London, United Kingdom, Jul 12 – Toby Alderweireld gave Tottenham a late 2-1 win over Arsenal as Jose Mourinho’s men climbed above their north London rivals, while Bournemouth kept their survival hopes alive with a chaotic 4-1 victory against Leicester on Sunday.
Mourinho had endured a barrage of criticism as Tottenham slipped out of the race to qualify for the Champions League with just one win in three games.
But thanks to Alderweireld’s winner with nine minutes left, Tottenham took the local bragging rights and got back in contention for a place in next season’s Europa League.
Tottenham are eighth, two points above ninth placed Arsenal and two behind Sheffield United as they try to avoid missing out on European action for the first time since 2009-10.
“We are happy because we made the fans happy, we are happy because we are still in the fight to win a Europa League position,” Mourinho said.
“To be honest, Mikel (Arteta) found a way for them to play, to be stable and to improve. We felt that we should adapt slightly to them and we did it very well.”
In the first north London derby at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Alexandre Lacazette put Arsenal ahead in the 16th minute with a stunning long-range strike.
Arsenal’s lead lasted just three minutes as Sead Kolasinac’s sloppy pass was intercepted by Son Heung-min, who eluded David Luiz before chipping over Emiliano Martinez.
In the 82nd minute, Belgian defender Alderweireld rose above a cluster of Arsenal players to meet Son’s corner and plant his header past Martinez.
Arsenal could miss out on Europe entirely and boss Arteta said: “We give them a goal again and we concede a set-piece and at this level, you cannot do it.”
At Dean Court, Leicester scored after 23 minutes as Jamie Vardy bagged his 23rd league goal of the season to extend his lead in the Golden Boot race.
But Bournemouth were handed a lifeline when Leicester imploded during two minutes of mayhem.
In the 66th minute, Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel booted a goal-kick into Wilfred Ndidi’s back, forcing his team-mate to trip Callum Wilson.
Junior Stanislas stepped up to score the resulting penalty and 101 seconds later Dominic Solanke’s weak shot trickled under Schmeichel’s woeful attempt to save.
Leicester defender Caglar Soyuncu sent off for kicking Wilson as he attempted to retrieve the ball from the net after Solanke’s goal.
Bournemouth’s luck was in and Stanislas’s strike went in off Leicester’s Jonny Evans for an 83rd minute own goal before Solanke’s composed finish made it four in the 87th minute.
Bournemouth’s first win in 10 games, a drought stretching back to February 1, moved them to within three points of 17th placed Watford, with three games left for all the teams in the relegation fight.
Cherries boss Eddie Howe said: “The situation was as bleak as it could be at half-time. But goals always change games.
“It was probably the first time in a long time where we’ve had some luck. We can still survive.”
Fourth placed Leicester will drop to fifth if Manchester United beat Southampton on Monday, leaving their hopes of Champions League qualification in danger.
“I didn’t see that coming but we are not good enough to get too comfortable. We will finish where we deserve to,” Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said.
Second bottom Aston Villa also boosted their survival bid with a vital 2-0 win against Crystal Palace.
Dean Smith’s side kicked off at Villa Park languishing seven points from safety, but Egypt winger Trezeguet scored twice to keep them in with a chance of staying up.
Palace striker Christian Benteke was sent off for violent conduct after the final whistle.
Villa’s first win in 11 league games left them four points behind Watford.
Wolves stayed in the Champions League hunt, climbing to sixth place after a 3-0 win against Everton.
Raul Jimenez’s penalty and Leander Dendoncker’s header out Wolves two up before Diogo Jota was gifted the third by keeper Jordan Pickford’s blunder.
Europe beckons for South African rugby after Kiwi snub
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Jul 20 – World Cup-winning Springbok Schalk Brits believes the future of South African rugby lies in Europe after New Zealand said there was no room for sides from the republic in Super Rugby.
“All of this jet lag and flying across different time zones just does not work,” said the hooker who retired after the triumphant 2019 World Cup campaign.
“We have got so many South Africans playing in Europe and it would be awesome to see them in action here for European clubs.”
With New Zealand favouring a trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition, South Africa Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux will address the media Tuesday about the way forward.
There has been no rugby in South Africa since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, which claimed 5,033 lives by late Sunday, the most in an African country.
Here, AFP Sport looks at the possibilities for the world champions Springboks and Super Rugby teams the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers.
There has been speculation that the six-round annual tournament will be cut to four matches with New Zealand and Australia playing in South Africa only every second year.
That would be a huge blow for SA Rugby coffers as the century-old rivalry with the All Blacks makes them a huge drawcard.
South Africa might consider abandoning the Championship and pursuing a suggestion by former All Blacks Justin Marshall and Jeff Wilson for three-Test tours between the great rivals.
“British and Irish Lions tours are so successful because we look forward to them,” noted another ex-All Black, John Kirwan. The same could be said of an All Blacks-Springboks series.
Should South African franchises move north, would the Springboks follow suit and apply to join England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in a ‘Seven Nations’ championship?
Having the world champions on board would surely excite the organisers and costs would be greatly reduced if the Springboks played their three away matches on consecutive weekends.
England, Ireland, France and Wales, in particular, would bring freshness for rugby followers, who have not rushed to the turnstiles for Championship visits by Australia and Argentina.
Ask the SA Rugby treasurer for his ‘dream’ line-up and he would surely say a multi-Test tour by the All Blacks and participation in the ‘Seven Nations’.
Although not official yet, the reality is that New Zealand want to play some Australian sides and the Pacific Islands in a new competition while excluding South Africa and Argentina.
The original version, a Super 10 between 1993 and 1995, was a superb competition, but constant tinkering and expansion has led to waning interest in a difficult-to-follow event.
Even those supporting the Golden Lions of South Africa could not have derived too much satisfaction from a 94-7 thrashing of Japanese visitors the Sunwolves three years ago.
South Africa sides often battled with time differences in Australasia — New Zealand is 11 hours ahead of the republic — and were weary after four-match tours.
Pro14 chief executive Martin Anayi says he would welcome Super Rugby ‘rejects’ the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers into an expanded edition.
“The tournament works well but could be even better if we added some South African teams,” he said, referring to a competition that also includes Irish, Italian, Scottish and Welsh teams.
But there may be no room for the two current South African Pro14 participants, the Cheetahs and Kings, who have experienced very different fortunes.
While the Cheetahs have been competitive, the Kings won just four of 55 matches in three seasons with some of the losing margins embarrassing.
The domestic competition has survived constant format changes to remain the vital ‘nursery’ from which Springboks emerge.
First staged in 1892, it was the bedrock of South African rugby until the dawn of professionalism after the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
As Test and Super Rugby fixtures took up an increasing amount of the season, the Currie Cup often battled for calendar space.
But it survived and this year could feature the four Super Rugby sides plus the Cheetahs, Kings, Griquas and Pumas, if play is possible amid the coronavirus.
Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19
Kenya’s coronavirus cases rise to 13,771 after 418 more infections
Kenya on Monday reported 418 more Covid-19 infections, raising the country’s tally to 13,771 since the virus was first confirmed on March 13.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman also reported four more deaths, raising the toll to 238. He rectified an earlier report about 19 deaths in a single day, which would have been the highest number ever recorded in Kenya.
The 418 new patients were found following the testing of 2,474 samples in the last 24 hours.
Four hundred and eight of them were Kenyans and 10 foreigners while male patients numbered 263 and female patients 155.
Dr Aman also announced that 494 patients had been discharged, raising the country’s total number of recoveries to 5,616.
Of the recovered patients, 465 were under home care and the rest in hospitals.
More to follow