Cristiano Ronaldo is still brilliant, Mercedes are still untouchable and Manchester City are still FA Cup royalty. The more things change, the more they stay the same as our five stories from this weekend’s sport will tell you…
Covid can’t stop Cristiano
If there were any concerns that Cristiano Ronaldo might struggle to shake off the effects of Covid-19, they were buried within 20 minutes of his return to action as he struck a match-winning double for Juventus.
The Bianconeri were being held 1-1 by Spezia early in the second half when Andrea Pirlo called upon Ronaldo, and within three minutes he had put his side ahead after coolly rounding goalkeeper Ivan Provedel to score. He would later net an audacious Panenka penalty to round out a 4-1 win on the road which took Juve up to third in Serie A, four points behind leaders AC Milan.
Covid might have changed so much of our world in 2020, but there’s no changing Cristiano.
Mercedes’ dominance continues
Lewis Hamilton hasn’t yet wrapped up his seventh world drivers’ championship but his Mercedes team confirmed a seventh straight constructors’ crown thanks to their 1-2 finish in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday.
It was the fifth time this season that Hamilton has won with teammate Valtteri Bottas second, and the pair have finished together on the podium in nine of the 13 races so far in 2020, underlining the complete dominance Mercedes have enjoyed once more.
The only sign of relief for the rest of the field were the post-race comments of Hamilton and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff which suggested there could soon be a break-up of the winning outfit. Wolff has suggested he could move to a new role in the organisation, while Hamilton added, “You mentioned about Toto and shelf life – these are things that stay on the top of my mind. I would like to be here next year but there is no guarantee. A lot excites me in the afterlife. Time will tell.”
Man City retain Women’s FA Cup, and immediately target another
Manchester City have set themselves the challenge of winning two Women’s FA Cups in a single season after retaining their trophy with a 3-1 extra-time victory over Everton on Sunday.
The 2019-20 final, being played midway through the 2020-21 campaign due to Covid, was finely poised going into the closing stages thanks to Valerie Gauvin’s headed equaliser for Everton following Sam Mewis’ opener, but City eventually showed their superiority with extra-time goals by Georgia Stanway and Janine Beckie.
And City boss Gareth Taylor immediately set his side the target of winning the cup again in May, telling reporters afterwards, “We want to achieve big things, we want to make history, and challenge the club to do what may never be done again, which is win the FA Cup twice in one season.”
Steelers come from behind to down Jackson and the Ravens
Ben Roethlisberger overcame 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson in the battle of two of the NFL’s superstar quarterbacks to extend the Pittsburgh Steelers’ fabulous unbeaten start to the 2020-21 season and cement their credentials as potential Super Bowl LV champions.
The Steelers rallied to beat the Baltimore Ravens 28-24 after trailing 17-7 at half-time, taking themselves to a 7-0 record in the AFC North. Following a first half in which Roethlisberger completed just four of 10 passes for a total of 24 yards, everything clicked for the Steelers after the break, with the QB connecting with 16 of 21 second-half pass attempts for 152 yards and two touchdowns.
“I’ve got to give a lot of credit, especially in the second half, to the receivers and tight ends,” Roethlisberger said afterwards. “We literally were just moving guys around and playing backyard football, if you will.”
Darren Clarke back to winning ways nine years on
Forgive us for making it sound like we’ve gone back in time, but Darren Clarke won a golf tournament this weekend.
The one-time Ryder Cup captain had not won a worldwide title since the 2011 Open Championship until he chalked up a one-shot victory over Bernhard Langer and Jim Furyk in this weekend’s TimberTech Championship on the PGA Tour Champions.
The 52-year-old Northern Irishman takes home $2m for the victory on the over-50s tour, showing that there’s still plenty of riches to be collected by golf’s great even after they’ve stepped away from the PGA Tour.
It was a 27th career win for Clarke, who stole the hearts of the golfing world in 2006 when winning three points in three matches in Europe’s Ryder Cup win just six weeks after the death of his wife Heather.