HEADLINES; The lucrative and money spinning UEFA champions league is back and some giant names have already been sent packing. *More tennis stars are pulling out of the US Open citing the coronavirus which is still a health risk. *Another club has gained promotion to the English football top flight. *Football clubs are strengthening their squads. *Sport stars are still not used to competitions without spectators.
Here are the top sports news that made the rounds this week.
Real Madrid, Juventus Crash Out Of Champions League
Manchester City capitalized on two Raphael Varane errors as they made it through to the Champions League quarter-finals with a 2-1 win over Real Madrid at the Etihad (4-2 on aggregate). The hosts added to their first leg advantage early on as a lackadaisical Varane was caught in possession on his own byline by Gabriel Jesus, who squared for Raheem Sterling to tap home for his 100th Manchester City goal.
It didn’t change much for Real Madrid, still needing two away goals to qualify, and they got a first through Karim Benzema’s header from a Rodrygo cross. But it was chaos in the second period as Real continued to mess around with the ball deep in their half, and City eventually killed the tie off as Jesus nipped in to capitalize on a weak Varane header to brilliantly poke home from an angle.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s two goals inspired Juventus to a 2-1 comeback victory over Lyon but it wasn’t enough as a 2-2 aggregate draw saw them crash out of the Champions League on away goals.
Trailing 1-0 from February’s the first leg – which took place 163 days prior – recently-crowned Serie A champions Juventus, found themselves needing to score three goals after Memphis Depay’s nonchalant 12th-minute Panenka penalty. Ronaldo reduced the arrears two minutes before the break with a penalty of his own and gave Juventus further hope when he scored his 130th Champions League goal into the top corner on the hour.
Nadal withdraws from US Open.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal has decided not to play the US Open later this month because the coronavirus pandemic is “not under control”. Spanish world number two Nadal, 34, has not entered the tournament, which takes place in New York from 31 August.
“The health situation is very complicated around the world with cases increasing and flare-ups,” said Nadal. “This is a decision I never wanted to take but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel.” He added.
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic leads the men’s entry list, while American great Serena Williams has indicated she will play.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is hosting a double tournament at Flushing Meadows, having moved the Cincinnati Masters to New York.
The event will be staged at the Billie Jean King Tennis Centre from 22 August, with the US Open taking place immediately afterwards. Both tournaments will be held without fans and players will have to follow strict measures.
Tiger Woods Unsure Of PGA Tour Without Fans
Tiger Woods has said playing in front of no fans at the US PGA Championship will be stepping into the unknown. The event at TPC Harding Park, put back from May because of the coronavirus pandemic, is 2020’s first major.
Woods, 44, won the WGC-American Express Championship there in 2005, saying the “electric” atmosphere for his play-off with John Daly left him “half deaf”. “This is going to be very different,” said the American. “But it’s still a major, so there’ll be plenty of energy.”
Relatively cold, damp conditions are forecast for the event in San Francisco, and Woods knows the area well, having often played there as a junior while at Stanford University. Besides his 2005 win at Harding Park, the only other occasion the 15-time major winner has played the course as a professional was in 2009, winning all five of his matches as USA won the Presidents Cup.
Fulham Secures Promotion To Premier League
Fulham booked their immediate return to the Premier League as Joe Bryan struck twice in extra-time to see them past Brentford 2-1 in the Championship play-off final. Bryan scored a remarkable 105th-minute free-kick at Wembley on Tuesday night to give his side the lead. Facing a 35-yard distance between him and the goal, Bryan looked as though he was going to cross it but instead bent one straight into the corner, completely wrong-footing David Raya in the Brentford goal.
The left-back then added another in the dying minutes to seal his side’s spot back in the Premier League after just a season away. Brentford, meanwhile, who were trying to end a 73-year wait to reach the big time, will have to deal with yet another play-off failure. Henrik Dalsgaard grabbed them a last-gasp consolation, but there was no way back and it is now nine attempts in their history without managing to seal promotion on a single occasion