Coral’s weekend in pictures: Saunders crowned, darts drama
Holly Thackeray | December 21, 2015
With the festive season firmly underway, it was another fascinating weekend in the world of sport. So, Coral present the top 10 photos which capture the past few days’ exciting events perfectly…
Eidams almost topples Mighty Mike
In an electrifying start to the weekend, Friday night’s most fascinating fixture turned out to be a tale of David versus Goliath, or more aptly, Rene Eidams against darting Juggernaut Michael van Gerwen.
As commentators frothed over a potential sporting shock, that surely would have gone down among the greatest of all time had it come off, 2016 World Darts Championship preliminary round qualifier The Cube forced world number one Mighty Mike into a deciding set, coming within a whisker of victory.
Louis van Gaal on the edge
Manchester United manager Van Gaal cuts a troubled figure in this photo, as the tactician trudged down the Old Trafford touchline to a chorus of boos from home fans, who finally seemed to have turned.
Here, head bowed, the Dutchman looks dispirited after the Red Devils were defeated 2-1 by newly promoted Norwich City, in another dull display, with his position becoming increasingly untenable.
Evans expels The Wizard
Young arrowsmith Ricky Evans’ expression of surprise and delight, as he dumped darting cult hero Simon Whitlock out in the first round of the 2016 PDC World Championship, says it all.
It was weekend for the next generation, potentially symbolising the passing of the baton, as The Wizard’s spell was broken, leaving the Aussie to follow in the footsteps of Kim Huybrechts and Ian White in also making shock first round exits to oche prodigies.
Chelsea in turmoil
It was a surreal atmosphere around Stamford Bridge as Blues fans mourned the departure of former boss Jose Mourinho with banners and continuous chants, while boos also rang out around the ground as a handful of players names were announced.
Interim coach Guus Hiddink and Chelsea legend Didier Drogba watched events unfold alongside Roman Abramovich and, though the Blues beat Sunderland 3-1, ‘The Special One’ was still firmly centre stage.
Smith comfortably retains world title over Kelly
In the first defence of his WBO light-middleweight title, Liam Smith comfortably outgunned Jimmy Kilrain Kelly to retain his strap and edge closer to a more high-profile showdown next year, with Miguel Cotto being called out by the Merseysider. Smith categorically broke his opponent down in the early stages before Kelly’s corner threw in the towel as the champion retained his belt through a seventh-round stoppage.
Saunders outpoints Lee to become world champion in Manchester
Saturday’s main event at the Manchester Arena witnessed the crowning of a new world champion, as Billy Joe Saunders outsmarted Irishman Andy Lee to take the WBO middleweight title and continue his rise to boxing stardom. Lee had entered the ring as the defending champion but was quickly downed twice in the third-round, which proved costly as the judges eventually scored the fight 114-112, 115-111 and 113-113 in Saunders’ favour.
Igahlo inspires heroic Hornets
Odion Ighalo just keeps getting better and better. The unstoppable striker defied expectation to grab headlines and help high-flying Watford dispatch Liverpool at Vicarage Road, with his deadly double no match for Simon Mignolet.
As the Hornets delivered sting after sting in their surprise 3-0 win, the above exuberant celebrations were inspired between potent partners Ighalo and Troy Deeney. It’ll be a very Merry Christmas in Hertfordshire.
Bale silences boo boys with cracking quartet
Gareth Bale may be forgiven for wondering what it takes to earn a little adulation at the Bernabeu. The Real Madrid winger ignored the baying crowd who were whistling to hit a fantastic four goals as Los Blancos demolished nine-man Rayo Vallecano 10-2 in a crazy Liga game to remain within two points of table toppers Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. Above, the Welshman is snapped magnificently mid-spring.
Unfairly-maligned Murray pips stars to prize
They’ll miss him when he’s gone. British tennis superstar Andy Murray delivered another decisive blow to doubters and naysayers, but this time not on the courts, by bagging the coveted BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
For the second time in three years, Scot Murray lifted the prestigious prize, after his efforts helped Great Britain to a first Davis Cup victory for almost 80 years. Not bad Murray, not bad.
AP McCoy lifted by Lifetime Achievement Award
Retired jockey Tony McCoy was also honoured on Sunday evening, with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The 41-year-old won 16 major titles in his career, including the Grand National, and has previously been awarded an OBE.
See more of our past weekend in pictures articles.