Sunday, November 19, 2017
European Tour Golf, today, features the finals of the DP World Tour Championship final-round play from Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai. This season finale has a purse of $8 million, plus bonuses for top Race To Dubai finishers. The competition is running right down to the wire. Englishman Justin Rose is pleased, as he sits atop the leaderboard going into today's finishing round, and he currently stands at second worldwide. Rose is at 15-under par and he heads a bunched leader-board by one from Spain's Jon Rahm and South African Dylan Frittelli, but crucially, enjoys a two-shot advantage over Englishman Tommy Fleetwood.
In London, in International Tennis, Swiss Roger Federer has been shocked by Belgian David Goffin in semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals. Goffin came from a set down to defeat the world Number 2 and book a place in Sunday's final in London. Federer, who had been aiming to win the event for a seventh time, was quickly into his stride in front of a packed house at London’s O2 Arena, winning the first set with ease and the chances of a comeback from the Belgian appeared remote, but he began his domination in the second set, with Federer unable to find the inspiration to come back. He had never beaten Federer in six previous encounters and there was nothing about the opening exchanges that hinted that it would be a case of lucky number seven. The 26 year old will face Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in Sunday's final. Although Dimitrov had lost his first set against American Jack Sock, he came back for a win in the last two sets and qualified for the final.
In Bundesliga Soccer Schalke 04 takes on Hamburg at home at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. This weekend is Round 12 of the Bundesliga season. Schalke 04 team is coming off from a 1-0 road win over Freiburg in last round while HSV managed to secure their third victory of the season by beating Stuttgart on home soil thus regaining the fans’ support that was shaken during their recent eight-game winless streak. These two have 13 German Championships between them, so they are generally top teams, but Hamburg has been suffering rough times. Schalke is currently midst a 6 game undefeated streak. They are currently ranked at Number 4 with 20 points earned, same as the third-ranked Borussia Dortmund. Last week Hamburg was in a spot in the standings which could later result in relegation, but instead, with last week's win, they have left that spot. Although Schalke are favorites, last season they lost one game to Hamburg and the other result in a draw.
In the United States, various college basketball classics are underway, and on Sunday night football, the Philadelphia Eagles visit the Dallas Cowboys
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Not your grandfather's Champions League, the Asian Champions League has been heating up in recent weeks, and has become much more interesting since it was started in 2003. Saudi giants Al Hilal will attempt to end years of dominance by East Asian clubs when they take on Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds in the two-legged Asian Champions League final beginning Saturday. Al Hilal are hopeful as they host Urawa in the first competition in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Clubs from the Asian Football Confederation's eastern regions have won the last five Champions Leagues, and 10 overall since the competition's first edition in 2003. The west is particularly strong now, though, with both Saudi Arabia and Iran qualifying for Russia, 2018.
Al Hilal captain Osama Hawsawi stated that "in World Cup qualifying we faced both Australia and Japan and we qualified ahead of the former and defeated the latter. There are strong teams in both East and West, of course, but it should be noted that two teams from the West qualified for the World Cup." Al Hilal has never won the Asian Champions League, but hopes to this year. "We are determined to lift this trophy," Hawsawi said. "We reached the final because we worked hard and are intent on reaching this goal."
Urawa captain Yuki Abe was part of the team that won the Champions League in 2007, and he said he now wanted to lift the trophy again in honour of manager Takafumi Hori. "I have had a lot of head coaches in my career, but Hori is one who has helped me improve, so I'd like to help win a big trophy for him," Abe, 36, said." The winner of the final will take their place at the Fifa Club World Cup UAE 2017, alongside the likes of European champions Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, back on the continent, Soccer fans are gearing up for the Madrid Derby, Real Madrid vs. Atletico de Madrid. Atletico has been playing in a newly refurbished stadium this season, and so this is the first such Derby played in the Estadio Metropolitano "Wanda". It is an important game, over and above the rivalry, because both Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid have been playing catch-up against Barcelona. Only 900 of the 67,000 seats have been released to Real Madrid's fans. Phenom Dani Ceballos, 21, will play in his first derby. Real Madrid has won only 7 of the last 11 games, whilst Atletico is undefeated in their past 11 games.
In the standings Madrid, in third, are eight points behind leaders and renegades Barcelona. Atletico, in fourth, are also on 23 points, but has had terrible difficulty scoring. Their last 15 games have featured one or no goals. Seven teams have scored more than Atletico’s 16 in 11 games. But Real have their own problems upfront. Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema have only one league goal each so far this season. Valencia and Real Sociedad have both scored more goals than Real Madrid so far. Attention shifts firmly towards club football for the next four months, with Madrid also featuring in the Fifa Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi next month.
In premiership soccer Champions Chelsea face a stiff challenge to defend their Premier League title from in-form leaders Manchester City but will fight till the end in the race, midfielder Willian has said. City have won 10 of their opening 11 league games and sit at the top of the table, nine points ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea. "It's difficult," Willian told BBC's Football Focus. "Manchester City are playing very well but I think we can fight for the title until the end." Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are second and third respectively, a point ahead of Antonio Conte's men. "It is difficult to play when you were champion last season and to fight for the title again as every team wants to win against Chelsea," added the Brazil international.
Chelsea travel to West Bromwich Albion, who are 16th in the league, on Saturday. Arsenal must win an "electric" North London derby against Tottenham. Arsenal last beat Tottenham in a 2015 League Cup tie but have failed to register a league win over their neighbors since 2014, drawing four and losing two of the last six league meetings between the sides. As Tottenham have risen to prominence over recent years, the derby has become more closely contested. Arsenal are sixth in the standings, four points behind third-placed Tottenham and 12 behind leaders Manchester City, with six wins in 11 league games.
In the United States, in NCAA College Football, there is only one game today between ranked opponents, Number 24 Michigan (8-2, 5-2) at Number 5 Wisconsin (10-0, 7-0). Should Wisconsin go undefeated they would most certainly go into the playoff. Michigan is always a tough opponent, though, and could come away with a win today. Wisconsin beat Iowa 38-14 last week to pick up its first ranked win of the year, and Camp Randall Stadium is always a challenging location, but Michigan is more well-rounded on defense and should be a tougher challenge.