Weekend talking points: FA Cup, Italian Open and Rugby League
Dave Burin | 21 May 2018
From Chelsea’s cup triumph to Nadal’s top spot
It was a weekend of final drama and local derbies across the sporting landscape. In football, there were cup triumphs for Chelsea and Eintracht Frankfurt.
Meanwhile, Spanish veteran Rafael Nadal managed an impressive double-whammy of accolades by winning the Italian Open.
The Coral News Team cover all that and more in a recap of the weekend’s action…
Blues win as United huff and puff to no avail
Despite dominating possession, Manchester United drew another blank as they lost the FA Cup Final 1-0 to Chelsea. Jose Mourinho’s side have finished the season with one goal in their final four games, and rarely looked like scoring at Wembley.
Marcus Rashford looked bereft of confidence, whilst the tireless Alexis Sanchez spent much of the 90 minutes chasing loose ends. Substitute Anthony Martial was thrown on for the last 20 minutes – but far from a fresh addition, looked listless.
On paper, these are three top strikers. But an ordinary-looking Blues side kept them quiet with ease. The doubts continue to grow over Mourinho’s reign.
Rafa back to the top after Rome triumph
Rafael Nadal continued his incredible streak with a record eighth Italian Open crown, beating German Alexander Zverev. In the process, the 31-year-old regained top spot in the WTA rankings ahead of the French Open – which begins next week.
Once again Rafa showed his steel and experience, clawing victory from the jaws of defeat in Rome. The Spaniard found himself 3-1 down in the deciding set, only to pull off a 6-3 set win – and confirm a third clay-court title from four tournaments.
With Nadal so dominant on the clay, Coral’s traders make him 4/9 to win the French Open.
Airlie Birds dominate rivals on Magic Weekend
Super League’s Magic Weekend saw a trio of cracking fixtures in Newcastle – including a Hull derby which could have big ramifications for the season.
It was Hull FC who grabbed a 33-24 win over Hull KR, but it wasn’t without nervy moments for the Airlie Birds. In the end, it was a superb display by two-try Jamie Shaul which made the difference.
The result meant Hull KR are now rock-bottom of Super League, following a vital win for Catalans Dragons (also at Magic Weekend). As for Lee Radford’s men, their derby delight made it back-to-back victories, and leaves them in fourth spot.
Frankfurt stun Bayern before managerial switch
Eintracht Frankfurt’s DFB Pokal Final victory over Bayern Munich is worthy of inclusion as an underdog triumph alone. But the 3-1 win for Die Adler is just one part of a bigger saga.
The man who masterminded that win – boss Niko Kovac – is actually leaving Frankfurt to take over as Bayern manager next season. And the former Croatian international also spent two successful years as a player for the Bavarian giants.
While Frankfurt fans will be sad to lose their manager, for now the focus is all on celebrating the club’s first major trophy since 1988.
Justify within one leg of Triple Crown
Only 12 horses in history have won the Triple Crown. But that exclusive club could soon have a new member, in the form of Bob Baffert’s charge Justify.
Firm favourite before Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, Justify eked out a victory by the tightest of margins at the Pimlico course, beating Bravazo by no more than a half-length.
That win leaves the three-year-old within one race of being just the second triple-crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. Only the Belmont Stakes remain, with Justify Evens to complete the feat.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing