple of
minutes later when Anthony
Knockaert collected their first red
card of the season for a reckless
studs-up lunge at Baines.
There was still time for Duffy
to concede a penalty against his
old club, barging Dominic CalvertLewin over, and for Rooney to miss
it, or at least to allow Ryan to make
a diving save low to his right.
Jordan Pickford was also
called into action in stoppage
time, producing a good stop to
deny Pascal Gross, but Brighton
could have no complaints. “I was
surprised by our performance,”
Chris Hughton said. “We didn’t play
at a level that allowed us to take
anything from the game.”
Everton
4-4-2
Brighton
4-4-1-1
Pickford; Coleman,
Jagielka, Keane, Baines;
Walcott (Calvert-Lewin
72), Davies (Klaassen 84),
Rooney, Bolasie (Holgate
78); Sigurdsson, Tosun
Subs not used Robles,
Martina, Niasse, Baningime
Ryan; Schelotto■, Duffy,
Dunk, Bong (Suttner 82);
Knockaert■, Kayal
(Locadia 69), Pröpper,
Izquierdo; Gross; Murray
(Ulloa 77)
Subs not used Krul, Bruno,
Goldson, March
Referee Roger East Attendance 39,199
•
12
The Observer
11.03.18
Football
Premier League
The laid-back Jan Vertonghen has toughened
up to become the complete centre-back and
wants Spurs to end trophy drought in style
Core strength Tottenham’s centre-backs
Jan Vertonghen
Davinson Sánchez
Toby Alderweireld
Hangdog to
dog of war
Nick
Ames
F
or Jan Vertonghen
and his Tottenham
team-mates the inquest
began in the minutes
after full-time at
Wembley, continued
over breakfast at Hotspur Way the
following morning and carried
on into the dressing room before
training. The ghosts of Juventus
will not disappear easily; nobody
could really expect them to, but
times like this demand that balance
quickly overrides emotion. Paulo
Dybala’s dead-eyed finish and the
Chiellini-Buffon rockface on which
Spurs dashed their heads thereafter
had provided object lessons; then
again, Tottenham had convinced
themselves of a few things too.
“If you see how they approach the
games, and how they live and play
the game, you can definitely learn
from it,” Vertonghen says of that
weatherbeaten Juve core. “I don’t
think we are far away from that but
they have the experience over us and
the way they approached the game
is impressive.”
Yet the Belgium defender also
believes Tottenham were “so much
better” than their opponents over
the two legs of their Champions
League last-16 tie and that the sum
was a vindication of their approach
rather than a clarion call to go back
to the drawing board. “We should
have killed the game,” he says, giving
little entertainment to the idea that,
from Juventus’s perspective, the
thought of going for further goals
might have seemed naive.
“Maybe, but they haven’t won
a Champions League in a while
either,” he says. “Barcelona did it
and so many others did in the way
that we want to play. You can speak
about it in both ways – they have
won so many scudettos and have
been in the Champions League.
They are obviously a great team but
not [in] the style that we want to
play. I believe our style fits us better.”
That is how Spurs carry
themselves these days: with a belief
that potential tripwires are little
more than stones on the road. It
has not always been that way and
it was some insight into Mauricio
Pochettino’s approach when he
explained in February that he
had worked with Vertonghen on
improving the “mental aspect”
of his game, and specifically his
body language.
Pochettino remembered watching
a match at Anfield on television
during Tim Sherwood’s tenure and
seeing the centre-back slouched
in the tunnel; the instruction, as
soon as they became colleagues,
was that becoming a “warrior”
was obligatory.
“I think [so], as far as I can
get,” Vertonghen says of the
progress made on that front. “I still
sometimes have to tell myself in my
head [to straighten up]. But I’ve had
so many comments on this since I
was young, with Ajax – and here and
the national team and everywhere
I’ve been. Not just playing football
but in life. I’m definitely not a rebel.”
It is more an inability to mask
disappointment than an attitude
Probable teams
Vitality Stadium, 4pm, today, SSPL
Begovic
Francis
S Cook
Aké
A Smith
Daniels
L Cook
Gosling
King
Stanislas
Wilson
Kane
Son
Eriksen
Alli
Dembélé
Wanyama
Vertonghen
Sánchez
Davies
Aurier
Lloris
Subs from Vorm,
Gazzaniga, Trippier,
Walker-Peters, Rose,
Foyth, Dier, Winks,
Oakley-Boothe, Sissoko,
Lucas, Lamela, Llorente
Subs from Boruc,
Federici, Butcher,
Simpson, Surman,
Hyndman, Arter, Mousset,
Taylor, Defoe, Ibe,
Wiggins, B Smith, Fraser
issue. “That’s always the case, and
I still can’t hide it. But I’m not that
disappointed any more because
we’re doing better. Maybe that is the
way to do it – just make sure you
don’t lose again.”
He knows Pochettino had a
point but, away from that, broadly
agrees with the notion that cod
body language analysis can be an
unfair sculptor of reputations. The
example of Mesut Özil, languid
to some and luscious to others, is
raised but Vertonghen is keener to
extrapolate. On this stage, whether
trading blows with Juventus at
Wembley or – as Spurs will today –
lining up opposite Bournemouth at
the Vitality Stadium, can you really
carry anyone?
“There are so many examples,
but I believe on this level everyone
is trying. You can’t all be Buffons
and Chiellinis,” he says, alluding to
the macho, punchy joy evinced by
Juventus’s totems when Buffon held
a late cross.
“It’s beautiful how they do it but
I believe at this level everyone is
giving their all to make that block
or give the assist or score the goal.
Obviously you can scream after you
do it but I believe, yeah, some of us
need to be pushed.”
Hangdog expression or not,
Pochettino thinks the world of
Vertonghen. He has called him
a “complete centre-back” and
the timing of that anointment,
almost six years into his spell at
Tottenham, is apposite given the
uncertainty over the future of
the player’s Belgium team-mate
Toby Alderweireld.
Vertonghen believes this is “the
best physical condition I have been
in” and that Pochettino, who has
had to do without his services for
extended spells in the past due to
injury, has turned him into a player
who can perform for 95 minutes
rather than half a game.
Now 30, he feels the time is
right to “reward myself and the
team”. This certainly feels like an
important juncture; Tottenham’s
biggest assets, on the pitch and
in the technical area, are being
all-but wished away to European
Games played
28
23
10
Minutes Played
2,490
1,893
900
Passes
*All stats are ‘per 90 mins’ played
70.5
69.2
66.3
Aerials
Aerials won
2.95
3.33
1.3
5.28
5.13
3.3
Interceptions
0.3
1.28
1.55
Passes
1,952
Passing
accuracy %
86.32
= 100 passes
Tackles
52
Source: Opta
Tackle
success %
63.46
Graphic:
Alexander Beuge
rivals by various sections of the
commentariat. Vertonghen’s
thoughts are stated clearly
and deliberately.
“I hope everyone feels [that this
is a key period for the club] the way
I feel it,” he says. “This team can
reach a lot, and it’s always nicer to
have achieved this with a group of
players who have been together for
a lot of time and come through the
ranks, or have lived in London a
long time. To achieve this with this
group of colleagues and friends –
that’s a better feeling than just going
somewhere and winning a trophy.
“It will give us a lot if we win
something with this group. I can’t
speak for other players but I believe
that they believe we will get that
here, that trophy, and they will
stay here.”
It applies to Pochettino as well –
“That’s what we all hope. He’s part
of the project. He might have started
it” – and it is why those images of
cavorting Serie A veterans must be
used for good. Prospects for the
remainder of the season appear
bright. In a kind-looking FA Cup last
eight, Spurs travel to a Swansea side
battling relegation and their hopes
of a third consecutive top-four
finish look positive: at the start of
•
The Observer
11.03.18
13
Guardiola slips into double
standards on human rights
His support for jailed
Catalan politicians
does not extend
to the home of City’s
owners, Abu Dhabi
David
Conn
F
‘I’ve had
comments
on this since
I was young.
Not just in
football but
in life. I’m
not a rebel’
this weekend they were five points
clear of fifth-placed Chelsea and
today they will hope to capitalise
on the points dropped by thirdplaced Liverpool in yesterday’s 2-1
defeat by Manchester United at Old
Trafford. Should requalification for
the Champions League be achieved,
perhaps there will come a chance
to show Chiellini and company that
there are other ways to pummel out
a win in Europe.
“We’ve got the right mentality and
I know we have what it takes to get
there,” he says. “Hopefully we will
get another chance to show that to
the world.”
or followers of football
who believe in the sport
as a force for good
the muddles of the
Football Association
chief executive, Martin
Glenn, over Pep Guardiola’s yellow
ribbon have made for a somewhat
dispiriting fortnight. Glenn, having
insisted through the FA’s selfrighteous campaign to display the
poppy on England shirts that he
could negotiate fine distinctions
between war remembrance and
political symbols, has now revealed
profound, brain-fading ignorance of
the world outside Wembley.
Insisting that Guardiola’s
ribbon in support of jailed Catalan
independence leaders is political and
therefore outlawed, then asked for
more examples of divisive symbols,
Glenn lumped together the Star of
David, hammer and sickle and the
swastika – thereby breaking what
might be termed the Ken Livingstone
rule that avoiding mentioning the
Nazis is rarely a bad idea.
Guardiola’s demonstration of
solidarity with people at home was
itself undermined by his response
to the question it prompted from
the Associated Press reporter, Rob
Harris, about human rights in Abu
Dhabi, the Gulf country ruled by
City’s owner, Sheikh Mansour bin
Zayed Al Nahyan and his family.
These plain issues have rarely been
raised throughout Sheikh Mansour’s
10-year involvement and vast
expenditure on City; the project’s
power has led to a contradictory
reluctance here, despite a huge
media presence, to ask such
questions. Guardiola responded
by suggesting that somehow
campaigning for freedom of speech
is more valid in Spain because the
country is already democratic, than
in Abu Dhabi, where lonely voices
call for more democracy itself.
“Every country decides the way
they want to live for themselves,”
Guardiola said, oddly. “If he decides
to live in that [country], it is what it
is. I am in a country with democracy
installed since years ago, and try to
protect that situation.”
The imprisoned person in Abu
Dhabi for whose freedom Amnesty
International is currently advocating
most strongly is Ahmed Mansoor,
a campaigner on social media for
greater democracy and freedom
of speech. Amnesty has named
Mansoor a prisoner of conscience,
meaning he was “peacefully
exercising his human right to
freedom of expression,” for which
he has been charged – by the United
Arab Emirates’ Public Prosecution
for Cybercrimes – and is locked up
in unknown locations, suffering
cruel treatment possibly amounting
to torture.
Mansoureh Mills, a former
Amnesty researcher who worked
closely with Mansoor, says she once
asked him why he continued to
speak out on human rights in Abu
Dhabi, putting himself in danger of
harassment by the security services.
“He said: ‘I love my country and I
want my country to improve. That
is why I do what I do,’” Mansoureh
recalled. “Ahmed is a liberal, he
campaigned for human rights,
including for migrant workers
who would come and ask him for
help. He is a very kind man and the
bravest person I know.”
Mansoor’s detention follows the
heavy prison sentences imposed
on 69 people accused of being
Islamist plotters, which human
rights groups heavily criticised as
miscarriages of justice. One of those
convicted, whom Amnesty also
considers a prisoner of conscience,
is Mohammed al-Roken, an
internationally respected lawyer
who worked on human rights cases,
including with Amnesty itself, for
20 years before his arrest. After the
Guardian highlighted his 10-year
prison sentence in 2013 one of his
friends, an English woman who
had worked in Abu Dhabi – and
English football
and Manchester
City have become
showcases in part
to bring global
credit to Abu Dhabi
had a deeply critical view of its
hierarchical structures – contacted
the paper to express her loyalty to
Roken. She said he could have made
a fortune working as a lawyer in the
US or Europe but had chosen to stay
at home and work determinedly for
the betterment of human rights,
now at terrible personal cost.
Sheikh Mansour and the City
chairman, Khaldoon al-Mubarak,
who is a senior political and
business figure in Abu Dhabi, are
about to be showered in worldwide
praise for the £1.2bn transformation
of City, brought to glorious fruition
by Guardiola. Abu Dhabi’s rulers and
their advocates argue that they strive
to maintain a stable and relatively
tolerant society but must be highly
vigilant to avoid the catastrophes
and divisions which have beset
other countries in the Middle East.
Human rights organisations fully
acknowledge the need for security
but argue that the crackdown in Abu
Dhabi since the 2011 Arab Spring
has been extreme and oppressive.
English football and Manchester
City have become showcases in part
to bring global credit to Abu Dhabi
– although Mansour’s executives
dispute this, saying it is not a state
enterprise, despite the sponsorships
by the state airline Etihad and the
country’s tourist authority, whose
billboards encourage worldwide
viewers of City matches to visit Abu
Dhabi. If Guardiola, paid around
£12m a year by Sheikh Mansour to
deliver wonders on the football field,
insists on raising human rights
issues, he should be consistent, not
descend into false distinctions and
fumbling excuses.
The FA’s stance, despite its own
insistence on the poppy, is to banish
absolutely all political symbols from
the arena and to tell everybody to
concentrate on the game alone, a
policy to which Guardiola has now
agreed to adhere. But his willingness
to raise such issues and show
solidarity should be applauded
and followed by football people
– and extended to human rights
everywhere, including for those
languishing in prison in the country
of his employer.
Uefa lets Pep Guardiola wear his yellow ribbon but the FA fined him £20,000
•
Football
Sky Bet Football League
IAN LYALL/PROSPORTS/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
14
The Observer
11.03.18
Hull’s Harry Wilson picks his spot to score the decisive goal in their helter-skelter meeting with Norwich City
Wilson seals Hull fightback
after penalty ping-pong
Championship
4
3
Irvine 6, Hernández
41pen 48pen, Wilson 71
Maddison 18pen 19
39pen
HULL CITY
NORWICH CITY
44%
Possession
56%
13
Shots on Target
4
21
Total Attempts
10
Dave Clark
KCOM Stadium
James Maddison scored a first-half
hat-trick and still ended up on the
losing side as Hull boosted their
Championship survival hopes with a
4-3 win over Norwich. Four penalties
were awarded - and converted - as the
hosts recovered from 3-1 down at the
KCOM Stadium.
Abel Hernández scored twice from
the spot on his first Hull start since
August, with Jackson Irvine and Harry
Wilson also netting as Norwich suffered a first defeat in eight games.
Hull made a bright start as Jarrod
Bowen played in Markus Henriksen
after three minutes, only for the
Norwegian to fire straight at Angus
Gunn. Two minutes later Wilson’s
cross found Abel Hernández
unmarked, eight yards out, but he
too failed to test Gunn and headed
straight at the Manchester City loanee.
Norwich were finally punished for
leaving a Hull player unmarked in
their own area when Wilson’s purposeful run after six minutes ended
with a through-ball for Irvine, who
slotted low into the far corner.
Nelson Oliveira fired high and
wide on the turn with the visitors’
first chance. Hull continued to control, however, with Wilson’s tame shot
too close to Gunn after he danced past
two defenders in the 11th minute.
Norwich’s equaliser came against
the run of play after 18 minutes, with
At a glance
1
3
2
1
2
Adomah 8, Chester 57,
Grabban 62, Bjarnason 85
Jota 20
Mendez-Laing 12, Bryson
23, Paterson 45
Gardner 54pen, Colin 90
Maguire 76
Mitrovic 69 90
WOLVES
Aston Villa emphatically reminded
Wolves the Championship is not
a foregone conclusion as Nuno
Espírito Santo’s side’s lead at the
summit was reduced to only three
points. Goals from Albert Adomah,
James Chester, Lewis Grabban and
the substitute Birkir Bjarnason
earned Villa a resounding derby
victory at a raucous Villa Park. With
one win from their past five matches
and 10 games to play, the worry for
Wolves is whether the wheels will
come off altogether. For Steve Bruce,
this was a landmark victory over
Villa’s Midlands neighbours. Today
will mark 114 consecutive days at
the top for Wolves and results like
this mean there is still work to do to
get over the line.
Hull
4-2-3-1
Norwich
4-2-3-1
Marshall; Aina, Dawson,
Mazuch, Clark■;
Larsson■, Henriksen;
Bowen (Toral 88), Irvine,
Wilson (Hector 90); A
Hernández (Campbell 61)
Subs not used Grosicki,
Dicko, Tomori, Burton
Gunn; Reed (Hoolahan 79),
Hanley, Klose, Lewis;
Tettey■, Leitner (Ivo
Pinto■ 29); Watkins■,
Maddison, O Hernández
(Murphy 79); Oliveira
Subs not used Husband,
Vrancic, Srbeny, McGovern
Referee Tim Robinson Attendance 15,120
Roundup
4
ASTON VILLA
David Marshall - making his first
league start of the season in goal charging out and bringing down
Oliveira on the edge of the area.
The referee, Tim Robinson, consulted his assistant before ruling the
initial contact was inside the box, and
Maddison made no mistake from 12
yards out.
A minute later the Canaries went
ahead, Maddison cutting inside Ola
Aina before firing a low shot past
Marshall, who should have done
better. Norwich were awarded a second penalty in the 38th minute, after
Ondrej Mazuch needlessly bundled
over Onel Hernández in the area with
the winger seemingly going nowhere,
and Maddison slotted the ball into
the bottom corner to complete his
hat-trick.
Three minutes later Hull were back
in it after being given a spot-kick
of their own, Jamal Lewis pushing
Bowen and Abel Hernández converting. Robinson pointed to the spot
again in the 52nd minute after spotting an infringement as a Sebastian
Larsson free-kick was cleared. The
Uruguay striker Abel Hernández
smashed the ball into the roof of the
net to equalise. Only two fine saves
from Gunn denied Bowen and the
substitute Frazier Campbell after 63
minutes, with Wilson’s follow-up
blocked by Timm Klose.
Wilson slipped Bowen in on the
right two minutes later but Gunn
was alert again to tip the ball wide
of his near post while – at the other
end – Onel Hernández miscued after
breaking clear in the box.
The impressive Wilson put Hull
ahead in the 71st minute, jinking past
a defender before firing in at the far
post from six yards.
PA
CARDIFF
BIRMINGHAM
Cardiff took another step towards
automatic promotion with a
hard-fought home victory over
Birmingham. First-half goals
from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing,
Craig Bryson and Callum Paterson
had the Bluebirds cruising to a
sixth successive triumph. But
Birmingham’s new manager,
Garry Monk, inspired a secondhalf fightback as Craig Gardner’s
penalty and Maxime Colin’s late
strike gave the relegation strugglers
hope until the final whistle. The
win moves Cardiff on to 73 points
with 10 games remaining, four
points behind the leaders, Wolves,
while Birmingham remain in the
relegation zone, two points adrift of
Barnsley in the last safe position.
PRESTON
FULHAM
Aleksandar Mitrovic struck the
winner deep into stoppage time as
Fulham clinched victory over their
fellow promotion chasers Preston
at Deepdale. The Serbian striker
scored his second goal of the game
to make it four successive wins for
his side. It was only a third defeat
in 21 games for Preston. Cyrus
Christie was brought on at fullback and he crossed from the right
for Mitrovic, who fired in from 12
yards midway through the second
half. Ben Pearson picked out Sean
Maguire six yards out and his
header was fumbled into the back
of his net by Marcus Bettinelli to
equalise for Preston. But Cairney’s
delightful lofted cross was nodded
in by Mitrovic for the winner.
Struggling Burton and play-off
chasers Bristol City ground out a
low-quality goalless draw which did
nothing for either side. Ipswich
and Sheffield United’s chances of
making the play-offs suffered a
setback after a goalless draw at
Portman Road. Middlesbrough
turned up the heat on their play-off
rivals by defeating Barnsley 3-1
at the Riverside with goals from
Daniel Ayala, Adama Traoré and
Patrick Bamford. George Saville
gave Millwall a 1-0 home win
over Brentford. Bottom side
Sunderland’s misery continued
after goalkeeper Jason Steele
was sent off in the 1-0 defeat at
QPR. Leeds’ slim play-off hopes
suffered another setback when
they were held to a 2-2 draw at
struggling Reading. Sheffield
Wednesday conceded a last-gasp
equaliser scored by Aaron
Wilbraham in a 1-1 draw with Bolton.
Abuse scandal
Crewe excluded
from awards
for handling of
Bennell affair
Daniel Taylor
Crewe Alexandra are to be banished from the Northwest Football
Awards because of their handling of
the Barry Bennell sex-abuse scandal
and are facing the embarrassment of
a motion being passed against the
club by their own town council, the
Observer can reveal.
The club’s decision to abandon
plans for an independent investigation, having pledged in November
2016 that one would be held “at
the earliest opportunity,” will be
on the agenda when Crewe council
meets on Tuesday. The Professional
Footballers’ Association intends to
raise the matter with the Football
League and the dismay felt by many
people within the sport is exemplified
by the decision to remove Crewe from
the Northwest Football Awards out of
respect to the boys who were abused
in the club’s junior system during the
1980s and 1990s.
Laura Wolfe, speaking on behalf
of the event, said Crewe could not
be involved in an event celebrating football in the region if the club
were unwilling to look properly into
the failings that led to Bennell, now
starting a 30-year prison sentence,
preying on boys during seven years
as youth-team coach.
“We feel strongly that the club owes
it to the survivors, to their fans and
the world of football as a whole, to
finally be honest about the past, face
up to the fact that people in the club
must have been aware that all was not
well, admit that mistakes were made
and more should have been done
to protect these young players, and
finally do the right thing,” Wolfe said.
Laura Smith, the Crewe MP, has
already called for the club to rethink
the decision and the Observer’s information is the council will pass a
motion to “question the reasonableness” of promising an inquiry but not
going through with it. Bennell’s victims, the motion says, were “entitled
to expect full protection from abuse
and should expect a complete and
thorough explanation of how that
protection was not provided”.
A court artist sketch of Barry
Bennell during his trial in January
•
Football
Europe
The Observer
11.03.18
Cristiano Ronaldo meets a cross
six minutes from time to keep his side
within touching distance of second
15
JUAN MANUEL SERRANO ARCE/GETTY IMAGES
Ronaldo’s late
leap hauls Real
to narrow victory
Forward continues
his scoring spree
at Eibar as Sevilla
slump to costly loss
before United trip
Cristiano Ronaldo struck late with
a bullet header to give Real Madrid
a 2-1 win at Eibar in La Liga and
take his side to within four points of
second-placed Atlético Madrid.
Ronaldo scored for the seventh
successive game in all competitions
when he blasted home in the 34th
minute after chesting down a long
ball by Luka Modric, but Eibar
pegged the champions back when
Iván Ramis outjumped Sergio
Ramos to head in from a corner
just after half-time. Ronaldo was
then denied by an inspired save
by Marko Dmitrovic, who clawed
away a header after a cross by
Gareth Bale. The irrepressible
striker had the final say, however,
meeting a cross from Dani Carvajal
in the area and powering the ball
beyond the Serbian goalkeeper in
the 84th minute, his 13th goal in
seven games.
Ronaldo has roared back from a
feeble start to the season, when he
scored only once in his first eight
league games, to reach 18 goals
in the league. Yesterday’s double
moved him to third in La Liga’s
scoring charts, trailing Luis Suárez
and Lionel Messi.
Bundesliga
Lewandowski hits
100-goals mark
in Bayern romp
European
tables and
results
“He’s from another galaxy,” said
Zinedine Zidane. “He knows he’s
going to score, he’s unique and
special. His stats speak for him. And
he’s our player. He’s always positive
and, if he scores twice, he wants to
score a third.”
While Real are third in La Liga
on 57 points, tiny Eibar are in
contention for a European place
next season. They made the better
start to the game, with Zidane
admitting his side struggled in the
opening stages. “This victory makes
me feel very good, because they
were the better side for a while,
they played very well,” said the Real
Madrid coach.
“This is a very difficult ground
to come to and they know how to
play here. We knew we were going
to suffer and we did, we had trouble
getting hold of the ball but we
fought together with character and
got the win.”
Meanwhile Valencia tightened
their grip on fourth place and took
a giant leap towards a return to the
Champions League by winning 2-0
at Sevilla, a result that opens up an
11-point gap between the two sides,
with the Andalusians in fifth.
Rodrigo Moreno scored either
side of halftime to inflict a third
home defeat in little more than
two months on Sevilla, whose best
chance of getting back into Europe’s
elite competition may now rest on
them winning the tournament.
Vincenzo Montella’s side visit
Manchester United on Tuesday, after
a goalless first leg in Spain of their
Reuters
last-16 tie.
Bayern Munich closed in on a sixth
successive title and sent Hamburg
closer to a first-ever relegation
from the Bundesliga in a 6-0 rout
yesterday. Robert Lewandowski
scored a hat-trick and missed
a penalty as he reached 100
Bundesliga goals for Bayern in an
embarrassingly one-sided match.
The result extended Bayern’s lead
over Schalke, who won 1-0 at Mainz
on Friday, to 20 points with eight
games left to play.
Hamburg, the only ever-present
team in the Bundesliga’s 55-year
history, will have to pull off a great
escape to keep their proud record
intact. They are 17th in the 18-team
table and seven points adrift of
Mainz in the relegation play-off spot.
Hoffenheim added to Wolfsburg’s
problems with a 3-0 win which
left their opponents in 15th place
and ahead of Mainz only on
goal difference. Nico Schulz and
Serge Gnabry scored for seventhplaced Hoffenheim before Josuha
Guilavogui put through his own net.
Michael Gregoritsch scored twice
to lead Augsburg to a 3-1 win at
Hannover, who replied with a longrange effort from Salif Sané, while
Hertha Berlin and Freiburg played
Reuters
out a goalless draw.
Serie A
Pioli pays tribute to
Astori – ‘a special
person and captain’
The Fiorentina manager, Stefano
Pioli, paid an emotional tribute
to Davide Astori (left) as his team
prepared for their first match
since their captain died suddenly
last Sunday. Pioli, whose side host
Benevento today, said he wanted to
hug each of the thousands of fans
who turned out for the 31-yearold’s funeral on Thursday. “I had
the privilege and the good fortune
to get to know him closely in these
months, he was a special person
and special captain,” Pioli said. “I
miss him every day I go on to the
training field and I will miss him
every time we play a match.” Reuters
La Liga
Serie A
Bundesliga
Ligue 1
Top eight
Barcelona
Atlético Madrid
Real Madrid
Valencia
Sevilla
Girona
Villarreal
Eibar
P
27
27
28
28
28
28
27
28
W
21
18
17
17
14
12
12
11
D
L
F
A
6
0 70 13
7
2 45 12
6
5 67 30
5
6 54 30
3 11 36 42
7
9 40 36
5 10 36 32
6 11 35 41
Eibar 1 Real Madrid 2, Sevilla 0 Valencia 2,
Getafe L Levante L, Málaga L Barcelona L
GD
+57
+33
+37
+24
-6
+4
+4
-6
Pts
69
61
57
56
45
43
41
39
Top nine
Napoli
Juventus
Roma
Lazio
Internazionale
Sampdoria
Milan
Atalanta
Torino
Verona L Chievo L
P
27
26
28
27
26
26
26
25
27
W D
22
3
22
2
17
5
16
4
14
9
13
5
13
5
10
8
8 12
L
2
2
6
7
3
8
8
7
7
F
62
63
47
64
42
46
37
37
36
A
19
15
23
34
21
34
30
29
35
GD
+43
+48
+24
+30
+21
+12
+7
+8
+1
Pts
69
68
56
52
51
44
44
38
36
Top seven
Bayern Munich
Schalke
Borussia Dortmund
Eintracht Frankfurt
Bayer Leverkusen
RB Leipzig
Hoffenheim
P
26
26
25
25
25
25
26
W
21
13
11
12
11
11
10
D
3
7
9
6
8
6
8
L
2
6
5
7
6
8
8
F
65
40
50
33
45
38
43
A
18
30
31
27
33
34
38
GD
+47
+10
+19
+6
+12
+4
+5
Bayern Munich 6 Hamburg 0, Hannover 1 Augsburg 3,
Hertha Berlin 0 Freiburg 0, Hoffenheim 3 Wolfsburg 0,
Bayer Leverkusen L Borussia Mönchengladbach L
Pts
66
46
42
42
41
39
38
Top eight
PSG
Monaco
Marseille
Lyon
Rennes
Montpellier
Nantes
Nice
P
29
29
28
28
28
28
28
28
W D
L
F
25
2
2 91
19
6
4 72
16
8
4 57
14
9
5 58
12
5 11 36
9 13
6 25
11
7 10 28
11
6 11 34
A
19
31
33
34
35
22
29
39
GD
+72
+41
+24
+24
+1
+3
-1
-5
Pts
77
63
56
51
41
40
40
39
PSG 5 Metz 0, Bordeaux L Angers L, Dijon L Amiens L, Lille L
Montpellier L, Nantes L Troyes L, Rennes L St-Étienne L
•
16
The Observer
11.03.18
Cycling
Chris Froome
is competing
in the TirrenoAdriatico in
Italy for Team
Sky despite his
adverse finding
for salbutamol
What Team Sky
must do to restore
ruined credibility
Brailsford has to quit
and Froome should
stop racing until he
clears his name, says
William Fotheringham
It might seem incongruous given
recent events but late in 2012 Dave
Brailsford took soundings among
journalists as he sought to “reboot”
Team Sky in the wake of the Lance
Armstrong doping scandal. I was
among those whose views he asked
for. At the time Brailsford was
going through something of a crisis
over quite how to implement the
team’s zero tolerance of past doping
offences and the connections with
those in the milieu who had a
doping past.
I forwarded Brailsford some ideas
and I am sure the mere fact I did
this will be cited by some as a classic
example of a journalist getting far
too close to his subject. I did not see
it that way and I still don’t: it was an
interesting academic exercise, which
made me think around the whole
area, and Brailsford had a perfect
right to ignore what I said. I do not
think it coloured my reporting of
Team Sky, Chris Froome and Sir
Bradley Wiggins.
Those ideas were pretty obvious
and centred on building trust: they
included an independent audit
of the entire team, beefed
up internal anti-doping
tests and bio passport
monitoring, independently
scrutinised by someone
totally detached
from the team. I
underlined the need
for consistency and
transparency.
Which leads
naturally to a burning
question of today:
what can Brailsford
Golf
Woods in hunt for
Valspar title after
superb round of 68
and Team Sky do to restore their
collective reputation after last
Monday’s devastating parliamentary
committee report? How can they
rebuild their credibility from ground
zero? There have been calls aplenty
for Brailsford to resign: that should
be the first step as I – and others –
wrote 12 months ago. The reason is
simple: Team Sky is his watch and
the buck stops with him. Precisely
what the buck is might depend on
your view of the report by the digital,
culture, media and sport committee
but the loss of credibility cannot be
denied. He should go, shouldering
responsibility for what has
happened, because he is the guy at
the top. Clean break, new start, that
kind of thing.
Second, I would propose what
I suggested six years ago: an
independent audit of the team’s
entire personnel, anti-doping
policies plus, now, compliance
policies and health policies, with
recommendations to be published.
Given that any individual called
on by the team to do this would be
accused of being inside the tent,
one answer might be for the team to
request that the UCI’s independent
anti-doping body makes the
appointment. They could be clear
that this is not to suggest that their
current policies are lacking – there
is no evidence they are – but as a
measure to rebuild confidence after
months of revelation and innuendo.
Third, join the MPCC, Movement
for Credible Cycling. It has always
seemed an anomaly that Team Sky
were not part of this voluntary
body which campaigns against
corticosteroid and tramadol use;
their argument was that their
internal procedures made
it unnecessary. It would
be an easy step to
take now to restore
trust. Again, it is
not necessarily
to suggest they
have weak policies
at present but it is
A last-hole bogey failed to take
the gloss off a superb secondround performance from Tiger
Woods as the former world No 1
continued to impress on the latest
leg of his comeback in the Valspar
Championship in Florida.
Woods (left) showed flashes
of brilliance in a round of 68 in
only his fourth PGA Tour event
since undergoing spinal fusion
surgery – his fourth back operation
in three years – last April. The
14-times major winner surged to
the top of the leaderboard for the
first time since August 2015 before
ending the second round in a tie
TIM DE WAELE/GETTY
IMAGES
Blow on the road
Thomas loses lead
after bike failure
Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas lost
the race leader’s jersey on stage
four of the Tirreno-Adriatico after
suffering mechanical problems in
the closing stages.
Thomas and his team-mate
Chris Froome, who started the day
third, lost more than 40 seconds
to the stage winner, Mikel Landa,
while BMC Racing’s Damiano
Caruso took over the blue jersey.
Landa, who helped Froome to
his last two Tour de France wins
before leaving Sky for Movistar,
for second, two shots behind Corey
Conners. The 26-year-old Canadian
rookie, playing only as an alternate
after Kyle Stanley withdrew,
followed up his opening 67 with a
69. A double bogey on the 4th – his
13th – was his only blemish.
Rory McIlroy did not make the
weekend, though. The 28-year-old
missed the cut after a secondround 73 left him five over par.
With under a month until his latest
bid to complete the career grand
slam by winning the Masters,
McIlroy missed a cut for the second
time in five PGA Tour events this
PA
year.
claimed victory after a frantic
finish to the 219km stage to
Sarnano Sassotetto. The result
moved him up to fourth in the
standings, 20 seconds off Caruso
and six ahead of Thomas who
drops to fifth.
Caruso leads by one second
from Team Sky’s Michal
Kwiatkowski, with Wilco
Kelderman (Team Sunweb)
another 10 seconds back.
Meanwhile Britain’s Simon
Yates moved top of the Paris-Nice
standings by claiming the
penultimate stage, a 175km
ride from Nice to Valdeblore
Reuters, PA
La Colmiane.
Cricket
Defiant De Villiers
gives South Africa
edge over Australia
part of regaining public confidence.
Having Brailsford resign would
make it easier to reverse past policy
in this way. Clean break, new start…
Fourth, with the riders’ agreement,
undertake to publish all therapeutic
use exemptions applied for in future
as long as privacy is not infringed, ie,
they do not relate to issues of mental
or sexual health. There will not be
many TUEs to make public but it is
about being transparent and being
seen to be so.
Fifth, gain the riders’ agreement
to carry out an annual audit of
tramadol use – which rider, what
race, what injury necessitated it,
quantity taken – and publish the
findings. There may be a medical
confidentiality argument here but it
might not hold much water.
Sixth, publish the study into
Team Sky’s Colombian rider Sergio
Henao’s blood values. The quest for
maximum transparency means that
it should not be possible to accuse
Team Sky of keeping anything away
from public scrutiny.
Seventh, go public with more
riders’ power values more often.
Sky’s argument against doing this
was always that it would cause
debate, create space for speculation
about what the figures meant and so
on. Given the epic amounts of white
noise in recent months, that hardly
carries weight.
Finally, stand down Froome from
racing until his salbutamol adverse
analytical finding is resolved.
Joining the MPCC would mean this
would have to happen as it is part of
its guidelines. The public relations
benefits are blindingly obvious,
whether the eventual decision goes
Froome’s way or not.
Post-report, it would demonstrate
a clear change in philosophy:
winning is important but there
are bigger things in sport than a
place in the record books. How you
are perceived matters as much.
Otherwise Froome races on in the
face of public opinion and against
the wishes of many in the sport.
AB de Villiers produced a
counterattacking masterclass to
edge South Africa ahead in the
second Test against Australia in
Port Elizabeth. The Proteas were
wobbling at 183 for six after losing
a handful of wickets but De Villiers
(left) went to stumps unbeaten on
74 from 81 balls as the hosts closed
day two on 263 for seven, with a
lead of 20. Dean Elgar made 57
and Hashim Amla 56 but both fell
with the score on 155 and others
soon followed. But De Villiers took
the fight back to Australia with 14
boundaries and will resume with
PA
Vernon Philander (14) today.
•
Racing
Cheltenham
The Observer
11.03.18
Derek O’Connor and
Edwulf after their victory
in the Irish Gold Cup
17
Online
Live Cheltenham
news and reports
NIALL CARSON/PA
Join Niall McVeigh, with all the
Festival latest from Greg Wood
and Chris Cook, for four days of
live coverage from Tuesday at:
theguardian.com/sport
Comeback king Edwulf
on track for double Gold
Irish star returns
to Cheltenham
after miraculous
recovery from
last year’s drama
Chris Cook
One of the oddest sights at the last
Cheltenham Festival was the talented novice chaser Edwulf doing a
fair impression of a gazelle in the late
stages of the National Hunt Chase, his
Buveur D’Air
can retain his
crown despite
predictions
of heavy going
Greg Wood
The ground could be very soft, or
even heavy, at Cheltenham this
week, which is not a possibility that
punters have needed to factor into
their calculations for a decade at
least. For some the prospect will
summon memories of Festivals long
past, when one mud-splattered 33-1
chance after another seemed to walk
powerful stride suddenly becoming a
most unnatural lope. “Odd” is how it
looks now, in the comforting knowledge that he made a full recovery; at
the time it was a cause for alarm and
then despair.
Having been in second place after
the last of 25 fences, Edwulf slowed
to a stop in a matter of yards. As the
cameras averted their gaze, one TV
pundit mourned “what seems to have
happened to him”, perhaps knowing,
as viewers did not, that Edwulf had
then collapsed and was being tended
by vets behind green screens.
Sometimes, a horse rises from
behind those screens to relieved
appreciation from the grandstands,
having got its breath back after 10
minutes or so. Edwulf was still on
the ground 40 minutes later, having been slid off to the side of the
track so the last race could be run.
There was no reason for hope and
in the press room that evening there
was an undercurrent of irritation at
what seemed an unjustifiable delay
by racecourse staff in confirming the
inevitable bad news.
into the winner’s enclosure. Rain, as
a rule, is the bookies’ friend.
It may not come to their rescue in
Tuesday’s Champion Hurdle, where
Buveur D’Air, the hot favourite
to retain his crown, has plenty of
form on testing ground. Favourites
such as Apple’s Jade, in the Mares’
Hurdle the same day, and Samcro,
in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle on
Wednesday, have also won on heavy
ground, though their current prices
are less than appealing.
Friday’s Gold Cup, though,
could well turn on the depth
of the ground. The field has an
intriguing mixture of class, speed
and stamina, as the King George
winner, Might Bite, lines up
against Native River, who took last
season’s Welsh National under
top weight. A millimetre or two
of rain either way could make all
the difference.
Definitly Red is another whose
chance would improve significantly
if the rain persists but the horse
that stands out as the value bet at
the likely prices is Willie Mullins’s
Killultagh Vic.
The nine-year-old has had a stopstart career and will be making only
his fourth start over fences but he
has shown occasional glimpses of
exceptional talent, most famously
when he recovered to win a Grade
Two at Leopardstown despite
coming to a standstill after a terrible
mistake at the last.
He was not so lucky at the
same obstacle last time out, when
Killultagh Vic fell with the Irish Gold
Cup seemingly at his mercy. Edwulf,
the eventual winner, came from
nowhere to take advantage and
stopped the clock in a good time as
he did so, but Killultagh Vic, who can
be backed each-way at 12-1 for the
Edwulf went into
a fit as he lay on
the track and
that night it was
discovered he
had gone blind
It was most surprising to learn the
next morning that Edwulf was, in fact,
still breathing. It was amazing when
he showed no lasting effects just a
fortnight later as he returned to his
Kilkenny stable, and nothing short of
flabbergasting when he won the Irish
Gold Cup last month as a 33-1 chance
on only his second run since the day
he appeared to be on his way out.
“I never had a horse do what he
did,” said his jockey, Derek O’Connor,
after that wildly unlikely moment of
glory. “He ran himself into the ground
for me at Cheltenham. We thought his
career was over but he’s after coming
back to his best.”
On Friday Edwulf gets a chance
to take his story into the realm of
Hollywood wish fulfilment when he
lines up in jump racing’s most prestigious contest, the Cheltenham Gold
Cup. He is once more unfancied and
can be backed at 25-1 but somehow
this is not off-putting in the case of a
horse who has so thoroughly beaten
the odds in the past year.
“It was an amazing recovery,”
recalls Liam Kearns, Cheltenham’s
Cheltenham Festival
Twiston-Davies has
luck on his side
Nigel Twiston-Davies will head
to the Cheltenham Festival
feeling that his horses are in
form and that his luck is in
after Mr Antolini survived a
15-minute stewards’ inquiry
after the Imperial Cup here
yesterday. Mr Antolini and
Jamie Bargary tightened up
Call Me Lord on the run to
the line but prevailed by a
neck. “We get angry about the
weather. It stopped us running
in a veterans’ race last week,”
Twiston-Davies said. “We came
here instead and it’s been very
successful.”
Greg Wood
head vet. There were several low
points, including when Edwulf went
into a fit as he lay on the track and
later that night when it was discovered he had gone blind. But Kearns
was sustained by the knowledge that
the horse had not suffered any bone
break or spinal injury, no trauma that
would naturally lead to sudden death,
so he and his team steadily nursed
Edwulf to a point the next day when,
at a nearby equine hospital, he was
standing and eating and had recovered his vision.
As for what caused Edwulf to suffer such distress, Kearns says: “He
didn’t fit in with the typical signs
we would see with heat stress. The
neurological signs he showed would
be more consistent with an acute
oxygen deficit to the brain. You sometimes see it in triathletes, where, as
well as showing fatigue, they show
incoordination.”
Kearns cannot recall a case like it in
his 30 years working at racecourses
and sees no reason why Edwulf
should suffer a repeat or be troubled
by any memory of it when he returns
to Cheltenham. “I would say not. He
recovered well, he’s been back in
training, doing what he was bred to
do, galloping with other horses, the
natural thing for the horse to do. So
I wouldn’t see any after-effects from
that point of view.”
At all events, if something does
go wrong this week, Kearns and his
team are well placed to support any
possible recovery. “There is a very
experienced team at Cheltenham
and we are afforded any facilities we
want for the care of the horses. We
have people on foot as well as people
in mobile vehicles to cover the track.
These horses are well looked after at
home, veterinary-wise and otherwise,
and our job is to maintain that high
level of care at the racecourse.”
Gold Cup, would have bettered that
performance but for his fall.
The market for the Stayers’ Hurdle
on Thursday suggests Sam Spinner
has not convinced everyone with
his rapid rise from handicapping to
Grade Ones but his win in the Long
Walk Hurdle at Ascot was the best
yet and 5-1 is a big price.
Min is among the five-day entries
for the Ryanair Chase but will surely
leave that race to Un De Sceaux and
is a value price at 11-4 to beat Altior
in Wednesday’s Champion Chase.
The Festival’s handicaps are
just as they should be: bursting
with possibilities. It would not be
Cheltenham without a few dabbles
at a big price, and A Great View
(20-1, Pertemps Final), Bouvreuil
(20-1, Brown Advisory Plate) and
The King Of May (16-1, Fred Winter
Juvenile Handicap Hurdle) have fair
claims at their odds.
•
18
The Observer
11.03.18
Cricket
One-day series
Jonny Bairstow’s hundred against
New Zealand was the third fastest
scored by an Englishman in ODIs
MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Bairstow seals
series triumph
with a batting
masterclass
Opener’s brutal
58-ball hundred
steers England
to a rampant win
Vithushan Ehantharajah
Christchurch
They came for a classic but Jonny
Bairstow gave them a blowout.
England made it six one-day international series wins in a row with
an emphatic seven-wicket triumph
at a rammed Hagley Oval thanks to
Bairstow’s remarkable 58-ball hundred. His fourth in the format and
second in four days secured a 3-2 win
and he also jumped on to the podium
with what was the third fastest century by an Englishman in ODIs.
Not for the first time it was the
bowlers who put England in contention, restricting New Zealand to 223
all out. The absence of Ross Taylor,
who aggravated his quadriceps injury
during the fourth ODI, took the punch
out of their middle order. But exemplary new-ball work from Mark Wood
and Chris Woakes – named man of
the series for his 10 wickets at 20.30
– reduced New Zealand to 26 for
two, before Adil Rashid and Moeen
Ali combined, bowling their full allocations without a break, to inflict
a collapse of four wickets for only
33 runs.
Yet, even though the hosts were
able to cobble together a target of
224, Bairstow’s display, in which he
smashed eight fours, six sixes and
even his own stumps in the equivalent of less than 10 overs, made the
other 72.3 overs of play academic.
“I’m really happy,” said Bairstow,
whose face said it all. “After being
in and out of the side for a couple of years, getting the odd game
here and there, to come in and contribute in a role I’ve not necessarily
done a huge amount previously for
England, you’re still kind of learning
‘Being in and out
of the side for a
couple of years,
it’s pleasing
to go out and
score hundreds’
Jonny Bairstow
– it’s really pleasing for me to go out
and score hundreds.”
All four of those hundreds have
come since his ascension as opener.
“That’s your job, to make chases like
that – ones that shouldn’t be difficult
but can be very tricky,” he said.
A fine dab – boundary number 14 –
and a single took him to three figures,
with only 20 balls needed for his second fifty. The most brutal part, which
took the result beyond doubt, was a
period in which five of eight deliveries he faced from Ish Sodhi were
blazed for six.
The first of those brought up the
century opening stand from 15.3
overs with Alex Hales, returning
to the side for the first time since
signing a white-ball-only contract
with Nottinghamshire after Jason
Roy pulled out with a back spasm.
Dropped at the start of the series, with
the head coach, Trevor Bayliss, worried a lack of red-ball cricket could be
detrimental to his game, his measured 61 offers others reassurance and
him credit in the bank.
When Bairstow hit his own wicket
going back to lace Trent Boult at the
start of the 21st over, the game was as
good as done. Officially, a four and six
from Ben Stokes saw England home
by 108 balls.
Eoin Morgan, in his 200th ODI,
won a crucial toss and backed his
bowlers in the field. Woakes removed
Colin Munro for his second duck in
a row before Wood’s patented leap
across and angled delivery into the
right-hander did for the captain, Kane
Williamson.
Rashid followed with his best haul
of the series with three wickets of
equal importance. The in-form Tom
Latham and Martin Guptill, the only
top-five batsman to get the measure of this pitch, both found Stokes,
at midwicket and cover respectively.
Colin de Grandhomme then picked
out Tom Curran at long on to reduce
New Zealand to 93 for six.
That would be Curran’s only
involvement until the 40th over, by
which point New Zealand had turned
round their position to reach 151 for
six. Henry Nicholls ended a barren
series with a sixth ODI half-century,
the guts of which came in an 84-run
stand with Mitchell Santner, himself going on to his second fifty in
three innings.
After two not out scores and a runout at the non-striker’s end, Santner
– who finished with an average of 108
– was finally dismissed by a bowler,
falling in Woakes’s final over to the
first of two stunning catches. Hales’s
Scoreboard
Fall 1, 26, 60, 61, 79, 93, 177, 213, 214.
Bowling Woakes 10-1-32-3; Wood 8-0-26-1;
Stokes 4-0-23-0; Rashid 10-0-42-3; Ali 10-1-39-1; Root
2-0-15-0; Curran 5.5-0-46-2.
Christchurch England beat New Zealand by seven
wickets and won the series 3-2
New Zealand
MJ Guptill c Stokes b Rashid ...................................... 47
C Munro c Buttler b Woakes ......................................... 0
*KS Williamson b Wood ............................................ 14
†TWM Latham c Stokes b Rashid................................ 10
MS Chapman b Ali....................................................... 0
HM Nicholls c Morgan b Curran .................................. 55
C de Grandhomme c Curran b Rashid ........................... 6
MJ Santner c Hales b Woakes ..................................... 67
TG Southee c Bairstow b Woakes................................ 10
IS Sodhi c Stokes b Curran............................................ 5
TA Boult not out ......................................................... 2
Extras (w7)................................................................. 7
Total (49.5 overs) ................................................... 223
England Innings
JM Bairstow b Boult ................................................ 104
AD Hales c Williamson b Santner ................................ 61
JE Root not out ........................................................ 23
*EJG Morgan c De Grandhomme b Sodhi...................... 8
BA Stokes not out ..................................................... 26
Extras (lb4, w3) .......................................................... 7
Total (for 3, 32.4 overs)........................................... 229
Fall 155, 177, 192.
Did not bat †JC Buttler, Moeen Ali, CR Woakes,
Adil Rashid, TK Curran, MA Wood.
Bowling Southee 5-1-20-0; Boult 6-0-50-1;
De Grandhomme 4-0-33-0; Santner 10-0-44-1;
Sodhi-7.4-0-78-1.
ODI series results
Hamilton New Zealand beat England by three wickets
Tauranga England beat New Zealand by six wickets
Wellington England beat New Zealand by four runs
Dunedin New Zealand beat England by five wickets
Test fixtures
22-26 March First Test, Auckland (1am)
29 March-2 April Second Test, Christchurch (11pm)
tumbling effort at deep square-leg set
the standard, only for Bairstow to better it two balls later: a one-handed
grab after racing along the boundary, within a whisker of the sponge,
accounting for Tim Southee. “It’s
been a good day,” said Bairstow with
a smile.
Victory with hours to spare left the
9,012 who flooded the banks with
plans to make. Bairstow’s brilliance
not only scuppered bowling plans but
social ones, too. For England, however, it was about righting the wrongs
of the fourth ODI in Dunedin, when a
commanding position was spurned
to allow New Zealand to scrape back
to 2-2. A winner-takes-all tie was not
to go the same way.
“That wasn’t good enough from
us,” stated Bairstow. “We know we
needed to put in a clinical and ruthless performance here and that’s
exactly what we did.”
•
The Observer
11.03.18
Sport
Winter Paralympics
Scott Meenagh
(far left) in the
sitting 7.5km
biathlon, where
he came 18th;
Millie Knight and
Brett Wild (on
left) with their
medals; Knight
(below) on her
way to winning
downhill silver
CHUNG SUNG-JUN/
GETTY IMAGES; THOMAS
LOVELOCK/OIS/IOC VIA AP
Shining Knight’s downhill
silver gets GB off the mark
19
Results
Rugby union
NATWEST SIX NATIONS
Results and table on page 2
NATWEST WOMEN’S SIX NATIONS
France Women L England Women L
GREEN KING IPA CHAMPIONSHIP
Ealing Ts 37 Rotherham 35; Hartpury 14 London Scot 11.
BT SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP
Melrose 20 Stirling County 7; Watsonians 17 Ayr 27.
Rugby league
BETFRED SUPER LEAGUE
P W D
St Helens
5 5 0
Wakefield
4 4 0
Wigan
4 3 0
Leeds
4 3 0
Widnes
6 2 0
Hull
5 2 0
Castleford
3 2 0
Warrington
6 2 0
Huddersfield
5 2 0
Hull K R
4 1 0
Salford
4 1 0
Catalans Dragons
4 0 0
Catalans Dragons L Hull KR L
BETFRED LEAGUE ONE
London Skolars 16 Newcastle 60
L
0
0
1
1
4
3
1
4
3
3
3
4
F
157
80
106
62
117
103
47
76
76
52
62
42
A PD Pts
44 +113 10
36 +44 8
54 +52 6
62
0 6
109
+8 4
96
+7 4
76 -29 4
107 -31 4
108 -32 4
88 -36 2
100 -38 2
100 -58 0
Cricket
Teenager and
guide banish
memories of
crash on same
course at last
year’s World Cup
The teenager Millie Knight landed
Great Britain’s first medal of the
Winter Paralympics with a “phenomenal” silver in the visually-impaired
downhill skiing.
Racing with her guide, Brett Wild,
Knight banished memories of a painful crash on the same Pyeongchang
course during last year’s World
Cup finals that caused her to suffer
concussion. She said her podium
finish was “the best feeling in
the world”.
Knight and Wild clocked 1min
30.58sec, a time beaten only by the
Slovak Henrieta Farkasova and her
guide, Natalia Subrtova.
The 19-year-old from Canterbury,
said: “I can’t stop smiling. This is
amazing. The year we have had to get
here, it has been a struggle. I never
really thought we’d be back in this
position.
“It is the best feeling in the world.
I knew I’d stopped at the finish line
and that was my goal, there were no
repeats of last year where I just landed
on my face. I just waited until I could
Paralympic boost
IOC and IPC extend
partnership until 2032
The International Olympic
Committee and the International
Paralympic Committee have
signed a landmark long-term
partnership deal until at least
2032.
The contract, agreed in
Pyeongchang as the 12th Winter
SECOND TEST (second day of five)
hear what Brett’s reaction is because
I can’t see the screen and when Brett
said: ‘Yes!’ I knew it was good.”
Wild, from Glasgow, said: “It was
phenomenal for us to be back where
we wanted to be and be back in
the mix.”
Knight and Wild were back in
action in the early hours, in the superG, with another six events to come.
James Whitley, the 20-year-old
grandson of the late Northern Ireland
prime minister James ChichesterClark, finished 10th in the men’s
downhill, while the Welsh veteran
Chris Lloyd took 20th place.
The Scotsman Scott Meenagh
said there was “such a buzz” on his
Paralympics debut as he came home
18th in the sitting 7.5km biathlon. The
28-year-old former paratrooper lost
his legs after stepping on an explosive
device while serving in Afghanistan
seven years ago. He became the first
Briton to compete in the biathlon at
the Paralympics since Terry Ahrens
20 years ago.
“It feels amazing, absolutely
incredible,” Meenagh said. “It’s so
different at a Paralympics and to be
there with some of the best people
in the world was an absolute privilege and it brought another level out
of me today.”
Great Britain made an impressive
start to the round-robin wheelchair
curling with a 5-2 win over the
world champions, Norway, a result
described by the skip, Aileen Neilson,
as “a real boost of confidence”. She
added: “We’re really delighted, the
whole team played some really good
shots and it was enough to win.” PA
Paralympics started, adds to the
existing cooperation agreements
signed before the 2012 Olympic
and Paralympic Games in London,
with the IOC continuing to make
it obligatory for Olympic hosts to
also stage the Paralympics.
The two organisations will
also work towards increasing
visibility for the Paralympic Games
along with the development and
implementation of the Olympic
Agenda 2020, which dictates
South Africa v Australia
Port Elizabeth South Africa lead Australia by 20 runs with
three wickets remaining (Close)
Australia First innings 243 (DA Warner 63; K Rabada 5-96)
South Africa First innings cont (overnight: 39-1)
D Elgar c Paine b Hazlewood .........................................57
K Rabada b Cummins ....................................................29
HM Amla b Starc ..........................................................56
AB de Villiers not out ....................................................74
* F du Plessis lbw b MR Marsh .........................................9
TB de Bruyn lbw b MR Marsh ...........................................1
† Q de Kock b Lyon .........................................................9
VD Philander not out ....................................................14
Extras (lb2, w1) ..............................................................3
Total (for 7, 95 overs)..................................................263
Fall cont 67, 155, 155, 179, 183, 227. To bat KA Maharaj,
L Ngidi. Bowling Starc 26-4-78-1; Hazlewood 24-4-73-1;
Cummins 20-6-55-2; Lyon 16-5-29-1; MR Marsh 9-1-26-2.
Umpires: HDPK Dharmasena and CB Gaffaney.
INTERNATIONAL TWENTY20 MATCH
Colombo Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka by five wickets
Sri Lanka 214-6 (MDKJ Perera 74, BKG Mendis 57)
Bangladesh 215-5 B(Mushfiqur Rahim 72)
ICC WORLD CUP QUALIFIER – GROUP A
Harare West Indies beat Ireland by 52 runs
West Indies 257-8 (R Powell 101, JO Holder 54)
Ireland 205 (EC Joyce 63)
ENGLAND LIONS TOUR – ONE-DAY MATCH
Antigua West Indies A beat England Lions by 25 runs
West Indies A 256-9 (KMA Paul 55, J Blackwood 53)
England Lions 231
Paralympics
WINTER PARALYMPICS (Pyeongchang, South Korea)
Women: Downhill skiing: 1 H Farkasova (Svk) 1:29.72;
2 M Knight (GB) 1:30.58; 3 E Sana (Bel) 1:131.60.
Golf
HERO INDIAN OPEN (Delhi)
Leading third-round scores (GB/Ire unless stated)
209 S Sharma (Ind) 73 64 72; M Wallace 69 70 70.
210 S Gallacher 72 71 67. 211 E Grillo (Arg) 65 68 78;
A Johnston 72 66 73; M Schwab (Aut) 71 72 68. 212 S Kim
(US) 70 70 72; P Larrazabal (Sp) 67 71 74. 213 R Gouveia
(Por) 69 73 71; P Peterson (US) 67 73 73; A Rai 71 73 69.
214 J Luiten (Neth) 71 69 74; H Tanihara (Jpn) 74 68 72.
Tennis
ATP/WTA BNP PARIBAS OPEN (Indian Wells)
Men: First round: T Daniel (Jpn) bt C Norrie (GB) 3-6 6-1
1-6; P-H Herbert (Fr) bt G Simon (Fr) 6-7 (8-10) 7-6 (7-5)
6-3; D Sela (Isr) bt P Gojowczyk (Ger) 6-4 6-4; T Sandgren
(US) bt N Basilashvili (Geo) 6-3 2-1 ret; M Fucsovics (Hun)
bt V Troicki (Ser) 7-6 (7-3) 6-1; A De Minaur (Aus) bt J-L
Struff (Ger) 3-6 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-5); L Mayer (Arg) bt V
Estrella Burgos (Dom) 4-6 6-4 6-1; F Auger-Aliassime
(Can) bt V Pospisil (Can) 6-2 7-6 (7-4); T Smyczek (US) bt L
Djere (Ser) 6-3 6-2; T Fabbiano (It) bt B Klahn (US) 6-4
6-4; M Zverev (Ger) bt M Kukushkin (Kaz) 6-3 4-6 6-1.
Women: Second round: Shuai Zhang (Chn) bt S Kenin (US)
6-2 6-3; M Sakkari (Gre) bt A Barty (Aus) 6-4 6-2; J
Ostapenko (Lat) bt B Bencic (Swi) 6-4 3-6 6-1; N Osaka
(Jpn) bt A Radwanska (Pol) 6-3 6-2; P Martic (Cro) bt B
Zahlavova Strycova (Cz) 7-5 6-4; C Vandeweghe (US) bt K
Kanepi (Est) 6-0 7-6 (8-6); K Pliskova (Cz) bt I-C Begu
(Rom) 7-6 (7-4) 6-1; C Dolehide (US) bt D Cibulkova (Svk)
5-7 6-3 6-4; A Anisimova (US) bt A Pavlyuchenkova (Rus)
6-4 6-1; S Vickery (US) bt G Muguruza (Sp) 2-6 7-5 6-1.
a strategy for the future of the
Games.
The IOC president, Thomas
Bach, said: “Enhancing the
cooperation between the Olympic
and Paralympic movement was
one of the key recommendations of
Olympic Agenda 2020. Therefore,
the IOC is pleased to strengthen its
substantial support to the IPC and
the entire Paralympic movement
because we share so many of the
same values and objectives.”
The IOC will continue to provide
financial stability for the IPC,
benefiting Paralympic athletes and
organisers for the next 14 years.
The IPC’s president, the
Brazilian Andrew Parsons, said:
“Strengthening the relationship
with the IOC and securing
the future of the IPC and the
Paralympic movement was my
number one priority when I was
elected as IPC president last
Reuters
September.”
Cycling
UCI WORLD TOUR (Paris-Nice)
Stage 7 (175km):1 S Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 5hr
2min 54sec; 2 D Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team at 8sec;
3 I Izagirre (Sp) Bahrain-Merida at same time.
General classification: 1 S Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at
27hr 29min 2sec; 2 I Izagirre (Sp) Bahrain-Merida at 11sec;
3 G Izagirre (Sp) Bahrain-Merida at 12sec.
Chris Cook’s tips
MARKET RASEN 2.00 Ballyvic Boru 2.30 Rio Quinto 3.05
Miss Conway 3.35 Knocknamona 4.10 Supakalanistic
(nap) 4.40 Milly Baloo 5.10 Calipso Collonges
WARWICK 2.20 Starcrossed 2.50 Golden Vision
3.25 Champagne George 3.55 Gamain (nb) 4.30 Royal
Escape 5.00 Barrakilla 5.30 Clondaw Anchor
•
20
The Observer
11.03.18
Football
Results
Full
Time
Premier League
29
6
4
5 22 26
4
2
8 17 21
Brighton
Br
30
6
6
3 21 21
2
4
9
7 19
-12 34 LDWDWW
Ruthless Rashford
hford
strikes twice for
Man Utd, while
le
West Ham and
d West
Brom fall apart
art
Bournemouth
Bo
29
5
4
5 20 21
3
5
7 14 23
-10 33 DWWLDD
Newcastle
Ne
30
5
4
6 15 15
3
4
8 15 25
-10 32 LDDWDL
Swansea
Sw
30
6
2
7 15 19
2
5
8 10 23
Huddersfield
Hu
30
5
5
5 15 20
3
2 10 10 30
-25 31 LLLWWL
West Ham
We
30
5
4
5 16 20
2
5
9 20 37
-21 30 DDLWLL
Southampton
So
30
3
7
6 16 21
2
6
6 13 23
-15 28 DDWLDD
Crystal Palace
Cry
30
4
5
6 18 23
2
4
9 10 25
-20 27 DDLLLL
Stoke
Sto
29
5
4
5 16 21
1
5
9 12 33
-26 27 WDLDDD
West
We Brom
30
2
7
6 16 24
1
4 10
P
W
HOME
D L F
1
Sky Bet Championship
A
W
0 51 10 11
AWAY
D L F
2
A
GD Pts Form
Manchester City
29 14
1 32 10 +63 78 WWDWWW
Manchester Utd
30 12
2
1 33
7
8
3
4 25 16 +35 65 LWLWWW
Liverpool
30
9
6
0 33 10
8
3
4 35 24 +34 60 WDWWWL
Tottenham
29 10
4
1 31
9
7
3
4 24 15 +31 58 DWDWWW
Chelsea
30 10
2
3 26 11
7
3
5 26 16 +25 56 LLWLLW
Arsenal
Ar
29 10
2
2 36 17
3
4
8 16 24 +11 45 WLWLLL
Burnley
Bu
30
6
4
5 12 12
5
6
4 15 14
Leicester
Le
30
6
5
4 21 17
4
5
6 24 26
+2 40 WLDLDD
Everton
Ev
30
9
2
4 25 18
1
5
9 10 31
-14 37 DWLWLL
Watford
Wa
7 23
+1 43 LDDLDW
-8 36 LDWLWW
-17 31 WWDWLW
-24 20 DLLLLL
Chelsea
(2) 2 Crystal Palace
(0) 1
Willian 25
Van Aanholt 90
Kelly 32og
Att 40,800. Ref Anthony Taylor (Cheshire).
The facts
Brighton’s five-game
unbeaten run ended at Everton,
with Chris Hughton’s side
now having failed to score in
14 league games this season.
Only Huddersfield have
been goalless more often.
For Everton, Wayne Rooney
became the first player since
Darren Bent in 2009-10 to miss
as many as three penalties
in a top-flight season.
There have now been
three occasions this
season of a team having
more than 25 shots in a Premier
League game but failing to
score – and all of them have
been against Swansea. In full:
Southampton (29 in August),
Spurs (26 in September), and
Huddersfield yesterday, with 30.
The week
ahead
Thibaut
Courtois will
need to be
on top form
against Barça
Today
Premier League
Arsenal v Watford (1.30pm) Sky Sports
Premier League; Bournemouth v Tottenham
(4pm) Sky Sports Premier League
Sky Bet Championship
Nottingham Forest v Derby (2.30pm)
Sky Sports Football
Vanarama National League
Wrexham v Chester FC (noon) BT Sport 1
Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership
Rangers v Celtic (noon) Sky Sports Football
FA Women’s Super League Two
Aston Villa v Durham (2pm)
La Liga
Athletic Bilbao v Leganés (7.45pm) Sky Sports
Football; Atlético Madrid v Celta Vigo
(3.15pm) Sky Sports Mix; Espanyol v Real
Sociedad (11am) Sky Sports Mix; Las Palmas v
Villarreal (5.30pm) Sky Sports Football
Tomorrow (8pm unless stated)
Premier League
Stoke v Man City Sky Sports Premier League
La Liga
Alavés v Real Betis Sky Sports Football
Tuesday (7.45pm unless stated)
Uefa Champions League
Last 16: Second leg Manchester Utd (0) v
Sevilla (0) BT Sport 2; Roma (1) v Shakhtar
Donetsk (2) BT Sport 3
Manchester United
keep raising their game
for the big occasions.
They have now won
four of their eight games
against fellow big six (W4
D1 L3), twice as many as they
managed in the whole of last
season (W2 D4 L4).
Newcastle scored as
many goals against
Southampton as they
had in their previous six
combined at St James’
Park. Kenedy (pictured)
scored his second and third
career Premier League goals.
The Brazilian’s first came after
39 seconds against Norwich
in March 2016 and his first
yesterday came with 63
seconds on the clock.
Sky Bet Championship
Aston Villa v QPR; Barnsley v Norwich; Brentford
v Cardiff Sky Sports Football; Ipswich v Hull;
Sheff Utd v Burton Albion; Wolves v Reading
Sky Bet League One
Blackpool v Charlton; Bury v Peterborough; MK
Dons v Rotherham; Rochdale v Southend
Sky Bet League Two
Coventry v Luton; Exeter v Yeovil
Vanarama National League
Bromley v Barrow; FC Halifax v Dag & Red;
Gateshead v Solihull Moors; Leyton Orient v
Torquay
William Hill Scottish Cup
Quarter-final: Replay Kilmarnock v Aberdeen
Ladbrokes Scottish Championship
Dumbarton v Brechin; Dunfermline v Inverness CT;
Livingston v Morton; Queen of the South v
Dundee Utd
Ladbrokes Scottish League One
Airdrieonians v Stranraer; Albion v Queen’s Park;
Alloa v East Fife; Forfar v Raith
Ladbrokes Scottish League Two
Berwick v Stirling; Clyde v Elgin; Edinburgh City v
Cowdenbeath; Montrose v Annan Athletic;
Peterhead v Stenhousemuir
Wednesday (7.45pm unless stated)
Uefa Champions League
Last 16: Second leg Barcelona (1) v Chelsea (1)
BT Sport 2; Besiktas (0) v Bayern Munich (5)
(5pm) BT Sport 3
Sky Bet League One
Bradford v Wigan
Ladbrokes Scottish League One
Arbroath v Ayr
FA Women’s Continental Tyres Cup
Final Arsenal v Manchester City (7pm)
FA Women’s Super League
Yeovil v Reading
Thursday (8.05pm unless stated)
Uefa Europa League
Last 16: Second leg Arsenal (2) v Milan (0)
BT Sport 2; Athletic Bilbao (1) v Marseille (3)
(6pm) BT Sport 3; Dynamo Kiev (2) v Lazio (2)
(6pm); Lokomotiv Moscow (0) v Atlético Madrid
(3) (4pm) BT Sport 2; Lyon (1) v CSKA Moscow
(0); Plzen (0) v Sporting (2) (6pm); Red Bull
Salzburg (2) v Borussia Dortmund (1) BT Sport 3;
Alan Pardew (left) took
West Brom’s streak
to six league defeats
in a row. They were
last on a longer losing
run in league competition
between February and
April 2003 (seven games),
in a season that saw them
relegated from the top flight.
Burnley didn’t have a single
shot on target at West Ham
until the 66th minute when
Ashley Barnes scored. They
then scored with their second
shot on target only 3min 43sec
later. The result meant David
Moyes’ side have now lost
three league games in a row
by a margin of three or more
goals for the first time since
March 2008.
Zenit St Petersburg (1) v RB Leipzig (2) (6pm)
BT Sport ESPN
Friday
Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership
St Johnstone v Hibernian (7.45pm) BT Sport 1
U18 Centenary Shield
England v Republic of Ireland (7pm) FreeSports
La Liga
Levante v Eibar (8pm)
Saturday (3pm unless stated)
Emirates FA Cup
Quarter-finals Manchester Utd v Brighton
(7.45pm) BT Sport 1; Swansea v Tottenham
(12.15pm) BT Sport 1
Premier League
Bournemouth v West Brom; Huddersfield v
Crystal Palace; Liverpool v Watford (5.30pm)
BT Sport 1; Stoke v Everton
Sky Bet Championship
Barnsley v Millwall (1pm); Birmingham v Hull;
Bolton v Aston Villa (5.30pm) Sky Sports
Football; Brentford v Middlesbrough; Bristol City
v Ipswich; Fulham v QPR (12.30pm) Sky Sports
Football; Leeds v Sheff Wed; Norwich v Reading;
Sheff Utd v Nottm Forest; Sunderland v Preston;
Wolves v Burton Albion
Sky Bet League One
Blackpool v Southend Utd; Charlton v
Fleetwood Town
Gillingham v Blackburn; MK Dons v Bury;
Northampton v Rotherham; Oldham v
Portsmouth; Oxford Utd v Peterborough;
Plymouth v Bristol Rovers; Rochdale v
AFC Wimbledon; Scunthorpe v Shrewsbury
Sky Bet League Two
Accrington Stanley v Forest Green; Barnet v
Wycombe; Cambridge Utd v Swindon; Carlisle v
Crawley Town; Cheltenham v Chesterfield;
Colchester v Yeovil; Crewe v Coventry; Lincoln
City v Grimsby (1pm); Morecambe v Exeter;
Newport County v Luton; Notts County v
Mansfield (1pm); Port Vale v Stevenage
Vanarama National League
AFC Fylde v Hartlepool; Boreham Wood v
Tranmere; Bromley v Dag & Red; Chester FC v
Aldershot; Dover v Macclesfield; Eastleigh v
Leyton Orient; Gateshead v Ebbsfleet United;
Guiseley v FC Halifax; Maidenhead Utd v Barrow;
Everton
(0) 2 Brighton
Bong 60og
Tosun 76
Att 39,199. Ref Roger East (Wiltshire).
(0) 0
Huddersfield (0) 0 Swansea
(0) 0
Att 23,567. Ref Michael Oliver (Northumberland).
Man Utd
(2) 2 Liverpool
(0) 1
Rashford 14 24
Bailly 66og
Att 74,855. Ref Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).
Newcastle
(2) 3 Southampton
(0) 0
Kenedy 2 29
Ritchie 57
Att 52,246. Ref Andre Marriner (West Midlands).
West Brom
Rondón 8
(1) 1
Leicester
(1) 4
Vardy 21
Mahrez 62
Iheanacho 76
Iborra 90
Att 23,558. Ref Robert Madley (West Yorkshire).
West Ham
(0) 0
Burnley
Barnes 66
Wood 70 81
Att 56,904. Ref Lee Mason (Lancashire).
Top scorers
Kane Tottenham
Salah Liverpool
Agüero Man City
Lukaku Man Utd
League
24
24
21
14
(0) 3
Total
35
32
30
23
Maidstone Utd v Sutton Utd; Solihull Moors v
Torquay; Woking v Wrexham
Buildbase FA Vase
Semi-final: First Leg Marske Utd v Stockton
Town; Thatcham Town v 1874 Northwich
Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership
Aberdeen v Dundee; Hearts v Partick; Rangers
v Kilmarnock; Ross County v Hamilton
Ladbrokes Scottish Championship
Brechin v Dumbarton; Dundee Utd v Inverness
CT; Dunfermline v Morton; Livingston v
Falkirk; Queen of the South v St Mirren
Ladbrokes Scottish League One
Albion v Arbroath; Alloa v Airdrieonians;
Forfar v Ayr; Stranraer v Queen’s Park
Ladbrokes Scottish League Two
Annan Athletic v Clyde; Berwick v
Stenhousemuir; Cowdenbeath v Elgin;
Edinburgh City v Stirling; Montrose v Peterhead
La Liga
Deportivo v Las Palmas (noon) Sky Sports Mix;
Real Betis v Espanyol (7.45pm) Sky Sports
Football; Real Sociedad v Getafe (5.30pm)
Sky Sports Mix; Valencia v Alavés (3.15pm)
Sunday
Emirates FA Cup
Quarter-finals Leicester City v Chelsea
(4.30pm) BBC One; Wigan v Southampton
(1.30pm) BBC One
Sky Bet Championship
Derby v Cardiff (noon) Sky Sports Football
Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership
Motherwell v Celtic (2.15pm) Sky Sports
Football
Ladbrokes Scottish League One
Raith v East Fife (4.10pm) BBC Alba
FA Women’s Cup
Quarter-finals Arsenal v Charlton (2pm);
Durham v Everton (2pm); Liverpool v Chelsea
(2pm); Sunderland v Manchester City (2pm)
FA Women’s Super League Two
Watford v Sheffield (3pm)
La Liga
Barcelona v Atheltic Bilbao (3.15pm); Celta
Vigo v Málaga (5.30pm) Sky Sports Football rb;
Leganés v Sevilla (11am) Sky Sports Mix;
Real Madrid v Girona (7.45pm) Sky Sports
Football; Villarreal v Atlético Madrid (5.30pm)
Sky Sports Football
Wolves
Cardiff
Aston Villa
Fulham
Derby
Middlesbrough
Bristol City
Preston
Sheffield Utd
Millwall
Brentford
Ipswich
Leeds
Norwich
Nottingham Forest
QPR
Sheffield Wed
Hull
Reading
Bolton
Barnsley
Birmingham
Burton Albion
Sunderland
P
36
36
36
37
36
37
37
37
36
37
36
36
37
36
36
36
37
36
36
37
36
37
36
37
W
12
14
1
10
9
11
9
7
10
9
7
8
7
5
8
9
5
6
3
7
3
6
2
2
HOME
D L F A W
3 2 35 15 11
3 2 35 13 8
6 1 35 15 9
6 2 32 13 9
5 4 29 14 7
3 5 26 14 7
5 4 30 18 6
7 5 22 19 7
2 5 27 16 7
7 3 28 18 5
8 2 30 17 7
4 6 24 16 7
5 6 24 22 7
8 5 17 17 7
1 9 20 25 5
5 5 26 25 2
7 7 25 28 3
7 6 37 29 2
7 9 21 29 5
4 7 21 24 1
6 8 15 23 4
2 10 11 21 2
4 13 13 36 5
6 10 17 31 3
Aston Villa
(1) 4 Wolves
(1) 1
Adomah 8, Chester 57 Jota 20
Grabban 62
Bjarnason 85
Aston Villa Johnstone, Elmohamady, Chester,
Terry, Neil Taylor, Adomah■ (Bjarnason 75),
Jedinak, Hourihane■ (Lansbury 81), Grealish■,
Snodgrass, Grabban (Hogan 86).
Subs not used Bunn, Bree, Onomah, Davis.
Wolves Ruddy, Batth■ (Saïss 66), Coady■, Boly,
Doherty, Neves, N’Diaye■, Douglas, Cavaleiro
(Afobe 67), Bonatini, Jota■ (Costa■ 76).
Subs not used Bennett, Gibbs-White, Miranda,
Norris.
Att 37,836. Ref David Coote (Nottinghamshire).
Burton Albion (0) 0 Bristol City
(0) 0
Burton Albion Bywater, Flanagan, Naylor,
McFadzean, McCrory, Akins (Dyer 6), Murphy,
Akpan, Sordell, Bent (Davenport 72), Boyce
(Samuelsen 56).
Subs not used Allen, Buxton, Campbell, Sbarra.
Bristol City Fielding, Pisano, Wright■, Baker
(Magnusson 46), Kelly, Brownhill, Pack, Smith,
Paterson (Diony 67), Diedhiou (Djuric 67), Reid.
Subs not used Walsh, Steele, Eliasson, Kent.
Att 4,575. Ref Oliver Langford (W Midlands).
Cardiff
(3) 3 Birmingham
(0) 2
Mendez-Laing 12
Gardner 54pen
Bryson 23
Colin 90
Paterson 45
Cardiff Etheridge■, Peltier (Morrison 74),
Ecuele Manga, Bamba■, Bennett■, Paterson,
Grujic, Bryson (Damour 37), Mendez-Laing
(Halford 81), Zohore, Hoilett.
Subs not used Pilkington, Murphy, Wildschut,
Madine.
Birmingham Stockdale, Jenkinson (Roberts 46),
Morrison■, Dean■, Colin, Jota, Kieftenbeld,
Gardner, Maghoma (Boga 79), Jutkiewicz (Adams
69), Gallagher.
Subs not used Bramall, N’Doye, Lowe, Kuszczak.
Att 19,634. Ref Peter Bankes (Merseyside).
Hull
Irvine 6
(2) 4
Norwich
(3) 3
Maddison 18pen 19
39pen
Hernández 41pen 48pen
Wilson 71
Hull Marshall, Aina, Dawson, Mazuch, Clark■,
Larsson■, Henriksen, Bowen (Toral 88), Irvine,
Wilson (Hector 90), Hernández (Campbell 61).
Subs not used Grosicki, Dicko, Tomori, Burton.
Norwich Gunn, Reed (Hoolahan 79), Hanley,
Klose, Lewis, Tettey■, Leitner (Ivo Pinto■ 29),
Watkins■, Maddison, Hernandez (Murphy 79),
Oliveira.
Subs not used Husband, Vrancic, Srbeny,
McGovern.
Att 15,120. Ref Tim Robinson (West Sussex).
Ipswich
(0) 0 Sheff Utd
(0) 0
Ipswich Bialkowski, Iorfa (Spence 46), CarterVickers, Chambers, Webster, Kenlock, Gleeson■,
Skuse■, Connolly (Hyam 61), Waghorn, Celina,
Spence (Garner 81).
Subs not used Ward, Sears, Nydam, Crowe.
Sheff Utd Blackman, Basham, Stearman■,
O’Connell, Baldock, Lee Evans, Lundstram
(Donaldson 87), Fleck, Stevens, Ched Evans
(Wilson 69), Sharp (Brooks 78).
Subs not used Moore, Leonard, Lafferty,
Holmes.
Att 15,152. Ref John Brooks (Leicestershire).
Middlesbrough (2) 3 Barnsley
(0) 1
Ayala 1
Moore 58
Traoré 18
Bamford 53
Middlesbrough Randolph, Shotton, Ayala,
Gibson, Friend, Howson, Clayton, Besic (Baker
66), Traoré, Bamford (Assombalonga 90),
Downing (Cranie 83).
Subs not used Konstantopoulos, Fry, Johnson,
Harrison.
Barnsley Townsend, Cavare, Jackson, Lindsay,
Pinillos, Joe Williams (Mallan 75), Hedges (Thiam
46), Knasmullner (Isgrove 61), Gardner■,
McBurnie, Moore.
Subs not used Davies, Moncur, Yiadom, Pearson.
Att 24,917. Ref Andy Davies (Hampshire).
Millwall
Saville 1
(1) 1
Brentford
(0) 0
D
4
4
3
5
8
4
8
8
3
6
3
3
3
4
4
5
7
5
5
8
5
4
5
7
AWAY
L F
4 28
5 20
6 25
5 32
3 26
7 27
5 23
3 24
9 22
7 16
9 22
8 23
9 25
7 20
9 23
10 14
8 14
10 13
7 21
10 11
10 21
13 14
7 13
9 21
A
17
17
18
26
20
21
24
18
27
19
25
28
29
24
29
27
23
27
22
32
30
36
26
35
GD
+31
+25
+27
+25
+21
+18
+11
+9
+6
+7
+10
+3
-2
-4
-11
-12
-12
-6
-9
-24
-17
-32
-36
-28
Pts
76
73
69
68
61
61
58
57
56
55
53
52
50
48
44
43
38
36
36
36
32
30
30
28
Form
WDDLWL
DWWWWW
WLDWWW
DWDWWW
DLDDLD
WLWDWW
DDDLWL
DDDLWW
WWLWLD
DWWWDW
LDWWLW
DDLWWD
LDDWLL
WDDDDD
LDDWWD
WLWLLD
DWLLLL
LWLWDL
LLDDLD
LLWDLD
LDLWDL
LLLLLL
LDDWLL
DLLDDL
Millwall Archer, Romeo, Hutchinson, Cooper,
Meredith, Wallace, Williams, Saville, Marshall
(Cahill■ 87), Morison (Elliott■ 75), Gregory
(Onyedinma 75).
Subs not used McLaughlin, Martin, Tunnicliffe,
Shackell.
Brentford Bentley, Dalsgaard, Egan, Bjelland
(Mepham 4), Barbet, Woods, Yennaris, Canos
(Judge 74), Sawyers, Watkins, Marcondes
(Maupay 61).
Subs not used Macleod, McEachran, Mokotjo,
Daniels.
Att 13,251. Ref Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire).
Preston
(0) 1 Fulham
(0) 2
Maguire 76
Mitrovic 69 90
Preston North End Rudd, Fisher, Huntington,
Davies, Cunningham (Woods■ 46), Pearson,
Johnson (Harrop 83), Robinson, Browne,
Barkhuizen, Sean Maguire (Bodin 83).
Subs not used Clarke, Horgan, Gallagher,
Maxwell.
Fulham Bettinelli■, Fredericks (Christie 67),
Odoi, Ream, Targett, Cairney, McDonald,
Johansen, Ayite (Piazon 59), Mitrovic, Ryan
Sessegnon (Ojo 83).
Subs not used Rui Fonte, Norwood, Button,
Kamara.
Att 12,970. Ref Simon Hooper (Wiltshire).
QPR
(0) 1 Sunderland
(0) 0
Eze 62
QPR Smithies, Furlong, Onuoha■, Robinson
(Lynch 46), Bidwell, Luongo, Scowen,
Freeman■, Smyth (Samuel 72), Smith, Eze
(Manning 89).
Subs not used Cousins, Washington, Ingram,
Wszolek.
Sunderland Steele■, Matthews, Kone,
O’Shea■, Oviedo, Cattermole, Asoro (Camp 51),
Williams (McGeady 30), Ejaria, Honeyman,
Fletcher (Maja 87).
Subs not used Jones, McManaman, Gooch,
Robson.
Att 14,216. Ref Robert Jones (Merseyside).
Reading
(1) 2 Leeds
(1) 2
Bodvarsson 16
Jansson 43
O’Kane 58og
Hernández 56
Reading Jaakkola, Bacuna, Tiago Ilori, Moore,
Gunter, Evans■ (Edwards 63), Kelly■, Aluko,
Clement (Swift 63), Barrow, Bodvarsson.
Subs not used Mannone, Blackett, Smith,
Loader, Holmes.
Leeds Peacock-Farrell, Berardi, Jansson,
Pennington■, De Bock, O’Kane, Forshaw, Alioski,
Saíz, Hernandez (Dallas 85), Ekuban (Lasogga 77).
Subs not used Anita, Wiedwald, Phillips, Ronaldo
Vieira, Pearce.
Att 19,770. Ref Scott Duncan (Tyne & Wear).
Sheff Wed
(0) 1 Bolton
(0) 1
Boyd 78
Wilbraham 90
Sheff Wed Wildsmith, Frederico Venancio, Lees,
Pudil, Hunt, Clare, Pelupessy (Jones 90), Reach,
Boyd (Fox 86), Lucas Joao, Nuhiu (Rhodes 77).
Subs not used Butterfield, Loovens, Palmer,
Dawson.
Bolton Alnwick, Flanagan (Wilbraham 84),
Burke, Beevers, Andrew Taylor, Henry, Osede
(Clough 84), Ameobi, Pratley, Buckley (Morais
60), Le Fondre.
Subs not used Dervite, Karacan, Robinson,
Howard.
Att 26,809. Ref Darren Bond (Lancashire).
Top scorers
Reid Bristol City
Vydra Derby
Grabban Aston Villa
Adomah Aston Villa
Clarke Sheff Utd
Jota Wolves
Sessegnon Fulham
Bowen Hull
Maddison Norwich
Sharp Sheff Utd
Assombalonga Middlesbrough
Bonatini Wolves
Roofe Leeds
League
17
17
16
14
15
13
14
12
12
12
12
12
9
Total
19
18
16
15
15
14
14
13
13
13
12
12
12
•
The Observer
11.03.18
Sky Bet League One
Blackburn
Shrewsbury
Wigan
Rotherham
Scunthorpe
Plymouth
Peterborough
Charlton
Bristol Rovers
Bradford
Gillingham
Portsmouth
Southend
Walsall
Doncaster
Oxford Utd
Blackpool
AFC Wimbledon
Oldham
Northampton
Fleetwood Town
Rochdale
MK Dons
Bury
P
37
35
33
35
37
36
35
34
36
34
36
36
35
37
36
35
35
36
35
36
35
32
35
35
W
11
11
10
12
7
9
10
8
10
6
4
9
9
7
6
6
5
7
7
6
4
4
4
6
HOME
D L F
6 2 38
3 3 24
6 2 27
2 5 38
6 5 22
2 7 26
3 6 32
5 5 25
2 6 32
2 8 21
9 4 20
3 7 26
6 4 28
6 5 26
7 4 25
4 7 27
6 5 23
3 8 19
3 7 27
3 9 15
6 9 26
6 3 13
7 6 17
4 8 17
AFC Wimbledon (1) 2 Oxford Utd
(1) 1
Taylor 32pen
Kane 38
Meades 71
AFC Wimbledon Long, Fuller, Charles, Oshilaja,
Francomb, Forrester■ (Soares 87), Abdou,
Trotter, Barcham (Meades 46), McDonald (Pigott
46), Taylor.
Subs not used Nightingale, Parrett, Kaja,
McDonnell.
Oxford Utd Eastwood, Kane, Dickie, Mousinho,
Smith-Brown, Ledson, Ruffels, Buckley-Rickett
(Van Kessel 63), Brannagan■, Ricardinho (Henry
81), Obika (Thomas■ 63).
Subs not used Martin, Shearer, Mowatt, Napa.
Att 4,592. Ref Christopher Sarginson
(Staffordshire).
Blackburn
(1) 3 Blackpool
(0) 0
Dack 45
Armstrong 69 90
Blackburn Raya, Nyambe (Evans■ 16), Lenihan,
Mulgrew■, Williams, Bennett, Smallwood,
Payne (Conway 69), Dack (Bell 77), Armstrong,
Graham.
Subs not used Samuel, Leutwiler, Antonsson,
Downing.
Blackpool Lumley, Turton, Robertson, Tilt,
Daniel, Ryan, Spearing (Gnanduillet 70),
Delfouneso■, Longstaff, Solomon-Otabor
(Philliskirk 76), Vassell■ (Agyei 76).
Subs not used Taylor, Aimson, D’Almeida,
Mafoumbi.
Att 13,230. Ref Andy Garratt (West Midlands).
Bradford
(-) P Northampton
(Postponed due to waterlogged pitch)
(-) P
Bristol Rovers (1) 1 Northampton
(0) 1
Bennett 34
Luckassen 62
Bristol Rovers Slocombe, Partington (James
Clarke 71), Lockyer, Craig, Brown, Sinclair■
(Moore 76), Lines, Sercombe, Bennett, Harrison,
Gaffney (Telford 76).
Subs not used Nichols, Broadbent, Smith,
Mensah.
Northampton O’Donnell, Moloney, Taylor,
Turnbull, Bunney, Hoskins, Crooks■■, Grimes,
Ariyibi (Luckassen 60), O’Toole (Hildeberto■
46), Long■ (Facey 78).
Subs not used Cornell, Barnett, Powell, Shaun
McWilliams.
Att 9,054. Ref Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear).
Bury
(2) 2 Oldham
(1) 2
O’Shea 14
Davies 42
Danns 34
Pringle 77
Bury Ripley, Edwards, Cameron, Thompson■,
Leigh, Ismail (Hanson 74), Ince (Tutte 63),
Danns, O’Shea, Bunn (Mayor 81), Miller.
Subs not used Murphy, Jones, Dawson, Styles.
Oldham Placide, Dummigan, Gerrard (Wilson
39), Bryan, Moimbe■, Jack Byrne■, Gardner,
Fane, Pringle, Davies (Holloway 56), Nazon
(Doyle 56).
Subs not used McEleney, De la Paz, McLaughlin,
Hunt.
Att 5,904. Ref Andy Woolmer
(Northamptonshire).
Fleetwood
(0) 1 Plymouth
(1) 1
Madden 56
Makasi 16
Fleetwood Town Cairns, Coyle■, Eastham,
Pond, Jones, Sowerby, Dempsey, Glendon
(Biggins 81), Hunter, Madden (Burns 90),
McAleny (Hiwula 90).
Subs not used Neal, Grant, Maguire, Diagouraga.
Plymouth Matthews, Threlkeld, Vyner, Songo’o,
Sawyer (Taylor-Sinclair 70), Makasi (Grant 87),
Fox■, Ness (Ainsworth 65), Lameiras, Taylor,
Carey.
Subs not used Letheren, Fletcher, Sangster, Law.
Att 3,079. Ref Darren Handley (Lancashire).
Peterborough (1) 4 Charlton
(0) 1
Hughes 44
Zyro 73
Maddison 58pen
Marriott 81 84
Peterborough Bond, Shephard, Baldwin■,
Taylor, Hughes, Forrester, Da Silva Lopes
(Anderson 83), Ward (Doughty 69), Maddison,
Bogle (Lloyd 75), Marriott.
Subs not used Morias, O’Malley, Freestone,
Cooper.
Charlton Amos, Solly■, Pearce, Konsa, Sarr■,
Jackson (Ajose 67), Forster-Caskey, KaiKai
A W
18 11
10 10
9 10
20 7
19 8
26 6
24 4
22 6
25 5
27 9
18 8
19 6
21 3
24 4
19 4
28 5
24 5
24 4
25 3
25 4
31 6
11 3
21 3
22 1
Sky Bet League Two
AWAY
D L F
4 3 32
5 3 23
2 3 35
3 6 20
7 4 32
7 5 18
8 4 25
4 6 19
3 10 19
3 6 27
4 7 22
1 10 17
3 10 14
5 10 21
6 9 18
5 8 23
6 8 19
5 9 17
7 8 23
6 8 20
2 8 20
5 11 20
4 11 15
5 11 13
A
17
16
14
20
25
17
21
23
28
24
22
28
33
30
25
25
23
23
35
32
26
30
27
30
GD
+35
+21
+39
+18
+10
+1
+12
-1
-2
-3
+2
-4
-12
-7
-1
-3
-5
-11
-10
-22
-11
-8
-16
-22
Pts
76
71
68
62
58
54
53
51
50
50
49
49
45
44
43
42
42
41
40
39
38
32
32
30
Form
WWWWDW
LWLDWW
WLLWDD
WWWWWL
LDDDLD
WWWWWD
DDDDWW
LDDWLL
WWLDWD
LLLDDL
DWDDLW
WLLWLL
WWDWLD
DLLWLL
DDLWLD
WLLLDL
DDWDWL
LLWDLW
LWDWWD
LWLDDD
LLLLDD
WLDLWW
LLLDDL
WDDLWD
(Reeves 63), Aribo, Fosu, Magennis (Zyro 64).
Subs not used Bauer, Marshall, Lennon,
Maynard-Brewer.
Att 6,337. Ref Brett Huxtable (Devon).
Portsmouth
Lowe 19
Gillingham
(0) 3
Wilkinson 48
Martin 66 80
Portsmouth McGee, Walkes, Burgess■, Clarke,
Deslandes (Haunstrup 65), Close, Whatmough
(Chaplin 77), Lowe, Ronan, Donohue, Naismith.
Subs not used Kennedy, May, Smith, Bass,
Widdrington.
Gillingham Holy, O’Neill, Zakuani, Ehmer,
Wagstaff (List 79), Byrne, Martin (Nasseri 90),
Hessenthaler, Reilly, Eaves (Wilkinson 46),
Parker.
Subs not used Garmston, Nugent, Hadler,
Moussa.
Att 18,247. Ref Carl Boyeson (E Yorkshire).
Rotherham
(1) 1
(0) 0
Rochdale
(0) 1
Humphrys 67
Rotherham Rodak, Emmanuel (Palmer 77),
Ajayi, Wood■, Mattock, Forde (Williams 59),
Towell, Vaulks, Newell■, Smith, Ball (Lavery 69).
Subs not used Taylor, Price, Ihiekwe, Yates.
Rochdale Lillis, McGahey, McNulty, Delaney,
Rafferty, Inman (Rathbone 82), Camps, Cannon,
Done, Humphrys (Davies■ 77), Henderson.
Subs not used Wiseman, Moore, Adshead, Hart,
Alexandru Dobre.
Att 8,418. Ref Graham Salisbury (Lancashire).
Shrewsbury
(1) 2 Walsall
(0) 0
Rodman 6
Ogogo 88
Shrewsbury Henderson, Hendrie■, Nsiala,
Sadler, Beckles, Godfrey, Whalley (Thomas 80),
Ogogo, Nolan (John-Lewis 90), Rodman, Carlton
Morris (Payne 76).
Subs not used Lowe, Gnahoua, MacGillivray,
Bryn Morris.
Walsall Liam Roberts, Devlin, Kory Roberts,
Guthrie, Leahy, Morris (Cuvelier 71),
Chambers■, Dobson, Ngoy (Shaibu 86),
Oztumer, Bakayoko.
Subs not used Gillespie, Kinsella, Flanagan,
Fitzwater, Kouhyar.
Att 7,633. Ref Stephen Martin (Staffordshire).
Southend
(0) 0 Doncaster
(0) 0
Southend Oxley, Demetriou, Turner, Ferdinand,
Coker, McLaughlin, Yearwood, Wright, Kightly
(Harrison 80), Cox (Wordsworth 68), Fortune
(Ladapo 87).
Subs not used Timlin, Bishop, Mantom,
Kyprianou.
Doncaster Marosi, Blair, Baudry■, Wright,
Mason, Houghton, McCullough, Kiwomya (May
69), Coppinger, Rowe, Marquis.
Subs not used Lawlor, Kongolo, Williams,
Whiteman, Ben Khemis.
Att 6,766. Ref Kevin Johnson (Somerset).
Wigan
(2) 3 Scunthorpe
(2) 3
Dunkley 13
Hopper 16 45
Grigg 43
Toney 53
Roberts 87
Wigan Walton, Byrne (Roberts 83), Dunkley,
Burn■, James (Bruce■ 62), Morsy, Power,
Perkins (Vaughan 61), Powell, Jacobs, Grigg.
Subs not used Walker, Massey, Jones, Fulton.
Scunthorpe Gilks, Bishop, Burgess, McArdle,
Wallace, Holmes■, Yates, Ojo, Morris, Toney,
Hopper.
Subs not used Townsend, Crofts, Adelakun,
Goode, McGeehan, Wootton, Watson.
Att 8,438. Ref Dean Whitestone
(Northamptonshire).
Top scorers
Marriott Peterborough
Grigg Wigan
Oztumer Walsall
Dack Blackburn
Graham Blackburn
Henderson Rochdale
Taylor AFC Wimbledon
Doyle Oldham
Eaves Gillingham
League
21
10
15
16
12
9
12
14
13
Total
26
17
17
16
15
15
15
14
14
Accrington Stanley
Luton
Notts County
Wycombe
Mansfield
Exeter
Lincoln City
Coventry
Swindon
Carlisle
Newport County
Crawley Town
Colchester
Cambridge Utd
Cheltenham
Stevenage
Yeovil
Crewe
Forest Green
Grimsby
Morecambe
Port Vale
Chesterfield
Barnet
Chesterfield
Whitmore 34
P
36
36
37
36
36
34
36
35
36
37
36
36
36
37
37
36
35
36
36
37
35
35
35
36
W
13
13
12
10
10
11
9
11
8
7
6
8
8
10
7
7
8
7
8
4
5
5
6
4
HOME
D L F
2 3 34
2 4 52
4 2 36
4 5 40
8 1 37
2 4 24
6 3 29
2 4 23
2 8 23
6 5 26
8 2 23
3 7 22
6 4 27
5 3 23
5 6 26
8 3 34
4 7 27
3 8 23
2 9 28
7 8 15
4 7 17
5 7 19
3 10 22
5 8 15
(1) 1
Lincoln City
(1) 3
Bostwick 45
Wharton 59
Palmer 85
Chesterfield Ramsdale, Talbot■, Nelson,
Whitmore, George Smith (Rowley 81), Barry,
McCourt, Kay (Hines 64), Kellett, O’Grady
(Dennis 64), Brown.
Subs not used Williock, Maguire, Brownell,
Parkin.
Lincoln City Allsop, Eardley, Bostwick, Wharton,
Habergham, Whitehouse, Woodyard■,
Frecklington■, Green (Anderson 64), Rhead
(Palmer■ 67), Williams.
Subs not used Farman, Long, Pett, Chapman,
O’Hare.
Att 6,395. Ref David Webb (County Durham).
Coventry
(0) 1 Barnet
(0) 0
Clarke-Harris 75
Coventry Burge, Grimmer, Hyam, McDonald,
Haynes, Bayliss, Kelly, Doyle, Reid (Barrett 62),
McNulty, Clarke-Harris■ (Biamou 84).
Subs not used Stokes, Willis, O’Brien, Devon
Kelly-Evans, Ponticelli.
Barnet Legg, Vilhete, Sweeney, Santos, Tutonda,
Watson, Weston■, Ruben Bover (Nicholson 78),
Coulthirst (Jack Taylor 77), Akinde (Akinola 77),
Nicholls.
Subs not used Clough, Ross, Plavotic, Briggs.
Att 7,127. Ref Gavin Ward (Surrey).
Crawley Town (0) 1 Morecambe
(0) 1
Ahearne-Grant 90
Lang 90
Crawley Town Morris, Young, Connolly■,
Yorwerth■, Doherty, Payne■ (McNerney 86),
Bulman, Randall (Camara 64), Smith, AhearneGrant, Boldewijn.
Subs not used Mersin, Djalo, Tajbakhsh, Lelan,
Sanoh.
Morecambe Roche, Winnard, Lavelle■,
McGowan, McGurk, Fleming, Rose, Ellison
(Campbell 77), Conlan, Wylde (Thompson 65),
Wildig (Lang■ 64).
Subs not used Kenyon, Oliver, Nizic, Lund.
Att 1,642. Ref Brendan Malone (Wiltshire).
Exeter
(1) 1 Carlisle
(0) 1
Moxey 42
Nadesan 64
Exeter Pym, Sweeney, Brown, Moore-Taylor
(Woodman 8), Moxey, Boateng, Tillson, Harley,
Holmes (Edwards 33), Stockley, Taylor.
Subs not used James, Archibald-Henville,
Simpson, Jones, Jay.
Carlisle Bonham, Liddle■, Hill, Ellis, Parkes,
Devitt, Joyce■ (Lambe 65), Jones, Hope,
Bennett (Twardek 77), Stockton (Nadesan 57).
Subs not used Grainger, Gray, Brown,
O’Sullivan.
Att 3,488. Ref John Busby (Oxfordshire).
Forest Green
Campbell 72
(0) 1
Notts County
(1) 2
Noble 34
Tootle 80
Forest Green Bradley Collins, Bennett (Charlie
Cooper■ 60), Rawson, Gunning, Hollis, Clements
(Brown 82), Lee Collins■, Osbourne, Grubb
(Campbell 63), Reid, Wishart.
Subs not used Laird, Simpson, Belford, Bray.
Notts County Collin, Tootle, Duffy■, Hall
(Brisley 86), Dickinson, Hawkridge (Virtue 71),
Hewitt, Noble■, Grant, Alessandra, Stead
(Ameobi 84).
Subs not used Pindroch, Smith, Walker, Jones.
Att 2,893. Ref Mark Heywood (Cheshire).
Grimsby
(0) 1 Port Vale
(1) 1
Berrett 90
Worrall 10
Grimsby McKeown, Ben Davies, Suliman (HallJohnson 53), Clarke■, Collins, Fox, Berrett■,
Mitchell Rose (Cardwell 65), Clifton, Dembele
(Kelly 77), Matt.
Subs not used Hooper, Mills, Jaiyesimi, Killip.
Port Vale Boot, Davis, Howkins, Smith,
Montano (Gibbons 67), Tonge■, Pugh,
Hannant (Whitfield■ 78), Worrall■, Forrester
(Barnett 67), Harness.
Subs not used Howe, Raglan, Hornby, Wilson.
Att 5,198. Ref Sebastian Stockbridge (Tyne &
Wear).
Luton
E Lee 61
(0) 1
Accrington
McConville 44
Kee 90
(1) 2
A W
17 9
21 7
16 6
30 8
19 6
14 7
18 6
11 6
32 10
17 8
16 7
17 7
17 5
13 3
22 4
21 4
19 2
26 4
30 2
23 5
22 3
21 4
29 2
21 3
21
Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership
AWAY
D L F
3 6 27
7 3 24
7 6 23
5 4 28
6 5 18
3 7 21
6 6 21
4 8 16
1 7 32
4 7 27
5 8 23
4 7 20
6 7 19
6 10 14
6 9 26
2 12 14
4 10 19
1 13 20
5 10 15
3 10 16
8 8 18
4 10 19
3 11 14
3 13 18
A
22
16
22
22
18
24
21
17
22
29
30
27
25
34
31
32
38
33
31
31
24
29
35
32
GD
+22
+39
+21
+16
+18
+7
+11
+11
+1
+7
0
-2
+4
-10
-1
-5
-11
-16
-18
-23
-11
-12
-28
-20
Pts
71
69
65
63
62
59
57
57
57
55
52
52
51
50
44
43
38
37
37
37
36
36
30
29
Form
WWDWWW
WDWDDL
WDLWDW
DWWLLD
LWWDDD
LDLWWD
DDWLLD
LLLDWW
LWLWLL
LWWWWD
LLDDDW
WWLWLD
WDWLLD
WWWLDD
WLLDDW
LDLWLD
WDWLLL
DLWLWD
WWDWDL
DLLLLD
LDDWLD
DDLLDD
WLLLLW
WLDLWL
Luton Stech, Stacey, Rea, Sheehan■, Potts,
Olly Lee■, Downes (Cornick 63), Berry,
Shinnie (Gambin■ 85), Hylton, Elliot Lee■
(Jervis 90).
Subs not used Justin, Cuthbert, Ruddock,
Shea.
Accrington Stanley Chapman, Johnson, Dunne,
Hughes■, Donacien■, Clark, Conneely, Brown,
McConville■, Kee, Jackson■.
Subs not used Richards-Everton, Nolan, Zanzala,
Williams, Maxted, Sousa, Rodgers.
Att 9,503. Ref Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire).
Mansfield
(1) 1 Colchester
(0) 1
Hemmings 22
Comley 52
Mansfield Logan, White, Pearce■, Diamond
(Digby 65), Benning, Anderson (Atkinson 57),
Byrom (Mellis■ 58), MacDonald, Hamilton,
Hemmings■, Rose.
Subs not used Angol, Olejnik, Spencer, King.
Colchester Walker, Jackson (Murray 85), Kent■,
Eastman, Vincent-Young, Wright (Shodipo 71),
Lapslie (Stevenson 88), Comley, Dickenson,
Szmodics■, Guthrie.
Subs not used Prosser, Mandron, Mandeville,
Dillon Barnes.
Att 4,050. Ref Ross Joyce (Cleveland).
Stevenage
(1) 2
Bowditch 14 50
Crewe
(0) 2
Ng 80
Kirk 90
Stevenage Tom King, Vancooten, Wilmot,
Jack King, Martin, Amos (Franks 90), Sheaf■,
McKee, Bowditch (Kennedy 54), Newton■,
Goddard.
Subs not used White, Fryer, Wilkinson,
Whelpdale.
Crewe Garratt, Ng, Ray■, Nolan,
Bakayogo, Ainley (Kirk 62), Pickering, Green,
Lowery (McKirdy 54), Bowery (Dagnall 78),
Miller■.
Subs not used Walker, Raynes, Richards,
Barlaser.
Att 2,032. Ref Graham Horwood (Bedfordshire).
Swindon
(0) 0
Cheltenham
(1) 3
Andrews 41
Eisa 49 71
Swindon Moore, Purkiss, Robertson, Menayese,
Knoyle (Gordon 56), Anderson (Mullin 80),
Elsnik, Dunne■, Taylor, Norris (Woolery 68),
Richards.
Subs not used Hussey, Iandolo, Charles-Cook,
Twine.
Cheltenham Flinders, Moore, Boyle, Grimes,
Chatzitheodoridis (Cranston 85), Andrews
(Odelusi 69), Winchester, Atangana, Morrell,
Dawson (Lloyd 80), Eisa.
Subs not used Wright, Graham, Lovett, Joe
Rodon, Joe Rodon.
Att 6,658. Ref Tom Nield (West Yorkshire).
Wycombe
(1) 1 Cambridge Utd (0) 1
Akinfenwa 45
Lewis 90
Wycombe Brown, Moore, Scarr, El-Abd,
Jacobson (McGinley 61), Bloomfield (Kashket
90), Gape, O’Nien, Cowan-Hall (Freeman 86),
Akinfenwa, Tyson.
Subs not used Bean, Mackail-Smith, Thompson,
Makabu-Makalamby.
Cambridge Utd Forde, Halliday, Taylor, Taft,
Dunk, Deegan, O’Neil (Jevani Brown 80), Maris
(Lewis 19), Waters■ (Amoo 69), Ibehre■,
Ikpeazu.
Subs not used Carroll, Legge, Mitov, Elito.
Att 4,426. Ref Nicholas Kinseley (Essex).
Yeovil
(0) 0
Newport County (0) 2
Sheehan 57
Hayes 90
Yeovil Maddison, Whelan, Sowunmi, James,
Dickson, Green (Browne 70), Connor Smith,
Wing, Khan (Fisher 77), Surridge (Barnes 60),
Zoko■.
Subs not used Bird, Mugabi, Nelson,
Donnellan.
Newport County Day, White, Tozer, Demetriou,
Sheehan, Dolan (Bennett 81), Willmott (Aaron
Collins 84), Labadie■, Butler, Amond (Nouble
56), Hayes■.
Subs not used Jackson, McCoulsky, Reid,
Bittner.
Att 2,880. Ref Lee Collins (Surrey).
Celtic
Rangers
Aberdeen
Hibernian
Kilmarnock
Hearts
Motherwell
St Johnstone
Hamilton
Dundee
Partick
Ross County
Dundee
P
28
29
29
29
29
30
29
29
27
29
29
29
W D L F A GD Pts
19 7 2 56 18 +38 64
18 4 7 59 32 +27 58
16 5 8 43 33 +10 53
14 9 6 42 32 +10 51
11 10 8 39 38 +1 43
9 12 9 29 29 0 39
10 5 14 34 39 -5 35
9 6 14 29 42 -13 33
8 5 14 38 48 -10 29
8 4 17 30 47 -17 28
6 7 16 26 47 -21 25
5 6 18 31 51 -20 21
St Johnstone
(2) 4
Piggott 24og
Kane 37 66
Alston 64
Dundee Parish, Kerr (Moussa 46), Caulker,
Meekings, Aurtenetxe, Deacon■, O’Hara, Curran,
Spence (Piggott■ 19), Murray (El Bakhtaoui 66),
Leitch-Smith. Subs not used Ferie, Lambert,
Kusunga, O’Dea.
St Johnstone Mannus, Kerr, Shaughnessy,
Anderson, Tanser, Alston (Wotherspoon■ 73),
Millar■ (McClean 80), Davidson■, Craig,
MacLean, Kane. Subs not used Johnstone, C
Williams, Clark, Gordon, Comrie.
Att 5,336. Ref Craig Thomson (Scotland).
LEADING GOALSCORERS
K Boyd Kilmarnock
Sinclair Celtic
Morelos Rangers
Forrest Celtic
Lafferty Hearts
Murray Dundee
Windass Rangers
Dembélé Celtic
Griffiths Celtic
Rooney Aberdeen
League
14
9
13
7
9
8
11
6
8
8
Total
19
18
17
16
16
16
16
12
12
10
(0) 0
Hamilton
(1) 2 Motherwell
(0) 0
Ogboe 11
Templeton 69
Hamilton Woods, Want, Tomas, van der Weg,
Templeton (Miller 84), Lyon, Jenkins,
Ferguson■, McMann, Rojano (Redmond 76),
Ogboe (Bingham 72). Subs not used Scott,
Fulton, Cunningham, Hughes.
Motherwell Carson, Kipre■, Aldred, Dunne■,
Tait (Bowman 74), Campbell (Bigirimana 56),
McHugh, Tanner, Cadden, Rose (Ciftci 56), Main.
Subs not used Griffiths, Newell, Turnbull,
Maguire.
Att 3,182. Ref Steven McLean (Scotland).
Kilmarnock
(1) 3 Ross County
(0) 2
Erwin 16
McKay 86
K Boyd 46
Schalk 90
Brophy 74
Kilmarnock MacDonald, O’Donnell, Broadfoot■,
Findlay, Taylor (Simpson 42), McKenzie, Dicker,
Tshibola, Kiltie (Mulumbu 64), Kris Boyd (Brophy
72), Erwin. Subs not used Fasan, Burke, Power,
Scott Boyd.
Ross County McCarey, Naismith■ (Routis 55),
Fraser, Fontaine, Melbourne, Gardyne, Draper,
O’Brien■, Keillor-Dunn (McKay 64), Dow, Ngog
(Schalk 64). Subs not used Lindsay, Fox, Chow,
Dingwall.
Att 4,001. Ref John Beaton (Scotland).
Partick
(0) 0 Aberdeen
(0) 0
Partick Cerny, Elliot■, Devine, Cargill, Booth,
Erskine (Edwards 57), McCarthy, Woods, Lawless
(Spittal 70), Storey, Sammon. Subs not used
McGinn, Doolan, Scully, Barton, Fraser.
Aberdeen Woodman, Logan, O’Connor,
McKenna, Considine, Ball (Mackay-Steven 68),
Shinnie, Christie, McLean, McGinn (Stewart 82),
May (Rooney 57). Subs not used Nwakali,
Arnason, Wright, Rogers.
Att 3,931. Ref Greg Aitken (Scotland).
Championship
P W D L F A GD Pts
St Mirren
27 19 3 5 49 28 +21 60
Livingston
26 14 7 5 43 27 +16 49
Morton
27 11 8 8 37 27 +10 41
Dundee Utd
23 12 4 7 31 28 +3 40
Queen of South 26 10 8 8 39 34 +5 38
Dunfermline
26 9 8 9 39 30 +9 35
Falkirk
27 8 9 10 31 40 -9 33
Inverness CT
24 8 6 10 30 30 0 30
Dumbarton
25 4 9 12 15 32 -17 21
Brechin
25 0 4 21 18 56 -38 4
Brechin P Dundee Utd P; Dumbarton 0 Queen of
the South 1; Falkirk 3 Morton 1; Livingston P
Inverness CT P; St Mirren 2 Dunfermline 0
League One
P W D L F A GD Pts
Raith
28 17 7 4 55 28 +27 58
Ayr
27 18 3 6 73 32 +41 57
Arbroath
27 13 6 8 53 38 +15 45
Alloa
27 13 6 8 42 32 +10 45
Stranraer
28 11 5 12 44 53 -9 38
East Fife
28 11 3 14 40 48 -8 36
Airdrieonians
27 8 8 11 35 47 -12 32
Albion
26 7 5 14 50 62 -12 26
Forfar
28 7 4 17 32 57 -25 25
Queen’s Park
28 5 7 16 32 59 -27 22
Arbroath 2 Forfar 0; Ayr 3 Raith 0; East Fife 2
Airdrieonians 1; Queen’s Park 1 Alloa 2;
Stranraer 2 Albion 3
League Two
P W D L F A GD Pts
Peterhead
28 18 4 6 65 32 +33 58
Montrose
27 16 7 4 40 28 +12 55
Stirling
26 14 3 9 49 32 +17 45
Stenhousemuir 26 12 5 9 42 33 +9 41
Elgin
26 12 4 10 43 46 -3 40
Annan Athletic 28 9 9 10 36 32 +4 36
Clyde
26 8 8 10 35 41 -6 32
Berwick
26 7 5 14 22 48 -26 26
Edinburgh City 26 7 4 15 27 40 -13 25
Cowdenbeath
25 1 7 17 13 40 -27 10
Annan Athletic 2 Edinburgh City 3; Cowdenbeath P
Montrose P; Elgin 3 Berwick 0; Stenhousemuir 2
Clyde 3; Stirling 0 Peterhead 1
Non League
Vanarama National League
Top eight
P W D L F A GD Pts
Macclesfield
36 21 8 7 51 37 +14 71
Sutton Utd
37 20 9 8 57 39 +18 69
Tranmere
37 18 10 9 61 37 +24 64
Aldershot
37 17 12 8 58 45 +13 63
Boreham Wood 36 16 13 7 50 33 +17 61
Dover
37 16 12 9 50 33 +17 60
Wrexham
36 15 15 6 41 28 +13 60
AFC Fylde
37 16 10 11 68 46 +22 58
AFC Fylde 7 Aldershot 1; Bromley 2 Guiseley 1;
Dag & Red 0 Tranmere 4; Eastleigh P Dover P;
Gateshead 7 Maidenhead Utd 1; Hartlepool 0
Boreham Wood 0; Leyton Orient 1 Ebbsfleet
United 1; Macclesfield 3 Barrow 1; Maidstone
Utd 1 Torquay 0; Sutton Utd 1 Solihull Moors 0;
Woking 1 FC Halifax 3
Vanarama North
Top eight
P W D L F A GD Pts
Harrogate Town 32 21 5 6 81 39 +42 68
Salford City
32 21 5 6 57 34 +23 68
Brackley
31 17 10 4 55 27 +28 61
York
33 15 8 10 58 48 +10 53
Blyth Spartans 32 17 1 14 67 50 +17 52
Kidderminster 31 13 10 8 52 35 +17 49
Spennymoor
27 14 6 7 52 41 +11 48
Bradford PA
33 12 9 12 53 43 +10 45
AFC Telford P Spennymoor Town P; Bradford PA 3
Alfreton Town 3; Darlington 1 Curzon Ashton 0;
Gainsborough 1 Kidderminster 0; Harrogate 6
FC United 0; Leamington P Chorley P; Nuneaton 2
North Ferriby Utd 2; Salford City P Blyth
Spartans P; Southport 3 Tamworth 0; Stockport
County 0 Brackley 1; York 1 Boston Utd 0
Vanarama South
Top eight
Havant and W
Dartford
Hampton & Rich
Chelmsford
Hemel H
St Albans
Braintree Town
Welling
P
31
33
32
33
32
31
33
32
W
17
17
15
14
14
14
13
14
D L
9 5
8 8
13 4
11 8
10 8
8 9
11 9
8 10
F
51
65
47
50
51
54
57
55
A GD Pts
24 +27 60
40 +25 59
29 +18 58
36 +14 53
38 +13 52
39 +15 50
46 +11 50
46 +9 50
Braintree Town 2 Wealdstone 2; Concord
Rangers P Bognor Regis Town P; Dartford 0 Poole
Town 1; East Thurrock 0 Welling 1; Eastbourne
Borough 0 Gloucester 1; Hampton & Richmond 3
Weston-super-Mare 1; Hemel Hempstead P
Bath City P; Hungerford Town 1 Chelmsford 1;
Oxford City 0 Havant and W 1; St Albans 0
Truro City 1; Whitehawk 1 Chippenham 3
Other football
EVO-STIK NORTHERN PREMIER
Altrincham P Mickleover Sports P; Ashton Utd 3
Halesowen 0; Buxton P Nantwich Town P;
Marine 2 Hednesford 0; Matlock Town P
Stourbridge P; Shaw Lane P Sutton Coldfield
Town P; Stafford Rangers 2 Lancaster City 2;
Warrington Town 2 Barwell 0; Whitby P
Grantham P; Witton Albion P Farsley Celtic P;
Workington 3 Stalybridge 4
EVO-STIK SOUTHERN PREMIER
Banbury 4 Farnborough 1; Basingstoke 1 St Neots
Town 0; Biggleswade Town 1 Weymouth 2;
Bishop’s Stortford 3 Redditch 0; Chesham 0
Hitchin 0; Dorchester 1 Merthyr Town 2; Gosport
Borough P Kettering P; Hereford FC 0 Kings Lynn
Town 2; Royston Town 4 Kings Langley 0; Slough
2 Frome Town 1; St Ives Town P Stratford Town P;
Tiverton 7 Dunstable 1
BOSTIK PREMIER
Billericay P Staines Town P; Brightlingsea Regent
2 Dulwich 2; Burgess Hill Town P Leatherhead P;
Enfield Town 3 Lowestoft Town 0; Harlow 4 Met
Police 3; Harrow Borough 0 Folkestone Invicta 3;
Hendon 1 Margate 1; Kingstonian 1 Leiston 3;
Needham Market 1 Merstham 3; Tonbridge
Angels 1 Worthing 1; Tooting & Mitcham 1
Dorking W 2; Wingate & Finchley 2 Thurrock 4
PRESS & JOURNAL HIGHLAND LEAGUE
Clachnacuddin 1 Rothes 0; Fort William 0
Buckie Thistle 7; Inverurie Loco Works 5
Deveronvale 1; Turriff United 1 Wick Academy 2
FERRARI PACKAGING LOWLAND LEAGUE
Dalbeattie Star 3 Hawick Royal Albert 0;
Edinburgh Univ P BSC Glasgow P; Gretna 2008 1
Gala Fairydean 2; Selkirk P Civil Service Strollers P;
Spartans 1 Stirling University 0; Vale of Leithen P
Edusport Academy P; Whitehill Welfare P
East Kilbride P
•
22
The Observer
11.03.18
Football
Extra Time
Programme Notes
Felix White meets
Gary Neville to find
out about batting
with Matt Hayden,
and how United
were like Australia
Without the good fortune of having
seen an England side lose games
of cricket for almost an entire
decade, I don’t think I could have
fallen in love with sport. That run of
defeats bred in me commitment to
a doomed cause, a sporting value I
held above all else. Certainly above
winning. Teams that won all the
time were, to my mind, slightly
distasteful. Of that era there were
two in particular: the Australian
cricket team that won everything
going for 15 years and Manchester
United. For me, they were one and
the same.
Players from both of these
decorated teams have taught
me a humbling lesson in their
post-career lives. It turns out that
Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist,
David Beckham, Paul Scholes et al
are all three-dimensional, likeable
and real human beings.
When I sit down with Gary Neville
at his very own Hotel Football
overlooking Old Trafford, I put the
similarity between the two teams
to him. “That Australian side was
everything I’d ever want in a sports
side,” he says. “To me, they were
the ultimate cricket team. Like
Look out for
Millennials
That word again. What does it
even mean?
Broadly speaking, young adult. But
the details depend on your choice of
demographer/columnist. It’s often
used to refer to those born between
1980 and the end of 1994, or up to
1991, or up to the start of, or end
of, 2000. It’s then delineated into
Generations Y and Z, or iGen, though …
Never mind. Why are we talking
about them again?
Because, besides the Champions
League, youth is a TV focus this week
– Gen Z’s millionaire nippers play in
us, they never knew when they
were beat. The word I would use is
uncompromising.”
Neville then reveals, somewhat
bizarrely, that the link between
the teams is closer than I imagined.
“Did you know I had a partnership
with Matt Hayden at club level,
200-odd?”
What does he recall of it? “I’ll tell
you what I remember, nearly losing
the bastard game. I hit a bad shot,
Hayden came up to me and said:
‘Concentrate, I don’t want any of
that crap – this is not the time.’ That
mentality of: ‘You don’t give your
wicket away.’ That was something
I didn’t value enough. He did. Even
then. He could actually just flick it
off his legs for six, just glide it, and
you’d be like: ‘Hang on a minute,
how’s that ended up in the trees?’”
Competitive spirit and resilience,
though, was far from an Australian
epiphany; it was everywhere at his
Lancashire club, Greenmount CC.
“Cricket toughened me up in my
early years a lot more than football.
From a very young age you’re
playing against men. It was scary.”
He leaps up to imitate backing
up at the non-striker’s end. “When
I was 14 I got Mankaded by a grown
man. I’d say he was older than 40.
I backed up, not concentrating. He
stopped and warned me. I did it
again without thinking. He clipped
my bails off. It kicks off. My side
came running over: ‘You’re a fucking
disgrace’ and the rest of it.”
He settles back down in his
chair. “At the time I blamed him
and thought it was unsporting. But
actually, looking back at it now,
the Uefa Youth League quarter-finals,
vying for a place in the Nyon semis.
Are these kids really millionaires?
If they’re not already, plenty of them will
be soon enough. Liverpool, for instance,
whose U19s face Man City this week
(3pm Wednesday, BT Sport 2), operate a
£40k-a-year salary cap for 17-year-olds
in the first season of a contract, to keep
them grounded. But when they turn 18,
there’s the chance of a modest uplift.
How modest?
Ben Woodburn, who scored in their
Youth League win over Manchester
United in the last 16, signed an
enhanced five-year deal in October.
It raised his £40k a year by 3,150% to
a reported £25,000 a week, or £6.5m
over five years. A decent gesture.
Jumpers for goalposts. So what is
this tournament?
It’s been running five years. This year
BOLTON EVENING NEWS/SWNS.COM
‘Cricket toughened me up
a lot more than football’
Gary Neville (right) and younger
brother, Phil, pictured in their
Lancashire Schools cricket kit in 1989
‘Phil broke all
of Atherton and
Crawley’s records
at school. He
could leave the
ball outside off
stump for days’
Gary Neville
64 teams from 43 of the 55 Uefa
member associations entered, with
Albania, Latvia and Luxembourg
taking part for the first time. There are
only the familiar, well-resourced faces
left now, though. Besides Liverpool
versus City, there’s also Tottenham
v Porto (3pm Tuesday, BT Sport 3),
Barcelona v Atlético Madrid (5pm
Tuesday, BT Sport 3), and
Real Madrid v Chelsea (5pm
Wednesday, BT Sport 3).
Who are the big names?
There are plenty of emerging players
worth watching, including City’s Phil
Foden – who inspired England’s U17
World Cup final win in October –
Chelsea’s Josh Grant, Tottenham’s
Kazaiah Sterling and Dani Gómez
of Real – the tournament’s top
scorer from the clubs still involved.
And there’s also Barcelona’s Marcus
it made me think: ‘I need to be
smarter, shrewder, cuter.’ It’s a bit
like diving for a penalty. Football
fans hate diving. But, to dive, you’ve
got to give someone the chance to
dive. I take my responsibility. Cricket
taught me a lot about adult sport.”
Harsh realities aside, the game
also framed genuine generational
togetherness. “A cricket club is a
community. You’ve got the whole
family there. Grandparents are
watching, parents are playing, kids
are on the field trying to learn about
cricket. Cricket is a far better social
sport than football.”
His brother, Phil, famously had a
genuine decision to make between
professional football or cricket. “He
broke all of [Mike] Atherton and
[John] Crawley’s records at school.
He had patience that I didn’t. He
could leave the ball outside off
Mr 3,150%: Ben Woodburn (left)
picked up a modest pay rise last year
stump for days,” Gary says proudly.
Impatient or not, though, the elder
brother still favours the purest form
of cricket.
“I’d rather watch six hours of Test
cricket than six hours of T20 any
day. If something’s not happening,
sometimes it’s even better. To not
make something happen for six
hours is a talent.”
And is there anything else this
one-club man with eight Premier
League titles and two Champions
League medals would like to
experience in sport? “My dream is
to go to an Ashes series in Australia.
I’ve never been. One day I’ll ask for
three weeks off ...”
This interview was first published
in Wisden Cricket Monthly.
Follow @felixwhite and
@WisdenCricket on Twitter
McGuane, signed from Arsenal in
January, who made his first-team
debut last week as a substitute in
the Catalan Super Cup. It made him
the first English player to appear in
Barça’s first team since Gary Lineker.
And who won the Youth League
last time?
Red Bull Salzburg. Chelsea are the
tournament’s dominant side, though,
having won it in 2015 and 2016. The
second of their two finals was a 2-1
win over PSG: Kasey Palmer and
Fikayo Tomori scoring the goals and
Bradley Collins saving a penalty.
All three have since stuck to the
traditional Chelsea pathway: now
out on loan at Derby, Hull and Forest
Green respectively. Only one member
of that side is now playing Premier
League football – Tammy Abraham,
on loan at Swansea.
•
Crowds flock around Desert Orchid
and jockey Simon Sherwood after their
stunning Gold Cup triumph in 1989
Desert
Orchid
soars into
legend
WSL Cup final
Familiar faces
A fact for trivia fans: only two teams
have won the FA WSL Cup. It’s not
a long history, admittedly, but it
has definitely stuck to a pattern.
There have been six finals since
2011: Arsenal winning the first and
playing in four of the five since,
lifting the cup four times in total.
The two times they didn’t win
it, Manchester City did. And this
year they meet in the final (7pm
Wednesday at Adams Park – live on
the FA’s WSL Facebook page and
BBC 5 live sports extra). It’s a repeat
of the 2014 showpiece, when City
prevailed 1-0 with a winner from
Izzy Christiansen. “It’s like deja vu,”
says Christiansen. “We’re playing
the same team in the same final at
the same stadium. Fingers crossed
for the same outcome.”
Being there to
share the wonder
was one of the
unforgettable
privileges of any
sporting life
presences is perfectly served by his
dashing looks and the swashbuckling
aggression of his jumping.
Being almost white is plainly
another element of his appeal. It is
not simply that his colour sets him
apart. It is rather that his striking coat
seems to suit him as no other could.
When he is making his soaring,
fluent leaps or pounding ahead of
competitors with his majestic, rather
rounded action, a watcher does
not have to be too dewey-eyed to
associate him with a creature out of
legend, a mythological beast.
There was nothing mythological
about what he did to the bookmakers
at Cheltenham but the fact that quite
a few of them cheered him home
as a heavily backed 5-2 favourite
demonstrates that he is a distinctly
abnormal phenomenon. At the
heart of his capacity to enthrall is
an amalgam of loveable attributes
– honesty, boldness, grace, style,
disinclination to yield – but it is
legitimate to believe that there is also
a sense in which he is recognised as
an ideal symbol of National Hunt
racing, an embodiment of much of
what makes the jumping game an
irresistible sport for so many.
Inseparable from its excitements
What happened next
Desert Orchid retired in 1991,
having won 34 races in total, and
went on to raise thousands for
charity with public appearances.
When he died in November
2006, his ashes were buried at
Kempton, where he won the
King George VI Chase four times.
Said & Done returns in a fortnight
Midfielder Izzy
Christiansen
(right) scored the
winner last time
Manchester City
played Arsenal in
the WSL Cup final
U20s Six Nations
The next generation
After England face Ireland in the
Women’s Six Nations (5pm Friday,
SS Main Event), there’s a
chance to see the same
fixture in the final round of
this year’s men’s U20s Six
Nations (7.45pm, SS Action).
England are the defending
champions and drew level at
understand that. It’s more difficult
to see, especially the kerbs. I only did
one lap and I felt the track slippery –
but I think it’s possible to run.”
TOM FLATHERS/MANCHESTER CITY FC VIA GETTY IMAGES
The Agenda
The week ahead
MICHAEL STEELE/SWPIX
How the Observer’s
Hugh McIlvanney
reported on an
emotional triumph of
will at Cheltenham
the outstanding men and women
of sport. Desert Orchid isn’t likely to
go on the sauce the night before a
major contest and the chances of him
featuring in headlines about illicit
sex romps would be slight even if his
romping gear had not been removed
some time ago to further his career.
The vastness of his popularity
clearly has a lot to do with television,
whose appetite for dramatic
23
are, undoubtedly, its considerable
dangers and those could scarcely
have been more cruelly represented
than in the Gold Cup, with the
terrible fall at the notorious third
fence from home which caused
Dessie’s most threatening rival, Ten
Plus, to be destroyed.
The pervasive hazards of the game
inevitably add to the appreciation of
courageous giants like Desert Orchid.
Since curing himself of the tearaway
tendencies that nearly wiped him
out in his youth, he has been a
marvellous, safe jumper (were he
anything else, he could not have won
27 out of 54 races and more than
£400,000 in prize money). But at his
trade the dangers never go away and
they can be especially assertive in the
awful going that vicious, genuinely
wintry weather brought to the last of
Cheltenham’s three days.
Given a trainer such as David
Elsworth, and a jockey as consistently
clear-minded as Simon Sherwood
is about his role in an unbeaten
partnership, there was reason to
be optimistic that Cheltenham’s
impersonation of hell and high water
would not keep Desert Orchid away
from the glory that was his due.
Much of the rest of the meeting
had been a Bermuda Triangle for the
punters. But Dessie was a favourite of
a special kind, of the heart as well as
the betting line, and surely his sense
of destiny was too powerful to be
thwarted. Yes indeed, and being there
to share the wonder of the occasion
was one of the unforgettable
privileges of anybody’s sporting life.
Some of us who have vivid
memories of the magnificence of
Arkle, and who heed our elders when
they flesh out the magical statistics of
Golden Miller’s career, will still, late of
an evening, be drawn into arguments
about relative merits. But the basis of
what you hear from us about Desert
Orchid will be naked tribute.
Only fools or blackguards would
link his name with anything else.
Anyway, who wants to be lynched?
From the Archive
19 March 1989
It is doubtful if even the desperate
royal gambler who did his brains
on Bosworth Field tried harder to
will a horse into the right place at
the right time than the 50,000 who
roared Desert Orchid up the long
and muddy Cheltenham hill last
Thursday afternoon.
Richard III couldn’t get a result.
But we did, as the wonderful grey
overcame the dual handicap of
competing on a course he has never
relished and in conditions he patently
hates to gallop past Yahoo in the final
100 yards and claim the Gold Cup
victory that removes every last doubt
about his right to be installed in the
pantheon of supreme steeplechasers.
The flood of emotion that spread
through the stands and enclosure
and engulfed the unsaddling area
was so extraordinary that it invited
us to wonder how many human
champions, let alone horses, have
ever commanded such undiluted
devotion from the British public.
Of course, there are many ways
in which being committed to an
equine hero carries less risk of
let-down than over-identifying with
The Observer
11.03.18
the top of the table with the leaders
France on Friday, winning 22-6 in
Béziers. The England coach, Steve
Bates, says: “Ireland will be difficult
but we haven’t seen the best of our
exciting backline yet.”
Grand Prix of Qatar
Desert racing
Qatar – which reckons its
2022 World Cup will leave a
long “human rights legacy” – is
shrugging off the bad press to
host major sport again this
week: its MotoGP grand
prix, staged under lights
in the desert. Riders spent
last week doing a wet test
session to confirm it will be
safe after last year’s event was
curtailed by weather. The reigning
champion, Marc Márquez, says: “It’s
not like a normal track, you need to
A commentary landmark
Motson’s final fling
Expect a quaver in the voice today,
as John Motson delivers his final live
BBC commentary: Arsenal versus
Watford for 5 live. The 72-year-old,
whose career began at Everton v
Derby in December 1969, bows out
after some rousing highs – 10 World
Cups, 10 European Championships,
29 FA Cup finals and more than
200 England games – and some
entertaining lows, including the
classic: “For those of you watching
in black and white, Spurs are
in the all-yellow strip.” He’ll
still be on Match of the Day
until May, though, and says
he won’t give up completely
in the summer. “I’m hoping
to keep my association with
football and with broadcasting - I’m
not retiring from everything. I’m
just retiring from the BBC.”
•
24
Thee Observer
11.03.18
03.18
Daniel Taylor
Sports Journalist of the Year
Brave Brewster’s kick to Uefa’s backside
I
Awards night itself
is worthy of a gong
for banning Crewe
It’s always a fun night at the
Northwest Football Awards. Ryan
Giggs was at the last one with Gary
and Phil Neville to present Brian
Kidd with a lifetime achievement
award. Vincent Kompany joined
them on stage. Phil Foden
showed off his Golden Ball from
the Under-17 World Cup and
remembered his manners, nice lad
that he is, by thanking his mum
and dad. Every club in the region is
The intriguing part was whether a
17-year-old had a powerful enough
voice to carry all the way to Uefa
headquarters. Yet the fact Brewster
was so young, not even having made
his first-team debut for Liverpool,
is probably one of the principal
reasons why the story had such an
impact. And some of the revelations
left you cold if you remember, as
one example, that when he alleged
a Sevilla player had called him the
N-word in a Uefa Youth League
game the governing body did
not even contact Brewster before
concluding there was insufficient
evidence for disciplinary action.
None of Liverpool’s staff was
interviewed to establish if there
were witnesses and, to the club’s
knowledge, neither were the match
officials. Sitting opposite Brewster at
Liverpool’s academy, it did not need
long in his company to understand
why the player at the heart of this
story, with the full support of his
club, had serious misgivings about
the processes Uefa employed and
the effort, or lack of it, that went into
establishing the truth.
And maybe – hopefully – his
decision to speak out did give Uefa
the kick up the backside that was
long overdue, because at least in the
Mironov case there was a thorough
attempt to establish the facts. And,
yes, that might be the least you
would expect – but it is a hell of a lot
more than apparently happened in
the Sevilla case. Or, indeed, the game
for England against Ukraine in the
European Under-17 Championship
when Brewster says he reported
another N-word incident, with the
support of the Football Association,
and nobody from Uefa ever got back
in touch. Another one, to use his
description, that “disappeared”.
Uefa will have to understand there
will always be criticism until the
organisation starts taking stronger
action and, more than anything,
stops handing out lamentable
punishments to the teams and
national associations whose crowds
are guilty. Brewster was there,
for example, when a Liverpool
team-mate, Bobby Adekanye, was
targeted with primitive “ooh-ooh”
monkey chants in another Uefa
Youth League game against Spartak
Moscow, this time in Russia. His
revulsion is understandable when
the punishment for the Russians
was to display an anti-racism
banner and close 500 seats that
would not have been filled anyway.
All the same, it is mildly
encouraging – a start, if nothing else
– that Uefa did properly investigate
his claims that Mironov “leaned
over me, right down to my face and
said: ‘Suck my dick, you nigger, you
negro.’” Five players from each side
were interviewed, plus the match
officials, before it became apparent
that, if it was said, it was done out
of everybody else’s earshot. That
doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, it
just means it was one man’s word
against another (Mironov admitted
swearing but denied anything
racial) and, on that basis, it was
pretty clear why no action could
be taken. Disciplinary sanctions,
Uefa emphasised in its statement,
can be imposed only when there is
“sufficient concrete proof”.
The question for Uefa is whether
this investigation was beefed up
simply because of the publicity. It is
probably not a coincidence, after all,
that a decision was initially taken in
January but delayed by two months
once Brewster’s story went viral. Are
all Uefa’s investigations going to be
treated with this seriousness from
now on? Or has this one been made
a special case? And, to go back to
the earlier point, it isn’t always easy
giving an organisation with Uefa’s
track record the benefit of the doubt.
Likewise, there are outstanding
questions for Fifa. Brewster’s
account of the World Cup final is
that a Spain player called Morgan
Gibbs-White a monkey. This time,
there are two players who heard the
alleged insult and it is not one man’s
word against another. Yet it is four
months since the FA followed up
its initial complaint by submitting
the witness statements and there is
still no verdict. Why the delay? I did
contact Fifa on Friday to ask for a
date. I am still waiting for an answer.
invited and the turnout gets more
impressive every year.
The organisers certainly won’t
have taken the decision lightly to
exclude Crewe Alexandra from the
next event because of the club’s
decision to abandon plans for an
independent investigation into the
Barry Bennell scandal.
As a bit of background, a number
of Bennell’s victims were guests at
the last dinner. Some went on stage
to address the audience and it was
tough for them – as it always is.
Tears were shed. Strangers lined
up, wanting to shake their hands
and thank them. Against that kind
of backdrop, it isn’t difficult to
understand why the organisers feel
there is nothing to celebrate about
Crewe if the club do not think the
victims deserve a full explanation.
“We feel strongly that the club
owes it to the survivors, to their
fans and the world of football as a
whole, to finally be honest about
the past, face up to the fact that
people in the club must have
been aware that all was not
well, admit that mistakes
were made and more
should have been done to
protect these young players,
and finally do the right thing,”
Laura Wolfe, speaking on behalf of
the event, said. “We believe this is
the only opportunity the club has
to begin to rebuild their future and
move on from this.”
She added: “Last month Barry
Bennell was found guilty and these
brave men finally got some justice
for what they had been put through
all those years ago, when as young
boys all they wanted to do was
to fulfil their dreams and
play professional football.
These men deserve better
from Crewe.”
They certainly do. Crewe’s
MP, Laura Smith, has said the
same. Crewe town council will
pass a motion along similar lines
on Tuesday and Gordon Taylor,
chief executive of the Professional
Footballers’ Association, intends to
raise the matter with the Football
League. Sadly, I don’t think it
will make any difference because
it seems very clear the Crewe
chairman, John Bowler, and his
colleagues would rather take this
kind of flak than let us know the
full facts about those seven years
when Bennell, now starting a
30-year prison sentence, had the
run of Gresty Road. We can only
guess why. But I say well done to
the Northwest Football Awards
for taking that stance – and it is a
reminder that the good people in
football outweigh the bad ones.
NICK TAYLOR/LIVERPOOL FC VIA GETTY IMAGES
t seemed to get lost, amid
the news from Uefa that
one of the players accused
of racially abusing Rhian
Brewster would not face
any disciplinary sanctions,
that we might have seen the first
evidence over the last few days
that it is possible for a boy of 17
to persuade the people at the
top of football that something
has to change. That might not be
immediately obvious, unfortunately,
after the announcement that no
action would be taken against
Spartak Moscow’s Leonid Mironov
and, to be clear, Uefa’s track record
in these matters is so appalling
there is a long way to go before
anyone can say with confidence this
organisation should no longer be
viewed through suspicious eyes.
Equally, I cannot help think
that Kick It Out – an organisation
I would always want to support
– slightly missed the point when
it described itself as “deeply
disappointed” about the latest
verdict rather than focusing on the
fact Uefa does seem to have been
pressured, embarrassed even, into
beefing up its procedures since
Brewster decided to take a stand.
That, after all, was Brewster’s
underlying wish when he went
public in December about the seven
alleged incidents when either he
had experienced racial abuse or he
had witnessed it happening to a
team-mate, including five occasions
in the previous seven months and
one playing for England against
Spain in the Under-17 World Cup
final. He was speaking out, he said,
because it was time the people
running the sport understood
the seriousness of the issue and,
where necessary, started meting
out punishments that would act as
a proper deterrent. As the journalist
who interviewed him, it was one
of the more fulfilling assignments
– and very easy to understand
why there was an overwhelming
response in his favour.
Spartak Moscow’s Leonid Mironov challenges Rhian Brewster during their Uefa Youth League match in December
The claims
against Mironov
were investigated
properly, unlike
some incidents
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