Serie A: The front-runners keep fluffing their lines in an enthralling campaign

DESPITE all the uncertainties caused by the coronavirus shutdown, Italy’s top flight is playing out and heading towards an intriguing conclusion. The condensed Serie A fixture list is being fulfilled and the Scudetto will now be presented, which is a scenario that seemed highly unlikely at the height of the crisis earlier this year. Juventus look favourites again — despite this week’s show of fallibility against AC Milan — especially after nearest rivals Lazio began fluffing their lines just w

Serie A: Manchester United old boys to have their say in race for the Scudetto

SERIE A came roaring back into life this week following a festive shutdown just long enough to digest that always troublesome final wedge of panettone. Inter Milan had gone into the traditional Christmas break joint top with champions Juventus and have opened the second half of the campaign equally determined to keep up the pressure under demanding taskmaster Antonio Conte. Leading the Nerazzurri’s title charge is Romelu Lukaku. The former Manchester United striker is still rattling them in, n

Serie A: Mario Balotelli makes his point against racists in a brilliant way

A FASCINATING month of action in Serie A has been overshadowed by another incident of racism after Mario Balotelli was subjected to offensive chants while playing for Brescia at local rivals Verona. The former Manchester City striker booted the ball towards a section of Verona fans and threatened to walk off before the referee briefly stopped the game and warned the crowd under the league’s new protocols. Balotelli decided to play on and gained some sort of revenge with a stunning goal in the

Paine to consider his ODI future after whitewash in England

Australia captain Tim Paine intends to bide his time over deciding on his own white-ball future after his side fell to a 5-0 whitewash against England. Jos Buttler's stunning century steered England to a thrilling one-wicket victory over the Aussies at Old Trafford on Sunday to wrap up a 5-0 whitewash. But while the run of bad results has left Paine unsure about his one-day captaincy, he fully intends to continue leading the Test team. "I haven't thought about it to be honest," the 33-year-ol

Kyrgios sends down another barrage of aces to march into Queen's semis

Nick Kyrgios produced another devastating serving display as he dispatched defending champion Feliciano Lopez in straight sets to reach the semi-finals at Queen's Club. The day after his personal-best barrage of 32 aces proved too much for Briton Kyle Edmund, the Australian No.1 matched that tally exactly to book his place in the last four with a 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3), win and a showdown with top seed Marin Cilic. His 32 aces on Friday accounted for 50 per cent of the service points Kyrgios won

Browne ready to seize London chance

With the chance to become the WBC's No.1 heavyweight contender, Lucas Browne needs no extra incentive to beat Dillian Whyte in Saturday's showdown in London. Victory for the big Australian at the O2 Arena will open the door for the unbeaten 38-year-old, with top British promoter Eddie Hearn adamant the winner will guarantee a future world title crack. Looking relaxed and confident after his workout on Wednesday, Browne, who has 22 knockouts from 25 fights, is determined to seize his chance. "

Davide Astori death puts Serie A race in perspective

IT’S been an eventful month in Italian football. Roma and Juventus through to the Champions League quarter-finals, AC Milan rising up the table and Juve usurping Napoli to finally move top of Serie A. Yet the ups and downs were all put firmly into perspective by the tragic death of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori, at the age of 31. The Italy international, who appears to have suffered a heart attack in his sleep, died on the eve of his club’s match with Udinese. All matches in Serie A were po

Eddie’s ‘finishers’ were key factor, says Brown

MIKE BROWN hailed England’s strength in depth as the Six Nations champions survived a scare against France on the opening day of the Championship, writes Richard Hookham. Boss Eddie Jones emptied his bench in the second half at Twickenham, with the likes of hooker Jamie George, scrum-half Danny Care, back-row James Haskell and backs Jack Nowell and Ben Te’o adding the impetus needed to see off the French and make it 15 wins from 15 games. Worcester centre Te’o found a fine running line to scor

Try-star Burrell happy to laud England's pack

Luther Burrell has hailed England’s pack for giving him the platform to shine in his storming debut Six Nations campaign. The Northampton centre has made a big impact in the No.13 shirt with three tries in four games in the tournament so far – including a stunner against Wales on Sunday at Twickenham. But modest Burrell, 26, refuses to bask in the glory of his hot streak, insisting England’s forwards have been the bedrock of England’s heartening Championship form. ‘I can’t take the credit, re

Murray ranks slams his top priority

Andy Murray had managed to snatch a precious hour’s sleep before finding himself back at the scene of his ultimate triumph – blurry of eye, but obviously a man very much at peace with himself. After attending the Champions’ Dinner late into the night, duty called again for the new Wimbledon champion – a lengthy series of media interviews reflecting on his triumph, and looking at what’s next for the first Briton to capture the men’s singles title at the All England Club for 77 years. The 26-yea

Murray's got the right stuff against leftie Verdasco

Andy Murray doesn’t get to play left-handers that much, but when he does, he usually beats them. The record books will show he did so again today, but only after producing one of the comebacks of his career to finally quell the hypnotic, bruising power of the utterly brilliant southpaw Fernando Verdasco. The 26-year-old was forced to draw on all his reserves to claw his way back from two sets down before holding his nerve in a desperately tense final set to win 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 in three

London 2012 highlights: A look back at the best of the greatest show on earth

Metro takes a look back at the Team GB highlights and all the medals won at the London 2012 Olympics, in what was a spectacular fortnight for British sport. Reporting on the biggest sporting event the country has ever seen was a bit like being a starry-eyed kid with an open-ended pass to Disneyland. At times it was hard to take in the sheer scale of the Olympic Park and dashing from venue to venue to cover each sporting drama sometimes felt like we were competing in some surreal action gamesho

Gareth Bale hat-trick not enough for Spurs as Inter win seven-goal thriller

Ten-man Tottenham handed Inter a scare after fighting back from four down at the break to lose 4-3 in the San Siro – thanks to a brilliant Gareth Bale hat-trick. Harry Redknapp ’s side looked to be on the end of a harsh lesson to the holders after a shocking start. The Italian treble-winners went ahead after just 68 seconds when brilliant Brazilian teenager Coutinho and Samuel Eto’o combined to put veteran Javier Zanetti in space to curl sweetly past Heurelho Gomes. Things went from bad to

Calzaghe eyes historic prize

During the 80s and 90s Britain's ring warriors got the peak time terrestrial exposure they deserved on both BBC and ITV. Or in some cases, didn't necessarily deserve. And while the heavyweight division was always seen as the Premiership, often the best action was to be seen down three or four stones. Hard men with granite chins, lightning reflexes but lethal punch power ruled the roost. Nigel Benn, Michael Watson, Steve Collins, Chris Eubank - pub big screen darlings and genuine pugilistic he

Williams ponders ring retirement

But the popular Brixton heavyweight has called on British fight fans to get behind Harrison's bid for any future world title assault. "Maybe for me it might be time to say goodbye," said the former British and Commonwealth champion, 33. "Audley is number one now and people should support him, but that may well be the last time you see me in there." Williams suffered a broken nose and needed six sitches on a deep cut to his left eye as he was stopped two minutes, 33 seconds into the third roun

How rife is taunting in football?

Whatever Marco Materazzi said to warrant Zinedine Zidane's headbutt and dismissal in the World Cup final, his deliberate incitement certainly had the desired result. While the Italian defender was laying splayed out following Zidane's shocking assault, he knew his wind-up tactics had worked a treat. Disciples of the black art of provocation could have only sat back and saluted the way Materazzi set the trap for Zidane with a diatribe of allegedly inflammatory taunts and a less-than-subtle sque