By Ayyaz Malik

Football

After the International break last week, domestic league football returned all across Europe, including the Premier League. This weeks action was no doubt overshadowed by the return of former Chelsea and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who is now in charge of Tottenham Hotspur. 

The former Inter Milan manager replaced former boss Mauricio Pochettino after the Argentine was sacked after five and a half years (a story which we covered here at Asian Sunday)

Portuguese manager Mourinho carried on his proud record of losing only once in 18 years when taking his first game in charge of a new club. His new side won 3-2 against West Ham at the East Londoners home ground the London stadium. 

The scoreline might appear close, but in all reality, the new Spurs boss will be on the whole happy with his new team’s performance but may be concerned that they allowed West Ham back into a game, that they didn’t do enough to get something out. 

Other matches in this weekend’s fixtures saw the mouth-watering match-up between Manchester City and Chelsea. The clash between the two saw third come up against fourth. City, who knew if they lost this game against Europa League winners Chelsea, that they would be 12 points behind league leaders Liverpool. 

Chelsea did give defending champions Manchester City a scare by taking the lead through N’Golo Kante, but goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez saw home side City battle and earn the three points to maintain a nine point deficit over Liverpool. 

City’s title rivals Liverpool had to rely on VAR working in their favour as they beat former manager Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace 2-1. The Eagles did have a goal by James Tomkins debatably ruled out after teammate Jordan Ayew was adjudged to have fouled Dejan Lovren in the build-up. 

Goals from Sadio Mane and Roberto Firminho, in between a Wilfried Zaha goal, helped Liverpool maintain their lead at the top over 2nd place Leicester who beat Brighton 2-0. The Reds’ (Liverpool) arch-rivals Manchester United, arguably were involved in the game of weekend after drawing 3-3 with newly-promoted Sheffield United. 

The Red Devils, who went 2-0 down to the Yorkshire side, did fight back to take a 3-2 lead, only for an Ollie McBurnie goal in the dying minutes of the game, meant that this game finished all square.

Cricket

After initially being in a strong position, England’s cricketers face an uphill struggle to save the first test. After one stage having the hosts on the ropes at 197-5, The Three Lions inexplicably allowed The Black Caps the chance to declare on a mammoth 615-9, their highest score against England in tests. 

A double hundred from wicket-keeper BJ Wattling and a century from all-rounder Mitchell Satner, means that England will have to bat a whole day to save the first test. The visitors England will have an all-mighty battle on their hands as they ended the days play on 55-3, some 207 runs behind with just seven-second innings wickets left intact. 

To make the task even more difficult, both England openers Dominic Sibley and Rory Burns; as well as night-watchman Jack Leach are all back in the pavilion. In the case of Leach, it must be mentioned that the Somerset man, didn’t review his decision when maybe he should as replays appeared to show he hadn’t nicked the ball to short-leg as he thought. 

A defeat appears almost certain. Should the extremely likely happen and they lose, then that would mean England would go 1-0 down in the series, which would also mean they can’t win the series and only draw it. 

New Zealand’s arch-rivals Australia, in their two-match series against Pakistan, won their first match convincingly by an innings and five runs. Before the series started we did feel that Australia will have just too much for the tourists, and in this match, that’s how it proved. 

After Pakistan could only muster 240 all out in the first innings, Australia managed to score 580 all out. David Warner managed to score a mammoth 154, whilst Marnus Labuschagne scored a quite brilliant 185, his maiden hundred in tests. 

Needing 340, just to make the Aussies bat again, tourists Pakistan, although fairing much better, were all out for 335. Not even a 100 from star player Babar Azam and 95 from wicket-keeper batsmen Mohammed Rizwan could save Pakistan here. Australia with this win go 1-0 up with one more game to go of this series. 

Pakistan’s neighbours India didn’t have such problems in their series against Bangladesh as they crushed their Asian neighbours by an innings and 46 runs, which secured a 2-0 series win. This latest win in Kolkata meant that Virat Kohli’s men became the first team to win a test match by an innings, four times in a row. 

The win against Bangladesh, also their seventh in a row, consolidates India’s position as world number one at the top of the world rankings in the new revamped World Test Championships. On a personal note for Indian captain Kohli, he now has gone level with Australian great Ricky Ponting by scoring 41 hundred’s in tests, which is second to a certain Sachin Tendulkar .

Boxing

WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder survived a scare to defeat Cuban Luis Ortiz, in a devastating seventh-round stoppage. Ortiz wasn’t over-rawed in such an occasion and in fact, it was he who took the fight to the champion Wilder for the first six rounds. 

Just as Tyson Fury found out, Deontay Wilder for all his brutal punching power also does possess a lot of resilience too and it was that resilience that allowed the American Wilder to be able to find a devastating punch to beat Luis Ortiz. 

The result was arguably hard on Ortiz, but time and again Wilder has been able to call on his right hand /left-hand combination and used the same combination here to floor the Cuban veteran, who wasn’t able to beat the 10 counts much to his disappointment. 

After this win, Deontay Wilder has said that he plans to fight Tyson Fury again in February. The boxing world, eagerly awaits what should be another classic, if the last matchup is anything to go by. 

The week ahead

After both New Zealand and Australia won their first matches in their respective test series against England and Pakistan, both will be looking to clinch series wins when they start their 2nd tests on Thursday and Friday respectively. 

Both New Zealand and Australia will most likely keep the same squads going into this one, but England and Pakistan will both be looking to improve their batting display as that’s what cost both sides so very dearly. 

New Zealand start their 2nd test against England on Thursday 28th November at Seddon Park Hamilton. As for Australia, The Adelaide Oval in Adelaide will host their 2nd test against Pakistan. 

With the ICC forming the new Test Championship format, both England and Pakistan will be looking to get a win and save their respective series. 

In football, defending champions Man City start the weekend off against Newcastle, looking to close the gap on Liverpool to six points. It won’t be easy against The Magpies, especially with their noisy home support, but we will expect a Man City win here. Our prediction Newcastle 1-2 Manchester City. 

League leaders Liverpool host Brighton, knowing if they win, they will re-establish their nine-point lead, over the team that’s arguably the most likely to compete with them for Premier League glory come May.

The sports desk at Asian Sunday will look to keep you up to date with all things sport in next week’s review, see you same time next week!