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The Observer Sports 03 December 2017

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| Sunday 03 December 2017 | www.observer.co.uk/sport
CRAIG’S CRACKER
Debutant Overton bags Smith’s wicket
et but
England struggle after gamble to bowl
wl first
Second Ashes Test: P14-16
SPORT
OH SO
CLOSE
England fall
agonisingly
short as
Kangaroos hold
on to clinch
World Cup
P12-13
PREMIER LEAGUE ARSENAL 1 MANCHESTER UNITED 3
GAME OVER
Jesse Lingard runs
away in celebration
after putting
Manchester United
3-1 up, snuffing out
Arsenal’s hopes.
Laurence Griffiths/
Getty Images
JESSE
GAINS
Lingard punishes careless Arsenal
but Pogba will miss Manchester derby
after red card for Bellerín tackle P2-3
Allardyce: onwards and upwards after Everton win
‘I felt this job to
be right for me’
Pardew buoyed by
West Brom draw
1 2 A
*
Richard Jolly and Ed Aarons
Sam Allardyce savoured an ideal start to
his new job as he made an instant impact
as Everton manager with a 2-0 home
win against Huddersfield while Alan
Pardew, sacked by Crystal Palace last
December, said he was encouraged on
his return to the hot seat despite West
Brom failing to find a way past his former club.
Allardyce became the first man to
manage seven clubs in the Premier
League and revealed he had turned
down a number of other positions
before accepting an 18-month contract
at Goodison Park. He has set his sights
on securing a second successive
seventh-place finish for Everton. “If I
take a job, it is because I am totally and
100% committed,” he said. “I don’t take
the job in any other circumstances. I
turned many a job down before this one.
I felt this to be right for me. It is a dream
job for me.
“It wasn’t a difficult decision. I knew
how good it was, with the history of
the club and the people I know in and
around the club and who have played for
this club. So I have got to live up to that
standard and make them better if I can
and try and get them back to where they
were last season as quick as I can.
“I don’t know how long it will take
but I will try my very best to have the
sort of season they had last year, if not
better. Back-to-back wins for the first
time this season: let’s hope it is onwards
and upwards.”
Allardyce had a slower start in his
previous survival mission, when he
succeeded Pardew at Palace on a shortterm contract last season, and enjoyed an
earlier victory this time. “It took me six
games at Palace and everyone was telling
Mixed fortunes: Sam Allardyce enjoyed a
win but Alan Pardew (right) had a draw
me I was coming back too soon and I was
not the man I used to be,” he said.
Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic CalvertLewin scored against Huddersfield after
Allardyce ordered his wingers to focus
on attacking. “We changed our tactics
at half-time because we needed to get
Gylfi and Aaron [Lennon] further up the
pitch,” Allardyce said. “We told them not
to chase their full-backs back. That got
Gylfi in the box with a lovely flick and
finish. I am so pleased for Dominic that
he got a goal after his work on the front
line.”
Palace’s Julián Speroni made several
key saves to deny his former manager
victory after being drafted in 25 minutes
before kick-off at the Hawthorns when
Wayne Hennessey suffered a back spasm
in the warm-up.
“I had some really good performances
and I can’t fault their application,”
Pardew said. “It’s just a shame that we
can’t send our fans home happy.
“It was good to feel the camaraderie
of the dressing room and they were very
focused before the game. We have a lot
of experience in there and I’m looking
forward to working with them.”
While Palace moved off the bottom,
above Swansea and West Ham, West
Brom are still without a victory since
the second match of the season – a run
that now stretches back 13 games. But
Pardew saw plenty of reasons to be
positive after his first match in charge
for almost a year. “I’m buoyed by the
commitment that they gave me,” he said.
“We sometimes lacked confidence at the
right moment but that is something we
can improve on.”
Match reports pages 4-5
Southgate wants
more than one
captain for Russia
Nick Ames
Moscow
Gareth Southgate will tackle the vexed
issue of who will captain England at the
World Cup finals in Russia next summer by
handing the armband to his most senior
player on match day.
Southgate has had six captains across
14 games and wants to foster a sense of
shared leadership among his squad. “There
have been times where having one leader
is important,” he said. “But I feel as if the
modern world is a little bit different and
the shared responsibility becomes a more
important thing.”
That would mean adopting the European
model, where the armband is generally
handed to the most-capped player rather
than having a sole leader, as has been
England’s tradition.
World Cup 2018 draw guide, pages 10-11
* 03.12.17
2 | SPORT | Football | Premier League
Lingard kills off Arsenal after
ARSENAL
1
Lacazette 49
MANCHESTER UNITED
3
Valencia 4 Lingard 11 63
David Hytner
Emirates Stadium
It was an occasion when Manchester
United demonstrated a remorseless edge
in front of goal and yet could count goalkeeper David De Gea as their most influential player. And it was one in which the
joy of a first Premier League away win
over a “big six” rival under José Mourinho was undercut by a senseless red
card for Paul Pogba.
What a mixed bag it was for the France
international. He had set up Antonio
Valencia’s opening goal and generally
strutted about the Emirates as though
he owned the place. But on 74 minutes,
he lunged at Héctor Bellerín, planting
his studs onto the back of the Arsenal’s
defender’s leg and drawing the inevitable censure. Pogba will be suspended for
next Sunday’s Manchester derby.
Arsenal played a full part in a richly
entertaining spectacle and how they
trailed by two goals at half-time was
astonishing. It was down to the brilliance of De Gea and he would continue
to excel after the break. His double save
to keep out Alexandre Lacazette and
Alexis Sánchez drew sharp breaths
around the stadium.
Arsenal had entered on a roll, optimism pepped by the derby victory over
Tottenham and a feeling that they had
located their groove – particularly on
home turf. It was a recurrence of defensive frailties that blew them off course.
No team can offer such gifts to an opponent and expect to emerge unscathed.
Arsenal had carried three consecutive
Premier League clean sheets into the
game but they spoiled the record in the
opening exchanges. Twice, they erred
at the back and twice, United punished
them. Laurent Koscielny was the first
Arsenal villain. His cross-field pass was
intended for Sead Kolasinac but it was
floated whimsically and Valencia had the
time to barrel forward and intercept.
Valencia’s pass to Pogba had the alarm
bells ringing. In fact, every attendant red
shirt was drawn to the United midfielder
and, when he popped it back to Valencia, the weight of the pass was perfect.
Just as eye-catching was the space that
Valencia had been given inside the area.
He took a touch before shooting low
through Petr Cech’s legs.
Mourinho had persisted with the
same XI as from the midweek win at
Watford and, as significantly, he retained
the same system, with three at the back
and Anthony Martial up front alongside Romelu Lukaku. Martial had some
lovely touches, none better than the flick
with which he teed up Jesse Lingard for
United’s second. He took one to set himself and the subsequent back-heel was
marked by flair and precision. Lingard
shot first time into the far corner.
The move had originated in a
moment of nightmarish sloppiness from
Shkodran Mustafi. Receiving possession
as the last defender, he dawdled and
was robbed by Lingard. The ball broke
to Lukaku and he found Martial. To add
injury to the insult, Mustafi felt Lingard’s
challenge strongly and was forced off.
Wenger clawed at the back of his
head in disbelief. With Pogba running
riot, his plans lay in tatters. He sent on
Alex Iwobi and switched to a 4-2-3-1
formation and, almost immediately, the
flow of the game changed. Arsenal had
the chances but ran into an inspired De
Gea. The United keeper made two excellent first-half saves, the first to smuggle
Lacazette’s close-range shot up and onto
the crossbar – Granit Xhaka curled the
rebound inches wide – and the second
to paw the ball away from the line after
Sánchez’s free-kick had ricocheted off
Lukaku. There were a further handful,
including diving stops to keep out Bellerín and Kolasinac.
Arsenal did not get the breaks in the
first-half. Everything seemed to elude
them by the tiniest of margins inside the
area but the crowd stayed with them and
their belief did not drop. They got the
goal they deserved early in the secondhalf and it served to light the touchpaper.
Aaron Ramsey was yards onside when
he ghosted onto Mesut Özil’s floated
cross but when he touched back on the
volley to Lacazette, everybody seemed
to stop and look at the assistant referee.
Lacazette did not. He shot coolly past De
Gea. Game on.
Lingard had a one-on-one with Cech
in the 52nd minute and his shot looped
off the goalkeeper and bounced up
against the post but it was Arsenal that
pressed. De Gea had saved smartly from
Iwobi before he enjoyed his crowning
moment. He threw out a strong hand to
deny Lacazette before he blocked with
his feet to thwart Sánchez.
Arsenal promptly conceded on the
break and, once again, Koscielny was
implicated. He seemed to have Pogba
under control only to be out-muscled by
him on the left. Pogba crossed; Lingard
tapped in. Pogba was not finished and
the consequences of his red mist will be
felt in the coming weeks – particularly
when City visit in the next league fixture.
Viva Valencia: Antonio Valencia beats
Petr Cech as his opening goal for
Manchester United paves the way
for a 3-1 victory over Arsenal at
the Emirates. Neil Hall/EPA
ARSENAL Cech; Koscielny■, Mustafi (Iwobi 15),
Monreal; Bellerín■, Ramsey, Xhaka (Welbeck 70),
Kolasinac (Giroud 76); Özil, Sánchez■, Lacazette
Subs not used Mertesacker, Wilshere, Ospina, Coquelin
MANCHESTER UTD De Gea; Lindelöf, Smalling, Rojo■;
Valencia, Pogba■, Matic, Young (Rashford 90); Lingard
(Darmian 76); Martial (Herrera 67■), Lukaku
Subs not used Mata, Blind, Romero, McTominay
Handywork: José Mourinho watches his
United team close the gap on the leaders
Emirates Stadium 59,547
Game rating |||||||||| Referee Andre Marriner
Spanish spider-man denies Wenger
with goalkeeping masterclass
Home side could easily
have won but for the
man in United’s goal,
writes Barney Ronay
How did Arsenal not win this match?
Actually, scratch that, how did Arsenal
not win this match 6-3 , or 8-3 or – not
being greedy – by a simple 4-3? This is
not a rhetorical question. There is an
answer. The reason this didn’t happen
is because David De Gea produced a
performance of relentless brilliance in
Manchester United’s goal.
For an hour at the Emirates as
Arsenal surged back from the indignity
of conceding a 2-0 deficit De Gea was
a one-man spider’s web leaping and
tumbling and spreading his limbs with
genuinely startling grace and agility to
keep Arsenal at bay.
There was the mind-boggling
double-save 11 minutes into the second
half with the score at 2-1, De Gea
plunging with whip-crack speed to
get a hand on to Alexandre Lacazette’s
powerful low shot, then leaping up to
deflect Alexis Sanchez’s follow-up over
the bar. This was almost a bending of
the rules of the game, goalkeeping that
defies any sense of sporting justice, of
reasonable cause and effect. Arsenal
looked violently pained not to have
scored, ready to appeal, fruitlessly to
the referee or the fourth official or God.
Except, God was wearing a
turquoise shirt and playing in goal
for the visitors. In among so many
others, there was a first half save from
Alexandre Lacazette that was almost
lost in the scramble that preceded it, De
Gea showing bravery and outstanding
reflexes to deflect the ball up on to the
bar from point-blank range.
Shortly afterwards he produced
something even more hair-raising.
As Arsenal overlapped on one side
and crossed deep to the back post
Romelu Lukaku, defending in extremis,
propelled the ball toward his own goal
off his shin. De Gea twisted, flexed in
mid air and clawed it away with the
spatial awareness of a gymnast.
Goalkeepers have always been a
random element in football. A good or
bad goalkeeper skews and re-makes
the narrative, just as here De Gea’s
brilliance turned a dominant attacking
performance from Arsenal into a home
team picked off with surgical brilliance
on the break. But then, every great team
tends – no coincidence this – to have a
great goalie.
As do some workaday, almostthere teams, like this second season
Mourinho United, who were at times
almost overrun, at others brutally
compelling in attack throughout this
fun, thrilling, utterly engaging 3-1
victory.
For 10 minutes United were
brutal. For an hour they were dogged,
stretched and reliant on the maniac in
the gloves to keep Arsenal to just the
one goal, scored by Lacazette. United
scored a fine third goal on the break,
Paul Pogba easing Laurent Koscielny
out of his way like a small child in the
playground, and squaring for Jesse
Lingard to get his second.
Finally United were dogged and
depleted, Pogba having capped a really
fine performance by getting himself
sent off for a senseless stamp on Hector
Bellerín.
If De Gea was a one man wall, Pogba,
in his 75 minutes on the pitch, was a
wonderful outfield leader. In a game
this much fun picking out one attacking
03.12.17
*
Premier League | Football | SPORT | 3
De Gea’s heroics
New look, same
style as Klopp’s
strollers rise up
BRIGHTON
1
Murray 51pen
LIVERPOOL
5
Can 30 Firmino 31 48 Coutinho 87 Dunk 89og
Paul Doyle
Amex Stadium
Big dive: David de
Gea saves a shot
from Arsenal’s
Sead Kolasinac.
Ian Kington/AFP/
Getty Images
player for praise seems unfair. But
Pogba was the heartbeat of United’s
performance before his red card, both
as they attacked and as they were
pushed back.
Arsène Wenger’s team have been
in fine form. The front three sparked
again. But then, it was always likely this
would be a game United would try to
win on fine details, by being ruthless
with any moments of slackness, then
defending fiercely.
United were unchanged here from
the rollicking, freewheeling 3-5-2 that
had scored three times against Watford
in a breezy first half. They began with
genuine vigour, Lukaku dropping into
Pogba eased
Koscielny out of his
way like a small child
in the playground,
squaring for Jesse
Lingard’s second
deep positions and bumping defenders
away cleverly to make space for an early
raid down the left. The opening goal on
five minutes came with alarming ease,
Arsenal’s defence collapsing at the first
hint of pressure like a fine-milled wafer
biscuit dunked in a mug of boiling tea.
If Pogba gave the scoring pass
Laurent Koscielny played a large part
too with a horrible cross field pass
40 yards out that Antonio Valencia
intercepted hungrily. Pogba paused and
played a perfect pass back to Valencia.
His low hard shot went through Nacho
Monreal’s legs and also those of Petr
Cech, a double Ecuadorian nutmeg,
always a popular thing at this time of
year in the coffee chain outlets of North
London.
Minutes later United added a
second, helped by more poor defending
and Anthony Martial’s wonderful
reverse pass. After which, as Arsenal
came storming back, it was over to
De Gea, who with little in the way
of theatrics, and always with a bit of
shrug, produced what was surely one of
the great Premier League goalkeeping
performances.
Having to improvise a new look did
not stop Liverpool from parading their
customary attacking brio on the Sussex
coast and where Brighton have never
had it so bad – at least at the Amex Stadium. They moved in six years ago and
their current manager, Chris Hughton,
declared Liverpool to be the best team
they have faced this season – which is
high praise considering that the only
other visitors to win here were Manchester City.
The endorsement seemed justified
because Liverpool were scintillating
going forward, with Mohamed Salah,
Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho
exceptional as Jürgen Klopp’s team
brought their goal tally to 15 from their
last four away matches.
Yet Klopp was not quite as impressed
as Hughton. “Results-wise it looks like
we’re flying but we’re not,” said the German, who bemoaned a 10-minute spell
in the second half during which his team
conceded a goal and risked losing control of the match.
The frequency of such periods is, perhaps, the chief difference between them
and Manchester City. This time, at least,
there were mitigating factors.
Joël Matip’s injury and Ragnar Klavan’s illness forced Klopp into a newlook formation in which Emre Can and
Georgino Wijanldum flanked Dejan
Lovren in a three-man defence.
With Trent Alexander-Arnold and
Andy Robertson playing as wing-backs,
Liverpool’s backline had an avant-garde
look. But the shape was mostly anecdotal
as Liverpool were fluid and devastating
when in possession, which was most of
the time.
Brighton found it quite the brainteaser. They were stumped by the visitors’ speed and movement, especially in
the first half.
Salah fired off the first shot after less
than 30 seconds, signalling the fusillade
that was to come.
Salah and Firmino both went close
again before Brighton exposed any
uncertainty in Liverpool’s rejigged
defence. That was in the 17th minute, but
Glenn Murray miscued after Can and
Lovren failed to cut out a cross by Izzy
Brown. It was the last glimpse that the
home side would get of Liverpool’s net
before the match was put beyond them
by two goals in 79 seconds.
On the half-hour, Can sent a powerful header into the net from a corner by
Coutinho. Then Liverpool doubled their
lead with a breakneck counterattack,
Salah leading the charge before flipping the ball wide to Coutinho, whose
low pass from the left was turned in by
Firmino.
With Sadio Mané resting on the bench
in advance of Wednesday’s decisive
Champions League tie at home to Spartak Moscow, Coutinho was Liverpool’s
ringmaster, tormenting Brighton with
the sort of flourishes that prompted Bar-
celona try to sign him in the summer. Yet
Liverpool’s habit of frittering away leads
means opponents can always hope for
a comeback.
Brighton evidently still believed it was
possible when they emerged after halftime, and their faith would have been
rewarded within two minutes if not for a
brilliant save by Simon Mignolet. Brown
created the chance by sneaking into the
space behind Alexander-Arnold, but
Mignolet saved Murray’s close-range
volley with his feet.
Before Brighton knew it, they were
three goals down, Liverpool racing up
the other end of the pitch for Firmino
to finish emphatically after being served
by Salah.
Three minutes later, however,
Brighton narrowed the gap. This time it
was Liverpool who did not grasp what
was happening. The referee, Graham
Scott, awarded the home team a penalty for an offence he saw as the ball
was floated in from a corner. Liverpool’s
defenders looked bemused, but Murray
asked no questions and converted from
the penalty spot.
Liverpool did not disintegrate. They
blew Brighton to pieces. Coutinho
crowned his regal performance with a
goal of craft and slyness.
Anticipating that Brighton’s players would jump, the Brazilian drilled
STAR QUALITY
Liverpool’s key attacking talents are
firing: Philippe Coutinho has had a hand
in 12 goals in his last 10 league games
(seven goals, five assists); Mohamed
Salah has been involved in 15 in his first
15 games, more than any other player
for the club (12 goals, 3 assists); and,
since his 2015 league debut, Roberto
Firmino has scored 26 league goals –
more than any other Liverpool player.
a 20-yard free-kick under the wall and
into the net.
“Credit to the analysts,” said Klopp,
explaining that Liverpool’s backroom
staff had tipped off Coutinho about the
behaviour of Brighton’s wall. “But you
still have to have the skill to do it,” added
the manager in praise of the Brazilian,
who scored a similar goal against West
Ham United last year.
Hughton described the dilemma facing opposing teams when Coutinho is
standing over a free-kick. “If you don’t
jump, he whips it into the top corner,”
he said. “You have to give the credit to
the player.”
Lewis Dunk would have liked
Coutinho to be credited with Liverpool’s
fifth goal, too, otherwise the record must
identify the Brighton defender as the
culprit, as he inadvertently diverted the
Brazilian midfielder’s shot into his own
goal in the 89th minute.
BRIGHTON Ryan; Bruno■ (Schelotto 76), Duffy, Dunk,
Bong; Knockaert (March 69), Stephens, Pröpper, Brown
(Izquierdo 69); Gross; Murray
Subs not used Krul, Kayal, Hemed, Goldson
LIVERPOOL Mignolet; Can, Lovren, Wijnaldum; AlexanderArnold, Henderson (Grujic 88), Milner, Robertson; Coutinho,
Firmino (Solanke 86), Salah (Oxlade-Chamberlain 78)
Subs not used Karius, Klavan, Mané, Sturridge
Amex Stadium 30,634
Game rating |||||||||| Referee Graham Scott
Man in the middle: Roberto Firmino evades his marker to fire the ball past Brighton
keeper Mathew Ryan for Liverpool’s third goal. John Sibley/Action Images via Reuters
* 03.12.17
4 | SPORT | Football | Premier League
Fresh starts for familiar faces Once again Pardew and Allardyce have been parachuted into
AT A GLANCE
HOW THEY STAND
Manchester City
Manchester United
Chelsea
Liverpool
Arsenal
Tottenham
Burnley
Watford
Leicester
Everton
Brighton
Southampton
Stoke
Newcastle
Huddersfield
Bournemouth
West Brom
Crystal Palace
West Ham
Swansea
P
14
15
15
15
15
15
15
15
15
15
15
14
15
15
15
14
15
15
14
15
W
13
11
10
8
9
7
7
6
5
5
4
4
4
4
4
4
2
2
2
2
D
1
2
2
5
1
4
4
4
5
3
5
4
4
3
3
2
7
4
4
3
L
0
2
3
2
5
4
4
5
5
7
6
6
7
8
8
8
6
9
8
10
F
44
35
28
33
29
23
14
25
20
19
14
14
18
14
9
12
12
8
12
8
A
9
9
12
19
19
13
12
26
20
28
19
17
30
22
26
16
21
25
30
18
Pts
40
35
32
29
28
25
25
22
20
18
17
16
16
15
15
14
13
10
10
9
THE FACTS
■ Brighton’s Glenn Murray has now scored five in
his last seven league appearances – having drawn
a blank in each of the six before that. It didn’t stop
Liverpool winning, though: they now have three
consecutive away league wins, after a run of
just one in the previous five on the road.
■ Chelsea recorded their 16th top-flight home win
against Newcastle – their joint-most against one
team. Newcastle have now won only one of their
last 19 Premier League away games.
■ Everton’s Wayne Rooney has scored five and
assisted one in his last six top-flight games, after just
two goal involvements (two goals) in his previous
seven. Huddersfield have lost four straight league
games for the first time since November 2000.
■ Leicester have now lost just one of their last 10
games in all competitions (W5 D4 L1). Burnley, after
three successive league wins and clean sheets, have
conceded in each of their last three, losing twice.
■ Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in
nine Stoke goals in his last 11 league games (four
goals, five assists) – his joint-best return in a
Premier League season. Wilfried Bony’s opener was
Swansea’s first league goal for 431 minutes.
■ Watford have now failed to win all of their previous
nine league games with Tottenham (D3 L6). Spurs
have kept just one clean sheet in their last seven
league games, after four in the five games before that.
■ West Brom had 20 shots against Palace – their
highest tally in a league game since December 2015.
Palace became the first Premier League team to fail
to score in 10 consecutive away games (D2 L8).
STILL TO COME
Bournemouth v Southampton
Manchester City v West Ham
1.30pm SSPL
4pm SSPL
SATURDAY
SUNDAE
MAN OF THE DAY
Jesse Lingard, lighting up
social media with a “Milly
Rock” goal dance. Coming
soon to the West Brom dugout.
t.
GENEROSITY OF THE DAY
Only one player has scored more own
goals in a Premier League season than
Brighton’s Lewis Dunk. He has three so far:
Martin Skrtel managed four in 2013-14.
THROWBACK OF THE DAY
Palace faced West Bromwich with a retro
subs bench: just five replacements, none a
keeper, due to illness and a warm-up injury.
It was enough for Roy Hodgson, though: he
only used one of them, in the 87th-minute.
SINKING FEELING OF THE DAY
If Sunderland fail to beat Fulham in a fortnight
it means they are guaranteed to go more
than a year without a home win in any
competition. Their last result was a 1-0
victory over Watford on 17 December 2016.
ROMANCE KILLERS
OF THE DAY
Notts County devastated
FA Cup minnows Oxford
City with an uncalled-for
95th-minute winner. Better news
for phoenix club Hereford’s 1,050
050
travelling fans, though – a draw at
Fleetwood securing a ball-share in
tomorrow’s third-round draw.
FINALE OF THE DAY
There was top value on offer in the Cup at
the New Lawn: delirious Forest Green fans
celebrating a dramatic 3-2 win over Exeter
with goals in the 88th and 91st minutes –
only to see Exeter score an equaliser on 93.
WORST DAY OUT
Fort William fans headed to Brora hoping
for a morale-boosting first Press & Journal
Highland League victory of the season.
They lost it 16-0 and remain bottom on one
point. Their goal difference: minus 65.
FOOTBALL WEEKLY
Join Max Rushden, Barry Glendenning
and guests in the pod tomorrow for a
spot of nonsense and knowledge, puns
and punditry, as they dissect this
weekend’s action
theguardian.com/footballweekly
Hodgson the happier as
Palace move off the bottom
WEST BROMWICH A
0
CRYSTAL PALACE
0
Ed Aarons
The Hawthorns
This may not have been how Alan
Pardew would have imagined his return
to the dugout, yet on a day that saw both
he and opposite number Roy Hodgson
face former clubs, a first clean sheet in 10
matches at least gave West Brom’s new
manager something to build on.
A frustrating afternoon that saw
Albion thwarted on several occasions
by the stand-in goalkeeper Julián Speroni ensured that Hodgson emerged the
more satisfied, even as Crystal Palace set
another unwanted record by becoming
the first team to fail to score in 10 successive Premier League away games.
“I’m disappointed we haven’t won,”
said Pardew. “We tried to really unhinge
them at the start but then we lost our
way. I was really pleased with the second half. With a bit more belief around
the box we could have won it.”
Having reached the FA Cup final
only seven months earlier, the timing of
Pardew’s departure from Selhurst Park
three days before Christmas 2016 still
rankles despite a record that saw them
win just one of his final 11 league games
to leave them in 17th place. That was
exactly the position which West Brom
found themselves in at kick off, having
accrued fewer points than any other
team in the division since the start of the
year under Tony Pulis.
Pardew made just one change to the
team that surrendered a 2-0 lead against
Newcastle in midweek as Jay Rodriguez
came in to an attacking 4-3-3 formation.
West Brom’s supporters responded with
a warm welcome for the manager who
had promised to “free up” his new side at
his unveiling this week, although apart
from the opening 20 minutes and a spell
at the start of the second half, the fans
would have struggled to notice much
difference.
Hal Robson-Kanu should have scored
when Kieran Gibbs’ cross fell to him on
the edge of the six-yard box, only for the
Wales forward to scoop the ball over
from close range. Palace had secured
their first away point of the season
against Brighton on Tuesday but they
looked shaky at the back, with Ahmed
Hegazi heading wide from a corner.
West Brom’s defenders were rarely
troubled in the opening exchanges,
although in Wilfried Zaha the visitors
possess a match winner of real quality.
Ben Foster was lucky to escape when his
attempt to dribble around the forward
failed and the goalkeeper used an illegal
hand to get himself out of trouble. At the
other end, Rodriguez breezed past Martin Kelly but could not evade Mamadou
Sakho’s block when a goal seemed likely.
Aside from one Hegazi challenge on
Zaha that could have resulted in a penalty, Palace had to wait until the dying
Able replacement: Jay Rodriguez is frustrated again by Crystal Palace’s stand-in goalkeeper, Julián Speroni. Phil Noble/Reuters
FIRST IMPRESSIONS
RECEPTION
Alan Pardew took an out-of-character lowkey approach when announced at kick-off
– raising an arm in acknowledgement before
finding his seat. The fans were warm enough,
and found their voice in the second half as his
side pressed for a winner. They’ll have been
encouraged by the positive demeanour.
TOUCHLINE DEMEANOUR
No sign of the dance moves that graced last
year’s FA Cup final and became the subject
of a million memes on social media. Pardew
kept his composure. Whether that would
have been the case had Rondón’s late header
snuck inside a post we will never know.
IMPACT
Fans have craved a more attacking approach
after life under Tony Pulis and there were
signs that Pardew will go on the front foot.
A first clean sheet since mid-September is
evidence that he is also capable of organising
a defence, although they had little to do.
moments of the first half to create a
serious threat on goal, with Christian
Benteke denied by Foster’s sharp save.
The striker then headed the resulting
corner straight at the goalkeeper.
As Pardew acknowledged, the loss
of Gareth Barry after just half an hour
seemed to have an unsettling effect on
West Brom’s midfield but they came out
for the second half in determined mood.
A block from Joel Ward was required
to keep out the impressive Sam Field,
before Rodriguez was denied by Speroni.
The Argentinian had lost his place to
Hennessey having started five league
matches this season but showed he is
still capable enough by turning away
Salomón Rondón’s effort from a tight
angle before thwarting Robson-Kanu’s
drive. Palace lacked ambition as West
Brom attempted to find a winner, with
Benteke guilty of failing to react quickly
enough to decent crosses into the box on
more than one occasion.
Pochettino praises 10-man
Spurs after Sánchez red card
WATFORD
1
Kabasele 13
TOTTENHAM
1
Son 25
Paul MacInnes
Vicarage Road
What conclusions should be drawn from
this bracing encounter between two
teams determined to give no quarter?
Was it two points dropped for Spurs as
their run without a Premier League win
extended to four matches? Or was it a
point earned, after being forced to play
most of the second half with 10 men? For
Watford, should they have taken greater
advantage of the dismissal of Davinson
Sánchez in the 52nd minute? Or had they
proven they can go toe to toe with the big
teams and compete?
In the end the managers were
inclined to take a positive approach.
Watford’s Marco Silva was proud of
the performance and was aggrieved
not have been awarded penalties in
two contentious incidents. Meanwhile,
his Tottenham counterpart, Mauricio
Pochettino, was almost serene, singing
the praises of his team for the way they
kept attacking and insisting their current
run is character forming.
The sending off of Sánchez was
biggest moment, the defender dismissed
for stopping a Richarlison counterattack with an arm to the Brazilian’s face.
Pochettino was disinclined to express
much of an opinion, but suggested the
contact was accidental. “I’m not going to
complain, I’m not going to say anything,”
he said. “Of course we are going to watch
it back on video and I’ve had lots of messages on my phone, some are saying
he should have been sent off, some say
not. I think it was not his intention but
maybe the arm touches the face of the
player and that is the interpretation of
the referee.”
Sánchez’s arm certainly did touch
Richarlison face and Silva was in no
Rondón almost made them pay when
his header went narrowly wide in the
dying minutes, as Palace held on to claim
a point and move off the bottom of the
table for the first time under Hodgson.
“I’m not getting carried away but it
was a good point,” said Hodgson, who
revealed that Palace’s preparations for
the game were disrupted when they had
to be evacuated from their train to Birmingham on Friday after it broke down
before being kept awake at their hotel by
a noisy wedding. “It wasn’t the best way
to prepare for a match but at least I’ll go
home with a smile on my face.”
WEST BROM Foster; Nyom, Evans, Hegazi, Gibbs;
Livermore■, Barry (Yacob 30), Field■; Robson-Kanu
(McClean 72), Rondón, Rodriguez (Burke 90)
Subs not used Myhill, Krychowiak, McAuley, Melbourne
CRYSTAL PALACE Speroni; Ward■, Kelly, Sakho,
Schlupp; Loftus-Cheek, McArthur, Milivojevic,
Townsend (Sako 87); Zaha, Benteke Subs not used
Van Aanholt, Fosu-Mensah, Puncheon, Riedewald
The Hawthorns 23,531
Game rating |||||||||| Referee Michael Oliver
03.12.17
*
Premier League | Football | SPORT | 5
struggling clubs – and they enjoyed contrasting fortunes at their first games in charge
Big Sam standard brings
instant reward for Everton
Silver lining
for Gray as
Burnley run
into trouble
LEICESTER
1
Gray 6
EVERTON
2
BURNLEY
Sigurdsson 47 Calvert-Lewin 73
HUDDERSFIELD
0
Sean Taylor
King Power Stadium
Richard Jolly
Goodison Park
If this showed why Everton hired Sam
Allardyce, the reasons for his recruitment were confirmed at a stroke. The
63-year-old may be a one-man guarantee against relegation but his new team
now reside in the top half of the table.
Perhaps panic, rather than necessity,
accounted for his arrival, but this debut
win had the stamp of classic Allardyce.
“The fans, players, staff and owners
can breathe a little easier,” said the first
man to manage seven Premier League
clubs after offering a snapshot of why the
previous six had deemed him eminently
employable. There was Allardyce’s
trademark clean sheet, already equalling the tallies his predecessors, Ronald
Koeman and David Unsworth, managed
in the league, even if Huddersfield’s
drought on the road, which dates back to
their opening-day win at Crystal Palace,
helped account for it.
“Defensively did Huddersfield have a
chance today?” asked Allardyce, aware
of the answer to his own question. “That
gave us a platform to go on and win the
game.”
He has long shown a capacity to win
the winnable games, and home matches
against promoted clubs on losing runs
belong firmly in that category. “It is not
about four losses in a row,” insisted the
Huddersfield manager David Wagner.
“Every game has its own story.”
But this was a sequel in the Allardyce
saga. Few have procured more points
from forgettable fare. “It could have been
better for entertainment, more passing
and moving, but we can build on that as
we go on,” he said. Allardyce’s reputation
for ugly effectiveness precedes him. He
is likely to keep Everton up and it probably will not be pretty. One high-class
goal was out of keeping with a low-calibre game. The pragmatist in Allardyce
was never going to reject another that
contained an element of luck.
Equally, the opener illustrated the
latent talent in Everton’s ranks. Cuco
Martina recorded their first shot on target under the new manager. It was also
the only one before the interval. Then
came Allardyce’s first decisive intervention; Aaron Lennon and Gylfi Sigurdsson
were ordered to stay further upfield. The
Icelander, who had looked anything but a
£45m player before then, duly delivered
his most meaningful goal since his clubrecord transfer from Swansea. Wayne
Rooney instigated the move, picking out
Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who pierced
the offside trap with a backheel flick for
Sigurdsson to convert.
Everton soon acquired a taste for
backheel flicks. Lennon released Calvert-Lewin with another, Jonas Lössl
parrying the striker’s shot. With Huddersfield now committing more men
Flashpoint: Marco
Silva and Mauricio
Pochettino get
involved as Spurs’
Davinson Sánchez
(inset) is sent off
for elbowing
Richarlison.
Matthew Childs/
Action Images
0
Big result: Dominic Calvert-Lewin celebrates Everton’s second while Sam Allardyce (inset) enjoys the win. Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty
FIRST IMPRESSIONS
RECEPTION
Sam Allardyce played it cool, delaying his
entrance until a few seconds before kick-off.
While many fans have misgivings about his
appointment, he was met by warm applause
as he stepped on to the Goodison pitch for the
first time as manager. He grinned, punched
the air and waved to all four stands.
TOUCHLINE DEMEANOUR
Smartly dressed, shoes glinting under the
lights, he loitered on the edge of his technical
area, barking occasional orders while his
assistant Sammy Lee was more vocal.
Allardyce left it to Lee to dispute decisions
with Huddersfield manager David Wagner.
IMPACT
He made a difference at half-time by
ordering Aaron Lennon and Gylfi Sigurdsson
to stay further upfield. His side were then
rewarded for a greater positivity. Always a
pragmatist, though, he duly made defensive
substitutions, ending up with a back five.
doubt about the dismissal. His concern
was more whether Watford should have
had a spot-kick in the dying seconds
after Richarlison’s cross rebounded off
the arm of Eric Dier.
“The defender stops Richarlison
with an arm in his face, that is obvious,”
the Watford manager said. “Maybe he
wants to put it on another part of the
body, but the arm goes into the face.
Maybe also Dier didn’t want to put his
hand on the ball, but we should have
had one penalty.”
When the teams were even in number,
Spurs were dominant in possession
while Watford menaced on the counter.
It was Richarlison who was central to
their approach, his pace and control
an instant release whenever they were
under pressure.
His breakaway run, hugging the chalk
of the touchline, earned a corner from
which the home side opened the scoring in the 13th minute. Tom Cleverley
played Richarlison in and then delivered
the corner that was headed home by
forward, they were caught on the counterattack. Rooney sent Calvert-Lewin
running clear and the 20-year-old’s shot
was deflected over Lössl by the unwitting Mathias Jorgensen.
It meant the stand-in captain and
youthful centre-forward were involved
in both goals. While a less garlanded
figure in the No10 shirt, Huddersfield’s
Aaron Mooy, was the game’s outstanding
individual in the first half, Rooney grew
in influence. He was Allardyce’s on-field
lieutenant, enforcing positional discipline as he barked orders.
The newcomer retained the personnel
that Unsworth, now happily ensconced
in the directors box, selected for the
4-0 win over against West Ham, but a
4-3-3 formation that became 4-5-1 out
of possession was familiar to long-time
Allardyce-watchers. Less typical, given
his emphasis on dead-ball situations,
were some wretched set-pieces from
Sigurdsson.
Christian Kabasele, the Belgian defender
eluding his marker, a sleeping Harry
Kane.
Spurs equalised 12 minutes later,
seconds after Watford had had another
loud penalty appeal. Ben Davies
appeared to have barged Richarlison off
the ball in a goalmouth scramble but as
the Watford players threw their hands
in the air, Kieran Trippier burst into
the space left by the Brazilian. The fullback slipped a pass through to Christian
Eriksen, the Dane darted to the touchline and then provided the perfect pullback for Son Heung-min, who turned
the ball home at the back post from six
yards.
Spurs might have scored just before
the break with a Davies volley and came
out in the second half with an assertiveness that looked set to pay dividends.
The dismissal of Sánchez might have
changed all that but Pochettino was
pleased with the way his team dug in
and continued to create opportunities.
Trippier was at the heart of things and
There were no choruses of Allardyce’s
name, except when the Huddersfield
fans chanted first that Wagner was better and then thinner than his Everton
counterpart. Allardyce nonetheless
described his reception as “brilliant” and
he got a louder welcome before kick-off
than Speedo Mick, a fundraising Everton fan who appeared on the pitch in
the swimming trunks that account for
his nickname.
If Everton were sinking, Allardyce
was appointed precisely because he can
get imperilled teams buoyant again. His
impact is apparent already.
EVERTON Pickford; Kenny■, Holgate, Williams, Martina;
Davies■ (Schneiderlin 66), Gueye, Rooney (Keane 80);
Lennon (Lookman 70), Calvert-Lewin, Sigurdsson
Subs not used Robles, Baningime, Vlasic, Niasse
HUDDERSFIELD Lossl; Smith, Schindler, Jorgensen,
Malone■ (Mounie 71); Mooy, D Williams; Quaner
(Palmer ht), Ince, Kachunga; Depoitre
Subs not used Green, Hadergjonaj, Cranie, Lowe, Hogg
Talk of Burnley qualifying for Europe
was dealt a sobering blow with defeat at
improving Leicester, thanks to an early
goal from Demarai Gray.
It has mainly been those outside of
Turf Moor who have contemplated the
possibility of a first European campaign
for the club since 1960-61 but some fans
have begun to dream following Burnley’s surprise start to the campaign,
with the owners of one pub in the Lancashire town promising to rename their
establishment the Royal Dyche should
the team qualify for either the Europa
League or Champions League.
But Leicester have impressed under
Claude Puel, too, and this was a third
win in his six matches in charge, while
the loss saw Burnley slip to seventh in
the table.
After victory against Tottenham in
midweek Puel had warned his team
not to underestimate Burnley and they
heeded his advice by taking the lead after
six minutes. Riyad Mahrez’s inswinging
cross from the left looked to be creeping
in at the far post, forcing Nick Pope to
dive to his right and push the ball away.
But he could only parry it into the path of
the oncoming Gray, who hurt himself on
the frame of the goal as he slid in to finish
from point-blank range.
Like Gray, Burnley recovered well and
Chris Wood, a former Leicester player,
quickly had a good chance to equalise.
Phil Bardsley’s low cross was deflected
into the path of Wood but the striker’s
first touch with his chest was heavy
and it allowed Kasper Schmeichel to
smother the danger.
Burnley looked menacing once more
after half an hour as Robbie Brady
worked a shooting opportunity but
Harry Maguire nicked the ball away
as he pulled the trigger, resulting in a
Sacrifice: Demarai Gray scores Leicester’s
winner before running into the post
Moussa Sissoko blazing into the sidenetting when put through.
At the other end, Silva had to hold his
breath along with the rest of the ground
as Abdoulaye Doucouré’s imperious
drive from a corner cannoned off the
inside of the post and away from goal.
“In the last few games all is against
us, but this is a very good experience,”
Pochettino said. “It’s important in
football to sometimes feel frustration
and in the future the team will be
stronger.
“We need to know that it’s not
always easy. Sometimes a tough period
is important because that’s when you
build your character.”
nasty-looking collision of shins. Both
players laid on the ground in pain and
after receiving some treatment Brady
was carried from the field on a stretcher
and replaced by Scott Arfield. The injury
appeared to upset Burnley’s rhythm and
Leicester assumed control. Mahrez
worked Pope following a mazy run and
Wes Morgan had an effort cleared off the
line by Phil Bardsley.
Burnley remained a threat, though,
and Schmeichel had to be alert to deny
Steven Defour and then Gudmundsson,
who was put through on goal by Jeff
Hendrick’s pass.
There were chances at both ends
in injury time, as Leicester survived a
heart-stopping moment when Gudmundsson’s low cross deflected straight
into the arms of Schmeichel, while Pope
made a good save to deny Mahrez.
“Overall it was tight,” said Dyche,
who also confirmed that Brady had been
taken to hospital for treatment. “It was
a really soft goal to concede. That was
unlike us, we usually smell danger much
quicker than that.”
PA
WATFORD Gomes; Kabasele■ (Capoue 64), Prödl,
Mariappa; Femenía, Doucouré, Cleverley■ (Gray 88)
Zeegelaar■; Richarlison■, Pereyra (Carrillo 67), Deeney
Subs not used Janmaat, Wagué, Watson, Karnezis
TOTTENHAM Lloris; Trippier, Vertonghen■, Sánchez■,
Davies; Dier, Dembélé; Alli (Winks 86), Eriksen (Sissoko
64), Son (Lamela 77); Kane Subs not used Rose, Vorm,
Llorente, Aurier
LEICESTER Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Maguire,
Chilwell; Ndidi, Iborra, Albrighton, Gray (Okazaki 88);
Mahrez; Vardy Subs not used Hamer, Iheanacho, King,
Dragovic, Ulloa, Fuchs
BURNLEY Pope; Bardsley■, Tarkowski, Mee■, Ward;
Gudmundsson, Defour (Barnes 66), Cork, Brady
(Arfield 31), Hendrick; Wood (Vokes 74) Subs not used
Lindegaard, Taylor, Westwood, Long
Vicarage Road 20,278
King Power Stadium 30,714
Game rating |||||||||| Referee Martin Atkinson
Game rating |||||||||| Referee Paul Tierney
Goodison Park 39,167
Game rating |||||||||| Referee Christopher Kavanagh
* 03.12.17
6 | SPORT | Football | Premier League
Classy Hazard
makes the most
of being given
freedom to roam
CHELSEA
3
Hazard 21 74pen Morata 33
NEWCASTLE
1
Gayle 12
Jacob Steinberg
Stamford Bridge
The only problem for Antonio Conte
after seeing the irrepressible Eden
Hazard provide the latest demonstration of his outstanding ability to win a
game with almost no help at all was the
knowledge that the Belgian’s brilliance
still might not be enough for the
champions to retain their title. Not with
Manchester City setting new standards
at the top of the Premier League.
Chelsea played with controlled aggression to stamp out Newcastle’s attempts
at insurrection here, but Conte struck a
slightly defeatist tone, lamenting how
the team peering down at the rest of the
league is doing “extraordinary things”
and wondering when that will cease to
be the case.
Unless that happens, Chelsea can forget about the Premier League trophy
staying in west London. They did cut
City’s lead to eight points, fighting back
from a goal down to ruin Rafael Benítez’s
return to one of his old clubs, but there
seems little prospect of Pep Guardiola’s
freewheeling side slipping up when they
host West Ham this afternoon, and such
levels of excellence can be draining for
those in pursuit of them.
In that context, however, it was still
a pleasing afternoon for Conte. “A good
performance overall,” he said. “I am
very happy for this. It is not simple to
go 1-0 down and have the right will and
desire.”
For Conte, who is likely to be punished by the Football Association for
being sent from the touchline in last
Wednesday’s tight 1-0 win over Swansea, it was a chance to stand back and
appreciate Hazard’s special talent and,
despite falling behind to Dwight Gayle’s
early goal, Chelsea were never in any
meaningful danger of losing.
Hazard scored twice, either side of
Álvaro Morata’s 10th goal of the season
in all competitions, and the home fans
could revel in mocking Benítez long
before the final whistle.
There was a bit of snarl in the air.
Benítez has plenty of history with Chelsea, from those infamous Champions
League semi-finals against his Liverpool
team to that interim spell here four years
ago, and the diehards in the Matthew
Harding Stand greeted him with a loud
chorus of boos.
However, the bigger concern for the
Spaniard was his team extending their
winless run to six matches. “Every game
is so difficult,” he said, disappointed at
Newcastle’s failure to build on Gayle’s
opener in the 12th minute.
The visitors made an ambitious
start and the indecision in the Chelsea
defence that led to Gayle stroking
the ball into an unguarded net could
be attributed to Newcastle’s initial
exuberance.
The striker started the move by
flicking on a long punt and Conte must
have been alarmed by his side’s failure to
react, with N’Golo Kanté too meek in his
attempt to mop up and Marcos Alonso
making everything worse with an illadvised backpass. Thibaut Courtois
charged out to deny Jacob Murphy but
the goalkeeper’s intervention presented
Gayle with an easy chance.
Gayle had put Newcastle in a similarly
commanding position at Old Trafford
two weeks ago, only for Manchester
United to respond with four unanswered
goals, and the hosts made sure that his
enterprise went to waste again.
“We can change our system,” Conte
said. “We can play Hazard as a second
striker. We can play him as a No10 when
we play 3-4-3. Today, Eden and Álvaro
showed a good link.”
Conte opted for the 3-5-1-1 system
that is designed to coax the best out of
Hazard, granting him the freedom to
roam from a central position, and it was
an arduous task for a Newcastle side that
strained to track the forward’s slippery
movement.
Newcastle nemesis: Eden Hazard scored twice, essaying a Panenka penalty (top inset). Ashley Western/CameraSport via Getty
THE EDEN EFFECT
Eden Hazard has scored
cored more
Premier League goals
6Newcastle
als against
than against
st any
other club.
Hazard has had a hand
in 11 goals in his
past 10 games in all
competitions for
Chelsea (eight goals,
three assists).
Antonio Conte hass won all
e games
17 Premier League
den Hazard
with Chelsea when Eden
has scored.
11
17
Newcastle’s defending had become
worryingly ragged by the time Hazard
equalised in the 21st minute. Andreas
Christensen sent a looping header
against the left post and the team in
black and white stripes had not fallen
back into shape when César Azpilicueta
whipped in another menacing cross.
Florian Lejeune stretched to divert
the ball away from Morata and Hazard
followed up, driving a bouncing shot past
Karl Darlow.
Chelsea went in front 12 minutes later.
Victor Moses, making his first start since
suffering a hamstring injury two months
ago, laced a cross into the six-yard box
from the right and Morata headed home
from close range.
It was a fine way for Chelsea to
respond to adversity and Moses was
instrumental in their third goal, earning
a penalty thanks to Matt Ritchie’s
desperate late tackle. Hazard dinked it
down the middle to give his team a precious cushion.
Now Chelsea could do with an
unlikely favour from West Ham.
CHELSEA Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen (Cahill 80),
Rudiger; Moses, Drinkwater, Kanté, Fabregas (Bakayoko
78), Alonso; Hazard (Willian 78); Morata
Subs not used Caballero, Zappacosta, Pedro, Batshuayi
NEWCASTLE Darlow; Mbemba, Lejeune, Clark■;
Manquillo, Diamé (Shelvey 75), Merino (Yedlin 85),
Ritchie; Murphy, Pérez (Hayden 62); Gayle
Subs not used Elliot, Aarons, Joselu, Mitrovic
Stamford Bridge 41,538
Game rating |||||||||| Referee Kevin Friend
Shaqiri and Diouf turn up heat on Clement
STOKE
2
Shaqiri 36 Diouf 40
SWANSEA
1
Bony 3
Stuart James
Bet365 Stadium
There is no respite for Paul Clement.
A ninth defeat in 12 Premier League
matches, on a day when Stoke appeared
to be there for the taking, edges the
Swansea manager closer to the precipice. It is a wretched run of results that
leaves Swansea bottom of the table and
raises serious questions about how much
longer the club’s owners are willing to
tolerate the sight of the club sliding
inexorably towards the Championship
without changing the manager.
Stoke, who have also been struggling,
were obliging opponents in many ways,
yet Swansea never had enough about
them to score again after conceding
twice in the space of four first-half
minutes.
Xherdan Shaqiri and Mame Diouf
got those goals, punishing some abject
defending after Wilfried Bony had put
the visitors ahead.
Bony’s goal was his first at club level
for 14 months, ironically since he scored
two for Stoke against Swansea on just
about the only occasion he impressed in
the Potteries.
That goal should have given Swansea
the platform to go on and pick up the
result they so badly needed, yet their
fragile confidence was exposed just
before half-time and the second period
was a familiar tale. Swansea, despite
seeing plenty of the ball, rarely looked
like scoring.
The visitors could not have wished for
a better start. Bony swept them ahead
inside three minutes with a superbly
controlled volley that ended Swansea’s
goal drought, which had stretched back
to the end of October.
Bony had been waiting much longer
to score, although there was no lack
of confidence about the way he dispatched Martin Olsson’s cross
after the full-back ran into the
space that opened up for him
on the left flank. Getting ahead
of Ryan Shawcross to meet
Olsson’s centre, Bony opened
up his body to emphatically steer a
right-footed first-time shot beyond
Jack Butland and into the corner.
With Stoke struggling to create
much for the next half an hour and the
home supporters starting to become a
little restless, Swansea looked reasonably comfortable but two goals in the
space of four minutes totally changed
the complexion of the game. Shaqiri
scored Stoke’s first and from Swansea’s
point of view it was a dreadful goal
to concede.
Dawdling with the ball 30 yards from
his own goal, Leroy Fer was caught in
possession by Diouf and, in the blink
of an eye, Joe Allen had set Shaqiri free
with a slide-rule pass. Composed and
assured, the Switzerland international
speared a low shot into the bottom corner with the outside of his left boot.
Swansea’s defending was not much
better for Stoke’s second. Shawcross
Vital victory:
Mame Biram
Diouf’s thumping
strike was
enough to give
Stoke a crucial
home win
delivered a long diagonal pass that
Peter Crouch flicked on as Mike van der
Hoorn, the Swansea centre-half, lost
his footing. Diouf, who had gambled
on Crouch winning the header, tried
to lift the ball over Kyle Naughton but
it rebounded off the Swansea defender
and back into the Stoke forward’s path.
About 12 yards out and with the ball
sitting up invitingly for him, Diouf
thumped a rising left-footed shot past
Lukasz Fabianski and into the corner.
There was a long hold up early in the
second half when Bruno Martins Indi,
who was clearly in a lot of pain, left
the field on a stretcher following what
looked like a fairly innocuous incident.
The game drifted for a period afterwards until Diouf, with the goal at his
mercy, squandered an excellent chance
to made it 3-1 when he glanced Shaqiri’s
excellent cross wide.
Swansea had been controlling possession and probing without ever looking that threatening, although Ki Sungyeung’s low, angled drive did force
Butland into a full-length save.
Butland had to make a better stop
moments later, this time from his own
player as Shawcross, stretching to head
a free-kick clear, was grateful to see his
goalkeeper fingertip the ball over the bar.
STOKE Butland; Zouma, Shawcross, Martins Indi
(Wimmer■ 53), Pieters; Fletcher (Afellay 70); Allen,
Choupo-Moting (Sobhi 70); Shaqiri■; Diouf, Crouch
Subs not used Grant, Berahino, Jesé, Adam
SWANSEA Fabianski; Naughton, Van der Hoorn,
Mawson, Olsson; Ki; Fer (Sanches 85), Clucas (Carroll
73); Ayew (McBurnie 73); Abraham, Bony
Subs not used Nordfeldt, Dyer, Routledge, Rangel
Bet365 Stadium 28,261
Game rating |||||||||| Referee Craig Pawson
03.12.17
*
Premier League | Football | SPORT | 7
MANCHESTER CITY v WEST HAM
4pm, Sky Sports Premier League
IN BRIEF
Valverde bemoans bad
luck as Barça drop points
Barcelona’s coach, Ernesto Valverde,
felt his side were hard done by after
Luis Suárez’s goal was wrongly
disallowed in a 2-2 draw against Celta
Vigo.
The in-form Iago Aspas continued
his scoring streak by putting the visitors
ahead on 20 minutes, only for Lionel
Messi to equalise within two minutes.
Suárez then had a goal chalked off for
offside. The Uruguay striker did then
put the hosts ahead just after the hour
mark, but Maxi Gómez’s 70th-minute
equaliser ensured Celta did not leave
empty-handed.
“You always want the controversy to
benefit you and mistakes to be in your
favour,” Valverde said. “But we hope
that in the next refereeing decision they
do not make a mistake. I’m quiet. It’s
not something that has not happened to
me before.”
Second-placed Valencia can cut
Barcelona’s lead to two points by
winning at Getafe today. Atlético Madrid
came from behind to beat Real Socieded
2-1, Antoine Griezmann scoring an
88th-minute winner to take his side
third, at least until Real Madrid’s late
PA
match at Athletic Bilbao.
Dortmund stop the rot
All smiles: David Moyes knows he needs results to keep the bubbles blowing. Plumb Images/Leicester City via Getty Images
Moyes must bring back
bandit raids on big boys
Guardiola is chasing a
record 13th straight win
but West Ham must fire
soon, says Paul Wilson
D
ecember was the month that
found Manchester City out
last year and, though history
does not look like repeating
itself with Pep Guardiola’s
side on the verge of equalling a Premier
League record for consecutive wins
within a season, the runaway league
leaders need to be wary of a seven-game
month that includes a derby.
Twelve months ago it was Chelsea,
on their own record-equalling 13 match
winning run, who came to the Etihad and
inflicted the first home defeat of the season with a 3-1 win. City were still shellshocked a week later when they turned
up at Leicester in some disarray and
were taught lessons in a 4-2 defeat that
Guardiola remembers vividly to this day.
To get the statistical details out of
the way first, City have won every game
in the Premier League since Ronald
Koeman’s Everton held them to a draw
at the Etihad in August. Their sequence
stands at 12, and should they beat West
Ham at home this afternoon they will
advance to 13 and share the record
jointly held by Arsenal (from 2001-02)
and Chelsea (last season).
The actual record for consecutive Premier League wins stands at 14 but it was
set over two seasons, by Arsenal between
February and August 2002. Should City
beat West Ham they can look at setting
a fresh record all of their own, though
the league game that follows is against
Manchester United at Old Trafford.
We can expect to hear a lot from
Guardiola about the unimportance of
such trivialities as records between now
and then, as well as a certain amount
of exasperation on the subject of going
through the season unbeaten, for what
every manager knows is that the next
game is always the one that might trip
you up. Even if the next game is West
Ham. If anyone from Guardiola’s scouting team was watching the Irons in
action at Goodison in midweek there
was precious little on show to cause any
undue concern, though the one thing
that might knock City off track is looking
too far ahead and taking results against
struggling sides for granted.
With due respect to Joe Hart and
Pablo Zabaleta, who will be returning
to Manchester in more straitened circumstances than was perhaps envisaged, West Ham are struggling at the
moment and David Moyes does not
yet seem to have a handle on how to
turn things around. They were missing Andy Carroll at Everton, yet to start
using that as an excuse is possibly to
admit that Moyes does not have a great
deal of attacking options open to him.
Hart, who cannot feature today under
the terms of his loan deal, and Zabaleta
left to join Slaven Bilic and most people – Marko Arnautovic, say – probably
imagined a fairly comfortable mid-table
existence based on the ability to occasionally summon the West Ham spirit
and carry out bandit raids on supposedly superior sides.
In fact this happened only once,
with the memorable comeback against
Tottenham at Wembley in the Carabao
Cup, and because league points are a
much harder currency than cup kudos
Bilic was soon gone, and with him
much of what was left of the optimism
surrounding the club.
Hiring Moyes on a six-month contract
hardly screams optimism, does it? It
simply means the manager will be easy
to remove if there is no sign of climbing
out of trouble, and suggests West Ham
will soon be in the market for a new
manager again whether or not Moyes
MATCH ZONE
Should Manchester City beat West Ham
today then Pep Guardiola’s side will record
their 13th successive win. That contrasts
starkly with West Ham, whose record in their
last 12 Premier League matches reads:
LWDLWDLDLLDL
Team news: City winger Leroy Sané is back
after illness ruled him out of the midweek win
over Southampton. Defenders John Stones
(hamstring) and Benjamin Mendy (knee) are
City’s only absentees. West Ham will hand
a late fitness test to defender Winston Reid.
Joe Hart is ineligible against his parent club
so Adrián will deputise, while strikers Javier
Hernández (hamstring) and Andy Carroll
(knee) remain out, along with defenders Sam
Byram (hamstring), James Collins and José
Fonte (both ankle).
Last season: West Ham 0 Man City 4, Man
City 3 West Ham 1
Match odds: H 1-10; D 9-1; A 25-1
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
can make a difference to results. The
more pessimistic West Ham fans are
already comparing the situation to
Sunderland and complaining that Moyes
might have to be removed before the
end of the season, which is perhaps a
little harsh after three matches though
fair in the sense that any detectable
improvement is hard to identify.
Neither does there seem much possibility of immediate respite. After
Manchester City, Moyes must prepare
his players for league encounters with
Chelsea and Arsenal. A trip to Stoke a
week on Saturday is the first game West
Ham might mark down as winnable; in
fact, given that Mark Hughes’s side are
lining up among the relegation candidates this season, there might be trouble
for Moyes if some sort of corner has not
been turned by that stage.
Unless he simply wants to collect his
contract money and fade away from
frontline management, now is the time
for Moyes to prove people wrong by
showing his credentials as a firefighter.
To do that you need to win games that
you are not supposed to win, to pick up
points against the big clubs. Moyes was
never particularly good at that at Everton, even though he more than stabilised
the club over the course of 11 years, and
his last experience of attempting to keep
a side up ended in relegation.
If taking points from West Ham’s next
three matches seems a tall order, Moyes
could take some encouragement from
what happened at Crystal Palace under
Sam Allardyce last season. Allardyce has
just earned a chance at a record seventh
Premier League club on the strength of
his apparent immunity to relegation,
even if Everton possibly acted hastily in
assuming the drop was looming.
Everyone knows Allardyce kept the
Eagles up by virtue of going to Chelsea
and Liverpool and winning, not to mention beating Arsenal 3-0 at home, but
those results were all in April. In January, the month after he joined, Palace
lost at home to Swansea and Everton
and were drubbed at West Ham. As late
as February Palace were hammered 4-0
at home by Sunderland.
Moyes must remember that; it is probably the last time he smiled. Two successive relegations would be nothing
to smile about – not many managerial
careers would survive it – yet there is
still time and plenty of matches. Moyes
won’t have to play City every week, but
he will have to start somewhere.
Andriy Yarmolenko eased some of
the pressure building on the Borussia
Dortmund head coach, Peter Bosz, by
forcing a 1-1 draw at Bayer Leverkusen.
A week after Dortmund let a fourgoal lead slip to tie with their big
rivals Schalke, their raw Bundesliga
wounds were reopened when Kevin
Volland fired Leverkusen ahead at
the BayArena. But Wendell was then
sent off – a decision made with the
assistance of the video referee – giving
Dortmund an opening to hit back and
avoid suffering a fourth defeat in five
games, with Yarmolenko levelling in
the 73rd minute.
Bayern Munich are now 10 points
better off than Dortmund after Robert
Lewandowski’s late penalty made
sure they defeated Hannover 3-1 at the
Allianz Arena. Artur Vidal had stuck
“
Football’s
governing
body lacks
respect
for its own
fair-play
campaign
Daniel Taylor
page 9
Thomas Müller’s assist away midway
through the first half to keep Bayern
on the winning trail but, not long after
Niclas Fullkrug missed a spot-kick for
Hannover, Charlison Benschop headed
them level 10 minutes before the break.
Bayern toiled in pursuit of another
goal, which Kingsley Coman eventually
provided in the 67th minute, and
with time ticking away Lewandowski
dealing the points from the spot.
Hoffenheim powered their way above
Dortmund and Leverkusen and into the
top five by thrashing second-placed RB
PA
Leipzig 4-0.
Howe’s seasonal fears
Bournemouth can ill afford a bad
December, according to Eddie Howe,
whose side host Southampton today
at the start of a testing run of fixtures.
Successive Premier League matches
away to Manchester United and home
against Liverpool are ahead, as is a
Carabao Cup quarter-final at Chelsea
before they travel to Manchester City
on 23 December.
Bournemouth’s three-match
unbeaten run ended with a frustrating
home defeat by Burnley on Wednesday
and Howe said: “When you look back
and ask, with hindsight, if you would
have taken the month we had [in
November], then I think we would have
done with the points we got and the
way we played in certain games, which
was really positive.
“We ended the month with a real
disappointment. What is important
now is this month ahead. With so many
games and how busy it is, we cannot
PA
afford to have a bad December.”
Punch the air: Lionel Messi scored but
Barça were held 2-2 by Celta Vigo
* 03.12.17
8 | SPORT | Football | Sky Bet Championship
Opening salvo: Sunderland’s Robbin Ruiter can only watch as David Edwards puts the ball past the outstretched leg of Tyias Browning to open the scoring for Reading. Richard Lee/BPI/Rex/Shutterstock
Reading reveal home truths to Coleman
SUNDERLAND
1
Grabban 76pen
READING
3
Edwards 53 Barrow 68 71
Louise Taylor
Stadium of Light
Chris Coleman stood in the home technical area with hands in pockets and a
shocked expression on his face. Barely
an hour had passed but, already, he was
surrounded by banks of fast-emptying
red seats and his first home match as
Sunderland’s manager seemed inexorably destined for defeat.
Perhaps buoyed by last weekend’s
win at Burton Albion, the former Wales
manager had breezily declared there
was “nothing to be scared of ” as his
new players attempted to win their first
game for almost a year at the Stadium of
Light, but he was soon stripped of such
naivety. Sunderland have now failed to
win at home in 21 attempts since beating
Watford here on 17 December last year
and this dismal run is exerting a debili-
tating psychological effect on a mentally
fragile, injury-ravaged and largely substandard squad. Well before the final
whistle, Coleman’s body language suggested he truly appreciated the scale of
the challenge he faces in averting a second successive relegation.
Along the way, Jaap Stam’s Reading
banished their own relegation worries while simultaneously reinforcing
their manager’s rather shaky job security by extending their mini revival and
climbing further into the relative sunlit
uplands of mid-table.
As Coleman strode out of the tunnel,
optimists in the stands made bold predictions of a “new dawn”. The emergence of fears that it could be starting on
a false note coincided with Lee Cattermole looking extremely fortunate not to
be sent off for a second bookable offence.
Featuring two needless fouls on Sone
Aluko in as many minutes, that little Cattermole cameo resulted in him getting a
yellow card for the first challenge before
benefiting from refereeing leniency on
Keith Stroud’s part. Callum McManaman was afforded no such generosity on
Rethink: Chris Coleman ponders defeat
the point of half-time, and rightly so. The
winger was sent off for a second bookable offence after blatantly using an arm
to divert Adam Matthews’s cross beyond
Vito Mannone.
As John O’Shea harangued Stroud
and the crowd serenaded him with choruses of “the referee’s a wanker”, Coleman’s blueprint was reduced to tatters.
The irony was that Matthews’s delivery
might have gone in anyway, but maybe
McManaman felt cheating offered his
side their best hope of a goal.
Granted, Sunderland had retained
possession well, passing it around quite
promisingly at times, but, for all the
promise of more attractive afternoons
ahead under Coleman’s choreography,
their attacking movement lacked incision and imagination. After George Honeyman curled an early shooting chance
fractionally wide they had rarely threatened Mannone. Instead, Stam’s side
would have taken the lead had David
Edwards not miscued a shot and sent
the ball ballooning over the bar from
eight yards out when it seemed easier
to score. Redemption arrived in the
53rd minute when, at the conclusion of
a well-worked Reading counterattack, a
swipe of Edwards’s right foot beat Robbin Ruiter from six yards after Aluko’s
initial shot had been blocked.
That goal was met by a mix of anger
and defiance from locals, with some fans
subjecting Coleman’s players to a barrage of loud boos and others aiming to
offer inspiration with rousing renditions
of “Sunderland ‘til I die”.
As Stam’s players extended their lead
an eerie silence descended on the ground
and a steady stream of supporters poured
towards the exits. Indeed, when Modou
Barrow met Liam Kelly’s cross and sent
a left-foot volley arrowing into the bot-
SAID & DONE
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Gianni Infantino in Moscow: advising “western media” to
show some respect. “Do not try to paint with a dark paint
everything that comes from the east – Russia or the Arab world.”
His view on endemic state-imposed doping: “It’s speculation.”
■ Informing Infantino’s stance on Russia:
Vitaly Mutko, deputy prime minister –
unhappy with western media “distorting
reality” by planting fake news. “We are a
good partner of the world sports movement.
Why must they trample Russia under foot?”
ring” inscribed “Anything Goes”. Grondona
denied fraud in 2011, condemning “the
English press pirates … We always
have these attacks from England.
Their journalism is more busy lying
than telling the truth.”
■ Infantino’s other best advice last week:
■ Defending Grondona’s reputation last
l t
media shouldn’t overplay concern about
racism next summer because Fifa’s antiracism policy means “no incidents will
happen“. Helping shape the policy: Russia
2018 racism tsar Alexei Smertin, who
explained in 2015 how, “when fans give
bananas to black guys, it’s just for fun. I think
the media gives the wrong image of Russia.”
month: son Humberto – offering advice
to a key prosecution witness, Argentinian
businessman Alejandro Burzaco. “When
the trial ends he should stay in New York.
He shouldn’t try to come back here. People
wouldn’t like that. He’s going to hell, for sure.”
MEANWHILE
Among the highlights from week three of
the New York Fifa trial: the court hearing
how former Fifa vice-president Julio
Grondona, who died in 2014, liked to take
bribes under his code name “The Pope”,
and have co-conspirators “kiss his gold
ALSO FEELING GOT AT
a) Paraguay’s former Conmebol head Nicolás
Leoz, appealing against his extradition to
the US, four years after he lamented media
standards: “What is it that drives these
people?” b) Former Greek FA president
Vassilis Gagatsis, denying wrongdoing after
being arrested over the alleged misuse of
£760k in disaster relief aid; and c) Philip
tom corner it was as if a switch had been
flicked and any remaining shred of home
optimism extinguished. An unmarked
Barrow again used that left foot to register his side’s third from close range in the
wake of Yann Kermorgant’s skilful volley
across the box.
Although Sunderland re gained a
sliver of pride when Leandro Bacuna
felled Joel Asoro, on as a substitute and
looking encouragingly lively, in the area
and Lewis Grabban converted the penalty even that goal seemed bitter-sweet.
Grabban, Sunderland’s leading scorer,
is on loan from Bournemouth, whose
manager, Eddie Howe, has indicated
he may activate a release clause in the
deal and take him back to the south coast
next month.
SUNDERLAND Ruiter; Matthews, Browning, O’Shea,
Oviedo■ (Galloway 58); Cattermole■ (Gooch 80),
Gibson; McManaman■, Honeyman, McGeady (Asoro
68); Grabban Subs not used Steele, Maja, Love, Wilson
READING Mannone; Bacuna, McShane■, Moore,
Gunter; Van den Berg, Edwards, Kelly (Clement 81);
Aluko■ (Beerens 81), Kermorgant (Bodvarsson 90),
Barrow Subs not used Ilori, Blackett, Popa, Jaakkola
Stadium of Light 27,386
Game rating |||||||||| Referee Keith Stroud
David Hills
Chiyangwa, millionaire Zimbabwe FA head,
attacking “flagrant press lies” about his
ethics record: “I’m a bona fide businessman.
I’ve never been involved in chicanery.”
AND FINALLY: HOW FIFA
KEEPS FOOTBALL CLEAN
10 Nov: The Gambia’s government
suspends the nation’s FA board over alleged
sus
“se
“serious fraud and criminal dealings”.
23 Nov: Fifa accuses the government of
“u
“undue
interference” in FA affairs and threatens
their teams from world football.
to expel
e
30 Nov: The government lifts the
suspension and FA executives return
to work. All deny wrongdoing.
OTHER NEWS: MOST UPBEAT
Boris Johnson’s spokesman, defending
his boss’s work as mayor in renting out
the London Stadium to West Ham for a
£2.25m-a-season loss plus free public
money for corner flags. “No other city has
an Olympic legacy like London’s – and that
is down to Boris and his team.”
■ Johnson’s vision for the
legacy talks, as set out in
2012: “It’s all a question of
making sure that [the value
of] a public asset, something
taxpayers put half a billion pounds into, is
properly reflected. People will understand:
it’s my job is to get the best possible
deal for the taxpayer.”
BEST NEW ERA
Brazil, 8 Nov: Vasco president
Eurico Miranda wins re-election on a
“traditional values”, anti-gay, anti-women,
pro-transparency ticket. 29 Nov: Fails to
appear in front of investigators over alleged
“electoral fraud and irregularities”. Miranda’s
lawyer: “The president did not attend for
personal reasons.” He denies wrongdoing.
BEST NEGOTIATOR
15 Nov, Sam Allardyce: “[Everton] just didn’t
feel right. You want people to be decisive –
you want to feel like they want you.”
26 Nov: “At the moment going back into
football isn’t on the agenda. I’m enjoying life.”
30 Nov: Signs £9m 18-month deal.
MOST AMUSED
3 Oct, Las Palmas president Miguel
31
Ángel Ramírez on talk of sacking coach
Á
Paco Ayestarán. “It just isn’t serious, this
P
whole idea that you wouldn’t give the coach
w
time to instil his ideas. The coach stays.”
ti
3
30 Nov: The coach goes.
REGRET OF THE WEEK
Brazil: Ponte Preta coach Eduardo Baptista,
left “without words” after defender Rodrigo
was
wa sent off for “introducing his middle
fin
nger between the buttocks of the No22”
l
– leading
to a 3-2 defeat, relegation and a
riot. Baptista: “I work hard, I try to
riot
o
educate my players. Some are
beyond my reach.”
SHARPEST EXIT
Romania: Politehnica Iasi coach Eugen
E gen
Trica, banned for reacting to having two
players sent off by walking across the pitch
during play and “leaving the arena”. Trica
told authorities he left “due to belly ache”;
officials fined him £750 for “disrespect”.
PLUS: BOUNCING BACK
Belgium: Standard Liège
coach Ricardo Sa Pinto,
facing FA charges for
an alleged “vaudeville
display” after a plastic
beer cup landed near his foot.
Sa Pi
Pinto
tS
t
denied he “overplayed” the incident by
collapsing, calling for medical help, then
abusing the referee. “It’s easy to criticise,
but my shoes and trousers were wet. But
hey, I get up and carry on. I’m a fighter.”
03.12.17
*
Foo
Football | SPORT | 9
Daniel Taylor
SPORTS JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR
FA lacks respect for its own campaign
How can the governing
body expect behaviour
to improve if it will not
publish fair-play table?
T
he news came via a press
release from Burnley’s media
department. “Burnley FC
Tops FA Respect Table,” was
the headline, announcing the
award of a £20,000 prize for having
the best record in the top division last
season when it came to fair play and
understanding, under the guidance
of Sean Dyche, that influencing or
deceiving the referee should not be
thought of as just another skill or tactic.
Nobody should be surprised when
Dyche’s ethos is that his players give
everything, tackle hard and never shirk
a challenge, but also that they do things
the right way. Dyche does not tolerate
diving. He does not like his players
back-chatting with referees – a legacy,
undoubtedly, of Brian Clough being
his mentor as a young professional
at Nottingham Forest – and his own
conduct is a significant reason why
Burnley have come out on top in a
points system that takes into account
more than just red and yellow cards.
If it had been purely about
disciplinary statistics, Liverpool
would have finished top and another
four clubs – Swansea, Bournemouth,
Tottenham and Southampton – would
have been above the team from Turf
Moor. Yet Burnley beat them all on the
basis that points are lost for disputing
decisions, badgering officials and
other examples of broken-down
professionalism. The managers and
their coaching staff are also assessed in
every game. The FA has awarded the
prize money to the Burnley FC in the
Community programme and the people
running the club are entitled to feel
pleased with themselves.
“I am delighted that we have been
named as the Premier League ‘Respect’
award winners for last season,” the
chairman, Mike Garlick, said. “This
backs up our community ethos off the
pitch while, on it, the award is gauged
on a points basis, with criteria such as
respect to match officials, opposing
players and our disciplinary record.
This is the third time in four seasons we
have won such an award.”
The strange part, however, is that
we may never see a full version of the
fair-play table. Plenty of us would like to
know who else adhered to the Respect
campaign and, likewise, who didn’t. Yet
the FA is refusing to share it. In fact, the
relevant people at FA headquarters give
the impression they are guarding it with
their lives – and, if that seems strange,
it becomes even more unsatisfactory to
learn this is to protect the clubs with the
worst records.
I know all this because on Friday I
asked the FA where I might locate this
league table for an article I was writing
about Burnley. The initial response
was that it would be forwarded to me,
no problem, but then it went silent.
Instead, several hours later a statement
from the FA’s media department was
emailed to declare, four days after the
announcement from Turf Moor, that
Burnley had won the 2016-17 award –
but with no table. To a follow-up call,
I was told there was never an actual
fair-play table in place and it was no
longer decided through a ranking
system, which was perplexing, to
say the least, when Burnley had just
won £20,000 for finishing top of this
nonexistent league.
Some more calls ensued and, finally,
after a rather painful day of going
back and forth, the FA came back to
say further inquiries had revealed the
fair-play league (the one it had claimed
never existed) could not be shared
because of a policy to protect the worst
offenders from negative publicity or
Winning feeling: Matthew Lowton applauds the fans after Burnley’s victory at Southampton last month. The Clarets have made friends on and off the pitch. Adam Davy/PA
Liverpool had 10 fewer
bookings but Burnley
took the fair-play
prize. Did Klopp’s
tirades at fourth
officials cost the Reds?
difficult questions – and stop the focus
being on the clubs who had been outed
for poor behaviour.
Protect them? Nobody is asking
for the relevant managers to be put in
stocks and publicly humiliated but it
seems extraordinarily weak that the
organisation in charge of the Respect
campaign is so cowed by the clubs it feels
unable to reveal how the clubs ranked.
Don’t go knocking
Fall guy Smith
It was sad to see Mark E Smith had to pull
out of two concerts last week because
of his deteriorating health, leading to an
announcement from his bandmates, just
before they were due to go on stage in
Bristol, that he was too unwell even to
leave the hotel.
Every record collection should contain at
least one album from the Fall and, as well as
all that wonderful Salfordian belligerence
he has shown over the years, I always
had extra respect for Smith because of
the way he used to go to football at a time
when the music industry used to look
down its nose at the sport – back in the
days, to quote the man himself, when
Manchester City felt like a commune for
“30,000 miserable gets”.
Someone at the BBC obviously has good
taste judging by the fact an instrumental
version of Theme from Sparta FC became
the backdrop for Final Score. Smith was
even invited to read out the classified
results one Saturday in 2005, his Broughton
accent certainly striking a different tone to
that of James Alexander Gordon as he let
the nation know Manchester United had
won at Charlton and City had managed a
Would it not be more effective
in the long run if the FA actually
published the table to identify the
clubs who devoted the most time to
arguing about refereeing decisions
and trying to influence the match
officials? Might it not persuade those
clubs that something ought to change?
Why protect the people who have,
in short, not done enough to support
the campaign? And here’s an idea:
why not bring in a fines system for the
clubs who finish in the bottom three?
Publicise it – let the clubs explain for
themselves, the grown-up way.
The answer to all these questions,
I strongly suspect, is that the FA is
frightened of taking on the relevant
clubs and some of the people it would
involve. Liverpool, for example, had
54 yellow cards last season, compared
with Burnley’s 64, to record the best
disciplinary statistics in the Premier
League. Jürgen Klopp’s team also
went through the entire league season
without a single sending-off, whereas
Ashley Barnes and Jeff Hendrick were
both dismissed for Burnley. So how did
Liverpool not take the prize when they
were so far ahead in disciplinary points?
Might it be something to do with the
way Klopp behaves in the dugout and
the tirades he occasionally unleashes on
the fourth official? Did the Anfield club
lose points because of Klopp himself?
goalless draw at home to Blackburn Rovers.
“Hopeless, as usual.”
His band has been going for more than 40
years now and you have to admire a lyricist
who can shoehorn in references to George
Best, “Marble Millichip” (Bert, presumably)
and a fictional sports reporter by the
name of Pat McGatt, as Smith did in Kicker
Conspiracy in the early 1980s.
“You couldn’t mention football in the rock
world then,” Smith recalled in an interview
with When Saturday Comes some years
later. “We were on Rough Trade and I told
them: ‘This is about football violence.’ It
was all: ‘You don’t go to football, do you?’
I remember Melody Maker saying: ‘Mark
Smith’s obviously got writer’s block
having to write about football.’ About
five years later, the same guy reviewed
something else saying it was a load of
rubbish and ‘nowhere near the heights of
Kicker Conspiracy’. And now, of course,
all the old music hacks are sat in the
directors’ box with Oasis.”
marching on to the pitch after the final
whistle to applaud, berate, manhandle
and – if you have read some of the hysteria
over the last few days – very nearly kidnap
an opposition player.
It would certainly be fun to see the
response if Manchester City are beaten
at Old Trafford next Sunday and Mourinho
felt it necessary to pick out a player in
blue – Raheem Sterling, say – to tell him
how gifted he was, then start prodding
and haranguing him for not doing better on
the day.
Alternatively, what if an opposition player
were to appear in Guardiola’s face after
a last-minute defeat for City, pronounce
his admiration for the manager and then
start all that other funny business, waving
his arms about like a man fighting off a
swarm of invisible bees? Something tells
me Pep’s sympathisers might not be so
understanding as they have been over the
last few days.
Let’s not go overboard, though. At least
Guardiola has accepted he broke a form of
managerial etiquette and that he regrets all
that silliness with Nathan Redmond after
the game against Southampton. It was odd,
to say the least, but so is the FA’s request
for an explanation when both Guardiola and
Redmond have already offered one. What
is the governing body actually considering
here? A charge of misconduct for flattery?
What if Pep was
given a talking-to?
There is one way, in theory, to test the
idea that José Mourinho would have been
treated differently to Pep Guardiola if it
had been the Manchester United manager
Ironically, I do have a copy of the
Premier League’s fair-play table from
the 2014-15 season when there was a
category, “positive play”, to encompass
diving and time-wasting and various
other parts of the game the authorities
want to eradicate. That table is
particularly revealing because of what
it says about the champions, Chelsea,
in José Mourinho’s second stint of
management at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea were bottom of the players’
respect-to-referees column and only
marginally better, one place up, in the
category that assessed the behaviour
of the managers and backroom staff,
judging everything from how they
behaved in the technical areas to what
they said in press conferences.
The only manager to be deducted
more points than Mourinho was Gus
Poyet, then at Sunderland, and the
previous season Chelsea had the joint
worst record with Southampton and
Mauricio Pocchetino, followed by Stoke
and Mark Hughes. Three years on,
do the latest figures show more of the
same with Mourinho, a repeat offender,
with Manchester United? And, if so,
why can the FA not be bold enough to
say so?
Not just Mourinho, either. United
were 15th out of 20 clubs in disciplinary
terms last season with 77 yellows
and two reds, far removed from the
days when Sir Alex Ferguson liked to
boast the club always came out well in
the fair-play charts. Yet Manchester
City (71 yellows, four reds) were
another two places down, above only
West Ham, Hull and Watford, and
Pochettino, again, might not have done
brilliantly, either. Spurs, like Liverpool,
also had better disciplinary statistics
than Burnley in terms of bookings and
red cards – yet ended up behind them
once the other marks were deducted.
Unfortunately we will probably
never know the exact positions, and
why, and that is the way the FA wants
to keep it. Indeed, when I asked
whether it would be possible to see
the areas in which Dyche had excelled
it was explained that would not be
possible, either. The FA, no kidding,
did not want to run the possibility of
getting complaints from the clubs who
had not scored so impressively. Kudos
to Burnley for their latest achievement
but if the FA really wants teams to
improve their behaviour, on and off
the pitch, perhaps it should use its
own buzzword, stop covering up for
the guilty clubs and respect everyone
enough to share the truth.
* 03.12.17
10 | SPORT | Football | World Cup
Southgate
toughens up
England for
the ultimate
campaign
Manager steels his side
for shared hardship to
battle through together
at Russia 2018, writes
Nick Ames in Moscow
I
f anything about last month’s friendlies
against Germany and Brazil set a
resounding tone for Gareth Southgate
it was the way in which, deprived of
meaningful possession in the latter, his
makeshift side weathered a storm. Few
World Cup contenders travel far into the
tournament without getting through
choppy waters at some point: the task
now, particularly with Belgium such an
imposing rival for Group G supremacy
next summer, is to ensure England are
conditioned to master such punishing
circumstances when it counts.
Shared hardship is one of Southgate’s
pet themes although, giving his 19th
and final interview of Friday night in a
remote corner of Moscow’s vast Crowne
Plaza hotel, he could have been excused
for projecting. The issue is serious
though and so was Southgate when,
albeit with a laugh, he compared that
examination by Neymar and company
to the rigours of a visit to the Royal
Marines’ commando training centre that
his squad undertook in June.
“We had that in the last half-hour
against Brazil as well, which is the most
invaluable hardship you can go through,”
Southgate said. “You’re on the pitch and
you’re digging in for each other, getting
that relief of keeping a clean sheet
against arguably the best team in the
world at the moment.”
Southgate’s reign has been notable
for his concern that the squad shares its
burden of expectation. He wants to create
a team of leaders and the most visible
evidence has been in his choice of six
captains – Eric Dier, Harry Kane, Jordan
Henderson, Joe Hart, Gary Cahill and
Wayne Rooney – across 14 games. The
odds on a sole totemic, chest-thumping
leader beating the path to Russia appear
slim when you take into account his
current thinking: the strong implication
is that the system is here to stay and has
had deeper benefits than a simple directive as to who points and shouts.
“I feel the process has been really
revealing for us as a group of staff to
watch, but also a good experience for the
players to feel that responsibility and to
share the ownership,” he said. “Too much
has fallen on, in particular, Wayne’s shoulders in the last few years. Now there’s the
opportunity, even in meetings and on the
training pitch, for others to step forward,
make contributions and give an opinion.”
In those circumstances the captaincy
becomes more or less a ceremonial
honour and Southgate said he would not
be averse to following the Spanish model
– also used by, among others, Italy – of
awarding it to the most-capped player
in a given team selection. “There have
been times where having one leader is
important,” he said. “But I feel as if the
modern world is a little bit different and
the shared responsibility becomes a
more important thing.”
It is hardly an overnight process
but those with added reason to mark
England’s development feel there has
already been a sea change from the
night, 17 months ago, when little more
than an early Icelandic squall brought
them to their knees. The Tunisia coach,
Nabil Maâloul, is tasked with plotting a
similar upset and was not simply paying
lip service when requested to rate their
chances shortly after Friday’s draw.
Maâloul works as a Premier League
pundit and suggested England are not
the same team that floundered last year.
“You feel there is one team,” he said.
“There is a coach who has got them
very tactically disciplined; the England
mentality has completely changed.”
It would be wise not to get carried
away until Southgate, for whom failure
in a walk-through of a qualifying
group was not an option, has cajoled
England through a somewhat riskier
environment. The squad’s relative lack of
international knowhow is highlighted by
the fact that, if Southgate abided strictly
to Spain’s approach, the 22-year-old
Raheem Sterling would be skipper-inwaiting in the not implausible event that
none of Hart, Cahill or Henderson were
on the pitch. Realistically, there is scant
prospect of Sterling leading England out
next summer but, in hitting scintillating
form for Manchester City after a patchy
WORLD CUP DRAW GUIDE TO RUSSIA 2018
GROUP A
RUSSIA
SAUDI ARABIA
EGYPT
URUGUAY
GROUP B
PORTUGAL
SPAIN
MOROCCO
IRAN
Russia as hosts will be desperate to improve their poor recent
record at major tournaments. They have not won a match since
Euro 2012 and, since the break-up of the Soviet Union, have
not progressed from the World Cup group stage. Their first
opponents, Saudi Arabia, sacked Argentinian coach Edgardo
Bauza last month and brought in his compatriot Juan Antonio
Pizzi just before the draw. Egypt, under Héctor Cúper, will make
their third appearance at a World Cup finals and their first since
1990 after Mohamed Salah’s late penalty against Congo booked
their place with a game to spare. Uruguay’s last World Cup
campaign was overshadowed by Luis Suárez’s bite on Giorgio
Chiellini but they have qualified impressively.
Fernando Santos’s Portugal enjoyed a real battle with
Switzerland for automatic qualification but came out on top and
are looking to continue their unbeaten run at tournaments after
winning their first major title at Euro 2016. Expect fireworks
when Cristiano Ronaldo and co face Spain, who suffered the
ignominy of a group stage exit at the 2014 World Cup. Julen
Lopetegui’s squad has seen evolution rather than revolution.
The well-travelled Morocco coach, Hervé Renard, will have
relished beating his former employers Ivory Coast to top spot
in a tough qualifying group. The north Africans are back at
the finals for the first time since 1998. Iran, coached by Carlos
Queiroz, won their final qualifying group ahead of South Korea.
GROUP E
BRAZIL
SWITZERLAND
COSTA RICA
SERBIA
GROUP F
GERMANY
MEXICO
SWEDEN
SOUTH KOREA
Brazil, five-time champions, were the first team other than
hosts, Russia, to qualify after an impressive campaign. Under
Tite, they are invigorated and have recovered well from the
humiliation they suffered at the hands of Germany in the 2014
semi-final. Switzerland qualified for their fourth straight World
Cup by beating Northern Ireland in a play-off via a controversial
penalty but possess quality in players such as Xherdan
Shaqiri. Costa Rica beat the USA 4-0 in qualifying but may be
hard-pressed to match their 2014 performance, when they beat
Italy, Uruguay and Greece. For Serbia, qualifying for a first major
tournament since the 2010 World Cup was not enough to save
their manager, Slavoljub Muslin, from the sack.
Reigning champions Germany qualified in style, Joachim
Löw’s side winning all 10 of their games, scoring 43 goals and
conceding only four. Their golden generation is ageing but
remains a force and has been enhanced by young blood. Mexico
qualified comfortably and have reached the second round at the
last six tournaments without once going further. Sweden may
be missing Zlatan Ibrahimovic (or will they?) but they qualified
for their first World Cup since 2006 with a play-off win over
Italy. They also finished above Holland in a tough qualifying
group headed by France. South Korea qualified for their ninth
consecutive finals but have won only two matches at finals
since finishing fourth as co-hosts in 2002.
Russia v Saudi Arabia
14 Jun, 4pm, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
Egypt v Uruguay
15 Jun, 1pm, Ekaterinburg Arena
Russia v Egypt
19 Jun, 7pm, St Petersburg Stadium
Uruguay v Saudi Arabia
20 Jun, 4pm, Rostov Arena
Uruguay v Russia
25 Jun, 3pm, Samara Arena
Saudi Arabia v Egypt
25 Jun, 3pm, Volgograd Arena
Costa Rica vSerbia
17 Jun, 1pm, Samara Arena
Brazil v Switzerland
17 Jun, 7pm, Rostov Arena
Brazil v Costa Rica
22 Jun, 1pm, St Petersburg Stadium
Serbia v Switzerland
22 Jun, 7pm, Kaliningrad Stadium
Serbia v Brazil
27 Jun, 7pm, Spartak Stadium, Moscow
Switzerland v Costa Rica 27 Jun, 7pm, Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
On the up: Raheem Sterling has shown
resilience according to Gareth Southgate
previous year, he has made the kind of
strides that serve as a perfect example
for his manager to invoke.
“Certainly Raheem has real
resilience,” Southgate said. “He is still
a young player so there are moments
where you have these leaps in
improvement and that is huge credit to
him and his mentality.”
Sterling is yet to hit similar heights
for England and was substituted at
half-time in the victory over Malta in
September. Southgate has six months
to extract a similar level of performance
and is working to create an atmosphere where the mental lethargy that
has pock-marked so much of England’s
recent work is cast aside. He intends to
plan another of those exacting awayday
activities similar, although not identical,
to that experience with the Marines and
thinks his players require experiences
that will “stimulate them, keep the
energy up and the enthusiasm”.
The kind of hardiness that would give
Southgate and England a fighting chance
in June cannot be microwaved and it is
unlikely that major changes to the backroom structure will be foisted upon the
players travelling to Russia. Most of the
psychological support will come from
those already in situ; the hope is that
England will translate the good feeling
Southgate has nurtured into something
even more satisfying. In the meantime,
a little more adversity might just come
in handy before the biggest challenges
come around.
LAST 16
C1 v D2
30 Jun, 3pm, Kazan
A1 v B2
30 Jun, 7pm, Sochi
E1 v F2
2 Jul, 3pm, Samara
G1 v H2
2 Jul, 7pm, Rostov
B1 v A2
1 Jul, 3pm, Luzhniki, M
D1 v C2
1 Jul, 7pm, Nizhny N
F1 v E2 3 Jul, 3pm, St Petersburg
H1 v G2
3 Jul, 7pm, Spartak, M
QUARTER-FINALS
QF1
6 Jul, 3pm, Nizhny N
QF2
6 Jul, 7pm, Kazan
QF3
7 Jul, 7pm, Sochi
QF4
7 Jul, 3pm, Samara
Morocco v Iran
Portugal v Spain
Portugal v Morocco
Iran v Spain
Iran v Portugal
Spain v Morocco
15 Jun, 4pm, St Petersburg Stadium
15 Jun, 7pm, Fisht Stadium, Sochi
20 Jun, 1pm, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
20 Jun, 7pm, Kazan Arena
25 Jun, 7pm, Mordovia Arena, Saransk
25 Jun, 7pm, Kaliningrad Stadium
Germany v Mexico
17 Jun, 4pm, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
Sweden v South Korea 18 Jun, 1pm, Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
Germany v Sweden
23 Jun, 4pm, Fisht Stadium, Sochi
South Korea v Mexico
23 Jun, 7pm, Rostov Arena
South Korea v Germany
27 Jun, 3pm, Kazan Arena
Mexico v Sweden
27 Jun, 3pm, Ekaterinburg Arena
SEMI-FINALS
SF1
10 Jul, 7pm, St P’burg
SF2
11 Jul,7pm, Luzhniki, M
3rd place
14 Jul, 3pm, St P’burg
THE FINAL
15 July, 4pm, Luzhniki, Moscow
Brazil regain favourite status but for m
Germany also have
winners’ aura while
Russia plan a party,
writes Amy Lawrence
It should not come as any surprise for
Brazil and Germany to be earmarked
as favourites for the World Cup in
Russia. After all, they are the two
most decorated countries in the
tournament’s history (not forgetting
absent friends Italy, who, like Germany,
have four gold stars embroidered over
their crest, one behind Brazil’s five).
But when you add some context,
some nuance, it reveals something
about sport’s capacity to drag the
badly defeated back up from the floor
that most bookmakers are not willing
to separate two heavyweights who
flabbergasted the planet with the scale
of a 7-1 scoreline last time out.
In case you need reminding – and
it was one of those moments most
people who saw it will never forget
– the chasm between Germany and
Brazil four years ago was almost
confusingly extreme, to the point
Joachim Löw’s team confessed to
easing off in the second half of the
semi-final as they were conscious of
the extent of Brazil’s very public and
deeply painful humiliation.
The fact the gap has narrowed
enough for the World Cup’s leading
nations to be perceived as equal is a
testimony to a remarkable recovery.
It was some nadir. Brazil’s ignominy
led to national hand-wringing about
the bigger picture. It did not feel as if a
quick fix was on the cards.
Tite became Brazil’s manager in the
summer of 2016, after the World Cup
hangover drifted into Copa América
exits and just before a pivotal game
to re-energise emotions as Neymar
inspired the under-23s to win the
Olympics gold medal at the Maracanã.
The former Corinthians manager has
engineered an upsurge in confidence,
and reignited some of the old vibrancy
mixed in with a dash of pragmatism.
The feelgood factor cranked up as the
senior team became the first nation
other than the hosts to confirm a place
in Russia.
Germany joined them with
swaggering ease, buoyed by a perfect
qualification record, gallons of goals
and an abundance of talent. They
03.12.17
*
Russia 2018 | Football | SPORT | 11
FA CUP SECOND ROUND
GROUP C
FRANCE
AUSTRALIA
PERU
DENMARK
France v Australia
Peru v Denmark
France v Peru
Denmark v Australia
Denmark v France
Australia v Peru
16 Jun, 11am, Kazan Arena
16 Jun, 5pm, Mordovia Arena, Saransk
21 Jun, 1pm, Ekaterinburg Arena
21 Jun, 4pm, Samara Arena
26 Jun, 3pm, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
26 Jun, 3pm, Fisht Stadium, Sochi
Baxter plans to put
Chelsea education
to work for Woking
GROUP D
ARGENTINA
ICELAND
CROATIA
NIGERIA
Argentina v Iceland
Croatia v Nigeria
Argentina v Croatia
Nigeria v Iceland
Nigeria v Argentina
Iceland v Croatia
16 Jun, 2pm, Spartak Stadium, Moscow
16 Jun, 8pm, Kaliningrad Stadium
21 Jun, 7pm, Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
22 Jun, 4pm, Volgograd Arena
26 Jun, 7pm, St Petersburg Stadium
26 Jun, 7pm, Rostov Arena
Knocked out in the quarter-finals in 2014, Didier Deschamps’s
France look a hugely impressive squad and will hope to make up
for their near-miss on home soil in Euro 2016, when they lost
in the final to Portugal. Australia beat Honduras over two playoff legs, but coach Ange Postecoglou resigned a week after
qualification was assured. The Socceroos failed to win a point at
Brazil 2014 and their long-serving talisman Tim Cahill is on the
wane, though Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy has Premier League
pedigree. Peru booked the last place in Russia with a 2-0
victory over New Zealand in the second leg of their play-off. The
Danes have Spurs’ Christian Eriksen to thank after his hat-trick
in their play-off victory over the Republic of Ireland.
Argentina’s nervy qualification campaign meant Jorge Sampaoli’s
side booked their automatic place in Russia at the last opportunity
with victory over Ecuador but the losing finalists in 2014 will be
looking to go one better. And they have Lionel Messi. Iceland,
Euro 2016 victors over England, represent the smallest nation
by population to qualify for the World Cup and followed up their
heroics in France by topping a group featuring Croatia, Ukraine and
Turkey. For Croatia, Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic make
for one of the best creative midfields in the tournament, though
they have not made it out of their group in three appearances since
reaching the France 98 semi-finals. Nigeria impressively saw off
2014 qualifiers Algeria and Cameroon with a game to spare.
GROUP G
BELGIUM
PANAMA
TUNISIA
ENGLAND
GROUP H
POLAND
SENEGAL
COLOMBIA
JAPAN
Belgium v Panama
Tunisia v England
Belgium v Tunisia
England v Panama
England v Belgium
Panama v Tunisia
Poland v Senegal
Colombia v Japan
Japan v Senegal
Poland v Colombia
Japan v Poland
Senegal v Colombia
18 June, 4pm, Fisht Stadium, Sochi
18 June, 7pm, Volgograd Arena
23 June, 1pm, Spartak Stadium, Moscow
24 June, 1pm, Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
28 June, 7pm, Kaliningrad Stadium
28 June, 7pm, Mordovia Arena, Saransk
Unbeaten in qualifying, Belgium’s hugely talented squad will
be hoping to build on their quarter-final appearance four years
ago, having reached the same stage at Euro 2016. Panama have
been edging closer to reaching the World Cup finals for the
first time in recent tournaments and crossed the line this year
thanks to a last-gasp, controversial 2-1 victory over Costa Rica
in their final qualifier. Unbeaten in qualifying, Tunisia defeated
DR Congo to reach Russia by a point, with a last-round draw
against Libya proving enough for a squad consisting largely of
Tunisia-based players. A comfortable qualification campaign did
nothing to boost optimism for England’s chances in Russia, the
first major tournament in charge for Gareth Southgate.
ENGLAND’S VENUES
England must travel a total of
4,066 miles from and to their
training base in Repino for their
World Cup group games
KALININGRAD STADIUM
v Belgium
The most westerly city to host
games is situated on the Baltic
coast and is an important
Russian seaport.
Built for the finals,
the stadium will
be home to Baltika
Kaliningrad.
NIZHNY NOVGOROD
STADIUM
v Panama
Built on hills overlooking
the Volga river, Nizhny
19 June, 1pm, Spartak Stadium, Moscow
19 June, 4pm, Mordovia Arena, Saransk
24 June, 4pm, Ekaterinburg Arena
24 June, 7pm, Kazan Arena
28 June, 3pm, Volgograd Arena
28 June, 3pm, Samara Arena
Poland are in the finals for the first time since 2006 after Robert
Lewandowski and co comfortably topped their qualifying
group but the last time the Poles progressed beyond the group
stages was 1986. The surprise package at their first World
Cup, in 2002 – they memorably beat the holders, France, in the
opening game – Senegal had not qualified since until they beat
South Africa in a replayed game; the original result was annulled
after the referee was banned for “unlawfully influencing match
results”. José Pékerman’s Colombia finished fourth in South
American qualifying but have waned since 2014 when they
reached the last eight and were controversially beaten by Brazil.
Japan reached a sixth straight finals with a game to spare.
Novgorod has been an
important commercial
city since the
19th century.
One of the new
constructions, it
will be home to
Olimpiets Nizhny
Novgorod once
the finals are
over.
VOLGOGRAD ARENA
v Tunisia
The city formerly known as
Stalingrad, site of one of the
second world war’s most pivotal
battles, is now an industrial hub
home to one million inhabitants.
The stadium is built on the site
of the old Central ground and
is the future home of Rotor
Volgograd.
orr most being there is what counts
possess that rare quality – a
squad who look as if they
could comfortably send out
two teams and fare very
well (and still have some
excellent players who
miss the cut). Outside of
these two, France, Spain,
Belgium and Argentina are
all capable of having a say
in the latter stages.
It is easy enough for
cynicism to play its part around
a World Cup draw. Some of
the groups drawn in Moscow
appear to lack drama or
intrigue. The opening game,
Russia against Saudi Arabia,
Force to be reckoned with: Neymar’s
Brazil are revived under Tite
is, according to the Fifa rankings, the
lowest-grade fixture of the tournament.
The reticence about how welcoming
and easy to negotiate the host country
will be perhaps adds extra negative
vibes before the greatest show
on earth lands in Russia in six
months’ time.
Like most 21st-century World
Cups, concerns niggle away. In
recent memory Germany 2006
was an exception in that everyone
imagined it would be beautifully
organised (it was) and perhaps the
only concern was about local faith
in whether the German national
team could deliver as hosts (they
did).
In 2002 there were worries
about whether the tournament
would come to life in east Asia,
and if the business of co-hosting was
workable. In 2010 in South Africa and
2014 in Brazil anxiety about security,
lateness of stadium construction
and fragility of infrastructure frayed
pre-tournament nerves. All turned out
pretty well in the end. Russia brings its
own issues.
But the World Cup’s capacity to
overcome the cynicism, to flush away
the pre-tournament negativity, should
not be underestimated. The Panama
goalkeeper Jaime Penedo got to the
heart of it all with one phrase: “Going
to the World Cup looks like the key to
entering a different dimension.”
That sense of possibility, of
inspiration, is felt from underdog to
favourite. Four years ago Brazil were
crippled by pressure. Now, as the saying
goes, they are ready to go again.
On-loan goalkeeper
has sights set on a Cup
shock against Posh,
he tells Paul MacInnes
I
t is only the beginning of December
but already Woking are chasing their
second FA Cup shock of the season.
Last month the National League side
knocked out Bury with a thumping
3-0 win at Gigg Lane. Today they host
Peterborough, another League One
team. Their goalkeeper Nathan Baxter
is not unexcited by the prospect. “It’s an
unbelievable opportunity,” the 19-yearold says. “For the players it is an opportunity to test ourselves against league
players, good league players, to perhaps
get through and draw one of the big boys.
For the fans it’s important and financially
for the board too. It’s a great competition,
it was a great night at Bury, so we’ll be
looking for more of the same.”
Baxter is answering questions from a
battered leather sofa in the clubhouse at
Woking’s training ground. The premises
are shared with local Surrey side Bisley
and the site is an odd mixture of old- and
new-school football. On the outside it is
a muddy pitch and two black wooden
shacks. On the inside there are ranks
of top-of-the-range exercise bikes and
a chef serving a nutritionally balanced
meal of burritos. Ninth in the National
League at the start of the weekend,
Woking are a club on the up. The manager, Anthony Limbrick, has assembled a
squad of young, hungry players desperate
to make the grade in the Football League
and Baxter very much fits in this bracket.
“Pretty much all of us are 21, 22. You’ve
got the odd younger one like me and
then the odd older one but it’s a really
good group of lads and we’re all really
hungry to get on,” he says. “Everyone
gets on here and I think that’s definitely
helped us in the way we’ve been able to
hold on to results and come together in
the final minutes to get wins.”
When Baxter puts his gloves on against
Peterborough he will be making his 57th
start as a professional, an impressive total
for a teenage keeper. For the past two
years he has played at three clubs, first
for the Metropolitan Police in the Isthmian League, then Solihull Moors in the
National League and now for their rivals
Woking. Yet he is also a Chelsea player: a
graduate of their academy, he received his
football education with the Blues from the
age of seven and has been playing on loan.
Baxter won the FA Youth Cup in 2015
alongside Tammy Abraham and he has
trained and gone on summer tours with
the seniors. He is part of the generation
nurtured under the Premier League’s elite
player performance plan. But to take the
next step in his career he has had to drop
four tiers down the pyramid.
“For a young goalkeeper the most
important thing is game time, playing
football and learning,” he says. “Perhaps there’s plenty of examples of out-
field players who’ve gone straight into
Premier League football but I think it’s
less so for a goalkeeper. To learn my
trade in the lower leagues is definitely
a positive and each game I feel like I
improve and become more comfortable.
It’s definitely stood me in good stead.
“I feel like when you play National
League football the games come so thick
and fast; Saturday, Tuesday every week.
And the amount the points mean, it’s
massive, because people’s livelihoods
are on the line. As a goalkeeper I know
I need to be on it and last season I went
on loan to two teams who were down at
the bottom of the table.
“Growing up at Chelsea I’d never
known that. Walking on to the pitch,
knowing I was going to have loads to do
and that I had to play well for us to get
three points was a different experience.
I feel like I’m more well rounded now;
you learn to deal with crosses and the
more physical side of the game but you
already have the technical upbringing.”
That technical upbringing is the
result of a decade at Chelsea’s Cobham
training complex. Spotted by a scout at
the age of six and training four times a
Raising the bar:
Nathan Baxter
says of today’s tie:
‘It’s an opportunity
to test ourselves …
get through and
perhaps draw one
of the big boys’
week from the age of eight, Baxter has
had the best footballing education possible. He says he enjoyed every minute
of it and has apparently sought out as
much extra coaching as he could. “I was
very lucky in terms of the amount of
goalkeeping coaching you get” he says.
“At Chelsea the setup is great. Then, as
you get older and being able to play out
from the back becomes more important,
I would maybe do an extra session with
the outfield players to try and improve
that aspect as much as I could. But really,
it’s just about what works best for you.”
Then came the decision to leave. Baxter still lives in his Chelsea digs and is in
regular communication with his Cobham
coaches, who continue to go through video
analysis of his performances with him. If
he has a niggle, he can use the club’s physios. But he may never actually play for the
club he has been part of for as long as he
can remember. Whether he has made the
right choice time will tell, and it is a choice
many more young players from the elite
academies will be forced to make. But in
this young man there is both an obvious
confidence and a steely resolve to concentrate on only those things he can effect.
“Since the age of seven I’ve dreamed
of playing for Chelsea so it’s just trying
to get as close as I can to that,” Baxter
says. “But you can’t start thinking about
what you’re going to do in a couple of
months, never mind what you’re going
to do next season. My focus is purely
on Sunday.”
Dinsley strike has Hereford dreaming
Seventh-tier Hereford earned a place in
tomorrow’s FA Cup third round draw after
holding on for a 1-1 draw away to League
One Fleetwood. Calvin Dinsley gave the
Southern Premier Division side, 89 places
below their opponents in the league
structure, a stunning start with a volleyed
opener on 23 minutes. But Devante Cole
equalised six minutes later – and the home
side almost won it in injury time when
Ashley Hunter struck the base of the post.
Oxford City were denied late on as Jorge
Grant scored five minutes into injury time
to give Notts County a 3-2 win at Meadow
Lane. It was a heartbreaking finish for the
National League South side, who had twice
fought back from a goal behind and looked
set to earn a replay against their League Two
hosts. Richard Duffy’s opener was cancelled
out by Rob Sinclair and, after Jon Stead put
the home side back in front from the penalty
spot, Matt Paterson levelled again on 73
minutes before Grant’s dramatic winner.
National League Maidstone led MK Dons
thanks to a Magnus Okuonghae goal but
the League One side ran out 4-1 winners
with all four goals in the second half.
Stuart McCall’s Bradford look in the
mood for another Cup run after a 3-1 win
over League One rivals Plymouth. Romain
Vincelot’s header put the 2015 quarterfinalists in front and Nathaniel KnightPercival doubled the Bantams’ advantage
after the break. Graham Carey pulled
one back but a minute later Charlie Wyke
lashed home to seal the Pilgrims’ fate.
Elsewhere, Stevenage cruised to a 5-2
win over Swindon, despite sacrificing
a 2-0 lead in the first half. League One
Shrewsbury also guaranteed their place
with a 2-0 win over Morecambe; Forest
Green and Exeter must go to a replay after
a dramatic 3-3 draw; Jordan Green headed
home in the 89th minute to earn struggling
Yeovil a 1-1 draw at Port Vale; and Gillingham
and Carlisle must also meet again
after Luke O’Neill’s opener was cancelled
out by Danny Grainger’s penalty.
PA
* 03.12.17
12 | SPORT | Rugby league | World Cup final
Watkins and
England fall
agonisingly
short of
final glory
AUSTRALIA
6
ENGLAND
0
John Davidson
Brisbane Stadium
England’s World Cup dream ended in
heartbreak as Australia edged to a tense
victory in the closest final the sport has
seen for decades. England had reached
the decider, ending a 22-year wait for
another tournament final, but it was in
the Queensland capital where the hopes
of a nation were ended by the slimmest
of slim margins.
Australia claimed their record 11th
world crown with a solitary try by Boyd
Cordner the only difference. England
produced their best performance against
the Kangaroos in 10 years, in what might
have been the best World Cup final of
all-time, but again they fell agonisingly
short.
The Australia coach, Mal Meninga,
was proud of his player’s enormous
effort and hailed England’s display.
World class: Australia, along with
some of their children, lift the trophy
“You don’t get many 6-0 games in rugby
league any more,” he said. “I’m just
really proud of them. It was a special
night for both sides and a special night
for rugby league.”
England headed into the match without their captain, Sean O’Loughlin, and
hooker Josh Hodgson through injury, a
double blow from which it was difficult
to recover. Australia were unchanged
one to 17, a side comfortable and familiar
in combinations after five wins in a row.
It was a brutal opening spell, James
Graham hit hard with the opening carry
and Billy Slater greeted with a wall of
defenders. Both teams focused on doing
the simple things right with passes and
expansive play at a minimum.
It was England who were most fluid
early on with James Roby darting from
dummy-half and Kevin Brown shifting
the ball with speed. Gareth Widdop came
in for a lot of early attention with Australia fully aware of the danger he posed.
After 10 minutes the final exploded
into life when Luke Gale hit Cameron
Smith high with a swinging arm. The
ensuing penalty left the Kangaroos
camped on England’s try-line. Kallum
Watkins then tried to bat out a Cooper
Cronk kick, which almost resulted in an
Australia try.
Everything was going Australia’s
way and it seemed only a matter of
time until England cracked. In the 15th
minute Michael Morgan popped a short
ball to Cordner and the back-rower
steamrolled his way to the line. Smith’s
conversion gave Australia first blood
at 6-0.
On 20 minutes Dane Gagai lost the
ball on his own 20-metre line to gift England attacking possession. They attacked
to the right but Australia scrambled well
and Hall was monstered into touch.
Jermaine McGillvary had a great
chance three minutes later, after Watkins had put him into space on the right,
but the winger lost control of the ball as
he tried to power his way over. Close but
not close enough again for England.
In a match where attacking
opportunities were rare, the visitors
were behind but hanging in there.
Much like the tournament opener in
Melbourne, England were patient and
content to go set for set with Australia
and wait for an error. Rugby league is a
game of inches but this was one more of
millimetres. Every knock-on, dropped
pass or mistimed play-the-ball could be
disastrous.
With four minutes left in the half, as
the rain started to tumble down, Alex
Walmsley earned a penalty. The time
was now to strike, but a knock-on by
John Bateman gave possession back
immediately.
Right before half-time Australia
appeared poised to score, but England
held on and the half-time siren came as
a relief after 40 minutes of largely being
on the back foot.
Danger struck barely a minute into
the second half when Widdop dropped a
Cronk bomb right on his line. You could
almost smell an Australia try coming,
but England’s defence was up to the task
and Widdop redeemed himself when he
soared majestically to collect Cronk’s
next kick.
By their skin of their teeth England
were still in it. In the 46th minute Josh
Dugan tried to put Valentine Holmes
over but McGillvary intercepted the
pass and broke clear. It was heart in your
mouth stuff.
A minute later Jordan McLean found
Morgan who stepped past two defenders
to score, but the video referee intervened
and the try was chalked off for obstruction. England were still in the fight.
A chance for a try came on 54 minutes, after they were handed a penalty
on the Australian line, but the Kangaroos
can defend better than anyone, having
conceded three tries all tournament.
The game wore on, the sides working
themselves to a standstill. Every tackle,
every run was met with crunching collision after crunching collision. With 15
minutes remaining England lifted and
Watkins almost broke free down the
right, only a desperate Dugan ankle-tap
preventing a runaway try.
England then forced a goal-line dropout and ending 45 years of hurt was
seemingly in sight, but Widdop tried a
high-risk cut-out pass and the ball rolled
into touch. And with it went England’s
World Cup chances.
As the clock ticked down the
stalemate continued and the Kangaroos
escaped. The Paul Barrière trophy, and
the dominance of the world of rugby
league, was theirs once more.
AUSTRALIA Slater; Gagai, Chambers, Dugan, Holmes;
Morgan, Cronk; Woods, Smith (capt), Klemmer,
Cordner, Gillett, McGuire Interchange Graham, McLean,
Campbell-Gillard, Frizell
Try Cordner Goal Smith
ENGLAND Widdop; McGillvary, Watkins, Bateman, Hall;
Brown, Gale; Hill, Roby, Graham, Currie, Whitehead,
S Burgess (capt) Interchange Walmsley, T Burgess,
Heighington, Lomax
Brisbane Stadium 40,033
Game rating |||||||||| Referee Gerard Sutton
OH SO CLOSE
ENGLAND’S BIG CHANCE
1
2
Games turn on small moments and
an ankle tap by Josh Dugan on Kallum
Watkins deep in the second half was one
of those. 1 In the 66th minute, Watkins
bursts into the clear 50m out and with no
one in front of him he looks set to score.
But a diving Dugan (2-3) just clips his
boot to bring him down 4 A few tackles
later, with the defence still scrambling,
and on the opposite side of the field,
Gareth Widdop’s kick (inset) was collected
by Australia.
Pain of narrow defeat must not
mask progress under Bennett
Heroic effort shows the
game has much to build
on, says Aaron Bower
I
t’s the hope that kills you. If there
is one overriding image that will
remain with England fans for at
least the next four years, it is the
sight of Kallum Watkins stumbling
and falling with the freedom of
Brisbane Stadium laid out in front of
him.
At that stage, right there and then,
the opportunity was clear for England
perhaps more than ever before. The
chance to become world champions
was on – all Watkins had to do was
stay upright. What the centre did not
account for, however, was one of
those moments that turns the
course of a game, if not a tournament,
on its head: the tap that won the
World Cup.
Step forward Josh Dugan. The
Australian’s last-ditch ankle tap, with
Watkins searing away downfield,
just about felled the centre and kept
Australia’s six-point lead intact.
There were further near-misses –
and further frustrations – in the
closing stages as England pressed
and pressed without any reward. By
full-time the outcome was a distinctly
familiar one.
Yes, this is World Cup No11 at the
15th attempt for the all-conquering
Kangaroos. They remain the best
side in the world and the benchmark
for everyone else. And yes, this was a
missed opportunity for England to
end that stranglehold. But before
their celebrations could begin, there
was a frank admission from the
world’s best player, the kind that
confirms just how much England
have stepped up in the eyes of the
Australians.
“It’s one of the toughest games
I’ve ever played in,” said Cameron
Smith. From a multiple World
Cup, State of Origin and National
Rugby League winner, that is fair
praise. It will matter little in the
moments immediately after another
heartbreaking defeat to Australia,
but longer term, this heroic
performance sets English rugby
Brave face: Prop James Graham applauds
the England fans after his side’s defeat
league up for an opportunity it cannot
squander.
The international game has been
reinvigorated by this World Cup. The
emergence of Tonga as a powerhouse
and the growth of the other Pacific
Nations makes it essential that
momentum is not lost. But from
England’s perspective, there is also
much to build on. Sam Burgess led the
side with passion, James Graham bled
for the cause from the first minute
and England have surely piqued the
public’s attention with this heroic
effort. Who knows, perhaps they
have even battled their way into the
mainstream? They certainly could not
have done any more in that regard. As
good as Super League is, the powers
that be would be wise to listen; the
public want more of this international
rugby league drama. It could well
catch on.
If you had not seen the game and
simply glanced at the final score, 6-0
in Australia’s favour does not suggest a
classic. But as a breathless, devastated
Graham just about managed to
mutter: “What a spectacle.” He was
right. The praise kept coming too,
with greats such as Billy Slater
pointing out just what a war the
Kangaroos were in.
England’s agonising pain of defeat
will eventually subside and hopefully
make way for optimism. The gap
is perhaps closer than it has been
between Australia and England – now
03.12.17
*
Xxxxxxx Xxxxxx | SPORT | 13
IN BRIEF
CRICKET
Vijay and Kohli centuries
put India in driving seat
Big centuries from Murali Vijay and
captain Virat Kohli put India in a
commanding position on the opening
day of the third Test against Sri Lanka
in Delhi. Vijay made 155, while Kohli
was unbeaten on 156 at stumps as the
hosts reached the close on 371 for four.
Shikhar Dhawan made 23 before he
swept Dilruwan Perera to deep square
leg and when Cheteshwar Pujara fell
for the same score, caught at leg slip by
Sadeera Samarawickrama off Lahiru
Gamage, India were 78 for two. But
Vijay and Kohli then joined forces to
put on 283 for the third wicket.
The pair were never unduly troubled
as they rattled along at four runs an
over until the partnership was finally
broken when Vijay was deceived
by Lakshan Sandakan’s googly and
stumped by Niroshan Dickwella.
Sandokan repeated the trick to have
Ajinkya Rahane stumped for one two
overs from the close.
PA
RUGBY UNION
England quartet return
Painful viewing:
The forlorn England
players watch Australia
receive the World Cup
for the 11th time at the
Brisbane Stadium
yesterday after
winning the closest
final since 1992.
Mark Metcalfe/
Getty Images
3
the world’s second-best side without
question– for some time. Every single
player takes credit for that – as does
the coach.
Wayne Bennett’s appointment two
years ago was met with confusion and
scrutiny. The prospect of an Australian
coaching England even drew criticism
from some Kangaroo greats. The gripe
from an English perspective mostly
revolved around how he would be
based full-time in Australia while in
charge.
Bennett promised he would make
England better. Plenty of us doubted
whether he would come good on it.
Now there can be no doubt, and the
Rugby Football League would be
wise to persuade him to continue
this journey with England into 2018
and beyond. Yes, it was the same old
song and the same old green-andgold celebrations at full-time, but
this one felt different from an English
perspective.
When the players begin to drag
themselves up from the floor, they
will realise they have instilled the
nation’s rugby league followers with
more hope and confidence than have
been seen on these shores for quite
some time. They will rue this missed
opportunity, but they have delivered
pride and confidence aplenty that the
future is bright.
It has taken 22 years for England
to return to the World Cup final.
One would hope that, following the
undoubted progress made by this side
over the past six weeks and shown by
the bucketload yesterday it will not be
that long again.
The end result was familiar and
gut-wrenching, but my goodness,
you would have had to be made of
stone not to have felt proud to be
English.
4
‘The scoreboard says we
lost, but what did we lose?’
Aaron Bower
Wayne Bennett refused to comment on
his future as England coach following
his side’s narrow World Cup final defeat
to Australia, saying: “I’m not talking
about that tonight, at the moment I’m
not thinking about it.”
The Australian has overseen a great
improvement in the national side – something his compatriot Mal Meninga, the
winning coach, agreed with. The Rugby
Football League says it is in no rush to sit
down with Bennett and discuss a new
contract, largely because England’s next
game is not until midway through next
year. Bennett’s full-time commitments at
club level with the Brisbane Broncos may
also influence his decision.
For now, he was full of praise for his
side after a valiant performance against
the all-conquering Kangaroos, with
England missing their starting hooker,
Josh Hodgson, and their captain, Sean
O’Loughlin, because of injury. Had it
not been for a remarkable tap-tackle by
Josh Dugan on Kallum Watkins in the
final quarter, England could have even
forced the world champions into extra
time. That, however, was not to be – but
Contract doubt:
Wayne Bennett
would not indicate
whether or not he
hoped to remain
as England coach:
‘I’m not talking
about that tonight’
Bennett was delighted with his side’s
effort.
“I’m really proud of them, that was
near State of Origin standard,” he said.
“At times they were exhausted but there
was effort on effort. They had a little bit
better ball than we did and we had to do
a little bit more defending.
“It was a pity there had to be a loser.
The scoreboard says there’s a loser but
what did we lose? There was effort,
intensity, they tried as hard as they could.
It’s what makes sport great – someone
has to win and someone has to lose.”
Bennett did, however, lament
England’s failure to take a number of good
opportunities. He said: “We probably did
not execute a couple of things and that
has been our achilles heel.”
Meninga was unsure if Bennett would
continue with England, but said their progression under the 67-year-old is evident.
“Whether Wayne stays or not is up to him
but England have made some pretty great
strides, they’re playing quality rugby
league and have that hard edge.
“England look like and play like
Wayne Bennett-coached sides. They
control the footy really well, they get to
their kick and they try to play the fieldposition game and kept turning up for
each other defensively. There are not
many chinks in their armour. We found
one, that was all.”
James Graham, meanwhile, refused to
apologise after being picked up swearing at an opponent on the referee’s
microphone. “Loads of stuff gets said on
the field,” the England prop said. “If you
don’t like it, turn off the ref mics.”
Saracens will aim to keep pace with the
Premiership leaders Exeter when they
visit Harlequins today, bolstered by
their returning England internationals
Owen Farrell, Mako Vunipola, Jamie
George and Maro Itoje for their trip to
the Twickenham Stoop. Saracens’ home
defeat against Exeter last weekend
left them five points behind the
Premiership title holders and today’s
fixture prefaces a run of key games ,
with Clermont Auvergne awaiting in
back-to-back European Champions
Cup fixtures before a Christmas Eve
league trip to Leicester.
“It is a really important time in our
season,” Saracens wing Sean Maitland
told the club’s website. “We’ve got some
massive games coming up and all the
international boys are back, so we have
a fizz in our step from what I’ve noticed
this week. The main thing for us is to
keep building our game, keep working
hard and hopefully it’s going to be a
pretty good few weeks for us.”
Quins, meanwhile, slipped to 10th
place following away victories for
Newcastle and Sale Sharks on Friday
night and rugby director John Kingston
has made eight changes from the side
beaten by Bath seven days ago.
Force India: Virat Kohli, right, and
Murali Vijay run between the wickets
Returning players include England
quartet Mike Brown, Danny Care,
Joe Marler and Chris Robshaw, while
the Wales centre Jamie Roberts also
features, with his country’s match
against South Africa this weekend
falling outside World Rugby’s autumn
Test window, which means English
PA
clubs not releasing players.
Win boosts lowly Zebre
Zebre closed the gap on opponents
Connacht with a 24-10 victory in their
Pro14 tie in Parma. Two penalties
from Carlo Canna gave Zebre a 6-0
half-time lead, the latter coming after
the Italians had a try ruled out by the
TMO. Connacht were back in it early
in the second half when Tom Farrell
made the most of a mistake in the
home defence and raced over to score.
Steve Crosbie landed the conversion to
put the Irish side 7-6 ahead. Another
penalty from Canna put Zebre back in
front but a penalty from Jack Carty – on
for the injured Crosbie – made it 10-9
to Connacht. The Italians restored
their advantage with a try from Johan
Meyer which was converted by Canna
to give them a 16-10 lead and added a
Canna drop-goal and a try from Giamba
PA
Venditti to ease to victory.
FORMULA E
Bird wins despite penalty
Sam Bird won Formula E’s seasonopening race in Hong Kong despite
the Briton being forced to serve a
drive-through penalty after crashing
his all-electric DS-Virgin Racing
car in the pit lane. The 30-year-old
claimed a sixth career win by 11.575sec
from pole winner Jean-Eric Vergne
following the incident when switching
to his second car. Bird was penalised
for not stopping in the garage, but
Reuters
retained his lead.
* 03.12.17
14 | SPORT | Cricket | Second Ashes Test
Ovation for Overton
but Root’s gamble
reaps little reward
VIC
MARKS
ADELAIDE OVAL
Australia batsmen
hold firm after being
put in though debutant
dismisses the captain
There have been bigger gambles in
Ashes history and there have been
worse outcomes. But the decision to put
Australia in, the first time England have
done so here since the ill-fated decision
of Bob Willis on the 1982-83 tour, did not
look so good after the 81 overs that were
bowled.
At the end of a blustery day and night
when play was interrupted by several
squally showers Australia were delighted
to be 209 for four at the close of play at
10.05pm, which was dangerously near to
England’s midnight curfew.
There was some tufty grass on the
pitch but it was not quite as long or as
green as in previous day/night matches
here. The decision to put the opposition
in had much more logic than in 1982 –
after all, Australia have won both day/
night matches here batting second –
but the end product was grim for Joe
Root. Inserting the opposition brings
an additional pressure to the bowlers,
since there is the expectation that the
opposition should be dismissed for
around 250 to justify that decision.
Early on, England may have felt that
burden of expectation; their bowlers
were tentative and a bit short in length.
Moreover, the pink ball behaved all
too decorously, declining to swing on
a cold and windy day – by Adelaide
standards.
Before the start John Emburey gave
a brief, expletive-free speech to the
English huddle before giving Craig
Overton his first cap. The first Devonian
to play for England since Chris Read in
2007 replaced Jake Ball. The sun briefly
made an appearance at the singing of
Advance Australia Fair, which was the
last thing that Root wanted to see. Then
the Australia openers advanced warily
but with few problems; the ball seldom
beat the bat during the 13.5 overs before
the first interruption.
That break upset the batsmen’s
concentration, which was not evident
from their strokeplay but their running
between the wickets. David Warner
pushed the ball gently towards short
extra cover, where Moeen Ali fumbled.
From there the ball trickled towards
Chris Woakes at mid-off. Warner spied
a single, a macho, annoying single and
he advanced down the pitch, bellowing:
“Yes.” Cameron Bancroft dutifully
responded, whereupon Warner changed
his mind. Woakes took aim and hit the
stumps with Bancroft stranded.
Immediately, Root removed Woakes
from the attack, replacing him with
Anderson. This seemed an odd thing
to do. Woakes must have been buzzing
after his superb intervention and it was
surely worth keeping him going for an
over or two. Occasionally, Root can be
too hierarchical with his bowlers.
Usman Khawaja settled alongside
Warner. Overton bowled his first over
in Test cricket respectably; Moeen
was summoned specifically to bowl at
Khawaja and did not seem to be too hindered by his damaged spinning finger.
Nor were the batsmen hindered much.
Suddenly, 20 runs came in two overs
in part due to a bad misfield by James
Vince to the delight of the majority of
the 55,317 spectators.
Australia were cruising when Warner
nibbled at Woakes and for the first time
Did not bat: Joe Root won the toss and the
England captain decided to put Australia in
SCOREBOARD
Adelaide Oval (day one of five) – England won the toss
AUSTRALIA – First innings
CT Bancroft run out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Called then sent back, direct hit (Woakes) . . . . . .41 balls
DA Warner c Bairstow b Woakes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Nibbled off the seam and edged . . . . . . 102 balls, 5 fours
Usman Khawaja c Vince b Anderson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Pitched up, driven to gully . . . . . . . . . . . . . .112 balls, 8 fours
*SPD Smith b Overton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Played on through bat and pad gap . . . 90 balls, 3 fours
PSP Handscomb not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 balls, 5 fours
SE Marsh not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 balls, 2 fours
Extras (lb3) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
Total (81 overs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209-4
Fall of wickets: 1-33, 2-86, 3-139, 4-161.
Bowling: Anderson 20-3-45-1; Broad 19-7-39-0; Woakes
15-2-50-1; Overton 17-3-47-1; Moeen 10-1-25-0.
To bat: †TD Paine, MA Starc, PJ Cummins, JR Hazlewood,
NM Lyon.
ENGLAND AN Cook, MD Stoneman, JM Vince, *JE Root,
DJ Malan, Moeen Ali, †JM Bairstow, CR Woakes, SCJ Broad,
C Overton, JM Anderson.
Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pak) & C Gaffaney (NZ).
RESULT AND FIXTURES
23-27 November
First Test, the Gabba: Australia won by 10 wickets
14-18 December
Third Test, the Waca
26-30 December
Fourth Test, Melbourne Cricket Ground
4-8 January
Fifth Test, Sydney Cricket Ground
in 84 overs in this series an English
bowler had taken a wicket.
Another should have followed soon
after when Khawaja, on 44, top-edged
a hook shot to the leg-side boundary,
where Mark Stoneman ran to his right
only for the ball to bobble out of hard
hands on to the turf. Dinner, a movable
feast yesterday, was taken at 7.10pm with
Australia 138 for two.
With darkness descending it did
appear to become harder to bat after the
break even though the ball was 51 overs
old. In that crepuscular hour Khawaja
drove airily away from his body and
sliced a catch to Vince in the gully, but
Steve Smith remained unperturbed.
England had managed to rattle the
Australia captain early in his innings
more by something they said rather
than through a sequence of venomous
deliveries. It seemed that Stuart Broad
said something that Smith did not
find particularly funny; in fact it irked
him; we know not what since my campaign to keep the pitch microphones
permanently switched on does not
appear to be gaining any momentum.
One assumes that Broad remained on
the appropriate side of the mythical line
that has been endlessly spoken about in
the past week, though the umpires did
feel obliged to have a word themselves.
The Australia captain progressed
slowly but then he appears to be in a
phase when he actively enjoys taking
his time frustrating the England bowlers and sapping their energy.
Soon Overton was summoned for
another spell. His first ball was full in
length and beat the inside edge of Smith’s
bat; then it flicked the batsman’s left pad
before disturbing the stumps; the bails
lit up magically and Overton had his first
Test wicket, the first taken for England
by a Somerset bowler since Richard
Johnson had Kumar Sangakkara lbw on
this day in 2003. It was a scalp muchcelebrated out in the middle, as well as
in Instow and Westward Ho! From here
onwards, Overton certainly did not look
out of place.
Still, there was no clatter of wickets
in the darkness, which might suggest
that upon this surface the ball is not
darting around as much in previous
years – we will know more when we see
Australia bowling.
Peter Handscomb’s early runs all
came behind the wicket and often
from the edge of his bat. His innings
was not pretty – he gets into some
extraordinary positions and he played
and missed more often than most – but
it was valuable. Like Smith, he does not
possess a technique that you will find
in any coaching manual but batting in a
Test match is not a beauty contest. Shaun
Marsh was more orthodox and more
convincing as yet another partnership
developed. It was not a pulsating day and
night but it was Australia’s.
FIRST STRIKE
Craig Overton
(centre) is
congratulated after
the England debutant
dismissed Steve
Smith (inset), with
the Australia captain
bowled off his pads.
The other wickets to
fall (bottom, left to
right) were those of
Cameron Bancroft,
who was run out by
Chris Woakes (out of
picture); David
Warner, who was
caught behind of
Woakes; and Usman
Khawaja, who edged
Jimmy Anderson to
James Vince at gully.
Dean Lewins/AAP;
Getty Images;
AFP/Getty
‘He was saying I was slow, so it was nice that I beat him for pace’
Ali Martin
Adelaide Oval
Wherever Craig Overton’s career takes
him from here, he will always have
Steve Smith. At the home of Sir Donald
Bradman, and on a day when cricket
drew more spectators here than ever
before, he made Australia’s modern-day
equivalent his maiden Test wicket.
Told he was making his debut an
hour from the start of play, before being
presented with his cap by the former offspinner John Emburey, the 23-year-old
– one half of Somerset’s seam bowling
twins – was left in something of a daze
after breaking the defence of the Australia captain on 40.
It was just after the dinner break
when Overton struck, teasing the pink
Kookaburra on to Smith’s stumps via pad
to ensure that, after 415 balls without
any joy this series through his unbeaten
141 in Brisbane, England had finally seen
the back of the world’s No1 batsman.
At the close on day one Overton
beamed like the Zing bails he had earlier
lit up, revealing during a short press
conference – one that ensured England’s
players would beat their curfew – how
some of the on-field chitchat had made
it all the more sweet.
“It was a pretty nice one,” he said.
“There was a plan to go straight at him.
We thought we could keep him quiet
doing that. Then one went through him
a little bit quicker and beat him for pace.
He was saying I was slow, so it was nice
that I beat him for pace.”
England appeared intent on unsettling
Smith at the crease, with verbals flying
from Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson, and the umpires, Aleem Dar and
Running battle: Craig Overton has a word with Steve Smith as the Australia captain
dashes between the wickets on his way to making 40. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Chris Gaffaney, having to step in on the
odd occasion to try and temper what is
already a fractious series.
Overton said: “I was on the boundary
so I don’t know too much. It looked like
they got under his skin, but he still got
40. It was nice to get him in the end.”
Asked in what way Smith appeared
to be irked, Overton replied: “Just the
way he left the ball, almost exaggerating
a little bit. He didn’t do that in the first
Test at Brisbane. I don’t know if he was
doing that to wind ourselves up a little
bit.”
Being the junior member of the side,
and making his debut on the same
ground as the suspended Ben Stokes four
years ago, Overton could not be further
removed from the brains trust. He did,
however, explain his understanding as
to why the captain, Joe Root, opted to
bowl first.
03.12.17
*
Second Ashes Test | Cricket | SPORT | 15
SLEDGE
WATCH
SMITH THE
TARGET
To say England were
trying to rile Steve
Smith would be an
understatement.
The tourists talked
about how unedifying
they found Smith’s
carry-on after the
Brisbane Test and
they did not miss the
opportunity to say it to
his face. Once Stuart
Broad started the
verbals (above), Jimmy
Anderson took over,
fielding at short midon (below) and using
the opportunity to get
in Smith’s personal
space. It spilled over in
the 57th over, when
umpire Aleem Dar
stepped in to separate
the pair (inset) .
Broad and Anderson
hurl words, not pink
ball, to counter Smith
Umpires have to step
in after posturing and
eyeballing takes over,
writes Ali Martin
Overton said: “This morning there
were overcast skies, so we tried to make
sure we capitalised on that. The first
session didn’t go to plan, but they didn’t
get away from us. They’re not too far
ahead of the game so if we can get early
wickets, we’re confident.”
Usman Khawaja, who made 53 for
Australia and did not quite manage to
capitalise on the life given to him 44,
was not surprised by the call and said the
pink ball and a soft surface were behind
the slow run-rate. The left-hander said:
“I had a feeling they might bowl first.
With it overcast, day one, the pink ball
– their bowlers do thrive in those conditions. But whatever you do – bat first,
bowl first – you have to do it well and
we’re pretty happy.”
On England’s running battle with
Smith, Khawaja said: “I couldn’t hear a
lot of it. It looked like a bit of banter going
on. It just switched Steve Smith on a bit.
I wasn’t sure to let him go or bring him
back but he was enjoying it. The man
averages 61, he can do what he wants.”
THE BOUNCER
NCE
toes of his back foot, punching Chris
Woakes through cover, with a wristy
flourish at the end for good measure.
MAN OF THE DAY
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Peter Handscomb: An extra
ra wicket or
two might have seen England on top.
But the fact that honours are even –
Australia perhaps slightly ahead – is
down to Peter Handscomb’s gritty,
unsightly 83-ball stay. He arrived
at 161 for four, off the back of the
surprising loss of Steve Smith,
as England ramped up the pressure.
Handscomb missed, edged and,
eventually, coasted his way to stumps,
taking a leaf out of Smith’s book.
“We had a little bit of banter earlier on –
he said I was a bit slow.” Craig Overton
reveals Smith’s words of encouragement
before
befor having the last laugh.
SHOT OF THE DAY
The pick of the batsmen and the only one
to look at ease at the crease upon arrival,
Usman Khawaja put his failure in the
first Test behind him to compile a nearperfect half-century. This was probably
the best of his eight boundaries: on the
ENGLISH
E
N
CONDITIONS
Mu was made about Adelaide
Much
bein
being a potential leveller for
England,
Englan with the day-night element
and seam – two skills
assisting swing
s
they crave in the absence of the raw
pace coursing through Australia’s attack.
But it seems those English conditions
were more noticeable in the stands.
Temperatures dropped below 20C in the
afternoon, with spectators opting for
jumpers as the lights took over. Some
even left at 8.30pm as the chill took hold
once the action had started to wane. Oh,
and it rained, too. Vithushan Ehantharajah
Different coloured ball, same old
nonsense. The 2017-18 Ashes may have
witnessed less than a week of cricket
but when it comes to behaviour, the
latest battle for the little urn is already
shaping up as a race to the bottom.
The opening day in Adelaide, where
a record-breaking 55,317 spectators
flocked through the turnstiles for the
first day-night men’s Test between
Australia and England, should have
been a celebration of the oldest rivalry
in cricket getting a fresh twist under
lights. Instead, it was a case of rinse
and repeat from the back end of the
Gabba Test and the fallout caused by
the head-butt saga. The umpire, Aleem
Dar, a passive soul, twice stepped in
to remind the players that there are
certain standards to be upheld and
that the Rugby League World Cup final
between the two counties was being
staged 1,200 miles away.
England have clearly had enough of
being on the receiving end of Australia’s
chuntering and what they believed was
an orchestrated attempt to rev up Jonny
Bairstow’s faux-pas with Cameron
Bancroft at the start of the tour. A new
hard-nosed policy is in place, with the
man they perceived to be laughing at
them at the end of the first Test – Steve
Smith – now the prime target.
After the wicket of David Warner,
whose earlier homicidal call had led to
Bancroft being run out and Stuart Broad
pointedly stick his fingers in his ears
towards the guilty party, the Australia
captain strode out to the middle. Things
appeared quiet at first but it did not take
long before Broad was exchanging views
with the right-hander, who fired back in
turn. Though hard to decipher the exact
words, it was clear the pros and cons of
Adelaide council’s mooted congestion
charge was not the topic of debate.
Anderson, whose use of the word
bullies in a pre-match column for
the Telegraph had prompted Smith
to remind him of his own partiality
for a word or two, then got involved.
Placing himself at a short mid-on while
Smith was at the non-striker’s end,
more eyeballing, posturing and general
twaddle ensued before Dar again had
to act.
Did the tactic work? Certainly Smith
seemed slightly unsettled at the crease.
Having last week ground England into
the Brisbane dirt with an unbeaten
141, he eventually perished on 40
when, having apparently sledged Craig
Overton about his lack of pace, the
debutant lit up the Zing bails with a ball
that cannoned off pad and bat.
Though England were pretty boorish
here, it must be said, perhaps Smith
will now reconsider his assertion that
the officials should decide where the
line be drawn. Those words showed
a leader out of touch with one of the
oldest codes of the sport: namely the
two captains are responsible for the
tone in which a match is played.
But then maybe the spectators
who had flocked down from the
bustling cafes and bars (and massage
establishments) of Hindley Street, and
crossed the snaking footbridge over
the river Torrens towards this giant
multipurpose stadium, had parted with
their cash for such a battle.
It is fair to say they did not quite
receive the full day-night experience
sold in the brochure. A near 20-degree
drop from some punishing temperatures
at the start of the week, and the showery
clouds that kept sweeping across the
ground and breaking up play, meant
they were denied the balmy evening of
salmon skies witnessed in the previous
two years here.
The stands were thinner after the
delayed dinner break than at any stage
of the day and the cricket never quite
A new hard-nosed
policy was in place,
with the man they
perceived to be
laughing at them
now the prime target
crackled into life, however hard the
players tried to antagonise each other,
with the pink Kookaburra still not
producing the most attractive cricket.
Nevertheless, this was a record gate
for cricket here of 55,317, smashing Big
Bash figures and the Test-best 50,962
that turned up to watch day two of the
Bodyline encounter in 1933. Australian
rules football may have once brought
more back in the day but not since the
ground was converted from its quaint
old the terracotta-roofed past life into
a horse-shoed beast that, for all the
modernisation, has still retained much
of the history and charm.
It is something of an open secret
that Adelaide Oval is likely to never
again witness a daytime Test. The
local cricket association is intent on
becoming the spiritual home for the
pink ball format, as the scene of its
birth two years ago. On that occasion
Australia and New Zealand reportedly
split a million-dollar sweetener to act
as the guinea pigs. This time around,
from what we have seen thus far, you
sense they would sooner set fire to
the loot than see their opponent also
benefit.
* 03.12.17
16 | SPORT | Cricket | Second Ashes Test
AVIVA PREMIERSHIP
Bath left in a shambles
by Kvesic and Armand
EXETER
42
BATH
29
Robert Kitson
Sandy Park
Missed chance: Mark Stoneman drops Usman Khawaja but the batsman failed to capitalise. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Khawaja makes his mark
but falls in familiar fashion
Australia No3 compiled
a frazzled fifty then
threw his wicket away,
writes Adam Collins
T
hese were meant to be words
about an Usman Khawaja
century as he finally set
straight seven years of Ashes
false starts in conditions
where he has excelled, a century
where the No3 replicated the poise and
control that underpinned his masterful
ton at the same venue 12 months ago
to make Joe Root’s decision to put
Australia in look disastrous.
Instead, his dismissal four balls after
the dinner interval exposed the hosts’
collapsible middle order at the most
dangerous time in day-night matches
as artificial light took over and the
wicket’s additional grass stood proud
and ready to aid the pink ball’s nip.
With a careless waft and an edge, it was
over in the most cliched of ways for the
stylist on 53.
Sure, Jimmy Anderson made the
delivery deviate away from the lefthander to invite the error. But it is
hardly revelatory that he would be
doing just that. He has not picked
up 500-plus wickets rolling them
down nude. Up to that stage Khawaja
had edged or missed a quarter of the
England paceman’s offerings to him. If
a lairy cover drive on the up to start the
dangerous final session was his answer,
he was probably addressing the wrong
question.
Most frustrating was that this is
precisely the stroke Khawaja denied
himself against South Africa this time
last year; a hand of 145 that was by far
his best for the national side. Then,
he did not strike one boundary off a
seamer through the offside. An innings
played in the immediate aftermath of
the Hobart debacle that prompted a
severe overhaul of the top order, he
was suddenly the most senior batsman
behind Steve Smith and David Warner.
He played accordingly and was lauded
for his hours of patient denial, just as
Smith was in Brisbane for doing the
same last week. This shot, by contrast,
is the stuff that makes captains crazy.
Khawaja’s luck had been in. On 44,
he tried to turn an already productive
over into a big one by taking on a Chris
Woakes bouncer. The top edge flew out
to Mark Stoneman in the deep but the
England opener could not complete
his end of the bargain, shelling a catch
that would be taken nine times in 10
at the top level. That moment aside,
Khawaja was cashing in square of the
wicket with a minimum of fuss against
bowling that was too short for too long.
Root also elected to hold back Moeen
Ali until Khawaja had been at the
crease for 32 balls. Given his downfall
in Brisbane and well-documented
struggles against the turning ball, it
bolstered the case that events were
breaking his way, a delicate late cut off
LANDMARK
Steve Smith has now passed
3,000 runs as captain in 49
innings. Don Bradman did it in 37
innings and Mahela Jayawardene 48.
Graham Gooch also did it in 49 but
Smith averages 73 as captain.
Moeen taking him to a half-century in
89 balls. It was not fluent by Khawaja’s
standards – at times frazzled — but he
was where he needed to be to play the
defining day-one hand.
It is one that has been a long time
coming against England. He made
his debut against them in 2011 as
Australian cricket tore itself apart after
giving up the Ashes on home soil. His
37 that day gained attention, but in
five Ashes fixtures across three series
until this match he had 183 runs to his
name at 20, in contrast to a fine overall
record (at least when the ball is not
spinning) since returning to the fold
two years ago. That big one will have
to wait.
His captain also fell within the first
hour of the after-dark session when
Craig Overton finally found a route
through his defence on 40. It was not
the time to expose the out-of-form
Peter Handscomb and the perennial
feast-or-famine Shaun Marsh, but to
their considerable credit they saw off
the final 19 overs of the day without
further loss, collecting 48 runs along
the way. Things may move quickly in
the final hour of day-night cricket but
they did the hard yards required to slow
the tempo down and earn a second day
at the crease.
Earlier, Warner was the first
Australian leader to give it up at the
point where he was positioned to
punish. The vice-captain was, in
effect, batting for two after running
out his opening partner, Cameron
Bancroft, after two rain delays
frustrated the opening session. Steady
accumulation took place between
Warner and Khawaja and their stand
was exactly what Khawaja’s would
later reach with Smith when the
opener edged Woakes with a distinct
lack of footwork.
Even so, it was the first time an
England bowler had been responsible
for an Australian wicket in 80 overs, so
that took the visitors moving vaguely in
the right direction after Root took the
bold decision to have a bowl first when
the coin fell his way. They let him down
early by failing to attack the stumps
anywhere near enough but got their
act together after the successive rain
interruptions.
Perhaps that was partially informed
by wanting to get stuck into Australia’s
captain? Stuart Broad needed no
encouragement, the two all-but
separated by the officials after a
willing opening spray. It was much
the same when Anderson had a pop
later on. Surely a sign of what is to
come, with rivers of bad blood now
flowing between the rivals. “It was all
right,” said Khawaja of the exchange.
“It was just Test cricket.” Watch this
space.
He also acknowledged his
disappointment at throwing away the
start. “With me getting out and Smithy
getting out with starts,” he said, “if one
of us went on and stayed and was here
at the end of the night, it would have
been even nicer.”
Not wrong. A good day for the home
side, but a missed opportunity to leave a
lasting blow.
Forget the competitive-looking final
scoreline. For the majority of the contest this was the most one-sided of West
Country derbies with the hosts so rampant their supporters were serenading
them with chants of “Olé, Olé!” Exeter
are not champions of England by chance
and here was further proof it will take an
extremely good side to wrest their title
away from them.
The Chiefs, if only for 24 hours, now
stand eight points ahead of their closest rivals with the season not yet at its
halfway point. “We were well and truly
schooled,” said Todd Blackadder, Bath’s
director of rugby. “I doubt you could
put a better first half together than they
showed. If they keep playing like that I
don’t think anyone will get close to them.”
This six-try masterclass, spoiled only
by four leaked tries in the final quarter with victory already assured, was
certainly the best display Exeter have
ever produced against Bath. They had
a bonus point safely stowed away inside
36 minutes and led 42-10 with eight
minutes remaining. Alec Hepburn, Sam
Skinner, Don Armand, Matt Kvesic and
James Short are not currently in England’s plans but they were all outstanding here.
Kvesic and Armand, in particular,
were everywhere, driving Bath to distraction and back. The odd misplaced
midfield pass aside there was a energy
to their work with and without the ball
which Bath, for all their international
contingent, never came close to matching. For Chiefs fans it was a very tasty
appetiser for their back-to-back European ties with Leinster.
Bath will find even their next opponents Toulon a relative relief after this.
Inside eight minutes Luke CowanDickie had been driven over from a
Long gone: James Short goes over for
one of Exeter’s six tries against Bath
trademark Chiefs rolling maul before
a neat pass from Ollie Woodman gave
Short half a yard in which to remind
Semesa Rokoduguni and Anthony Watson there are other dangerous finishers
in England. Even Bath’s solitary points
of the first half came at a cost with the
Chiefs’ claiming the subsequent restart
and storming straight back upfield to put
Mitch Lees under the posts. There was a
certain inevitability about the fourth try
by Armand.
Bath’s owner, Bruce Craig, could be
seen in deep conversation with his assistant coach Toby Booth at the interval,
not looking the world’s most contented
multi-millionaire, and the visitors’
second-half mini-revival arrived not a
moment too soon.
By that point, though, Thomas Waldrom and Gareth Steenson had already
guaranteed Exeter’s ninth successive win in all competitions, with Jack
Nowell and Sam Simmonds playing only
cameo roles and their England centre
Henry Slade not required.
EXETER Dollman; Woodburn, Whitten, Hill (Nowell 55),
Short; Steenson (capt; J Simmonds 73), White (Chudley
67); Hepburn (Moon 54), Cowan-Dickie (Yeandle 49),
Williams (Holmes 59), Lees, Skinner, Armand (Hill 64),
Kvesic, Waldrom (S Simmonds 56) Tries Cowan-Dickie,
Short, Lees, Armand, Waldrom, Steenson Cons Steenson 6
BATH Watson; Rokoduguni (Banahan 55), Joseph,
Tapuia, Brew; Burns (Priestland 63), Fotuali’i (Cook 50);
Obano (Auterac 50), Dunn (Van Vuuren 55), Perenise
(Lahiff 50), Charteris (Stooke 63), Ewels (Phillips 34),
Garvey (capt), Z Mercer, Grant Tries Joseph, Watson,
Brew, Banahan Cons Joseph, Priestland 2 Pen Burns
Sandy Park 12,800
Game rating |||||||||| Referee JP Doyle
Outstanding Carr helps
to drive Wasps home
WASPS
32
LEICESTER
25
Ian Malin
Ricoh Arena
A murky, wintry evening in Coventry but
this was a performance to give Wasps
supporters a warm feeling as they left
the stadium after an epic contest. Kearnan Myall, the Wasps lock in his distinctive orange scrum cap, battered his way
over for the winning try in the last move
of the match.
Wasps had recovered from going 10
points down in the early stages and it
was rough justice on the Tigers, beaten
last week by Worcester in the shock of
the Premiership season so far.
Wasps leapfrog over opposition they
have now beaten five times in succession
and the victory was in no small measure
to the efforts of their No8 and the man
of the match Nizaam Carr, who recently
became the first Muslim to play for the
Springboks. Carr is here for three months
and Wasps will hope he can stay longer.
Wasps were without their captain, Joe
Launchbury, and Tigers were missing
Jonny May, both nursing injuries from
England’s meeting with Samoa last Saturday. Leicester still had four other England
men in their starting lineup, though, and
one of them made an early impression.
After George Ford had landed an early
penalty, the fly-half gained the Tigers
an edge with a clever kick to the corner
and from a lineout soon afterwards Mike
Fitzgerald drove forwards and Tom
Youngs crashed over for the first try.
Leicester were in the driving seat but in
this fixture the marketing men nowadays
call the M69 derby, it was not all one-way
traffic. James Gaskell, the Wasps lock,
made a decisive break, Dan Robson made
another and the scrum-half gave the pass
to Carr who motored over near the posts.
Carr looks a useful addition to a pack
hit by injuries and he joined another
flowing move that ended with the home
pack muscling their way forwards and
Robson snatching a smart try.
Life got not better for Leicester when
Ellis Genge, another of last week’s England contingent, had to leave the field
just before the break with an arm injury.
After the interval Juan de Jongh escaped
10 minutes in the sin-bin when the
centre nudged the ball forwards to halt a
Leicester move and Wasps escaped three
points when Ford’s penalty attempt
struck the woodwork.
Their relief did not last for long and
after a period of sustained pressure the
Leicester wing Jonah Holmes, once a
Wasp, squeezed home for a well-taken
try in the corner. Ford could not add the
conversion but the Tigers were back to
within two points of the home side.
Holmes, making a first start for the
Tigers, soon struck again when he intercepted a Willie le Roux pass inside the
Leicester half and raced 60m to score his
second try. The lead then changed hands
again as Wasps moved the ball wide and
Daly scored a wonderful try before Ford
levelled the scores with a penalty. It was
a match neither team deserved to lose.
WASPS Le Roux; Wade (Bassett 74), De Jongh
(Lovobalavu 64), Gopperth, Daly; Cipriani, Robson
(Simpson 70); McIntyre (Harris 74), Johnson (capt;
Charles 76), Cooper-Woolley (Moore 66), Gaskell,
Myall, Haskell, Young (Willis 60), Carr
Tries Carr, Robson, Daly, Myall Cons Gopperth 3
Pens Daly, Gopperth
LEICESTER Veainu; Thompstone, Tait, Owen (Smith 33),
Holmes; G Ford, B Youngs; Genge (Mulipola 39), T Youngs
(capt; Thacker 57), Cole, Fitzgerald (Wells 70), Kitchener,
Mapapalangi (Williams 70), Evans, Kalamafoni
Tries T Youngs, Holmes 2 Cons G Ford 2 Pen Ford
Ricoh Arena 22,148
Game rating |||||||||| Referee Thomas Foley
03.12.17
*
Autumn internationals | Rugby union | SPORT | 17
Wales have
Halfpenny to
thank after
Boks battle
WALES
24
SOUTH AFRICA
22
Paul Rees
Principality Stadium
A reasonably entertaining, if insubstantial, frolic ended the autumn series. The
difference between two weakened sides
was a conversion, Handré Pollard hitting
a post after scoring his side’s second try,
but Wales could take considerably more
out of the game than the Springboks,
who played as if they had been lobotomised. One of the game’s superpowers
have become mind-numbingly ordinary,
in effect beaten by two early sucker
punches.
Wales scored two tries in the first
seven minutes of such stunning simplicity – training-ground moves from set
pieces executed precisely against a back
division that throughout the match had
the organisation and collective understanding of a struggling second division club. These tries enabled Wales to
camouflage the absence of seven of their
summer Lions.
The Springboks have improved on last
year, but only because they could hardly
get worse. They were on the wrong side
of a couple of decisions in the first-half:
their one player of note on the afternoon,
the hooker Malcolm Marx, was denied
WOBBLY DRAGONS
P20 W8 D1 L11
Wales’s record against tier-one sides
since the World Cup. Warren Gatland’s
side have won just six of their last 16
matches against the elite, two of those
against Italy, and only three times in
their eight internationals this year:
W 5 Feb Italy 7 Wales 33
L 11 Feb Wales 16 England 21
L 25 Feb Scotland 29 Wales 13
W 10 Mar Wales 22 Ireland 9
L 18 Mar France 20 Wales 18
L 11 Nov Wales 21 Australia 29
L 25 Nov Wales 18 New Zealand 33
W 2 Dec Wales 24 South Africa 22
a try after the referee, Jérôme Garcès,
asked the television match official the
wrong question and Taulupe Faletau
was offside in the buildup to Wales’s
third try – which was not reviewed – but
so poor were South Africa that the halftime score of 21-10 properly reflected the
game.
Wales had clearly spent the week
analysing South Africa’s defence from
set pieces and from a scrum near the
halfway line, Dan Biggar exposed the
narrowness of the Springboks defence.
Warrick Gelant, making his first start
on the wing for the visitors, had come
infield and Biggar chipped across the
field for Hallam Amos to gather with no
one in front of him before weaving away
from the defenders and giving a scoring
pass to Scott Williams.
South Africa were still scratching
their heads when Wales had an attacking lineout. Faletau won the ball and as
the defence rushed up, Biggar chipped
ahead into unoccupied territory and
Hadleigh Parkes, making his debut, beat
four defenders to the ball. He profited
from the bounce, but he had a desire his
opponents lacked.
Marx thought he had scored after 14
minutes, reaching the line after leading
a driving maul. Garcès asked: “Try, yes
or no?” but the three angles provided
to the television match official did not
show the ball making contact with the
line. Had the inquiry been whether there
was any reason why a try could not have
been awarded, the answer would probably have been different.
Instead of being seven points behind,
South Africa were nearly 21 down
when a pass from the scrum they were
awarded was intercepted by Scott Williams and Steff Evans had the field ahead
of him only to be caught by Gelant.
Pollard kicked South Africa’s first
points after half an hour, but two minutes later another kick led to a Wales
try. The Springboks had been strong
up front, Scott Andrews collapsing the
scrum which led to the opening try
but only as the ball was emerging, and
they counter-rucked effectively, mainly
through Marsh. They had forced another
turnover when the full-back, Andries
Coetzee, on his 10-metre line, took too
Centre of attention: Hadleigh Parkes, on his Wales debut, runs in to score his second try in Cardiff. Huw Evans/Rex/Shutterstock
long to kick and it was charged down by
Biggar. Faletau, who was offside, picked
up the ball and presented Parkes with his
second try.
Parkes was deployed at first receiver
at lineouts to run hard at a defence that
was reasonably secure on the gainline
but absent behind it, but Wales were
largely playing the role of pickpockets.
South Africa’s decline could be summed
up by their captain, Eben Etzebeth, a
player of stature a few years ago who
has since been weakened by wading
with the mediocre. He did not appear
after the interval having been injured
as he attempted an improbable offload
in his own 22, seconds before the end of
the opening half. It was symptomatic of
his side’s scrambled thinking.
South Africa were by then trailing by
11, Gelant touching down after beating
Aled Davies to Jesse Kriel’s kick, and
within 14 minutes of the restart the
Springboks were ahead, emerging from
the dressing room with resolve. Pollard went over after a lineout and Kriel
caught a forward-looking pass from
Marx to score in the left-hand corner.
Wales had by then replaced the
injured Biggar and kept the ball more
in hand. The home side’s main problem
had been discipline: they conceded the
first nine penalties of the game, under
pressure up front and on the floor, and
waited an hour for their first. Three
came along quickly, Leigh Halfpenny
kicking the final one to restore his side’s
lead and this time there was no response.
WALES Halfpenny; Amos, S Williams, Parkes,
S Evans; Biggar (Patchell 47), A Davies (Webb 56);
R Evans (W Jones 47), Dacey (Dee 53), Andrews, Hill,
AW Jones (capt), Shingler, Navidi (Lydiate 74), Faletau
Tries Parkes 2, S Williams Cons Halfpenny 3
Pen Halfpenny
SOUTH AFRICA Coetzee (Am 76); Leyds,
Jesse Kriel, Venter, Gelant; Pollard (Jantjies 70),
Cronje (Schreuder 70); Kitshoff, Marx (Mbonambi 70),
W Louw (Nyakane 68), Etzebeth (capt; Mohoje ht),
De Jager, Du Toit, Kolisi, Du Preez (Cassiem 76)
Tries Gelant, Pollard, Kriel Cons Pollard 2
Pen Pollard
Principality Stadium 65,517
Game rating |||||||||| Referee Jérôme Garcès (Fr)
‘If Eddie does not text you that’s probably a good thing’
Sam Underhill tells Paul Rees
how he must improve to meet
the England coach’s demands
Sam Underhill is the epitome of the
modern professional rugby player:
self-motivated, clean-cut, talented and
driven. The 21-year-old Bath flanker,
who was one of the standout players
in England’s autumn international
series, lives for the moment rather than
tomorrow even though he suffered a
second concussion of the season 16
minutes into the victory over Australia.
“I guess it is an occupational hazard,
but it is not something you can afford
to worry about per se,” he says. “You
tackle people with your shoulders and
your head is next to your shoulders. It
is impossible to be an aggressive tackler
and not risk getting your head caught.
“It is a case of picking and choosing
moments and finding other ways
to tackle: it is easier for bigger guys
because they do not have to rely on
technique much. For shorter players
like me, our tackle height is lower and
you are then at more risk of getting
your head somewhere it shouldn’t be.”
A year ago, Underhill was playing
for Ospreys in the then Pro 12,
unavailable for England because of
the rule governing players who are not
contracted to a Premiership club. After
announcing he was joining Bath this
season, a flanker seen as the solution
to the long-time search for a specialist
openside played for England against
the Barbarians at Twickenham in late
May and won his first cap in the
second Test in Argentina on 17
June.
It was against the Pumas
last month that Underhill
announced himself,
thudding into one ballcarrier after another
after sizing up his
prey. Everything he did
smacked of deliberation, taking
what he did in training on to the
field, and he is not a player who
runs on emotion. He completed
20 tackles and was one of the
candidates for the man of the
match, but his fearlessness
in contact led to him being
concussed on his Bath debut
against Northampton and again
against the Wallabies.
“The majority of laws are there
to protect the ball-carrier, rightly
Heavy hitter: Sam Underhill says big
tackles are not the be-all and end-all
so, but the flipside is the tackler is not
as protected. They have rightly lowered
tackle height and refereed high tackles
very well and the law changes have had
a real effect on the game. The downside
is if you drop your body, your head is in a
place where there is more force coming
through from the ball-carrier, but I do
not see how you can change the game to
make it not so; it would not be
rugby.”
Underhill does
not want to be
seen merely as a
defender. It was
65 minutes before
he had the ball in
his hands against
Argentina at
Twickenham, part of
the move that led to England’s
second try.
“Attack is something I need
to work on and I have some
awesome guys to learn from in
Bath, like Taulupe Faletau and
Francois Louw,” he says. “You
will always lean towards things
you are better at, but I am keen
to work on my handling game.
Defence is important, but
making 20 tackles means the
other team had the ball.
“Big tackles are great, but in terms of
the game they are not the be-all and endall. You do not just want to be known as a
guy who is a big hitter because that does
not make you a good defender, it makes
you a good tackler when things are in
your favour. Being good at something
means being able to make a decision and
if there is only one thing you can do well,
you cannot make a decision.”
Underhill hopes to be fit for Bath’s
European Champions Cup match at
Toulon on Saturday but, even though
the Six Nations is only two months
away, he is not thinking about taking
part in the tournament for the first
time. He knows he can look forward
to Bath’s Premiership match against
Leicester, The Clash, at Twickenham
on 7 April, with the club looking to
build on last season’s attendance of just
under 62,000, but he has disciplined
himself not to contemplate the home
matches against Ireland and Wales as
the World Cup draws closer.
“If you had asked me a year ago
where I thought I would be now, I
would not have said this,” he says.
“A lot of people on the outside see
the jump but not the stuff that goes
in between, all the training sessions
and communication with the coaches.
I have really enjoyed it: you try not to
think about stuff that is out of your
control, like selection, and when you
have your opportunity you have to take
it, always being at your best. I have
relished being involved with England,
but every time you go there might
be your last and I will never take my
involvement for granted.
“I speak to Eddie [Jones, the England
coach] a bit, although if he does not
text you that is probably a good thing.
You can be hard when you are at the
level Eddie is at. Maybe in a club
environment it would not work, but an
international side is not a club. When
you go into camp you have the best
players who are the most motivated to
train and play. Everyone is there for a
reason and you can expect that standard
from people. You are only there for a
short period. It is short and intense.
Eddie is about getting better every time
you go there. We have done so far and it
is a really good environment.
“He talks a lot about being
comfortable with being uncomfortable.
That is the best way to learn: when
you do not have time to relax, you have
to be on the ball. There is no room
for complacency, which is how you
produce such a high quality of training.
To be the best team in the world, you
have to expect to win games.”
* 03.12.17
18 | SPORT | Racing
Total Recall lifts big prize and
stirs sour memories for Mullins
Chris Cook
Newbury
An old score was settled, after a fashion,
when Willie Mullins sent out Total
Recall for what will be recorded as the
trainer’s first success in the Ladbrokes
Trophy, the race that was known for
decades as the Hennessy.
Anyone whose racing memory goes
back 15 years will be aware that the
Irishman has won it before but his Be
My Royal, first past the post in 2002, was
eventually disqualified over a finding of
morphine in his system, the result of
contaminated feed.
For all his affability, Mullins is not a
man to bend his knee to authority. Outraged by the verdict and insistent that
there should be an allowed threshold
for morphine, he engaged in a protracted
legal battle that ended at the High Court
four years later, the judges declining to
interfere with the Jockey Club’s ruling.
Time heals many things and Mullins
is vastly more successful these days than
he was at the time. But as he entered this
winner’s enclosure, he was surely full of
satisfaction at the prospect of returning
home to Carlow with a six-figure sum in
English prize money.
“Hopefully we won’t have any
problems this time,” was his wry
response when Be My Royal was mentioned. The roll of honour will show
Total Recall as the first Irish winner since
1980.
Mullins has had a poor record in English handicap chases over the past decade, largely a result of his good horses
moving into that grade only after showing all their ability in better contests.
Total Recall, however, dropped into his
lap over the summer after the retirement
of the horse’s former trainer, Sandra
Hughes, and it turns out that his official
rating was rather lower than he deserves.
A lesser man might have stayed quiet
on that point and let everyone assume
he was simply a better trainer. Instead,
Mullins complimented Hughes for
bringing the horse along patiently and
suggested that, had she kept going, she
might well have won next year’s Irish
National with him.
FORMULA ONE
Ferrari chief
says threat
to quit in 2021
is serious
Daniella Matar
Memory lane: Total Recall and Paul Townsend (right) snatch victory from Whisper and Davy Russell. Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Mullins wants to
give Total Recall
an entry in the
Cheltenham Gold
Cup and will decide
after his next race
Total Recall might be a top-class
performer by the time that race is run
on Easter Monday. Mullins wants to give
him an entry in the Cheltenham Gold
Cup and will decide if the horse should
be flying that high after he runs next,
possibly in January’s Thyestes Chase at
Gowran Park.
The result was a setback for one press
room grandee, who called Total Recall
the worst-looking horse in the paddock. “If I was on a day’s hunting and
they produced that thing for me, I’d
turn my nose up,” he said. But he readily
conceded that, in long-distance steeplechasing, handsome is as handsome does.
It was only in the final strides that
a late thrust up the far rail carried
Total Recall past Whisper, who also
lost the RSA Chase at the Festival in
heartbreaking circumstances as his
stablemate Might Bite rallied past him.
“He didn’t stop, the other one went
faster,” said Whisper’s trainer, Nicky
Henderson, which is a supportive thing
to say, even if it seems unlikely to be
borne out by close analysis.
A winning favourite in their first year
of sponsorship ought to have been a bad
result for Ladbrokes but the race was not
a loser for them, thanks to the money
that came for American. He was never
travelling after a mistake at the water
and was eventually pulled up.
Coneygree, the 2015 Gold Cup winner,
continues to perform a long way below
his best, being pulled up at the top of
the straight. He was reported to have
made a noise and a breathing operation
now seems likely. He had helped force a
strong pace and it seems significant that
other front-runners – Cogry, Double Ross
and Southfield Royale – were also pulled
up. Even the second wave of pacesetters,
Potters Legend and Missed Approach,
tired well before the finish.
Henderson might have been better
off at Newcastle, where his Buveur
D’Air was hardly out of a canter to win
the Fighting Fifth Hurdle. An hour later,
the trainer’s Beware The Bear took the
Rehearsal Chase, with Sean Bowen
doing wonders to stay aboard as his
saddle slipped towards the horse’s tail.
The Ferrari president, Sergio Marchionne, says the threat that the Italian
team could leave Formula One is a serious one. Marchionne is unhappy with the
sport’s proposed 2021 engine rules, which
were revealed at the end of October, and
has said that Ferrari may leave. He reiterated that message yesterday at a press
conference to launch a partnership
between Alfa Romeo and Sauber.
“The dialogue has started and will
continue to evolve,” Marchionne said.
“We have time until 2020 to find a solution which benefits Ferrari. The threat of
Ferrari leaving Formula One is serious.
The agreement with Sauber expires in
2020-21, right when Ferrari could leave.
We have to find a solution which is good
for the sport but we also have to be clear
on the things we can’t back down on.”
Ferrari is the only team to have competed in every F1 season since its inauguration in 1950 and is the most successful, with 16 constructors’ championships
and 15 drivers’ titles.
However, the Scuderia are now
approaching a decade without a trophy, having last won the constructors’
title in 2008, while their last individual
champion was Kimi Raikkonen in 2007.
Mercedes have also complained about
the proposed changes, which will make
teams more equal in terms of engine
power.
The Formula Two champion, Charles
Leclerc, will graduate to Formula One
with Sauber next season while Marcus
Ericsson stays in the lineup despite failing to score a point in 2017.
The Ferrari-backed Leclerc, from
Monaco, had been expected to get the
drive but Ericsson’s future was in doubt
after he ended the season as the only
driver to compete in every race and finish
pointless. The decision leaves the German driver Pascal Wehrlein, Ericsson’s
team-mate this year, facing an uncertain
future with Williams the only remaining
AP, Reuters
team with a vacancy.
RESULTS
RUGBY UNION
International Match
Wales 24 South Africa 22
Aviva Premiership
P
W D
L
F A
B
Pts
Exeter
10
8 0
2 280 176
8
40
Gloucester
10
7 0
3 231 233
4
32
Saracens
9
6 0
3 288 153
6
30
Bath
10
6 0
4 260 219
6
30
Wasps
10
6 0
4 267 233
5
29
Leicester
10
6 0
4 254 232
4
28
Newcastle
10
5 0
5 195 253
4
24
Sale
10
4 0
6 248 237
7
23
Northampton
10
4 0
6 240 258
6
22
Harlequins
9
4 0
5 245 268
4
20
Worcester
10
2 0
8 173 279
6
14
London Irish
10
1 0
9 181 321
4
8
Exeter 42 Bath 29; Gloucester 39 London Irish 15;
Wasps 32 Leicester 25.
Guinness PRO14
Benetton Treviso 10 Leinster 36; Cheetahs 28 Scarlets 21;
Munster 36 Ospreys 10; Zebre 24 Connacht 10.
Greene King IPA Championship
Doncaster 18 Bristol 38; Hartpury RFC 7 Ealing Ts 31.
National League 1
Caldy 21 Old Albanians 0; Cambridge 16 Blackheath 27;
Darlington Mowden Park 21 Ampthill 15; Fylde 29 Bishop’s
Stortford 22; Loughborough Students 49 Esher 38; Old
Elthamians 47 Birmingham Moseley 17; Plymouth Albion 29
Hull Ionians 3; Rosslyn Park 13 Coventry 43.
Principality Premiership West
Swansea 14 Llandovery 18
BT Scottish Premiership
Boroughmuir 33 Melrose 42; Glasgow Hawks 31 Ayr 44;
Hawick 36 Stirling County 17; Heriot’s RC 33 Marr 10;
Watsonians 45 Currie 31.
TODAY (3pm unless stated)
Aviva Premiership: Harlequins v Saracens
Greene King IPA Championship
Cornish Pirates v Bedford (2.30pm); London Scottish v
Richmond; Yorkshire Carnegie v Rotherham Titans.
Principality Premiership West
Aberavon v Llanelli (2.30pm)
THURSDAY (7.45pm unless stated)
European Challenge Cup Pool 2
Toulouse v Lyon
FRIDAY (7.45pm unless stated)
European Champions Cup Pool 3
Glasgow v Montpellier
European Challenge Cup
Pool 1 Newport GDs v Enisei-ST (7.30pm). Pool 3 Agen v
Pau (7.30pm). Pool 4 Stade Francais v Krasny Yar (7pm).
British & Irish Cup Pool 1 Munster A v Bedford.
Pool 2 Bristol v Leinster A (7.45pm).
SATURDAY (3pm unless stated)
European Champions Cup
Pool 2 Northampton v Ospreys (5.30pm). Pool 4 Castres v
Racing 92 (5.30pm); Munster v Leicester (7.45pm). Pool 5
Scarlets v Benetton Treviso (1pm); Toulon v Bath (3.15pm).
European Challenge Cup: Pool 1 Newcastle v BordeauxBegles (3.15pm). Pool 2 Sale v Cardiff Blues. Pool 3 Zebre v
Gloucester (1.30pm). Pool 4 Edinburgh v L Irish (7.35pm).
Pool 5 Brive v Connacht (8pm); Worcester v Oyonnax.
British & Irish Cup: Pool 2 Doncaster v Cardiff Blues Premier
(2.30pm). Pool 3 Jersey v London Scottish; Yorkshire
Carnegie v Newport Gwent Dragons (1.30pm).
Pool 4 Richmond v Connacht A; Rotherham Titans
v Ealing Ts (2pm).
Pool 5 Hartpury RFC v Ulster A (2.30pm).
National League 1: Birmingham Moseley v Plymouth
Albion; Bishop’s Stortford v Loughboroug (2pm);
Blackheath v Caldy; Coventry v Ampthill & District; Esher v
Cambridge; Fylde v Darlington Mowden Park; Hull Ionians v
Rosslyn Park (2pm); Old Albanians v Old Elthamians.
BT Scottish Premiership: Currie v Boroughmuir (3pm);
Heriot’s RC v Glasgow Hawks (2pm); Marr v Hawick (2pm);
Melrose v Ayr (2pm); Stirling County v Watsonians (3pm).
SUNDAY (3pm unless stated)
European Champions Cup: Pool 1 Harlequins v Ulster (1pm);
La Rochelle v Wasps (1pm). Pool 2 Saracens v Clermont
Auvergne (3.15pm). Pool 3 Exeter v Leinster (5.30pm).
British & Irish Cup : Pool 1 Nottingham v Ospreys
Premiership. Pool 5 Scarlets Premiership Select v Cornish
Pirates (2.30pm).
RUGBY LEAGUE
World Cup Final
Australia 6 England 0
Women’s World Cup Final
Australia 23 New Zealand 16
CRICKET
Third Test (Day one of five)
INDIA v SRI LANKA
Delhi India scored 371 runs for the loss of four wickets.
INDIA – First innings (close)
M Vijay st Dickwella b Sandakan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .155
S Dhawan c Lakmal b MDK Perera. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23
CA Pujara c Samarawickrama b Gamage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23
*V Kohli not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .156
AM Rahane st Dickwella b Sandakan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
RG Sharma not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
Extras (lb1, nb6) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
Total (for 4, 90 overs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .371
Fall of wickets: 1-42 2-78 3-361 4-365.
To bat: R Ashwin, †WP Saha, RA Jadeja, I Sharma,
Mohammed Shami.
Bowling: Lakmal 14-2-50-0; Gamage 17-6-68-1; MDK Perera
21-0-97-1; Sandakan 23-1-110-2; de Silva 15-0-45-0.
Toss: India elected to bat.
Umpires: NJ Llong and JS Wilson.
GOLF
USPGA Tour Hero World Challenge, Albany, Bahamas
Second round (US unless stated, par 72): 132 C Hoffman 69
63. 135 T Fleetwood (Eng) 66 69; J Spieth 68 67.
136 J Rose (Eng) 68 68. 137 F Molinari (It) 69 68;
T Woods 69 68; H Matsuyama (Jpn) 71 66; M Kuchar 67 70;
R Fowler 67 70. 138 K Chappell 68 70; P Reed 72 66.
139 J Thomas 69 70. 140 D Johnson 68 72. 141 H Stenson
(Swe) 70 71. 142 A Noren (Swe) 73 69; K Kisner 70 72.
148 D Berger 75 73. 149 B Koepka 71 78.
European Tour Australian PGA Championship, Queensland
Third round (Aus unless stated, par 72): 199 J Zunic (Aus)
66 69 64. 202 C Smith (Aus) 68 67 67. 203 A Bland (Aus) 66
66 71. 206 M Leishman (Aus) 67 65 74; D Bransdon (Aus) 69
71 66. 207 G Chalmers (Aus) 68 66 73. 208 S Garcia (Sp) 67
71 70. 209 L Herbert (Aus) 68 73 68; J Wilson (Aus) 71 70
68. 210 M Armitage (Eng) 74 68 68; H Varner III (USA) 71 66
73; JB Hansen (Den) 69 69 72; J McLeod (Aus) 72 71 67;
R Pampling (Aus) 70 72 68; R Green (Aus) 72 67 71;
C Luck (Aus) 73 66 71; W Ormsby (Aus) 71 67 72;
S Crocker (US) 69 71 70.
HORSE RACING
DONCASTER
12.05: 1, Kalashnikov, Jack Quinlan (4-7 Fav); 2, Irish
Prophecy (2-1); 3, Deyrann De Carjac (11-2) (Miss Amy
Murphy). 8 ran.
12.40: 1, Majestic Moll, L P Aspell (9-4); 2, Jet Set (13-2);
3, Redemption Song (5-4 Fav) (Miss E C Lavelle). 7 ran.
1.15: 1, Irish Roe, Henry Brooke (5-2 Fav); 2, William Of
Orange (9-2); 3, Cyrius Moriviere (16-1) (P Atkinson). 8 ran.
1.45: 1, Deauville Dancer, L P Aspell (5-4 Fav); 2, Derintoher
Yank (7-4); 3, Apple Of Our Eye (11-4) (David Dennis). 3 ran.
2.20: 1, Fixed Rate, Harry Bannister (25-1); 2, Top Ville Ben
(5-1); 3, Wolfcatcher (5-1) (C J Mann). 10 ran.
2.55: 1, Attention Please, Ryan Day (6-1); 2, Smiling Jessica
(8-1); 3, Mazurati (25-1) (Mrs R Dobbin). 11 ran.
3.30: 1, Ettila De Sivola, C O’Farrell (15-2); 2, Skyline (5-2
Fav); 3, Malinas Jack (8-1) (J Ewart). 9 ran.
NEWCASTLE
11.55: 1, Act Of Valour, Sean Bowen (11-8); 2, Look My Way
(11-10 Fav); 3, Embole (7-1) (P F Nicholls). 6 ran.
12.30: 1, Plus Jamais, Ross Chapman (15-2); 2, Ronn The Conn
(7-2 Fav); 3, Witness (17-2) (I Jardine). 11 ran. NR: Rosquero.
1.05: 1, Coole Hall, Craig Nichol (11-4); 2, Senor Lombardy
(11-4); 3, Hear No Evil (2-1 Fav) (Mrs R Dobbin). 6 ran.
1.40: 1, Lake View Lad, S Mulqueen (5-1); 2, Solomn Grundy
(6-1); 3, Point The Way (9-2) (N W Alexander). 6 ran.
2.10: 1, Buveur D’air, B J Geraghty (1-6 Fav); 2, Irving (9-2);
3, Flying Tiger (9-1) (N J Henderson). 5 ran.
2.45: 1, Treshnish, Danny Cook (7-2); 2, Cool Mix (5-2); 3, Ask
The Tycoon (11-2) (Mrs S J Smith). 10 ran. NR: French Ticket;
Silk Or Scarlet.
3.20: 1, Beware The Bear, Sean Bowen (11-4 Fav); 2, Bishops
Road (9-2); 3, Yala Enki (9-2) (N J Henderson). 8 ran.
BANGOR
12.25: 1, Testify, W T Kennedy (11-4); 2, Tommy Silver
(4-5 Fav); 3, Kimberlite Candy (20-1) (D McCain Jnr). 4 ran.
1.00: 1, Uno Valoroso, D A Jacob (4-1); 2, Whitsundays
(9-4 Fav); 3, Truckers Highway (10-3) (M Walford). 5 ran.
1.35: 1, Bells Of Ailsworth, Alan Johns (6-1); 2, Treaty Girl
(4-1 Co Fav); 3, Emerald Rose (20-1) (Tim Vaughan). 7 ran.
NR: Global Dream.
2.05: 1, Don’t Ask, G Sheehan (9-2); 2, Whiskey In The Jar
(5-6 Fav); 3, Pulp Fiction (11-4) (W Greatrex). 8 ran.
2.40: 1, Uppertown Prince, WT Kennedy (14-1); 2, The
Dellercheckout (3-1); 3, El Presente (9-2) (D McCain Jnr). 12 ran.
3.15: 1, Cowslip, Aaron McGlinchey (5-1); 2, Tara Well (5-1);
3, Outrageous Romana (5-2 Fav) (D McCain Jnr). 8 ran.
3.45: 1, Moonlighter, Lizzie Kelly (9-4 Fav); 2, Legal Eyes
(8-1); 3, Not Normal (14-1) (Nick Williams). 10 ran.
NEWBURY
12.10: 1, Dame Rose, R Johnson (5-1); 2, Cap Soleil (2-5 Fav);
3, All Currencies (33-1) (Richard Hobson). 6 ran.
12.45: 1, Elegant Escape, Harry Cobden (5-1); 2, Black Corton
(9-4); 3, Sir Ivan (6-1) (C L Tizzard). 5 ran.
1.20: 1, Gold Present, Nico de Boinville (13-2); 2, Warriors
Tale (10-1); 3, Gentleman Jon (16-1) (N J Henderson). 12 ran.
1.50: 1, Old Guard, Bryony Frost (7-2 Jt Fav); 2, Remiluc (141); 3, Air Horse One (7-2 Jt Fav) (P F Nicholls). 12 ran.
2.25: 1, High Bridge, Mr Alex Ferguson (9-4 Fav); 2, Charli
Parcs (4-1); 3, Poppy Kay (5-1) (B Pauling). 7 ran.
3.00: 1, Total Recall, P Townend (9-2 Fav); 2, Whisper (8-1);
3, Regal Encore (66-1); 4, Braqueur D’or (33-1) (W P Mullins).
20 ran. NR: Pleasant Company.
3.35: 1, Overtown Express, N D Fehily (13-2); 2, Rock On
Rocky (14-1); 3, Theinval (3-1 Fav) (H Fry). 10 ran.
CHRIS COOK’S SELECTIONS
CARLISLE 12.20 Knockrobin 12.50 Paper Roses 1.20 Benie
Des Dieux 1.55 Jet Master 2.25 Golden Investment
3.00 Fly Vinnie 3.30 Oscar O’scar .
LEICESTER 12.40 Coolanly 1.10 Octagon 1.45 The Romford
Pele (nap) 2.15 Pasaka Boy (nb) 2.50 Kilronan Castle
3.20 Knocknamona.
03.12.17
*
Football results | SPORT | 19
CHAMPIONSHIP
PREMIER LEAGUE
HOME
P
W
HOME
AWAY
D
L
F
A
W
D
L
F
A
GD PTS
Man City
14
6 1 0 26
5
7 0 0 18
4 35 40
Man Utd
15
7 0 0 20
1
4 2 2 15
8 26 35
Chelsea
15
5 1 2 13
7
5 1 1 15
5 16 32
Liverpool
15
4 3 0 13
2
4 2 2 20 17 14 29
Arsenal
15
7 0 1 21
7
2 1 4
Tottenham
15
3 3 1
9
5
4 1 3 14
8 10 25
Burnley
15
3 2 2
5
3
4 2 2
9
2 25
Watford
15
2 3 3 10 16
4 1 2 15 10
-1 22
Leicester
15
4 1 3 11
9
1 4 2
9 11
0 20
Everton
15
5 0 3 14 12
0 3 4
5 16
-9 18
Brighton
15
2 4 2
8 12 10 28
9
2 1 4
5
7
-5 17
Southampton 14
3 2 3 10
9
1 2 3
4
8
-3 16
Stoke
15
3 2 3 10 15
1 2 4
8 15 -12 16
Newcastle
15
3 1 3
7
8
1 2 5
7 14
Huddersfield
15
3 2 2
6
8
1 1 6
3 18 -17 15
Bournemouth 14
2 1 4
8
8
2 1 4
4
8
-4 14
West Brom
15
1 5 2
8 12
1 2 4
4
9
-9 13
Crystal Palace 15
2 2 3
8 12
0 2 6
0 13 -17 10
West Ham
14
2 1 3
7 11
0 3 5
5 19 -18 10
Swansea
15
1 1 5
4 10
1 2 5
4
9 12
-8 15
9
8 -10
Wolves
Cardiff
Bristol City
Sheffield Utd
Aston Villa
Derby County
Ipswich
Leeds
Middlesbrough
Preston
Brentford
Sheffield Wed
Nottm Forest
Reading
Fulham
Norwich
Millwall
QPR
Barnsley
Hull
Bolton
Birmingham
Sunderland
Burton
P
W
19
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
19
20
20
8
7
5
7
6
6
6
4
5
4
3
4
6
3
2
2
5
5
3
3
3
4
0
2
BOLTON WANDERERS
ARSENAL
(0) 1
Lacazette 49
LEICESTER CITY
(1) 1
Gray 6
MANCHESTER UNITED
(2) 3
BURNLEY
(0) 0
Valencia 4; Lingard 11, 63
Att 59,547 Ref Andre Marriner
Att 30,714 Ref Paul Tierney
BRIGHTON
(0) 1
STOKE CITY
(2) 5
SWANSEA CITY
(2) 2
Shaqiri 36; Diouf 40
Murray 51 pen
LIVERPOOL
Can 30; Firmino 31, 48; Coutinho 87; Dunk 89 og
(1) 1
Bony 3
Att 28,261 Ref Craig Pawson
Att 30,634 Ref Graham Scott
CHELSEA
(2) 3
WATFORD
(1) 1
TOTTENHAM
(1) 1
Kabasele 13
Hazard 21, 74; Morata 33
NEWCASTLE UNITED
(1) 1
EVERTON
(0) 2
WEST BROM
(0) 0
Sigurdsson 47; Calvert-Lewin 73
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN
(0) 0
CRYSTAL PALACE
(0) 0
Att 23,531 Ref Michael Oliver
Att 39,167 Ref Chris Kavanagh
TODAY
Bournemouth v Southampton, 1.30pm, SSPL
Manchester City v West Ham, 4pm, SSPL
Lineups with match reports, p2-6
EUROPE
P
14
13
14
14
13
13
14
W
11
9
8
9
8
6
5
L
0
0
0
4
2
4
7
APts
7 36
12 31
7 30
14 28
11 27
15 21
26 19
F
36
33
23
19
25
21
28
Athletic Bilbao L Real Madrid L
Atlético Madrid 2 Real Sociedad 1
Barcelona 2 Celta Vigo 2
Sevilla 2 Deportivo 0
TODAY
Eibar v Espanyol (5.30pm);
Getafe v Valencia (3.15pm);
Las Palmas v Real Betis (7.45pm);
Leganés v Villarreal (11am)
TOMMOROW
Girona v Alavés (8pm)
GERMANY
TOP SEVEN
Bayern Munich
RB Leipzig
Schalke
B M’gladbach
Hoffenheim
B Dortmund
Augsburg
TOP SEVEN
Napoli
Juventus
Internazionale
Roma
Lazio
Sampdoria
Milan
P
15
15
14
14
13
13
14
W
12
12
11
11
9
8
6
D
2
1
3
1
2
2
2
L
1
2
0
2
2
3
6
F
35
41
28
27
33
27
19
APts
10 38
14 37
10 36
10 34
15 29
18 26
18 20
Torino L Atalanta L
W
10
8
7
7
6
6
6
D
2
2
4
3
5
4
4
L
2
4
3
3
3
4
4
F
34
22
22
23
25
34
21
APts
11 32
19 26
16 25
22 24
18 23
21 22
16 22
B Leverkusen 1 Borussia Dortmund 1
Bayern Munich 3 Hannover 1
Hoffenheim 4 RB Leipzig 0
Mainz 1 Augsburg 3
Schalke 2 Cologne 2
Werder Bremen 1 VfB Stuttgart 0
TODAY
Hertha Berlin v Eintracht Frankfurt
(2.30pm); Wolfsburg v Borussia
M’gladbach (5pm)
F
2
3
1
5
3
2
5
5
4
3
4
4
7
4
4
5
5
6
5
4
5
8
4
5
16
11
17
14
14
14
15
15
14
12
13
8
14
15
16
10
5
7
13
9
6
4
15
3
SHEFFIELD UNITED
A
7
9
11
14
10
13
18
16
11
13
13
11
22
13
16
16
10
18
18
18
19
20
19
15
(1) 3
BRISTOL ROVERS
(1) 1
ROTHERHAM UNITED
(1) 3
PRESTON
(1) 1
QPR
(0) 0
Brentford Bentley, Clarke, Egan, Bjelland,
Barbet, Mokotjo, Woods, Yennaris
(McEachran 80), Canos■ (Macleod 73),
Vibe (Sawyers 17), Watkins. Subs not
used Archibald, Daniels, Chatzitheodoridis,
Mepham
Preston Maxwell, Fisher, Clarke (O’Connor
46), Huntington■, Davies, Gallagher,
Pearson■, Barkhuizen, Browne (Harrop
46), Robinson, Hugill.
Subs not used Rudd, Andrew Boyle,
Horgan, Pringle, Welsh
Fulham Button, Fredericks■, Kalas,
Odoi■, Ryan Sessegnon, Cairney■,
McDonald, Norwood■, Ojo (Graham 86),
Johansen (De La Torre 77), Kebano (Rui
Fonte 63). Subs not used Bettinelli, Mollo,
Djalo, Kamara.
Att 11,090 Ref Robert Madley
QPR Smithies, Wszolek, Baptiste■,
Robinson, Bidwell■, Chair (Sylla 90),
Luongo■, Scowen, Wheeler (Smith 73),
Washington, Mackie■.
Subs not used Cousins, Manning, Goss,
Lumley, Smyth.
Att 11,290 Ref Jeremy Simpson
BURTON
SHEFFIELD WED
(0) 2
Hooper 70, 85
HULL CITY
(1) 2
Campbell 21; Dawson 90
(0) 1
Russell 81
SUNDERLAND
(0) 1
READING
(0) 3
Master chef: Serge
Gnabry celebrates
after lobbing Peter
Gulacsi from 40
yards for his
second goal in
Hoffenheim’s 4-0
win over RB Leipzig
Burton Bywater, Brayford, Naylor■,
Buxton, Turner, Flanagan■, Akins,
Murphy, Palmer (Sbarra 90), Miller, Sordell
(Varney 85). Subs not used Warnock,
Ripley, Akpan, Barker, Fox.
Att 26,761 Ref David Coote
Reading Mannone, Bacuna, McShane■,
Moore, Gunter, van den Berg, Edwards,
Aluko■ (Beerens 81), Kelly (Clement 81),
Barrow, Kermorgant (Bodvarsson 90). Subs
not used Tiago Ilori, Blackett, Popa, Jaakkola.
Att 27,386 Ref Keith Stroud
(2) 4
Connolly 7; Iorfa 37; Waghorn 53; Celina 67
TOP SCORERS
(2) 2
Dowell 30; Walker 43
Ipswich Bialkowski, Iorfa, Spence,
Webster, Knudsen, Skuse, Connolly■,
Ward, Huws (Bru 70), Celina, Waghorn■
(Sears 84). Subs not used Gerken, Bishop,
Nydam, Kenlock, Morris
Nottm Forest Smith, Lichaj, Worrall,
Mancienne, Traore, Bridcutt■, Vaughan
(Bouchalakis 68), Walker (McKay 81),
Dowell■, Osborn (Carayol 68), Murphy.
Subs not used Mills, Clough, Henderson,
Cummings.
Att 16,308 Ref Darren Bond
P W D L F
A GD Pts
Celtic
15 11 4 0 36 8 28 37
15
9 3 3 23 18 5 30
Hibernian
16
8 5 3 24 17 7 29
Rangers
15
8 3 4 31 17 14 27
Motherwell 15
7 2 6 22 21 1 23
Hearts
4 6 6 14 19 -5 18
16
St Johnstone 15
5 3 7 16 23 -7 18
Hamilton
16
4 5 7 23 26 -3 17
Dundee
16
4 3 9 17 26 -9 15
Kilmarnock 16
3 6 7 14 23 -9 15
Ross County 16
4 3 9 14 24-10 15
Partick
2 5 8 12 24-12 11
15
HEARTS
League Total
Clarke Sheff Utd
13
13
Vydra Derby
11
12
Assombalonga M’brough 11
11
Grabban Sunderland
11
11
Bonatini Wolves
11
11
Adomah Aston Villa
10
11
Hooper Sheff Wed
10
11
Reil Bristol City
10
11
Bowen Hull City
10
10
CHECKATRADE TROPHY
Second Round: Portsmouth 2
Northampton 0; Walsall 1 Bury 2.
EVO-STIK NORTHERN PREMIER
Ashton Utd 2 Rushall Olympic 1;
Buxton 1 Barwell 1; Halesowen 3
Whitby 1; Hednesford 2 Farsley
Celtic 1; Lancaster C 1 Matlock Tn 2;
Mickleover S 1 Altrincham 2; Nantwich Tn 1 Coalville Tn 3; Shaw Lane
5 Warrington Tn 0; Stafford Rangers
1 Marine 4; Sutton Coldfield Tn 2
Stalybridge 0; Witton Albion 2 Grantham 3; Workington 2 Stourbridge 1.
EVO-STIK SOUTHERN PREMIER
Bishop’s Stortford 1
St Neots Town 2;
Frome Town 2 Kettering 2;
Hitchin 1 Dunstable 0;
Kings Lynn Town 3 Redditch 1;
Merthyr Town 0
Biggleswade Town 2;
Royston Town 3 Dorchester 1;
St Ives Town 2 Banbury 2;
Stratford Town 2
Farnborough 2;
Tiverton 3 Kings Langley 2;
Weymouth 1 Chesham 0
(2) 5
(0) 1
(0) 1
ROSS COUNTY
MOTHERWELL
TOP SCORERS
(1) 2
PREMIERSHIP
League
Moult Motherwell
8
Murray Hiberninan
6
Total
14
14
Tomas 69
DUNDEE
CHAMPIONSHIP
League
Reilly St Mirren
6
Dobbie Queen of South
6
Total
13
11
LEAGUE ONE
Trouten Albion
Moore Ayr
Total
19
16
O’Hara 18; El Bakhtaoui 89
Ross County McCarey, Kelly, Fraser,
Naismith, van der Weg (Curran 46),
Gardyne (Keillor-Dunn 71), Routis,
Draper■, Lindsay, Eagles, Schalk (McKay
57). Subs not used Mikkelsen, Fox,
Chow, Dow
Hamilton Woods, Sarris, Tomas■,
McMann, Skondras, MacKinnon■
(Bingham 58), Lyon■, Imrie, Docherty■
(Redmond 87), Templeton, Rojano. Subs
not used Gogic, Gillespie, Fulton, Donati,
Cunningham.
Att 15,357 Ref Bobby Madden
Dundee Parish, Kerr, Hendry, Meekings,
Aurtenetxe, Kamara, O’Hara, Deacon
(Allan 72), McGowan■ (Waddell 80), El
Bakhtaoui, Moussa (Haber■ 75).
Subs not used Leitch-Smith, Ferie, Holt,
Curran.
Att 3,896 Ref Steven McLean
PARTICK THISTLE
ST JOHNSTONE
(0) 0
(1) 1
MacLean 43
(0) 1
Frear 65
Motherwell Carson, Tait■, Kipre,
Hartley, Dunne, Cadden (McHugh■ 46),
Campbell■, Rose, Tanner (Frear 46),
Moult (Petravicius 58), Bowman.
Subs not used Plummer, Grimshaw,
Bigirimana, Griffiths
Ref Kevin Clancy
HIBERNIAN
17
12
15
18
19
13
17
10
11
14
13
11
9
11
11
9
8
15
9
6
7
9
9
7
A
8
9
8
8
11
12
15
18
22
12
17
13
16
14
20
15
12
21
16
10
11
15
17
10
GD
Pts
24
13
12
17
7
6
2
1
-5
7
-1
-1
3
-1
-7
-7
-4
-8
-4
-7
-7
-17
-9
-14
42
40
38
37
36
35
29
29
28
27
27
27
26
25
24
24
23
23
20
20
20
19
17
17
Luton
Notts County
Accrington
Exeter
Wycombe
Coventry
Mansfield
Swindon
Newport Co
Lincoln City
Colchester
Grimsby
Cambridge
Carlisle
Stevenage
Cheltenham
Crawley
Yeovil
Crewe
Forest Green
Morecambe
Port Vale
Barnet
Chesterfield
(1) 2
TOP SCORERS
P
W
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
8
8
6
7
5
5
5
3
4
4
5
3
6
2
4
5
2
4
4
3
3
2
2
3
AWAY
D
0
2
2
0
3
2
4
2
3
4
3
4
2
5
4
2
2
4
2
2
2
1
3
2
L
2
0
2
3
2
3
1
5
2
2
2
3
2
3
2
3
6
2
5
5
5
7
5
5
(0) 1
Barton 48 og
Partick Cerny, McGinn, Keown, Devine,
Turnbull■, Edwards, Barton, Spittal,
Erskine (Fraser 80), Lawless (Doolan 60),
Storey (Sammon 75).
Subs not used Woods, Scully, Nisbet,
McCarthy
Hibernian Marciano, Ambrose, McGregor,
Hanlon, Boyle (Matulevicius 90),
McGeouch, Bartley, Slivka, Stevenson,
Stokes (Barker 77), Simon Murray
(Shaw 65). Subs not used Fraser Murray,
Porteous, Dabrowski.
Att 4,997 Ref Craig Thomson
KILMARNOCK
(1) 2
Findlay 10; Brophy 66
St Johnstn Clark, Shaughnessy, Gordon,
Anderson, Tanser, Alston (Wotherspoon
62), Davidson, Paton■, Craig (Scougall
69), Cummins (Hendry 69), MacLean.
Subs not used O’Halloran, Mannus,
McClean, Gilchrist
Kilmarnock MacDonald, O’Donnell,
Broadfoot, Greer, Findlay, Thomas (Burke
61), Power, Dicker■, Taylor, Brophy■
(Erwin■ 79), Kris Boyd (Hawkshaw
90). Subs not used Bell, Waters, Scott
Boyd, Frizzell.
Att 2,950 Ref John Beaton
F
A
34
22
17
15
23
10
18
11
12
13
17
10
13
15
18
17
8
15
14
13
7
9
8
12
10
7
9
9
16
4
11
16
7
8
8
11
8
12
14
12
12
9
18
19
11
18
11
16
W
4
4
5
4
4
4
3
7
4
4
3
5
2
5
3
1
3
1
2
2
1
3
2
1
D
L
F
5
3
2
3
3
3
4
0
3
2
2
1
3
1
1
4
4
1
0
3
5
2
2
3
1
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
4
4
5
4
5
4
6
5
3
8
7
5
4
5
6
6
14
13
15
13
15
11
12
19
15
11
9
14
4
13
8
10
9
12
7
10
8
10
13
11
A
8
13
13
13
13
8
12
9
15
11
15
15
15
15
17
17
11
29
16
20
14
13
18
21
GD
Pts
30
15
10
6
9
9
7
5
5
5
3
-2
-6
1
-5
-2
-6
-11
-13
-16
-10
-12
-8
-14
41
41
37
36
33
32
32
32
30
30
29
29
29
27
26
24
21
20
20
20
19
18
17
17
TOP ASSISTS
(0) 0
Bristol Rovers Smith■, Leadbitter,
Lockyer, Sweeney■, Brown, Partington
(Lines 62), Ollie Clarke■ (Gaffney 62),
Sercombe, Sinclair, Bodin, Harrison
(Nichols 90). Subs not used Slocombe,
Broadbent, Broom, Telford
Southend Oxley, Demetriou■, Turner,
Ferdinand, Hendrie, McLaughlin■,
Leonard, Wright, Kightly (Wordsworth
45), Fortune, Cox (Ba 83).
Subs not used Bishop, Yearwood,
McGlashan, White, Ranger
Rotherham Rodak, Cummings (ClarkeHarris 85), Ihiekwe, Ajayi, Mattock,
Williams, Frecklington, Potter (Vaulks 23),
Newell, Ball (Yates 85), Moore■. Subs not
used O’Donnell, Wood, Forde, Towell.
Att 7,531 Ref Brett Huxtable
Oldham Placide, Dummigan, Clarke (Brian
Wilson 61), Bryan, Hunt, Byrne (Obadeyi
72), Gardner, Fane, Menig (Nepomuceno
58), Davies, Doyle. Subs not used Flynn,
Ben Wilson, Omrani, Green.
Att 5,608 Ref Charles Breakspear
League Total
Grant Notts County
11
14
Hylton Luton
12
12
Dennis Chesterfield
11
12
Doidge Forest Green
11
12
Kee Accrington
10
11
Rose Mansfield
9
11
Akinfenwa Wycombe
10
10
Collins Luton
8
9
Coulthirst Barnet
8
9
FA CUP SECOND ROUND
BRADFORD CITY
(1) 3
Vincelot 39; Knight-Percival 50; Wyke 64
PLYMOUTH ARGYLE
(0) 1
Carey 63
Bradford Sattelmaier, McMahon, KnightPercival, Kilgallon, Robinson, Gilliead,
Reeves (Hendrie 66), Vincelot, Law,
Taylor (Poleon 78), Wyke. Subs not used
Thompson, McCartan, Raeder, Gibson,
Patrick
Plymouth McCormick, Sawyer (Ainsworth
78), Edwards, Bradley, Taylor-Sinclair,
Diagouraga, Songo’o (Taylor 66), Fox,
Carey, Jervis, Grant (Sarcevic 80). Subs
not used Miller, Ciftci, Threlkeld, Childs.
Att 4,957 Ref Tony Harrington
(1) 3
Doidge 26, 90; Laird 88
EXETER CITY
(0) 3
Moore-Taylor 58; Stockley 64, 90
Exeter Pym, Sweeney, Archibald-Henville
(Harley 55), Moore-Taylor, Wilson (Tillson
65), James, Taylor, Boateng■, Moxey,
Stockley, McAlinden (Reid 79). Subs not
used Woodman, Hamon, Jay, Edwards.
Att 2,250 Ref Gavin Ward
GILLINGHAM
Cooper Crewe Alexandra
Taylor Swindon
Akinfenwa Wycombe
Kee Accrington
Clarke Accrington
Campbell-Ryce Barnet
Wright Colchester Utd
Sheehan Luton
Jones Coventry
Total
7
6
6
5
5
5
4
4
4
(1) 1
FIXTURES
Aneke, Ariyibi, Seager (Agard 63). Subs
not used Sietsma, Muirhead, Nombe,
Thomas-Asante
Maidstone Worgan, Finney, Okuonghae,
Wynter, Hare, Lewis, Reason (Paxman
83), Anderson, Hines (Loza 77), SamYorke (Collins 68), Pigott. Subs not used
Prestedge, Wraight, Muldoon, Richards.
Att 4,804 Ref Martin Coy
(0) 2
Shrewsbury MacGillivray, Bolton, Beckles,
Nsiala, Sadler, Bryn Morris, Whalley
(Carlton Morris 80), Nolan, Godfrey
(Dodds 59), Rodman (Gnahoua 70),
Payne■. Subs not used Riley, John-Lewis,
Adams, Gregory
Sinclair 53; Paterson 73
Notts County Fitzsimons, Tootle, Duffy,
Brisley, Dickinson, Hawkridge, Yates,
Hewitt, Grant, Stead, Alessandra (Forte
66). Subs not used Pindroch, Smith, Hunt,
Walker, Jones
Oxford City Stevens, Oxlade-Chamberlain,
Oastler, Navarro, Grant■ (Fleet 72),
Fofana, Poku, Pearce (Jones 85), Sinclair,
McEachran, Paterson. Subs not used Hirst,
Sanders, Forde, Tutton.
Att 5,092 Ref John Brooks
(0) 1
MK Dons Nicholls, B Williams, Wootton,
Ebanks-Landell (Walsh 71), Golbourne,
McGrandles, Upson, Nesbitt (Pawlett 80),
(3) 5
Samuel 18; Godden 23; Pett 45; Newton 72, 77
SWINDON TOWN
Pope 63
YEOVIL
(0) 1
Green 90
Port Vale Boot, Gibbons■, Anderson,
Smith, Gunning, Worrall (Harness 71),
Tonge, Montano (Forrester 46), Kay, Pugh
(Denton 46), Pope. Subs not used Hornby,
(2) 2
Linganzi 33; Taylor 42
Stevenage Fryer, Henry, King, Wilkinson■,
Martin, Whelpdale, Jonathan Smith■,
McKee, Pett, Godden (Conlon 84), Samuel
(Newton 54). Subs not used Franks,
Beautyman, Day, Vancooten, Wilmot
Swindon Vigouroux, Purkiss, Preston,
Lancashire, Taylor, Dunne, Linganzi,
Mullin■, Goddard (Brophy 82), Woolery
(Norris 46), Gordon (Harry Smith 64).
Subs not used Robertson, Iandolo,
Charles-Cook, Knoyle
Att 1,883 Ref Nicholas Kinseley
FLEETWOOD
(1) 1
Cole 29
HEREFORD UNITED
(1) 1
Dinsley 23
Fleetwood Neal, Eastham, Pond (Bolger
90), Cargill, Coyle, Glendon (O’Neill■ 74),
Dempsey■, Bell (Hiwula 64), Burns■,
Cole, Hunter. Subs not used Maguire,
Schwabl, Sowerby, Crellin
(0) 4
(1) 1
Morecambe Roche■, Lund, Muller, Old,
Brough (McGowan 46), Kenyon (Oliver 46),
Fleming, Thompson, Wildig■, Campbell
(Lang 78), McGurk. Subs not used
Winnard, Nizic, Osborne, Rose.
Att 3,184 Ref Craig Hicks
STEVENAGE
PORT VALE
Carlisle Bonham, Brown, Liddle, Hill,
Grainger (Tom Miller 71), Lambe (Hope
88), Joyce, Parkes, Jones, Etuhu, Bennett
(O’Sullivan 81). Subs not used Devitt,
Cosgrove, Shaun Miller, George.
Att 3,178 Ref Andy Woolmer
Okuonghae 25
(0) 0
Duffy 31; Stead 56 pen; Grant 90
OXFORD CITY
Gillingham Holy, O’Neill, Ehmer, Zakuani,
Ogilvie, Clare■ (Martin 46), Hessenthaler,
Byrne, Wagstaff, Eaves (Parker 75),
Wilkinson. Subs not used Nelson, Nugent,
Oldaker, Simpson, Cundle
Nesbitt 54; Agard 64, 70; Pawlett 89
(2) 2
Rodman 33; Whalley 37 pen
MORECAMBE
(1) 1
MAIDSTONE
Yeovil Krysiak, James, N Smith, Sowunmi,
Dickson■, Olomola, Santos (C Smith 82),
Bailey (Gobern 69), Khan (Green 68), Zoko,
Surridge. Subs not used Worthington,
Mugabi, Davies, Maddison.
Att 3,316 Ref Scott Oldham
(1) 3
Grainger 18 pen
MK DONS
Barnett, Reeves, Turner
SHREWSBURY TOWN
NOTTS COUNTY
O’Neill 5
CARLISLE UNITED
BOSTIK PREMIER
Billericay 4 Leiston 0
Burgess Hill Town 1 Margate 1
Enfield Town 3 Dulwich 1
Harlow 3 Worthing 2
Harrow Borough 3 Met Police 0
Hendon 4 Thurrock 1
Kingstonian 0 Dorking Wanderers 0
Needham Market 1 Staines Town 2
Tonbridge Angels 0 Merstham 1
Tooting & Mitcham 2
Lowestoft Town 5
Wingate & Finchley 2
Folkestone Invicta 1
LEAGUE ONE
(0) 0
Hearts McLaughlin, Brandon■,
Souttar■, Berra■, Michael Smith■,
Walker (Lafferty 78), Buaben■, Djoum,
Goncalves (Moore 46), Stockton,
Milinkovic (Hughes 72). Subs not used
Hamilton, Cowie, Randall, Callachan
Edouard 16, 33, 85; Forrest 76, 88
Celtic Gordon, Lustig, Ajer, Boyata,
Tierney, Brown■, Ntcham (McGregor
68), Hayes (Forrest 68), Rogic, Sinclair
(Armstrong 78), Edouard.
Subs not used Simunovic, Griffiths, De
Vries, Eboue
F
2
2
2
2
1
3
3
6
6
4
5
4
6
4
8
6
6
4
5
5
4
5
6
5
Banner day: Forest Green
have this fan to thank for
spurring on Christian Doidge
to his tie-saving double
Hereford Horsell, O’Shea, Deaman, Green,
Oates, Smith (Mike Symons 75), Murphy,
Reffell, Dinsley (Haysham 87), Preen■,
Mills. Subs not used Preston, Page, Bird,
Franklin, Alex Harris.
Att 2,567 Ref Sebastian Stockbridge
PRESS & JOURNAL HIGHLAND
Brora 16 Fort William 0;
Buckie Thistle P Wick Academy P
(postponed due to a waterlogged
pitch); Clachnacuddin 3
Nairn Co 0; Cove Rangers
4 Inverurie Loco Works 0;
Deveronvale 0 Formartine United
3; Forres Mechanics 5 Keith 0;
Huntly 5 Strathspey Thistle 1;
Lossiemouth 3 Turriff United 0;
Rothes P Fraserburgh P
(postponed due to a
waterlogged pitch).
FERRARI PACKAGING LOWLAND
BSC Glasgow 4 Dalbeattie Star 0
DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
Ards 0 Glenavon 2;
Ballymena 2
Ballinamallard Utd 1;
Carrick 1 Coleraine 3;
Crusaders 1 Glentoran 0;
Linfield 1 Dungannon Swifts 0;
Warrenpoint Town 1 Cliftonville 3.
Other minor football, page 18
VANARAMA NATIONAL
League
11
10
LEAGUE TWO
League
McAllister Peterhead
9
Smith Stirling
12
CHAMP
CELTIC
L
1
3
2
2
2
2
5
1
2
2
2
4
2
2
0
1
1
4
5
2
3
3
4
3
OTHER GAMES
Walker 47
HAMILTON ACADEMICAL
HOME
D
Demetriou 17 pen; Wright 54
SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP
Aberdeen
6
5
6
6
7
4
2
3
2
4
3
2
2
3
2
3
3
2
0
3
3
2
0
2
OLDHAM ATHLETIC
Forest Green Bradley Collins, Bennett,
Roberts, Iacovitti, James, Brown (Stevens
82), Lee Collins, Laird, Wishart, Doidge,
Bugiel (Correia Gomes 65). Subs not used
Charlie Cooper, Randall, Russell
Sunderland Ruiter, Matthews, Browning,
O’Shea, Oviedo■ (Galloway 58), Cattermole■
(Gooch 80), Gibson, McManaman■,
Honeyman, McGeady (Asoro 68), Grabban.
Subs not used Steele, Maja, Love, Wilson
NOTTINGHAM FOREST
W
SOUTHEND UNITED
Hull McGregor, Tomori, Dawson, Mazuch,
Clark, Larsson■, Stewart■, Bowen
(Toral 76), Henriksen (Grosicki 87), Irvine,
Campbell (Dicko 78). Subs not used
Meyler, Marshall, Evandro, Aina.
Att 25,412 Ref Michael Jones
Derby County Carson, Baird, Keogh,
Davies, Olsson, Ledley, Thorne (Johnson
79), Lawrence (Winnall 73), Vydra (Russell
63), Weimann, Martin. Subs not used
Wisdom, Nugent, Mitchell, Huddlestone
IPSWICH TOWN
4
4
6
9
11
11
14
6
7
15
13
14
14
14
16
14
13
17
8
12
11
17
11
19
(0) 1
FOREST GREEN
Edwards 53; Barrow 68, 71
FRANCE
Lille L Toulouse L; Monaco L Angers
L; Nice L Metz L; Rennes L Amiens
L; Strasbourg 2 Paris Saint-Germain
1; Troyes L Guingamp L
HOLLAND
ADO Den Haag 0 Groningen 3;
Feyenoord L Vitesse L; Twente
3 Ajax 3; Willem II L Heracles
Almelo L
BELGIUM
Kortrijk L Waasland-Beveren L;
Lokeren 1 Anderlecht 2;
Mechelen L Genk L; Royal Excel
Mouscron L
PORTUGAL
Chaves L Rio Ave L; Moreirense 1
Martitímo 1; Tondela L Rio Ave L
A
(0) 2
Sheffield Wed Westwood, Palmer,
Loovens, van Aken■, Fox, Marco Matias
(Rhodes 46), Butterfield (Lee 46), Bannan,
Reach■, Fletcher (Nuhiu 55), Hooper■.
Subs not used Jones, Wildsmith, Wallace,
Frederico Venancio
Grabban 76 pen
(0) 0
F
19
14
11
16
10
16
14
15
13
20
16
15
24
16
18
13
13
15
11
9
8
6
10
8
(0) 1
Hugill 88
Middlesbrough Randolph, Christie■,
Fry, Gibson■, Da Silva (Bamford 78,
Howson, Forshaw, Downing (Johnson
67), Braithwaite (Gestede 57), Traore,
Assombalonga. Subs not used Friend,
Konstantopoulos, Clayton, Tavernier
Att 18,752 Ref Stephen Martin
L
1
1
2
2
5
1
4
3
0
3
2
3
4
2
4
2
3
5
2
5
4
6
5
6
Williams 56
BRENTFORD
(0) 1
AWAY
D
2
1
3
2
1
3
0
1
5
4
4
2
0
5
0
5
4
1
3
3
5
1
1
2
Harrison 64; Sercombe 75
Sheffield Utd Blackman, Carter-Vickers,
Stearman (Sharp 73), O’Connell, Basham,
Lundstram (Donaldson 82), Duffy, Fleck,
Stevens, Brooks■, Clarke. Subs not
used Moore, Wright, Heneghan, Lafferty,
Carruthers.
Att 12,669 Ref Andrew Madley
Bristol City Fielding, Wright, Flint, Baker,
Magnusson, Brownhill, Pack, Smith■,
Bryan■ (Djuric 74), Paterson (Eliasson
82), Reid (Leko 89). Subs not used Taylor,
Steele, Woodrow, Vyner
7
7
5
5
4
6
6
6
5
3
4
5
6
3
6
3
3
4
4
2
1
3
4
2
Wigan
Shrewsbury
Scunthorpe
Blackburn
Bradford
Charlton
Peterborough
Portsmouth
Southend
Oxford Utd
Fleetwood
Blackpool
Rotherham
Walsall
Bristol Rovers
MK Dons
Doncaster
Oldham
Rochdale
Wimbledon
Gillingham
Northampton
Bury
Plymouth
Brooks 41
(0) 2
W
Pts
44
43
37
37
36
35
32
30
29
29
27
27
27
26
26
24
22
22
20
19
16
16
14
14
Gregory 14; Romeo 66; Cooper 87
Canos 33; Sawyers 49; Watkins 85
P
19
19
20
19
20
19
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
19
20
20
20
20
19
20
20
20
20
20
GD
23
16
11
9
11
9
5
5
5
2
4
2
-5
2
-1
-8
1
-7
-7
-3
-18
-18
-12
-26
Barnsley Davies, McCarthy, Pearson,
Lindsay, Yiadom■, Williams■
(McGeehan 90), Hammill (Thiam■ 68),
Potts■, Moncur, Barnes (Hedges 73),
Bradshaw■. Subs not used Townsend,
Pinnock, Ugbo, Gardner.
Att 14,371 Ref Oliver Langford
DERBY COUNTY
TODAY
Benevento v Milan (11.30am);
Bologna v Cagliari (2pm);
Fiorentina v Sassuolo (2pm);
Internazionale v Chievo (2pm);
Sampdoria v Lazio (7.45pm)
TOMORROW
Crotone v Udinese (6pm);
Verona v Genoa (8pm)
OTHERS
P
14
14
14
13
14
14
14
L
1
1
4
0
3
4
1
0
3
4
3
4
0
2
2
1
5
4
3
5
5
2
4
4
Millwall Archer, Romeo, Hutchinson,
Cooper, Meredith, Wallace (O’Brien 90),
Tunnicliffe, Saville, Ferguson (Craig 86),
Morison, Gregory (Thompson 77). Subs
not used King, Elliott, Twardek, Mbulu
MIDDLESBROUGH
D
3
4
6
1
3
3
4
D
MILLWALL
Magnusson 75 og
TOP SEVEN
6
6
5
5
4
4
4
5
3
3
3
2
3
4
4
4
0
0
2
1
0
0
2
1
(1) 1
Byran 51; Paterson 54
ITALY
Barcelona
Valencia
Atlético Madrid
Sevilla
Real Madrid
Villarreal
Real Sociedad
W
(2) 3
Bradshaw 22 pen
BRISTOL CITY
SPAIN
A
10
5
10
10
8
8
12
9
9
8
14
12
11
11
11
10
11
11
13
19
18
8
19
23
Kebano 25
Att 20,278 Ref Martin Atkinson
Att 41,538 Ref Kevin Friend
F
24
19
15
19
15
16
20
15
11
11
18
17
14
11
10
8
17
15
11
25
13
6
11
9
Bolton Alnwick, Little, Burke, Beevers,
Robinson, Pratley■, Henry■, Ameobi■
(Noone 83), Vela■, Buckley (Armstrong
61), Madine (Wilbraham 87). Subs not
used Le Fondre, Osede, Darby, Howard
FULHAM
Son 25
Gayle 12
L
1
0
2
2
1
3
3
3
3
2
1
1
4
4
2
3
3
2
5
5
5
3
6
7
Madine 20, 39; Little 69
BARNSLEY
HOME
AWAY
D
1
3
3
1
3
1
1
3
2
4
6
5
0
3
6
5
2
3
2
2
2
2
4
1
LEAGUE TWO
LEAGUE ONE
P W
D
L F
Total
19
15
A GD Pts
P W
D
L F
A GD Pts
Ayr
15 11 2 2 43 17 26 35
Raith
14 10 2 2 30 10 20 32
Arbroath
15
Alloa
15
6 3 6 23 21 2 21
East Fife
15
7 0 8 24 27 -3 21
Stranraer
13
6 2 5 23 22 1 20
Airdrie
15
Albion
14
5 1 8 31 34 -3 16
Forfar
15
3 3 9 15 34-19 12
Queens Park 15
3 2 10 11 34-23 11
7 2 6 34 25 9 23
5 3 7 21 31-10 18
Airdrieonians 2 Forfar Athletic 1;
Arbroath 1 Stranraer 2;
Ayr United 3 Albion Rovers 2;
Queen’s Park 2 East Fife 1;
Raith 2 Alloa 1
LEAGUE TWO P W
D
L F
A GD Pts
Dundee Utd 15
9 3 3 20 14 6 30
Montrose
13
8 3 2 18 13 5 27
St Mirren
15
9 2 4 29 19 10 29
Stirling Alb 12
8 2 2 30 16 14 26
Livingston
14
7 4 3 24 18 6 25
Elgin
13
7 2 4 28 18 10 23
Dunfermline 15
6 5 4 30 17 13 23
Peterhead
12
Morton
15
6 5 4 24 16 8 23
Stenhsmr
13
6 4 3 21 14 7 22
Queen Sth
15
6 5 4 23 19 4 23
Annan Ath
14
4 5 5 15 13 2 17
Dumbarton 15
4 6 5 14 20 -6 18
Berwick
13
5 2 6 13 23-10 17
13
Inverness CT 15
7 1 4 25 15 10 22
4 5 6 17 18 -1 17
Clyde
Falkirk
14
1 6 7
Edinburgh C 13
2 2 9
7 22-15 8
Brechin
15
0 3 12 10 34-24 3
Cowdnbth
1 4 9
6 21-15 7
9 25-16 9
Dundee United 2 Dunfermline Ath 1;
Queen of the South 0 Inverness CT 0;
St Mirren 0 Dumbarton 1;
Morton 4 Brechin City 1
14
NATIONAL LEAGUE
P W D L F
Sutton Utd 23 12
Wrexham
23 12
Macclesfield 23 12
Aldershot
23 11
Dover
23 10
Dagenham 22 10
Bromley
23 10
Boreham W 22 9
Woking
22 10
Maidstone 21 9
Tranmere
22 8
Ebbsfleet
22 7
Hartlepool 23 8
Maidenhead 23 7
Gateshead 22 7
AFC Fylde 20 7
FC Halifax 23 6
Eastleigh
23 5
Barrow
23 6
Leyton O
23 5
Torquay
23 4
Chester
22 3
Guiseley
21 3
Solihull Moors 23 4
6
6
5
7
8
7
6
8
3
6
7
10
7
9
8
7
8
10
7
6
6
9
8
4
5
5
6
5
5
5
7
5
9
6
7
5
8
7
7
6
9
8
10
12
13
10
10
15
33
22
26
37
29
37
35
33
29
25
25
29
24
32
27
32
24
27
28
27
21
21
19
21
NORTH TOP EIGHT
A GD Pts
25 8 42
14 8 42
22 4 41
24 13 40
17 12 38
25 12 37
27 8 36
22 11 35
30 -1 33
27 -2 33
18 7 31
24 5 31
24 0 31
34 -2 30
21 6 29
27 5 28
32 -8 26
32 -5 25
34 -6 25
40-13 21
34-13 18
36-15 18
36-17 17
41-20 16
2 5 6 19 27 -8 11
Berwick Rangers 1 Stirling Albion 0;
Clyde 0 Montrose 0;
Annan Ath 2 Elgin 0;
Peterhead 3 Edinburgh City 0
Bromley 2 Dover Athletic 2;
FC Halifax 0 Barrow 1;
Hartlepool Utd 1 Macclesfield Town 2;
Solihull Moors 1 Leyton Orient 0;
Sutton Utd 2 Eastleigh 0;
Torquay United 0 Aldershot 0;
Wrexham 2 Maidenhead 0
P W D L F
A GD Pts
Salford City 20 16 2 2 36 14 22 50
Brackley
20 12 5 3 38 17 21 41
Harrogate 19 12 4 3 48 24 24 40
B Spartans 20 12 0 8 46 34 12 36
Spennymoor 19 10 4 5 35 27 8 34
Bradford PA 20 9 5 6 30 23 7 32
K’minster
19 8 6 5 34 26 8 30
Chorley
19 8 6 5 23 18 5 30
B Spartans 0 Salford City 1; Boston
Utd 2 York City 1; Brackley 3 Stockport
County 2; Chorley 2 Leamington 0;
FC United of Manchester 3 Harrogate
2; Kidderminster 3 Gainsborough 0;
Tamworth 3 Southport 3; Alfreton Tn 1
Bradford PA 3; N Ferriby Utd 0
Nuneaton Borough 2
SOUTH TOP EIGHT
P W D L F
A GD Pts
Dartford
20 11 5 4 43 22 21 38
Braintree Tn 20 10 5 5 39 27 12 35
Hampton
20 9 8 3 26 18 8 35
Truro City 19 10 4 5 34 23 11 34
Havant
19 9 6 4 29 18 11 33
Chelmsford 19 9 6 4 27 16 11 33
St Albans
20 9 5 6 31 25 6 32
Hemel H
19 9 5 5 29 23 6 32
Bath City 0 Hemel Hempstead 0;
Chelmsford 1 Hungerford Town 1; Chippenham 2 Whitehawk 1; Gloucester 1
Eastbourne 2; Poole Town 0 Dartford 1;
Welling United 0 E Thurrock 3; WestonSM 1 Hampton 2; Bognor Regis 1 Concord Rangers 2; Truro City 1 St Albans
2; Wealdstone 3 Braintree Tn 1
TODAY (2pm unless stated)
EMIRATES FA CUP
Second round AFC Wimbledon v
Charlton; Blackburn v Crewe; Coventry v Boreham Wood; Doncaster
v Scunthorpe; Gateshead v Luton;
Mansfield v Guiseley; Newport County
v Cambridge Utd; Woking v Peterborough; Wycombe v Leatherhead
PREMIER LEAGUE
B’mouth v Southampton (SSPL, 1.30pm);
Man City v West Ham (SSPL, 4pm)
LADBROKES SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP
Aberdeen v Rangers (SSF, 12.30pm)
TOMORROW (7.45pm unless stated)
EMIRATES FA CUP
Second round Slough v Rochdale (BTS1)
SKY BET CHAMPIONSHIP
Birmingham v Wolves (SSF)
TUESDAY (7.45pm unless stated)
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Group A Benfica v Basel; Manchester
Utd v CSKA Moscow (BT Sport 2)
Group B Bayern Munich v PSG; Celtic v
Anderlecht (BT Sport ESPN)
Group C Chelsea v Atlético Madrid (BT
Sport 3); Roma v Qarabag
Group D Barcelona v Sporting;
Olympiakos v Juventus
LADBROKES SCOTTISH LEAGUE TWO
Stirling v Peterhead
WEDNESDAY (7.45pm unless stated)
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Group E Liverpool v Spartak Moscow
(BT Sport 2); Maribor v Sevilla
Group F Feyenoord v Napoli; Shakhtar
Donetsk v Man City (BT Sport ESPN)
Group G Porto v Monaco; RB Leipzig v
Besiktas
Group H Real Madrid v B Dortmund;
Tottenham v Apoel Nicosia (BT Sport 3)
THURSDAY (6pm unless stated)
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE
Group A Slavia Prague v Astana (BT Sport
ESPN); Villarreal v Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Group B Dynamo Kyiv v Partizan
Belgrade; Young Boys v Skenderbeu
Group C Istanbul Basaksehir v Braga;
Hoffenheim v Ludogorets
Group D Austria Vienna v AEK Athens;
Rijeka v Milan
Group E Apollon Limassol v Everton (BT
Sport 2); Atalanta v Lyon (BT Sport 3)
Group F FC Copenhagen v Sheriff;
Fastav Zlin v Lokomotiv Moscow
Group G S Bucharest v Lugano (8.05pm);
Hapoel Beer Sheva v Plzen (8.05pm)
Group H Arsenal v Bate Borisov (BT
Sport 2, 8.05pm); Red Star Belgrade v
Cologne (BT Sport 3, 8.05pm)
Group I Guimarães v Konyaspor (8.05pm);
Marseille v Red Bull Salzburg (8.05pm)
Group J H Berlin v Ostersunds (8.05pm);
Zorya Luhansk v Athletic Bilbao (8.05pm)
Group K Vitesse Arnhem v Nice (8.05pm);
Zulte Waregem v Lazio (8.05pm)
Group L Real Sociedad v Zenit (8.05pm);
Vardar v Rosenborg (8.05pm)
FRIDAY (7.45pm unless stated)
SKY BET CHAMPIONSHIP
Sheffield Utd v Bristol City (SSF)
LADBROKES SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP
Dundee v Aberdeen (BT Sport 1)
SATURDAY (3pm unless stated)
PREMIER LEAGUE
Burnley v Watford; Crystal Palace v
Bournemouth; Huddersfield v Brighton;
Newcastle v Leicester (BT Sport 1,
5.30pm); Swansea v West Brom;
Tottenham v Stoke; West Ham v Chelsea
(Sky Sports Premier League, 12.30pm)
SKY BET CHAMPIONSHIP
Aston Villa v Millwalll; Barnsley v
Derby; Burton Albion v Preston; Fulham
v Birmingham; Hull v Brentford;
Middlesbrough v Ipswich; Norwich v
Sheffield Wed (Sky Sports Football,
5.30pm); Nottingham Forest v Bolton;
QPR v Leeds; Wolves v Sunderland
SKY BET LEAGUE ONE
Blackpool v Rotherham; Bradford v
Rochdale; Bristol Rovers v Southend;
Bury v AFC Wimbledon; Charlton v
Portsmouth; MK Dons v Shrewsbury;
Oldham v Northampton; Oxford Utd v
Doncaster; Peterborough v Blackburn;
Plymouth v Gillingham; Walsall v
Scunthorpe; Wigan v Fleetwood Town
SKY BET LEAGUE TWO
Accrington v Swindon; Cheltenham v
Crewe; Chesterfield v Barnet; Colchester
v Exeter; Crawley v Mansfield; Grimsby
v Forest Green; Luton v Notts County;
Morecambe v Coventry; Newport v
Carlisle; Port Vale v Cambridge Utd;
Stevenage v Wycombe; Yeovil v Lincoln
LADBROKES SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP
Hamilton v St Johnstonel; Hearts v
Motherwell; Kilmarnock v Partick;
Rangers v Ross County
LADBROKES SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP
Brechin v St Mirren; Dumbarton v
Livingston; Dunfermline v Queen of the
South; Inverness CT v Falkirk; Morton v
Dundee Utd
LADBROKES SCOTTISH LEAGUE ONE
Albion v Arbroath; Ayr v Queen’s Park;
East Fife v Stranraer; Forfar v Alloa
LADBROKES SCOTTISH LEAGUE TWO
Elgin v Edinburgh City; Montrose v
Berwick; Peterhead v Clyde; Stenhousemuir
v Annan Ath; Stirling v Cowdenbeath
SUNDAY
PREMIER LEAGUE
Liverpool v Everton (SSPL, 2.15pm);
Man Utd v Man City (SSPL, 4.30pm);
Southampton v Arsenal (BTS1, noon)
LADBROKES SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP
Hibernian v Celtic (12.30pm)
LADBROKES SCOTTISH LEAGUE ONE
Airdrie v Raith (BBC Alba, 4.10pm)
* 03.12.17
20 | SPORT | Golf | Xxxxxxx Xxxxxx
America on Georgia’s
mind after topping
the merit rankings
England’s Hall is to
target the US tour but
first comes a holiday,
she tells Ewan Murray
E
urope’s defeat in the Solheim
Cup was comprehensive,
leading to concern about
how the gap to the United
States could be adequately
bridged. In the midst of a grim picture,
though, Georgia Hall emerged as a
debutant star; the 21-year-old from
Bournemouth belied her inexperience
and was trusted to appear in all five
Solheim sessions. “Georgia performed
beautifully,” said Europe’s captain, the
much-decorated Annika Sorenstam.
“When I think back, I remember
it all,” says Hall when considering
August’s events in Iowa. “I knew it
would be amazing but I didn’t actually
know it would be as good as it was. It
was an incredible experience. I already
cannot wait for two years’ time; once
you play in one, you just want to stay in
the team for the rest of your career. All
your golf career you are on your own, it
is just you. To actually be with someone
else, to be paired with someone by a
captain, before you even tee off you feel
like there is a partnership and trust.
That is quite special.”
Hall’s pause for reflection is timely.
She tees off in Dubai on Wednesday for
the final event of the Ladies European
Tour season with the order of merit
title already secure. In the aftermath,
she will allow herself the holiday she
hasn’t been on since the age of six. “I
think it will be nice to chill out and
celebrate the season I’ve had,” she
says of a six-week break from
golf.
How Hall has earned it.
She did not emerge from an
affluent background, meaning
serious and regular sacrifices
to reach the top. But did such
a dedicated approach – it
seems no coincidence Tiger
Woods was her childhood
hero – deny Hall the natural
enjoyment or recklessness
of youth?
“That was especially
the case when I was
younger, say from
12 to 18,” she says. “I
didn’t really spend time
with friends, I was just
practising. That has all
No regrets: Golf was
Georgia Hall’s priority
growing up
definitely paid off. I don’t really miss
stuff like that because I never had it,
I don’t really know what it is like.
“I love golf so much, I love travelling,
I love playing in tournaments. I don’t
feel I have lost out any more; maybe
when I was younger, only going to
school for half a day before practising,
that could be true but I would do it all
over again. It is paying off.”
Hall’s third place in the Women’s
British Open provided another
breakthrough of sorts. It was especially
laudable given the venue, Kingsbarns,
was completely new to her. “That
tournament is No1 on my list every
year,” says Hall. “I’d played really well
in the Scottish Open the week before
so was confident, got myself in a good
position within two days and just told
myself: ‘Keep in this.’ I managed to do
that, which proved to me that I can win
a major and especially a British Open.”
Hall’s understated style, along with
her talent, should be cherished. The
trappings associated with fame are
not a consideration. “Getting attention
doesn’t really concern me. I quite like
doing my own thing and playing golf.
I don’t do this for the recognition of it.”
It seems ludicrous, though, that
Hall will head to Dubai with season
earnings of just under £350,000.
Tommy Fleetwood, after all, collected
more than £4.4m when sealing the
male equivalent.
“I can’t do anything about that,” Hall
says. “I can’t be annoyed about what I
can’t control or do anything about. It
is nice to earn good money but that’s
not why I’m out here. I don’t see it as a
massive problem; it’s not like another
woman is playing against me for
different prize money.”
The riches available on the
LPGA Tour in the United States
are, however, within touching
distance. “When I was growing
up I said I’d like to turn pro at 18,
which I did,” Hall says. “Then
I said I wanted to spend
two or three years on the
European Tour. There
wasn’t a rush, I wanted to
make that progression. I
have now learned a lot,
I didn’t want to go to
the LPGA Tour if I
didn’t think I could
do well there. I think
I’m ready now.
“Experience has
been so important for
me and mentally I have
improved more than anything,
which has led to the results
of this year. I know myself
more now, I know my golf
game a lot more now.”
Out of the long grass: Tiger Woods hits from the 3rd tee during the Hero World Challenge second round. Mike Ehrmann/Getty
Woods lifted back into
battle by younger rivals
Ewan Murray
The Bahamas
That Tiger Woods has gleaned
inspiration from fellow players during
his latest attempt at a career restart is
fascinating enough. In his prime, Woods
was so single-minded he appeared to
regard the Ryder Cup as little more than
an inconvenience and those who would
feature alongside him on leaderboards
generally as mere functionaries.
The notion of some kind of alliance
was fanciful.
For Woods to change outlook is one
thing. But it is an endearing matter
worthy of intrigue that those who have
fuelled Woods’s competitive desire
through acts of kindness are more than
a decade his junior.
Rickie Fowler, Daniel Berger, Dustin
Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Justin
Thomas have not known what it is
like to square off with an all-conquering Woods. They may never know.
What that group, and others, have
done in spending time with Woods
before his comeback at the Hero World
Challenge here seems to have boosted
the 14-times major champion’s zest for
the game.
“The guys have been great,” Woods
said. “From JT to Berger to Rory to
all the guys, Rickie, DJ. I played with
THE AGENDA
COMING THIS WEEK
SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE
After the autumn internationals comes the
European Champions Cup, which returns
this week for the first of the double-header
rounds. Three of the fixtures are between
sides who have a 100% record after the
opening two rounds: Bath are in Toulon on
Saturday while the following day Saracens,
who are looking to match Toulon’s feat of
winning the trophy for a third successive
season, welcome the team they beat in
last season’s final, Clermont Auvergne,
before the Premiership champions, Exeter,
host Leinster at Sandy Park. Toulon have
wobbled in the Top 14 this season, losing six
of their 11 matches, although only one at
home. BT Sport is showing the key games.
A RUSSIAN RETURN?
Will Russian athletes compete at the
Winter Olympics? All will be revealed on
Tuesday, when the International Olympic
Committee meets in Pyeongchang to
decide the country’s participation in South
Korea. The signs are not great as Russia
has yet to satisfy the demands of the
World Anti-Doping Agency for reforms
and three more Russian athletes were
banned on Friday over state-sponsored
doping at the Sochi games, bringing the
total to 32. Some Russians will be able to
compete as neutrals if they satisfy testing
criteria, as they did in Rio de Janiero. Russia
denies any state involvement in doping
and insists bans on the country’s athletes
were part of an anti-Russian campaign
but pressure is mounting. Only last week,
Joseph de Pencier, the chief executive of
the umbrella group the Institute of National
Anti-Doping Organisations, said allowing
Russia to compete would be “a missed
opportunity” that would raise doubts
about sport’s willingness to root out
drug cheats.
BATTLE OF THE BRAINS
The battle of the Blues is
rekindled on Thursday
when Twickenham
again hosts the men’s
and women’s Varsity
Matches. Sophie Behan
(right) will captain Oxford
for the 31st staging of the
women’s match. Last year’s
3-0 victory for the Dark Blues
was in stark contrast to 2015’s
all of them and they’re all trying to help
me. They’re all texting me: ‘C’mon,
let’s go out and play, let’s go play for
some dollars and have a good time.’
They really want to help me come back
and play.
“When playing with Rickie a few
times I always had to ask him: ‘What
are you hitting?’ because I didn’t know
how far I was hitting clubs. When I left
the game, I was much shorter
than Rickie and next thing you know
I’m about the same length. It was nice
to be able to play rounds with those
guys. We were needling each other
pretty hard.”
Woods’s appearance as a vice-captain in recent Ryder and Presidents
Cups has enhanced his connection to
younger players. That group, rather than
enjoying the competition environment
minus a dominant Woods, seem to want
a renaissance.
“It’s awesome to see him playing some
solid golf,” said Patrick Reed. “I was able
to play with him here last year and he
seemed to have it pretty solid. But the
difference between last year and this
year is he just looks so much better, so
much healthier and more free in the
swing. To see him go out and playing
well doesn’t surprise me. When that
guy’s healthy, everyone knows what that
guy can do.
“He deserves to have thousands upon
thousands of people walking with him
because everyone wants to see what
he can do. He’s proven to himself that
he’s healthy.”
There is that recurring and noticeable
lack of shock regarding how capably
Woods has been able to play here,
despite what was a lengthy absence.
“I can’t say it’s surprising for how
confident he seemed and how confident I’ve heard him talk to you [the
media] and to us,” said Jordan Spieth.
“He believes that’s where he should
be, so I don’t think anybody should be
really surprised.”
Woods’s caddie, Joe LaCava,
expects his employer to reappear in
late January for the Farmers Insurance
Open at Torrey Pines. “I would hope
for that,” he said . “I don’t see him
playing before.” This would mean,
unsurprisingly, no Woods return to
the Dubai Desert Classic; he lasted one
round there in February before injury
took hold.
“The power and the speed and the
length that he’s hitting it,” said LaCava
when asked what has surpassed
expectations. “I didn’t think it was going
to come this quickly. I was with him a
month ago in Florida and he was hitting
it pretty good but not to this extent. Then
I was here two weeks ago with him and
he was hitting it better. This is as good
as I’ve seen.”
LOOK OUT FOR…
HANDBAGS AND GLADRAGS
52-0 drubbing. Behan told thevarsitymatch.
com: “Things have changed dramatically at
Oxford and the win at Twickenham last year
has played a big part. Our first pre-season
training session was insane – we had
30-plus athletes who had all played rugby
before.” The two fixtures will be streamed
live on Facebook as well as being broadcast
by the BBC.
REDS’ DAY OF RECKONING
Of the five English teams in the Champions
League, Liverpool have most to play for this
week; while Chelsea and (mathematically)
Manchester United have yet to wrap up
their groups, Manchester City
and Spurs are assured of top spot –
but Liverpool are going to the wire.
Victory against Spartak Moscow
and they win Group E; draw and
they are through; lose and they
drop into the Europa League,
unless Sevilla are defeated
by the bottom side, Maribor.
Liverpool’s away game with
Spartak ended 1-1. Expect
another wild European night at
Anfield (BT Sport 2, 7.45pm).
Paul Rees and Andy Martin
Rod Stewart’s 1969 earworm?
And Slough’s unofficial theme tune since
2001. Expect it to get an airing tomorrow
as Slough Town host Rochdale in the FA
Cup second round, live on BT Sport.
Locals must’ve had their fill of The Office…
Undoubtedly. The show didn’t do the town
any harm, though: Slough’s a regeneration
hotspot these days – and came top in a
recent ranking of the best UK towns for
jobs, cost of living and employee satisfaction.
Nice. It’s booming, then?
It is – and not in the way Sir John Betjeman
hoped for in his 1937 poem/negative
Tripadvisor review about its many
trading estates: “Come, bombs and blow
to smithereens / Those air -conditioned,
bright canteens / Tinned fruit, tinned meat,
tinned milk, tinned beans / Tinned minds,
tinned breath.” He admitted in later years
that he might have gone a bit far.
So what’s the town’s footballing status?
Emerging. They’re doing well in the Southern
League Premier, and are one of the clutch of
non-league sides that made it this far in the
Cup. And by the time they kick off, they’ll
know the potential prize on offer, with the
third round draw on BBC Two from 7pm.
Any key Slough Town facts?
Plenty. They’re nicknamed The Rebels
because they led a breakaway league
after the second world war. They reached
the same stage in 2004-05, losing to
Yeading. Manager Neil Baker has 1,673
Twitter followers (@Bakler1: “Blue
Planet is ridiculously good!! The quality
of filming is unreal!!”). Tomorrow’s game
will earn them £72,000 in TV revenue
alone. And they play on a 3G pitch at
their new 2,000-capacity Arbour Park
home, which is just up the B416 from the
roundabout that featured in The Office’s
opening credits (above). Don’t go looking
for it, though: it’s a crossroads these days.
Sad. So will The Rebels triumph?
It’d be a proper Cup shock if they do –
Rochdale are League One opposition. But
Baker says the club is “buzzing … For the
vast majority of our players this will be
the first time they’ve played live on TV.
But we don’t want it to stop here. We’re
not talking about this as our FA Cup final.
We want to be in the third round.”
Slough Town v Rochdale, tomorrow,
7.45pm BT Sport 1
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