Beyond that fantastic fight between Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev, the weekend of sport threw up more thrills and spills. From Lionel Messi edging towards yet another record, to Lee Westwood becoming a veteran champ and Patrick Mahomes leading the Chiefs to another title, there was plenty to shout about. But there was pain too among our five sports stories you might have missed…
NEYMAR TAKEN OUT IN BRUTAL TACKLE
A 1-0 loss wasn’t the worst thing to happen to Paris Saint-Germain against Lyon on Sunday as a scything ‘ball-and-all’ challenge by Thiago Mendes resulted in Neymar being stretchered off in tears.
The Brazilian superstar was felled by his compatriot deep into injury time at the Parc des Princes, with his left ankle taking the huge brunt of the challenge. While Mendes was shown the red card, Neymar could be heard crying by the effects microphones as he was helped from the field, and PSG could now be missing their star man for some considerable time.
O’SULLIVAN BEATEN, BUT GAMESMANSHIP QUESTIONED
Ronnie O’Sullivan’s ability to be at the centre of controversy at almost every turn reared its head again on Sunday after the ‘Rocket’ took a fair old beating in the Scottish Open final.
O’Sullivan went down to a 9-3 defeat at the hands of Mark Selby in Milton Keynes – yes, the Scottish Open in England – but the world champion got Selby’s back up by failing to concede frames even when needing multiple snookers.
“He tried to carry on, the ref actually announced that it was a frame to me and said you couldn’t carry on after that,” said Selby of one of the frames. “I’m sure Ronnie would have carried on, he’s been doing that all week when he’s 120 behind on the yellow.”
MESSI MOVES TO WITHIN TWO OF BREAKING PELE’S RECORD
It has been a difficult 2020 for Lionel Messi and Barcelona, but the Argentine’s winner against Levante on Sunday means his annus horribilis could still end on a record-breaking high.
His goal at the Camp Nou was his 642nd in all competitions for Barcelona, taking him to within two goals of beating Pele’s all-time record for a single club. The great Brazilian notched 643 times during his spell with Santos, but Messi now stands on the verge of surpassing that mark which has stood for 46 years.
Barca still have four games to play before the year is out, starting with a home fixture against Real Sociedad on Wednesday.
WESTWOOD WINS RACE TO DUBAI
He didn’t win the season-ending Tour Championship, but it turned out he didn’t have to. Lee Westwood became the oldest winner of the Race to Dubai – formally the European Tour Order of Merit – when he finished second behind Matt Fitzpatrick at the climax in Dubai this weekend.
The 47-year-old needed only to finish second in order to clinch the success and he managed to do exactly that, finishing one shot behind Fitzpatrick despite having needed constant physiotherapy on a troublesome back injury all week. He now has his sights set on an 11th Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits next September.
“I’d love to play the Ryder Cup again obviously. It beats watching!” he told reporters afterwards. “If I qualify for the team then I’m clearly good enough, and that’s the way I’m going to play it.”
MAHOMES’ CHIEFS WIN DIVISION FOR FIFTH STRAIGHT SEASON
They weren’t at their best, but the Kansas City Chiefs still managed to clinch a fifth straight AFC West title on Sunday, as they beat the Miami Dolphins 33-27 to take their record this season to 12-1.
The victory came despite Patrick Mahomes throwing three interceptions – one more than he had thrown in the entire season prior to their trip to Miami. Mahomes still managed to rack up 393 passing yards and throw two touchdown passes though, showing that even on a bad day he can be the most potent quarterback in the game. Nobody would back against him leading the Chiefs to a second straight Super Bowl crown in Inglewood, CA in February.