Firstpost Spodcast Episode 71: An El Clasico sans Messi and Ronaldo, Elina Svitolina’s WTA Finals title and more on our daily podcast
An El Clasico sans Ronaldo and Messi but still a lot of goals, Elina Svitolina wins the WTA Finals title — we discuss these stories and more on our daily sports podcast
Welcome to Spodcast, Firstpost's daily sports podcast.
In today's episode, we discuss the El Clasico, which despite not featuring Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time in 11 years, saw Barca thrash Real Madrid 5-1. Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick that could spell the end of Julen Lopetegui's tenure as coach.
While Barcelona dominated the match from the word ‘go’, Real Madrid’s patchy form was put under the spotlight — poor finishing, dreadful defending and key players performing well below par.
Philippe Coutinho opened Barca’s account, scoring the first goal in the 11th minute. Then, it was Suarez’s night as Barcelona dominated possession. He scored the first of his three goals in the 30th minute via a penalty. Suarez ran in a bit too quick at the near post and Raphael Varane tripped him over. Suarez converted the penalty for his seventh goal this season.
We also talk about the Premier League where Chelsea defeated Burnley, Crystal Palace ended Arsenal’s 11-game winning streak, and Manchester United scraped past Everton ever so unconvincingly.
Chelsea looked in great touch as they thrashed Burnley 4-0 on Sunday. Elsewhere, Arsenal’s fantastic 11-match winning streak was brought to an end by Crystal Palace who drew the match 2-2.
There was some drama off the pitch when Arsenal captain Mesut Ozil was substituted in the 68th minute. Ozil threw his gloves onto the floor in anger after walking past Unai Emery.
In the other big match on Sunday, Manchester United had a less than impressive day but managed to prevail 2-1 against Everton. Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial scored for Manchester United while Gylfi Sigurdsson scored in the 77th minute to cause some anxiety in the Manchester United camp.
We also talk about Elina Svitolina claiming the biggest title of her career after a gritty comeback against Sloane Stephens at the WTA Finals in Singapore on Sunday.
Svitolina came back from one set down to win 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in two hours and 23 minutes. The Ukrainian is the first player since 2013 to finish the WTA Finals tournament undefeated.
The other talking point in the day's Spodcast is the Asian Champions Trophy final, where arch-rivals India and Pakistan were declared joint winners of the hockey tournament after the much-anticipated summit clash was called off due to heavy downpour in Muscat. Heavy rain since evening delayed the start of the final and even though the skies relented later, the damage had already been done. The turf was completely waterlogged because of the heavy showers and after discussion with both the coaches of India and Pakistan, the tournament director decided to call off the match and declare both the teams as joint winners. This was both India and Pakistan's last international outing before the season-ending men's World Cup.
The title race continues to be alive and kicking in LaLiga after Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid ended in a stalemate and Real Madrid, Sevilla played out a 2-2 draw in controversial circumstances.
This weekend, Barcelona are at home to Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid host Sevilla with six points separating the top four. If this title race needed more drama, the fixture list has provided it.
European football weekend: LaLiga title race reaches fever pitch, Bayern Munich on brink and derby in Ligue 1
It might not be a winner-takes-all clash like in 2014, victory could give either Atletico Madrid or Barcelona the momentum needed to go on and claim the title.