Weekly Digest (April 26-May 2): Star athletes join India’s fight against COVID-19, Old Trafford breached

From top athletes joining India’s fight against the coronavirus to the protests at Old Trafford that led to the postponement of the Manchester United vs Liverpool Premier League fixture, here are the major sporting headlines from the week gone by.

FOOTBALL

Manchester United’s Premier League game against Liverpool has been pushed following the fan protests at Old Trafford. Supporters stormed into the stadium and onto the pitch as thousands of fans gathered outside to demand the Glazer family ownership sells the club. (REPORT)

Long-running anger against the American owners of Manchester United has boiled over after the club was a part of the failed attempt to take the side into a European Super League.   –  AP

 

Inter Milan sealed its first Serie A title in 11 years on Sunday with four games to spare, ending Juventus’ nine-year stranglehold on the league crown. (REPORT)

Ajax Amsterdam was crowned Dutch league champion in emphatic style on Sunday following a 4-0 home thrashing of lowly Emmen which gives it an unassailable lead and extends its record number of domestic championship wins to 35. (REPORT)

Ajax players celebrate after beating FC Emmen on Sunday.   –  AFP

 

Chelsea cruised into the Women’s Champions League final as Pernille Harder’s brilliant glancing header and a late Fran Kirby goal gave the side a 4-1 win and a 5-3 aggregate victory over Bayern Munich in the semifinal. (REPORT) Chelsea will face Barcelona in the title clash, which got the better of Paris St. Germain. (REPORT)

Chelsea’s Pernille Harder (right) celebrates with teammate Ji So-yun after defeating Bayern 5-3 on aggregate to advance to the Women’s Champions League semi-final on Sunday.   –  AP

 

Executives from five of the six English clubs involved in the controversial breakaway European Super League have resigned from their posts. (REPORT)

Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani scored two each as Manchester United took a giant step towards the Europa League final with a 6-2 drubbing of AS Roma in the semifinal first leg. (REPORT) In the other semifinal, Arsenal lost 1-2 at Unai Emery’s Villareal. (REPORT)

Former Germany defender Christoph Metzelder has been issued a 10-month suspended sentence for distributing child pornography. (REPORT)

Real Madrid and Chelsea drew 1-1 in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals on Tuesday, with Christian Pulisic becoming the first American to score in the tournament’s last four. (REPORT)

Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe has sustained a calf injury, raising doubts over his availability for the team’s Champions League semifinal against Manchester City. (REPORT) PSG trails City 2-1 after the first leg in Paris. (REPORT)

Manchester City players celebrate after winning the first leg of the Champions League semifinal against PSG at the Parc des Princes.   –  AFP

 

Former Manchester United footballer and Wales national team manager Ryan Giggs was released on bail after pleading not guilty to charges of assaulting his ex-girlfriend and her sister. (REPORT)

Europe’s most successful women’s football team has hired a woman as its coach for the first time with Lyon’s appointment of Sonia Bompastor to replace Jean-Luc Vasseur. (REPORT)

Barcelona suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat by Granada on Thursday to blow the chance of moving top of La Liga. (REPORT)

UEFA will redistribute 24 million euros ($29 million) to club across Europe when the revamped women’s Champions League kicks off next season, European football’s governing body said. (REPORT)

Bengaluru FC’s AFC Cup play-off match, which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this month, has been rescheduled for May 11. (REPORT)

Lille showed it is a serious contender to win Ligue 1 by beating Nice 2-0 to stay one point ahead of Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday. (REPORT)

CRICKET

Jos Buttler’s maiden T20 hundred powered Rajasthan Royals to a convincing 55-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in an IPL 2021 match at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground in New Delhi on Sunday. (REPORT)

Delhi Capitals’ chase-and-win plan worked well for the sixth time this season and lifted it to the top of the table following a seven-wicket victory against Punjab Kings at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday. (REPORT)

Punjab Kings (PBKS) captain KL Rahul has been admitted to the hospital after complaining of severe abdominal pain on Saturday night. (REPORT)

In one of IPL’s greatest innings, Pollard, 87 n.o. off 34 balls, fired Mumbai Indians, chasing a mammoth 219, to a heart-stopping last-ball four-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings. (REPORT)

Kieron Pollard turned a stiff run chase into a brutal exhibition of power-hitting.   –  BCCI/IPL

 

Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday announced that Kane Williamson will be taking over the captaincy for the remainder of IPL 2021, starting with Sunday’s match against Rajasthan Royals.  (REPORT)

India’s top umpire Nitin Menon has pulled out of the IPL due to personal reasons.  (REPORT)

Amid growing concerns about the viability of the IPL 2021, the COO Hemang Amin has written to all the players and the support assuring them of complete safety inside the bubble.   (REPORT)

Australia and KKR pacer Pat Cummins has contributed 50,000 dollars to the PM Cares Fund in the fight against coronavirus. (REPORT)

Former national chief selector and Rajasthan captain Kishan Rungta succumbed to the coronavirus at a hospital in Jaipur on Saturday. He was 89. (REPORT)

BADMINTON

The Badminton Association of India said it is trying to see if the Indian shuttlers can leave for Malaysia and Singapore via Doha to participate in the last two Olympic qualifiers next month. (REPORT)

Saina Nehwal

Saina Nehwal is currently placed 22nd in the Road to Tokyo rankings. The top 16 shuttlers on the Race to Tokyo list, which will be published on June 15, will earn a direct berth at the Olympics.   –  AP

 

Badminton world number two Viktor Axelsen was forced to withdraw from Sunday’s final of the European Championship in Kiev after testing positive for Covid-19. (REPORT)

Sports Authority of India’s Mission Olympic Cell has approved India’s doubles badminton player Satwiksairaj Rankireddy’s request for sessions with sports psychologist during the 57th MOC meeting. (REPORT)

TABLE TENNIS

”As far as training and travel are concerned, it has not been ideal. But I feel I am in a much better situation than last year’’ – India’s No.1 paddler Sharath Kamal is staying motivated and eager to perform his best in the Tokyo Olympics beginning July 23 despite the pandemic wreaking havoc. (REPORT)

TENNIS

The Wimbledon Championships will become a 14-day tournament from 2022, with matches set to be played on Middle Sunday, traditionally a day off at the grasscourt Grand Slam. (REPORT)

Nikoloz Basilashvili clinched his career’s fifth ATP title as he beat Jan-Lennard Struff to win the Munich Open final. (REPORT)

Nikoloz Basilashvili

Nikoloz Basilashvili did not drop a set in five matches at the Munich Open and now has a 5-2 career record in finals.   –  AP

 

Second-ranked Naomi Osaka was knocked out of the Madrid Open by Karolina Muchova 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in the second round on Sunday. (REPORT)

Roger Federer is putting various items under the hammer in two sales in June and July at Christie’s Auction House in London to raise money for his foundation. (REPORT)

World number one Novak Djokovic will not defend his Madrid Open title next week as he decided against travelling for the ATP Masters 1000 event. (REPORT) Garbine Muguruza also pulled out of the Madrid Open after failing to recover from a leg injury. (REPORT)

The International Tennis Federation has joined the wide-ranging social media boycott by sports’ organisations this weekend in a protest against online abuse. (REPORT)

WRESTLING

After 48 hours of uncertainty, the World Olympic Games Qualifier-bound Indian wrestlers boarded a flight to Sofia, Bulgaria, late on Thursday night. (REPORT)

Star Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia restarted his social media accounts to help people in the COVID crisis. Before the Asian championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in mid-April, Bajrang suspended his social media accounts to focus on the upcoming Olympics.  (REPORT)

SHOOTING

The upcoming ISSF World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan, scheduled to be held just before the Tokyo Olympics, will not take place due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in the host country. (REPORT)

Champion shooter Manu Bhaker received her first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday. (REPORT)

Octogenarian shooter Chandro Tomar, nicknamed ‘Shooter Dadi’, passed away on Friday after battling COVID-19. (REPORT)

HOCKEY

Seven members of the Indian women’s hockey team, including captain Rani Rampal, and two support staff tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. (REPORT)

The Indian men’s hockey team will open its campaign in the third edition of FIH Pro League against New Zealand on February 5, 2022. (REPORT)

India coach Graham Reid and Manpreet Singh (left) are looking forward to compete against the best teams in the world.   –  FILE PHOTO/BISWARANJAN ROUT

 

The Olympic-bound Indian hockey teams received their first dose of coronavirus vaccines in Bengaluru on Thursday. (REPORT)

Indian hockey umpire’s manager Virendra Singh died of COVID-19 related complications on Tuesday. (REPORT)

BOXING

The Asian Boxing Confederation (ASBC) has moved the Asian boxing championships from New Delhi to Dubai due to the worsening pandemic situation in the country. (REPORT)

The World Boxing Council India Championship fight has been postponed due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. (REPORT)

ATHLETICS

The Indian men’s 4x400m and women’s 4x100m teams missed on competing at the World Athletics Relays which began at Silesia, Poland, on May 1. (REPORT)

Tokyo Olympics-bound steeplechaser Avinash Sable has tested positive for COVID-19. (REPORT)

Sprinter Dutee Chand expressed disappointment at missing out on competing in the 4x100m event of the World Athletics Relays in Chorzow (Poland) from May 1 to 2. (REPORT)

M. Sreeshankar hit a wonderful high in March when he broke his own national record with an 8.26m leap at the Federation Cup in Patiala and qualified for the Olympics. He is currently joint third in the world outdoor list but he realises that with every passing week, the odds stacked against him are getting bigger. (REPORT)

Sreeshankar broke his own national record with an 8.26m leap at the Federation Cup in Patiala.   –  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

American runner Blake Leeper has been prevented from competing at the Tokyo Olympics because his two prosthetic legs were ruled as giving him an unfair advantage. (REPORT)

MOTORSPORT

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton won the Portuguese Grand Prix for Mercedes on Sunday to stretch his Formula One lead over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to eight points after three races. (REPORT)

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton stands on the podium with the trophy in hand after winning the Portugal Grand Prix on Sunday.   –  AP

 

Ducati’s Jack Miller edged out teammate Francesco Bagnaia to claim his first MotoGP win in five years at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez on Sunday. (REPORT)

Jack Miller held off Ducati teammate Francesco Bagnaia to take the MotoGP chequered flag for the first time since winning the 2016 Dutch GP.   –  Getty Images

 

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