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The Observer Sport - March 18, 2018

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•
Sport
On track for Melbourne
ne
Ricciardo’s smile
masks big ambitions
as F1 returns
18.03.18
Page 19
Grand
slammed
Ireland give
England no
chance and
win 24-15 to
make history
Pages 2-5
Record-breaking
Jacob Stockdale
leaves England
defenders in
his wake as he
stretches to score
at Twickenham
COLM O’NEILL/BPI/
REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
14 seconds of pain
Premier League drama No Kane, still able
Leicester’s Silva
eager to make
up for lost time
Salah hits four Eriksen takes
Spurs into last
while Palace
snatch a lifeline four of the Cup
Page 12
Pages 10-12
Page 8
•
2
The Observer
18.03.18
Rugby union
NatWest Six Nations
St Patrick’s Day brings a third grand slam
ever for the visitors as Joe Schmidt’s men
inflict a first home defeat on Eddie Jones
No answer
to the Irish
15
ENGLAND
24
IRELAND
Paul Rees
Twickenham
Final standings
Ireland (C)
Wales
Scotland
France
England
Italy
A year ago Ireland
beat England
in Dublin by
drawing on
emotion, but
here they were
ruthlessly
efficient
TOM JENKINS/OBSERVER
Beware the slides of March. England’s
descent continued with a third successive defeat in the sleet as Ireland,
on St Patrick’s Day, achieved a third
grand slam and their third title in
five years. It was the home side’s first
defeat here since the 2015 World Cup
and their first in the Six Nations for
six years. They were a distinct second
in every aspect of the game.
England started the year talking
about supplanting New Zealand at
the top of the world rankings, but they
have been overtaken in second place
by Ireland and suffered their first bottom-half finish in the Six Nations for
12 years. The slump of a side containing largely the same group of players
that made an early exit from the 2015
World Cup suggests that Eddie Jones
had a placebo effect as they won
24 out of 25 Tests before losing in
Edinburgh last month, but they look
to have stalled rather than crashed.
A year ago, Ireland denied England
the grand slam in Dublin, for the third
time in the Six Nations, by drawing on
emotion, but here they were clinical
to the point of being detached, ruthlessly efficient as they all but secured
victory in the first 40 minutes, leading 21-5 at half-time and on course to
break their record victory here, by 13
points in 1964.
The first couple of rucks set the
tone: England had spent the week
honing their breakdown technique after being heavily penalised
in that area in Scotland and France.
Defenders duly got over a tackled
opponent and played the ball on their
feet, but they were smashed out of the
way by at least two opponents and
Ireland were able, in the manner to
Garry Ringrose reacts quickest to score Ireland’s first try at Twickenham
P W D L F
A B Pts
5 5 0 0 160 82 3 26
5 3 0 2 119 83 3 15
5 3 0 2 101 128 1 13
5 2 0 3 108 94 3 11
5 2 0 3 102 92 2 10
5 0 0 5 92 203 1 1
which they have become accustomed,
to take play through multiple phases
before striking.
Jones had made 10 changes, three
positional, from Paris the previous
week, but there was no furious start
from England. Four minutes had
gone when Owen Farrell tackled Rob
Kearney marginally late in Ireland’s
22, Ireland put the penalty into touch,
won the lineout and rumbled their
way forward before Johnny Sexton
sent a garryowen towards England’s
line. The kick was angled and it disoriented the full-back Anthony Watson
who ended up trying to catch the ball
facing the wrong way.
Put off by Kearney, who appeared
to glance the ball forward, Watson
could only watch the ball roll over
the line where Garry Ringrose reacted
quickly to score. The try was reviewed
but a system that worked in England’s
favour against Australia and Wales
earlier in the season this time went
against them, as it was to at the end
of the first period when the Ireland
wing Jacob Stockdale scored his seventh try of the championship, a Six
Nations record.
England were at that stage trying
to find their way back into the game
after going 14 points behind when,
from another lineout, Tadhg Furlong
showed deft hands for a prop to free
Bundee Aki. As the centre looked outside him, he turned to the inside for
support in the form of the No 8, CJ
Stander, who gave two defenders a
ride to the line before touching the
ball down on a post.
Stockdale’s try came after a
clever pass from Conor Murray who
held the defence before surreptitiously slipping the ball to the wing.
Entertainment is in the eye of the
beholder, but in the fifth year of
Joe Schmidt’s period as head coach
Ireland have widened the point of
Home
run
ends
A disconsolate
looking Dylan
Hartley
and Mako
Vunipola
watch
on after
England’s
defeat to
Ireland, their
first home Six
Nations loss
in six years
their attack which does not revolve
around Sexton, important though he
remains. They have become a side
which minimises mistakes rather
than risk, lavishly lubricated.
England matched their opponents
on tries, but their final two came
after they went 24-5 down. At the
point in the first half when the home
side threatened, Elliot Daly scoring
his first try after Farrell’s chip to the
line with the outside of his right foot
with the champions a man short after
Peter O’Mahony was sent to the sinbin for collapsing a maul, Ireland
stepped up.
One of England’s staples over the
years has been the driving maul and
as they sent one rumbling towards
Ireland’s line with Maro Itoje in possession, their interval deficit looked
like being cut to two points. Itoje
was the most talked-about player
in last year’s championship, but
the path to the top is not a straight
line. The maul did not reach its
destination as Iain Henderson
wrapped his hands around the ball
and Stander prevented Itoje from
going to ground.
Ireland were awarded a scrum
and two minutes later Stockdale was
making the game safe. Daly’s second
try, after Murray’s penalty, and then
May’s fourth try of the tournament
in the final minute were reward for
England’s persistence, but they had
been outmanoeuvred by the better
drilled side, one that knows its game
off pat.
England
Ireland
Tries Daly 2, May
Tries Ringrose, Stander,
Stockdale
Pen Murray
Cons Sexton 2, Carbery
Referee Angus Gardner (Aus) Attendance 82,062
•
The Observer
18.03.18
Green
party
starts
How they rated
Ireland’s
players
hold the Six
Nations and
triple crown
trophies on
a glorious
St Patrick’s
Day at
Twickenham
TOM JENKINS/OBSERVER
Jacob
Stockdale
touches down
for Ireland’s
third try
just inside
the dead
ball line at
Twickenham,
which had
been extended
marginally
at England’s
request
Jones stays positive
‘We stuck at it but
they were too good’
England slumped to their third
successive defeat and their lowest
position in the Six Nations for 12
years but Eddie Jones insists his
side is moving forward.
Jones (right) enjoyed 24 victories
in his first 25 Tests after taking
over, a run he puts down to
implementing quick fixes. “We
knew during that run that we
were not good enough to reach
where we wanted to get to,” he
said. “A run like the one we are
going through is instrumental to
the development of a team. It was
easy to improve England initially,
fixing this and that, but internal
mechanisms, such as developing
leaders, are slow burners.
“We are moving forward,
even if results do not show
that. A run like this tests your
resolve, your purpose and
your team. That is what we
are going through at the
moment. I thought our
effort against Ireland
was outstanding. The
players stuck at it but
the other team was too
good.”
It was Ireland’s third
grand slam, after 1948
and 2009, and it was not
in doubt from the sixth
Ian Malin
England
Jacob’s
killer
blow
minute when Garry Ringrose
scored the first of their three tries.
“It was a ferocious match and
words cannot describe what it
feels like to win,” said the Ireland
captain, Rory Best. “The grand
slam is the reward for the effort
put in by everybody.”
The Ireland head coach,
Joe Schmidt, who has
masterminded three
Six Nations titles
in five years, said
the best was still to
come from a side
that has won their
last 11 Tests. “We have
a number of young
players and they will only
Paul Rees
get better.”
Ireland
5
Anthony Watson
A miserable two weeks, that yellow card in Paris followed by an
unlucky part in Ringrose’s try
before he was carried off.
7
Rob Kearney
The full-back was one of only
two in this squad to have won a
previous grand slam and played
an important defensive part.
6
Jonny May
Came more into the game after
the break with some straight
running and scored a well-taken
late consolation try.
7
Keith Earls
His tackle on Watson saved a try
when Ireland were under the
cosh and he repeated it on Daly
before suffering a late injury.
5
Jonathan Joseph
Lasted only 55 minutes and was
restricted to half-breaks. A victim again of England’s inability
to provide enough quick ball.
7
Garry Ringrose
Made an outstanding comeback
last weekend and his try gave
Ireland the perfect start. The
centre was always a threat.
4
Ben Te’o
England’s midfield is just not
working. Worked hard in defence
but left it to the last move to
have any impact in attack.
6
Bundee Aki
Butchered the chance of a firsthalf try but made up for it with
a key part in Ireland’s second.
Nasty shoulder charge on Daly.
7
Elliot Daly
He took both his tries well and
was only denied a third by Keith
Earls’s ankle tap. Easily England’s
most dangerous attacker.
8
Jacob Stockdale
Made Six Nations history with
his seventh try. His opportunist
score with the last move of the
first half set up the victory.
5
Owen Farrell
His switch to fly-half was a qualified success. Good tactical
kicking and made Daly’s first try
but off target with conversions.
7
Johnny Sexton
Refused to exit as blood poured
from a head wound. Ireland have
not taken a backward step since
his magical moment in Paris.
6
Richard Wigglesworth
The veteran No 9 had a decent
afternoon in what will almost
certainly be his last England
appearance.
7
Conor Murray
Put his side beyond reach with a
penalty on the hour and showed
great composure and control
behind a superior pack.
6
Mako Vunipola
Carried the ball strongly and
coped well with the threat of
Furlong in the scrums. England’s
best forward.
7
Cian Healy
He has worked hard to win place
back and followed an outstanding display against Scotland with
another strong performance.
5
Dylan Hartley (capt)
Recovered from his calf injury
to regain the captaincy. Solid
enough but now time for a
change of hooker, and leader.
7
Rory Best (capt)
Ireland’s captain kept his head in
the maelstrom. He was accurate
in the lineout and deserves his
place in the history books.
6
Kyle Sinckler
The Harlequin added some
extra dynamism in the loose
and carried well. He justified his
selection ahead of Dan Cole.
7
Tadhg Furlong
The prop was Ireland’s best forward and the other candidate for
man-of-the-match. Carried and
tackled tirelessly all afternoon.
6
Maro Itoje
Commanding at the lineout and
back to something like his best.
Looked commanding as a ballcarrier in the latter stages.
6
James Ryan
A key part of a monumental Irish
defensive effort, particularly
when they were reduced to 14
men in the first half.
6
George Kruis
Picked ahead of Joe Launchbury
for his lineout work. Played an
important role in the set-piece
and worked tirelessly.
6
Iain Henderson
England’s nemesis last year justified his selection ahead of Devin
Toner. The Ulsterman was strong
in the set-piece and in attack.
6
Chris Robshaw
Broke Neil Back’s record of 64
Tests on the flank but had little
to celebrate. Lots of industry and
more comfortable at No 6.
7
Peter O’Mahony
The Lions captain was shown a
yellow card for collapsing a maul
but made up for it when he came
back on, particularly in defence.
6
James Haskell
Picked to help rescue England
from more breakdown woe and
added energy, but Sam Underhill
must step up in South Africa.
7
Dan Leavy
Yet to lose in any of his nine
Tests and has filled a Sean
O’Brien-shaped hole in the back
row perfectly.
5
Sam Simmonds
Those tries in Rome seem like an
age ago. He has the pace but not
the power to play No 8 against a
side as physical as Ireland.
7
CJ Stander
He took his try brilliantly and
again was a difficult opponent
in the breakdown. Consistent
throughout the tournament.
REPLACEMENTS
Jamie George (for Hartley 57) 6; Joe Marler (for
Vunipola 52) 6; Dan Cole (for Sinckler 52) 6;
Joe Launchbury (for Kruis 70) 6; Don Armand (for
Simmonds 66) 6; Danny Care (for Wigglesworth 60) 6;
George Ford (for Joseph 55) 6; Mike Brown (for
Watson 33) Impressive in attack and defence 7
3
Man
of the
match
REPLACEMENTS
Sean Cronin (for Best 64) 6; Jack McGrath (for
Healy 50) 6; Andrew Porter (for Furlong 64) 6;
Devin Toner (for Ryan 67) 6; Jordi Murphy (for
O’Mahony 73) 6; Kieran Marmion (for Earls 73) 6;
Joey Carbery (for Sexton 66) 7; Jordan Larmour
(for Aki 53) 6
•
4
The Observer
18.03.18
Rugby union
NatWest Six Nations
An uncomfortable
watch brings cold
comfort for Jones
Andy
Bull
Twickenham
Coach praises
only England’s
spirit after
sobering defeat
against the Irish
It was suffering weather. The kind of
cold that makes you pull down your
hat and stamp the ground, shuffle
your feet and clench your teeth – fitting conditions, then, for an England
team struggling through three defeats
in a row.
This latest, the first at home since
Eddie Jones took over, stung like
yesterday’s wind. It has been a long
winter for England and there is not
a hint of spring yet. There were certainly no green shoots to be seen
at Twickenham, just green shirts –
in front, on top, either side, and all
around – Irishmen every last where
you looked.
The scoreline, 24-15, was ugly
enough but it still flattered Jones’s
side, who forced their way into the
game only once it was all but over,
their last try a late gloss on a game
in which they had been entirely outplayed. “These things are sent to test
you,” Jones said afterwards, “to test
your resolve, to test your purpose, to
test the character of your team.” He
was talking about the defeat but he
seemed about 80 minutes late.
The real test of his team’s resolve,
purpose and character started when
the referee blew the first whistle, not
the final one. And England failed it.
Earlier in the week Jones spoke
about how much he loved pressure.
“It’s the best time in rugby, when you
are under the pump and you have got
to produce it.”
He believes you should leave those
little loose stones in your shoes.
“Players like to get comfortable,” he
said last year.
“They like to have a nice house,
drive a Range Rover, like to do the
same thing every day in training. To
get them to have the courage to try
to be different is the biggest trick.
Encouraging them to do that consistently, to be different, don’t be
comfortable, be uncomfortable.”
Jones has spent the past two years
pushing this team to be uncomfortable. He thinks the 4x4 in the driveway
is the modern sportsman’s pram in
the hall. He flogs them physically
England were
blown away by
a side that were
sharper, stronger
and smarter.
They kept coming
but, again, all that
effort didn’t get
them anywhere
Twickenham shattered by
Murray’s magnificence
Gerard Meagher
Twickenham
With the clock turned red, even the
heavens were smiling on Ireland, a
flurry of snow serving as the ticker
tape to their coronation. Victory
was theirs, and fully warranted,
after emphatic confirmation that it
is Joe Schmidt’s side who are best
equipped to challenge New Zealand
at next year’s World Cup.
For a while they were handing
out whiskey to travellers at
London’s Waterloo station, this
was never an occasion for which
Irish nerves needed settling. They
came in their droves – the IRFU
was officially given 5,000 tickets
but that was tripled at least – and,
while Twickenham was pockmarked
green all over, the South stand in
particular was rattled to the rafters
by the St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
England’s fortress was not so
much ransacked as razed to the
ground and it owed much to Conor
Murray’s peerless authority. Murray
has a habit of rising to occasions,
and here he was magnificent.
– and sometimes mentally, too – to
prepare them for games such as this
one, a real bed-of-nails Test match.
England had everything to prove,
everything to play for, back home
after back-to-back defeats, in a grandslam match against an Irish side who
have just overtaken them in the world
rankings and one who robbed them,
of course, of their own shot at the
slam when they beat them in Dublin
this time last year. On top of all this it
was St Patrick’s day, too.
It was a sobering one, as it turned
out, for the English at least. They
were blown away by an Irish side that
were sharper, stronger and smarter.
England kept coming, just as they did
against France last week and Scotland
before that, but again all that effort
did not get them anywhere. Jones
praised their spirit. But, to be honest, there was not a lot else he could
pick out.
The tone was set in the opening
minutes, when Dylan Hartley and
Kyle Sinckler both came at the Irish,
charging hard heads down, and both
were bounced back on their behinds.
The Irish would not be bullied, did
not bend or bow – and for most of the
match England did not know where
else to go.
Ireland took control when Garry
Ringrose pounced on a loose ball
after Anthony Watson had fumbled a
catch under a high kick from Johnny
Sexton.
Perhaps there was a hint of a
knock-on from Rob Kearney, as he
was challenging Watson for the ball,
but not enough to sway the TMO.
Seven points down, England
decided to kick a penalty to the corner soon afterwards, squandering a
Aaron Smith may be able to fire a
quicker pass but there is no better
all-round scrum-half in the world
than Murray. Ben Youngs has been
missed a great deal more than
expected by England but Danny Care
and Richard Wigglesworth are No9s
of repute and neither could hold a
candle to Ireland’s scrum-half.
Throw in Johnny Sexton’s surgical
precision, CJ Stander’s power and
the hard-edged second-rows Iain
Henderson and James Ryan, and it
becomes clearer why this is the third
Ireland team in history to clinch
the grand slam. The last time they
achieved it – in 2009 – Ryan was in
the crowd, a 12-year-old supporter
at the Millennium Stadium. Nine
years on he is the embodiment
of these bright young things at
shot at goal that they really could not
afford to spare.
The next time they had to make a
similar decision the deficit had been
doubled. They were 14-0 down after
their defence had been unstitched
by CJ Stander after Sexton’s dummy
wrap-around.
England kicked four penalties to
the corner, to try to push their way
over. The last attempt was when
Ireland were down to 14 men, after
Peter O’Mahony had been sent to the
sin-bin. But they still could not do
it. They were as enthusiastic as they
were ineffective.
This was in sharp contrast with the
rapier finishing of Jacob Stockdale,
Conor Murray underlined his status
as the world’s finest all-round No 9
Ireland’s disposal. He has played
only one fewer game for Ireland
than he has for Leinster and he is yet
to experience defeat for either.
Rory Best had spoken eloquently
before the match, acknowledging
the size of the occasion and urging
his side to embrace it. He also told
of the importance of quietening the
crowd and after the first quarter,
the sound of silence echoed round
Twickenham. England were no
better than they had been in Paris
and their errors allowed Ireland to
take command while Schmidt has
this green machine particularly
well oiled. This is a side extremely
comfortable in its own skin.
After one slightly fortuitous
try – and another excellent one
– the period that followed was
•
The Observer
18.03.18
Watson
flies
and falls
A Six Nations won
and lost in Paris
Anthony
Watson (left)
fails to claim
a high ball
above Rob
Kearney,
leading
to Ireland’s
first try
TOM JENKINS/THE OBSERVER
Pivotal moments of
championship came
in the French capital,
writes Paul Rees
who settled the game when he chased
down his own chip, grounding it just
before he slid over the deadball line.
Jones had only just had that line
moved back, because his team wanted
more space in which to play. “When
you’re having a bad run,” he said,
“everything goes wrong.”
After the game Jones was booed by
the Twickenham crowd during his
post-match interview.
“Our effort was outstanding. We
played with character and we stuck
at it,” Jones said, “and we just weren’t
good enough.”
The World Cup is 18 months away.
His words were cold comfort on a
chilling day.
perhaps Ireland’s most impressive.
Eventually England were on the
board through Elliot Daly but with
Peter O’Mahony in the sin-bin, and
the visitors were unerring in their
response. Sexton was off the field
for a head injury assessment but
Murray marshalled his forwards
round the park superbly.
Twice they went through endless
phases – the kind of continuity
England can at present only dream
about. Indeed, Murray was purring
and it was his sumptuous pass that
allowed Jacob Stockdale to kick
ahead and dive on the ball for his
seventh try of the competition.
It came laced with irony, too. The
in-goal area had been extended, as
well as the lines painted blue, in
anticipation of the snow, at Jones’s
request and Stockdale would have
run out of room ordinarily. Jones
spoke last week of how “the game
does not love us at the moment” and
this was precisely what he meant.
With more than 20 minutes
remaining, Jordan Larmour came
on and while England salvaged a
modest amount of pride late on,
The Fields of Athenry was by that
stage in full cry around the stadium,
Ireland comfortably keeping their
hosts at arm’s length.
Before the game the New Zealand
Herald had paid tribute to Schmidt’s
influence in charge of Ireland,
complete with a cartoon in which
he was mocked up as a leprechaun.
It can now be said without question
that his Ireland side are contenders
for next year’s pot of gold in Japan.
The outcome of the 2018 Six
Nations was settled in Paris. It
was where Jonathan Sexton, on
the opening weekend, delivered a
precious away victory for Ireland
four minutes after time was up
with a 45-metre drop goal after
his side had taken play through 41
phases, and it was where England
surrendered their crown, fumbling
at the breakdown in the last play of
the game after France had wasted an
opportunity to end the match.
Ireland’s campaign was summed
up in their final moments in
Paris, just as England’s was. What
marked the champions apart from
the rest was their ability to retain
possession, as they demonstrated
again in securing the grand slam
at Twickenham, while England
struggled throughout at the
breakdown, an area their opponents
targeted after watching Samoa
dominate that area at Twickenham
last November. Possession was
nine-tenths of the score.
Last week was Eddie Jones’s
most uncomfortable since taking
over from Stuart Lancaster at the
end of the World Cup. A second
successive defeat was followed by
the video release of a speech he gave
last year during which he made,
albeit lightheartedly, derogatory
remarks about Ireland and Wales.
An experienced, aware coach
surprisingly allowed himself to be
assailed by hubris after a remarkably
successful start to his England
career. His Ireland opposite number,
Joe Schmidt, is unlikely to make the
same mistake, and not just because
he is less voluble.
For the second year in a row,
the grand slam was at stake when
England met Ireland on the final
Jonathan Sexton celebrates his third
Six Nations Championship triumph
after Ireland’s victory at Twickenham
Ireland’s
campaign was
summed up in the
closing seconds
at the Stade de
France – what set
them apart was
their ability to
retain possession
weekend. In 2017, it was Jones’s
side that was looking to sweep all
before them, again, and Schmidt’s
men who knew that defeat could
take them back to where they were
when he took over in 2013: fifth in
the table.
Ireland went into last year’s game
on the back of away defeats to
Scotland and Wales and a laboured
victory at home to France. The
victory marked a turning point,
the start of an 11-match winning
run. Like England, they have been
bedevilled by injuries with the
No 13 jersey proving particularly
unlucky, but such is the system
they have established, based on the
ball-retaining ability of Leinster and
Munster, that players are seamlessly
Paul Rees’s team of the tournament
tournaament
Healy
Ireland
Guirado
France
Gilchrist
Scotland
Shingler
Wales
Furlong
Ireland
AW Jones
Wales
Stander
Ireland
Camara
France
Murray
Ireland
Sexton
Ireland
Stockdale
Ireland
(pictured)
Farrell
England
JJones
ess
e
H Jones
S tlan
Scot
land
an
n
Scotland
Earl
arl
rs
rl
Earls
Irel
rel
re
eellaand
nd
Ireland
Minozzi
Italy
5
replaced. Wales thought they had an
opportunity when two of Ireland’s
front five, both Lions, pulled out of
the game in Dublin with hamstring
injuries but they were barely missed
as the home side established 141
rucks to their opponents’ 58.
England, in contrast, have been
unable to replace their No 8 Billy
Vunipola, who has the power to
make ground from a standing start,
in kind. They did not manage to
last year, but burgled victories at
home to France and against Wales
in Cardiff thanks to their bench,
whose catalyst, Danny Care, was a
starter this year before the final day
after the knee injury sustained by
Ben Youngs nine minutes into the
opening game in Rome.
Jones’s finishers have turned
into nonstarters, managing only
seven points combined in the
final 30 minutes of the matches
against Wales, Scotland and France.
He speaks about how England’s
superior financial and playing
resources should give them an
advantage over the rest, but injuries
damage cohesion and they are better
absorbed by the joined-up systems
put in place by the Celts.
It is less a case that England have
regressed than that others have
improved to the point where away
victories, other than in Italy where
Conor O’Shea’s exuberance remains
undimmed by setbacks, have
become scarce. Are England any
worse this year than they were in
2016 when they won the grand slam
in a tournament suffering badly
from a post-World Cup hangover?
Scotland are an immeasurably
better side now at Murrayfield,
where they are unbeaten in the last
two championships, although their
late victory in Rome highlighted
a lurking vulnerability away.
They ruffled Ireland but lacked
composure at vital moments and
despite having more of the play
in the first-half against Wales in
Cardiff, trailed 14-0 at the interval,
collapsing after it.
Ireland have become a compelling
mix of experience and youth, a
side in which no one, not even
Jonathan Sexton or Conor Murray,
is indispensable. Wales have
rediscovered their joie de vivre, like
Scotland paying for inaccuracy away
from home; all three Celtic countries
have developed strength in depth.
Even France have joined in.
Matches involving them may have
produced the fewest tries for the
second tournament running, but
they have remembered where their
pride was buried. It was resolution
that kept them ahead of England
in the final quarter, a period when
their relative lack of fitness normally
overtakes them.
Ireland were up and in in Paris
and London, the two away victories
outside Rome this championship.
France’s bonus point in Cardiff
meant England slumped from first
to fifth. A section of the crowd booed
Eddie Jones as he was interviewed
on the pitch at the end of the
defeat to Ireland. It was one of his
predecessors as Australia coach,
Alan Jones, who reheated the quip
about turning from a rooster to a
feather duster. At least it provides
the means for a spring clean.
•
6
The Observer
18.03.18
Rugby union
NatWest Six Nations
Warren Gatland’s team clinch second place
in championship after Trinh-Duc misses
penalty kick to let Wales off the hook
Williams try
stifles France
14
WALES
13
FRANCE
Michael Aylwin
Principality Stadium
Rarely have a side clinched second
place in the Six Nations with less conviction. Wales were outplayed for vast
tracts of this game, but are indebted
to France for allowing them not only
to stay in the game but to hold the
lead for the vast majority of it. Wales
could not score a single point in the
second half, such was France’s stranglehold. But for the personal hell of
François Trinh-Duc, who was all over
the place for all but the two moments
he sparked 10 of France’s points,
Wales would surely have lost.
If France can take any consolation from this it is that their losers’
bonus point condemns England to
the ignominy of fifth place. They must
know too, though, that it could so easily have been they who leaped above
the mid-table to take second behind
Ireland – whom, let it not be forgotten, they so nearly beat in round one.
It has been a bittersweet championship for the French. Much improved
though they are, they are still plagued
by familiar failings, principally the
ease with which they offer up points
to the opposition. The first half was
classic. Wales had to do precious
little to acquire their 14 points. It was
reminiscent of the game between
the two in Paris last year, famous
for the 20 minutes of overtime, but
notable also for the string of nothing
penalties France conceded in nothing parts of the field, which enabled
Leigh Halfpenny’s boot to keep Wales
in the match.
It was a similar story in round one
this year. How differently this championship might have panned out if
the French had not gifted Johnny
Sexton so many penalty shots in
Paris. Penalties are one thing if they
are forced by opposition excellence,
but France yield too many for no real
reason at all. This has not been a good
championship for the ill-disciplined.
And France’s 10 points of the first
half were all earned through their
own endeavours. Trinh-Duc’s soaring
drop goal in only the fourth minute
set the scoreboard in motion, but
within seconds he had handed the
advantage back to the hosts. Geoffrey
Doumayrou let the restart bounce
François Trinh-Duc, the France
fly-half, made some atrocious errors
Laidlaw holds his nerve
to break Italian hearts
27
ITALY
29
SCOTLAND
Lewis Stuart
Stadio Olimpico
Italy must be starting to wonder
what they need to do to beat
Scotland. They played most of the
better rugby and were leading with
less than two minutes to go but, just
as they have done before against the
Scots, surrendered a late kick. Greig
Laidlaw’s penalty cost the Italians
the game this time.
Afterwards the Italy coach, Conor
O’Shea, said it was a game there for
the taking: “I am destroyed for the
players and the supporters. We are
coming. Boy we played some rugby
out there against a team who have
beaten Australia, beaten England. At
short of the 10-metre line, and Alun
Wyn Jones nicked in to claim the ball.
Scott Williams’s chip through was
wicked, but an international ought
to have reacted better than Trinh-Duc
did when it bounced up in his face.
He missed it completely, and Liam
Williams scored the try.
A nothing penalty by each of
France’s locks allowed Halfpenny to
stretch Wales’s lead to 11-3, before
France struck in the most elegant
fashion. A smart inside ball by Gaël
Fickou set Adrien Pélissié away, and
after further deft support play TrinhDuc sent Fickou streaking through
the bedraggled Welsh defence for a
beauty of a try.
It was rugby of a different class. If
only they could force their opponents
to peddle the same for their points.
Alas, France offered up another penalty for Halfpenny on the half-hour
for Wales’s four-point lead at the
break.
Perhaps infuriated with themselves, France came out for the second
half with purpose. They claimed
almost all the possession of the third
quarter, midway through which they
brought on Camille Chat and Rabah
Slimani, the former offering real
punch in the loose, the latter taking
over at scrum time. Had Trinh-Duc
not been suffering one of his days, as
loose as he can be brilliant, they might
have really made it tell.
As it is, they closed the deficit to
just the one point with a Maxime
Machenaud penalty, having played
the ball out of their own half and
worked the phases. The penalty
against Scott Williams was harsh,
but France were properly back in the
game now.
Still they tried to give Wales every
chance, one forward pass from TrinhDuc unforgivable, but such was
France’s dominance at the scrum
that a penalty was never far away.
Marco Tauleigne broke clear through
a thicket of Wales defenders to force
Liam Williams into conceding a penalty. With Machenaud off, up stepped
Trinh-Duc – and the subsequent miss
summed up his day. That was the
final straw – he was off.
As the game built to its denouement, Wales finally managed to get
their hands on the ball – even to
keep it for more than a few phases.
But France swarmed at the breakdown. Chat was over the ball to force
one penalty in his own 22, and when
times we made some great breaks
and you would say that is great
play. The only way for some young
players to learn is by being out there.
Time at the crease, you could say.”
It was not a view seriously
disputed by his opposite number,
Gregor Townsend, though he could
find positives in the way Scotland
came back to win. “We were
disappointed in parts, particularly
the first half,” he said. “It was great
to pick up an away win, though.
“They controlled most of the
possession, were very strong with the
ball carries, narrowed up our defence.
We didn’t have as much possession
as we had against Ireland, sometimes
down to our errors but also Italy
playing well. The second half showed
that we are capable of reaction;
finding out what was working
for us, which was the maul, and
finishing those opportunities.”
Scotland had gone behind early
on to a penalty from man of the
match Tommaso Allan. After which,
in one of their rare solid spells of
possession in the first half, Scotland
briefly took the lead through hooker
Fraser Brown.
Then came two hammer blows,
Allan and Matteo Minozzi both
exploiting gaps in the Scotland
defence to put the home side 12
points ahead. Scotland did collect
their second try with the captain,
John Barclay, touching down at
the back of a maul, but when Allan
collected his second score at the
Greig Laidlaw kept his cool to seal
Scotland’s victory with a late penalty
•
The Observer
18.03.18
Early
try sets
up win
The Blindside
Gareth Davies
watches his
Wales teammate Liam
Williams dive
over for the
score that
forced France
on to the
back foot
Play of the day
Karma of the day
Rise of the day
Jacob Stockdale’s first-half added
time try: an irresistible moment. His
seven-try haul is a Six Nations record.
Defeat to “the scummy Irish”means
Eddie Jones has taken England
to three defeats in a Six Nations
campaign for the first time since 2006.
This time last year
Italy’s star debutant
Jake Polledri was
juggling two jobs:
playing for Gloucestershire’s third-tier
Hartpury College while working at
Subway making meatball marinaras.
His advice to other Subway workers:
“It’s character-building… Just be
polite and smile, even if you hate it.”
Regret of the day
DAVID DAVIES/PA WIRE
Stockdale touched down at the back
of the goal area. England recently
extended the areas at Twickenham
by two metres. If they had left them
alone, the ball would have been dead.
George North broke into the same a
little later it was Mathieu Bastareaud
who was the immovable object to win
the penalty.
One more turnover penalty, won by
Chat, as Wales tried to run the clock
down, offered France one last chance,
but Aaron Shingler rose to steal the
lineout.
With it, he claimed second place
and the riches that go with it. Wales
will be grateful.
Wales
end of a break from the debutant
flanker, Jake Polledri, it all looked
grim for the visitors.
They had learned their lesson
though. The maul was working
so it was to become their weapon
of choice. It did not earn any tries
directly but did get them into
attacking positions and suck in the
defence for Sean Maitland to collect
his third try of the tournament and
Stuart Hogg his first.
That might have settled things
but Allan had other ideas with a late
penalty putting Italy ahead in the
dying minutes. That only left time
for the final drama with Scotland
again turning to the maul and
finding their way deep into Italy
territory where it was their turn to
win a penalty. Laidlaw has been
in this position so often before;
there was never much doubt that
he would land it and, to the relief
of the Scotland fans and the player
himself, he did. Another rescue act
in another drama.
France
Fall; Fickou, Bastareaud
(capt), Doumayrou,
Grosso; Trinh-Duc (Beauxis
71), Machenaud (Couilloud
62); Poirot (Priso 60),
Pélissié (Chat 51), Gomes
Sa (Slimani 51),
Gabrillagues (Le Roux 71),
Vahaamahina, Lauret
(Gabrillagues 77), Camara
(Babillot 26), Tauleigne
Try Fickou
Con Machenaud
Pen Machenaud
Drop goal Trinh-Duc
Referee Ben O’Keeffe (NZ) Attendance 74,169
Halfpenny; North,
S Williams, Parkes,
L Williams; Biggar,
G Davies; R Evans (Smith
64), Owens (Dee 69),
Francis (Lee 64), Hill
(B Davies 69), AW Jones
(capt), Tipuric (Shingler
56), Navidi, Faletau
Try L Williams
Pens Halfpenny3
Italy
Scotland
Minozzi; Benvenuti
(Hayward 60), Bisegni,
Castello (Canna 73),
Bellini; Allan, Violi
(Palazzani 66); Lovotti
(Quaglio 58), Ghiraldini
(Fabiani 76), Ferrari
(Pasquali 60), Zanni (Steyn
52), Budd, Negri, Polledri
(Licata 66), Parisse (capt)
Tries Allan 2, Minozzi,
Cons Allan 3
Pens Allan 2
Hogg; Seymour, Jones
(Horne 52), Grigg,
Maitland; Russell (Price
54), Laidlaw; Reid (Bhatti
41), Brown (McInally 41),
Nel (Fagerson 41), Swinson
(R Gray 52), J Gray,
Barclay (capt), Watson,
Wilson (Denton 66)
Tries Brown, Barclay,
Maitland, Hogg
Cons Laidlaw 3
Pen Laidlaw
Referee Pascal Gaüzère (Fr)
Landmarks of the day
Two big numbers for Sergio Parisse:
a joint-record 65th appearance in the
competiton and his 100th Test match
defeat: the first man to lose that many.
7
•
8
The Observer
18.03.18
Football
FA Cup quarter-finals
11’
Swansea’s
Kristoffer
Nordfeldt is
powerless to
stop Christian
Eriksen’s
shot opening
the scoring for
Tottenham
Eriksen launches
Majestic midfielder picks off
hosts with two long-range
goals to steer commanding
Spurs into the last four
0
3
SWANSEA
TOTTENHAM
Eriksen 11 62, Lamela 45
25%
Possession
75%
2
Shots on Target
11
3
Total Attempts
25
Stuart James
Liberty Stadium
On days like this there is no need
for Tottenham to worry about how
they will cope without Harry Kane on
the pitch. Christian Eriksen demonstrated why he is so much more than
a member of the supporting cast as
he scored another two splendid goals,
taking his tally for the season to 11,
to ease Spurs into the FA Cup semifinals at the expense of a Swansea
City side that never turned up.
It was that sort of afternoon for
Spurs, who were as comfortable as
it gets as they strolled into the last
four of the FA Cup for the second
year in succession. Eriksen accepted
the freedom of the Liberty Stadium
given to him by Swansea to score
his seventh and eighth goals against
the Welsh club in 10 matches – one
would have thought they would have
learned their lesson by now – and
Érik Lamela effortlessly stroked home
Tottenham’s second.
In truth the margin of victory
could easily have been wider, such
was the chasm in quality. At times
it was embarrassingly one-sided,
with Swansea so passive and Spurs
utterly dominant as they kept the ball
for long periods and attacked with
menace. Mauricio Pochettino’s side
registered 24 attempts on goal compared with Swansea’s three, enjoyed
75% of possession and had the game
wrapped up with the best part of half
an hour remaining when Eriksen
scored his second.
The Dane was a joy to watch – he
had another superb effort tipped on
to the crossbar – and Swansea found
themselves overwhelmed in midfield,
unable to stem the tide of blue shirts
that poured forward again and again.
Lamela, playing behind Son Heungmin, also enjoyed himself as Spurs
Manchester United
v Brighton
Full coverage and analysis
of last night’s late kick-off at
Old Trafford is online now at
theguardian.com/football
The draw for the semi-finals
takes place today, after Leicester v
Chelsea on BBC One (4.30pm KO)
made the most of the space afforded to
them by a severely depleted Swansea
side. “I think we fully deserved the
victory,” said Pochettino. “Christian
and Lamela shined, of course. But I
think the whole team was very good.”
The only source of frustration
for Pochettino was the use of VAR,
which came into play when Son was
flagged offside after scoring in the
first half. Even after watching the
incident again and again it was hard
to call but the original decision was
eventually allowed to stand. “It’s a
nightmare,” Pochettino said. “I feel
so sorry for the people trying to use
that system. I think I prefer it when
the ref and assistant make mistakes,
rather than to wait three or four minutes for things.”
While Spurs can now look forward
to a semi-final at Wembley, their temporary home, next month, Swansea’s
focus must return to the grind of
the relegation battle and trying to
preserve their Premier League status. This was only their third defeat
in 17 games since Carlos Carvalhal
was appointed manager but it was a
chastening experience and with the
exception of Alfie Mawson, who has
just been called up to the England
squad, it was hard to think of anyone
who emerged with credit.
Tammy Abraham, who started
up front in place of the suspended
Jordan Ayew, squandered a giltedged chance to pull a goal back
within 60 seconds of the restart,
when he headed straight at Michel
Vorm from six yards out, and that
moment felt symptomatic of his and
Swansea’s afternoon.
Spurs were already two goals to the
good at that point, with Eriksen having opened the scoring in the 11th
•
The Observer
18.03.18
9
45’
JAVIER GARCIA/BPI/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
Erik Lamela
curls home
Tottenham’s
second goal
just before
half-time
after Swansea
failed to close
him down
Antonio Conte believes his squad overachieved when winning last season’s title
NICK POTTS/PA; ASHLEY CROWDEN/CAMERASPORT VIA GETTY IMAGES
Spurs players
congratulate
Eriksen on
his second
goal, which
put them 3-0
up. Four of
his last six
goals in all
competitions
have come
from outside
the area
62’
cruise
‘I am not
disappointed.
This has been
a fantastic run
for us and it has
not created any
harm. We lost
to a quality team
who played well’
‘VAR is a
nightmare. I
prefer it when the
ref and assistant
make mistakes
than to wait three
or four minutes.
It’s a massive
problem’
Carlos Carvalhal
Mauricio Pochettino
minute. Swansea’s defending left
much to be desired as they allowed
Eriksen, after swapping passes with
Lamela, to stride forward towards
the edge of the penalty area without coming under any pressure. Yet
there was still much to admire about
the way the midfielder curled a lovely
left-foot shot beyond Kristoffer
Nordfeldt.
Tottenham’s second goal was
not dissimilar and this time it was
Lamela who did the damage. Running
on to a pass from Moussa Sissoko,
the Argentinian skipped away from
a half-hearted Tom Carroll challenge and, with Kyle Bartley backing
off, coolly placed a low shot past the
stranded Nordfeldt and into the bottom corner.
Eric Dier’s long-range effort was
expertly clawed behind by Nordfeldt
after Abraham had missed that
chance but the goalkeeper was
powerless to prevent Eriksen from
drilling home his second to turn
Swansea’s first FA Cup quarterfinal since 1964 into a damp squib.
“There came a storm today,” Carvalhal
said. “But after a storm there will be
good weather.”
Swansea
5-4-1
Tottenham
4-2-3-1
Nordfeldt; Naughton
(Narsingh ht), Van der
Hoorn (Roberts 81),
Bartley, Mawson, Olsson;
Dyer (Routledge 86), Ki,
Carroll, Clucas; Abraham
Subs not used Mulder,
Britton, Fernández, Byers
Vorm; Trippier, Sánchez■,
Vertonghen, Davies; Dier,
Sissoko; Moura (Llorente
73), Lamela (Alli 81),
Eriksen; Son
Subs not used Lloris,
Alderweireld, Dembélé,
Foyth, Aurier
Referee Kevin Friend
Conte looks to FA Cup
after European exit
adds to rift with board
Chelsea manager has
indicated he will pick
his strongest team
for Leicester game
Sachin Nakrani
Antonio Conte has appeared to
direct more thinly veiled criticism at
Chelsea’s hierarchy when he claimed
his team had found their level by
being in a position where the FA
Cup is the only trophy they can win
this season.
Chelsea take on Leicester in a
quarter-final tie at the King Power
Stadium this afternoon and Conte
has indicated he will pick his strongest possible side as he looks for an
immediate response to being eliminated from the Champions League
by Barcelona in midweek. The FA Cup
has taken on particular importance
for the Italian given his side also languish 25 points behind Manchester
City in the Premier League and, with
eight games remaining, stand no
chance of retaining their status as
champions.
That is a deeply frustrating situation for Conte to find himself in, as he
made clear when asked to assess the
importance of winning the FA Cup. “A
lot of times we compare good season,
bad season, if you win something. You
have to know which is our level now,”
he said. “Last season we did a fantastic job. Also in this season we are
doing a fantastic job. But you have to
understand which is your position in
this moment, which is your level.”
Asked to explain what he meant
by “our level”, Conte went on to claim
that by winning the title last season,
his players overachieved: “They performed 120%, maybe 130%.” This is
not the first time he has done this
during the current campaign and
once again the inference was clear:
the manager does not believe he has
a squad capable of consistently winning major honours.
Conte has made no secret of his
displeasure with the club’s transfer dealings during the summer,
leading to a severely strained relationship with Chelsea’s board and
the widely held expectation that the
48-year-old will leave at the end of the
season with 12 months of his £9m-ayear contract unfulfilled. Should that
prove the case, Conte will no doubt
want to sign off at Stamford Bridge
with one more trophy to his name,
although he was quick to insist winning the FA Cup would mean little to
him on a personal level.
“It’s not important if I add another
trophy in my career. For me the most
important thing is to work hard, to
try to improve the club and the players,” he said. “I’m very satisfied for my
job, for the work we’re doing. Me, the
staff, my players. We’re doing a fantastic job, also in this season.”
On a somewhat lighter note Conte
was asked for his views on Lionel
Messi having watched the player
score twice against Chelsea at the
Camp Nou on Wednesday and, in
the immediate aftermath of the 3-0
defeat, describe him as a “super,
super, super top player”. Did Conte
feel there were any players in England
who compared with the Argentinian?
“Don’t joke,” he replied. “Not only
in England but in history. Maybe only
Maradona and Pelé [compare with
Messi]. Players that can change the
final result.
“I marked Maradona when I played
with Lecce. We lost 3-2 and I scored
one goal. It was very difficult to mark
him. When you played against these
[type of] players, you had to mark
man-to-man.
“Before, football was totally different. Now you must be strong, fast,
prepared physically. Talent is not
enough to be a modern player. You
can see when Messi goes for a tackle,
he’s very strong. He’s not tall but he’s
very strong. He’s fast.”
•
10
The Observer
18.03.18
Football
Premier League
Defender James Tomkins (left)
knocks home Crystal Palace’s
opening goal against Huddersfield
0
HUDDERSFIELD
2
CRYSTAL PALACE
Tomkins 23
Milivojevic 68pen
55%
Possession
45%
2
Shots on Target
4
6
Total Attempts
16
Paul Doyle
John Smith’s Stadium
Snow swirled through the stadium
but Crystal Palace departed with a
warm glow. A first-half goal by James
Tomkins followed by a second-half
penalty by Luka Milivojevic lifted
Roy Hodgson’s team out of the relegation zone and to within a point
of Huddersfield, who had hoped to
distance themselves from the squabbling near the bottom of the table but
instead remain in the fray after an
uncharacteristically tepid display.
The only down side for Hodgson
The bottom 10
Watford
Brighton
Newcastle
Swansea
Huddersfield
Crystal Palace
West Ham
Southampton
Stoke
West Brom
P W D
L
F
A GD Pts
31 10
6 15 39 55 -16 36
30
8 10 12 28 40 -12 34
30
8
8 14 30 40 -10 32
30
8
7 15 25 42 -17 31
31
8
7 16 25 52 -27 31
31
7
9 15 30 48 -18 30
30
7
9 14 36 57 -21 30
30
5 13 12 29 44 -15 28
31
6
9 16 29 58 -29 27
31
3 11 17 24 49 -25 20
was that midfielder Jeffrey Schlupp
was forced off with a twisted ankle
in the 20th minute. Wilfried Zaha
limped off one minute from time but
the manager said that was because
of “little knocks and a bit of fatigue”
rather than anything more serious.
That is a boon for Palace because
Zaha performed with typical class on
his first start after a five-week layoff.
Palace travelled to west Yorkshire
on the back of a seven-game winless streak but apparently full of
confidence, the returns of Zaha and
Mamadou Sakho, plus of substitutes
Yohan Cabaye and Ruben LoftusCheek, giving them extra cause for
optimism. Hodgson ordered his team
to attack from the outset.
Barely one minute had elapsed
before a corner by Milivojevic provoked mayhem in the home box.
Huddersfield scrambled it away but
were less vigilant when Milivojevic
delivered another in the 23rd minute.
Steve Mounié’s attempt to clear at
the near post amounted to nothing
more than an embarrassing decoy
that duped his own team-mates,
allowing the ball to run through
to Tomkins. Jonas Lössl made an
instinctive close-range save from
Tomkins’ first shot but was helpless
to prevent the Palace defender from
poking the rebound into the net.
Palace had already threatened from
open play, their fleet of tricky dribblers making constant mischief. Zaha,
inevitably, was the peskiest. When he
pounced on a loose ball in the 18th
minute he slalomed between two
opponents and dabbed a nice pass
through to Christian Benteke, whose
DAN WEIR/PPAUK/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
Milivojevic drags
Huddersfield back
into the dogfight
Scrap for survival
Palace started the season with
what looked like a terminal
seven-game losing run – and
arrived at Huddersfield on
a new run of seven games
without a league win. But
their vital victory means
Roy Hodgson’s side have now
won seven away league points
in 2018 – one more than they
managed in their previous
12 on the road last year.
Palace’s form since their
previous Premier League
victory, two months ago:
W 13 Jan Burnley
L 20 Jan Arsenal
D 30 Jan West Ham
D 4 Feb Newcastle
L 10 Feb Everton
L 25 Feb Tottenham
L 5 Mar Man United
L 10 Mar Chelsea
W 19 Mar Huddersfield
 31 Mar Liverpool
H
A
A
H
A
H
H
A
A
H
1-0
1-4
1-1
1-1
1-3
0-1
2-3
1-2
2-0
12th
13th
13th
14th
15th
17th
18th
18th
16th
shot brought a brilliant block from
Christopher Schindler, who had earlier made a similar one to
deflect a shot by Zaha over.
David Wagner’s side
began hunting an
equaliser, but lacked
precision. Palace’s centre-backs, Tomkins and
Sakho, easily repelled
a succession of hopeful
crosses. Tom Ince made no
progress against Palace’s
impressive young rightback, Aaron Wan-Bissaka,
before being replaced
on the hour. By then
Huddersfield still had not
mustered a dangerous shot.
They might have been two
goals behind if Benteke had
been awarded penalty after
Mathias Jorgensen wrapped an
arm around him in the box.
Moments later Tomkins
nearly scored again when
another corner found its way
to him via a weak header by
Jorgensen. But this time Mounié rescued his team, booting his shot off
the line. Mounié then came close
to doubling the value of that block
by scoring at the other end, but he
flashed a snapshot just wide after a
good cross by Florent Hadergjonaj.
Palace secured the points in the
68th minute after Jorgensen sabotaged a counterattack by upending
Andros Townsend. Miliovjevic sent
Lössl the wrong way from the spot.
“Credit to Palace, they deserved
to win but we had a big part in that
because we were below par,” admitted
Wagner. “If you can put immediate
pressure on them, then their speed is
not a threat. But we did not do that.”
Huddersfield
4-2-3-1
Crystal Palace
x-x-x
4-1-4-1
Hennessey; WanLössl; Hadergjonaj,
Bissaka■, Tomkins, Sakho,
Jorgensen, Schindler■,
Van Aanholt; Milivojevic;
Malone (Löwe ht);
Townsend, McArthur,
Hogg■, Mooy■; Quaner,
Schlupp (Cabaye■ 20),
Pritchard (Kachunga 71),
Zaha (Loftus-Cheek 88);
Ince (van La Parra 60);
Benteke Subs not used
Mounié
Cavalieri, Lee, FosuSubs not used Coleman,
Mensah, Kelly, Riedewald
Smith, Billing, Depoitre
Referee Mike Dean Attendance 23,918
Stanislas stunner twists the knife on despairing Pardew
2
1
Ibe 77, Stanislas 89
Rodriguez 49
BOURNEMOUTH
60%
WEST BROM
Possession
40%
5
Shots on Target
5
17
Total Attempts
11
Ben Fisher
Vitality Stadium
Alan Pardew is doing his utmost to
put on a brave face but the lastchance saloon he spoke of after
this galling late defeat has already
been and gone. West Brom have
been resigned to it for a while
but an eighth successive defeat
was further shattering evidence
that the club will be playing
Championship football in August.
After failing to see out what would
have been a rare win, Pardew’s
men are 10 points from safety with
seven games remaining.
A tendency for West Brom to
undo their hard work has blighted
them all season and did so again
here as Ben Foster was caught cold
by Jordon Ibe’s swerving effort on a
biting afternoon on the south coast
before Junior Stanislas’s postagestamp free-kick sealed victory two
minutes from time.
In reality squandering leads
is only a small slice of a fairly
miserable story. The manner
of this defeat, after a spirited if
unspectacular performance, left the
Albion manager deflated.
“I am under contract here for
another three years and we have
got to keep fighting,” said Pardew,
who denied there is a release
West Brom’s Kieran Gibbs reacts
with dismay at the final whistle
clause in his contract in the event
of relegation. “I keep saying it to
my players: we have got to keep
showing pride in what you do, and I
will keep doing that until such time I
am told not to.”
Pardew’s men have dropped
24 points from winning positions
– more than any other team in
the division – and sustained that
miserable trend after Bournemouth
rallied to ensure Jay Rodriguez’s
opener, coming after smart work
by Salomón Rondón, was worth
nothing. Asked if his team have
left themselves with too much to
do, Pardew said: “If you look at our
record since the start of the year, you
would have to say yes but, of course,
we have to keep battling on. It’s
getting near last-chance saloon so
we needed to get something today.”
A comical first half punctuated
by a couple of half-hearted
penalty claims passed without
any real incident but four minutes
into the second half Rodriguez
smashed home from close range.
Bournemouth looked as though
they were going to be punished for
a lax display until they sprung into
life when Ibe’s devious effort from
distance eluded Foster down to his
left. That goal set up a grandstand
finale. When Craig Dawson felled
Joshua King 25 yards from goal,
Stanislas stepped up to sink Albion
with a peach of a free-kick.
An exasperated shake of the head
by Pardew as Charlie Daniels hacked
off the line from Matt Phillips
with seconds left said it all. For
Bournemouth, who now fly to Dubai
for a training camp, this victory
makes a fourth successive season
in the top flight look ever more
likely. “We had to dig very deep and
it was the hardest way [to win] but
I’ll take any way at this stage of the
season,” said Eddie Howe.
Bournemouth
4-2-3-1
Begovic; Francis (Daniels
17), S Cook, Aké, A Smith■
(Mousset 57); L Cook,
Gosling; Stanislas, King,
Ibe; Wilson (Defoe 73)
Subs not used
Boruc, Surman, Pugh,
Fraser
West Brom
5-3-2
Foster; Nyom, Dawson■,
Evans (Phillips 77), Hegazi,
Gibbs; Livermore■, Yacob,
Brunt (Field 82); Rondón,
Rodriguez (Robson-Kanu
86)
Subs not used
Myhill, McClean,
Krychowiak, Burke
Referee Graham Scott Attendance 23,918
•
The Observer
18.03.18
Mohamed Salah and Andrew
Robertson celebrate Liverpool’s second
goal in their mauling of Watford
11
Ice-cool Egyptian continues his
hot streak with a spectacular
four-goal display that sends
Klopp’s men steaming into third
5
0
LIVERPOOL
WATFORD
Salah 4 43 77 85,
Firmino 49
58%
Possession
42%
10
Shots on Target
1
13
Total Attempts
4
Chris Brereton
Anfield
This is getting ridiculous. Mohamed
Salah scored four goals as Liverpool
crushed Watford and the Egyptian
must be the only person in the country who does not want this extended
winter to ever end. The closer we get
to the end of the season, the closer
Salah gets to concluding a dreamlike campaign that is threatening to
redefine what goalscoring means at
Anfield. His four goals were all wonderful in their own way and Salah is
simply unstoppable at the moment.
In their bid to forget last weekend’s clumsy loss at Old Trafford,
Liverpool could scarcely have asked
for a more compliant opposition than
Watford, a side that had lost seven of
their past eight away fixtures in the
Premier League. Javi Gracia has done
a fine job since his appointment in
January but Watford’s resurgence has
been extremely home-centric, to say
the least.
Although the forthcoming
Champions League quarter-final
against Manchester City has eaten
up a lot of attention at Anfield this
Saturday Sundae
Man of the day
Roy Hodgson has led two late escapes
in his career to date, at Fulham and
West Brom. A third could be back on.
Setback of the day
Alan Pardew revealed on
Friday how he had held
“clear-the-air talks” with
West Brom’s owners,
“and I’m still here, in a
job”. Time for more talks.
past few days, Jürgen Klopp was
insistent ahead of this contest that
Watford were the priority and that
the City game could take care of itself
for the time being. They were wise,
watchful words and his team, in particular Salah, certainly heeded them
early on.
This occasion was played in the sort
of conditions that made a mockery
of the calendar: a freezing occasion
with a breeze that bit to the bone. Yet
Liverpool’s fans did not have to wait
long to warm up. There was barely
three minutes on the clock when
Salah’s 34th goal of the campaign cut
Watford to shreds.
Salah’s season mirabilis began with
a goal against Watford on the opening
day and it continued with stunning
aplomb here as he latched on to a
ball from Sadio Mané, bamboozled
Miguel Britos, who eventually fell
over, and calmly threaded past Orestis
Karnezis. The goal meant Watford’s
parsimonious gameplan lay in tatters.
Yet they did then manage to keep
Liverpool relatively quiet for most
of the first half, although Roberto
Firmino was denied one of the goals of
the season when his 20-yard shot was
superbly stopped by Karnezis. In the
build-up Mané and Salah had combined beautifully to take Liverpool
the length of the pitch before Salah’s
cross found Firmino, who wrongfooted his marker with one touch but
failed to beat the Watford keeper.
It was, though, further evidence
of Liverpool’s attacking joie de vivre,
something demonstrated again by
yet another Salah goal just before the
interval. Again, Liverpool attacked
from nowhere and in a heartbeat,
and when the effervescent Andy
LEE SMITH/REUTERS
Sublime
Salah
Robertson delivered a pinpoint cross
to Salah in the middle of the six-yard
box, the Egyptian could not miss.
The most frightening thing for
opposition defences must be how
easy Salah is making the game look
at the moment. There’s not a hair
out of place or a bead of perspiration to be seen – he is currently
playing with the childlike ease of the
truly talented. That continued after
the restart as Liverpool’s attacking
prowess moved from industrious
Humour of the day
Impact of the day
Spurs fans, going with: “Spurs are on
their way to Wembley” at Swansea.
Everton’s January signing Cenk Tosun
– becoming the first Turkish player to
score two in a Premier League game
since Tuncay Sanli in 2008. @Turkish_
Futbol1: “Can he score on a cold,
snowy day in Stoke? YES HE CAN!”
Update of the day
14 Mar: Charlie Adam says the Stoke
squad need to step up. “We have to
take responsibility as a
group of players.”
17 Mar: Adam weighs
up the blizzard
conditions, jumps in
two-footed and sees
red after 30 minutes.
to inspirational, never more so than
when Firmino wonderfully backheeled in a cross from close range
to make it 3-0 straight after the
break. And who provided the cross?
It seems academic to even ask. Salah
is the answer to virtually every question at the moment. Here his difficult
afternoon in Manchester last weekend was almost entirely expunged
from the memory. Watford, despite
the three-goal deficit, did not give
up and Roberto Pereyra curled a
sent off: “It is beyond inadmissible.
This club feels bruised and ashamed.”
Expletives of the day
Blackburn fans, going 530 miles for no
reason. Their game at Gillingham was
called off due to “health and safety”,
which went down well on Twitter.
Regret of the day
Came in a statement from Auxerre,
reacting to Friday night’s Bowyer/
Dyer tribute act by two of their players
– Pierre-Yves Polomat and Michaël
Barreto trading punches before being
Final flourish of the day
Was a 99th-minute penalty at Notts
County. Mansfield scored, making
it 1-1. Town manager David Flitcroft:
“We one million percent deserved it.”
free-kick onto Liverpool’s crossbar after 52 minutes to suggest their
spirit was undimmed. The horrendous conditions then played their
part as the second half began to flatten out but even that will have pleased
Klopp. There were few of the defensive wobbles here that have so often
punctured his side’s self-belief and
little complacency was to be found. It
was, in essence, brutally professional
Salah was still not finished. He
added another 13 minutes from the
end, somehow managing to score
while falling over, and his fourth,
thrashed into the roof of the net from
10 yards out at the Kop end, was just
as strong a finish. He flashed a big
grin as the acclaim rained down. It is
a sound he is getting used to.
Liverpool
4-3-3
Watford
4-5-1
Karius; Gomez■, Van Dijk,
Karnezis; Femenía,
Matip, Robertson;
Mariappa, Prödl, Britos
Henderson, Can (Milner
(Janmaat 81); Holebas,
27), Wijnaldum (OxladePereyra, Doucouré,
Chamberlain 71); Salah,
Capoue, Richarlison
Firmino (Ings 79), Mané
(Hughes 65); Deeney
(Okaka 70)
Subs not used Mignolet,
Subs not used Gomes,
Klavan, Moreno,
Alexander-Arnold
Cathcart, Carrillo, Gray
Referee Anthony Taylor Attendance 52,287
•
Football
ED SYKES /ACTION IMAGES VIA REUTERS
12
The Observer
18.03.18
Charlie Adam slides in on Wayne Rooney – a tackle that led to his dismissal
Clinical Tosun warms up
Everton as Lambert finds
nothing but cold comfort
1
2
Choupo-Moting 77
Tosun 69, 84
STOKE
43%
EVERTON
Possession
57%
4
Shots on Target
8
9
Total Attempts
17
Paul MacInnes
Bet365 Stadium
To the list of times and weather
conditions under which foreign
pros should be tested at Stoke, add
“Saturday afternoon” and “blizzard”.
Everton’s Cenk Tosun met the challenge here, claiming a second-half
brace to earn victory for the visitors
in a tempest of snow.
Stoke’s prospects of avoiding relegation worsened with the weather
and they will feel aggrieved at this
defeat. The Potters had Charlie Adam
sent off in the first half during treacherous conditions. They also fought
their way back into the match from
one down, with Tosun’s opener itself
prompting suspicions of offside. But a
diving header from the Turkish international in the 84th minute proved
the game’s decisive action.
Adam was sent off for the fourth
time in the Premier League after
sliding in on Wayne Rooney on the
half-hour. The contact was not great
but the tackle, especially given the
surface, looked reckless. Paul Lambert
accepted the decision after the match
but railed against the lack of an intervention in Everton’s opener.
“I can understand why Martin
Atkinson has given it‚” he said. “If
you’re going in with studs in the
modern game, you put yourself in a
position. So I can understand that.
But their first goal is offside. The
linesman’s got to see that. How he’s
missed that I don’t know.”
For Sam Allardyce there was no
doubt about the red card: “It looked
dangerous‚” he said. But with Everton
recording their first away victory in
the league for three months, Allardyce
was happy to concentrate on more
positive aspects of the match, such as
the performance of Tosun, his £27m
January recruit from Beşiktaş.
“It’s because of the quality of our
frontman that we’ve won the game”,
Allardyce said. “He’s adapting much
quicker than lots of front men who
come to the Premier League from
abroad. He’s got the whole array of
finishing in his locker; right foot, left
foot, head. It also looks like he’s got
the knack of being in the right place at
the right time, which you can’t coach.”
Stoke looked as if they had stabilised after losing Adam, and Everton
as if the match was passing them by
until Tosun scored his third goal in as
many games in the 69th minute. He
looked offside in the first movement
on a Rooney set-piece, his header
then turned away by Jack Butland.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin drove the
ball back in again, however, and when
Butland parried once more, Tosun
forced home the rebound.
Lambert responded by going on the
attack, bringing on Saido Berahino
alongside Peter Crouch and replacing Ramadan Sobhi with Eric Maxim
Choupo-Moting. The changes paid off
quickly as Stoke equalised from their
own set piece, Joe Allen swinging the
ball to the back post, where ChoupoMoting bundled home.
Choupo-Moting was immediately
forced off with a groin injury which
he sustained as he scored, and five
minutes later Everton won the match.
Theo Walcott had time to shape a
cross to the penalty spot and Tosun
buried it with a diving header.
Stoke face Arsenal and Tottenham
next, with a gap of three points
between themselves and safety. “The
effort and commitment was spot on
from the players‚” Lambert said. “But
it was a game that we lost and they’re
certainly down in the dressing room.”
Stoke
4-2-3-1
Everton
4-3-3
Butland; Johnson,
Pickford; Coleman,
Shawcross, Zouma,
Keane, Jagielka■, Baines;
Staflydis; Adam■, N’Diaye
Davies (Calvert-Lewin 53),
(Berahino 76); Shaqiri,
Gueye, Rooney
Allen, Sobhi
(Schneiderlin 87); Walcott,
(Choupo-Moting 72;
Bolasie (Holgate 90), Tosun
Jesé 79); Crouch
Subs not used Robles,
Martina, Niasse, Klaassen
Subs not used Haugaard,
Bauer, Martins Indi, Fletcher
Referee Martin Atkinson Attendance 30,022
‘I will never
understand
Fifa – it was
14 seconds’
Adrien Silva has put a bleak chapter behind
him and wants to topple the club that tried
to lure him as a teenager, he tells Stuart James
Leicester v Chelsea
Today, 4.30pm, BBC1
A
drien Silva is recalling
when he was banned
from playing after a
Premier League club
tried to sign him,
only this episode
has nothing to do with Leicester
City and the deadline-day saga
that ended with an international
footballer running round a field to
keep fit between talking to lawyers.
Silva is rowing back to 2005 instead,
when he was 15 and José Mourinho
tried to talk him into joining
Chelsea along with two other young
Sporting Lisbon players.
“It was a very strange moment
and I was so young,” Silva says.
“To have this club approach me,
especially when Mourinho comes
to talk to you … at this time, we
didn’t know why he came. But when
the club wants something, they
do everything. He came to see me
in Portugal and we went there, to
Chelsea, to see the training ground.
Then we came back and it was a big,
big situation with Sporting.”
Sporting were furious and,
as well as making a complaint
to Fifa about Chelsea, refused
to allow Silva to train and play
for them for two months. The
other teenagers, Fábio Ferreira
and Ricardo Fernandes, joined
Chelsea and were both released
four years later without playing a
game. Silva, however, spoke to his
parents and chose a different path,
harbouring concerns that Chelsea
“wanted to win now and not wait
for young players”.
That he went on to make 241
appearances for Sporting and
become a Portugal international
suggests he made the right call.
“Thanks to God,” says Silva, smiling.
It is a timely story on the eve
of today’s FA Cup quarter-final
against Chelsea but all the more so
in the context of what happened
last year, when Silva faced another
enforced absence, after Fifa rejected
Leicester’s application to register
the midfielder because his £22m
move from Sporting had missed
the transfer deadline by 14 seconds.
Barred from playing until January
and initially prevented from training
with the Premier League club, Silva
spent six weeks living with his agent
at the Marriott hotel in Leicester,
where they exhausted every avenue,
including taking his case to the
court of arbitration for sport, to try
to overturn a ruling that left him
angry and upset.
“I had some injuries in my career
but then you know why you don’t
play and that’s part of football,
so you can accept it,” Silva says.
“But this situation wasn’t correct.
It wasn’t correct because I was
able to play physically and I didn’t
do anything wrong to make this
situation. I will never understand
the decision of Fifa – even after
Leicester had tried everything to
change it. There is no protection
for the players in this situation. The
players are the most important, so
why don’t [Fifa] think about that
and make some exception? OK,
if it is so many hours [after the
deadline], but we’re talking about
seconds here. So I think it was a very
poor decision.”
This is Silva’s first national
newspaper interview since joining
Leicester and one of the things that
comes across during an enjoyable
hour in his company is that he was
just as confused as everyone else
when the window closed. Told that
the media did not know for a while
whether he was a Leicester or a
Sporting player, Silva shakes his
head, grins and replies: “Me neither.”
Adrien Silva
was forced to
train alone in
a field while he
appealed against
Fifa’s decision
to decline his
registration
following a
deadline-day
move to Leicester
FABIO DE PAOLA/OBSERVER
•
The Observer
18.03.18
think about it, it was the worst
moment for this to happen.”
In the end Silva decided he
needed to have a joke at his own
expense, to keep his spirits up if
nothing else. When Leicester asked
what shirt number
he wanted, it
was the perfect
opportunity. “I was
talking with my
agent, Pedro, who
was here with me
for a month and a
half at the hotel,
supporting me
every day – my
wife and children
couldn’t come
because I didn’t
have a home –
and I said: ‘We
have to play with this situation. Why
not No 14?’”
The long-awaited debut, wearing
that number, arrived on 1 January
– Craig Shakespeare, the manager
who signed him, had departed two
months earlier – and Silva was given
a rapturous reception as he came
off the bench. “So many things were
going through my mind,” he says.
“But the main thought was: just play
football. It’s my passion and it’s such
a simple thing to do. But that day I
felt like I wanted to eat the field!”
Silva breaks into laughter after
making that last remark and it feels
good to see him in a much happier
place. On the pitch, he admits, he is
still striving to get to his best but life
is coming together in other respects.
Margarida, his wife, gave birth to
a baby girl last Sunday and four
days later Silva celebrated his 29th
birthday with a recall to the Portugal
squad.
Margarida, Silva says, was a
huge support to him throughout
her pregnancy – he smiles as he
checks that the word “hormonal” is
correct in English – and he wants
to express his gratitude to the rest
of his family as well as a couple of
players. “Matty James and Andy
King – they helped me in every
way. They kept pushing me when
some days I was down. So they
have been very good friends during
those months.”
Sporting thanked Silva for his
services by inviting him back
to the stadium in October for a
special tribute to a player who
joined them at the age of 12, when
he moved 400km away from his
family in a country where he was
still learning the language after
growing up in France. “All those
years came into my mind so it was
very emotional,” says Silva, who
was in tears on the pitch. “Sporting
made me into a player but they
also made me into a man, and they
will always have a special place in
my heart.”
It has obviously been a tough time
for Silva and it is hardly surprising
to hear him say that the deadlineday mix-up was the worst moment
of his career. Yet he also sounds full
of positivity as he looks to the future
and pictures a perfect finale to the
season. “I hope we can get past
Chelsea and reach the FA Cup final,”
Silva says, smiling. “And to go to the
World Cup after, that would be the
best way for it to end for me.”
‘Mourinho came to
see me in Portugal
and I went to see
Chelsea’s training
ground. It was a
big, big situation’
Adrien Silva
Sporting, however, appeared
keen to provide some clarity. Within
days Bruno de Carvalho, Sporting’s
president, said: “The transfer
of Adrien is already completed.
Hopefully Leicester find a solution
for him.” Those comments gave
the impression that Sporting were
washing their hands of any potential
problems and, with that in mind,
it is interesting to know whether
Silva felt any frustration with how
his former club acted. “Not with
Sporting. With the president. And
that’s different,” Silva says. “He tried,
I think, to protect his club. But in
football it’s more important when
you represent a club to protect the
human or the player.”
For all his annoyance with Fifa
Silva admits to fearing the worst
as soon as the window closed.
“But after Leicester and my lawyers
told me that we could make an
appeal, I got my hopes up and I tried
to keep my head right,” he explains.
“I trained alone at the gym and on
a field to try to keep my physical
condition because I wasn’t allowed
to train with the team.”
Establishing exactly why he found
himself in this position is not easy,
other than to say that negotiations
were extremely complicated, with
Silva making many concessions to
Sporting in order to get the deal
done. Leicester were committed to
completing the transfer come what
may and always maintained that
the paperwork was uploaded on
time, yet Fifa argued otherwise and
refused to allow Silva to fast-track
Silva’s limbo
How Portugal midfielder’s
move to England unfolded:
31 Aug 2017 On deadline
day, Leicester open talks
with Sporting Lisbon, and
announce a deal in the early
hours, “subject to clearance”.
5 Sep Fifa reveal City missed the
deadline by 14 seconds. Sporting tell
Fifa to “show some common sense”,
and urge City to pay the money.
4 Oct Leicester’s appeal is
rejected, leaving Silva in limbo.
1 Jan The move is finally
sanctioned by Fifa – and
Silva makes his full debut at
Fleetwood in the FA Cup.
his appeal through Cas. So who,
ultimately, is responsible? “We
still don’t know,” Silva replies.
“For me, I think Fifa the most.
But I’m not worried about
it now.”
There was one thought
that troubled him more
than any other as the
fiasco rumbled on. Silva
loves representing his
country and was part of
the Portugal team that
defeated France to win
Euro 2016. Suddenly he
could see a World Cup on
the horizon and his place
in the squad in jeopardy.
“Every day that was on my
mind,” he says. “And that
makes it worse. When I
13
•
14
The Observer
18.03.18
Football
Southgate champions
spirited Livermore
Commitment shown
by midfielder is what
England will need in
Russia, says manager
Paul Wilson
Paul Cook would trade promotion from League One for a place in the FA Cup final CRAIG GALLOWAY/PROSPORTS/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
Wigan running
on Cook’s perks
Manager says his love
has helped forge the
spirit that has driven
their FA Cup run
Paul Wilson
Wigan are on an old-fashioned Cup
run and Paul Cook will cheerfully
admit to being an old-fashioned manager. He believes in the FA Cup for a
start, as might be surmised from the
fact his League One side will today be
attempting to knock a fourth Premier
League side out of the competition.
Possibly distracted by the scale
of their achievement against
Manchester City in the last round,
Wigan’s promotion push has suffered a wobble, though a first win in
three games at Bradford in midweek
calmed a few nerves. Cook, confronted before today’s game against
Southampton with the old chestnut
about whether he would choose promotion over a Wembley semi-final,
unhesitatingly opted for promotion.
Then he thought about it a little more.
“I might not say that if you were talking about the FA Cup final. Offer me
that choice and I don’t think I’d be
able to turn it down.”
Disarmingly frank, Cook is the first
to admit Wigan were lucky to find
themselves playing 10 men against
City, just as they had been in the previous round when West Ham had a
player sent off. Yet on both occasions
Wigan’s remarkable team spirit was
what ultimately saw them through. “If
you ask me, team spirit is an undervalued commodity in football,” he
says. “You want a group of lads who
will go the extra yard for each other,
and that’s what we have here.”
That sounds straightforward
enough, perhaps even a little glib,
yet apart from the £1m Will Grigg
the Wigan side who beat the richest
club in the country were composed
of mostly free transfers, a couple of
loans and two players, Max Power
and Gavin Massey, picked up when
Tranmere and Leyton Orient slipped
out of the league. Is some secret
alchemy at work? How does Cook
go about forging unbreakable spirit
from such ostensibly unpromising
raw material?
“You need to build it up over time
but it is essentially a two-way thing,”
Wigan v Southampton
Today, 1.30pm, BBC One
Shock specialists
Wigan have knocked out
three Premier League sides so
far. The last team from outside
the top flight to eliminate four
in a season were West Ham in
1979-80, with John Lyall’s men
winning the Cup that year.
Since their relegation in 2013
Wigan have won six FA Cup ties
against Premier League clubs
– double the total of any other
non-Premier League club in that
time. Those six eliminations
make up 22% (six of 27) of the
total shocks against top-flight
clubs since 2013-14.
Cook says. “Lads need to feel your
love when they really need it, and now
and again managers turn to players
because they really need them.”
Being old-fashioned, Cook finds
himself at odds with the new impatience in football, not to mention the
former players and pundits whose
sneering comments put managers
under more pressure. “Pundits find
it so easy to lay into people who are
doing their best,” he says. “I think
it is the saddest thing in the game.
Supporters should back their team
but the modern-day culture is to boo
your side off at half-time. Why? That’s
when you need support the most. The
last time I was in a crowd as a spectator I couldn’t believe the anger that
was being expressed. There is so
much negativity nowadays and I find
that strange.”
There is not much that has been
negative about Wigan’s season,
apart from the fact Blackburn and
Shrewsbury are keeping up the promotion pressure. Southampton will
turn up with a new manager in Mark
Hughes but Wigan are the settled side
and Grigg remains on fire. “Will’s an
instinctive scorer, play him in any
team that creates chances and he’ll
put them away,” Cook says. “There
was no food on the table for him
against City, he was isolated as we
were getting deeper and deeper but
he got one chance and he did what
the best strikers do.”
Since that result Wigan have managed to lose their underdog tag,
some even seem to believe they have
a better than 50-50 chance against
relegation-threatened Southampton,
though Cook does not see it quite
like that. “We shouldn’t get ahead of
ourselves. We are a League One side
playing Premier League opponents.
I had a text from a mate who said he
couldn’t make the game but he’d be
there for the semi-final. I just looked
at it.
“Wembley is an unbelievable
incentive, to take a League One side
to the semi would really be something
but come on. We are not there yet, not
even favourites to get there.”
When Gareth Southgate named his
first England squad of this World
Cup year for the forthcoming friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy
there were a few surprise omissions
– Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling and
Danny Drinkwater among them – but
the inclusion that stood out was that
of Jake Livermore.
The midfielder has not been enjoying the best of seasons at West Brom,
where he has not always been a regular starter. Yet Southgate is the
loyal type, perfectly willing to defend
his decision in a way that reveals a
lot about his thought processes for
Russia this summer.
“Jake has been having a tough time
at his club but it is very straightforward for me,” the England manager
said. “We’ve played Jake in several
matches and he’s done a job for the
team. In November we left him out
and he was just about to board a
plane for a holiday when we called
him back at the last moment, because
we had had a few withdrawals. He left
his family at the airport, came to join
us and did really well against Brazil
and Germany. I think that has to carry
some weight when you are building
the spirit and culture around your
team.
“That doesn’t mean he is guaranteed to go to Russia in the summer,
but I think it justifies him staying in
our squad. We are looking to build a
spirit, a togetherness, and I think that
sort of example of sacrifice is important. I understand why there might
be a bit of reaction to picking Jake but
there is a specific reason why we have
done it this time.”
National team managers always
have trouble with injuries and
withdrawals, it goes with the territory, though Southgate believes the
fringe players who are often the ones
messed around need to show the
England’s schedule
Gareth Southgate’s side face
four friendlies before they head
to their World Cup base – the
107-room ForRestMix club in
the village of Repino, 19 miles
outside St Petersburg.
Friendlies
Friday
27 Mar
2 June
7 June
Netherlands
Italy
Nigeria
Costa Rica
A 7.45pm
H 8pm
H 5.15pm
H 8pm
ITV
ITV
ITV
ITV
World Cup Group G
18 June Tunisia
Volgograd
7pm BBC
24 June Panama
Nizhny Novgorod 1pm BBC
28 June Belgium
Kaliningrad
7pm ITV
mental toughness to stay positive.
“There is an important message to
send to the group that if you are disappointed at being left out there might
be an opportunity to come back in,” he
explained. “If you respond in the right
way, who knows what might happen?
“When I went to the World Cup in
2002 Trevor Sinclair was a standby
player. He wasn’t even first choice,
he was the second standby. Danny
Murphy was initially called in ahead
of him but then Danny got injured.
Trevor had returned to England but
he flew back to Japan and he ended
up playing in the match against
Argentina. So it’s a message to everyone in the group as much as to Jake.
Stay positive.”
Southgate himself is trying to stay
positive about a tournament currently
in danger of being overshadowed
by strained diplomatic relations,
though he still intends to have his
family come to visit when England
are in Russia. “That is the plan at
the moment, but we are like everyone else, we will have to see what the
advice is and if things change,” he
said. “Russia is culturally an incredible country to visit, so I would like
them to have that experience, and to
go to a World Cup as well.”
Jake Livermore remains in the England squad despite his indifferent club form
•
Football
Europe
Emmanuel Adebayor has
a dozen league goals this
season for Basaksehir
There was plenty to recognise when,
on 2 August, Istanbul Basaksehir
beat Club Brugge 2-0 to qualify for
the Champions League play-off
round. The first goal came when
Emmanuel Adebayor, meeting a
cross from his erstwhile Arsenal
team-mate Gaël Clichy, powered in a
header and there were other familiar
faces on hand to celebrate. Emre
Belozoglu, now 37, was patrolling
the midfield that day; Gökhan Inler
watched from the bench; and the
home side’s former Premier League
sextet was completed by Kerim Frei
and Eljero Elia.
Between them they could recount
a passable history of the English top
flight post-2005 but their present
engagement involves shaping
Turkey’s football future. Should
Istanbul Basaksehir conclude a
potentially decisive derby weekend
by defeating Besiktas at home this
afternoon, they will reinvigorate
Bundesliga
Frankfurt stay on
track after Ginter
denies Hoffenheim
European
tables and
results
their bid to win the title just four
years after assuming their present
identity. They are little-known
outside Turkey and hardly popular
within it but their aim is to become
a global force and succeed where the
country’s more established powers
have largely failed.
“It’s happened a bit more quickly
than we expected,” the board
member Mustafa Erogut tells the
Observer. “But when we have this
momentum, we just want to keep
it up. If we had won the league last
season it would have been very
surprising. This year it would not
be; expectations have changed and,
from being underdogs, we’re now
one of the four title favourites.”
The other three are, of course,
Besiktas, Galatasaray and
Fenerbahce. Last season only the
first of these could outdo Istanbul
Basaksehir, who were runners-up
after twice coming fourth. The
figures are impressive, although the
club has not quite arrived from thin
air. Their previous incarnation was
Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyespor,
who were municipally owned and
achieved moderate success after
being formed in 1990. They had a
tiny fanbase who, for some years,
rattled around the 76,000 Ataturk
Stadium; by 2014 they were viewed
as a waste of taxpayers’ money and,
after flirting with extinction, were
re-formed in the modern suburb
of Basaksehir.
A new eight-strong board took
control and looked to sidestep
the issues experienced by their
ABDULLAH COSKUN/ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES
Istanbul
uprising
Basaksehir have
few fans and
even less history
but are muscling
in on Turkey’s
big three, writes
Nick Ames
The Observer
18.03.18
rivals. “The biggest difference is
that we are a joint-stock company,
an ownership model like that of
Premier League clubs,” Erogut
says. “Other big clubs here are
foundation models, supporterowned. But our management makes
it easier to take fast decisions and
make long-term plans, because
you don’t deal with elections. We
are a new club; the others have 100
years of history, massive fanbases,
big media power. It is good to be
competing with them.”
They trail second-placed Besiktas
only on goal difference and, after
Fenerbahce in fourth drew 0-0
yesterday at home to the leaders,
Galatasaray, can cut the gap at the
top to one point. Before a tail-off
over the last month, they were
leading. The battle for fans is less of
a contest; numbers inside their Fatih
Terim Stadium still average around
6,000. That is nothing compared to
the backing their peers command
but they are counting on a new
generation to catch the bug.
“It isn’t easy as they get their
football heritage from their fathers,
uncles and grandfathers,” Erogut
says. “But we are investing in them.
Hoffenheim’s European aspirations
took a late hit after Borussia
Mönchengladbach came from
behind three times to earn a 3-3
draw with a stoppage-time goal
from Matthias Ginter (left).
The visitors looked set to take all
the points and move into the top
six after taking the lead three times
through Benjamini Hubner, Andrej
Kramaric and Florian Grillitsch
– Josip Drmic and Lars Stindl
replying for the hosts. But Ginter
popped up at the far post to turn in
Raffael’s cross and earn a point.
Eintracht Frankfurt kept their
Champions League hopes on
track with a 3-0 win over Mainz.
Kevin-Prince Boateng put the hosts
ahead after six minutes before Luka
Jovic and Ante Rebic wrapped up
the points before half-time, to move
Frankfurt up to fourth.
Hamburg remain seven points
adrift of safety after Hertha Berlin
scored two second-half goals
through Valentino Lazaro and
Salomon Kalou, to win 2-1. Douglas
Santos had given Hamburg the lead
after 25 minutes.
A brace from Ishak Belfodil
helped Werder Bremen to a 3-1
victory at Augsburg to alleviate
their relegation fears.
PA
Spain
Zaza strikes to
keep Valencia
flying high
La Liga
Serie A
Bundesliga
Top eight
Barcelona
Atlético Madrid
Valencia
Real Madrid
Sevilla
Villarreal
Girona
Real Betis
P
28
28
29
28
28
28
28
28
W
22
19
18
17
14
13
12
12
D
L
F
A
6
0 72 13
7
2 48 12
5
6 57 31
6
5 67 30
3 11 36 42
5 10 38 32
7
9 40 36
4 12 46 53
GD
+59
+36
+26
+37
-6
+6
+4
-7
Pts
72
64
59
57
45
44
43
40
Deportivo La Coruña 1 Las Palmas 1, Valencia 3 Alavés 1,
Real Sociedad L Getafe L, Real Betis L Espanyol L
Top nine
Juventus
Napoli
Roma
Lazio
Internazionale
Milan
Sampdoria
Atalanta
Fiorentina
P
28
28
28
28
27
27
27
27
27
W D
24
2
22
4
17
5
16
5
14 10
14
5
13
5
11
8
10
8
L
2
2
6
7
3
8
9
8
9
Udinese L Sassuolo L, Spal L Juventus L
F
67
62
47
66
42
38
47
38
36
A
15
19
23
36
21
30
38
31
32
GD
+52
+43
+24
+30
+21
+8
+9
+7
+4
Pts
74
70
56
53
52
47
44
41
38
Top seven
Bayern Munich
Schalke
Borussia Dortmund
Eintracht Frankfurt
Bayer Leverkusen
RB Leipzig
Hoffenheim
P
26
26
26
27
26
26
27
15
We go to high schools, invite them
here for stadium tours, and we are
in a good way. But we need to wait
six or seven years for these young
kids to be diehard supporters.”
The idea is for players such as
Adebayor, Clichy and the January
loan signing Arda Turan to work
alongside academy-raised products
who will arise under the tuition of
the long-serving manager Abdullah
Avci. The club has no debts and
stresses its financial model –
bolstered by European appearances,
which eventually brought Europa
League group stage football this
season – is sustainable.
It is an attractive package, perhaps
more so given the corruption
scandals that have engulfed other
clubs, but suspicion still prevails in
some quarters. A common charge
is that Istanbul Basaksehir are
favoured by the government, a
perception reinforced when Recep
Tayyip Erdogan, the current Turkish
president and a former mayor of
Istanbul, played in the first match
at the Fatih Terim Stadium. “He’s
only been to one of our games this
season, in the Champions League
qualifiers,” Erogut says. “He goes to
other games as well – Fenerbahce
games, Besiktas games. I know he
likes us but he’s a Fenerbahce fan
from childhood.”
The club would rather help
themselves and Erogut says that,
to continue their rise, foreign
investment will be necessary. “There
is some interest from the far east
but it’s not been completed yet,” he
says. “But maybe we will be the first
club in the country to have this kind
of investment. It would be a good
benchmark for Turkey. We started
like a local team, then we became a
nationally known team, now we’re
becoming an international team and
for the last level we need to become
a global team.”
In November, an Adebayor
hat-trick helped Istanbul Basaksehir
beat Galatasaray 5-1. Anything
close to a repeat could edge their
ambitions closer to reality.
Valencia consolidated their topfour position in La Liga with a 3-1
victory over Alavés. Rodrigo and
Simone Zaza (left) gave Marcelino
García Toral’s side a 2-0 half-time
lead, and though Rubén Sobrino
pulled one back for Alavés early in
the second half, a Victor Laguardia
own goal made the points safe.
At the foot of the table Deportivo
La Coruña and Las Palmas did little
to help their survival chances with
a 1-1 draw at the Estadio Riazor.
Alen Halilovic gave Las Palmas
the lead in the third minute but
Raúl Albentosa equalised midway
through the first half.
Ligue 1
W
21
13
12
13
12
11
10
D
3
7
9
6
8
7
9
L
2
6
5
8
6
8
8
F
65
40
53
38
47
38
46
A
18
30
33
30
33
34
41
GD
+47
+10
+20
+8
+14
+4
+5
Pts
66
46
45
45
44
40
39
Augsburg 1 Werder Bremen 3, Borussia Mönchengladbach 3
Hoffenheim 3, Eintracht Frankfurt 3 Mainz 0, Hamburg 1
Hertha Berlin 2, Wolfsburg L Schalke L
Top eight
PSG
Monaco
Marseille
Lyon
Rennes
Nantes
Nice
Montpellier
P
30
30
29
29
30
29
29
29
W D
L
F
A
26
2
2 93 20
20
6
4 74 32
17
8
4 59 34
15
9
5 59 34
13
6 11 39 36
12
7 10 29 29
12
6 11 39 41
9 14
6 26 23
GD
+73
+42
+25
+25
+3
0
-2
+3
Pts
80
66
59
54
45
43
42
41
Bordeaux 0 Rennes 2, Amiens L Troyes L, Angers L Caen L,
Montpellier L Dijon L, Toulouse L Strasbourg L
•
Football
Sky Bet Championship
RICHARD LEE/BPI/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
16
The Observer
18.03.18
Sunderland fans make for the exits after their side concede the second goal to Preston, with half an hour still to play
Coleman rues familiar
failings as Preston push on
0
SUNDERLAND
2
PRESTON
Maguire 50, Robinson 63
37%
Possession
63%
4
Shots on Target
4
7
Total Attempts
12
Preston remain right in the
thick of a battle for a play-off
place in the Championship
after recording a 2-0 win
that has pushed Sunderland
closer to the drop.
Sean Maguire put Alex
Neil’s team on track with
his seventh goal in as many
matches five minutes after the
break. Then, after Sunderland
defender Jake Clarke-Salter
was sent off, Callum Robinson
headed in Preston’s second in the
63rd minute.
Sunderland, whose fans
booed after witnessing another
positive start come to nothing,
could not find a way back and
relegation to League One
looks on the cards.
Sunderland started
brightly, with teenagers
Joel Asoro and Josh Maja lively
in attack. Ovie Ejaria, on loan
from Liverpool, played a lovely
ball in behind the defence and
there was just enough weight
on it for Asoro to control. His first
touch took him away from goal
but his shot was turned behind
by Chris Maxwell.
At the other end, Tom
Barkhuizen, who caused problems
down the right throughout, was
played in by Robinson, only for goalkeeper Lee Camp to stop his effort.
But Preston soon took control
after the restart when Sunderland’s
defensive weaknesses were exposed
once again. After Lee Cattermole conceded a free-kick deep in his own half,
Paul Gallagher delivered a cross for
Maguire to head in at the back post.
Things soon got even worse.
Clarke-Salter, cautioned in the
first half, was sent off for pulling
back Alan Brown on the hour, just
before Preston doubled their lead.
Barkhuizen’s delivery to the back
post was ideal for Robinson to head
in. The Sunderland fans started to
depart early, while those that stayed
greeted the final whistle with boos.
The Sunderland manager, Chris
Coleman (below), said: “There’s nothing new I can tell you. Same mistakes,
same theme. I keep saying the same
things every week. First 45 minutes
were OK but after that we give away
a ridiculous goal, the kind of goal that
we don’t get from opposition. We
work on set plays but we don’t mark
and you get punished.
“We’re only one win away from
changing it round but you’d write us
off because we keep making mistakes
and we’re not rising to the challenge.
We change formation and personnel
but we don’t seem to be hitting the
mark.”
“I’m very pleased, our main aim was
to come and try to win the game,” said
Neil, whose side are only two points
outside the top six. “The only frustration is that it could and should have
been a bigger winning margin. Both
sets of players deserve credit because
the conditions were so testing but we
PA
played very well.”
Sunderland
Preston
Maxwell, Fisher,
Camp, Matthews, Koné,
Huntington, Davies, Earl■,
O’Shea, Clarke-Salter■,
Pearson, Gallagher
Oviedo, Honeyman (Lua
(Johnson 72), Barkhuizen
Lua 69), Cattermole, Ejaria
(Bodin 86), Browne,
(McNair 76), Asoro, Maja
Robinson (Harrop 86),
(Fletcher 64)
Maguire
Subs not used
Subs not used Clarke,
McManaman, McGeady,
Woods, Moult, Hudson
Robson, Stryjek
Referee Darren Bond Attendance 28,453
2
2
1
2
3
1
Jota 12 59, Adams 48
Cairney 32, Piazon 45
Luongo 45, Wszolek 81
Grot 86
Nuhiu 71 90
Costa 15, Afobe 41 56
Dyer 44
Birmingham ended their run of
seven successive defeats with a 3-0
win over Hull to spark off their bid
to avoid relegation. It was sweet
revenge for the humiliating 6-1
defeat they suffered at the hands
of Hull earlier this season and was
their first win under Garry Monk.
Birmingham were impressive
winners as they chalked up their
best victory of the season, Jota’s
first two goals at St Andrew’s
sandwiching a Che Adams
cross which sailed straight in.
Birmingham, who remain in the
bottom three, could have recorded
an even more clear-cut victory but
for the brilliance of the goalkeeper,
Allan McGregor, who produced a
string of excellent saves.
Slavisa Jokanovic admitted he drew
little satisfaction from his Fulham
side’s success in setting a new club
record of 16 unbeaten league games
after a 2-2 home draw with QPR.
Jokanovic’s side allowed a twogoal lead to slip from their grasp,
blowing the chance to make inroads
on the top two. Tom Cairney
gave Fulham the lead and Lucas
Piazon made it two before QPR’s
Massimo Luongo pulled one back in
first-half added time. Fulham were
then guilty of a succession of errors
in the second half, with Pawel
Wszolek equalising in the 81st
minute. “We cannot be satisfied,”
the Fulham manager said. “I am not
here to fight for records. I am here
to win the games.”
BIRMINGHAM
0
HULL
Withdrawals hit
Giggs’s first squad
Ryan Giggs has lost four players
from his Wales squad for the
China Cup, including the Chelsea
teenager Ethan Ampadu.
Neil Taylor, Tom Lawrence and Joe
Ledley have also dropped out of the
26-man squad Giggs named, while
the Sunderland defender Adam
Matthews has been drafted in.
No reasons were given for the
withdrawal of the quartet but the
17-year-old midfielder Ampadu –
who made his international debut
against France in November – was
forced off during the final minutes
of Chelsea’s 4-2 Uefa Youth League
win at Real Madrid last week.
The bulk of the Wales squad is due
to travel to China tonight, with the
Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale
among those leaving on Monday
after playing this weekend. Wales
will play the hosts China in the first
game of the four-team tournament
in Nanning on Thursday, then
either the Czech Republic or
Uruguay in a third-place game or
PA
final the following Monday.
Fans call for price cap
Liverpool supporters’ groups have
urged club officials, and their
Manchester City counterparts, to
cap away ticket prices at £30 for
next month’s Champions League
quarter-final. Having faced inflated
costs in their group game at Sevilla
and the last-16 tie in Porto, the Spirit
Of Shankly group and Spion Kop
1906 called on both clubs “to do the
right thing … there is an opportunity
here to send a statement on the
value of supporters beyond money.”
Liverpool host City in the first leg on
4 April, with the return fixture taking
PA
place the following Tuesday.
Roundup
At a glance
3
Football
in brief
FULHAM
QPR
LEEDS
SHEFF WED
Paul Heckingbottom could not
hide his frustration after Leeds
underlined their deficiencies in
both boxes in a 2-1 home defeat
by their Yorkshire rivals Sheffield
Wednesday. His side appeared to
be heading for at least a point after
the substitute Jay-Roy Grot nodded
in a late equaliser, only for Atdhe
Nuhiu to score his second goal in
stoppage time to give Wednesday
their first win at Elland Road since
2007. Heckingbottom said: “They’re
both goals we should stop. You’ve
got to be clinical and take your
chances at one end and be ruthless,
tight and disciplined at the other.”
Wednesday’s late victory moves
them up to 17th in the table, eight
points clear of the relegation zone.
WOLVES
BURTON
Wolves’ manager, Nuno Espíríto
Santo, praised the control shown
by his table-topping side following
their 3-1 Championship win against
Burton at Molineux. Wolves took
the lead through Helder Costa
after 15 minutes and doubled their
advantage when Benik Afobe struck
in the 41st minute. Lloyd Dyer
reduced the arrears on the stroke of
half-time before Afobe struck again
in the 56th minute. Wolves are now
six points clear of second-placed
Cardiff and Nuno said: “It was a
good performance that showed
control and character. We know that
playing well takes you to victory but
the consistency from the team that
we asked for was there. This is the
most important part of it.”
Aston Villa’s push for automatic
promotion suffered a blow with a
1-0 loss at Bolton. Adam Le Fondre’s
early goal condemned Villa to a
second successive defeat.
Middlesbrough cling on to sixth
place after a 1-1 draw at 10-man
Brentford. Adama Traoré opened
the scoring before Lewis Macleod’s
equaliser for Brentford, who had
Romaine Sawyers sent off late on.
Bristol City closed the gap
on the top six with a 1-0 win
over Ipswich. Milan Djuric scored
the only goal of the game.
Sheffield United lost ground
after a 0-0 draw with Nottingham
Forest at Bramall Lane.
Millwall’s fine run continued. Their
2-0 win over Barnsley at Oakwell
was their sixth win in seven games.
Reading’s assistant manager,
Andries Ulderink, admitted his side
are in a relegation battle after the
3-2 defeat at Norwich.
•
The Observer
18.03.18
Sport
Racing
Native puts Tizzard
in the swing of things
Chris Cook
Henstridge
A day after his gallant performance in
winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup,
Native River made what is likely to be
his last public appearance for some
time, mixing with an adoring south
Somerset crowd in Henstridge, a village a few miles from his stable. Over
100 people showed up despite freezing temperatures and snow to cheer
the chestnut as he was paraded, along
with the trophy he won, outside the
Virginia Ash pub where celebrations
had continued into the small hours.
Colin Tizzard, Native River’s trainer,
was delighted by how well his horse
had taken Friday’s race, just his second outing of this season. But Tizzard
is not tempted to rush him back to
the track for one of the end-of-term
prizes at Aintree or Punchestown
and will instead contemplate another
light campaign aimed at next year’s
Gold Cup.
“Everything for the rest of his life
is going to be geared around the Gold
Cup, isn’t it?” the trainer said. “Not
trying to win a King George or anything like that, I don’t think that’d
suit him. Whether he has two runs,
three runs, four runs next year, I don’t
know. I’d have thought we could race
him more.
“Last year [when Native River was
third] he didn’t come up the hill,
because we’d raced him plenty. This
year he had that energy left in him.
That’s probably the most significant
thing over the season, he hasn’t been
raced that much.
“Bringing the horse up here, he’s
enjoying it as much as we are. I think
Native River with his trainer Colin
Tizzard (right) outside their local pub,
the Virginia Ash, yesterday MARK KERTON/PA
Chris Cook’s tips
CARLISLE 2.05 Hardrock Davis 2.35 Bollin Ace
3.10 Point Of Principle 3.40 Firth Of The Clyde (nb)
4.15 The New Pharaoh (nap) 4.50 Cultram Abbey
FFOS LAS 2.15 Jack Bear 2.45 Garran City
3.20 Alf ‘N’ Dor 3.50 Sergeant Brody 4.25 Steel Native
5.00 Ceann Sibheal 5.30 Al Dancer
Winter Paralympics
Rise into
top 10 gives
Whitley big
ambition
for Beijing
James Whitley finished 10th in
the slalom and his Great Britain
team-mate Scott Meenagh came
home 14th in the cross-country
skiing on the eighth and
penultimate day of the Winter
Paralympics in South Korea.
Whitley was 11th after his
first run but the 20-year-old
edged into the top 10 with his
second, recording a combined
time of 1min and 44.41sec. It was
Whitley’s second Paralympics and,
after competing in five events in
Pyeongchang with two 10th-placed
finishes, two 11th placings and
one of 22nd, he will head to the
2022 Beijing Winter Games with
optimism.
He said: “I’m really pleased. I
would have loved to have gone a
bit deeper in the top 10 but overall
I am really happy to come out and
have finished all five races and had
some good results in the process,
so the hard work has paid off. I
think these Games show where I
can improve and what I need to do
going forward in training looking
ahead to Beijing 2022.”
Meenagh signed off in South
Korea with a 14th-placed finish in
the 7.5km sitting cross-country –
his sixth event in Pyeongchang. His
time of 25min 17.5sec in the crosscountry was almost three minutes
behind gold medal winner Sin Euihyun of South Korea, but former
soldier Meenagh hopes to be able to
close that gap in the coming years.
James Whitley
on the slalom
course and fellow
Briton Scott
Meenagh (right)
during the crosscountry skiing
in Pyeongchang
yesterday
LINTAO/GETTY IMAGES;
ADAM DAY/PA
Medals table
1 United States
2 Neutral
3 Canada
4 Germany
5 Ukraine
6 Slovakia
7 France
8 Belarus
9 Japan
10 Netherlands

12
8
8
6
6
6
5
4
3
3

15
10
1
8
7
3
8
4
3
3

8
6
15
2
8
1
5
4
3
1

35
24
24
16
21
10
18
12
9
7
21 Great Britain
0
4
1
5
The 28-year-old said: “I’m going
to endeavour over the next few
years to make sure I am as close to
the best guys as possible in every
single race. I am seeing what it takes
to be at the top of this sport and I
am inspired for life now and not
going anywhere until I have given
an absolute account of myself and I
am on that podium.”
Great Britain head into the final
day of competition having won five
medals in Pyeongchang, with four
PA
silver and one bronze.
he is anyway. It’s lovely so many people have turned up.”
Tizzard recalled how downbeat
he had felt on Gold Cup morning, at
which point Irish raiders had dominated the Festival and his own
runners had failed to figure. “It’s not
easy. People were asking me what
English racing can do to keep up.
It’s swings and roundabouts, isn’t
it? Yesterday it was mostly English
winners.”
17
On that subject, there was a hurt
response from the Irish Turf Club to
the news on Friday that British racing
officials want a measure of regulatory change in Ireland to ensure a
level playing field between the two
countries. “I’m very surprised,” said
Denis Egan, the Turf Club chief executive, adding that no concerns had
been raised with him while he was in
Cheltenham last week.
In particular, Egan gave short shrift
to the suggestion there might be any
deficiency in Ireland’s doping control programme. “Last year, we tested
over 4,000 horses at the racecourse,
in point-to-points and out of competition,” Egan said. He added that, in
common with the British Horseracing
Authority, it was his organisation’s
intention to increase out-of-competition testing, which accounted for
10% of tests taken last year.
Regal Flow was an emphatic winner of yesterday’s Midlands Grand
National at Uttoxeter. Bob Buckler’s
horse was making an unusually quick
return to the track, having also won at
Taunton on Monday.
•
18
The Observer
18.03.18
Cricket
England hope demotion
does not diminish Broad
Vic Marks
It was a decade ago in Wellington
that Jimmy Anderson and Stuart
Broad first appeared together in a
Test match. After a surprising defeat
at Hamilton in the opening Test on
that 2008 tour the captain, Michael
Vaughan, and coach, Peter Moores,
decided to drop Matthew Hoggard
and Steve Harmison. The next generation, personified by Anderson and
Broad, was given its head and took its
chance well enough. England won the
next two Tests – though it was actually Ryan Sidebottom who took most
of the wickets.
In Auckland this week Anderson
and Broad are still going while
Sidebottom contemplates his new
coaching position at Surrey. But are
they still going strong? On the evidence of the Ashes series it is the
younger man who may be creaking.
Anderson was England’s best bowler
against Australia; meanwhile Broad,
four years the junior partner, strove
hard and struggled, taking 11 wickets in the series at 47 apiece.
The indications are that Joe Root is
planning appropriately. Expect Broad
to be denied the new ball for the first
time in years in Auckland on Thursday
when England play in the first floodlit Test match on New Zealand soil.
This is not such a dramatic handing
over of the baton as the dropping of
Harmison and Hoggard 10 years ago
but it is a reminder that a wonderful partnership is not going to last
forever.
Root’s plans make sense. He needs
the next generation of bowlers to
Rugby league
Castleford and
Gale gearing
up for another
Grand Final tilt
Aaron Bower
Luke Gale believes Castleford’s run of
games that begins with today’s visit of
Wigan will illustrate just how capable last season’s Grand Finalists are of
emulating that achievement.
Castleford welcome Wigan in one
start but also at other times through
the innings. So an unhelpful pattern
emerged. For an hour England’s most
experienced duo were in harness and
they would, at least, impose pressure
on the batsmen; in the second hour
with the relative novices together that
pressure would reduce significantly. It
might be beneficial to mix the pairings
– and the generations – up.
Moreover Broad might well operate better as a mean first-change
option. He will not feel so obliged to
strain for pace, which seldom helps
him, and he delights in proving people wrong. He says he is trying to
rediscover his away-swinger, a good
idea but a difficult one to fulfil.
Recently against left-handers Broad
has bowled mostly from around the
wicket and has attempted to angle
the ball towards the slip cordon;
against right-handers with his action
Root leads by example
Results
Rugby union
NATWEST SIX NATIONS
England 15 Ireland 24; Italy 27 Scotland 29;
Wales 14 France 13. Table on page 2
GREENE KING IPA CHAMPIONSHIP
Doncaster 12 Richmond 22; Hartpury RFC 20
Cornish Pirates 45; Rotherham Titans 3 Bristol 24.
NATIONAL LEAGUE ONE
Caldy 12 Coventry 55; Cambridge 15 Darlington Mowden
Park 25; Plymouth Albion 17 Bishop’s Stortford 10.
PRINCIPALITY WELSH PREMIERSHIP
Bargoed P RGC 1404 P; Carmarthen Quins 10 Cardiff 34;
Llandovery 17 Ebbw Vale 6; Merthyr 44 Llanelli 43.
BT SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP
Glasgow Hawks 0 Boroughmuir 27; Hawick 38 Melrose 3;
Marr 27 Stirling County 17.
Today (3pm unless stated)
ANGLO-WELSH CUP FINAL
Bath v Exeter
GREENE KING IPA CHAMPIONSHIP
Nottingham v Bedford;
Yorkshire Carnegie v Ealing Trailfinders.
NATWEST WOMEN’S SIX NATIONS
Italy Women v Scotland Women (2pm)
BT SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP
Heriot’s Rugby Club v Currie; Watsonians v Ayr.
Rugby league
LADBROKES CHALLENGE CUP FOURTH ROUND
Normanton Knights 8 Rochdale 20
BETFRED SUPER LEAGUE
P W D L
F
A PD Pts
St Helens
6 5 0 1 177
72 +105 10
Wigan
5 4 0 1 136
72 +64 8
Wakefield
5 4 0 1
98
66 +32 8
Leeds
5 4 0 1
90
82
+8 8
Castleford
4 3 0 1
69
84 -15 6
Widnes
6 2 0 4 117 109
+8 4
Hull K R
6 2 0 4 106 112
-6 4
Hull
6 2 0 4 111 120
-9 4
Warrington
6 2 0 4
76 107 -31 4
Salford
6 2 0 4
94 130 -36 4
Huddersfield
6 2 0 4
82 146 -64 4
Catalans Dragons
5 1 0 4
60 116 -56 2
Catalans Dragons L Warrington L; Wakefield L Widnes L.
NATIONAL CONFERENCE PREMIER DIVISION
Hunslet Club Parkside 14 Thatto Heath 10; Siddal 16
Rochdale Mayfield 14; Wath Brow Hornets 28 Rochdale
Mayfield 14; Wigan St Patricks 16 Egremont Rangers 44.
Today (3pm unless stated)
LADBROKES CHALLENGE CUP FOURTH ROUND
Barrow v Sheffield; Batley v Leigh; Coventry v Pilkington
Recs; Halifax v Oldham; Hunslet v Bradford; North Wales
Crusaders v Feathers (2.30pm); Whitehaven v Dewsbury;
Workington v London Broncos; York v Swinton.
BETFRED SUPER LEAGUE
Castleford v Wigan (3.30pm)
Cricket
TOUR MATCH (second day of two)
Hamilton New Zealand XI drew with England.
New Zealand 287-13 (MJ Guptill 73)
England 353-9 (JE Root 115)
STU FORSTER/GETTY IMAGES
End of new-ball
partnership with
Anderson could
give more depth
to Test attack
start taking more responsibility. If
Chris Woakes is fit in Auckland, he
will probably share the new, pink ball
with Anderson while Broad, his pride
slightly dented, waits in the wings
eager to be given an early bowl. This
should work on several levels.
Strategically England must plan
ahead and they must abandon any
lingering thoughts of a hierarchical
approach to the possession of the
new ball. This should rarely be a consideration in any team but it often is.
Admittedly for West Indies it worked
quite well in the 80s since Joel Garner
felt obliged to bowl faster when he
was given the new ball alongside
Malcolm Marshall.
Tactically it is also a good idea to
have Broad at first change. In the
Ashes Anderson and Broad shared
the new ball, which meant they often
bowled in tandem not only at the
ever more open-chested the ball has
tended to slant in all the time.
England should be stronger than
at Sydney in January when Woakes
was injured and Ben Stokes unavailable. The presence of Stokes gives the
batting much more depth, assuming
that England play the extra batsman
on the basis that runs are harder to
come by in pink-ball Test matches.
Some of the batsmen are battling to
stay in the team. By his own admission Mark Stoneman has not done
enough to nail down a place at the top
of the order while James Vince cannot
exasperate for much longer. Looking
the best batsman in the side for half
an hour may have helped him keep
his place in Australia but now only
runs count. If Stokes is unable to bowl
much at all in Auckland it is possible
Vince will have to give up his place to
Craig Overton anyway.
After almost five months on the
road England face a tough task.
The Kiwis will seize their chance if
England’s multi-format players are
too jaded or their Test specialists too
rusty. Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor
and Trent Boult are three obvious
matchwinners but there are plenty of
highly competitive cricketers alongside them.
Winter Paralympics
Joe Root showed his team-mates
the way as England finished their
warm-up for Thursday’s first Test
with some heartening runs. The
captain dropped himself down to
of the standout fixtures of the weekend. A trip to face the side who beat
them in the Old Trafford showpiece, Leeds, follows next Friday,
and another away game at in-form
Wakefield will follow.
The Castleford scrum-half says:
“I’m excited to see where we are and
Sunday will show us exactly where
we’re at. We’re looking forward to
it. These are the games you want to
be playing in and you’ll get a better
reflection of where Castleford are at
when we get out of this run of games.”
Daryl Powell’s side started the season with a 46-6 defeat at St Helens
but have won their three games since.
They are yet to replicate the scintillating style of play that won them so
many admirers in 2017 but Gale says
No 6 but made 115 out of 353 for
nine on the final day of the second
tour match against a New Zealand
XI at Seddon Park in Hamilton. Mark
Stoneman made 48, Dawid Malan hit
45, and of the top-order batsmen
only James Vince, with five, failed.
Ben Stokes made 27 and was also
able to bowl gently on the outfield as
PA
he comes back from injury.
that this is not a concern internally.
“Everyone expects you to be the same
team as last season but it just doesn’t
work like that. We learned more in the
Grand Final than we did in the previous 20 games last year. We’re happy to
be building with three wins from our
last three and, while we might not be
all-singing and all-dancing yet, it’s a
case of just knocking up wins at this
time of the year.”
Gale earned plaudits aplenty last
year, being named the man of steel,
and while he says handling the
change in perception of Castleford as
a club is a challenge, he is unmoved
by any extra spotlight which may be
on his own game.
“What’s difficult is the belief now
that everyone expects you to win by 60
points – if you win by 20, Castleford
are assumed to have played poorly,”
he says.
“Nobody is ever completely happy;
I guess that’s just sport. But we
know these next few weeks we’ve
a great opportunity to show what
we’re about.”
Luke Gale, last year’s man of steel, is
excited ‘to see where Castleford are at’
SKIING
Men: Slalom, Visually Impaired: 1 G Bertagnolli 1:36,12;
2 J Krako (Svk) 1:37.54; 3 V Redkozubov (NPA) 1:38.02.
Slalom, Standing: 1 A Hall (NZ) 1:36.11;
2 A Bauchet (Fr) 1:36.50; 3 J Stanton (US) 1:37.37.
Slalom, Sitting: 1 D Sokolovic (Cro) 1:39.82;
2 T Walker (US) 1:40.55; 3 F Francois (Fr) 1:42.03.
CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING
Men: 10km Classic, Visually Impaired: 1 B McKeever (Can)
23.17.80; 2 J Adicoff (US) 24:31.30; 3 Y Holub (Blr)
24.37.10.
10km Classic, Standing: 1 Y Nitta (Jpn) 24:06.80; 2 G
Vovchynskyi (Ukr) 24:15.50; 3 M Arendz (Can) 24:27.10.
7.5km, Sitting: 1 Sin Eu Hyun (Kor) 22:28.40;
2 D Cnossen (US) 22:33.70; 3 M Yarovyi (Ukr) 22:39.90.
Women: 7.5km Classic, Visually Impaired:
1 S Sakhanenka (Blr) 22:19.30; 2 M Lysova (NPA) 22:55.60;
3 C Edlinger (Aut) 23:22.90.
7.5km Classic, Standing: 1 N Wilkie (Can) 22.12.20; 2 E
Rumyantseva (NPA) 22:13.80; 3 E Young (Can) 22:13.80.
5km, Sitting: 1 O Masters (US) 16:42.00;
2 A Eskau (Ger) 16:53.50; 3 M Zainullina (NPA) 17:25.40.
ICE HOCKEY
Mixed Bronze Medal Game: South Korea 1 Italy 0.
WHEELCHAIR CURLING
Mixed Gold Medal Game: China 6 Norway 5
Mixed Bronze Medal Game: South Korea 3 Canada 5
Tennis
ATP & WTA BNP PARIBAS OPEN (Indian Wells, USA)
Women: Semi-finals: D Kasatkina (Rus) bt V Williams (US)
4-6 6-4 7-5; N Osaka (Jpn) bt S Halep (Rom) 6-3 6-0.
Golf
BANK OF HOPE FOUNDERS CUP (Phoenix, Arizona, USA)
Second round (US unless stated, par 72): 135 C Clanton 68
67. 136 M Uribe (Col) 68 68; M Alex 70 66; A Jutanugarn
(Tha) 68 68; K Icher (Fr) 67 69. 137 J Korda 69 68;
M Martin 71 66. 138 M Wie 70 68; Kyung Kim (Kor) 70 68;
B Lincicome 72 66; A Lewis 71 67; Hee Young Park (Kor) 68
70. 139 C Inglis 71 68; Chella Choi (Kor) 67 72; J Stoelting
70 69; Jin Young Ko (Kor) 70 69; Inbee Park (Kor) 68 71;
Sung Hyun Park (Kor) 69 70. 140 M-A Leblanc (Fr) 69 71;
Eun-Hee Ji (Kor) 71 69; Haeji Kang (Kor) 71 69;
In Gee Chun (Kor) 71 69; Seon Woo Bae (Kor) 70 70;
J Song 72 68; L Duncan 71 69; L Weaver (a) 72 68;
D Holmqvist (Swe) 69 71; Bronte Law (Eng) 71 69.
•
Sport
Formula One
Daniel Ricciardo believes he can
beat Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian
Vettel ‘with the right material’
Ricciardo intent
on title charge
and nothing else
will do, he tells
Giles Richards
Always suffused with conjecture and
supposition, Formula One’s phoney
war will end with the firing of engines
in earnest at the Australian Grand
Prix on Sunday. Expectations are it
will herald another battle between
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.
Daniel Ricciardo, however, has other
ideas – this is a fight the local boy desperately wants to join.
The Australian has a point to prove
and a combative hunger coupled with
confidence he is reaching his peak. If
Red Bull can give him the competitive car he desires, Ricciardo will be
gunning for both world champions.
Hamilton and Vettel are the headline acts after their close scrap last
season and both look to be in shape
to repeat the struggle. Mercedes are
ominously strong and Ferrari have
carried their well-balanced car into
2018. But Red Bull, out of contention last season, have taken a major
step. Testing suggested they may even
have the edge on the Scuderia and
Ricciardo is looking to enter a title
contest for the first time.
Given the chance to do so, the
decisive and sometimes breathtaking overtaker is unequivocal his
approach on track will stand him in
good stead. “In the end you have to
just pull the trigger,” he says. “Trust
the car, trust the brakes, just go. It is
a calculated but fearless approach – I
am going to try and if it doesn’t work,
it doesn’t work. I will be happier if I
Cricket
Pietersen not shy
but definitely retiring
Kevin Pietersen has announced
his retirement from cricket at the
age of 37. A tweet he sent on Friday
simply read: “Boots Up! Thank you”
suggesting that his stint playing
for the Quetta Gladiators in the
Pakistan Super League would be his
last in the game and he confirmed
this yesterday.
The former England batsman
(below, after the 2005 Ashes win)
helped the Gladiators qualify from
the group stages in the United Arab
Emirates but Pietersen has opted
not to play in the final rounds in
Pakistan, citing family reasons.
In his reply to the reaction to
19
PABLO MORANO/QUALITY SPORT IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES
‘In a fight
I have the
tools to win’
crash by trying than not trying and
running around behind the same guy
for 70 laps.”
It is an attitude Ricciardo has displayed before, proving he has no fear
of Hamilton or Vettel. His attempted
pass on the German at Mexico in 2016
was extraordinary and he was relentless in not giving up when the two
fought at China last year. He was ruthless passing Hamilton at Hungary
in 2014. Fernando Alonso fell to his
decisive style in the same race.
Last season at Baku, a gutsy and
audacious late-braking manoeuvre
on the Williams of Lance Stroll and
Felipe Massa and the Renault of Nico
Hülkenberg saw him move up three
places and was named overtake of
the year. It was matched, however, by
a similar lunge on the anchors from
eight-tenths back at Monza to claim
Kimi Räikkönen’s scalp at turn one.
That he has the chops is not in
doubt and he has consequently
proved to be one of the most entertaining drivers. Yet Ricciardo has yet
to enjoy a shot at the title.
Now 28, he joined Red Bull in
2014, the start of the turbo-hybrid
era and Mercedes dominance. With
their Renault engine lacking the
power of the Mercedes, Red Bull
have been unable to put themselves
in contention.
It does not sit well with Ricciardo.
The image may be that of the beaming Aussie but behind the grin there
is steel, driven by ambition. “I still
want to fight for that title,” he says.
“Wanting it is one thing but just being
in the fight is the minimum I would
ask.”
The team principal, Christian
Horner, recognises that desire and
that his driver is ready. “He is in
that period of his career where he
is in the purple sector,” Horner said.
“Hopefully we can provide the car to
realise his potential.”
Now in his eighth season in F1,
The Observer
18.03.18
New this season…
Halo is here
The Halo cockpit
protection device
has divided opinion
but the safety
benefits have been
made clear. There is
no denying it does
not improve the look of the cars
but is less intrusive the better it is
incorporated into the livery. By midseason it may well be an accepted
addition to the F1 aesthetic.
New rubber role
Given the task of providing softer,
more durable rubber to increase
in-race strategy options and
decrease one-stop races, Pirelli
brings seven slick compounds
to the grid in 2018. Ranging from
the new superhard to the new
hypersoft, they are a step softer
than last year’s equivalents and
look promising – the hypersoft
estimated to be a full second a lap
quicker than the ultrasoft.
‘In the end you
have to just pull
the trigger. Trust
the car, trust the
brakes, just go’
Ricciardo, too, believes his time has
come. “I am in a window now where
I still feel young enough to have the
fearless approach, but old enough
in terms of experience so that over a
championship if I had the car, I could
win when I could and take points
when I could. In a fight I believe I have
the tools to win. I believe I can get it
done with the right material.”
Should Red Bull deliver, he will
also have to contend with the formidable talent of his team-mate
Max Verstappen, who will offer as
stern a challenge as Hamilton and
Vettel. Horner says they have a genuine friendship but Ricciardo knows
he can give no quarter to the young
Friday’s message, Pietersen wrote
on Instagram: “Someone just
tweeted to tell me that I scored
30,000+ runs including 152 fifties
and 68 hundreds in my pro career …
Four Ashes wins. Home and away!
T20 WC win. Beaten India in India.
… Thank you for all the quite lovely
msgs! I loved entertaining you all!
Ciao, cricket! I love this game!”
Pietersen had spent the last
four years playing in Twenty20
competitions around the world,
after his England career came to an
end following the 5-0 defeat in the
PA
2013-14 Ashes.
Dutchman. After Verstappen put him
out in Budapest last year he was furious. “I wanted to wait until Max came
round so I could give him the bird,” he
says. “I wanted to do more. I wanted
to throw my helmet at him.”
It is indicative of a side of Ricciardo
overshadowed by the boyish enthusiasm on show when drinking
champagne from his boot on the
podium. But he believes there is no
sense he can be a pushover and that
his contemporaries recognise this.
“The reality is it was always in me,”
he says. “The intensity and the fight I
have shown was always in me.”
When the new season begins, nothing would be better than if Melbourne
raises the curtain on a three-team title
fight. Hamilton, Vettel and Verstappen
would revel in it and Ricciardo, who
has been waiting some time for his
chance to pull the trigger in that battle, has all three in his sights.
“I know what I can do in the car,”
he says, still beaming with optimism.
“And even if there is a 10% possibility
then I am going to do it.”
Cycling
Cavendish crashes
in Milan-San Remo
Mark Cavendish, who has had a run
of bad crashes this season, suffered
a spectacular one in the Milan-San
Remo race, somersaulting and
landing on his back after hitting a
traffic divider.
The Dimension Data rider saw
the obstacle too late, when those
ahead of him swerved round it,
with about 10km of the one-day
Engine pressure
With 21 races, the need for
reliability is greater than ever,
doubly so given there are now
only three engines to use, one
fewer. Having a solid power unit
is going to be crucial, as is the
moment teams choose to replace
one for development upgrades.
Penalties will be a constant threat
in balancing the fine line between
performance and longevity.
Clear penalties
Those penalties,
previously
requiring arcane
calculations to
discern how
many grid places
would be lost for
replacing components, have been
simplified. Any driver receiving a
penalty of 15 places or more will
start from the back. Should more
than one driver do so they will be
placed at the back in the order in
which the penalties were incurred.
Returning races
The two additions to the calendar
include a welcome return for the
French GP, at Paul Ricard in June.
France has not hosted a GP since
2008 at Magny-Cours and the
country, with a rich racing heritage,
is celebrating its return. Germany,
too, is back, with Hockenheim the
Giles Richards
host in July.
race to go. The incident follows
crashes that forced him out of the
Abu Dhabi Tour in February and
Tirreno-Adriatico this month, when
he suffered a broken rib. His team
tweeted last night that they were
assessing his injuries.
Vincenzo Nibali timed his move
to perfection to win the race. The
2014 Tour de France champion
pulled away on the ascent of the
Poggio, 7km from the finish. The
Bahrain-Merida rider looked back
only in the final few metres when a
group of sprinters were closing in
Reuters
on the Italian.
•
20
The Observer
18.03.18
Football
Results
Full
Time
Premier League
31
6
4
6 23 26
3
5
Watford
Watfo
31
6
4
5 22 26
4
2 10 17 29
-16 36 LWWLLL
Stanislass strikes
late to pile
le misery
on Pardew,
ew, while
Hodgson
n secures a
lifeline for
or Palace
Brighton
Bright
30
6
6
3 21 21
2
4
9
7 19
-12 34 WDWWLL
Newcastle
Newca
30
5
4
6 15 15
3
4
8 15 25
-10 32 DWDLWW
Swansea
Swans
30
6
2
7 15 19
2
5
8 10 23
-17 31 DWLWDD
Huddersfield
Hudde
31
5
5
6 15 22
3
2 10 10 30
-27 31 LWWLDD
Crystal Palace
Crysta
31
4
5
6 18 23
3
4
9 12 25
-18 30 DLLLLL
West Ham
H
30
5
4
5 16 20
2
5
9 20 37
-21 30 LWLLLL
Southampton
Southa
30
3
7
6 16 21
2
6
6 13 23
-15 28 WLDDLL
Stoke
31
5
4
7 17 25
1
5
9 12 33
-29 27 DLDDDL
West Brom
B
31
2
7
6 16 24
1
4 11
P
W
HOME
D L F
Sky Bet Championship
A
W
AWAY
D L F
A
GD Pts Form
Manchester City
30 14
1
0 51 10 12
2
1 34 10 +65 81 WDWWWW
Manchester Utd
30 12
2
1 33
7
8
3
4 25 16 +35 65 WLWWWW
Liverpool
31 10
6
0 38 10
8
3
4 35 24 +39 63 WWWLLW
Tottenham
30 10
4
1 31
9
8
3
4 28 16 +34 61 DWWWWW
Chelsea
30 10
2
3 26 11
7
3
5 26 16 +25 56 LWLLWW
Arsenal
30 11
2
2 39 17
3
4
8 16 24 +14 48 WLLLWW
Burnley
Burnle
30
6
4
5 12 12
5
6
4 15 14
Leicester
Leices
30
6
5
4 21 17
4
5
6 24 26
+2 40 DLDDWW
Everton
Everto
31
9
2
4 25 18
2
5
9 12 32
-13 40 LWLLWW
Bournemouth
Bourn
7 14 23
-12 36 WLDDLL
8 25
+1 43 DLDWWW
-25 20 LLLLLL
Bournemouth (0) 2 West Brom
(0) 1
Ibe 77
Rodriguez 49
Stanislas 89
Att 10,242. Ref Graham Scott (Oxfordshire).
The facts
Premier League
Bournemouth have now
picked up a league-high 16
points from losing positions –
exposing West Brom’s lack of
staying power once again. The
Baggies have lost a leaguehigh 24 points from leading
positions – the most they
have ever given away in a
single Premier League
campaign.
Palace’s Luka
Milivojevic has scored
more penalties than any
other Premier League player
this season (6). Only Andrew
Johnson, with 11, has scored
more in a single Premier
League season for the club.
Opponents Huddersfield, who
The week
ahead
Gareth Bale
will feature
for Wales in
the China Cup
on Thursday
Today
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 Man City (2pm)
FA Women’s Super League Two
Watford v Sheffield (3pm)
didn’t record their first
shot of the game until
the 63rd minute, have
now failed to score in a
league-high 17 different
league games this season.
Since 2008-09, Stoke have
had 14 red cards in Premier
League home games – only
Manchester City (15) have
had more in that time.
Charlie Adam became
the first player to be
sent off for a foul on
Wayne Rooney (pictured)
in the league since Sam Sodje
for Reading in December 2006.
Everton’s win was just their
second on the road in the
league this season – ending
a run of five straight defeats
away from home.
Sky Bet League Two
Crewe v Forest Green; Morecambe v Colchester;
Port Vale v Exeter
Vanarama National League
Solihull Moors v Bromley
Ladbrokes Scottish Championship
Dundee Utd v Queen of the South
Ladbrokes Scottish League One
Airdrieonians v Alloa; Albion v Ayr
Ladbrokes Scottish League Two
Edinburgh City v Clyde; Elgin v Stirling;
Stenhousemuir v Cowdenbeath
Women’s Champions League
Quarter-finals: First leg Manchester City v
Linköping (7pm); Montpellier v Chelsea
Wednesday (7.45pm unless stated)
International Match
Liechtenstein v Andorra (5pm)
Sky Bet League One
Walsall v Wigan
Sky Bet League Two
Crawley Town v Wycombe
Vanarama National League
Barrow v Hartlepool BT Sport 1; Maidstone Utd v
Macclesfield
Thursday
Sky Bet League One
Doncaster v Bradford (7.45pm) Sky Sports
Football
ESFA Under-18 Colleges Trophy
Final Newcastle-under-Lyme College v
St Charles Sixth Form College (1pm) FreeSports
China Cup
China v Wales (11.35am) BBC red button,
BBC One Wales
International Matches
Algeria v Tanzania (5pm); Denmark v Panama
(7pm); Faroe Islands v Latvia (7pm); Malta v
Luxembourg (5pm); Slovakia v UAE (9.30am);
South Africa v Angola (1pm)
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying
Group One Greece v San Marino (3pm)
Group Five Germany v Israel (6pm); Kosovo v
Azerbaijan (6pm)
Group Six Hungary v Cyprus (7pm)
Women’s Champions League
Quarter-finals: First leg Lyon v Barcelona
(5.45pm); Wolfsburg v Slavia Prague
Tuesday (7.45pm unless stated)
Friday (7.45pm unless stated)
Tomorrow
Sky Bet League One
Northampton v Shrewsbury; Rochdale v
Fleetwood Town
International Matches
Argentina v Italy; Austria v Slovenia; Bulgaria v
Bosnia-Herzegovina (4pm); Cyprus v Montenegro
Liverpool’s Mohamed
Salah (pictured) has now
scored 36 goals in all
competitions – the most
for a player in a debut
season in the club’s history.
His goals against Watford took
him past Fernando Torres’s
record of 33, set in 2007-08.
FA Cup
 Tottenham’s Christian
Eriksen has now had a hand in
13 goals in 10 games against
Swansea in all competitions
(8 goals, 5 assists) – more
than he has against any
other opponent. Meanwhile,
56% of the home goals
Swansea have conceded
in 2018 have been against
Tottenham (5/9).
(4pm); Egypt v Portugal; France v Colombia
(8pm); Germany v Spain BT Sport 3; Greece v
Switzerland (8pm); Japan v Mali (12.20pm);
Holland v England ITV; Norway v Australia
(5pm); Poland v Nigeria; Portugal v Egypt;
Russia v Brazil (4pm); Scotland v Costa Rica
Sky Sports Football; Serbia v Morocco (7.30pm);
Turkey v Republic of Ireland (5.30pm)
European U-21 Championship Qualifying
Group One Czech Rep v Croatia 3pm)
Group Two Albania v Slovakia (4.20pm)
Group Three Georgia v Faroe Islands (3pm);
Lithuania v Finland (4pm)
Group Four Andorra v Scotland (5pm)
Group Six Turkey v Sweden (1pm)
Group Seven Gibraltar v Serbia (7pm);
Macedonia v Russia (1pm)
Group Eight Bosnia-Herzegovina v Wales (2pm);
Portugal v Liechtenstein (5.45pm)
Group Nine Kazakhstan v France (1pm);
Luxembourg v Montenegro (5.30pm)
Under-18 Centenary Shield
England v Scotland (7pm) FreeSports
Saturday (3pm unless stated)
International Matches
Armenia v Estonia (2pm); Canada v New Zealand;
Georgia v Lithunia; Israel v Romania (6.30pm);
Kosovo v Madagascar (6pm); Mexico v Iceland
(2.30am); Northern Ireland v South Korea (2pm)
FreeSports; Sweden v Chile (5pm)
Under-21 International
England v Romania (5.15pm) BT Sport 2
Sky Bet League One
Bradford v Gillingham; Bury v Wigan; Charlton v
Plymouth; Doncaster v Blackburn; Fleetwood
Town v Northampton; MK Dons v Blackpool;
Oldham P Walsall P; Peterborough v Bristol
Rovers; Scunthorpe v Rochdale; Shrewsbury v
AFC Wimbledon; Southend v Rotherham
Sky Bet League Two
Accrington Stanley v Yeovil; Carlisle v Cambridge
Utd; Coventry v Grimsby; Crawley Town v
Cheltenham; Exeter v Swindon; Forest Green v
Mansfield; Luton v Barnet (5.15pm) Sky Sports
Football; Morecambe v Lincoln City; Newport
County v Crewe; Stevenage v Colchester;
Wycombe v Port Vale
Vanarama National League
Aldershot v Boreham Wood; Barrow v Dover;
Huddersfield
(0) 0
Crystal Palace
(1) 2
Tomkins 23
Milivojevic 68pen
Att 23,918. Ref Mike Dean (Wirral).
Liverpool
(2) 5 Watford
(0) x
Salah 4 43 77 85
Firmino 49
Att 53,287. Ref Anthony Taylor (Cheshire).
Stoke
(0) 1 Everton
(0) 2
Choupo-Moting 77
Tosun 69 84
Att 30,022. Ref Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).
LEADING GOALSCORERS
28 Salah (Liverpool). 24 Kane (Tottenham).
21 Agüero (Man City). 15 Sterling (Man City).
14 Lukaku (Man Utd); Vardy (Leicester).
Emirates FA Cup
Quarter-finals
Manchester Utd (-) L
Brighton
(-) L
Ref Andre Marriner (Birmingham).
Swansea
(0) 0
Tottenham
Eriksen 11 62
Lamela 45
Ref Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).
(2) 3
Dag & Red v AFC Fylde; Ebbsfleet United v
Maidenhead Utd; FC Halifax v Solihull Moors;
Hartlepool v Bromley; Leyton Orient v Woking;
Macclesfield P Gateshead P; Sutton Utd v
Chester FC; Torquay v Guiseley; Tranmere v
Eastleigh (12.15pm) BT Sport 1; Wrexham v
Maidstone Utd
Ladbrokes Scottish Championship
Dundee Utd v Dunfermline; Morton v Brechin;
Queen of the South v Livingston; St Mirren v
Falkirk
Ladbrokes Scottish League One
Airdrieonians v Raith; Albion v Alloa; Arbroath
v Stranraer; Ayr v Queen’s Park; Forfar v
East Fife
Ladbrokes Scottish League Two
Berwick v Edinburgh City; Clyde v Montrose;
Peterhead v Annan Athletic; Stenhousemuir v
Elgin; Stirling v Cowdenbeath
Irn-Bru Challenge Cup
Final Dumbarton v Inverness CT (4.15pm)
BBC Alba
Buildbase FA Trophy
Semi-final: Second leg Gateshead (2) v
Bromley (3); Wealdstone (0) v Brackley (1)
Buildbase FA Vase
Semi-finals: Second leg Stockton Town (2) v
Marske Utd (0); 1874 Northwich (0) v
Thatcham Town (1)
FA Women’s Super League Two
London Bees v Durham (noon)
Sunday
European U-21 Championship Qualifying
Group One San Marino v Belarus (5pm)
Sky Bet League One
Portsmouth v Oxford Utd (4pm) Sky Sports
Football
Sky Bet League Two
Chesterfield v Notts County (1.30pm)
Sky Sports Football
FA Women’s Super League
Birmingham v Liverpool (2pm); Bristol City v
Manchester City (12.30pm); Chelsea v
Reading (2pm); Everton v Yeovil (2pm);
Sunderland v Arsenal (noon)
FA Women’s Super League Two
Doncaster v Tottenham (2pm); Oxford Utd v
Millwall (2pm); Sheffield v Brighton (1pm);
Watford v Aston Villa (3pm)
Wolves
Cardiff
Fulham
Aston Villa
Derby
Middlesbrough
Bristol City
Preston
Sheffield Utd
Millwall
Brentford
Ipswich
Norwich
Leeds
QPR
Nottingham Forest
Sheffield Wed
Hull
Bolton
Reading
Barnsley
Birmingham
Burton Albion
Sunderland
Barnsley
P
38
37
38
38
37
38
38
38
38
38
38
38
38
38
38
38
38
38
38
38
38
38
38
38
W
14
14
10
11
9
11
10
7
11
9
7
8
6
7
9
8
5
6
8
3
3
7
2
2
HOME
D L F A W
3 2 41 16 11
3 2 35 13 9
7 2 34 15 9
6 2 36 18 9
5 4 29 14 7
3 5 26 14 7
5 4 31 18 6
7 5 22 19 8
3 5 29 16 7
7 3 28 18 6
9 3 32 21 7
4 7 24 19 7
8 5 20 19 7
5 7 25 24 7
5 5 26 25 3
2 9 20 25 5
7 7 25 28 4
7 6 37 29 3
4 7 22 24 1
7 9 21 29 5
7 9 16 26 4
2 10 14 21 2
4 13 13 36 5
6 11 17 33 3
(0) 0
Millwall
(1) 2
Gregory 24
Marshall 63
Barnsley Townsend, Yiadom, Jackson, Lindsay
(Isgrove 81), Pinillos, Mallan (Moncur 46),
Gardner, Potts (Bradshaw 66), Thiam, Moore,
McBurnie.
Subs not used Cavare, Mahoney, Pearson,
Walton.
Millwall Archer, Romeo, Hutchinson, Cooper,
Meredith, Wallace, Williams, Saville, Marshall
(Onyedinma 79), Morison (Cahill 90), Gregory
(Shackell 75).
Subs not used Martin, Tunnicliffe, Elliott,
O’Brien.
Att 13,041. Ref Peter Bankes (Merseyside).
Birmingham
(1) 3 Hull
(0) 0
Jota 12 59
Adams 48
Birmingham Stockdale, Harding■, Morrison,
Dean, Colin, Jota, Gardner (N’Doye 28),
Kieftenbeld, Maghoma (Boga 76), Adams,
Jutkiewicz (Davis 83).
Subs not used Roberts, Lowe, Kuszczak,
Seddon.
Hull McGregor, Aina, Dawson, Mazuch, Clark,
Larsson, Henriksen, Bowen, Irvine (Campbell 57),
Wilson (Grosicki 76), Hernandez (Toral 73).
Subs not used Meyler, Marshall, Tomori, Hector.
Att 22,970. Ref Tony Harrington (Cleveland).
Bolton
(1) 1 Aston Villa
(0) 0
Le Fondre 19
Bolton Alnwick, Flanagan, Burke, Beevers,
Andrew Taylor, Henry■, Osede, Ameobi, Pratley
(Vela 27), Buckley (Robinson 81), Le Fondre.
Subs not used Noone, Wilbraham, Wheater,
Howard, Clough.
Aston Villa Johnstone, Elmohamady, Chester■,
Terry, Bree, Bjarnason, Snodgrass■ (Davis 82),
Hourihane (Hepburn-Murphy 54), Grealish,
Adomah (Hogan 72), Grabban.
Subs not used Lansbury, Jedinak, Onomah,
Bunn.
Att 19,304. Ref Robert Jones (Merseyside).
Brentford
(1) 1 Middlesbrough (1) 1
Macleod 34
Traoré 21
Brentford Bentley, Dalsgaard, Egan, Mepham■,
Clarke, Woods■, Mokotjo (Judge 84), Jozefzoon,
Macleod (Sawyers■ 75), Watkins (Canos 67),
Maupay.
Subs not used Yennaris, Marcondes, Daniels,
Barbet.
Middlesbrough Randolph, Shotton, Ayala (Fry
60), Gibson■, Friend■, Howson (Leadbitter
65), Clayton■, Besic■ (Assombalonga 75),
Traoré, Bamford, Downing.
Subs not used Konstantopoulos, Cranie,
Harrison, Baker.
Att 11,134. Ref Simon Hooper (Wiltshire).
Bristol City
(0) 1 Ipswich
(0) 0
Djuric 64
Bristol City Fielding, Pisano, Wright, Magnusson
(Hegeler 71), Kelly, Brownhill, Pack, Smith■,
Paterson (O’Neil 83), Reid, Diedhiou (Djuric 56).
Subs not used Walsh, Wollacott, Diony, Kent.
Ipswich Bialkowski, Spence, Carter-Vickers,
Chambers, Webster, Knudsen■, Ward (Celina
83), Skuse, Connolly, Sears (Morris 90),
Waghorn.
Subs not used Hyam, Crowe, Gleeson, Drinan,
Kenlock.
Att 21,509. Ref Darren England (S Yorkshire).
Fulham
(2) 2 QPR
(1) 2
Cairney 32
Luongo 45
Piazon 45
Wszolek 81
Fulham Bettinelli, Fredericks, Odoi, Ream,
Targett■, Cairney (Rui Fonte 79), McDonald,
Johansen, Piazon (Ayite 68), Mitrovic■,
R Sessegnon (Ojo 79).
Subs not used Norwood, Christie, Button,
Kamara.
QPR Smithies, Furlong, Onuoha, Lynch■,
Bidwell, Manning (Cousins■ 74), Luongo■,
Freeman, Wszolek, Eze (Smyth 69), Smith
(Washington 69).
Subs not used Ingram, Baptiste, Perch, Samuel.
Att 23,347. Ref Chris Kavanagh (Lancashire).
Leeds
Grot 86
(0) 1
Sheff Wed
Nuhiu 71 90
(0) 2
D
4
4
5
3
9
5
8
8
3
6
3
3
5
3
6
5
7
5
8
5
5
4
5
7
AWAY
L F
4 28
5 23
5 32
7 25
3 26
7 28
5 23
3 26
9 22
7 18
9 22
9 23
7 21
9 25
10 19
9 23
8 16
11 16
10 11
9 23
10 21
13 14
9 14
9 21
A
17
18
26
19
20
22
24
18
27
19
25
29
25
29
30
29
24
30
32
28
30
36
31
35
GD
+36
+27
+25
+24
+21
+18
+12
+11
+8
+9
+8
-1
-3
-3
-10
-11
-11
-6
-23
-13
-19
-29
-40
-30
Pts
82
76
69
69
62
62
61
60
60
58
54
52
52
50
47
46
41
39
39
36
33
33
30
28
Form
LWLWLW
WWWWWW
WWWWWD
WWWLWL
DDLDDD
DWWWWD
LWLDDW
LWWLLW
WLDWDD
WDWWWW
LWLLLD
WWDLDL
DDLDLW
WLLDDL
LDWWWD
WWDDDD
LLLDDW
DLWWWL
DLDDDW
LDDLDL
DLLDLL
LLLLLW
LLDLDL
DDLLLL
Leeds Peacock-Farrell, Berardi, Jansson,
Pennington, Pearce (Grot 77), Forshaw, O’Kane
(Phillips 78), Alioski, Hernandez, Dallas, Ekuban
(Lasogga 70).
Subs not used Anita, Wiedwald, Sacko, Ronaldo
Vieira.
Sheff Wed Wildsmith■, Hunt, Frederico
Venancio, Lees, Pudil, Boyd, Pelupessy (Fox 90),
Hutchinson■ (Bannan 66), Reach■, Lucas Joao,
Nuhiu■.
Subs not used Jones, Rhodes, Butterfield,
Palmer, Dawson.
Att 31,638. Ref Keith Stroud (Hampshire).
Norwich
(3) 3 Reading
(1) 2
Vrancic 14
Kelly 32
Hanley 26
Smith 51
Maddison 37pen
Norwich Gunn, Ivo Pinto, Hanley■, Klose, Lewis,
Reed, Vrancic, Hernandez■ (Zimmermann 90),
Maddison, Murphy (Hoolahan 90), Srbeny
(Watkins 90).
Subs not used Husband, Oliveira, Edwards,
McGovern.
Reading Jaakkola■, Gunter, Tiago Ilori, Moore,
Blackett■, Aluko (Swift 52), Kelly (van den Berg
62), Clement■, Edwards (Kermorgant■ 82),
Smith, Barrow■.
Subs not used Mannone, Evans, Bacuna, Holmes.
Att 25,098. Ref Oliver Langford (W Midlands).
Sheff Utd
(0) 0 Nottm Forest
(0) 0
Sheff Utd Blackman, Leonard (Holmes 71),
Stearman, O’Connell, Baldock, Lee Evans, Duffy
(Donaldson 81), Fleck■, Stevens, Clarke, Sharp
(Brooks 60).
Subs not used Moore, Lundstram, Wright,
Lafferty.
Nottm Forest Pantilimon, Darikwa, Tobias
Figueiredo, Fox■, Osborn, Cash, Colback■,
Watson■, Dowell (Lolley 62), Murphy (Tomlin
74), Brereton.
Subs not used Mancienne, Guedioura, Kapino,
Worrall.
Att 28,095. Ref Paul Tierney (Lancashire).
Sunderland
(0) 0
Preston
(0) 2
Maguire 50
Robinson 63
Sunderland Camp, Matthews, Kone, O’Shea,
Clarke-Salter■, Oviedo, Honeyman (LuaLua 69),
Cattermole, Ejaria (McNair 76), Asoro, Maja
(Fletcher 64).
Subs not used McManaman, McGeady, Robson,
Max Stryjek.
Preston Maxwell, Fisher, Huntington, Davies,
Earl■, Pearson, Gallagher (Johnson 72),
Barkhuizen (Bodin 86), Browne, Robinson
(Harrop 86), Maguire.
Subs not used Clarke, Woods, Moult, Hudson.
Att 28,543. Ref Darren Bond (Lancashire).
Wolves
(2) 3 Burton Albion
(1) 1
Costa 15
Dyer 44
Afobe 41 56
Wolves Ruddy, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Doherty,
Saïss, Neves (N’Diaye 90), Douglas, Costa, Afobe
(Bonatini 82), Ivan Cavaleiro (Gibbs-White 76).
Subs not used Batth, Mir, Roderick Miranda,
Norris.
Burton Albion Bywater, Flanagan, Naylor,
Buxton, McFadzean (Varney 46), McCrory,
Sordell (Sbarra■ 46), Davenport, Akpan, Dyer,
Boyce (Egert 82). Subs not used Murphy, Bent,
Campbell, Barker.
Att 29,977. Ref Geoff Eltringham (Tyne & Wear).
Top scorers
Reid Bristol City
Vydra Derby
Grabban Aston Villa
Adomah Aston Villa
Clarke Sheff Utd
Bowen Hull
Jota Wolves
Maddison Norwich
R Sessegnon Fulham
Sharp Sheff Utd
Assombalonga Middlesbrough
Bonatini Wolves
League
17
17
16
14
15
13
13
13
14
12
12
12
Total
19
18
16
15
15
14
14
14
14
13
12
12
•
The Observer
18.03.18
Sky Bet League One
Blackburn
Shrewsbury
Wigan
Rotherham
Scunthorpe
Plymouth
Peterborough
Portsmouth
Charlton
Bristol Rovers
Bradford
Gillingham
Southend
Blackpool
Oxford Utd
Walsall
Doncaster
AFC Wimbledon
Oldham
Fleetwood Town
Northampton
MK Dons
Rochdale
Bury
P
37
36
34
37
38
37
37
37
36
37
35
36
37
37
36
37
36
37
36
36
37
37
34
37
W
11
11
10
12
7
10
10
9
8
10
6
4
9
6
7
7
6
7
7
4
6
6
4
6
HOME
D L F
6 2 38
3 3 24
6 2 27
2 5 38
6 6 23
2 7 29
3 6 32
3 7 26
6 5 25
2 6 32
2 9 21
9 4 20
6 4 28
7 5 25
4 7 29
6 5 26
7 4 25
3 8 19
3 8 27
6 9 26
3 10 15
7 6 22
8 3 14
4 9 17
Blackpool
(1) 1 Southend
(1) 1
Robertson 45
Fortune 11
Blackpool Lumley, Turton, Tilt, Robertson,
Daniel, Ryan, Spearing, Solomon-Otabor,
Longstaff (Gnanduillet 78), Philliskirk■, Vassell
(Agyei 78). Subs not used Aimson, D’Almeida,
Clayton, Cooke, Mafoumbi.
Southend Oxley, Demetriou, White, Turner■,
Coker■, McLaughlin, Yearwood, Timlin■,
Wordsworth, Fortune (Mantom 74), Cox■
(Robinson 46). Subs not used Kightly, Bishop,
Cotton, Ladapo, Harrison.
Att 3,213. Ref Andy Haines (Tyne & Wear).
Charlton
(0) 0 Fleetwood Town (0) 0
Charlton Amos, Konsa, Bauer, Pearce, Sarr,
Aribo, Forster-Caskey, Marshall (KaiKai■ 66),
Reeves (Ajose 60), Fosu, Magennis (Zyro 60).
Subs not used Jackson, Lennon, Dijksteel,
Maynard-Brewer.
Fleetwood Town Cairns, Coyle, Eastham, Bolger,
Jones, Sowerby, Dempsey, Diagouraga■, Hunter,
Madden (Hiwula 87), Burns (McAleny 75).
Subs not used Neal, Pond, Grant, Maguire,
Glendon.
Att 9,865. Ref Mark Heywood (Cheshire).
Gillingham
(-) P Blackburn
(Postponed due to snow)
(-) P
MK Dons
(1) 2 Bury
(0) 1
Aneke 11pen 57pen
Miller 76
Milton Keynes Dons Nicholls, Wootton, Ward,
Lewington, B Williams, Brittain, Upson,
Muirhead, Pawlett (McGrandles 71), Sow
(Thomas-Asante 54), Aneke■ (Ebanks-Landell■
84). Subs not used Cisse, Sietsma, Agard, Ugbo.
Bury Ripley, Edwards (Maguire 58), Cameron■,
Clarke■, Leigh, O’Shea, Ince (Danns 46), Bunn
(Dawson■ 46), Mayor, Miller, Hanson.
Subs not used Murphy, Tutte, Thompson, Styles.
Att 9,247. Ref Gavin Ward (Surrey).
Northampton
Rotherham
(1) 3
Smith 17
Ball 62
Towell 81
Northampton O’Donnell, Moloney, Taylor,
Turnbull, Bunney, O’Toole (van Veen■ 70),
Grimes, Hoskins (Ariyibi 59), Hildeberto, Powell,
Luckassen (Mathis 79). Subs not used Cornell,
Barnett, Shaun McWilliams, Facey.
Rotherham Rodak, Emmanuel, Vaulks, Ajayi■,
Mattock■ (Ihiekwe 67), Taylor■ (Forde 66),
Palmer, Towell, Williams, Ball (Newell 84),
Smith. Subs not used Wood, Price, Yates, Lavery.
Att 5,882. Ref Ben Toner (Lancashire).
Oldham
(0) 0
(0) 0
Portsmouth
(2) 2
Pitman 29 42
Oldham Placide, Dummigan, Wilson, Bryan,
Moimbe (Nazon 80), Jack Byrne, Gardner, Fane,
McLaughlin (McEleney 56), Doyle, Davies
(Holloway 59). Subs not used de la Paz, Sam
Edmundson, Pringle, Hunt.
A W
18 11
10 11
9 11
20 8
21 8
28 6
24 5
19 7
22 6
25 5
28 9
18 8
21 3
25 5
29 5
24 4
19 4
24 4
27 3
31 6
28 4
24 3
12 3
23 1
Sky Bet League Two
AWAY
D L F
4 3 32
5 3 25
2 3 36
3 7 25
7 4 32
7 5 18
8 5 27
1 10 19
4 7 19
3 11 21
3 6 27
4 7 22
5 10 15
6 8 19
5 8 23
5 10 21
6 9 18
6 9 18
7 8 23
3 8 20
6 8 20
4 11 15
5 11 20
5 12 14
A
17
17
14
23
25
17
23
28
24
31
24
22
34
23
25
30
25
24
35
26
32
27
30
32
GD
+35
+22
+40
+20
+9
+2
+12
-2
-2
-3
-4
+2
-12
-4
-2
-7
-1
-11
-12
-11
-25
-14
-8
-24
Pts
76
74
71
65
58
57
56
52
52
50
50
49
47
46
45
44
43
42
40
39
39
38
34
30
Form
WWWDWW
WLDWWW
LWDDWD
WWWLLL
DDDLDD
WWWWDD
DDWWWW
LLWLLL
DWLLLL
WLDWDD
LLDDLL
WDDLWW
DWLDDD
WDWLWL
LLLDLL
LLWLLL
DLWLDD
LWDLWW
WDWWDD
LLLDDD
WLDDDD
LLDDLW
DLWWDW
DLWDLD
Portsmouth McGee, Walkes, Whatmough,
Clarke■, Haunstrup, Close, Donohue■, Lowe,
Ronan, Naismith, Pitman■. Subs not used
Burgess, Kennedy, Chaplin, Deslandes, May,
Widdrington.
Att 4,306. Ref Seb Stockbridge (Tyne & Wear).
Oxford Utd
(1) 2 Peterborough
(0) 1
Dickie 6, Henry 61
Marriott 62
Oxford Utd Eastwood, Kane, Dickie, Mousinho,
Smith-Brown, Henry, Ledson■, Brannagan,
Mowatt (Ricardinho 88), Obika (Van Kessel 46),
Thomas (Napa 69). Subs not used Martin,
Shearer, Ruffels, Buckley-Rickett.
Peterborough Bond, Shephard, Baldwin■,
Taylor, Hughes, Da Silva Lopes, Doughty,
Anderson (Bogle 38), Ward (Forrester 46),
Maddison■, Marriott, Forrester (Lloyd 54).
Subs not used Tafazolli, Morias, O’Malley,
Cooper.
Att 6,804. Ref Rob Lewis (Shropshire).
Plymouth
(1) 3 Bristol Rovers
(2) 2
Ness 34 48
Lines 12
Carey 85pen
Harrison 36
Plymouth Matthews■, Threlkeld, Vyner,
Songo’o, Sawyer, Makasi (Paton 90), Fox, Ness,
Carey■, Taylor, Lameiras (Taylor-Sinclair 90).
Subs not used Ainsworth, Grant, Letheren,
Fletcher, Sangster.
Bristol Rovers Slocombe, Partington■ (Bola
71), Lockyer■, Craig, James Clarke, Ollie Clarke
(Nichols 87), Lines, Sinclair, Sercombe, Harrison
(Gaffney 87), Bennett■. Subs not used
Sweeney, Broadbent, Smith, Mensah.
Att 13,466. Ref John Brooks (Leicestershire).
Rochdale
(1) 1 AFC Wimbledon (1) 1
Cannon 25
Oshilaja 7
Rochdale Lillis, McGahey, McNulty, Delaney,
Wiseman, Inman (Davies 74), Camps, Cannon
(Kitching 74), Done, Humphrys, Henderson■.
Subs not used Rathbone, Moore, Hart,
Alexandru Dobre, Gillam.
AFC Wimbledon Long, Fuller, Nightingale,
Oshilaja, Meades, Trotter, Soares, Abdou
(Forrester 63), Francomb, Pigott (Barcham 63),
Taylor. Subs not used Robinson, Parrett, Sibbick,
Kaja, McDonnell.
Att 2,667. Ref Scott Oldham (Lancashire).
Scunthorpe
Morris 8
(1) 1
Shrewsbury
(0) 2
Nolan 51
Payne 59pen
Scunthorpe Gilks, Bishop (Clarke 68),
McArdle■, Burgess, Wallace, Holmes (Adelakun
68), Ojo, Yates, Morris, Toney■ (Wootton 78),
Hopper. Subs not used Townsend, Goode,
McGeehan, Watson.
Shrewsbury Henderson, Hendrie, Nsiala■,
Sadler, Beckles, Godfrey (Payne 32), Whalley,
Nolan■, Ogogo, Rodman, Carlton Morris■
(John-Lewis 87). Subs not used Lowe, Thomas,
MacGillivray, Bryn Morris, Jones.
Att 3,824. Ref Michael Salisbury (Lancashire).
Accrington Stanley
Luton
Notts County
Wycombe
Mansfield
Coventry
Lincoln City
Exeter
Swindon
Carlisle
Newport County
Crawley Town
Colchester
Cambridge Utd
Cheltenham
Stevenage
Yeovil
Morecambe
Port Vale
Crewe
Forest Green
Grimsby
Chesterfield
Barnet
P
37
38
38
37
37
37
37
36
37
38
37
37
37
38
38
37
37
36
37
37
37
38
36
38
W
14
13
12
10
10
11
10
11
8
7
6
8
8
10
7
7
8
6
5
7
8
4
6
4
HOME
D L F
2 3 37
2 4 52
5 2 37
4 5 40
8 1 37
3 4 25
6 3 32
3 4 24
2 8 23
7 5 28
9 2 24
3 7 22
6 5 27
5 4 24
6 6 27
8 3 34
4 7 27
4 7 19
6 7 21
3 9 24
2 9 28
7 8 15
3 10 22
6 9 16
Accrington
(1) 3 Forest Green
(0) 1
Johnson 3
Reid 64
Clark 81
Jackson 90
Accrington Stanley Chapman, Johnson, Hughes,
Dunne, Donacien, Clark, Brown, Conneely,
McConville, Jackson, Kee. Subs not used
Richards-Everton, Nolan, Zanzala, Williams,
Maxted, Sousa, Rodgers.
Forest Green Bradley Collins, Charlie Cooper
(Grubb 89), Gunning, Rawson, Hollis, Osbourne,
Lee Collins, Clements, Campbell, Reid, Wishart
(Brown 85). Subs not used Bennett, Laird,
Simpson, Belford, Bray.
Att 2,313. Ref David Webb (County Durham).
Barnet
(0) 0
Wycombe
(0) 2
Jacobson 52pen
O’Nien 72
Barnet Ross, Vilhete (Brindley 42), Sweeney,
Santos, Tutonda, Watson, Weston■, Ruben Bover
(Jack Taylor■ 65), Coulthirst (Clough 75),
Akinde, Nicholls. Subs not used Akinola, Akpa
Akpro, Renell McKenzie-Lyle, Nicholson.
Wycombe Brown, Moore, El-Abd, Jombati,
Jacobson, Bloomfield (Thompson 85), Gape,
O’Nien, Mackail-Smith (Tyson 57), Akinfenwa,
Freeman (Kashket 79). Subs not used Bean,
Cowan-Hall, McGinley, Makabu-Makalamby.
Att 2,103. Ref Lee Collins (Surrey).
Cambridge Utd (0) 1
Ikpeazu 73
Swindon
(1) 3
Norris 16
Richards 62 84pen
Cambridge Utd Forde, Halliday, Taft, Taylor,
Dunk, Deegan, O’Neil (Ibehre 72), Waters, Maris
(Amoo 58), Jevani Brown, Ikpeazu. Subs not
used Carroll, Legge, Mitov, Elito, Lewis.
Swindon Moore, Purkiss, Robertson, Menayese,
Hussey (McGivern 78), Mullin (Gordon 86),
Dunne, Elsnik, Taylor, Norris (Woolery 59),
Richards. Subs not used Knoyle, Twine,
Anderson, Henry.
Att 5,123. Ref Lee Swabey (Devon).
Carlisle
(1) 2 Crawley Town
(0) 2
Bennett 38
Ahearne-Grant 56 81
Hope 47
Carlisle Bonham, Liddle, Ellis, Hill■, Parkes■,
Lambe, Devitt (Joyce 64), Jones, Hope■,
Bennett (O’Sullivan 70), Nadesan (Twardek 77).
Subs not used Grainger, Gray, Brown, Stockton.
Crawley Town Morris, Young, McNerney,
Connolly, Evina, Bulman, Payne (Tajbakhsh 70),
Ahearne-Grant, Smith, Boldewijn■, Randall
(Camara 54). Subs not used Cox, Mersin, Djalo,
Lelan, Sanoh.
Att 4,097. Ref Martin Coy (County Durham).
Cheltenham
(0) 1 Chesterfield
(0) 1
Graham 79
Dennis 74
Cheltenham Flinders, Moore, Grimes (Joe Rodon
76), Boyle, Chatzitheodoridis, Atangana, Dawson
(Graham 78), Winchester, Morrell, Andrews■
(Pell 54), Eisa. Subs not used Cranston, Lovett,
Odelusi, Lloyd.
Chesterfield Ramsdale, Barry, Whitmore,
Nelson, George Smith, Brown (Dodds 73),
Weir■, Talbot, Kay (Binnom-Williams■ 82),
Kellett, Dennis. Subs not used O’Grady, Anyon,
Maguire, McCourt, Hines.
Att 2,822. Ref Ollie Yates (Staffordshire).
Colchester
Yeovil
(1) 1
Fisher 21
Colchester Walker, Eastman, Prosser, Kent,
Vincent-Young, Lapslie, Comley■ (Senior 46),
Wright, Szmodics, Mandeville (Shodipo 71),
Guthrie (Mandron 65). Subs not used Rooney,
Murray, Stevenson, Dillon Barnes.
Yeovil Nelson, James, Sowunmi, Donnellan,
Dickson (Mugabi 40), Green, Wing, Bird, Browne,
Zoko (Barnes 82), Fisher (Surridge 65). Subs not
used Khan, Maddison, Seager, Santos.
Att 2,772. Ref Tom Nield (West Yorkshire).
Crewe
Bowery 33
Shrewsbury were just warming up after Jon Nolan’s equaliser
sparked a 2-1 second-half comeback win over Scunthorpe
(0) 0
(1) 1
Coventry
(2) 2
Ray 5og
Bayliss 43
Crewe Garratt, Ng, Ray■, Nolan■, Bakayogo
(Ainley 21), Kirk, Pickering, Green, Sterry, Miller
(McKirdy 72), Bowery (Dagnall 80).
Subs not used Raynes, Richards, Lowery,
Barlaser.
A W
18 9
21 7
17 6
30 9
19 6
13 7
19 6
14 7
32 11
19 8
17 7
17 7
18 5
16 3
23 4
21 4
19 3
23 3
23 4
28 4
30 2
23 5
29 2
24 3
21
Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership
AWAY
D L F
3 6 27
9 3 27
7 6 23
5 4 30
7 5 19
4 8 18
6 6 21
3 8 22
1 7 35
4 7 27
5 8 23
5 7 22
6 7 19
6 10 14
6 9 26
3 12 16
5 10 20
8 8 18
5 10 20
1 13 20
5 11 16
3 11 17
4 11 15
3 13 18
A
22
19
22
22
19
18
21
26
23
29
30
29
25
34
31
34
38
24
30
33
34
34
36
32
GD
+24
+39
+21
+18
+18
+12
+13
+6
+3
+7
0
-2
+3
-12
-1
-5
-10
-10
-12
-17
-20
-25
-28
-22
Pts
74
71
66
66
63
61
60
60
60
56
53
53
51
50
45
44
42
39
38
37
37
37
31
30
Form
WDWWWW
WDDLDL
DLWDWW
WWLLDD
WWDDDD
LDWWDW
WLLDWW
LWWDDD
WLWLLL
WWWWDD
LDDDWW
WLWLDD
DWLLDD
WWLDDD
LLDDWW
DLWLDD
WLLLDL
DDWLDD
LLDDDD
LWLWDD
WDWDLL
LLLLDD
LLLWLL
DLWLDL
Coventry O’Brien, Grimmer, Hyam, McDonald,
Haynes, Vincenti (Ponticelli 88), Doyle, Bayliss
(Kelly 48), Shipley (Reid 77), Clarke-Harris,
McNulty. Subs not used Stokes, Biamou, Barrett,
Bilson.
Att 4,666. Ref Antony Coggins (Oxfordshire).
Lincoln City
(3) 3 Grimsby
(1) 1
Frecklington 31
Davies 45pen
Green 34
Wharton 39
Lincoln City Allsop, Eardley, Bostwick, Wharton,
Habergham, Whitehouse, Woodyard,
Frecklington (Wilson 81), Green (Anderson 65),
Rhead (Palmer■ 59), Williams. Subs not used
Farman, Long, Pett, Rowe.
Grimsby McKeown, Hall-Johnson (Mitchell Rose
56), Clarke, Collins, Fox, Clifton■, Berrett,
Davies, Woolford (Jaiyesimi 66), Cardwell
(McSheffrey 46), Matt. Subs not used Mills,
Vernon, Dembele, Killip.
Att 9,774. Ref David Coote (Nottinghamshire).
Morecambe
(1) 2 Exeter
(1) 1
Lavelle 43
Sweeney 37
Rose 78
Morecambe Roche, McGowan■, Lavelle,
Winnard, Conlan, Kenyon, Rose, McGurk (Oliver
80), Thompson, Wylde (Campbell 80), Lang
(Wildig 85). Subs not used Brough, Nizic, Lund,
Fleming.
Exeter Pym, Sweeney, Brown, Archibald-Henville
(Simpson 83), Moxey■, Boateng, James (Tillson
60), Harley (Jay 82), Taylor, Stockley, Edwards.
Subs not used Jones, McAlinden, Wilson, Croll.
Att 1,056. Ref Carl Boyeson (E Yorkshire).
Newport County (1) 1 Luton
(1) 1
Sheehan 2
Potts 24
Newport County Day, White, Demetriou,
O’Brien■, Butler, Sheehan (Nouble 70), Dolan■,
Tozer, Aaron Collins, Amond (McCoulsky 86),
Willmott. Subs not used Pipe, Jackson, Bennett,
Reid, Bittner.
Luton Stech, Stacey, Cuthbert, Sheehan, Potts,
Gambin (McCormack 88), Rea, Berry, Elliot Lee
(Cornick 68), Collins, Hylton (Jervis 84). Subs
not used Justin, Mullins, Olly Lee, Shea.
Att 3,512. Ref Craig Hicks (Surrey).
Notts County (1) 1 Mansfield
(0) 1
Hawkridge 35
Hemmings 90pen
Notts County Collin, Tootle, Duffy, Hall,
Dickinson, Hawkridge (Alessandra 82), Hewitt■,
Noble (Smith 90), Grant, Stead, Ameobi. Subs
not used Virtue, Brisley, Husin, Jones,
Fitzsimons.
Mansfield Logan, Anderson (Digby 90), Bennett,
Pearce, Benning■, Atkinson■, King (Angol 61),
MacDonald■, Hamilton, Hemmings, Rose. Subs
not used Olejnik, White, Sterling-James, Byrom,
Miller.
Att 12,563. Ref Andy Woolmer (Northants).
Port Vale
(0) 2 Stevenage
(1) 2
Wilson 65
Amos 10
Hannant 77
Kennedy 48
Port Vale Boot, Davis (Gibbons 46), Raglan■,
Smith, Montano, Worrall, Pugh, Tonge, Hannant,
Harness (Wilson 46), Forrester. Subs not used
Howe, Hornby, Barnett, Whitfield, Howkins.
Stevenage T King, Vancooten (Franks 46),
J King, Wilkinson, Martin■, Goddard, Sheaf,
Jonathan Smith■, Amos (Gorman 87), Kennedy,
Newton■, Franks (Whelpdale 72). Subs not
used Fryer, White, Wade-Slater, O’Donnell.
Att 3,462. Ref Anthony Backhouse (Cumbria).
Top scorers
Kee Accrington Stanley
Doidge Forest Green
Eisa Cheltenham
Collins Luton
Grant Notts County
Akinfenwa Wycombe
Hylton Luton
Rose Mansfield
Stockley Exeter
Dennis Chesterfield
McNulty Coventry
League
21
16
17
17
15
16
15
14
12
15
15
Total
22
21
19
18
18
17
17
17
17
16
16
Celtic
Rangers
Aberdeen
Hibernian
Kilmarnock
Hearts
Motherwell
St Johnstone
Hamilton
Dundee
Partick
Ross County
P
29
30
29
30
29
30
29
30
27
29
29
29
W
20
18
16
14
11
9
10
9
8
8
6
5
D
7
4
5
10
10
12
5
7
5
4
7
6
L
2
8
8
6
8
9
14
14
14
17
16
18
F
59
61
43
43
39
29
34
30
38
30
26
31
A GD Pts
20 +39 67
35 +26 58
33 +10 53
33 +10 52
38 +1 43
29 0 39
39 -5 35
43 -13 34
48 -10 29
47 -17 28
47 -21 25
51 -20 21
Aberdeen
(1) 1 Dundee
(0) 0
Shinnie 35
Aberdeen Woodman, Logan, O’Connor,
McKenna, Considine, Nwakali (Stewart 72),
Shinnie■, McGinn (Mackay-Steven 90), McLean,
Christie, May (Rooney 90).
Subs not used Cosgrove, Arnason, Ball, Rogers.
Dundee Parish, Caulker, Meekings (Kerr 78),
O’Dea, Leitch-Smith, O’Hara, Kamara, Deacon,
Holt, McGowan, Moussa (Murray 48).
Subs not used Ferie, Lambert, Aurtenetxe,
El Bakhtaoui, Curran.
Att 15,208. Ref William Collum (Scotland).
Hearts
(3) 3 Partick
(0) 0
Lafferty 17
Naismith 21
Souttar 44
Hearts McLaughlin, Godinho, Souttar, Berra,
Hughes, Cowie (McDonald 77), Michael Smith,
Adao (Cochrane 66), Amankwaa (Moore 90),
Naismith, Lafferty■.
Subs not used Hamilton, Randall, Callachan,
Henderson.
Partick Cerny, Elliot, Devine■, Cargill, Booth,
Erskine (Edwards 64), Osman■ (Barton 46),
Woods, Lawless (McCarthy 46), Doolan, Storey.
Subs not used McGinn, Spittal, Scully, Penrice.
Att 17,179. Ref Euan Anderson (Scotland).
Rangers
(0) 0
Kilmarnock
(0) 1
K Boyd 54
Rangers Foderingham, Tavernier, Martin, Bruno
Alves■, John, Docherty, Goss (Holt 46),
Candeias (Miller 76), Windass (Morelos 61),
Murphy, Cummings. Subs not used Fabio
Cardoso, Herrera, Halliday, Alnwick.
Kilmarnock MacDonald, O’Donnell, Broadfoot,
Findlay, Taylor, Dicker, Mulumbu (Erwin 83),
Tshibola■ (Power 61), Brophy, Jones, K Boyd
(McKenzie■ 62). Subs not used Fasan, Simpson,
Kiltie, S Boyd.
Att 49,396. Ref Don Robertson (Scotland).
Ross County
(1) 2 Hamilton
(0) 2
Lindsay 23
Imrie 49pen
Davies 76
Ogboe 52
Ross County McCarey, Fraser (Gardyne 84),
Davies, Fontaine, Naismith, Lindsay, Draper,
Chow (Curran 72), Routis, McKay, Schalk■.
Subs not used Ngog, Fox, Dow, O’Brien,
Melbourne.
Hamilton Woods, Want■, Tomas, van der Weg,
Templeton■ (Redmond■ 78), Lyon, Jenkins,
Ferguson, McMann■, Rojano■ (Imrie 46),
Ogboe (Bingham 81). Subs not used Miller,
Fulton, Cunningham, Hughes.
Att 3,586. Ref Kevin Clancy (Scotland).
Top scorers
League
15
9
10
13
12
7
8
7
8
8
Boyd Kilmarnock
Sinclair Celtic
Lafferty Hearts
Morelos Rangers
Windass Rangers
Forrest Celtic
Murray Dundee
Dembele Celtic
Griffiths Celtic
Rooney Aberdeen
Total
20
18
17
17
17
16
16
13
12
10
Championship
P W D L F A GD Pts
St Mirren
28 20 3 5 52 29 +23 63
Livingston
28 14 9 5 44 28 +16 51
Dundee Utd
25 13 5 7 35 30 +5 44
Morton
29 11 10 8 38 28 +10 43
Dunfermline
28 10 9 9 40 30 +10 39
Queen of South 28 10 8 10 41 40 +1 38
Falkirk
28 8 10 10 31 40 -9 34
Inverness CT
26 8 7 11 31 32 -1 31
Dumbarton
27 6 9 12 19 33 -14 27
Brechin
27 0 4 23 19 60 -41 4
Brechin 1 Dumbarton 3; Dundee Utd 1 Inverness
CT 1; Dunfermline 0 Morton 0; Livingston 0
Falkirk 0; Queen of the South 1 St Mirren 3
League One
Ayr
Raith
Arbroath
Alloa
East Fife
Stranraer
Airdrieonians
Forfar
Albion
Queen’s Park
P
29
29
29
29
29
30
29
30
28
30
W D L F A GD Pts
19 4 6 76 33 +43 61
17 7 5 56 30 +26 58
14 7 8 56 40 +16 49
13 7 9 45 36 +9 46
12 3 14 42 49 -7 39
11 5 14 47 58 -11 38
9 9 11 39 50 -11 36
8 4 18 34 60 -26 28
7 6 15 52 65 -13 27
6 8 16 36 62 -26 26
Albion 1 Arbroath 2; Alloa 2 Airdrieonians 2;
Forfar 0 Ayr 2; Stranraer 2 Queen’s Park 3
Today Raith v East Fife (4.10pm)
League Two
P W D L F A GD Pts
Montrose
29 18 7 4 45 31 +14 61
Peterhead
30 18 4 8 68 37 +31 58
Stirling
28 15 4 9 52 34 +18 49
Stenhousemuir 27 13 5 9 44 34 +10 44
Elgin
28 12 4 12 44 50 -6 40
Annan Athletic 30 9 10 11 38 35 +3 37
Clyde
28 9 9 10 37 42 -5 36
Edinburgh City 28 7 6 15 30 43 -13 27
Berwick
27 7 5 15 22 49 -27 26
Cowdenbeath
27 2 8 17 17 42 -25 14
Annan 1 Clyde 1; Berwick P Stenhousemuir P;
Cowdenbeath 3 Elgin 1; Edinburgh City 2
Stirling 2; Montrose 3 Peterhead 2
Non League
Vanarama National League
Top eight
P W D L F A GD Pts
Macclesfield
37 21 8 8 51 39 +12 71
Sutton Utd
38 20 9 9 57 40 +17 69
Boreham Wood 38 17 14 7 53 35 +18 65
Tranmere
38 18 10 10 62 39 +23 64
Wrexham
38 16 16 6 45 30 +15 64
Aldershot
38 17 13 8 58 45 +13 64
Dover
38 17 12 9 52 33 +19 63
AFC Fylde
38 16 11 11 71 49 +22 59
AFC Fylde 3 Hartlepool 3; Boreham Wood 2
Tranmere 1; Bromley P Dag & Red P; Chester FC 0
Aldershot 0; Dover 2 Macclesfield 0; Eastleigh 0
Leyton Orient 0; Gateshead P Ebbsfleet United P;
Guiseley 1 FC Halifax 1; Maidenhead Utd 0
Barrow 1; Maidstone Utd 1 Sutton Utd 0;
Solihull Moors 1 Torquay 1; Woking 2 Wrexham 2
Vanarama North
Top eight
P W D L F A GD Pts
Salford City
33 22 5 6 60 36 +24 71
Harrogate Town 33 21 6 6 82 40 +42 69
Brackley
32 18 10 4 57 28 +29 64
York
34 15 8 11 59 50 +9 53
Kidderminster 32 14 10 8 54 36 +18 52
Blyth Spartans 32 17 1 14 67 50 +17 52
Spennymoor
28 14 6 8 54 44 +10 48
Southport
33 13 8 12 52 55 -3 47
Alfreton P Kidderminster P; Blyth Spartans P
Curzon Ashton P; Boston Utd 4 FC United 4;
Brackley P Chorley P; Bradford PA P AFC Telford P;
Darlington 6 North Ferriby Utd 0; Gainsborough 2
Stockport County 3; Leamington 1 Nuneaton 0;
Salford City 3 Spennymoor 2; Tamworth 1
Harrogate Town 1; York P Southport P
Vanarama South
Top eight
Havant and W
Dartford
Hampton & Rich
St Albans
Chelmsford
Truro City
Hemel H
Braintree Town
P
33
34
33
33
34
32
33
33
W
18
18
15
15
14
15
14
13
D L F A GD Pts
10 5 52 24 +28 64
8 8 68 42 +26 62
14 4 47 29 +18 59
8 10 57 43 +14 53
11 9 50 38 +12 53
7 10 55 43 +12 52
10 9 53 41 +12 52
11 9 57 46 +11 50
Bognor Regis Town 0 East Thurrock 2;
Braintree Town P Whitehawk P; Chippenham 2
Weston-super-Mare 0; Concord Rangers 1
St Albans 2; Dartford 3 Hemel Hempstead 2;
Gloucester 4 Hungerford Town 0; Havant and W 0
Hampton & Richmond 0; Poole Town 0
Bath City 4; Truro 2 Chelmsford 0; Wealdstone P
Eastbourne Borough P; Welling 1 Oxford City 3
Other football
BUILDBASE FA TROPHY
Semi-finals: First leg Brackley 1 Wealdstone 0;
Bromley 3 Gateshead 2
BUILDBASE FA VASE
Semi-finals: First leg Marske Utd 0 Stockton
Town 2; Thatcham 1 1874 Northwich 0
EVO-STIK NORTHERN PREMIER
Altrincham 1 Stalybridge 2; Hednesford 3 Marine
2; Matlock Tn 1 Farsley Celtic 2; Nantwich Tn 1
Halesowen 3; Stafford Rgrs 4 Coalville Tn 1;
Stourbridge 2 Ashton U 3; Sutton Coldfield Tn 2
Mickleover S 1; Warrington Tn 2 Grantham 1;
Witton Albion 4 Shaw Lane 0; Workington 1
Buxton 2. Postponed: Whitby v Rushall O;
Barwell v Lancaster C.
EVO-STIK SOUTHERN PREMIER
Basingstoke 3 Hereford FC 1; Bishop’s Stortford 2
Slough 2; Frome Tn 2 Kings Langley 1; Gosport B
2 Redditch 5; Kings Lynn Tn 3 Farnborough 1;
Merthyr Tn 1 St Neots 0; Stratford Tn 0 Kettering
4; Weymouth 2 Dunstable 0. Postponed: Hitchin
v Dorchester; Royston Tn v Banbury; St Ives Tn v
Chesham; Tiverton v Biggleswade Tn.
BOSTIK PREMIER
Burgess Hill Tn 1 Brightlingsea 2; Enfield Tn 3
Staines Tn 4; Leatherhead 1 Dorking W 0; Leiston
4 Wingate & F 0; Merstham 2 Harlow 0; Met
Police 2 Margate 2; Tonbridge As 3 Kingstonian
1; Tooting & M 0 Hendon 2. Postponed:
Billericay v Needham Market; Harrow Borough v
Lowestoft Tn; Thurrock v Folkestone I.
PRESS & JOURNAL HIGHLAND LEAGUE
Cove Rgrs 1 Wick Ac 1; Forres Mechs 1 Buckie Th
0; Inverurie LWs 9 Lossiemouth 1; Nairn Co 1
Formartine Utd 2; Turriff Utd 1 Clachnacuddin 0;
Keith 1 Brora 2; Fort William 1 Huntly 4.
Postponed: Rothes v Fraserburg;
Strathspey Thistle v Deveronvale.
•
22
The Observer
18.03.18
Football
Extra Time
Programme Notes
Real Madrid claim
their €100m academy
is ‘the greatest sports
facility ever built by a
football club’. Alex
Clapham pays a visit
The score was locked at 2-2 when
Marco Asensio hit a 25-yard rocket
that dipped and whipped in front of
Manuel Neuer’s face before landing
in the bottom corner. Ecstasy and an
eight-man pile-on ensue as the other
player screams expletives and claims
his controller is faulty. With less than
four hours to go until kick-off, the
Cadete B players are supposed to
be relaxing before a testing league
encounter under the lights. Playing a
Fifa tournament on Playstation isn’t
exactly doing the trick.
Competitiveness is encouraged
by staff around the Real Madrid
complex, says academy coach Javier
Morán. “These are boys who are
representing Real Madrid – they need
to be a certain kind of individual to
succeed here. You can’t coach desire
but you can surround the boys with
drive and belief. Our ethos is nunca se
rinde [‘never give up’]: they need that
edge to achieve their targets.”
As players retire to their rooms to
rest before the game, which will be
broadcast on national television, I
look around at the murals of Alfredo
Di Stéfano, Zinedine Zidane and Raúl
on the corridor walls. Only one of
them played his youth football in La
Fábrica [the Factory] and the club has
not exactly shied away from major
Look out for
A touchline
rant
José? Arsène? Pep?
Amateurs. No one dominates a
technical area like Neil Warnock,
and he’s back on TV today – taking
Cardiff to promotion rivals Derby
(12pm SSF). It should be lively.
Hasn’t he calmed down in his dotage?
Two things. First, he’s only 69 – it just
feels like he’s been around longer.
He’s still nine months younger than
Roy Hodgson. And second, he’s lost
nothing. Last week he reacted to a
3-0 win with an extended attack on
the referee for a “dicky” penalty award
signings in recent years. Real have
broken the world transfer record five
times since Florentino Pérez took
over as president in 2000 and began
the galácticos era. The boys know
they are up against it.
When Spain lifted the World Cup
in 2010, Juan Mata, Álvaro Arbeloa
and Iker Casillas were the only
players to have been moulded in
Real’s academy. In contrast, nine of
the 23-man squad came through
Barcelona’s famed La Masia. Real are
trying to redress that balance.
“Real Madrid want to be the club
known for breeding the players that
play for the national team,” says
Morán. “When scouting, we know we
need the boys to be extremely gifted
technically. Where we’re different
to Barça and others is how we strive
to create complete players who can
play in any system. You never know
what’s going to change at the top
with first-team managers coming
and going, so we focus more on
individuals than creating a certain
profile for each player.”
Real Madrid City, “the greatest
sports facility ever built by a football
club”, was opened in 2005. The
€100m complex is 40 times bigger
than the Bernabéu stadium and
contains enough dressing rooms to
host every La Liga club on the same
day, with multiple gyms, classrooms
and offices as well as a hydrotherapy
pool, medical centre and press area.
The club provide schooling and
transport for youngsters from far
and wide as well as housing 40
players. On average they will stay
for three years and when the boys,
who are often as young as 10, arrive
against his side, given for a shirt pull.
“It was for nothing. You wouldn’t even
call security in a shopping centre for
that. The referee’s made up his mind to
give it – he wanted to give it.”
But that’s an isolated case, right?
Other Warnock highlights this season
include his reflections on a 2-1 win
over Barnsley: “The ref should have
sent Moore off twice. It’s a disgrace”;
on a 1-0 defeat at Birmingham: “The
referee was so poor, how didn’t we
get a penalty, Joe Bennett had his
head kicked off”; on a 1-1 draw at
Millwall: “I just think the ref is appalling
at this level. His concentration levels
must have been minus. He’s let us
down, he’s cost us, it’s an absolute
disgrace”; and on a 2-2 draw at
Reading, where he was sent to the
stands: “I feel betrayed: I said some
things to the fourth official and he
REAL MADRID VIA GETTY IMAGES
‘Only a certain type of
person succeeds here’
Real Madrid’s extensive academy complex
features facilities including a 6,000-capacity
stadium and some well-used playseats
on their first day they are told: “You
are no longer a son of your parents;
you are now a Real Madrid player.”
It is a ruthless welcome into the
unforgiving world of elite football.
Details are important here: siestas
lasting no longer than 40 minutes,
and rest-day meals being plated
up at precise times. Early morning
recovery work is a habit drilled into
youngsters who played the day
before, with “compensation work” for
those who didn’t have a game.
When boys arrive
aged 10 they are
told: ‘You are no
longer a son of
your parents, you
are now a Real
Madrid player’
must have written them down. I
find that very unusual, for a fourth
official to be taking notes. What I said
couldn’t be construed as offensive.”
There’s a theme here.
The main message from it all, unless
you’re a referee, is that Warnock is as
entertaining as he always was – and the
idea of him being back in the top flight
next season is definitely a good thing.
And that’s going to happen?
Cardiff are looking solid. They collapsed
around Christmas with four straight
defeats but they face Derby today
looking for an eighth consecutive win.
They are second with 27 points to play
for, meaning Warnock is on course for
a record eighth promotion.
How does he do it?
“I pride myself on the spirit,” he says.
“I look around the dressing room
before a game and think: ‘Wow, I’m
Tactically, the coaches will work
on simulating match situations and
hypothetical scenarios. Positioning
is essential and coaches demand
perfection. The players will be told
they are 1-0 up with five minutes left
to play and asked to pressure, screen,
delay and cover while hanging on
with desperation. Attackers are
urged to be patient with every pass
while also moving the ball quickly
to penetrate defences. Players are
instructed to create two-on-one
situations to drag their opponents
out of position. Tactic boards and
sheets containing plays that wouldn’t
go amiss in the folder of an NBA
coach are all out in force on the
pitches at the academy.
The Cadete B players who were
battling against each other on the
Playstation a few hours ago are now
on the same side and losing 1-0
to their plucky opponents, Trival
Valderas Alcorcón. Parents and local
fans alike are murmuring about head
Cardiff manager Neil Warnock,
offering officials some feedback
coach Pedro Sánchez’s decisions, with
every stray pass met by grumbles.
This is very much the youth football
equivalent of being greeted by 80,000
white hankies from angry fans in the
Bernabéu.
Feeling sorry for yourself won’t cut
it around here and a late equaliser
is scrambled home before two more
goals in injury time give the under15s a scrappy 3-1 victory. The players
pile on to each other in celebration
after the whistle, producing a
mountain of bodies by the corner
flag, as the parents and supporters
rise to give them an ovation. The
win has kept the team a point clear
at the top – but the delight around
the place has less to do with the
result and more to do with the boys
showing a nunca se rinde attitude.
That’s the minimum they will need to
make it here.
Alex Clapham is a football coach
and writer for canofootball.com.
Follow him on Twitter @alexclapham.
glad they’re my lads, these.’” His
hungry, no-nonsense side are also
great at set pieces. They’ve scored
from a league-high 22 this season,
including seven of their last 13 goals.
And he’ll stay on if they go up?
Owner Vincent Tan, also a natural
entertainer, handed him a new
two-year deal last month. “Vincent
knows that I know what I’m doing,”
Warnock said then. “He still tells me
when we don’t have enough shots
and things like that, does Vincent, but
I think that’s good, me.”
What about Derby?
“It’ll be as tough as you get,” he says.
“The toughest we’ve had in a long time.”
And who’s refereeing?
Robert Jones. Warnock’s view on
Jones, as set out earlier this month:
“He’s not good enough.” Keep an
eye on that touchline.
•
The Observer
18.03.18
The opening ceremony of the
1980 Olympic Games in Moscow –
66 countries joined a US-led boycott
From the Archive
23 March 1980
What happened next
History
repeating …
when sport
faced calls
to boycott
Moscow
The Agenda
The week ahead
An enduring message
Paralympics finale
A memorable 10 days ends with
the Winter Paralympics closing
ceremony in Pyeongchang today
(12.30pm, Channel 4). Besides
the standard basics – fireworks,
South Korean pop rock bands and
British Popopera outfit Il Divo –
organisers plan a tribute to the late
Stephen Hawking, who narrated
the opening ceremony of the 2012
summer Paralympics. His closing
remarks in London, six years ago:
“The Paralympic Games is about
transforming our perception of the
world. We are all different, there
is no such thing as a standard or
run-of-the-mill human being, but
we share the same human spirit.
What is important is that we have
the ability to create. This creativity
can take many forms, from physical
federations attending Tuesday’s
meeting and we believe that the
probable decision will be to accept
the invitation to attend the Games.
Three clear themes emerged from
our discussions with those delegates.
First, opinion is hardening against
the government because they have
handled the affair so badly and with
such ignorance.
Second, those administrators
who either attended the House of
Commons debate on Monday or
who read the report of it in Hansard
were amazed at the appalling
standard of the debate.
As one gallery listener put it:
“I’ve never heard so much rubbish.
Only three members knew what
they were talking about – Denis
Howell, Eldon Griffiths and
Terence Higgins.” Howell and
Griffiths, of course, are ex-ministers
of sport and Higgins is a former
Olympic competitor.
Third, there is disappointment
and growing annoyance that the
government has continued to put
sport in the front line of its attack
against Russia. It is quite clear to me
that if the Government had put an
embargo on all trade with Russia
and had withdrawn our ambassador
from Moscow then all 26 sports
would be united in rejecting the
invitation to Moscow. But since trade
There is real
resentment that
young athletes
are being used as
guns and soldiers
continues apace and diplomats still
come and go, there is considerable
resentment that young sportsmen
and women are being used as the
government’s guns and soldiers.
So the odds-on bet is that the BOA
will decide to accept the invitation
because many sports want to clear
up the uncertainty in competitors’
minds and because the BOA need
to go ahead with their preparations
and fund raising. Indeed their
fund-raising activities have been
severely hit and it may be necessary
to make an appeal to the public at
large – they need one million people
to contribute £1 each.
But even if the BOA do accept, it
does not mean that all sports will
send official teams. Some, notably
equestrianism, may decide not to
nominate an official team but they
will not stand in the way of any
Stephen
Hawking, pictured
during his address
at the London
2012 Paralympics
opening ceremony,
will be honoured
during today’s
closing ceremony
in Pyeongchang
achievement to theoretical physics.
However difficult life may seem,
there is always something you can
do, and succeed at. The Games
provide an opportunity for
athletes to excel, to stretch
themselves and become
outstanding in their field.
So let us together celebrate
excellence, friendship and
respect. Good luck to you all.”
Chris Brasher’s analysis was
correct. The British Olympic
Association voted by a large
majority to defy Thatcher’s
demand, and Britain sent a
strong lineup to Moscow –
minus equestrian sports, hockey
and yachting. The then sports
minister, Hector Monro, wrote
privately to Douglas Hurd, then
a junior Foreign Office minister,
to say that most athletes “believe
they are being singled out as a
means of attacking the Soviet
Union whilst politicians permit
the business of trade and
commerce to continue as usual”.
The British team ended up
seventh in the final medals table,
winning five golds including
Sebastian Coe’s in the 1500m
and Steve Ovett’s in the 800m.
The boycott, meanwhile, had
little impact. It did not convince
the Soviet Union to change policy
– and, four years later, they
responded in kind: boycotting
the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.
individual of Olympic standard who
wants to go. Other sports may go
ahead with trials and then leave the
decision to a vote of the competitors
themselves. So the probability is
that there will be a substantial and
strong British team in Moscow.
It is also probable that few, if
any, of the team will take part in
the opening ceremony – unless a
suggestion that western countries
should parade in black tracksuits
emblazoned with the word
“Afghanistan” (in Russian script)
across their chests gains support.
Two final points. If the Russians
withdraw from Afghanistan then
everybody, including, I suspect,
the Americans will go. But if the
British government bans trade and
withdraws our diplomats, then there
will be no British competitors – and
no press or television coverage.
Kingsholm (3pm, BT Sport 1) is
Bath’s first senior final for a decade,
since 2008’s European Challenge
Cup final win at the same venue.
Opponents Exeter, who won in 2014
to claim their first major trophy in
143 years, have lost the past two
finals. Exeter skills coach and former
Bath back Ricky Pellow: “This time
we’ve just got to finish the job.”
GLYN KIRK/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Will the agonising be over on Tuesday
when the British Olympic Association
meet again to decide whether or not
to enter a British team in the Moscow
Olympics? The competitors certainly
hope so; many administrators hope
so, and so, fervently, do we in the
press. There is nothing fresh to say.
It is time to decide.
We have talked to many of
the delegates from the 26 sports
TONY DUFFY/GETTY IMAGES
38 years ago, the
Thatcher government
tried to use sport as a
diplomatic weapon
against the Soviet Union.
It did not go to plan
In December 1979, seven months before
hosting the Olympics, the Soviet Union
invaded Afghanistan. Jimmy Carter, the
US president, responded by calling for a
global boycott of the Games. But while
66 nations joined the protest, British
Olympians were unconvinced. In March
1980, they met to agree a final response
to Margaret Thatcher’s demand for
them to stay at home. The Observer’s
Chris Brasher previewed their meeting.
23
Europe’s elite
City and Chelsea in action
Breaking up the men’s international
break this week: the Women’s
Champions League quarterfinal first legs – including
Manchester City v Sweden’s
Linkoping (Weds, 7pm) and
Chelsea away at Montpellier
(Weds, 7.45pm). Chelsea beat
Bayern Munich en route, while City
are smarting after losing the WSL
Cup final to Arsenal. Captain Steph
Houghton (pictured left), says City
“can’t dwell on the defeat … we just
have to look ahead, and go again.”
Rugby gongs
Bath’s long time waiting
Today’s Anglo-Welsh Cup final at
Endurance presenting
Sport Relief returns
It’s that time again: Sport Relief 2018
runs all week, with the main BBC1
event starting at 7pm on Friday,
and ending at 1am on Saturday.
Gary Lineker, Davina McCall, Ore
Oduba, Paddy McGuinness, Claudia
Winkleman and Freddie Flintoff
will keep those grins fixed for six
hours. Among this year’s features:
Chris Kamara in a football-themed
Strictly, Wayne Bridge in Celebrity
Boxing, and John Bishop’s version of
the James Corden Smithy England
sketch. Donate via sportrelief.com.
Said & Done returns next week
•
24
Thee Observer
18.03.18
03.18
Daniel Taylor
Sports Writer of the Year
Uefa a pussycat over Welbeck’s dive
P
wrote in his autobiography, full
of admiration. “When I saw the
replay, I realised that Daniel was
about a metre away from [Nemanja]
Vidic. I said to Daniel later: ‘Can
you imagine what would have
happened if that would have been
me?’ He said: ‘I felt him touching
me,’ and started laughing.” Not just
cheating, but virtually high-fiving
about how clever it was. Suárez and
Sturridge didn’t always get on – but
in this moment they sounded like
blood brothers.
T
DIGITALSOUTHSHM/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
resumably, everyone
is up to speed by now
about the reassuring
news from Uefa,
permanently trying
to find different ways
of curing football’s ills, that it has
launched disciplinary action against
Besiktas because of the pitch
invader that briefly interrupted the
club’s Champions League tie against
Bayern Munich.
Even by Uefa’s standards, it’s
a belter of a story given that it
was actually a ginger cat who
had wandered in off the streets
to investigate what all these silly
humans were up to. Unfortunately
for Besiktas, nobody at Uefa appears
to be aware that cats, as a general
rule, do as they please, rather
than what they are told. Nor is it
particularly easy to understand
what Besiktas should have done
to avoid the charge of “insufficient
organisation”. I mean, how does one
organise the pussycat community
of Istanbul these days? Should a
saucer of milk and tin of Whiskas
be kept by the dugout just in case?
And, all silliness aside, could Uefa
really not have taken the lead from
Bayern – whose supporters voted
the feline as their man of the match
– rather than directing a moment of
harmless fun towards its sanctions
department. The case will be heard
on 31 May and, knowing what we do
about Uefa’s disciplinary tariff, don’t
rule anything out – who could really
be shocked if a stray kitty ends up
costing Besiktas more in fines than
a Nazi salute or racist chant would?
It was interesting, though, that
there was nothing from Uefa about
what happened the following night
when Arsenal played Milan in
the Europa League and the latest
evidence that maybe it was time for
the people in charge of these affairs
to reassess their priorities.
A few paw prints on the pitch
at Besiktas certainly seemed less
offensive to me than the sight, once
again, of a professional footballer
duping the officials into awarding
a penalty and it is strange, to say
the least, that Uefa doesn’t employ
the same rule as the Football
Association, whereby the relevant
player would now be banned for
two games. There is an option to
take retrospective action if the
referee or match delegate raised the
matter. Plainly, they didn’t – and I
doubt Danny Welbeck, the player in
question, will care too greatly that
the headline in Corriere della Sera
was “Affondati da un tuffo” – “Sunk
by a dive” – or that Enrico Currò,
the correspondent for La Repubblica,
described it as a moment Italy’s
most famous high-board diver,
Tania Cagnotto, would have been
proud of.
Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck goes to ground against Milan – leading one Italian paper to dub him ‘as cunning as a weasel’
Not that the Italian media
are demanding Welbeck is put
in stocks outside the Duomo.
One newspaper’s description of
Welbeck as “cunning as a weasel
for pinching a penalty that never
was” comes across as praise rather
than condemnation and Corriere
dello Sport actually made him
man of the match, acknowledging
his movement, his two goals and
the way he won, then scored, the
penalty that turned the game heavily
in Arsenal’s favour. It’s a different
culture, far more conditioned to
players who dive, but that doesn’t
mean to say English football can be
arrogant enough to give itself a pat
on the back. I still see no English
player as unsteady on his feet as, say,
Diego Costa or Didier Drogba. But
the gap is closing and it is starting to
feel like a close-run thing.
For the hard evidence, just
look through the list of players
Gareth Southgate has called
up for England’s forthcoming
friendlies against the Netherlands
and Italy and tot up the ones who
have previous for these kind of
deceptions.
All four of the players listed as
forwards, just for starters. Raheem
Sterling and Jamie Vardy have made
an art form of initiating contact
with the defender and then going
down in the penalty area. Marcus
Rashford’s dive to win a penalty
against Swansea last season was one
of the reasons why the FA beefed
up its rules. Welbeck
has just proved Arsène
Wenger’s point about
English players taking
over as the “masters”
of diving – if you
remember the
penalty Welbeck
won against
Wigan at Old
Trafford in
September
2012 you
might argue
this is nothing new.
When it comes to the midfielders,
it is not just Dele Alli who appears
to consider thespianism just an
extension of all his other talent.
Jesse Lingard and Jordan Henderson
have both been booked for diving,
and in the kind of games when it
is bemusing to think they felt it
necessary to try it on – Lingard
in a Europa League tie against
Midtjylland and Henderson in a
League Cup tie against Exeter.
Alli is, however, the worst of
the lot by some distance: a serial
offender who has been booked three
times for diving since his Premier
League debut in August 2015, as
well as getting away with the same
kind of offence more times than he
will probably want us to remember.
He cheats. He will do it again, soon
probably, because he doesn’t learn
from it and doesn’t seem to care
too greatly that he is now thought
of in this regard as even more
Who knows what
a stray kitty will
cost Besiktas?
But there was
nothing from
Uefa about what
happened when
Arsenal played
Milan a day later
prolific than Ashley Young – a player
Roberto Mancini once referred to by
leaning forward in his chair, putting
his hands together and stooping
his head in the manner of another
Tania Cagnotto.
If you are wondering how many
that leaves with a clean slate from
the list of England strikers or
attacking midfielders, the answer
is three: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain,
Adam Lallana and Jack Wilshere.
Or four, perhaps, if Harry Kane
was fit and given the benefit of
the doubt. Daniel Sturridge? His
only booking in the last four years
for Liverpool was for – you’ve
guessed it – a dive. You might also
remember the little piece of mid-air
sorcery to conjure up a penalty at
Manchester United in 2014. “Such
a good dive,” as Luis Suárez later
he difficult part is
knowing what to do
about it now it is such
an unshakeable part of
football life. The new
FA rules have changed
little and it didn’t need Uefa’s
inaction after the Arsenal-Milan tie
– a game, incidentally, when a Milan
player, Suso, was booked for diving
– for one to suspect European
football’s governing body still
doesn’t understand why so many
people find it a turnoff.
One idea is that if Premier League
managers were fined a certain
amount – £15,000, for example –
every time it happened they would
quickly make sure the players got
the message. But that kind of money
is still chickenfeed for today’s
multimillionaires and it would be
much fairer, surely, to punish the
players themselves. Each player
caught diving should get one strike,
to act as a warning. But I like the
idea that if somebody does the same
again, and gets another booking in
the process, that player should serve
an automatic two-match ban. If it
happens a third time, it goes up to
three matches. And so on – with all
offences counted over the previous
three seasons.
Uefa could introduce something
similar if it were not too preoccupied
with the issues caused by Istanbul’s
stray kitty community. Except
Uefa has promised before to tackle
diving in football but never kept to
its word. “Uefa is prepared to crack
down on what it considers as the
intentional cheating of referees
and opponents, by suspending
‘simulators’ for gross unsporting
conduct if evidence such as TV
video footage shows that a player
has intentionally duped a referee
by, for example, diving in the
opposition penalty area,” the press
release announced in November
2004. “It is important that Uefa
sends a message on simulation out
to players,” Peter Limacher, Uefa’s
disciplinary services manager,
added. “They must know that if
they are going to cheat, they will
face disciplinary proceedings.” All of
which raises one obvious question:
how did that one go?
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