28 Apr 2019

Today's sports news: What you need to know

10:22 am on 28 April 2019

Latest - Kiwis playmaker Shaun Johnson has suffered a serious-looking hamstring injury in the Sharks' 29-6 National Rugby League defeat to the Broncos in Brisbane.

Shaun Johnson

Shaun Johnson Photo: Supplied

Johnson limped off midway through the first-half and Sharks coach John Morris says they're holding their breath.

"Hopefully he doesn't join the others that are on the sideline for a long period of time, but when he walks off in that amount of pain you wouldn't think it's going to be a minor complaint," Morris said.

"He hasn't been one to have hamstring issues in the past so we've got nothing to gauge this off."

Shaun Johnson could also be in trouble for using his mobile phone in the changing room during the match, which is against NRL rules.

Earlier, a Mahe Fonua hat-trick and some Esan Marsters magic helped the Wests Tigers come from behind to beat the Gold Coast 30-14 in Tamworth.

Canaries back in English football's top flight

Norwich City has sealed promotion to English football's Premier League with a 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers in the Championship, while Sheffield United are on the brink of joining them after a 2-0 victory over Ipswich Town.

23rd October 2018, Carrow Road, Norwich,  England; EFL Championship football, Norwich City versus Aston Villa; Jordan Rhodes of Norwich Citycelebrates with team mates as he scores making 2-1 in minute 73

Photo: © Actionplus 2018

Norwich needed just a point to be sure of a return to the English top flight after a three-year absence, but goals from Marco Stiepermann and Mario Vrancic were enough to secure all three, sending Norwich back to the top of the standings.

Norwich are nine points clear of Leeds United -- who have two games left to play -- in third, while Sheffield United are six clear of Leeds after goals from Scott Hogan and Jack O'Connell helped them secure a third successive win.

Sheffield United's far superior goal difference to Leeds' (13) means it would take a monumental turnaround to deny them a return to the Premier League after 12 years.


Saints secure top flight future

Southampton secured their English Premier League status for another year after a thrilling 3-3 home draw with Bournemouth, as Cardiff City slumped to a 1-0 defeat at already relegated Fulham.

The draw put Southampton in 16th place on 38 points, seven ahead of Cardiff and three clear of Brighton & Hove Albion with two games left to play.

Brighton has moved four points clear of danger thanks to a 1-1 draw with Newcastle.

In other results, West Ham's become the first team to win at Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium, beating Spurs 1-0, Wolverhampton Wanderers have won 2-1 at Watford and Crystal Palace and Everton have played out a goalless draw.


Messi secures Barcelona another La Liga title

Lionel Messi has fittingly sealed Barcelona's 26th La Liga title by coming off the bench to score the goal in a 1-0 win over Levante in front of a jubilant Nou Camp crowd, who celebrated a remarkable eighth league crown in 11 years.

Lionel Messi.

Lionel Messi. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Barca's captain decided the game and the title in the 61st minute as he received a header from Arturo Vidal, effortlessly freeing himself from two defenders with his right foot before using his left to plant the ball into the far bottom corner.

Barca lead the standings on 83 points after 35 games, an unassailable nine clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid with three matches left because they have a superior head-to-head record with Atleti this season.

Ernesto Valverde's side have now taken the first step in their bid to win a third treble in a decade.

They face Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals and will play Valencia in the Copa del Rey final on May 25.


Another semi-final defeat for Nadal

Dominic Thiem knocked favourite and 11-times champion Rafael Nadal out of the Barcelona Open with a stunning 6-4 6-4 semi-final victory, avenging his defeat by the Spaniard in last year's French Open final.

Rafa Nadal

Rafa Nadal Photo: © AFLO SPORTS 2019

The Austrian will meet 23-year-old Daniil Medvedev in tomorrow morning's final after the Russian also pulled off a surprise by edging out fourth seed Kei Nishikori 6-4 3-6 7-5 in a tight match.

Thiem had lost his last two matches against world number two Nadal, at Roland Garros as well as a thrilling five-setter in the U.S. Open quarter-finals, but he won their last meeting on Spanish soil, beating the Mallorcan in last year's Madrid Open.

He sealed his fourth career victory over Nadal in 12 matches with a softly-struck backhand which the Spaniard had no chance of reaching, ending Nadal's chances of a fourth consecutive Barcelona Open title.


Osaka forced to withdraw from Stuttgart Open

World No.1 Naomi Osaka has pulled out the semi-finals of the Stuttgart Open after failing to recover from an abdominal injury she suffered in her quarter- final match.

Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka.


The top seed's withdrawal gives her opponent Anett Kontaveit a walkover and the Estonian goes through to tomorrow morning's final, when she will face the Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova.

"I'm really sorry I'm not able to compete for the semis today," Osaka said.

"I unfortunately got injured yesterday and I was waiting till today to see if I could get better.

"But unfortunately, I didn't. I'm really sorry for everyone that came out and I hope to see you next year and I hope to play next year."


Bottas snatches pole in Azerbaijan

Valtteri Bottas has snatched pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in an incident-packed qualifying session that saw Mercedes lock out the front row and Ferrari favourite Charles Leclerc crash out.

© Photo4 / LaPresse
27/04/2019 Baku, Azerbaijan
Grand Prix Formula One Azerbaijan 2019
In the pic: Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W10

Photo: Photo4

The Finn lapped the six-km Baku street circuit in one minute, 40.495 seconds, just 0.059 seconds faster than team mate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

Sebastian Vettel, the sole Ferrari driver chasing pole after Leclerc crashed out in the second phase of qualifying, will line up in third place after his fastest lap was 0.302 seconds off Bottas's pace.

Hamilton had been fastest after the first flying laps in the third and final phase but Bottas found the extra speed just when it mattered.

"It was a nice feeling getting it done on the last lap," said the Finn, after the eighth pole position of his career and second in a row.


Evans unable to challenge for another Formula E victory

Dutch driver Robin Frijns has won a wet and crash-strewn Paris E-Prix on to become the all-electric Formula E series's eighth different winner in eight races this season and seize the overall lead.

The 27-year-old, competing for the Virgin Racing team and starting third on the grid, was the first winner from the Netherlands in the five-season history of Formula E.

He was joined on the podium by Germans Andre Lotterer, for DS Techeetah, and Daniel Abt for Audi.

Brazilian Lucas di Grassi was fourth for Audi, while New Zealand driver Mitch Evans, who won in Rome earlier this month, finished a distant 16th.

Frijns now has 81 points to Lotterer's 80, with five rounds remaining.


Stormers prevail in South African derby, while Waratahs implode in Sydney

The Stormers have breathed new life into their ailing Super Rugby campaign with a 24-23 victory over the Bulls in a fierce South African derby at Newlands.

The Cape Town-based side had suffered four defeats in their previous five games, and lost 40-3 to the Bulls in Pretoria on the opening weekend of the Super Rugby season, but showed improved application and continuity to claim a deserved win.

Earlier, the NSW Waratahs had a player sent off and another sin-binned in a costly 23-15 defeat to the Sharks in Sydney.

Playing with only 13 men against 15 for a crucial five-minute period in the second half, the 'Tahs blew a golden opportunity to leapfrog the Melbourne Rebels and seize the Australian conference lead ahead of a two-game trip to South Africa.


Huskies post their second win of the season

The Southern Huskies have given their fans something to cheer about after pulling away late to put away a persistent Super City Rangers 84-68 in their National Basketball League game in Tasmania.

MVP honours went to Craig Moller, who finished with 20 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.

The forward was a force on both sides of the ball and was key to his team's late push for the win.

Jalen Billups also continued his hot statistical run and finished as the top scorer with 22, while Venky Jois led the Rangers with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Earlier, the Wellington Saints beaten the Canterbury Rams 80-67 in Christchurch to continue their unbeaten start to the season.

Three-time champ exits the Crucible

Three-time champion Mark Selby is out of the 2019 World Snooker Championship after losing 13-10 to Gary Wilson in Sheffield.

English snooker player Mark Selby.

English snooker player Mark Selby. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Selby, the 2014, 2016 and 2017 champion, resumed 9-7 in arrears but won the first two frames of the final session to draw level at the Crucible.

Wilson, however, kept his nerve as the pair exchanged the next two frames.

The 33-year-old former taxi driver won the next three frames, two of them in style with breaks of 86 and 92, to end Selby's hopes of a fourth world crown in the second round.

Earlier Australia's Neil Robertson stormed into the quarter-finals by taking the last five frames of his clash with Shaun Murphy to secure a comprehensive 13-6 victory.