Sports Shorts

Man City handed ‘toughest possible route’ to Champions League final

News and reactions from the world of sport, featuring Minella Indo’s victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup

Champions League trophy

1

Football 

English clubs find out their quarter-final opponents

The draws have been made today for the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Uefa Champions League (UCL). 

Liverpool will take on Real Madrid, Manchester City face Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea will play Porto. In the other tie it’s a repeat of last year’s final with Bayern Munich playing Paris Saint-Germain.

Should Pep Guardiola’s Man City side beat Dortmund they would then play Bayern or PSG in the last four. The draws have seen City “once again landed with the toughest possible route to the final”, says ESPN. If Liverpool and Chelsea win their last-eight ties they would play each other in an all-English semi-final.

The two-legged quarter-finals will be played on 6-7 April and 13-14 April. The semi-final first legs are on 27-28 April and the second legs on 4-5 May.

Quarter-final draw
  • Manchester City vs. Borussia Dortmund 
  • Porto vs. Chelsea 
  • Bayern Munich vs. Paris Saint-Germain 
  • Real Madrid vs. Liverpool 
Semi-final draw 
  • Bayern Munich or Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester City or Borussia Dortmund 
  • Real Madrid or Liverpool vs. Porto or Chelsea

2

Football 

Will it be a Man Utd vs. Arsenal Europa League final?

It’s been a busy day for European football’s governing body Uefa as the Europa League quarter-final and semi-final draws were also made. 

Manchester United face Spanish side Granada in the last eight while Arsenal will play Czech club Slavia Prague. In the other ties it’s Ajax vs. Roma and Dinamo Zagreb vs. Villarreal. 

The semi-final draw also means that United and Arsenal are on a possible collision course to meet in the final of the Europa League. 

Quarter-finals (8 and 15 April)
  • Granada vs. Manchester United 
  • Arsenal vs. Slavia Prague 
  • Ajax vs. Roma 
  • Dinamo Zagreb vs. Villarreal 
Semi-finals (29 April and 6 May)
  • Granada or Manchester United vs. Ajax or Roma 
  • Dinamo Zagreb or Villarreal vs. Arsenal or Slavia Prague

3

Rugby Union 

Would Wales be the ‘worst ever’ grand slam winners?

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac says his team are “focused and motivated” to complete the Six Nations grand slam. Victory for Wales against France in Paris tomorrow night would “seal an achievement that looked more impossible than improbable” after their fifth-place finish in last season’s championship, The Guardian says. 

While there is no such thing as an “undeserved grand slam”, The Telegraph’s Mick Cleary says “even the most partisan Wales supporter will surely admit that luck has played a hefty part in their ever-flowering season”. 

Cleary suggests that Wales would be the “worst” ever winners of the grand slam - a claim that has not gone down too well in Welsh media circles. WalesOnline says Pivac and his players “can only beat the opposition put in front of them” and they have done that “splendidly to date and will be determined to see the job through in Paris”.

4

Cycling 

Freeman struck off medical register

Richard Freeman, the former chief doctor of British Cycling and Team Sky, has been permanently struck off the medical register. 

After being found guilty of ordering banned testosterone in 2011, a medical tribunal last week ruled that Freeman ordered Testogel “knowing or believing it was to be administered to an athlete to improve their athletic performance”.

Yesterday a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service ruled that Freeman’s fitness to practise was “impaired by reason of his misconduct” and today it imposed the strongest possible sanction. 

Freeman is currently working as a GP in Lancashire as part of the Covid-19 vaccination programme. The Press Association reports that the tribunal will now decide whether to impose the sanction immediately or allow him to continue working during a 28-day period in which he has the right to appeal.

5

Horse racing

Minella Indo’s rider Jack Kennedy celebrates winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup

Minella Indo’s rider Jack Kennedy celebrates winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup

Tim Goode/Pool/Getty Images

Minella Indo wins the Cheltenham Gold Cup 

Minella Indo won the Gold Cup in a thrilling race at Cheltenham. The 9-1 shot finished ahead of Rachael Blackmore’s A Plus Trad in second and Al Boum Photo, the 2019 and 2020 winner, who was third.  

The victory for Minella Indo saw history made as Henry de Bromhead became the first trainer to win the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Gold Cup in the same year. 

Winning jockey Jack Kennedy said: “This is what I dreamt of since I was a child. I’m just so grateful for being given the opportunity to ride him.”

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