Sports Roundup — Monday, September 15

Cricket: 

Source: Super Sport

Domingo’s contract extended.

Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat said on Saturday that national coach Russell Domingo’s contract has been extended for another year because they were considering the negative impact that uncertainty could have on World Cup preparations.

Lorgat announced that Domingo and national team manager Mohammed Moosajee had both had their contracts extended to April 2016 by the CSA board, which had met on Friday night.

“We’re very satisfied with the performance of the head coach and manager, in particular during this time of transition with great players retiring over the last couple of years.

“It has been seamless and the board was very impressed by the way the team grew back to No 1 in tests and has migrated up the rankings in ODIs as well,” Lorgat said.

“Our focus is now on the World Cup and the team has progressed very well. We knew their prowess in test cricket, but Russell is building a very competitive team in ODIs as well.

“His contract was due to expire at the end of the World Cup in April 2015, but we wanted to take away that uncertainty.”

Lorgat said negotiations over the contracts of Domingo’s eight management members – Adrian Birrell (assistant), Allan Donald (bowling), Claude Henderson (spin bowling), Paddy Upton (performance), Greg King (conditioning), Riaan Muller (logistics), Brandon Jackson (physiotherapist) and Prasanna Agoram (video analysis) – would now commence.

Domingo’s good fortune in terms of his contract was slightly marred by a shock announcement at Saturday’s AGM by Advocate Vusi Pikoli, chairman of the ethics sub-committee and a former head of the National Prosecuting Authority, that his committee was deeply concerned by the allegations of ball-tampering surrounding the national team.

“The committee wishes to raise its deep concern [at] the recent reports and allegations of ball-tampering.

“The committee takes a very dim view of these reports and wishes to send out a strong message that such behavior cannot be tolerated. Such conduct damages our fragile reputation.

“It’s not about what others do, it’s about our reputation, and we urge our lads to take this matter very seriously,” Pikoli said in his report to the AGM.

Rugby:

Rugby Championship: New Zealand defeat South Africa

New Zealand (6) 14

Try: McCaw

Pens: Cruden (2), Barrett

South Africa (7) 10

Try: Hendricks

Con: Pollard

Drop goal: Pollard

Captain Richie McCaw scored his 25th Test try to help New Zealand to a 14-10 win against South Africa in the Rugby Championship in Wellington.

The All Black open-side crossed in the corner from a reverse pass by Kieran Reid after a clever cross-field kick from fly-half Aaron Cruden.

Cornal Hendricks had earlier put South Africa into the lead, bursting through the defence on 16 minutes for his try.

The All Blacks lead the Springboks and Australia by six points in the table.

Cruden kicked the Kiwis into a deserved 10th minute lead with a penalty that came during a period when the Springboks were unable to get out of their own half.

Rugby Championship table

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points difference

Bonus points

Points

New Zealand

4

3

1

0

54

2

16

South Africa

4

2

0

2

4

2

10

Australia

4

2

1

1

-23

0

10

Argentina

4

0

0

4

-35

3

3

However, South Africa hit back five minutes later when Hendricks went over, with fly-half Handre Pollard converting.

South Africa’s resilient defence kept the home side to just one more Cruden penalty and the Boks led 7-6 at the break.

But McCaw’s 46th-minute try put New Zealand back in front and a penalty from Beauden Barrett after 66 minutes, cancelling out a drop-goal from Pollard, ensured they stayed there.

South Africa relentlessly pressurised the hosts’ try line the final five minutes but Steve Hansen’s side held on to extend their record of 36 consecutive home Test wins, over a five-year period.

New Zealand will meet South Africa again in the return fixture in the final round on 4 October. A bruising encounter saw significant injuries to both New Zealand inside centre Ma’a Nonu and Springboks scrum-half Ruan Pienaar.

Both players could miss could miss the rest of the championship with a suspected broken forearm and a damaged knee respectively.

Springbok’s coach Heyneke Meyer said Pienaar looks set to be out for between six and eight weeks, while Nonu was taken to hospital during the game.

“We’ve got a pretty good idea of Ma’a’s prognosis,” coach Steve Hansen said. “We think it’s probably broken.

“He got sore in his arm and it got worse and the doctor took a look at half-time and said ‘I don’t think you should go back’.”

2014 Rugby Championship

16 August: Australia 12-12 New Zealand, South Africa 13-6 Argentina

13 September: New Zealand 14-10 South Africa, Australia 32-25 Argentina

23 August: New Zealand 51-20 Australia, Argentina 31-33 South Africa

27 September: South Africa v Australia, Argentina v New Zealand

6 September: New Zealand 28-9 Argentina, Australia 24-23 South Africa

4 October: South Africa v New Zealand, Argentina v Australia

Australia claim narrow Argentina win

Australia (14) 32

Tries: Hooper (2), Betham

Con: Foley

Pens: Foley (5)

Argentina (7) 25

Try: Montero, Bosch, Tuculet

Cons: Sanchez (2)

Pens: Sanchez (2)

Australia survived a late rally from Argentina to win their Rugby Championship match 32-25 on the Gold Coast and move into joint second.

Captain Michael Hooper scored a try in each half for the Wallabies and fly-half Bernard Foley kicked 17 points.

Argentina picked up a bonus point, but was unable to record their first win in the competition despite scoring three tries.

Hooper gave Australia the perfect start as he ran in from 22 metres for the opening try in the second minute.

But the Pumas soon found themselves in an unexpected lead, replying with a try of their own within four minutes.

Rugby Championship table

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points difference

Bonus points

Points

New Zealand

4

3

1

0

54

2

16

South Africa

4

2

0

2

4

2

10

Australia

4

2

1

1

-23

0

10

Argentina

4

0

0

4

-35

3

3

Winger Manuel Montero ran through three tackles on the blind side, 10 metres from inside his own half, to stun the hosts.

Foley kicked three penalties to put the Wallabies into a 14-7 lead at half-time and after the interval, Hooper picked up his second try to put his side further ahead.

Capitalising on a loose ball after Israel Folau’s chip kick, the flanker ran in unopposed under the posts.

Peter Betham scored his first Test try on the hour, finishing a smart run and pass from scrum-half Nick Phipps and squeezing over in the corner to seemingly put the game out of reach at 29-13.

Then the momentum shifted as Marcelo Bosch reduced the deficit with a try 16 minutes from time, exploiting a gap out wide.

There was then even more reason to believe the visitors could cause an upset when Tomas Cubelli’s kick through was finished by full-back Joaquim Tuculet.

Foley then kicked a penalty to take Australia seven points clear, but Argentina spurned chances for another try to level the scores in the closing five minutes.

Twice they were penalised five metres from the line, first for a knock-on and for putting the ball in too early at the scrum.

ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division | RESULTS

13

Golden Lions

35 – 33

Western Province

Ellis Park, Johannesburg

13

Griquas

31 – 27

Pumas

GWK Park, Kimberley

13

Free State Cheetahs

30 – 30

Sharks

Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

12

Eastern Province Kings

13 – 28

Blue Bulls

Nelson Mandela Stadium, Port Elizabeth

ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division | LOGS

Pos

Team

P

W

D

L

PF

PA

PD

BPts

Pts

1

Western Province

6

5

0

1

206

114

92

4

24

2

Golden Lions

6

4

0

2

217

148

69

4

20

3

Pumas

6

4

0

2

168

140

28

3

19

4

Sharks

6

3

1

2

154

140

14

2

16

5

Free State Cheetahs

6

2

1

3

154

160

-6

4

14

6

Blue Bulls

6

3

0

3

142

169

-27

2

14

7

Griquas

6

2

0

4

143

179

-36

3

11

8

Eastern Province Kings

6

0

0

6

109

243

-134

1

1

Aviva Premiership | RESULTS

14

London Wasps

20 – 16

Northampton Saints

 

13

Exeter Chiefs

20 – 24

Leicester Tigers

 

13

Bath Rugby

53 – 26

London Welsh

 

13

Gloucester Rugby

34 – 27

Sale Sharks

 

12

Harlequins

0 – 39

Saracens

 

7

London Welsh

0 – 52

Exeter Chiefs

 

6

London Irish

15 – 20

Harlequins

 

6

Leicester Tigers

36 – 17

Newcastle Falcons

 

6

Sale Sharks

20 – 29

Bath Rugby

 

6

Saracens

34 – 28

London Wasps

 

5

Northampton Saints

53 – 6

Gloucester Rugby

Aviva Premiership | LOGS

Pos

Team

P

W

D

L

PF

PA

PD

BPts

Pts

1

Saracens

2

2

0

0

73

28

45

1

9

2

Bath Rugby

2

2

0

0

82

46

36

1

9

3

Leicester Tigers

2

2

0

0

60

37

23

1

9

4

Exeter Chiefs

2

1

0

1

72

24

48

2

6

5

Northampton Saints

2

1

0

1

69

26

43

2

6

6

London Wasps

2

1

0

1

48

50

-2

1

5

7

London Irish

2

1

0

1

35

38

-3

1

5

8

Harlequins

2

1

0

1

20

54

-34

0

4

9

Gloucester Rugby

2

1

0

1

40

80

-40

0

4

10

Sale Sharks

2

0

0

2

47

63

-16

2

2

11

Newcastle Falcons

2

0

0

2

35

56

-21

1

1

12

London Welsh

2

0

0

2

26

105

-79

1

1

Soccer:

Manchester United won for the first time this season as their new-look side tore apart a poor QPR at Old Trafford.

Record signing Angel Di Maria was particularly impressive and settled any early United nerves when his free-kick into the box crept into the far corner.

Ander Herrera drilled in soon after and Wayne Rooney’s sharp finish all but ended the contest before the break.

Juan Mata steered in Di Maria’s shot and loanee Radamel Falcao had a gentle debut as a 67th-minute substitute.

Former Wales international Robbie Savage on BBC Radio 5 live

“On today’s performance it was a Manchester United side people want to come and pay to watch. But defensively, when are they going to be tested? Let’s not forget they have beaten QPR today. Spurs beat them 4-0 and we are not talking about them winning the league. If you ask every United fan in this stadium I think the majority would say that they will not win the league this year.”

Tougher tests than a flimsy QPR side await, but after a dismal season under David Moyes, and a slow start to this campaign under successor Louis van Gaal, United provided their fans with genuine cause for optimism.

United’s last home game – a 2-1 opening-day defeat by Swansea – had finished with a very different mood around Old Trafford and Van Gaal’s starting line-up showed major changes from that loss.

New signings Di Maria, Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo were included from the start with Falcao on the bench.

As well as new personnel, Van Gaal was forced to shift from his favoured 3-5-2 formation to a four-man defence by injuries to Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.

The changes fuelled a buoyant atmosphere among the home fans and QPR proved the perfect opposition for a confidence-building win.

Mata, playing at the attacking tip of a midfield diamond, shot over from 20 yards, before Di Maria gave United a goal cushion to go with the majority of possession.

In the thick of things

Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera made more tackles (8) and completed more passes (77) than he did in any match in the 2013-14 La Liga season for Athletic Bilbao.

The £59.7m signing’s free-kick floated over its intended targets and, with goalkeeper Rob Green standing still in expectation of a touch, bounced inside the far post.

The visitors had rarely ventured beyond the halfway line, but if Jonny Evans had not blocked Matt Phillips’s shot after home keeper David de Gea rushed out to try and halt a rare attack, they could have been level.

As it was, QPR were out of the game soon after.

A scampering run from the increasingly impressive Di Maria drew the attention of two defenders and when Rooney laid the ball into the path of Herrera, the Spaniard drilled a low shot into the bottom corner. The third arrived soon after as the QPR defence stood off their men, allowing Mata and Herrera to exchange passes and Rooney the time to pick his spot inside the near post.

The introduction of Armand Traore improved QPR after the break, but Mata and Rooney’s over-elaboration with the goal at their mercy, and the rueful smiles that followed, summed up the exhibition pace of the second half.

Mata did not have to wait long for another chance – blasting home after Di Maria shanked an ambitious effort into his path.

Falcao was introduced to loud cheers with a little over 20 minutes to go and was only denied a goal by Green’s scrambling recovery save.

The Colombian’s new side should provide him with plenty more chances if they continue in the same vein, while QPR will need to be more determined and ambitious to survive in the top flight.

QPR manager Harry Redknapp:

“United have got a big chance of making the top four.

“They have got some fantastic forward players. For us it will be a tough season but I still think we will be OK.

“One or two of my players are trying to get their fitness.

“Leroy Fer has had two weeks away with Holland and has not played a game.

“He probably has been stood around and used as a cone while the first team play. He lacks fitness.”

Sunday 14 September 2014

16:00

Man Utd

4 – 0

QPR

Old Trafford

 

Saturday 13 September 2014

17:30

Liverpool

0 – 1

Aston Villa

Anfield

15:00

Chelsea

4 – 2

Swansea

Stamford Bridge

15:00

Crystal Palace

0 – 0

Burnley

Selhurst Park

15:00

Southampton

4 – 0

Newcastle

St. Mary’s Stadium

15:00

Stoke

0 – 1

Leicester

Britannia Stadium

15:00

Sunderland

2 – 2

Spurs

Stadium of Light

15:00

West Brom

0 – 2

Everton

The Hawthorns

12:45

Arsenal

2 – 2

Man City

Emirates Stadium

English Barclays Premier League | LOGS

 

 

Team

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

GD

Pos

1

Chelsea

4

4

0

0

15

6

9

12

2

Aston Villa

4

3

1

0

4

1

3

10

3

Swansea City

4

3

0

1

8

5

3

9

4

Southampton

4

2

1

1

8

3

5

7

5

Manchester City

4

2

1

1

7

4

3

7

6

Tottenham Hotspur

4

2

1

1

7

5

2

7

7

Arsenal

4

1

3

0

7

6

1

6

8

Liverpool

4

2

0

2

6

5

1

6

9

Manchester United

4

1

2

1

6

3

3

5

10

Everton

4

1

2

1

9

10

-1

5

11

Leicester City

4

1

2

1

4

5

-1

5

12

Hull City

3

1

1

1

3

3

0

4

13

Stoke City

4

1

1

2

2

3

-1

4

14

Sunderland

4

0

3

1

5

6

-1

3

15

West Ham United

3

1

0

2

4

5

-1

3

16

Queens Park Rangers

4

1

0

3

1

9

-8

3

17

Crystal Palace

4

0

2

2

5

8

-3

2

18

Burnley

4

0

2

2

1

4

-3

2

19

West Bromwich Albion

4

0

2

2

2

7

-5

2

20

Newcastle United

4

0

2

2

3

9

-6

2

Absa Premiership

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Moroka Swallows 0 – 2 Chippa United

Bloem Celtic 0 – 1 Mamelodi Sundowns

Ajax Cape Town 2 – 1 Free State Stars

Orlando Pirates 1 – 0 Bidvest Wits

SuperSport United 3 – 1 Platinum Stars

Polokwane City 2 – 2 AmaZulu Old Peter

Maritzburg Utd 0 – 0 Black Aces Harry

Kaizer Chiefs 2 – 1 University of Pretoria

Absa Premiership | LOGS

 

Pos

Team

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

GD

Pts

1

Kaizer Chiefs

6

6

0

0

10

2

8

18

2

Ajax Cape Town

6

4

2

0

9

4

5

14

3

Orlando Pirates

6

3

2

1

11

5

6

11

4

Bidvest Wits

6

3

1

2

7

5

2

10

5

Mamelodi Sundowns

6

3

1

2

6

5

1

10

6

Maritzburg Utd

6

2

3

1

7

4

3

9

7

Moroka Swallows

6

3

0

3

7

11

-4

9

8

Free State Stars

6

2

1

3

7

8

-1

7

9

Chippa United

6

2

1

3

6

7

-1

7

10

Platinum Stars

6

2

1

3

5

8

-3

7

11

Bloem Celtic

6

1

3

2

5

5

0

6

12

SuperSport United

6

2

0

4

7

9

-2

6

13

Black Aces

6

1

3

2

4

6

-2

6

14

University of Pretoria

6

1

2

3

4

6

-2

5

15

Polokwane City

6

1

1

4

7

12

-5

4

16

AmaZulu

6

0

3

3

4

9

-5

3

  

Golf:

Greg Norman almost severs hand with chainsaw.

Golf great Greg Norman said he was recovering in a US hospital Sunday after almost cutting off his hand with a chainsaw. Australia’s former world No 1 posted a photo to Instagram of himself lying in a hospital bed with his left arm heavily bandaged.

Norman, 59, issued a warning alongside the photo and suggested he had come close to severing one of his hands. “Working with a chainsaw ALWAYS be respectful of the unexpected. I was one lucky man today. Damaged, but not down & out. Still have left hand,” Norman tweeted. Norman last week posted a photo of himself working with a chainsaw to cut back a small tree at what appears to be one of his seaside properties.

Norman had one of the most high-profile careers in golf, winning two British Opens and reigning as world No 1 for 331 weeks in the 1980s and 1990s.

KLM Open | LEADERBOARD

Pos

Player

Score

Thru

Today

Rnd1

Rnd2

Rnd3

Rnd4

Tot

1

Paul Casey

-14

F

-4

68

70

62

66

266

2

Simon Dyson

-13

F

-5

70

66

66

65

267

3

Andy Sullivan

-12

F

-3

67

68

66

67

268

4

Eddie Pepperell

-11

F

-4

69

68

66

66

269

5

Pablo Larrazábal

-10

F

-5

68

62

75

65

270

5

Joost Luiten

-10

F

-2

65

70

67

68

270

5

Johan Carlsson

-10

F

-7

70

67

70

63

270

5

Romain Wattel

-10

F

+4

67

65

64

74

270

9

Oliver Fisher

-9

F

-5

70

66

70

65

271

9

Richie Ramsay

-9

F

+2

69

65

65

72

271

11

Robert-Jan Derksen

-8

F

-4

71

67

68

66

272

11

Raphaël Jacquelin

-8

F

-5

71

68

68

65

272

11

Edoardo Molinari

-8

F

-1

66

66

71

69

272

11

Mikko Ilonen

-8

F

-3

69

66

70

67

272

11

Paul Waring

-8

F

-3

69

71

65

67

272

11

Jbe Kruger

-8

F

-4

73

63

70

66

272

11

Tyrrell Hatton

-8

F

-5

68

67

72

65

272

11

Brooks Koepka

-8

F

-3

69

66

70

67

272

TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola | LEADERBOARD 

Pos

Player

Score

Thru

Today

Rnd1

Rnd2

Rnd3

Rnd4

Tot

1

Billy Horschel

-11

F

-2

66

66

69

68

269

2

Jim Furyk

-8

F

-1

67

69

67

69

272

2

Rory McIlroy

-8

F

+1

69

65

67

71

272

4

Chris Kirk

-7

F

-2

66

68

71

68

273

4

Justin Rose

-7

F

-1

72

66

66

69

273

4

Jason Day

-7

F

-1

67

67

70

69

273

7

Ryan Palmer

-6

F

-1

69

67

69

69

274

8

Rickie Fowler

-5

F

+1

69

68

67

71

275

9

Gary Woodland

-4

F

-3

71

75

63

67

276

9

Sergio Garcia

-4

F

-4

69

71

70

66

276

9

Adam Scott

-4

F

E

69

72

65

70

276

12

Russell Henley

-3

F

+2

70

68

67

72

277

13

Matt Kuchar

-2

F

E

68

71

69

70

278

14

Bubba Watson

E

F

+3

67

73

67

73

280

15

Cameron Tringale

+1

F

+1

68

68

74

71

281

16

Bill Haas

+2

F

E

68

71

73

70

282

17

Brendon Todd

+3

F

-4

70

75

72

66

283

17

Jimmy Walker

+3

F

+2

73

69

69

72

283

19

Patrick Reed

+4

F

-1

67

74

74

69

284

19

Kevin Na

+4

F

+3

70

66

75

73

284

 

Motorsport:

Italian joy as Rossi wins at Misano.

Valentino Rossi delighted the Italian fans as he won the San Marino MotoGP, handed an easy path to the chequered flag when Marc Marquez fell.

Starting from pole position, Jorge Lorenzo, using the harder option front tyre, led for the opening three laps while Rossi and Marquez traded blows behind him.

The duo stayed in touch with the leader and on lap four Rossi took the position off his teammate at Quercia while corners later Marquez was up into second having out-braked his compatriot.

The leading trio showed incredible pace as they dropped the chasing pack, which had Andrea Iannone, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso fighting over fourth place.

Back at the front, Marquez was closing in on Rossi for the lead only to lose the front end of his RC213V through Turn 4.

Having a difficult time restarting his Honda, he eventually rejoined the race but at the very back of the field and over a minute down on race leader Rossi.

Maintaining an advantage of just over two seconds ahead of his teammate, Rossi raced to an untroubled victory at the San Marino GP, which actually takes place on a track in Italy, the Misano circuit. It was the Italian’s first victory of the season, his first in more than a year, the 107th of his grand prix career and, although he remained third in the standings, he is now just one point behind Pedrosa.

Lorenzo, who had no answer to his teammate’s pace, finished second while Pedrosa was third.

Honda’s Spanish rider was pushed all the way to the chequered flag by Dovizioso but in the end just had that extra bit of pace needed to grab the final podium position.

Iannone was fifth ahead of Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith and Alvaro Bautista. Aleix Espargaro had been eighth at the start of the final lap only for the Open class rider to crash his Forward Racing Yamaha.

Marquez finished 15th, scoring a single point.

RESULT

01 Valentino ROSSI Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 44’14.586  02 Jorge LORENZO Movistar Yamaha MotoGP +1.578  03 Dani PEDROSA Repsol Honda Team +4.276  04 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team +5.510  05 Andrea IANNONE Pramac Racing +11.771  06 Pol ESPARGARO Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +18.999  07 Bradley SMITH Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +23.100  08 Alvaro BAUTISTA GO&FUN Honda Gresini +36.458  09 Cal CRUTCHLOW Ducati Team +38.480  10 Yonny HERNANDEZ Energy T.I. Pramac Racing +45.878  11 Karel ABRAHAM Cardion AB Motoracing +54.765  12 Hiroshi AOYAMA Drive M7 Aspar +56.775  13 Scott REDDING GO&FUN Honda Gresini +1’02.734  14 Alex DE ANGELIS NGM Forward Racing +1’13.546  15 Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team +1’15.948  16 Leon CAMIER Drive M7 Aspar +1’20.760  17 Michael LAVERTY Paul Bird Motorsport +1’26.422  18 Broc PARKES Paul Bird Motorsport +1 Lap  19 Hector BARBERA Avintia Racing +1 Lap Not Classified Aleix ESPARGARO NGM Forward Racing +1 Lap Stefan BRADL LCR Honda MotoGP +22 Laps Danilo PETRUCCI Octo IodaRacing Team +27 Laps

F1: Ferrari must hold on to Alonso, but could lose Raikkonen.

Ferrari team boss Marco Mattiacci has a lot on his plate as he seeks to turn the team around but one task overshadows all others.

Mattiacci has to find a way to convince Fernando Alonso to stay, because it has become abundantly apparent just how bad Ferrari would have looked in the last few years without him. Despite all their efforts, Ferrari seems unable to get closer to the ultimate pace. In fact, the car’s performance has got further and further away since Alonso joined in 2010. And now they are way beyond the point at which even Alonso can hide Ferrari’s shortcomings and keep up a title challenge – as he did against the odds in 2012.

They look pretty bad already, even with Alonso carrying Ferrari on his back for the last few years.

Just imagine how they would look if he cannot be convinced that Ferrari will sort themselves out before the opposition, and he decides to accept the effectively open chequebook he has been offered by McLaren-Honda, for example.

And if Ferrari lost the drive and determination of Alonso, that could only destabilise the team further.

Ferrari results since 2010

Driver 1

Driver 2

Constructor

*After 13 races

2010

Fernando Alonso – finished 2nd

Felipe Massa – finished 6th

3rd

2011

Fernando Alonso – finished 4th

Felipe Massa – finished 6th

3rd

2012

Fernando Alonso – finished 2nd

Felipe Massa – finished 7th

2nd

2013

Fernando Alonso – finished 2nd

Felipe Massa – finished 8th

3rd

2014

Fernando Alonso – currently 5th*

Kimi Raikkonen – currently 10th*

4th*

However many northern Europeans work there, Ferrari is still a southern European team in character. It runs with flourish and passion, and Alonso gives them that. They know that and they love that side of him, even if he probably needles them at times because he is so demanding.

In some ways, Alonso has probably lengthened the time it took Ferrari to realise how bad they were, by dragging them to fight for world titles and giving them results they did not deserve. But there is no doubt any more. Over the season so far, Ferrari are 0.2 seconds per kilometre slower than the Mercedes. So on a typical 5km track, Ferrari will be a second off the pace. To qualify seventh and 12th at their home grand prix in Italy last weekend and finish ninth with the only car that got to the end – Kimi Raikkonen’s – is clearly not good enough.

Earlier this week, Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo paid the price for the team’s lack of performance.

For Alonso, this is a very unsettling period. Di Montezemolo, with whom he had a difficult relationship, is out. There is a new team principal in Mattiacci. The engine boss, Luca Marmorini, was sacked in the summer.

That sounds like turmoil.

Ferrari’s current situation reminds me of the early 1990s. Back then, with a succession of Fiat managers in charge, they were nowhere.

Remaining Races

Venue

Date

Points for winner

Singapore Grand Prix

19-21 September

25

Japanese Grand Prix (Suzuka)

3-5 October

25

Russian Grand Prix (Sochi)

10-12 October

25

United States Grand Prix (Austin)

31 October-2 November

25

Brazilian Grand Prix (Sao Paulo)

7-9 November

25

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Yas Marina)

21-23 November

50

They fired Alain Prost at the end of 1991 – an incredibly bad decision. And 1992, 1993 and 1994 were dreadful years.

The slide was only stopped when first Jean Todt came on board as team boss, then Michael Schumacher, Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne, and they built the team into a dominant force over a number of years. It took that group of very strong individuals to get Ferrari on to an even keel, and now they have gone the team have slipped inexorably backwards. But Di Montezemolo’s departure gives them a chance to start again with a new approach. That can’t be a bad thing, because there has clearly been something fundamentally wrong with the team with Di Montezemolo in overall charge.

How bad is Ferrari?

The timing data from the Italian Grand Prix underlined Ferrari’s lack of competitiveness.

They were 3km/h down on top speed at the end of the pit straight relative to Mercedes. They were on average 2km/h down at the speed traps at the end of each sector.

The Ferrari engine’s lack of power and driveability is well known, but things looked just as bad on the car front.

The middle sector of the lap is the one with most of the corners – the second chicane and both Lesmos and then the run down to the Ascari chicane. And that was their least competitive sector – they were 0.65secs off the pace.

Light at the end of the tunnel?

The foundations for recovery are there, though.

In Alonso, they have the Schumacher. In Allison they have a very highly regarded design leader, the Byrne figure, with elements of Brawn thrown in as well. The question is whether Mattiacci can emulate Todt and hold it all together.

Mattacci is very new and has to be given time to prove himself.

He is highly regarded within parent company Fiat, and he has already made it clear that he knows it’s not a case of Ferrari being close and just needing a few little tweaks here and there. There is a rebuilding job to do for the future.

I am interested to see if he can use his experience in other industries to turn the fortunes of the scarlet cars around in the same way Flavio Briatore did with Benetton in the early ’90s.

Should Ferrari ditch Raikkonen?

Every area needs to be looked at and I would be questioning Raikkonen’s position.

Felipe Massa was ousted last season because he was not measuring up, and Raikkonen is doing no better than him compared to Alonso, who admittedly is about as tough a team-mate as you could have.

In signing Kimi Raikkonen for this season, I thought they had given themselves the best possible line-up.

I thought they would, if they had a half-decent car, win the constructors’ championship and that one of them, whoever turned out best, would have a good chance of the drivers’ title.

How wrong can you be?

Alonso’s average qualifying position this year is seventh; Raikkonen’s is 10th. The only times Raikkonen has finished ahead in a race was in Spa, when Alonso was delayed with a penalty, and Monza, when Alonso retired with an engine problem.

While it’s clear Raikkonen has not been happy with the way the car behaves this year and should be given some time to sort himself out, there are some fantastic young drivers emerging who are putting pressure on that situation. Sergio Perez has been doing a terrific job for Force India recently, putting the highly regarded Nico Hulkenberg in the shade. Perez still has associations with the Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, who is on the board of Philip Morris, which owns Marlboro, which is still Ferrari’s title sponsor. Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo have shone for Williams and Red Bull but they are both under contract and the same goes for Sebastian Vettel, who Ferrari have been interested in for a while and is almost certainly unsettled at the moment, given Ricciardo’s performances this year.

But I would also be looking elsewhere, even if that meant having to pay Raikkonen off for a second time, as they did at the end of 2009 to make way for Alonso.

Jules Bianchi continues to impress for Marussia and he’s a member of the Ferrari driver programme, so there would be no contractual issues. Raikkonen has already said this year that he will probably retire from F1 when his current contract expires – it lasts until the end of next year with an option for 2016. So you have to ask how committed he is to next year, if he is already coming out with remarks like that.

If I was running Ferrari, I would want more results out of Raikkonen before the end of the year or I would be looking at the options.

 

Tennis:

France will host Swiss in Cup final.

France will host Switzerland in the Davis Cup final in November after Roger Federer gave the Swiss the winning point against Italy in Geneva on Sunday.

Federer reached the first Davis Cup final of his career with a comfortable 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) win over Fabio Fognini in the first of the semifinal’s reverse singles. That made it 3-1 for the Swiss thus ensuring they would contest the final of the annual team event for the first time since 1992 when they lost to the United States.

Andreas Seppi edged Michael Lammer 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in the remaining dead rubber to make the final score 3-2. France made sure of playing in the final for the first time since 2010 on Saturday when their doubles team of Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated Czechs Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek in four sets.

The final will be played in France from November 21-23, with the northern city of Lille being touted as the likely host. The last time the two countries met in a Davis Cup tie was in the 2004 quarterfinals when the Swiss won 3-2 at home.

“The most classical match-ups I’ve had have come against France so I’m happy,” said Federer. “We’ve had some great ties here in Switzerland so we’re very pleased to be in the finals and we’ll see how it’s going to go.”

“It’s nice sharing emotions with your fans and your loved ones. You have to fight with what you’ve got and I’m happy I was able to make a difference.” Seeking a Davis Cup title to go with his all-time record of 17 Grand Slam victories, Federer had given the Swiss the opening point of the tie with a straight sets win over Simone Bolleli and he started as a strong favorite against top Italian Fognini. Games went with serve until 3-2 for Federer in the opener when the Swiss star made the breakthrough and went on to take the set 6-2 in just 24 minutes. The second set also saw Federer edge his way ahead with a break in the eighth game, Fognini furious with himself for netting an attempted smash on break point.

The volatile Italian had his chances in the third set against an increasingly edgy Federer, but squandered three break points in the third game and another break point two games later. He was made to pay the price in the ensuing tie-break which Federer dominated after conceding the first point on his own serve. The Swiss number worked out three match points and he converted the first of those as Fognini netted a forehand drive.

“For the whole of Switzerland it’s great we’re in the finals now. We couldn’t be happier,” said Swiss captain Severin Luthi. “Roger didn’t have that much time to get used to the court and conditions and there is a lot of pressure involved. For me he played again fantastic tennis.”

Over in Paris, the France v Czech Republic tie ended at Roland Garros in a 4-1 win for the French, Jiri Vesely defeating Julien Benneteau 6-4, 6-3 before Gael Monfils beat Lukas Rosol 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 in the two “dead” rubbers.

France last won the Davis Cup in 2001 when they travelled to Australia and won 3-2.

Cycling:

Vuelta a Espana: Alberto Contador beat Chris Froome

Alberto Contador sealed victory in the Vuelta a Espana with a solid performance in the closing time trial stage in Santiago de Compostela.

In wet conditions on Sunday he lost 27 seconds to Briton Chris Froome.

But it was enough for Spaniard Contador to take his third Vuelta title, finishing one minute and 10 seconds ahead of the Team Sky rider overall.

Movistar’s Adriano Malori had the best of Sunday’s weather and won the stage from Jesse Sergent and Rohan Dennis.

Malori clocked 11 minutes and 12 seconds around the 9.7km course to beat New Zealand’s Sergent (Trek Factory Racing) by eight seconds with Australian Dennis (BMC) a further second back.

Tinkoff-Saxo rider Contador had won stage 20 on Saturday to extend his overall lead from Britain’s Froome to one minute and 37 seconds and all but secure the title and add to his wins in 2008 and 2012.

It was an amazing recovery by Contador, 31, who broke his leg less than two months ago in a crash that forced him out of the Tour de France and also by Froome, who broke his hand and wrist in a crash that ended his Tour defence.

“It’s a dream for me to win three Vueltas,” said 31-year-old Contador. “I really was not expecting it.

“These past two months I have had a lot of ups and downs and the support of the fans has been crucial.

“I am extremely pleased and just want to thank the team as without them this win would have been impossible.”

General Classification

1. Alberto Contador (Spa/Tinkoff-Saxo) 81 hours 25 minutes 05 seconds

2. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +1:10″

3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +1:50″

4. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa/Katusha) +3:25″

5. Fabio Aru (Ita/Astana) +4:48″

6. Samuel Sanchez (Spa/BMC Racing) +9:30″

7. Daniel Martin (Ire/Garmin) +10:38″

8. Warren Barguil (Fra/Giant) +11:50″

9. Damiano Caruso (Ita/Cannondale) +12:50″

10. Daniel Navarro (Spa/Cofidis) +13:02″

 

Athletics:

Mokoena breaks SA triple jump record.

Former Olympic long jump silver medalist Khotso Mokoena spearheaded the South African contingent in Marrakech, Morocco, on Sunday, despite settling for second place in the men’s triple jump at the IAAF Continental Cup.

Mokoena, the Commonwealth and African champion, launched a 17.35m attempt in the second round to break his own national record of 17.25m set in April 2005.

The versatile 29-year-old jumper took the silver medal behind Frenchman Benjamin Compaore, the European champion, who leaped 17.48m.

Elsewhere on the final day of competition in Marrakech, Victor Hogan was fourth in the men’s discus throw, falling one centimeter short of the bronze medal.

Hogan’s best effort of 62.69m was less than two meters behind Estonian Gerd Kanter, who won gold with a 64.46m throw in a closely-fought contest.

Rikenette Steenkamp finished fifth in the women’s 100m hurdles, clocking a personal best of 13.16 seconds, while Cheyne Rahme ended sixth in the men’s pole vault with a best height of 5.20m, and Ruan de Vries trailed across the line in eighth place in the men’s 110m hurdles in 14.31 seconds.

Four South African athletes bagged medals at the quadrennial two-day event, making significant contributions to the African team’s points tally.

Cornel Fredericks won the men’s 400m hurdles title in 48.34 seconds on the opening day of competition on Saturday, completing a superb 2014 hat-trick of Commonwealth, African and Continental Cup titles.

Sunette Viljoen pocketed silver in the women’s javelin throw final (63.76m), matching her performance at the previous continental team showpiece in Split, Croatia, four years ago, and Zarck Visser was third (7.96m) in the men’s long jump.

Boxing

Floyd Mayweather remains the WBA and WBC welterweight boxing champion after a unanimous points victory over Marcos Maidana in Las Vegas.

It extends five-weight world champion Mayweather’s unbeaten run to 47 fights.

In just the second rematch of his 18-year career, the 37-year-old American emerged as a comfortable winner on all three judges’ scorecards.

During the eighth round, Mayweather accused Maidana of biting him on the wrist, a charge the Argentine denied.

The incident happened while the pair were in a clinch near the centre of the ring during their feisty encounter.

Floyd Mayweather fact file

Born: 24 February 1977, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Amateur record: 84 wins, six defeats. Three-weight Golden Gloves champion. Bronze medal at 1996 Olympics

Turned professional: 11 October 1996

Professional record: 47 wins (26 KOs), no defeats. Five-weight world champion

Worth: Highest-paid athlete in world in 2012, earning $85m (all from boxing), and 2014, earning $105m (all from boxing)

“We were tangled and I didn’t realise what it was,” said Mayweather. “Then I saw that he bit me. After the eighth round my fingers were numb, I couldn’t use my left hand.”

Two judges scored the 12-round contest 116-111 and the third had it 115-112 for the champion, who was a heavy favourite coming into the bout after winning their first fight by a majority decision in May.

Another flashpoint came when the American tagged the Argentine with a low blow late in the bout then taunted him as he recovered in a neutral corner. “I felt sharper in the first fight, my rhythm was off,” Mayweather said. “I got hit with some shots tonight I shouldn’t have gotten hit with. But that comes with the sport.” Mayweather is reported to have earned $32m (£19.6m) from the fight, taking his career earnings to more than $100m (£61.5m) in the last year alone.

Maidana, 31, who appears unlikely to get a third rematch with Mayweather, left convinced he had done more than enough to win. “I’m very happy to have fought twice against Floyd Mayweather, I think I did a terrific job,” he said. “If the judges like a fighter who runs like Floyd there is nothing I can do about it.

“He’s beatable, you have to attack him. When you attack him, he really doesn’t know what to do.

“He is very fast on his feet I will tell you that.”

 

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