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The Sports Express – December

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Football

  • Despite an injury-depleted squad, Liverpool managed to stay on top of the Premier League table during the festive season, despite dropping points against Newcastle and Southampton. A resurgent Manchester United follow close behind, while Leicester also is just one point behind. Only 4 points separate the top 7 teams in an exceptionally close season. On the other end of the spectrum, a struggling West Brom fired manager Slaven Bilic, replacing him with Sam Allardyce.
  • Despite a loss in the Madrid Derby, Atletico Madrid remained on top of the La Liga table with Real Madrid following in 2nd with Barcelona in 3rd. Having 3 games in hand over their nearest rivals, Atletico Madrid seems to be in a strong position to win the title. Surprise package Real Sociedad struggled, falling down to 5th place with Villareal hanging on to 4th. Lionel Messi broke the record for the most goals scored for a single club, breaking Pele’s record of 643 for Santos, during a game against Real Valladolid. (Although, the claim was disputed by Santos)
  • AC Milan maintained their position on top of the Serie A table, with city rivals Inter Milan following 3 points behind. Despite beating the leaders, Juventus have been inconsistent under Andrea Pirlo, remaining in 4th place in the table. Cristiano Ronaldo also moved past Pele on the records list, this time going past Pele’s 758 career goals while scoring a brace against Udinese.
  • Bayern Munich went into the Bundesliga winter break leading the table over rivals RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen. Borussia Dortmund bid farewell to manager Lucien Favre after a 5-1 loss at Stuttgart with caretaker manager Edin Terzic taking over. Archrivals Schalke remain in the relegation spots and have gone for nearly a year without a single Bundesliga win, coming near to breaking a 50+ year old record.

Cricket

  • Despite getting off to a strong start, Sri Lanka suffered a 2-0 loss at the hands of South Africa with injuries to several key players hampering the squad. The first test match saw Faf Du Plessis falling just short of a double century, falling for 199 in a match that South Africa won by an innings. In the second test, despite a strong bowling performance in the first innings with Vishwa Fernando getting his maiden test 5-wicket haul and a Dimuth Karunaratne century, Sri Lanka would fall to a 10 wicket loss.
  • The Border-Gavaskar trophy got off to an explosive start as an astonishing second innings collapse saw India dismissed for 36 after taking a substantial first-innings lead. Ajinkya Rahane took over as captain for the second test, with India hitting back immediately to win the Boxing Day test match at the MCG, on the back of a Rahane century.
  • New Zealand rose to No.1 on the test cricket rankings for the first time, completing a 2-0 series victory against Pakistan after a 2-0 series victory against the West Indies. The first test against Pakistan was a close affair with Pakistan surviving into the final session of the game before Mitchell Santner took the crucial final wicket. That match was also notable for Fawad Alam scoring his first test century in more than 10 years and Neil Wagner bowling with 2 broken toes. Kane Williamson’s sublime form saw him rise to the top of the test cricket batting rankings, overtaking Steve Smith.
  • The Big Bash League got underway with the introduction of several new innovations such as the Power Surge (Where the last 2 overs of the powerplay can be taken at any point after the 10-over mark in the innings), Bash Boost (where teams can get an extra point for being ahead of the opponents at the 10-over mark of the innings) and X-Factor (Which allows a team to substitute a player at the 10-over point of the first innings). Sydney Sixers currently lead the points table, with Sydney Thunder and Adelaide Strikers following close behind.

F1

  • F1 raced on December for the second time in history, the last time F1 race in december was the 2019 Abu Dhabi GP held on December 1st 2019
  • With Lewis Hamilton testing positive a wide variety of names were thrown around the paddock for who can replace the 7 time world champion.Finally George Russell was announced as the replacement for the Champion at the Baharin outer ring race. Jack Aitken replaced Russell at Williams.
  •  Russell showed what he was capable of doing with the Mercedes car by being the fastest in 2 practice sessions and qualifying P2 behind Bottas with just 0.028 seconds off.
  • The race start was quite exciting for fans as all eyes were on the new star of the show. George got an absolutely stunning start getting Bottas by turn 1 and into the distance.
  • By turn 4 Leclerc locked up his breaks and crashed into Perez who spun round while Leclerc broke his suspension and was in the wall along with Verstappen who was in a wrong place, wrong time situation. Perez was last by the end of lap 1 but was quickly up the order due to the high speed and short track F1 raced on in the week.
  • With another safety car session about ¾ of the way during the race caused by Aitken crashing at the exit of the last turn, Mercedes decided to double stack the drivers which went horribly wrong with the pit crew mixing up the tyres of Russell and Bottas. Very un Mercedes like!
  • This disaster made a Mercedes 1-2 finish impossible and with the drama that unrolled Bottas was P4 and Russell was P5, After the restart Russell did a brilliant move on Bottas which the fans absolutely loved and was on the hunt for the win.Russell was upto P2 while he was said to pit again due to a slow puncture on his left rear. This stop made him drop out of the points.
  • This made way for Sergio Perez who was last at the end of Lap 1 on to his first win in F1 which after a brilliant effort he got, with Esteban Ocon taking his first podium at P2 and Lance Stroll finishing P3
  • Russell finished P9 with the fastest lap and driver of the day and earned his first points in F1 which could have been a first win for him.
  • Coming on to the Abu Dhabi GP the coming week it was still unsure if Lewis Hamilton was going to race the final race of the season. But on friday it was confirmed Lewis  will be racing at Abu dhabi.
  • Russell was back in the Williams while Mick Schumacher debuted his first F1 practice session with Hass.
  • Mercedes seemed to struggle a bit at the track while Verstappen was fastest in all the sessions and taking his 3rd pole in his career in qualifying.
  • The race was quite boring to watch as there was not much track action happening due to the layout of the track which makes following the cars really difficult. But there were some moves done in the mid feild 
  • Max Verstappen won the race with Bottas and Hamilton finishing P2 and P3.
  • Max Verstappen was on to get a Grand Slam (Pole Position, Race win, Fastest Lap, Lead every lap of the race) which would make him the youngest to do so, But on the last lap his former teammate Riccardo took the fastest lap.
  • What’s interesting is Riccardo was also the person who sabotaged Verstappen being the youngest pole sitter
  • Mclaren was P3 in the constructors championship which was a really tight battle between Renult and Racing point.
  • Sergio Perez was announced as the new teammate of Verstappen at Redbull with Albon being demoted as the Reserve driver for the team.
  • Yuki Tsunoda was announced as the second driver of Alpha Tuari. We now have a Japanese F1 driver since 2014
  • Lewis Hamilton is sey to be Knighted by the Queen of England on new years eve. But the knight still has a contract to be signed with Mercedes where there is rumored to be some irregularities in the clauses.
  • Nikita Mazepin is probably the most hated driver on the 2021 grid with his actions that were posted on his social media and was taken down very soon as the fans started to rage.
  • Australian GP is planned to be the Season opener in 2021. 
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The Sports Express – November

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Cricket

  • The Lankan Premier League finally got up and running and has served up some truly excellent cricket so far with the very first games between Kandy Tuskers and Colombo Kings going all the way to a super over. Jaffna Stallions led by Thisara Perera and his blistering form are unbeaten at the top after 3 games, with Dasun Shanaka’s Dambulla Viking and Colombo Kings in hot pursuit. In a rain-curtailed 5 over game Andre Russel blasted a 16 delivery half-century, while other standout performances include wonderful knocks from Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Isuru Udana, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Shahid Afridi, Thisara Perera and Danushka Gunathilaka. The highest wicket-taker so far is Asela Gunaratne of the Kandy Tuskers.
  • The Women’s Big Bash League ended in a victory for Sydney Thunder, defeating Melbourne Stars by 7 wickets in the final. Sophie Devine won the player of the series for the second consecutive season while Shabin Ismail was the player of the final.
  • India’s tour of Australia got off to a poor start with a 2-1 loss in the ODI series. Steven Smith was the star of the show, scoring consecutive 62 ball hundreds.
  • England whitewashed South Africa 3-0 in the T20I series, with David Malan scoring an unbeaten 99 in the series finale
  • New Zealand defeated Windies 2-0 in the T20I series between the two teams
  • The Pakistan Super League was won by the Karachi Kings after defeating Lahore Qalanders in the final. The player of the final was well as the series went to Pakistan’s new all-format captain, Babar Azam.

Football

  • Argentine footballing legend, Diego Armando Maradona died at the age of 60 after suffering a sudden heart attack. Commonly regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Maradona led Argentina to victory at the 1986 FIFA World Cup, scoring a brilliant goal against England in the quarterfinals. At the club level, he was known for his exploits with Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli. On the weekend both Barcelona and Napoli showed respect for Maradona during their goal celebrations, with Messi unveiling a Newell’s Old Boys shirt, a club which Maradona played for at the end of his career. He will be fondly remembered for his exploits on the football pitch.
  • The UEFA Champions League neared the end of its group stages with a couple of groups having all teams in contention. 13 time champions Real Madrid suffered a second surprise loss to Shakhtar Donetsk leaving them under pressure going into the final game of the group stage. Braut Erling-Haaland of Borussia Dortmund became the fastest player to reach 15 Champions League goals, achieving the milestone in just 12 games.
  • The UEFA Nations League took place during the international break with Belgium, Italy, France and Spain progressing to the 4 nation finals. Meanwhile, Scotland qualified for Euro 2020, their first major tournament since 1998 while North Macedonia qualified for their very first major international tournament. Euro 2020 ( not 2021), will take place across several European Stadiums in the summer of 2021
  • Tottenham Hotspur under Jose Mourinho moved to the top of the Premier League table after an excellent month where they beat Manchester City and drew against Chelsea. Defending champions Liverpool remain in hot pursuit, on equal points with Tottenham while Chelsea and Leicester City take up the remaining Champions League places.
  • Real Sociedad maintained their surprise lead in the La Liga Table, with 3 wins and a draw in the month of October. Atletico Madrid remain one point behind, but with 2 games in hand while usual suspects Real Madrid and Barcelona are yet to find their best form with Real Madrid losing to Alaves over the weekend while Barcelona were also beaten by Atletico Madrid during the month
  • Business as usual in the Bundesliga as Bayern Munich maintained their lead in the table, 2 points above RB Leipzig. Der Klassiker, the rivalry between Bayern and Dortmund ended in a 3-2 victory for Munich, consolidating their lead at the top.
  • AC Milan maintained their unbeaten start in Serie A, buoyed by the goals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic who unfortunately was injured in their win against Napoli. Inter Milan and Juventus as well as surprise package Sassuolo take up the rest of the top 4

Rugby

  • The 2020 Six Nations Rugby Championship commenced after the initial postponement due to the pandemic with England emerging as champions following a victory against Italy.
  • Argentina defeated New Zealand for the very first time in their history with a 15-25 win in the Tri-Nations tournament in Sydney

F1 

  • November F1 weekend kicked off after a week’s break from the last race in Imola.
  • It was yet another return to an iconic race track, it was none other than Turkey. This track has given us a lot of exciting races and just 3 drivers of the current grid have raced in F1 when they were last here.
  •  Max Verstappen was so confident coming into the weekend where he said in a podcast that he can take the magnificent double apex turn 8 in full throttle and with his eye closed.
  • But from FP1 it was obvious that it was not gonna happen as the track had been resurfaced and drivers often referring to it to be smooth as a baby’s bottom. It was a very slippery track indeed.
  • The Turkish GP was the first time this season where the dominant team was genuinely struggling and did not secure a pole position for the first time this season.
  • But yet a Mercedes powered Racing point (Some Say its the copy of last years Mercedes) of Lance Stroll secured pole from the weekend dominating Max Verstappen who would have been gutted to not get Pole and secured P2 while Sergio Perez got P3
  • Despite leading the race for the most of the first part of the rainy race Lance Stroll had damage on his car and a wrong strategy call made him lose the lead. Sebastian Vettel got a superb start while Bottas and Ocon spinned into Turn 1 at the start.
  • With a lot of spins on track and varying track conditions, drivers had to improvise. What most drivers did was use the softer intermediate tyres and wear out the tread to make it a tyre good for the wet and the dry. 
  • With all this happening Lewis Hamilton drove a Championship worthy drive till the end and Won the Turkish GP along with securing his 7th world title Equaling him to the record held by Michale Schumacher.
  • Sergio Perez Secured P2 while Sebastian Vettel finished in P3. These 3 drivers were the only 3 drivers to have raced in F1 the last time F1 was in Turkey.
  •  After another week of a break F1 is in the middle east for the final 3 back to back races including the season finale.
  • First race of the final triple header was in Bahrain.
  • The race was filled with one very big incident at the exit turn 3 on lap 1 where fans were in shock when the car of Romain Grosjean went into the barrier and went up in flames instantly.
  • Thanks to the FIA and F1 for increasing the safety of the modern day F1 car, the driver only suffered 2nd degree burns on the back of his hands despite his car breaking into two and him being in a raging fire for more than 20s before jumping out to safety.
  • This incident also meant that any argument on the Halo will no longer be spoken of as if it hadn’t been there the outcome would have been very bad.
  • After a 90 minute delay they restarted only to have the safety car deployed since Lance Stroll was hanging upside down after having contact with Kyvat.
  • Despite the incidents in the opening stages the race continued with much excitement in the mid field, with multiple strategies being used in the high degradation circuit and at the closing stages the Podium finishes seemed to be settled.
  • Perez was in P3 at the closing stages but  with just a few laps to go his MGU-H gave up and burst into flames which ended his race.
  • Lewis Hamilton collected his 95th win with Max Verstappen P2 and Alex Albon P3. The first time Redbull had a Double podium finish since the 2017 Japanese GP.
  • The final 2 races of the season will be held at the outer ring of the Bahrain circuit where lap times will be under a minute and the Season closer in Abu Dhabi.
  • On the 30th of November, the day after the Bahrain GP, the 2020 world champion Lewis Hamilton was tested Positive for Covid-19, which will now make the Battle for 4th in the drivers standing and 3rd for the Constructor Championship very interesting and there is a lot of speculation on who the replacement will be.
  • Will it be Hulkenburg? Will it be Vandoorne? Will it be Russell? Wait for the 2020 December edition of the sports express to find out!

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The Sports Express – October

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Cricket

  • The Indian Premier League group stages concluded on the 3rd of November, with Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils taking up the top 2 spots on the table with Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad taking up the remaining playoff spots. The past month saw a lot of unforgettable moments including Shikhar Dhawan becoming the very first batsman to score back-to-back IPL centuries, a wonderful century by Ben Stokes and a Chris Gayle 99. However, the most memorable day of the group stage came on the 18th of October when Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkatta Knight Riders went to a super over with KKR emerging victorious. This was tipped by the next match which saw not one but two super overs with Kings XI Punjab finally emerging victorious over the Mumbai Indians helped by an acrobatic Mayank Agarwal effort on the boundary.
  • The draft for the inaugural Lankan Premier League took place online with several local and foreign players up for grabs. Although the draft had its fair share of hiccups the squads were finalized with some notable picks being Chris Gayle for the Kandy Tuskers, Shahid Afridi for the Galle Gladiators, David Miller to the Dambulla Hawks. Unfortunately, the announcement of the England tour of South Africa caused Faf Du Plessis and David Malan to pull out of the tournament. However, the franchises are optimistic about finding quality replacements. The tournament is scheduled to start on the 21st of November
  • The Women’s Big Bash League and the Sheffield Shield signalled the beginning of domestic cricket in Australia, with all the Sheffield Shield matches being played in a hub in Adelaide and the WBBL being played entirely in Sydney. During the second round of the Sheffield Shield Marcus Harris and Will Pucovski broke the record for the highest partnership in the history of the competition putting on 486 runs for Victoria against South Australia, breaking the 30 year old record of the Waugh Twins for New South Wales against Western Australia.

Football

  • The English Premier League ended the month with defending champions Liverpool returning to the top of the table following consecutive defeats to Everton and Aston Villa, both of whom had won their first 4 games. Leicester City and a Tottenham Hotspur buoyed by  rampant Harry Kane and Heung Ming Son follow closely with Manchester City yet to discover their best form
  • Real Sociedad took a surprise  early lead in La Liga with Real Madrid close behind. Barcelona are struggling in 12th place, following no wins in their previous 4 matches.
  • Inter Milan with a brilliant Zlatan Ibrahimovic got off to a strong start in Serie A, with defending champions Juventus still finding their groove under new manager Andrea Pirlo.
  • Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund share top spot in the Bundesliga table with RB Leipzig following close behind
  • The Champions League returned with Bayern Munich getting off their title defence with 2 consecutive wins. Other notable results included Real Madrid getting shocked by Shakhtar Donetsk and Barcelona beating Juventus missing Cristiano Ronaldo due to his Covid-19 diagnosis.
  • Deeply unpopular Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his entire board resigned from their positions with an interim board being appointed to run the club until elections to select a new president can be held.

Tennis

  • Rafael Nadal continued his dominance at the French Open, winning the title for the 13th time out of 15, demolishing world number 1 Novak Djokovic in straight sets in the finals. This title took Nadal to the top of the ladder of most Grand Slam victories in Men’s Tennis, equalling Roger Federer on 20 titles.
  • Iga Swiatek became the first Polish player and the youngest woman since Monica Seles in 1992, to win a grand slam title with her victory at the French Open following a victory in the final against Sofia Kenin. 

Cycling

  • Tao Geoghegan Hart won the Giro d’Italia, one of the 3 grand tours following a thrilling time-trial final stage which he entered tied at the top alongside Jai Hindley. This was his first grand tour title 

F1

  • It was all returns this month with F1 returning to some old locations
  • F1 returned to Germany, and it returned back to the iconic track of the country in the greens, the iconic track of Nurburgring. It’s been 9 years since the last time F1 raced on the track.
  • The Eifel GP was the first time we saw a Mercedes retire the car in the entire season. Even if Bottas didn’t have his luck on the track Lewis Hamilton equalled the all-time record for the most race wins in F1. Which was held on by the all-time great Michael Schumacher. He was Followed by Max Verstappen and in a very long time the Smiling man Daniel Riccardo 
  • The Australian had a bet going on with his Team Principal, That if he gets a podium this season his boss will get a tattoo and we were assured the tattoo will be coming.  
  • With Lewis Hamilton equalling the record, He was presented with a race helmet of Michael by his son Mick Schumacher which is now considered an iconic moment in F1. 
  • F1 also returned to Portuguese 1996 and the first time at Portimão Circuit. Lewis Hamilton now holds the record for the most wins in a season. He was accompanied by his teammate and the Redbull driver of Max Verstappen on the podium.
  • With the Portuguese GP, Mercedes were set to win their 7th consecutive Constructors Championship where just one car had to finish the race in 4th.
  • The next race was held in the historic circuit of Imola. This was the circuit that claimed the lives of  Aryton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger in the 1994 San Marino GP.
  • The Emilia Romagna GP had a special weekend format of just 3 days rather than the usual two. Where Friday was media day, Saturday was practice (1.30 hrs) and qualifying and Sunday as race day.
  • This weekend format was an experiment to see if it could be done in the future where the FIA is planning to do 25 races a year.
  • While Valtteri Bottas was successful in grabbing pole from his teammate and got to lead the first stint of the race, with Hamilton switching strategies and being lucky with a VSC Lewis Hamilton collected his 93rd win in his F1 career.  While Valtteri Bottas could make it a 1-2 finish for Mercedes, Daniel Riccardo got his second podium of the season 2nd Podium in 2 races and he did not forget to do his iconic ritual the Shoey where Lewis Hamilton joined in which was a surprise.
  • Even though the Australian got lucky with Max Verstappen retiring from the race after a tyre failure he had to work hard to keep his place as Danil Kyvat was Hot on his tail at the closing stages. With many happy scenes in the paddock, one moment left all the fans heartbroken as George Russell was on set to get his first points in F1 but he went off to a wall behind the safety car trying to warm up his tyres. 
  • With Mercedes getting a 1-2 finish they are now mathematically  Double World Champions. Winning their 7th consecutive Double World Championships and Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas the only drivers able to win the Drivers Championship.  
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The Sports Express – September

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Cricket

  • The Indian Premier League started on the 19th of September with all matches being played in 3 stadiums in the UAE; Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah in front of no crowds. Delhi Capitals, Royal Challengers Bengaluru and Mumbai Indians got off to strong starts with the early matches having notable performances including KL Rahul’s 132 runs off just 69 deliveries for Kings XI Punjab against RCB, Rahul Tewatia’s unforgettable cameo including 5 sixes off one Sheldon Cottrell over propelling Rajasthan Royals to a record-breaking run chase against Kings XI Punjab as well as the emergence of young players such as Devdut Padikkal, Priyam Garg, Shubman Gill and Sam Curran.
  • The Sri Lanka- Bangladesh 3 test match series that was scheduled to be played in October has been indefinitely postponed after the Sri Lanka Cricket Board and the Bangladesh Cricket Board disagreed on quarantine requirements.
  • The Lankan Premier League which was originally scheduled for the 14th of November was pushed back one week to the 21st of November as the original dates did not allow for the Covid-19 quarantine period
  • England and Australia played a T20I and ODI series with the T20I series finishing 2-1 in favour of England while the ODI series was won by Australia by the same margin. The series was memorable for England snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in the 2nd ODI, after strong lower-order performances propelled them to a reasonable total before Australia collapsed from a strong position and a mammoth partnership between Alex Carey and Glenn Maxwell taking Australia to a series victory in the deciding ODI.
  • Essex won the Bob Willis Trophy, the First Class Tournament that replaced the County Championship for this year. Essex drew with Somerset in the 5-day final at Lord’s, winning the championship on account of scoring more runs in the first innings on the back of an Alistair Cook century. This loss means that Somerset’s wait for a domestic First Class trophy continues, with the club not having won the county championship since acquiring first class status in 1895, despite coming close on numerous occasions
  • England Women and West Indies women took part in a 5-match T20I series with England Women running out 5-0 winners with strong performances from Tammy Beaumont, Nat Sciver and Sarah Glenn

Football

  • The Premier League got underway on the 12th of October, with Liverpool emerging 4-3 victors in the opening match against newly-promoted Leeds. After the first 3 weeks, Everton has emerged as a surprisingly strong team buoyed by new signings, especially that of 2014 world cup star, James Rodriguez. Other notable signings included Gareth Bale and Sergio Reguilon arriving at Tottenham Hotspur, Donny Van Der Beek to Manchester United and Thiago Alacantara to Liverpool
  • The 2020/21 La Liga season also got underway. Barcelona were able to keep star player Lionel Messi even after he had expressed a desire to leave the club but was unwilling to enter into a legal battle with the club regarding his contract. Atletico Madrid strengthened their team by the arrival of Luis Suarez. After the month of September, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have all got off to reasonable starts.
  • The 2020/21 Serie A season started with Juventus under new manager, Andrea Pirlo aiming to win their 10th consecutive title. Inter Milan under Antonio Conte will hope to be title challengers along with Napoli.
  • The Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-German and Olympique Marseille, dubbed ‘Le Classique’ for the rivalry between the teams ended in a surprise 1-0 victory to Marseille. The result was marred by an on-field brawl which saw 5 red cards shown, including one for PSG star player, Neymar
  • The 2020/21 UEFA Nations League got underway with defending Champions Portugal getting their title defence underway with a 4-1 victory over Croatia

Cycling

Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia became the youngest winner of the Tour de France since 1904, and the first winner to be on debut since 1983. He achieved this feat by overhauling pre-race favourite and countryman, Primoz Roglic on the time trial on the penultimate day of the race in an incredible performance.

F1

  • The FIA imposed a rule on teams that they can use only one engine mode from the start of qualifying till the end of the race which will be from the Italian GP. 
  • This was done in order to slow the Mercedes team down and close up the Pack.
  • Gasly wins the Italian GP for Alpha Tauri with Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll finishing as 2nd and 3rd respectively.
2020 Italian Grand Prix Top Three Press Conference | GRAND PRIX 247
  • The Tuscan GP was next and it was the 1000th Grand Prix race for Ferrari with Ferrari running a special livery for the race and the iconic safety car also getting a colour change from Silver to Red.
  • It was announced that Sergio Perez will not be racing with Racing Point (Aston Martin from next season) and Sebastian Vettel will be taking his seat.
  • Lewis Hamilton won the Tuscan Gp with Valterri Bottas 2nd and Alex Albon getting 3rd and his first F1 career podium with it.
  • The Tuscan GP was also a race we saw having multiple red flags, with a safety car restart going wrong for the drivers behind the pack and creating a massive crash involving 4 cars. Luckily no one was injured.
  • The last race of the month was the Russian GP. Lewis Hamilton was given 2×5 second penalties for doing practice starts outside the designated area. Which made the race of his teammate a bit easier and since his win on the season opener, Valtteri Bottas collected his 2nd win of the season
  • With the Russian GP, standings were as follows. Lewis Hamilton has a 44 point lead over his teammate and Valtteri Bottas has a 33 Point lead on Max Verstappen. As for the constructor’s standings, Mercedes is very clear of any potential threat from a rival team getting their place on top with a 174 point lead to their closest rival Redbull Racing.
Mick Schumacher to debut at the wheel of a Formula 1 at the Eifel GP - TV6  News
  • As for the rumours Mick Schumacher son of the 7-time world champion Michael Schumacher might be in for a seat at a Ferrari powered car next season, probably in Alfa Romeo.
  • On F1 records, Lewis Hamilton is just 1 race win short of matching the all-time win record of 91 wins currently held by Michael Schumacher.

Tennis

Dominic Them became the first male player born after 1990 to win a grand slam, beating Alexander Zverev in the US Open final. Pre-tournament favourite Novak Djokovic was disqualified in the quarter-finals after hitting a line judge. In the women’s tournament, Naomi Osaka won her 3rd grand slam and 2nd US open title after defeating former world number 1, Victoria Azarenka.

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The Sports Express – August

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Cricket

  • The England vs Pakistan test series took place during the month of August. In the first test match, Pakistan batted first and achieved a first-innings lead of 107, courtesy of a Shan Masood century before collapsing in the second innings and leaving England a chase of 277, which they achieved with 3 wickets left, mainly due to a crucial partnership between Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes. Both the next two matches were rain-affected draws with the 3rd test match notable for Zak Crawley’s epic 267, as well as James Anderson, becoming the 4th bowler overall and the 1st pacer to reach the milestone of 600 test match wickets. England won the series 1-0. Jos Buttler and Mohammed Rizwan were named man of the series
  • The T20I series between the two countries ended in a 1-1 draw as the first match was washed out, the second was won by England before Pakistan won the 3rd match. Mohammed Hafeez was named man of the series.
  • The Lankan Premier League was postponed after Sri Lanka Cricket was unable to get government permission to hold the tournament. Sri Lanka Cricket expects to hold the tournament later in the year.
  • The Caribbean Premier League got underway with all matches being played in Trinidad in only 2 stadiums; The Brian Lara Cricket Academy Stadium and Queen’s Park Oval. All matches would take place behind closed doors. At the end of August, Trinibago Knight Riders remain top of the table, winning all their matches.
  • Thabang Moroe, CEO of Cricket South Africa was fired with immediate effect after being suspended nine months earlier. The South African Cricket administration is facing scrutiny after financial mismanagement as well as recent accounts of black and coloured players recalling unfavourable experiences while playing for the national team
  • Dinesh Chandimal posted the highest score in Sri Lankan domestic cricket history with 354* for Army Sports Club against Saracens Sports Club, breaking the previous record held by Kithruwan Vithanage. Colombo Cricket Club had secured the championship of the Premier League Tier A Tournament at this point. Lahiru Udara of NCC finished as the highest overall run-scorer while Duvindu Tilakaratne of BRC was the highest wicket-taker. Moors Sports Club secured the Plate League
  • India which was scheduled to host the 2021 ICC World Twenty20 tournament retained hosting rights while the 2020 tournament, scheduled to be held in Australia but which was postponed due to the pandemic was pushed to 2022. The ICC Women’s ODI World Cup scheduled to be held in New Zealand in 2021 was also postponed to 2022

Football

  • The UEFA Champions League resumed in the month of August with all matches ( except the round of 16 ties not yet completed ) to be played at neutral venues in Lisbon, Portugal. Atlanta advanced into the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in their history and RB Leipzig made it into the semis for the very first time, both teams eventually getting knocked out by PSG. Bayern Munich became the first time to score 8 goals in a Champions League knockout game, defeating Barcelona 8-2 before beating Lyon in the semi-finals to set up a final against PSG. The final at the Estadio Da Luz was decided by a Kingsley Coman goal as Bayern Munich won the title for the 7th time in their history, winning all their games in the process. Robert Lewandowski finished as the top scorer
  • The defeat to Bayern Munich caused huge consequences at Barcelona, with the coach, Quique Setien as well as the Sporting Director, Eric Abidal being sacked by the club before star player Lionel Messi also expressed his desire to leave the club.
  • The UEFA Europa League also came to an end with all knockout matches from the quarter-finals onwards being played at neutral venues in Germany. Sevilla and Inter Milan defeated Manchester United and Shakhtar Donetsk respectively in the semi-finals. The final was held at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne and Sevilla won 3-2, following a Romelu Lukaku own goal in the 75th minute. Sevilla won the Europa League title for a record 6th time with Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United finishing as the top scorer ( he also scored for Sporting CP in the tournament )
  • Arsenal won the FA Cup for the 14th time, defeating Manchester City 2-1 in the final thanks to a double from Pierre Emerick Aubameyang.  
  • Manchester City had their 2-year ban on playing European Football due to breaching Financial Fair Play(FFP) regulations overturned by the Court of Arbitration of Sport after they found that UEFA had insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold all of the conclusions that resulted in the ban.
  • Ligue 1 became one of the first European football leagues to resume for the 2020/21 season, starting on the 21st of August.
  • Manchester United captain and England international Harry Maguire was arrested while on holiday in Greece after reportedly assaulting police. He was found guilty of repeated bodily harm, attempted bribery, violence against public employees and insult after arrest and given a suspended prison sentence of 21 months which he is appealing against stating that he is innocent of all charges.

Athletics

  • Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda broke the 16 year world record of Kenenisa Bekele in the 5000m, a record which was previously thought to be near unbreakable, He achieved this at the Monaco Diamond League posting a time of 12:35:36, beating the previous record by almost 2 seconds.
  • Karsten Warholm ran the second-fastest 400m hurdles of all time in Stockholm with a time of 46.87 seconds, only behind Kevin Young’s world record of 46.78 set at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

F1

  • The British GP was held in Silverstone where we saw a lot of tyre failures occur at the end of the race with Lewis Hamilton winning the race with just 3 wheels, Max Verstappen 2nd and a very lucky Charles Leclerc in 3rd after Bottas had a tyre failure.  
  • During the British GP, Sergio Perez was tested positive with Covid-19 and had to sit out of 2 races which made the German driver Nico Hulkenburg to race for the Racing point team.
  • The following week the 70th anniversary GP was held at Silverstone again where F1 had their 1st F1 race back in 1950.
  • The tyre supplier Pirelli made the choice to go with softer tyres in spite of the failures in the last GP and it made a very interesting race with people doing 2 and 3 stops to make it to the end.
  • Max Verstappen won the race ahead of the two Mercedes, becoming the first winner of the season who was not in a Mercedes car.
  • Next up was the Spanish GP held at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya where F1 pre-season testing happens in the month of February.
  • Max Verstappen managed to split the two Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton collecting another win.
  • After a week’s rest for F1 after a Tripleheader, F1 came to Belgium on the stunning track of Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. 
  • Lewis Hamilton took another win with his teammate finishing 2nd and Max Verstappen in 3rd.
  • In off-track news, Bottas to stay at Mercedes till 2021 while Lewis Hamilton says it’s not a good time to negotiate such a huge deal.
  • Vettel and Ferrari are not having the greatest time as there seem to be flames between the two parties. 
  • All the teams signed the concord agreement to have equal budgets in developing the car.
  • Williams team was sold to a private investment company but the contract agrees to race with the legendary name
  • FIA put out a new rule banning engine modes and from the Italian GP onwards only one single engine mode should be used from Qualification to the end of the race.
  • F1 announces the final calendar for 2020 with races in Portugal, Turkey and two races in Baharin with the second being on the outer circuit of the track (We will see sub 1 minute laps) with Abu Dhabi being the season finisher for 2020 on December 13th.
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FeaturedISThe Sports Express

The Sports Express – July

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Cricket

  • Live cricket returns with the England vs West Indies series.
  • Ben Stokes becomes England’s 81st test match captain after Joe Root is unavailable for the game due to the birth of his son.
  • West Indies win the first test match to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
  • In the second test match, England fights back through a Ben Stokes century to level the series 1-1.
  • In the series decider, Kemar Roach becomes the first West Indies bowler in 26 years to reach the milestone of 200 test match wickets.
  • Stuart Broad becomes just the 7th bowler in history to reach the milestone of 500 test match wickets after dismissing Kraigg Brathwaite in the second innings.
  • England wins the deciding test match to regain the Wisden trophy with a 2-1 scoreline.
  • The ICC ODI Super League is launched, 1 12-team competition with the top 7 teams gaining direct qualification to the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup. The first series in the league between England and Ireland is starting on the 30th of July.
  • The ICC decides to postpone the 2020 ICC T20 World Cup to 2021.
  • The IPL will be starting on the 19th of September and will be hosted by the UAE.
  • Sri Lanka Cricket announces the launch of the Lankan Premier League, starting on the 28th of August.

Football

  • Real Madrid wins La Liga for the 34th time after defeating Villarreal 2-1.
  • La Liga ends for the season with Real Madrid as the champions. Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla qualify for the Champions League. Villarreal, Real Sociedad and Granada qualify for the Europa League while Leganes, Mallorca and Espanyol are relegated.
  • Liverpool wins the league title for the first time since 1990, and for the very first time in the Premier League era.
  • The Premier League ends with Liverpool as the champions, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea earning Champions League qualification. Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur qualifying for the Europa League while Watford, Norwich and Bournemouth are relegated.
  • PSG win the Coupe de France, defeating St.Etienne 1-0 in the final. However, Kylian Mbappe is injured ruling him out for 3 weeks.
  • Juventus win the Serie A title for the 9th year in a row, defeating Sampdoria 2-0.
  • The Ballon D’Or is cancelled for the year 2020 with no player being awarded the title for the year.
  • Leeds United won promotion to the Premier League for the first time since 2004 with West Bromwich Albion joining them in the top flight.

F1

  • July 5 – 2020 Formula 1 season starts with the Austrian Grand Prix.
  • July 5 – The Austrian GP was held at the Redbull Ring, Valtteri Bottas won from pole position with Charles Leclerc 2nd and the first time podium sitter Lando Norris 3rd.
  • July 13 – The Styrian GP was held at the Redbull Ring. It was the first time ever in F1 history that a Grand Prix was held at the same track twice on the same season. Lewis Hamilton collected his first win of the season in pole position with his teammate and possible main championship rival Valtteri Bottas finishing 2nd with Max Verstappen finishing 3rd.
  • July 19 – The Hungarian GP was held in the Hungaroring in Budapest. The race started with a damp track with Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz getting great off the line starts and the Haas team making a good gamble changing from wet tyres to mediums before the start of the race. The podium positions were, Hamilton 1st, Verstappen 2nd and Bottas 3rd.
  • The US, Mexican and Brazillian GPs have been cancelled.
  • F1 announces 3 races in Italy, F1 returns to the Nurburgring.
  • Fernando Alonso comes back from retirement.

Olympics

  • The Tokyo 2020 Olympics which were scheduled to be held in this month has been postponed to 2021.
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