25 April 2019 – FOOTBALL: Manchester gets the blues | RUGBY: Lood off to the Sharks | CRICKET: AB on fire

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Manchester gets the Blues

The 2019 English Premier League title as well as the four 2019/20 Champions League teams may have been decided in a dramatic night of football in England yesterday. City beat United 2-0 in the Manchester derby to move to the top of the league table with three rounds of matches remaining. City broke the hearts of both United and Liverpool fans when first Bernardo Silva’s low drive went past David de Gea and then Leroy Sane beat the keeper. Liverpool must now hope City drop points against Burnley, Leicester or Brighton – teams in 10th to 17th on the league table. While most eyes were focussed on the league race in Manchester, in Wolverhampton Arsenal may have been condemning themselves to Europa Cup football next season when they were stunned 3-1 by Wolves. That result leaves Spurs and Chelsea in control of their own Champions League destiny. If they do not drop points over the final three rounds they will fill the final two spots in that competition next season (latest league tables and remaining league fixtures).

Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva, pictured here with a spectacular earlier attempt at goal, opened the scoring against United. Photo: Manchester City.

Lood signs for Sharks

The Sale Sharks’ raid on South African rugby players continues as the Manchester club yesterday announced the signing of Lood de Jager from the Bulls. The English club is building a mini Springbok team and have now signed Robert du Preez and Akker van der Merwe from the Durban Sharks as well as De Jager from the Bulls for the 2020 season, with Dan and Jean-Luc du Preez reported to be joining the Manchester club after the 2020 Super Rugby season. Faf de Klerk already plays for the Sale Sharks, as does South African-born Scotland international Josh Strauss.

Pirates sailing to league title

Orlando Pirates moved back to the top of the Absa Premiership with a tough 1-0 win over Maritzburg United in the KZN capital last night. Pirates moved three points clear of Sundowns, who have a game in hand, and Bucs are now in charge of the race to the league title. Wins in their final two matches should ensure Pirates claim the title, although Sundowns can still snatch the win if they improve their goal difference in their final three matches – and if they are not penalised with points in a disciplinary decision due to be announced soon. In other matches Wits kept their feint hopes of the title alive with a 3-1 win over Leopards, but they will need Pirates to drop points and the extra points from the Sundowns disciplinary decision to go their way. Amazulu beat SuperSport 2-0, Bloem Celtic beat Polokwane 2-1 and Free State Stars and Baroka drew 2-2 (latest league tables and remaining league fixtures).

AB keeps RCB in contention

AB de Villiers showed how much he will be missed at the World Cup when he bludgeoned 82 off 44 balls to keep the Royal Challengers Bangalore playoff hopes alive last night. The former Proteas batsman smashed 82 from 44 to set up a 17-run win over the Kings XI Punjab in the IPL. De Villiers was controlled as he nudged the ball around at a run a ball until he reached 25, and then smashed 57 off the next 19 balls at three runs a ball. Over the final 11 overs De Villiers and Marcus Stoinis (46) added 121 runs – and 64 of those came in just the final three overs. The Challengers posted 202 for four and then restricted the Kings XI to 185 for seven, with De Villiers taking three catches for good measure. Adding to South African woes was the sight of Dale Steyn sitting on the sidelines watching. The key strike bowler for the Proteas was rested due to a shoulder niggle. Today’s match sees Kolkata Knight Riders taking on the Rajasthan Royals.

Cobras and Warriors go to the top

The Cobras and Warriors are top of the CSA T20 Challenge after victories over the Titans and Lions respectively last night. In Paarl, the Cobras beat their Pretoria visitors by three wickets with seven balls remaining, while the Warriors travelled to Johannesburg to humiliate the Lions by nine wickets. The Cobras top the table with 23 points, two ahead of the Warriors with the Lions two points further back. The Knights v Dolphins match was abandoned without a ball being bowled, leaving the Dolphins three points behind the Titans in the race for the final playoff place with two rounds of matches remaining.

Comrades coverage in danger

After SABC and Athletics South Africa failed to agree on terms to broadcast the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon at the weekend, Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa has revealed the traditional all-day Comrades Marathon broadcast could be in danger as well. It was a surprise when it was announced the Two Oceans would not be broadcast – and sponsors Old Mutual were surely not too amused to find they were not getting wall-to-wall TV coverage. Bonitas is the major sponsor of the Comrades.


THE BIG READ

Time wasting could become a waste of time

Time wasting in football has become a serious issue and is turning the final few minutes of matches into a bizarre spectacle highlighting the worst parts of the sport . Rugby has removed the issue completely with independent time-keepers making deliberate time wasting by players a complete waste of time. Former professional referee Keith Hackett, writing for the Telegraph, makes a strong argument for football to follow rugby’s lead in Football needs to introduce independent timekeepers to combat time-wasting.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Manchester derby

 


WHAT YOU SHOULD WATCH

Golf goes a fair way to taking over

Golf takes centre stage on our TVs today with three tournaments and four separate broadcasts. The day starts with tennis from Barcelona before the morning session of the European Tour’s Trophee Hassan II golf tournament just after midday. The afternoon session of the same golf tournament starts at 4.30. Then it is over to America where the broadcast from the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans begins at 9.30pm and is followed by the LPGA’s Hugel-Air Premia LA Open just after midnight. Today’s pyjama cricket sees Kolkata Knight Riders taking on the Rajasthan Royals and the only football action is from Spain where three LaLiga matches will fill the channels, including Real Madrid’s clash with Getafe.

Today’s live TV highlights

SPORT CH TIME EVENT
Tennis SS8 11:00-19:00 ATP World Tour 500:
Barcelona Open BancSabadell Day 4
Golf CSN SS5 12:30-14:30 European Tour:
Trophee Hassan II Day 1 AM
Cricket SS2 16:20-20:30 Vivo Indian Premier League T20:
Kolkata Knight Riders vs Rajasthan Royals
Golf CSN SS5 16:30-19:30 European Tour:
Trophee Hassan II Day 1 PM
Football SS7 19:25-21:25 LaLiga Santander:
Matchday 34: Sevilla vs Rayo Vallecano
Football SSM SS6 20:20-22:30 LaLiga Santander:
Matchday 34: Real Sociedad vs Villarreal
Football SS7 21:25-23:30 LaLiga Santander:
Matchday 34: Getafe vs Real Madrid
Golf CSN SS1 21:30-00:30 PGA Tour:
Zurich Classic of New Orleans Day 1
Golf CSN SS8 00:30-03:00 LPGA:
HUGEL-AIR Premia LA Open Day 1

Full list of today’s live TV here.

Posted in Daily Sport, Sport News | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on 25 April 2019 – FOOTBALL: Manchester gets the blues | RUGBY: Lood off to the Sharks | CRICKET: AB on fire

24 April 2019 – RUGBY: Lions coach back home due to stress | FOOTBALL: More than just another Manchester derby

– 24 April 2019 –


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Lions coach sent home due to stress

Lions coach Swys de Bruin’s return to South Africa a few hours before the match against Chiefs was the result of stress. According to Netwerk24, De Bruin was struggling to handle the pressures of being head coach after the Lions suffered back-to-back defeats against the Sharks and Brumbies. Lions CEO Rudolf Straeuli confirmed the news, adding that the union would enlist “professional help”. Straeuli told Netwerk24 that the union would “get medical advice … and there will be an intensive investigation before making a decision on (De Bruin’s) future.” The Lions have denied rumours of dissatisfaction between De Bruin, Straeuli and the union vice-chairperson Altmann Allers. The Lions’ conditioning coach, Ivan van Rooyen, took over the coaching duties for the Lions match against Chiefs, which the Johannesburg franchise won 23-17 in Hamilton on Friday.

The Lions are training under conditioning coach Ivan van Rooyen after head coach Swys de Bruin returned to South Africa just before the match against the Chiefs at the weekend. Van Rooyen also coached the Lions during the Currie Cup last year. Photo: Lions

 

More than just another Manchester derby

This year’s Manchester derby has wider implications than just bragging rights in arguably the world’s most passionate footballing city. United and City are both locked in English Premier League battles that are so tight a draw could mean the end to both their quests. A loss for City would probably hand the league title to Liverpool and if United go down again they are likely to be out of the race for a Champions League place next season. Recent form suggest City should be easy winners and odds of 7.25-1 on a United win (1.42-1 on a City win) show just how certain the bookmakers are United will not win. However, this is a Manchester derby and the form book is diluted by passion, so expect things to be a but tighter than expected (but I still wouldn’t bet on a City losing). Arsenal are also in action tonight when they take on Wolves and could move up to fourth. Last night Spurs struggled to get the better of Brighton and only secured the win in the 88th minute. Watford and Southampton drew 1-1 after Saints’ Shane Long scored the quickest goal in Premier League history. He put his side 1-0 up just 7,69 seconds after the first whistle and Watford’s Andre Gray equalised in the 90th minute.

Sundowns’ title hopes saved

Sundowns pulled themselves back from a goal down, and then can thank goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene for a stunning injury-time double save which ensured they secured all three points from a 3-2 win over Chippa United yesterday. Sundown’s match was played early so they could fly to Morocco last night for Friday’s Champions League fixture against Wydad Casablanca. Chippa, who are fighting to avoid relegation, opened the scoring but were 3-2 down going into injury time. They should have equalised but Lerato Manzine and Andile Mbenyane’s shots were brilliantly saved by Mweene in the 93rd minute. In other matches last night Cape Town City and Highlands as well as Kaizer Chiefs and Arrows drew 1-1. Today there are five matches with Pirates’ trip to Maritzburg Utd the most important as the KZN team struggles to avoid relegation while Pirates push for the title. Other games see Free State Stars v Baroka, Amazulu v Supersport Utd, Bidvest Wits v Black Leopards and Polokwane v Bloem Celtic

ASA misses transformation targets

In an embarrassing setback for Athletics South Africa, the national body was flagged by the Department of Sport and Recreation after being named as the only one of the country’s five major sporting codes to miss its transformation targets for the 2017/18 period. Athletics has the least barriers to entry for sportsmen and women and should be the torchbearer for transformation, so for rugby, cricket and netball – sports that are perceived to be less transformed – to reach their targets is a blow to ASA. Other sports to reach their threshold of more than 50% of the targets set by the department are table tennis, football, gymnastics, tennis and basketball. The targets do not only deal with players on the field, but includes roles throughout the sporting federations.

Semi-final previews

After the weekend washout resulted in three no results, the six South African cricket franchises hope to get on the field for the eighth round of CSA T20 Challenge fixtures that look like a preview of the semi-finals. The Cape Cobras and Lions, who top the table, take on the fourth- and third-placed Titans and Warriors respectively, while the two teams at the foot of the log, the Knights and Dolphins, battle for points in the third match.

Warner overshadowed by Watson

Australian David Warner scored his seventh 50 of the 2019 IPL and his teammate Manish Pandey smashed 83 off just 49 as Sunrisers Hyderabad posted 175 for three, but they were both overshadowed by Shane Watson. Watson fell just four short of a century as he led the Chennai Super Kings to a six-wicket win with just one ball remaining last night. Tonight Royal Challengers Bangalore will try to keep their recovery going when they take on the Kings XI Punjab. Meanwhile South African fast bowler Beuran Hendricks will join Dale Steyn as a late call-up to the IPL. Hendricks will replace injured Alzarri Joseph of the West Indies at the Mumbai Indians. Joseph had a dream debut with the best-ever IPL figures of six for 12 before he injured his shoulder while fielding last week.


THE BIG READ

Heading for the heights of Tenerife

Tenerife’s two-star Parador Hotel is not the sort of establishment you would expect to be sold out two years in advance for a few arbitrary weeks in March or April. But every year a sprinkling of the world’s top cyclists pack into the hotel and battle for bookings so as to spend two weeks doing nothing other than riding up and down the nearby mountain. Situated at over 2000m altitude, the hotel is a perfect training base for teams to access Mount Teide and its brutally steep roads – a perfect training venue for riders preparing for the Tour de France. The BBC’s chief sports writer, Tom Fordyce, recently visited Team Sky (soon to become Team Ineos) to see why Chris Froome and teammates, and rivals, visit the Spanish Island. He discovered a brutal training environment where some of the world’s fittest sportsmen suffer as they attempt to become the world’s best. You can read Chris Froome’s Tenerife training camp: “You come here to suffer” to get an insight into the not-so-glamorous world of elite sportsmen.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Lots of losers on Derby Day


WHAT YOU SHOULD WATCH

Variety … and then THE derby

Live TV today starts with some variety before football takes over and builds to the Manchester derby. The action starts at 11am with the Barcelona Open BancSabadell tennis tournament and then one of Europe’s famous one-day cycling events, the 83rd annual La Flèche Wallonne. A couple of cricket matches allow us to watch the Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kings XI Punjab match from India and (weather permitting) the Knights v Dolphins match from Bloemfontein. The rest of the action is all football from the two U17 African Cup of Nations semi-finals to three Spanish La Liga matches and of course the English Premier League. Wolves take on Arsenal and the Manchester derby kicks off at 9pm.

Today’s live TV highlights

SPORT CH TIME EVENT
Tennis SS8 11:00-17:45 ATP World Tour 500:
Barcelona Open BancSabadell Day 3
Cycling SS5 14:20-16:50 La Flèche Wallonne:
83rd Edition
Football SS10 SSM 14:45-17:00 Total Under 17 Africa Cup of Nations:
Semi-final 1
Cricket SS2 16:20-20:30 Vivo Indian Premier League T20:
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kings XI Punjab
Cricket CSN SS8 17:45-22:00 SA Cricket – CSA T20 Challenge:
VKB Knights vs Hollywoodbets Dolphins
Football SS10 18:15-20:30 Total Under 17 Africa Cup of Nations:
Semi-final 2
Football SS7 19:25-21:25 LaLiga Santander:
Matchday 34: Atletico Madrid vs Valencia
Football SS11 19:25-22:00 Super Diski – ABSA Premiership:
Bidvest Wits vs Black Leopards
Football SS4 19:25-22:00 Super Diski – ABSA Premiership:
Maritzburg United vs Orlando Pirates
Football SS6 20:25-22:30 LaLiga Santander:
Matchday 34: Espanyol vs Celta Vigo
Football SS5 20:35-22:45 Premier League:
Matchday 31: Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Arsenal
Football SSM SS3 20:45-23:00 Premier League:
Matchday 31: Manchester United vs Manchester City
Football SS7 21:25-23:30 LaLiga Santander:
Matchday 34: Levante vs Real Betis

Full list of today’s live TV here.

Posted in Daily Sport, Sport News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on 24 April 2019 – RUGBY: Lions coach back home due to stress | FOOTBALL: More than just another Manchester derby

23 April 2019 – RUGBY: Lions gets the Easter eggs | FOOTBALL: Champions league anyone? | ROAD RUNNING: SA double at Two Oceans

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Lions gets the Easter eggs

Another weekend of Super Rugby and another weekend where the rugby pundits were left with egg on their faces as the South African franchises continue to confound. The Lions at least made sure it was chocolate Easter eggs as they hung on for a 23-17 win to end the Chiefs three-match winning streak. The Bulls had the weekend off so they could not do much damage to anybody’s SuperBru picks and somehow managed to stay top of the South African conference, but the Sharks and the Stormers once again failed dismally. The Durban side were terrible for the second week in a row and went down 14-21 to the Reds, while the Stormers could not transfer two-thirds of the possession into points and lost 17-19 to the Brumbies.

Champions League anyone?

As Liverpool and Manchester City keep notching up wins, the chasing pack inexplicably keep stumbling and in a bizarre Easter weekend of English Premier League matches not one of the four chasers won. Spurs failed to repeat their midweek Champions League heroics and City claimed a relatively dull 1-0 win to keep their league quest on target. Liverpool duly did what was needed against Cardiff and the 2-0 result pushed the Welsh side a step closer to relegation, while reminding City that anything less than 100% could cost the defending champions their title. After Spurs handed their Champion’s League co-contenders a lifeline, United sunk almost without trace in a 4-0 defeat to Everton and Arsenal shot themselves in the foot with a 2-3 misfire against Crystal Palace. Incredibly, that left Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United exactly as they were at the start of the Easter weekend … until Chelsea tripped up over lowly Burnley last night and could only manage a 2-2 draw. Chelsea are now level with Spurs and one point above Arsenal but have played a game extra and their move up to fourth could be temporary if Spurs beat Brighton tonight and Arsenal beat Wolves tomorrow. United have to take on City tomorrow so it seems unlikely they will close the gap on Chelsea before they meet next Sunday.

Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek (number 12) and Ashley Westwood (18) from Burnley fight for possession during last night’s 2-2 draw. Photo: Chelsea FC

Ronaldo gets another league crown

Juventus wrapped up the Italian football league title but, as with so much this season, their super-striker Cristiano Ronaldo overshadowed the team as he became the first player to win the English Premier League (with Manchester United), the Spanish league (with Real Madrid) and Serie A (with Juventus). While Liverpool and Manchester United are slugging it out for the English title this year, Juventus claimed a 2-1 win over Fiorentina which ensures they win the Serie A title with five games to play. In France a hat-trick from Kylian Mbappe finally got PSG across the line when they beat Monaco 3-1 to move 19 points clear of Lille with five matches remaining. In Spain, Barcelona are nine points clear of Atletico Madrid with five games remaining. In Germany Bayern Munich are a point ahead of Borussia Dortmund while in Portugal Porto are three clear of Benfica.

Sundowns struggle on

After last week’s upset loss to SuperSport, Sundowns got themselves back into the Absa Premiership league title race with a 2-1 win over Baroka on Sunday, but there is still plenty of uncertainty about their campaign. The Pretoria side have a disciplinary hearing looming to decide their punishment after fielding a player who was not named in their starting lineup for a match, and they have a hectic schedule of league and Champions League matches, starting with their clash against Chippa United tonight. Unlike the Dutch Football Association, who have adjusted their league fixtures to alleviate the pressure on Europa League semi-finalists Ajax Amsterdam, Sundowns have to fit in four league fixtures around their Champions League matches, making for a crowded schedule. Meanwhile in the Nedbank Cup semi-finals over the weekend, National First Division outfit TS Galaxy beat Golden Arrows 3-1 and earned a meeting with Kaizer Chiefs in the final. Chiefs beat Chippa 4-2 in the semis. All four semi-finalists are in action today, with Chippa against Sundowns followed by Chiefs v Arrows and Cape Town City v Golden Arrows.

SA double at Two Oceans

The Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon was a triumph for South Africans as three-time Comrades Marathon winner Bongmusa Mthembu and defending women’s champion Gerda Steyn claimed the titles on the 50th edition of the world-famous Cape Town race on Saturday. Mthembu secured his victory in the final few kilometres and was followed home by 2013 winner, David Gatebe. Mthembu’s winning time was 3:08:39, just less than two minutes ahead of his compatriot’s 3:10:30 with Kenyan Justin Cheshire claiming third in 3:11:22.In the women’s race, Steyn produced a stunning effort to cross the line in 3:31:28, missing Frith van der Merwe’s 30-year-old race record by just 44 seconds. Considering the course over Ou Kaapse Weg – which was changed from the traditional Chappies route the day before due to protest threats – is considered between one or two minutes slower, the time is a phenomenal effort.

A late Royal Challenge

The Royal Challengers Bangalore welcomed Dale Steyn to their lineup with two wins over the weekend which gives them a feint hope of reaching the playoffs. With four games remaining, the Challengers are still bottom of the IPL table, but with three wins they now have a chance to make the playoffs – but will probably need wins from all their remaining matches. Steyn seems to have brought a change in fortunes as they claimed a narrow one-run win over the top-of-the-table Chennai Super Kings on Sunday and a 10 run victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday. Yesterday the Delhi Capitals took over the lead on the log table from the Super Kings when they beat the Rajasthan Royals by eight wickets – their second win in three days, after they beat the Kings XI Punjab by five wickets on Saturday. Other results over the long weekend included a five-wicket win for the Royals over the Mumbai Indians on Saturday, and a nine-wicket victory for the Sunrisers Hyderabad over Kolkata on Sunday.

Rain wins round seven

Back in South Africa, countrywide rain was the winner in the seventh round of CSA T20 matches yesterday with not a single ball being bowled in any of the three matches. The lack of results mean the Cobras and Lions are top of the table on 19 points with the Warriors and Titans looking good for playoff positions on 16 and 15 points respectively. The Dolphins have plenty of work to do over their final three matches as they sit on 10 points, as do the Knights on eight. On Saturday the Warriors beat the Cobras by 10 runs, the Titans beat the Dolphisn by eight wickets and the Knights match against the Lions was abandoned.


THE BIG READ

Don’t bet against the team in yellow

Six weeks ago Australia were on a run of 22 defeats in 26 one-day internationals. Then a stunning turnaround in India saw off their formidable hosts 3-2. Next came Pakistan. Aaron Finch’s side dispatched them 5-0 in the fashion of generations past – and not that of an Australian team that spent 12 months reeling after the sandpaper saga. As England 2019 looms, the BBC takes a look at the team in canary yellow in Cricket World Cup: ‘It’s been brutal, but Australia have their one-day confidence back’.


TWEET OF THE DAY

It’s all yours …

 


WHAT YOU SHOULD WATCH

Football for fanatics

Football dominates the live TV action today with key matches from South Africa, England and Spain. Domestically Sundowns take on Chippa at 3pm and then Kaizer Chiefs take on Golden Arrows at 7.30pm. An hour later Spurs cannot afford any slip ups against Brighton and then at 9.30 Barcelona continue their league challenge against Alaves. The IPL match of the day sees the Chennai Super Kings take on the Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Today’s live TV highlights

SPORT CH TIME EVENT
Tennis SS8 11:00-19:00 ATP World Tour 500:
Barcelona Open BancSabadell Day 2
Football SS4 14:55-17:30 Super Diski – ABSA Premiership:
Mamelodi Sundowns vs Chippa United
Cricket SS2 16:20-20:30 Vivo Indian Premier League T20:
Chennai Super Kings vs Sunrisers Hyderabad
Football SS7 19:25-21:25 LaLiga Santander:
Matchday 34: Huesca vs Eibar
Football SS4 19:25-22:00 Super Diski – ABSA Premiership:
Kaizer Chiefs vs Golden Arrows
Football SS6 20:25-22:30 LaLiga Santander:
Matchday 34: Valladolid vs Girona
Football SSM SS3 20:30-22:45 Premier League: Matchday 33: Tottenham Hotspur vs Brighton & Hove Albion
Football SS5 20:35-22:45 Premier League:
Matchday 31: Watford vs Southampton
Football SS7 21:25-23:30 LaLiga Santander:
Matchday 34: Alaves vs Barcelona

Full list of today’s live TV here.

Posted in Daily Sport, Sport News | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on 23 April 2019 – RUGBY: Lions gets the Easter eggs | FOOTBALL: Champions league anyone? | ROAD RUNNING: SA double at Two Oceans

18 April 2019 – FOOTBALL: Drama from whistle to whistle | CRICKET: Head v heart | ATHLETICS: Caster on Times list of 100 Most Influential

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Drama from whistle to whistle

On a night where 12 Champions League goals were scored in two matches, there was plenty of drama from the kickoff until VAR intervened in injury time and changed Manchester City’s unbridled joy into heartbreak – and sent Tottenham into the semi-finals. At the same time Liverpool overwhelmed Porto 4-1 to reach the semis with a straightforward 6-1 aggregate win. It was pure theatre in Manchester as City won 4-3 but were bundled out on the away goals rule after the teams ended 4-4 on aggregate. The first scene was a frenetic opening 11 minutes which saw four goals: Raheem Sterling opened in the fourth minute, but two from Son Heung-min put Spurs ahead before Bernardo Silva equalised the match. Then Sterling’s second made it 3-2 which equalised the scores over the two-legged tie, but left Spurs “ahead” by virtue of scoring more away goals. City had to win the second half to progress. The Sky Blues dominated the second act and Sergio Aguero looked to have sealed it in the 59th minute, only for Fernando Llorente to swing the pendulum back in Spurs favour with 17 minutes left. Deep into injury time City manager Pep Guardiola was celebrating hysterically after Sterling completed his hat-trick, only to have the goal – and thus effectively the result – overturned when VAR picked up Aguero was fractionally offside earlier in the move. Liverpool will play Barcelona and Spurs take on Ajax in the semi-finals in the first two weeks of May.

Toby Alderweireld celebrates. Photo: Tottenham

 

Head v heart: Hendricks v Amla

The Proteas are due to announce their World Cup squad today and while 14 of the 15 positions are probably finalised, the big question seems to be the experience of Hashim Amla or the form of Reeza Hendricks. As one of the more reasoned pieces about the selection put it, the decision is a head v heart debate, or to put it another way, pedigree v promise. There is no doubt Amla was one of South Africa’s most loyal and trustworthy batters, but the key is the past tense of that statement. Hendricks is the future. It is impossible to predict which of the two will be more successful in England, but Hendricks is surely the safer option on current form. Meanwhile Sri Lanka have fired Lasith Malinga as captain for the World Cup. Test skipper Dimuth Karunaratne will lead the side in England.

Caster on Times list of 100 Most Influential

Time’s annual list of 100 Most Influential People includes two South Africans, President Cyril Ramaphosa and 800m World Champion Caster Semenya. The great 400m athlete Ed Moses writes the tribute to Semenya for Time magazine and describes her as “A world and Olympic track-and-field champion several times over, Caster Semenya has taught us that sex isn’t always binary, and caused us to question the justness of distributing societal benefits according to ‘male’ and ‘female’ classifications.” Among the six cover stars is Liverpool striker Mo Salah. Included in the rest of the 100 are 21-year-old US Open and Australian Open tennis champion Naomi Osaka, basketball star LeBron James, golfing superstar Tiger Woods, US women’s footballer Alex Morgan and former cricketer turned politician and now Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Gunners look for more luck

In tonight’s Europa League quarter-finals Arsenal travel to Napoli with the enviable task of trying to protect their 2-0 advantage from the first leg last week. The Gunners are enjoying some good luck with goals recently and that includes Kalidou Koulibaly’s own goal which doubled Arsenal’s lead last week. The London side will be hoping lady luck continues to smile on them and they can book a place in the semi-final tonight. Their cross-town compatriots, Chelsea, host Prague with a narrow 1-0 lead. The Blues should however be confident as they attempt to equal Atletico Madrid’s record streak of 15 matches unbeaten in the Europa League. In the other two quarter-finals, Valencia protect a 3-1 lead at home against Villarreal, while Benfica take a 4-2 advantage to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Sundowns downed

SuperSport United grabbed a crucial 2-0 win over Sundowns last night that could have handed the Absa Premiership League title to Orlando Pirates. With Pirates six points clear of Sundowns at the top of the league table, the Pretoria side has a chance to level matters as they have two games in hand, but Sundowns also have a disciplinary decision hanging over their head and it seems likely they will be docked at least one crucial point. That would mean, even if Sundowns win all their remaining league fixtures, they would need Pirates to drop points in their final three matches for the Pretoria side to claim the league title. At the other end of the table, Free State Stars drew 1-1 with Highlands and grabbed a valuable point in their tight relegation battle (latest league standings).

David sends another warning

David Warner smashed another 50 off just 25 ball as the Sunrisers Hyderabad cruised to a six-wicket win with 19 balls to spare in their IPL match last night. Warner and Jonny Bairstow (61 off 44) were always in control of the chase after the Chennai Super Kings could only post 132 for five. Tonight the Delhi Capitals take on the Mumbai Indians. The CSA T20 Challenge match between the Dolphins and Warriors in Durban was rained off and tonight the Lions and Titans clash in Johannesburg .


WEEKEND IN BRIEF

Due to the Easter weekend we will not be posting the.sports.letter tomorrow or Monday. However, because we are dedicated sports fans serving the needs of dedicated sports fans we know there is a lot of sport to follow while chomping on chocolate eggs over the next few days. We have compiled a very brief list of sporting highlights you can follow when you are not visiting church or looking for the Easter Bunny over the next few days.

Rugby

Super Rugby: On Friday the Lions are in Waikato to take on the Chiefs while the Sharks host the Reds in Durban. The Stormers are back in Cape Town for their match against the Brumbies on Saturday.

Football

Premier League: After the drama of last night’s Champions League, City and Spur meet again in crucial Premier League decider in Manchester on Saturday. Other matches included Everton v Man U, Cardiff v Liverpool and Arsenal v Crystal Palace, all on Sunday, and then Chelsea v Burnley on Monday.
Absa Premiership: In the only match of the weekend, Sundowns try to catch up on their hectic schedule with a visit to Baroka on Saturday.

Cricket

World Cup: The big cricket news is the announcement of the Proteas squad today and then expect a lot of other countries to announce their final teams over the weekend.
IPL & CSA T20: There are six matches in each competition over the long weekend with at least a match a day, and two on Saturday and Sunday, in the IPL. The CSA competition opts for all six teams to be in action in three matches on Saturday and three more games on Monday – and three more every second day until the end of the round-robin portion of the competition next Sunday.


THE BIG READ

Pressure mounts on Ferrari

Three races, three one-two finishes for Mercedes. On paper, this new Formula 1 season already looks like a story of Mercedes domination. But the statistics don’t tell anything like the whole picture. The form guide between Mercedes and Ferrari has been up and down like a yo-yo so far. Former F1 driver, Jolyon Palmer, writing for the BBC, gives and insight on why Flawless Mercedes are piling the pressure on Ferrari.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Meltdown

The Manchester City Twitter feed could not handle the disallowed goal and went into meltdown – and attracted 86 000 retweets and 160 000 likes! Spurs opted to simply list the scorers.



WHAT YOU SHOULD WATCH

Golf, without Tiger

After the heroics of Tiger at the US Masters last week, there are probably going to be a few extra golf watchers today when the RBC Heritage tees off at 9pm, but anybody hoping to see the rejuvenated hero is going to be disappointed because Tiger is not playing at the beautiful Heritage Town Links course. There is another golf tournament, the LPGA’s Lotte Championship (1am tomorrow morning). For tennis fans, the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters tournament has reached the last 16 and is on screen from 11am. Arsenal and Chelsea fans can watch their second-leg Europa League quarter-final matches at 9pm. And of course there are two cricket matches as well. The pyjama league sees the Delhi Capitals taking on the Mumbai Indians, while in Johannesburg the Lions and Titans will probably have almost as many players on the field as there will be in the stands for their CSA T20 Challenge match.

Today’s live TV highlights

SPORT CH TIME EVENT
Tennis SS6 11:00-19:30 ATP World Tour Masters 1000:
Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters Last 16
Cricket SS2 16:20-20:30 Vivo Indian Premier League T20:
Delhi Capitals vs Mumbai Indians
Cricket SS8 17:45-22:00 SA Cricket – CSA T20 Challenge:
bizhub Highveld Lions vs Multiply Titans
Football SA Only SS3 20:50-23:00 UEFA Europa League:
Quarter-final 2nd Leg: Napoli vs Arsenal
Football SA Only SS5 20:50-23:00 UEFA Europa League:
Quarter-final 2nd Leg: Chelsea vs Slavia Praha
Football SA Only SS6 20:50-23:00 UEFA Europa League:
Quarter-final 2nd Leg: Valencia vs Villarreal
Football SA Only SS9 20:50-23:00 UEFA Europa League:
Quarter-final 2nd Leg: Frankfurt vs Benfica
Golf CSN SS1 21:00-00:00 PGA Tour:
RBC Heritage Day 1
Golf SS8 01:00-06:00 LPGA:
LOTTE Championship Day 2

Full list of today’s live TV here.

Posted in Daily Sport, Sport News | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on 18 April 2019 – FOOTBALL: Drama from whistle to whistle | CRICKET: Head v heart | ATHLETICS: Caster on Times list of 100 Most Influential

17 April 2019 – RUGBY: Folau fights back | FOOTBALL: Champions League’s broken dreams | RUGBY: Baby Boks last chance

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Aussie homophobe finds a loophole

Wallabies fullback Israel Folau is fighting back against his rugby ban and has asked for a code of conduct hearing – and he may have found a loophole in his contract which could save his rugby career. It has been reported that Rugby Australia tried to retrospectively insert a social media restraint into Folau’s contract, but the 30-year-old devout Christian, who signed a $4m four-year deal last year, refused to have the additional clauses inserted into his contract. Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Waratahs intend to terminate Folau’s contract after his social media post saying gay people would go to “hell” if they did not “repent”. He was warned for a similar offence a year ago. Earlier this week Folau seemed to accept his ban when he said: “Whatever His will is, whether that’s to continue playing or not, I’m more than happy to do what He wants me to do.”

England look to double up

At least one and probably two English teams will be confirmed in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League this evening. Liverpool take a two-goal lead to the Estádio do Dragão and they will be confident of defending that when they travel to meet Porto in their quarter-final second-leg. Tonight’s other quarter-final is an all-English clash between Manchester City and Tottenham in Manchester. Spurs’ 1-0 win last week is the only time City have not won since the end of January. Some would say winning 15 out of 16 matches makes them due for another loss, but Spurs, without injured Harry Kane, will be happy for a draw which will take them through, while both teams will be playing with an eye on Saturday when the pair meet again in a crucial Premier League fixture.

Broken dreams

Cristiano Ronaldo’s dream of a fourth successive Champions League title with his new club Juventus was shattered by a teenage star last night – and his big rival, Lionel Messi, inspired Barcelona to end Manchester United’s hopes of a miracle comeback at Nou Camp. Ronaldo put Juve on course for the semi-finals when he gave the Italians the lead midway through the first half of their quarter-final second leg in Turin. Donny van de Beek levelled things up again before half time, and then Ajax’s teenage captain Matthijs de Ligt scored the winner. In Barcelona, Messi scored twice in four minutes to end United dreams of another stunning fightback. The Argentinian took Barca three clear on aggregate when he scored in the 16th and 20th minutes, and then Philippe Coutinho added a third on the night in the second half to kill off any lingering hopes of a comeback. In England, Cardiff kept their faint hopes of staying in the Premier League alive as they beat Brighton 2-0 to move within two points of safety. Brighton, just above them on the league table, have a game in hand.


Cristiano Ronaldo’s hopes of a fourth Champions League title in a row were shattered by Ajax last night. Photo: Juventus FC

 

Baby Boks last chance to impress

The Baby Boks play their final warm-up match before the U20 World Cup this evening and their clash with their Argentinian counterparts is likely to be their sternest test so far this year. Phendulani Buthelezi and Francke Horn – who shared the captaincy in their last two matches – are named as co-captains. The match at Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch gives the selectors a final chance to assess the players before naming their squad to travel to Argentina for the World Cup in June. South Africa, who beat Namibia 50-8 at the weekend and Georgia 58-10 last week, will play Scotland, Georgia and New Zealand in their pool matches at the World Cup.

Miller hits out again

David Miller smashed 40 off 27 balls, but it was some tight and penetrative bowling which got the King’s XI Punjab to a 12-run win against the Rajasthan Rebels last night. The Kings posted an impressive 182 for six, but that looked to be a few runs short when the Rebels were cruising at 85 for one at the end of nine overs. Some tight bowling led to pressure, a wicket and a rise in the required rate. That just meant more pressure in the death overs and five wickets in five overs transferred to a 12-run win. Tonight the Sunrisers Hyderabad take on the Chennai Super Kings. On the domestic scene, the Cape Cobras are opening up some daylight on the chasers in the CSA T20 Challenge. Last night they beat the Knights by five runs thanks to some tight bowling from Vernon Philander and Tladi Bokako. Tonight the Dolphins will be hosting the Warriors.

Tiger’s win was bettor’s best bet

One man who was almost as pleased as Tiger Woods with the former number one’s fifth US Master victory was 39-year-old James Adducci, who collected $1.19-million on a bet after the tournament. Adducci, a self-employed day trader with a mortgage on his house, two student loans and two car loans, bet ‘everything I had that I could afford to lose’ a week ago on Tiger winning. The first-time sports gambler flew from Wisconsin to Las Vegas to place the $85,000 bet at William Hill – and flew straight home.


THE BIG READ

Personal, mental & physical rollercoaster

Has there ever been an athlete with a personal, mental and physical graph that has soared and dipped as dramatically as Tiger Woods? He was a golfer who scaled the sporting heights before disgrace, rehab and divorce underpinned his spectacular fall from grace. The BBC’s Iain Carter take a look at the fall from heady heights and the painful, brave climb back up in Tiger Woods: Personal, mental and physical rollercoaster of the Masters champion.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Who’s the greatest now?


WHAT YOU SHOULD WATCH

City, Liverpool & Spurs fight for Europe

English football is on show on our screens this evening as Liverpool take a 2-0 advantage to Porto in their quarter-final second-leg Champions League match this evening. The other quarter-final is an all-English affair with Manchester City needing to overturn Tottenham’s 1-0 lead if they hope to remain on course for the quadruple. Locally, Sundowns are looking to make up matches and they will be expecting full points from their clash with SuperSport United. Cricketers have Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Chennai Super Kings smashing runs in the Indian Pyjama League, while the Dolphins will be hosting the Warriors in Durban in the CSA T20 Challenge. Tennis takes centre court from 11am with the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters serving up some clay-court action, and cyclists can watch De Brabantse Pijl – that sounds obscene but is just a bunch of men in brightly-coloured lycra racing from Leuven to Overijse on the outskirts of Brussels in Belgium.

Today’s live TV highlights

SPORT CH TIME EVENT
Tennis SS6 11:00-19:30 ATP World Tour Masters 1000:
Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters Day 3
Football SS9 SSM 14:45-17:00 Total Under 17 Africa Cup of Nations:
Nigeria vs Angola
Cycling SA Only SS5 15:15-18:10 De Brabantse Pijl:
59th Edition
Cricket SS2 16:20-20:30 Vivo Indian Premier League T20:
Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Chennai Super Kings
Football SS9 17:45-20:00 Total Under 17 Africa Cup of Nations:
Uganda vs Tanzania
Cricket SS8 17:45-22:00 SA Cricket – CSA T20 Challenge:
Hollywoodbets Dolphins vs Warriors
Football SS4 19:25-22:00 Super Diski – ABSA Premiership:
Black Leopards vs Mamelodi Sundowns
Football SS5
SS11
20:50-23:00 UEFA Champions League: Quarter Final 2nd Leg:
Porto vs Liverpool
Football SS3
SSM
20:50-23:00 UEFA Champions League: Quarter Final 2nd Leg:
Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur

Full list of today’s live TV here.

Posted in Daily Sport, Sport News | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on 17 April 2019 – RUGBY: Folau fights back | FOOTBALL: Champions League’s broken dreams | RUGBY: Baby Boks last chance