World Sports News in Brief

Liverpool's dream run ends in shock 3-0 thrashing at Watford

Sunday, 2020-03-01 08:45:48
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Soccer Football - Premier League - Watford v Liverpool - Vicarage Road, Watford, Britain - February 29, 2020 Watford's Troy Deeney celebrates scoring their third goal with teammates. (Photo: Action Images via Reuters)
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Liverpool’s unbeaten run of success in this season’s Premier League was ended in unfathomable fashion on Saturday as struggling Watford hammered the European champions 3-0 at their ecstatic Vicarage Road stadium.

Ismaila Sarr inspired the extraordinary upset, stunning off-key Liverpool with two goals in six second-half minutes before setting up captain Troy Deeney with a third for the team who had started the day one from bottom, 55 points behind the runaway leaders. Liverpool’s first league defeat of the season in their 28th match meant the end of their hopes of going the whole league campaign unbeaten as the new ‘Invincibles’ and of emulating Arsenal’s feat of 2003-04 and Preston North End’s in 1888-89.

* Aryna Sabalenka claimed her sixth WTA title as she swept past two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-3 in the Qatar Open final on Saturday. It brings Sabalenka her third title over the last six months after winning in Wuhan and the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai, and she will also move up to 11th in the WTA rankings on Monday.

* Striker Beth England scored a stoppage-time winner as Chelsea beat Arsenal 2-1 in a thrilling Continental Cup final to claim the trophy for the first time in their history at the City Ground in Nottingham on Saturday.

* Napoli continued their Serie A revival under Gennaro Gattuso with a comfortable 2-1 home win over a sorry Torino side who slumped to a sixth consecutive league defeat on Saturday. The match was one of five Serie A matches at the weekend to be unaffected by the coronavirus outbreak which caused five others to be called off including the meeting between Juventus and Inter Milan on Sunday.

* Norwegian Casper Ruud turned back Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas to qualify for his second final in a month at the Chile Open on Saturday. The 21-year-old, champion in Buenos Aires two weeks ago, topped Ramos-Vinolas 7-6(5) 6-2 in Santiago to set up a meeting with the winner of Saturday's second semi-final between Brazil's Thiago Seyboth Wild and Renzo Olivo of Argentina.

* Newcastle United's barren run of form continued when they largely dominated but still ended up being held to a 0-0 draw by Burnley in a sterile Premier League game at St James' Park on Saturday.

* Valencia restored some pride by beating Real Betis 2-1 at home in La Liga on Saturday to earn their first win in six matches in all competitions. Valencia are seventh in the standings on 41 points after 26 games, while Betis are 13th with 30.

* Midfielder Marco Alonso struck twice for Chelsea as they stormed back from a goal down to snatch a 2-2 draw away to AFC Bournemouth in their Premier League clash at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday. Chelsea stay in fourth position on 45 points, while Bournemouth are still hovering above the drop zone on 27 points, two ahead of 17th-placed Aston Villa.

* World number one Novak Djokovic eased past Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 6-4 to lift his fifth Dubai Tennis Championships title on Saturday, extending his unbeaten start to the 2020 season. Djokovic has now won 21 straight matches, including 18 this season, having already lifted the inaugural ATP Cup with Serbia and a record-extending eighth Australian Open title last month. The 32-year-old dropped just one set in Dubai this week as he fought off three match points to overcome Frenchman Gael Monfils in the semi-finals.

* Kylian Mbappe capped a brilliant individual performance by scoring twice and creating another for Mauro Icardi as leaders Paris St Germain cruised to a comfortable 4-0 victory over Dijon in their Ligue 1 clash at the Parc des Princes on Saturday. The win took PSG to 68 points from 27 games and restored their lead at the top of the table to 13 following second-placed Olympique de Marseille's 3-2 win over Nimes on Friday night. Dijon remain just above the relegation places with 27 points.

* Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich fired in three goals in the opening 15 minutes en route to a 6-0 demolition of hosts Hoffenheim on Saturday in a game interrupted for 20 minutes over an offensive banner unfurled by visiting fans. Bayern are on 52 points, four ahead of RB Leipzig, who host Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday. Borussia Dortmund are third on goal difference following their nervous 1-0 victory over Freiburg.

* Lazio went top of Serie A with a 2-0 win over Bologna on Saturday in one of the five weekend top-flight matches which were unaffected by the coronavirus outbreak. Luis Alberto fired Lazio in front in the 18th minute and set up the second for Joaquin Correa three minutes later as the hosts extended their unbeaten Serie A run to 21 games.

* A fourth player at Italian third tier side Pianese has tested positive for the coronavirus, the club said on Saturday. One member of staff has also been infected and the club, based in Piancastagnaio in the region of Tuscany, said on Friday that the entire squad have been quarantined in their homes.

* Jordan Ayew's late goal helped Crystal Palace claim a 1-0 win at Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, leaving the hosts without a win in eight Premier League matches this year. Palace climbed to 12th in the table on 36 points, three places and eight points better off than Brighton who are now winless in their opening eight league matches of a calendar year for the first time since 1998 when they were in the fourth tier.

* Tests on 167 people have proved negative for coronavirus after they were feared to have been exposed to two infected Italian participants of the UAE Tour, Abu Dhabi's health department has said. The final two stages of the UAE Tour, which featured some of the world's leading riders, was cancelled because two Italian participants testing positive for coronavirus, the Abu Dhabi Sports Council said on Thursday.

Reuters