Tag Archives: ovation

Andy Murray, Jessica Ennis and Sebastian Coe win at Laureus Awards

Ennis, Murray and Coe honoured at Laureus Awards ceremony in Rio after stunning year for British sport

party just a little while longer.

British athletes, past and present, dominated at the Laureus World Sports awards in Rio de Janeiro on Monday night, as the world of international sport gathered at a glittering ceremony to celebrate an unforgettable year.

Britain may have handed over the Olympic and Paralympic flames to the 2016 host city, but the memory of London 2012 still burnt particularly bright 6,000 miles away in south America on Monday night.

Congratulations: Track and field athlete Jessica Ennis receives her award for 'Laureus Sportswomen of the Year' as presenters Nadia Comaneci and Eva Longoria look on

Congratulations: Track and field athlete Jessica Ennis receives her award for 'Laureus Sportswomen of the Year' as presenters Nadia Comaneci and Eva Longoria look on

Couldn't make it: Andy Murray accepts his award on video because he was in Indian Wells to face Evgeny Donskoy

Couldn't make it: Andy Murray accepts his award on video because he was in Indian Wells to face Evgeny Donskoy

Ennis

Actress Maggie Cheung with Laureus Academy Member Martina Navratilova announce Andy Murray as the winner of 'Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year'

The winners…

World Sportsman of the Year – Usain Bolt

World Sportswoman of the Year – Jessica Ennis

World Breakthrough of the Year – Andy Murray

World Comeback of the Year – Felix Sanchez

World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability – Daniel Dias

Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement Award – Michael Phelps

Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award – Sebastian Coe

World Team of the Year – European Ryder Cup Team

World Action Sportsperson of the Year – Felix Baumgarter

Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis was crowned World Sportswoman of the Year, while Andy Murray won World Breakthrough and Sebastian Coe received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Ian Poulter also accepted the Team of the Year prize on behalf of his European Ryder Cup team-mates.

Tony Blair called Lord Coe one of the ‘giants of British sport’ as the chairman of the London 2012 organising committee and double Olympic champion received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Edwin Moses and was honoured with a standing ovation.

‘I’m surrounded by the most extraordinary group of people, global icons,’ said Lord Coe, ‘and I realise that there is a commonality in the unshakeable belief we have in sport and the fact it transforms lives. This is extraordinary. I’m very, very flattered.’

Ennis beat off competition from fellow Olympic track and field gold medallists Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Allyson Felix, swimmer Missy Franklin, skier Lindsey Vonn and tennis star Serena Williams to win her award, which was presented by former gymnast Nadia Comanechi.

A few hours earlier in a luxurious Rio hotel, Ennis had been discussing her shock and sadness at the closure of Don Valley Stadium in her hometown of Sheffield. Yet she looked equally composed collecting her award at the city’s dramatic Theatro Muncipal last night, during her 36-hour trip to the city in which she will aim to defend her Olympic title in three years’ time. We all know about the extraordinary pressure Ennis was under as the poster girl of London 2012, but it was poignant to see how the sporting world has realised it, too.

‘There was a lot of pressure in London,’ she said. ‘I looked back to what Cathy Freeman achieved in Sydney in 2000 (winning the 400 metres) and I really wanted to emulate that. I have incredible support from my friends and family and I was able to do it.’

Seb Coe

Usain Bolt

Triumphant: Lord Sebastian Coe (above) won the Laureus Lifetime Achievement award while Usain Bolt (right and below) was crowned World Sportsman of the Year

Victory: Usain Bolt

The winners are chosen by the Laureus Sports Academy, comprising 46 of the ‘greatest living sportsmen and sportswomen’, including Sir Bobby Charlton, Daley Thompson and Sir Steve Redgrave, who were all in Rio. Double Olympic decathlon champion Thompson, however, was the only Academy member in a T-Shirt and tracksuit.

Thompson said: ‘Jessica’s performance was majestic. She had the whole weight of the country’s expectation on her shoulders. Despite that, she certainly delivered.

‘She not only produced a wonderful display in her events but she gave the British team an enormous lift. Jessica showed she could win a gold medal, so everyone who followed her also felt they could do it as well.’

Murray was another British winner, receiving the Laureus Breakthrough award after winning Olympic gold and silver and his first Grand Slam at the US Open champion last September.

The Scot, 25, did not attend the ceremony owing to playing commitments in Indian Wells, but said: ‘It was an amazing year: my first Grand Slam in New York and two medals at the Olympics in my home country.

Chit chat: Usian Bolt talks to Laureus Academy Member Michael Johnson as he accepts his award

Laureus Academy Chairman Edwin Moses hands the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award to Coe

Acceptance: Bolt takes his award from Michael Johnson, while Laureus Academy chairman Edwin Moses hands the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award to Coe

Seb Coe with his trophy

'I would have taken that at the start of the year, that’s for sure. Winning an award like this will definitely make me more determined to come back and do better in 2013.’

A video was shown of Poulter receiving the Team of the Year award to mark Europe’s thrilling comeback to win the Ryder Cup.

‘With the legends in sport that have voted for us, it truly is a special trophy to put our hands on,’ he said.

Redgrave presented Michael Phelps with
the inaugural Exceptional Achievement Award, while Mark Spitz also paid
the American a tribute via video link. Phelps, though, was emphatic he
has no intention of trying to add to his 22 Olympic medals in Rio in
2016.

Other winners included
Usain Bolt, who won gold in the 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m relay in London
and became Sportsmen of the Year for the third time, and Felix Sanchez,
the Olympic 400m hurdles champion in 2012 – eight years after his
Olympic title in Athens.

Brazilian
swimmer Daniel Dias, who won six individual gold medals at the
Paralympic Games, fended off competition from Britain’s David Weir to
win Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability. Austrian skydiver Felix
Baumgarter, who became the first human to go through the sound barrier
when he completed a 24-mile free fall over New Mexico in October, was
named World Action Sportsperson of the Year.

Nice work: Michael Phelps poses with the Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement Award in the winners studio at Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro

Nice work: Michael Phelps poses with the Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement Award in the winners studio at Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro

PSG 2 Marseille 0: David Beckham edges out Joey Barton

PSG 2 Marseille 0: Beckham wins battle of Brits as Ibrahimovic downs Barton's boys

PUBLISHED:

21:48 GMT, 27 February 2013

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UPDATED:

21:48 GMT, 27 February 2013

David Beckham was given a less than warm welcome from Joey Barton but had the last laugh as Paris Saint-Germain came out on top against Marseille.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored both goals but all eyes were on Beckham as he made his first start for the French club – and Barton made his presence felt when he barged into his fellow Brit in the first half.

Ibrahimovic opened the scoring 10 minutes before the break and made sure of the victory with a second-half penalty.

Beckham was later booked but was substituted to a standing ovation with five minutes remaining.

More to follow…

Le Crunch: Joey Barton takes no prisoners as David Beckham (right) is sent flying

Le Crunch: Joey Barton takes no prisoners as David Beckham (right) is sent flying

Sore one: Beckham (right) is tackled by Marseille's midfielder Jacques Romao

Sore one: Beckham (right) is tackled by Marseille's midfielder Jacques Romao

Eyes on the prize: Beckham helped his new side to victory in the French Cup tie

Eyes on the prize: Beckham helped his new side to victory in the French Cup tie

Pass and move: Beckham showed signs of his ability on his first start for the Paris club

Pass and move: Beckham showed signs of his ability on his first start for the Paris club

Opening salvo: Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores to put PSG in front against Marseille and celebrates (below)

Opening salvo: Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores to put PSG in front against Marseille and celebrates (below)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates

Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates

Eden Hazard ball boy kick charge shows the FA as hypocrites – Martin Samuel

A booking for one but a charge for the other. — so less than a year ago — Oxford United played at home to Swindon Town in League Two. This is the biggest match of Oxford’s season, for those not up on lower-league rivalries or the geography of middle England. The A420 derby might not enjoy the same prestige as its equivalents in Manchester or Liverpool, but if you have a season ticket at the Kassam Stadium, it’s the big one. There was a crowd of almost 12,000 and tempers ran high.

Oxford had James Constable sent off early, but were leading through goals by Asa Hall and Oli Johnson, when Matt Ritchie, a right winger voted League Two Player of the Year last season, became involved with a slow-moving ball boy, identified as Aidan Hawtin, 16 at the time, and on Oxford’s books as a youth player.

A report from Mark Edwards, sports editor of the Oxford Mail, and published on March 5, explains what happened next: ‘Acting as a ball boy in front of the Oxford Mail stand, Hawtin was grabbed and kicked by Matt Ritchie after the Swindon man felt Hawtin was taking too long to return the ball to goalkeeper Ryan Clarke. “He tried to grab the ball off me and kicked me as well,” Hawtin said. The Oxford Mail stand gave him a huge ovation for his efforts, which saw Ritchie booked for his antics. The Swindon man did apologise to Hawtin at the final whistle, however.’ Sound familiar

Long spell on the sidelines The FA's independent regulatory commission could increase Hazard's three-match ban

Long spell on the sidelines The FA's independent regulatory commission could extend Hazard's ban

A Facebook group catchily named ‘Matt Ritchie is a disgrace’ claimed that Hawtin was ‘grabbed round the throat and pushed’ and there was talk of a complaint to the police. Believing that the punishment should be greater, Myles Francis, an angry Oxford fan, wrote to the FA asking what action would be taken against Ritchie.

Knowing what we know of the FA’s take on Hazard, Ritchie’s yellow card would also have been deemed insufficient, one imagines. The FA made a direct link in their statement between Hazard’s actions and the offence of violent conduct and, coincidentally, that was among the points raised by Francis in his letter.

He wrote: ‘I would be interested to know for what offence Ritchie was cautioned by Mr Salisbury. To my mind, the altercation with the ball boy was a clear case of violent conduct. Violent conduct is defined in Law 12 as “using excessive force or brutality against a team-mate, spectator, match official or any other person”. Law 12 goes on to say that a player guilty of an offence of violent conduct must be sent off [my emphasis].’

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And this was the FA response. ‘Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. The FA have investigated and liaised with Oxford United on this matter. The player was cautioned by the referee for the incident and has subsequently apologised to the satisfaction of the ball boy and Oxford United.’ So much for the hard line.

Faced with near identical transgressions — in both cases the referee saw the incident and administered the punishment he believed fit, in both cases the player apologised and in both there is evidence to suggest that the ball boy was carrying out his duty to the benefit of the home team only — the FA behaved in contradictory ways.

They are now rigorously pursuing Hazard, having completely ignored Ritchie. The letter announcing that no further action would be taken against the Swindon player came from Gary Stonehouse, who is a member of the FA communications team. He signed off on behalf of customer relations.

‘Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you: he really is an idiot,’ President Firefly tells Freedonia’s Cabinet.

But this is not true in Stonehouse’s case. Stonehouse is not to blame for the inconsistency. He is a lowly employee who would no doubt have taken guidance from his superiors over Ritchie. The communications department do not get to make judgment calls on serious disciplinary matters.

Stonehouse would have asked a suitable senior, or the correct department, and would then have mouthed that response. He could not have imagined, either, that within a calendar year those superiors would hang him out to dry by adopting an entirely contradictory stance — just because Hazard’s transgression attracted headlines and Ritchie’s went unnoticed beyond that day’s crowd of 11,825.

Not exactly a kickabout in the park though, was it Not exactly a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing.

Anyway, considering some of the punishments meted out to amateur footballers playing in front of the proverbial two men and a dog, it would be highly disingenuous of the FA to claim that a kick is less of a kick if only 11,000 people see it. Such a stance would be indefensibly hypocritical. Stonehouse’s reply was also the standard FA fudge, hiding behind the dubious excuse that because the referee saw the incident and ruled on it, no further action would be appropriate.

Funny how that does not apply in Hazard’s case.

When Roy Keane almost snapped Alf Inge Haaland in two during the Manchester derby, a foul that still looms large in the memory such was its studied viciousness, there could be no additional action against the Manchester United player because referee David Elleray brandished a red card. In Hazard’s case, this no longer applies. More confusion, more inconsistency, more regulation on the hoof.

No extended ban: Roy Keane was sent off for this appalling tackle on Alf Inge Haaland

No extended ban: Roy Keane was sent off for this appalling tackle on Alf Inge Haaland

It wasn’t so long ago that the FA self-servingly appealed a lengthy UEFA ban for violent conduct because it would free up Wayne Rooney to play in the European Championship finals. Now they want to come over all masterful, the guardians of morality. They should pick a face, and wear it.

Chelsea are aware of the Ritchie precedent and may use it in defence of Hazard. At the very least, they believe its existence is an embarrassment and a point of weakness for the FA. Yet has that bothered them in the past

This is an organisation who speak proudly, some might say shamelessly, of their high conviction rate in disciplinary matters, having devised a system in which the prosecution appoints the independent judges and is therefore responsible for covering their time and expenses. Such a system creates an obvious conflict of interest.

On disciplinary matters, the FA act like the Mounties, always getting their man. But that is not so hard when the same body get to play judge and jury, and write the rulebook.

Their problem is that we now live in an age where even the smallest details exist in the public domain and a two-minute internet search can throw up records, precedents and case histories that were once filed and helpfully forgotten. You have got to be good to preside over sport these days because an Oxford fan with time on his hands and a computer can post damning correspondence on a forum that is picked up and circulated like wildfire.

At which point, a body as morally flexible as the FA are likely to be asked how their populist posturing over Hazard can be justified when less than a year ago, an identical incident was deemed worthy of no more than a yellow card, an apology and a handshake.

President Firefly would certainly know how to administer justice in these circumstances. ‘I got a good mind to join a club — and beat you over the head with it.’

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Veron proves Fergie is not always right

Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United, regards some of those criticising his goalkeeper David de Gea as idiots. He is entitled to his opinion. It is not as if anyone is going to score many points disputing the merit of professional footballers with the greatest manager in the world.

One cannot help but recall, though, that the last time he used this phrase was over criticism of Juan Sebastian Veron’s performances for United. Remind us what happened there again

Expensive mistake: Juan Sebastian Veron cost Manchester United 28m - he was sold to Chelsea for 15m

Expensive mistake: Juan Sebastian Veron cost Manchester United 28m – he was sold to Chelsea for 15m

And while we’re at it…

It was a wonderful weekend in the FA Cup. Luton Town’s victory is among the greatest upsets of the modern era, while the results for Oldham Athletic, Milton Keynes Dons, Leeds United and Brentford were stunning achievements. Arsenal also defeated Brighton and Hove Albion in a five-goal thriller.

Yet live on ITV on Saturday, Stoke City played Manchester City and Fulham travelled to Manchester United. The richer teams won. Ho, and indeed, hum.

No imagination, some people, when it comes to Cup football. If City had drawn United then, yes, show a glorified Premier League game. But these were not even particularly good replica league fixtures. They would not have been the marquee match on any casual Saturday.

When United went a goal up after three minutes through Ryan Giggs, their tie with Fulham was dead and Stoke’s defeat was eminently forgettable. Some think the Cup has lost its magic, yet the earliest stages of the competition rarely fail to delight. It is football’s television masters that have grown stale.

The magic of the Cup: Luton's stunning victory at Carrow Road was one of the great giant-killings

The magic of the Cup: Luton's stunning victory at Carrow Road was one of the great giant-killings

Dual role: Sky pundit and England coach Gary Neville

Dual role: Sky pundit and England coach Gary Neville

Crunch time to come for Neville

Few pundits have a higher approval rating than Gary Neville. Fans who thought they would hate him on Sky love him instead for his honest, straight-shooting appraisals. Falling out with Sir Alex Ferguson over David de Gea will only enhance his reputation. Richard Keys could not have picked a worse week to suggest Neville was being operated, remotely, from inside Old Trafford.

Keys did make one valid point, though. Crunch time for Neville, Sky and the Football Association is yet to come. Last weekend, Neville stated quite explicitly that Tottenham Hotspur player Clint Dempsey should have gone down under pressure from a Patrice Evra challenge in the penalty area, rather than staying on his feet. As Roy Hodgson’s England regime remains inexplicably on honeymoon, the comment was ignored.

There will come a time, however, when results are not good and some are looking to make mischief for Hodgson. At which point ENGLAND COACH TELLS PLAYERS TO CHEAT would be quite a lively story. Under pressure.

That is when Neville’s hope of riding both horses to the finish line will be tested, not before.

David Beckham farewell ends with victory for LA Galaxy over Houston Dynamo

From cynicism to people's champion, Beckham heads back to Europe after his American adventure more acclaimed than ever

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UPDATED:

00:23 GMT, 2 December 2012

What began amid cynicism and courted controversy and suspicion along the way, ended here in California tonight with a standing ovation. David Beckham’s American journey is over and he heads back to Europe as a winner.

It was six years ago that Beckham moved to Los Angeles at the age of 31 to play football. It seemed a peculiar thing to do for a man still with so many years ahead of him. The MLS was not a great league and LA Galaxy were a club – or a ‘franchise’ – in a bit of a mess.

But as Beckham took his leave a minute before the end of his team’s 3-1 win in the MLS Cup Final here today, few would contest his own view that America has been as good to him as, eventually, he has been to America.

Fond farewell: David Beckham has crowned his six year spell in the United States and the Los Angeles Galaxy with another MLS Cup victory, after they beat Houston Dynamo 3-1

Fond farewell: David Beckham has crowned his six year spell in the United States and the Los Angeles Galaxy with another MLS Cup victory, after they beat Houston Dynamo 3-1

Here's the punchline: Beckham celebrates after Omar Gonzalez had brought the match level at 1-1 early in the second half

Here's the punchline: Beckham celebrates after Omar Gonzalez had brought the match level at 1-1 early in the second half

Family man: Beckham lines up with his sons, Brooklyn (left), Romeo (middle) and Cruz before kick-off

Family man: Beckham lines up with his sons, Brooklyn (left), Romeo (middle) and Cruz before kick-off

Trailing by a goal at half-time, it looked for a while as though Beckham’s big day was about to collapse around his sparkling pink football foots. Galaxy had been the better team but had been hit by a sucker punch from Houston just before the interval.

In the second half, though, Beckham wrote his name all over this contest. He was the game’s best player and by full-time he had made many of the decisive contributions.

Beckham may not be able to run like he once could. It will be this, in all likelihood, that ultimately prevents him landing a contract at one of Europe’s bigger clubs as he looks to extend his remarkable career yet further in the coming weeks.

As a football technician, though, he remains almost unparalleled. Here today, some of his passing was reminiscent of his salad days at Manchester United and Real Madrid. Playing deep in the centre of midfield, the 37-year-old found the time and space to deliver telling passes with familiar regularity.

Still got it: Beckham produced a number of superlative, hallmark passes during the final

Still got it: Beckham produced a number of superlative, hallmark passes during the final

Hair-raising: Beckham challenged Houston's Ricardo Clark to the ball

Hair-raising: Beckham challenged Houston's Ricardo Clark to the ball

Indeed the one 80-yard first-time pass he played with his right foot to Robbie Keane on the hour will not be bettered anywhere this weekend. It was classic Beckham.

With the Home Depot Center awash with Beckham t-shirts and banners – “Take us with you, Becks” read one popular shirt – this day was somewhat different to the difficult early ones when the former England captain’s commitment to his team was questioned by supporters and colleagues alike.

Ultimately, it was just a shame that he was denied a fitting finale.

Much loved: Beckham's departure was mourned by LA Galaxy fans, who made a number of tribute banners for his farewell

Much loved: Beckham's departure was mourned by LA Galaxy fans, who made a number of tribute banners for his farewell

Memento: This Galaxy fan wanted the shirt of Beckham's back

Memento: This Galaxy fan wanted the shirt of Beckham's back

With Galaxy awarded a penalty with seconds remaining, Beckham and team-mate Landon Donovan – the regular taker – seemed to agree that the Englishman would take it. He seemed set to end his career here with a goal.

Keane had other ideas, however, and the Irishman didn’t even look at his team-mate as he placed the ball and slotted it in to the net for the third goal.

As Keane celebrated, though, it was Beckham who was mobbed. Moments earlier he had sunk to his knees. His final mission had been accomplished.

As he left the field soon after, 30,000 people rose to applaud him. He merely waved to his three sons in the crowd and took his place on the bench.

Beckham’s visit to America is over and he ends it with another trophy. Has he been a success over here Try telling the Galaxy otherwise.

Southampton 1 Norwich 1: Mark Clattenburg returns, Rickie Lambert and Robert Snodgrass score

Southampton 1 Norwich 1: Clattenburg back with a clanger with Lambert on hand to take advantage

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UPDATED:

22:12 GMT, 28 November 2012

Mark Clattenburg probably hoped for a gentle re-introduction into Premier League refereeing. He did not get it.

Taking charge of a football match for the first-time since being wrongly accused of racially abusing John Mikel Obi, the official missed a crucial handball in the lead up to Southampton taking the lead, before being targeted with cries of 'you don't know what you're doing' and 'you're not fit to referee' from Saints supporters as Norwich fought their way back into this encounter.

It all started so well for Clattenburg, as he was given a standing ovation during his pre-match warm up. But little did he know how feelings towards him would change.

The main man: Rickie Lambert (left) put Southampton ahead

The main man: Rickie Lambert (left) put Southampton ahead

Match facts

Southampton: Gazzaniga, Clyne, Yoshida, Fonte, Shaw, Puncheon, Schneiderlin, Cork, Lallana, Lambert, Ramirez. Subs not used: Kelvin Davis, Hooiveld, Steven Davis, Rodriguez, Do Prado, Mayuka, Reeves.

Booked: Clyne.

Goal: Lambert 32.

Norwich: Bunn, Whittaker, Ryan Bennett, Bassong, Garrido, Snodgrass, Johnson, Tettey, Pilkington, Hoolahan, Holt. Subs not used: Rudd, Martin, Howson, Jackson, Morison, Elliott Bennett, Barnett.

Goal: Snodgrass 45.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg.

Attendance: 29,325.

The latest Premier League fixtures, tables and results

How the referee would fare on his
return to frontline action would have been the last thing on the minds
the two managers, Nigel Adkins of Southampton and Norwich’s Chris
Hughton. Both sides went into the game in promising form.

Since emerging victorious from ‘El
Sackico’ against Queens Park Rangers 12 days ago, Southampton swept
Newcastle aside on Sunday to keep Adkins in a job — for now.

Likewise, Norwich have gone seven games unbeaten — a run that has included wins over Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham.

Hughton’s glee was tempered somewhat
before kick-off with the news that first-choice goalkeeper John Ruddy
will miss at least three months as he prepares to have surgery on a
thigh problem.

Norwich created the first
opportunity, goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga producing an excellent save to
stop Anthony Pilkington’s effort in the fifth minute.

Eight minutes later, Clattenburg made
his first major decision, waving away Southampton’s claims for a
penalty after Adam Lallana went down under pressure from Sebastien
Bassong.

Welcome return: Referee Mark Clattenburg took charge of his first game since the Chelsea race row

Welcome return: Referee Mark Clattenburg took charge of his first game since his Chelsea race row hell

Welcome return: Mark Clattenburg was given a standing ovation at St Mary's before officiating his first game since the Chelsea race storm

Welcome return: Mark Clattenburg was given a standing ovation at St Mary's before officiating his first game since the Chelsea race storm

The centre of attention: Clattenburg keeps Alex Tettey and Morgan Schneiderlin apart

The centre of attention: Clattenburg keeps Alex Tettey and Morgan Schneiderlin apart

The Saints skipper then went within
inches of putting his side ahead with a spectacular volley when his
sweet strike from Lambert’s arrowing pass flew just over Mark Bunn’s
bar.

But the home side only had to wait
seven more minutes to take the lead — but it came in controversial
circumstances, with Clattenburg at the centre of it.

Lallana swung in a
free-kick from the left, Grant Holt made a hash of his attempted
defensive header before the ball clearly hit Lambert on the arm.

On target: Rickie Lambert pokes past Mark Bunn to give Saints the lead

On target: Rickie Lambert pokes past Mark Bunn to give Saints the lead

On target: Rickie Lambert makes no mistake, converting from inside the six yard box

On target: Rickie Lambert makes no mistake, converting from inside the six yard box

Bright start: Rickie Lambert's sixth of the season first Saints ahead

Bright start: Rickie Lambert's sixth of the season first Saints ahead

However, Clattenburg ignored
Norwich’s appeal for handball before Lambert took advantage of the
uncertainty to prod home from close range.

Gaston Ramirez went close to doubling the home side’s lead with curling free-kick that flew narrowly wide of Bunn’s far post.

Massive clanger: Saints keeper Paulo Gazzaniga allowed Robert Snodgrass' free-kick to slip through his hands just before the break

Massive clanger: Saints keeper Paulo Gazzaniga allowed Robert Snodgrass' free-kick to slip through his hands just before the break

Pure delight: Robert Snodgrass looks stunned after Paulo Gazzaniga's howler let Norwich back into the game

Pure delight: Robert Snodgrass looks stunned after Paulo Gazzaniga's howler let Norwich back into the game

But on the stroke of half-time,
Norwich dragged themselves level, thanks in part to Clattenburg. The
referee awarded Hughton’s side a free-kick on the edge of the area for
Nathaniel Clyne’s challenge on Snodgrass — and the Norwich midfielder
struck a shot that somehow went through Gazzaniga and into the back of
the net.

Clattenburg was treated to
renditions of ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’, from home supporters,
who had grown frustrated at the number of decisions that had gone
Norwich’s way.

Tough to stop: Adam Lallana skips past Bradley Johnson to launch another Saints attack

Tough to stop: Adam Lallana skips past Bradley Johnson to launch another Saints attack

Clyne made a superb tackle to deny
Pilkington in the 60th minute as Norwich started the second half with
renewed vigour, before Gazzaniga made up for his first-half error with a
brilliant save from Holt header.

Jason Puncheon then saw his low
powerful drive well saved by Bunn as Southampton were denied the win
that would have lifted them out of the bottom three.

Kevin Pietersen"s five best innings – Sportsmail looks back

After his man of the match knock in Mumbai, Sportsmail remembers five of KP's best

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UPDATED:

08:29 GMT, 26 November 2012

1 158 v Australia, The Oval, 2005

Secured England’s first Ashes victory since 1986-87 with a stunning post-lunch assault on Brett Lee, and finished with seven sixes on one of the most famous days in English cricketing history

2 151 v Sri Lanka, Colombo, 2011-12

Switch-hit Sri Lanka to distraction, whacking six sixes in a 165-ball innings to help England square the series after four Test defeats in a row.

Reaching new heights: KP was at his big-hitting best in Colombo in 2012

Reaching new heights: KP was at his big-hitting best in Colombo in 2012

3 149 v South Africa, Headingley 2012

Two days before claiming ‘it’s hard being me’, Pietersen suggested it was actually quite fun, destroying the world’s best seam attack on a memorable Saturday afternoon

4 186 v India, Mumbai, 2012-13

With the pressure on after his double failure at Ahmedabad, Pietersen showed he was none for the worse for his exile. Walked off to a standing ovation at the Wankhede.

Turn around: KP turned a terrible situation into a match-winning one

Turn around: KP turned a terrible situation into a match-winning one

5 129 v New Zealand, Napier, 2007-08

England were 4 for 3 on the first morning of the series decider against the Kiwis, but Pietersen gauged the seam-friendly conditions perfectly to set up victory.

England's finest on century duty

Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen have scored more Test runs in Asia than any other English batsmen.

England in India

Cook and Pietersen equalled the English record of 22 Test tons (Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey and Geoff Boycott) but they are a way behind the world’s top five.

The best

Pietersen is currently 35th on the all-time Test run-scoring list and Cook is 44th.

Best ever

Cook has now scored more runs than any other batsman by the age of 27.

Cook

Lewis Hamilton farewell to McLaren

Hamilton rues Brazil crash as Brit bids emotional farewell to McLaren

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UPDATED:

22:41 GMT, 25 November 2012

A numb Lewis Hamilton bade an emotional farewell to McLaren as his six-year journey with the team ended in bitter frustration.

Just seven days after the ultimate high of victory in the United States Grand Prix came a gut-wrenching low after crashing out in an extraordinary race in Brazil when in the lead.

It is the third time in the last seven races Hamilton has lost out on a maximum haul of points when front running, epitomising the turbulent campaign he has been forced to endure.

End of an era: Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button celebrate the latter's win in Brazil

End of an era: Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button celebrate the latter's win in Brazil

On this occasion, with mayhem taking place all over Interlagos, the 27-year-old was slid into by Force India's Nico Hulkenberg as the German attempted to regain a lead he had earlier lost to Hamilton.

The resulting damage of a broken front-left suspension saw Hamilton retire for the fifth time this year, and a walk back to the garage where he was given a standing ovation.

For Hamilton, there is now a month off before joining Mercedes on January 1 on a three-year deal, but not after many goodbyes to a team he has been associated with for the last 14 years.

'I don't remember too much about the accident with Nico, but he came to see me after the race, which was nice,' said Hamilton.

Over and out: Hamilton collided with Nico Hulkenberg and his race was finished

Over and out: Hamilton collided with Nico Hulkenberg and his race was finished

Over and out: Hamilton collided with Nico Hulkenberg and his race was finished

'Now the season is done and dusted, I feel a bit numb. It's been a day of mixed emotions, and I'm sad I didn't finish the race.

'But I'm excited about the future. I'll miss my friends and McLaren, but I'm optimistic about what lies ahead for me.

'I feel comfortable going into this winter because I feel I did a good job this year. I gave 2012 everything I had. I couldn't have done anything more.

'It's been a brilliant experience to be a part of McLaren over the past six years.

'I want to thank everyone, and sincerely wish everyone the very best for the future.

'They've been fantastic, so supportive, and they continue to do an amazing job, so to everyone at McLaren, I'll miss each and every one of you.'

Head to head: Hamilton and Button had one final battle (above) before hugging it out (below)

Head to head: Hamilton and Button had one final battle (above) before hugging it out (below)

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton at least wore a rocket-red victory top one final time, even if not in the circumstances he had hoped for, given team-mate Jenson Button inherited the victory following his collision with Hulkenberg.

It was Button's third triumph of the year for McLaren, and enough to see him finish ahead of Hamilton on total points over their three-year partnership.

Once the furore had died down, Button paid a heart-felt tribute to Hamilton as he said: 'I had a lot of fun racing with him, especially for the first 10 laps. We had a really good, clean fight.

'It's a pity he wasn't still there at the end, but it was nice to have such a great dice with him in our last race as McLaren team-mates.

'And I really want to say this: 'It's been so good working with you, Lewis. Over the past few years, we've driven a lot of great races together. It's been fab'.'

Fabrice Muamba lauds Spurs fans on emotional White Hart Lane return

Muamba lauds Spurs fans and looks for closure on emotional White Hart Lane return

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UPDATED:

23:13 GMT, 8 November 2012

Fabrice Muamba broke down in tears as he revisited the scene of his horrific cardiac arrest for the first time.

Muamba stunned the football world on March 17 when, while playing for Bolton, he suddenly collapsed off the ball in the first half of their FA Cup tie against Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

The 24-year-old's heart stopped beating for 78 minutes hours but remarkably he made a full recovery after being rushed by ambulance to the nearby London Chest Hospital.

Closure: Fabrice Muamba gestures to the Spurs fans on an emotional return to White Hart Lane

Closure: Fabrice Muamba gestures to the Spurs fans on an emotional return to White Hart Lane

Cardiologist Andrew Deaner also leapt from his seat in the White Hart Lane crowd to aid the stricken midfielder.

And the former England Under 21 international, who has since retired from football, returned to the home of the north London club during their Europa League Group J clash against Maribor.

Muamba emerged from the tunnel at half-time to a huge standing ovation from the home support and went over and pointed to the exact spot where he collapsed nearly seven months ago.

Touched: Muamba was moved by the occasion and by the warmth received at White Hart Lane

Touched: Muamba was moved by the occasion and by the warmth received at White Hart Lane

He then dabbed away tears before addressing the crowd. Struggling to get his words out, an emotional Muamba said: 'I can't express… All I can say is thanks to the Tottenham fans the way they reacted (when he collapsed).

'There are people out there who prayed for me. I want to thank the chairman, and to all the Spurs fans. I am grateful to them. They are awesome fans.'

Muamba's collapse caused a huge outpouring of sympathy from leading figures within the game.

Composing his thoughts: Muamba prepares to return to the site of his cardiac arrest

Composing his thoughts: Muamba prepares to return to the site of his cardiac arrest

Composing his thoughts: Muamba prepares to return to the site of his cardiac arrest (left) before walking on the pitch

He has spent his recent time writing an autobiography and has also been trying to raise awareness about heart problems.

'We just want to raise money so everyone has their heart checked,' he added. 'Today I wanted to visit that place one more time for closure.'

Andre Villas-Boas was glad to see Muamba had recovered from the collapse.

Anxious moments: Bolton players show their concern as medics attend to Muamba in March

Anxious moments: Bolton players show their concern as medics attend to Muamba in March

The Tottenham manager wrote in his programme notes: 'I would like to extend a special welcome here this evening to Fabrice Muamba.

'What happened to Fabrice at this stadium eight months ago has obviously changed his life forever.

'Everyone in the game and the wider footballing world was delighted to see him make a full recovery. We are thrilled to have him here tonight and I would like to wish him the very best for the future.'

Mario Balotelli storms off pitch and flies home

Balotelli storms off pitch and jets home after being substituted in victory over Sunderland

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UPDATED:

20:43 GMT, 6 October 2012

Sulky Mario Balotelli stormed down the tunnel when he was substituted by manager Roberto Mancini after just 55 minutes of Manchester City's victory against Sunderland on Saturday.

And within hours, the 22-year-old Italian had boarded a budget airline flight from Manchester back to his homeland.

Senior figures at City now doubt that they will ever be able to harness Balotelli's talent.

Going somewhere Mario Balotelli was photographed at Manchester Airport just hours after his side beat Sunderland

Going somewhere Mario Balotelli was photographed at Manchester Airport just hours after his side beat Sunderland

Bon voyage: Mario Balotelli walked past Roberto Mancini before storming down the tunnel after being substituted for Sergio Aguero

Bon voyage: Mario Balotelli walked past Roberto Mancini before storming
down the tunnel after being substituted for Sergio Aguero (below right)

Bon voyage: Mario Balotelli walked past Roberto Mancini before storming down the tunnel after being substituted for Sergio Aguero

And the latest incident will heap pressure on Mancini to try to sell him in the January transfer window.

Balotelli was unhappy at the treatment he received from Sunderland defenders throughout the game, and after waning in the second half he took an age to trudge across the pitch when his No 45 flashed up to indicate he was being replaced by Sergio Aguero.

Staring blankly ahead, he walked straight past the City substitutes and coaching staff and strode down the tunnel without a backward glance.

City will not be impressed with his unwillingness to stay and support his team-mates but disciplinary action is unlikely.

Most tellingly, City fans who once adored the maverick striker gave only lukewarm applause as Balotelli strode past his manager and teammates to head straight for the dressing room – and gave Aguero a huge ovation as he came on.

The Argentine took just five minutes to succeed where Balotelli had failed by scoring City's second goal. City coach David Platt confirmed that Balotelli had not been injured or given permission to walk away from his team-mates.

'I don't know why he disappeared down the tunnel,' said Platt. Mancini sent out mixed messages when asked about Balotelli.

'I was happy with Mario,' he said before adding: 'He can do better.' Balotelli has courted controversy since his 24 million move from Inter Milan, where manager Jose Mourinho considered him unmanageable.

The fans' patience and that of the club has grown thin, particularly following his red card at Arsenal in April, which could have cost his club the title.

Frustrated: Balotelli was unhappy with the treatment he received from the Sunderland players

Frustrated: Balotelli was unhappy with the treatment he received from the Sunderland players

Frustrated: Balotelli was unhappy with the treatment he received from the Sunderland players

Michael Owen back at Liverpool – Mersey Beat

Owen ready for another uncomfortable afternoon
back at Liverpool

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UPDATED:

15:16 GMT, 5 October 2012

They will give him a generous ovation on Sunday. As is usually the case when a former player’s name is read out, the Kop will clap, sing his old song and recognise the service he gave.

Given he appeared in a European final, played a crucial role in helping Liverpool win an FA Cup and lead the line with distinction, becoming a crowd favourite in the process, it is only right that the Kop will look to acknowledge Peter Crouch when sets foot on Anfield’s turf once more.

This way to Anfield: Michael Owen can expect a lukewarm reception

This way to Anfield: Michael Owen can expect a lukewarm reception

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What happens when Michael Owen does something similar, however, will be completely different.

He did all the things Crouch did for Liverpool and more but, for him, the best scenario for which he can hope is muted applause.

It is nothing new, of course. Owen has been back to play at Anfield on several occasions since he left for Real Madrid in 2004 for both Newcastle United and Manchester United – he even pulled on a Red shirt during Jamie Carragher’s testimonial in September 2010.

Each time he return, though, it sharpens the focus of what could and should have been but now never will be. Owen, remember, was one of the greatest goalscorers of his generation. In 2001, he won the FA Cup final almost single-handedly and was named European Footballer of the Year.

During one of the many transitional periods Liverpool have endured in the past two decades, Owen’s emergence was genuinely thrilling and whenever the club had a big game, he could be relied upon to come up with the goods.

With a tally of 158 goals in 297 appearances, Owen, by rights, should receive the warmest of welcomes whenever he comes back to the place that was once his home but now all he can expect is indifference and ambivalence.

Golden boy: Owen started his career at Liverpool and was once a hero

Golden boy: Owen started his career at Liverpool and was once a hero

Now this is not a sob story on Owen’s
behalf. Far from it. There are reasons – plenty of them valid – as to
why the Kop have lost their rapport with the former England
international and sympathy is not something he will ever get at Anfield.

Owen, after all, is accountable for the decisions he made.

For starters, there was the manner in which he left in 2004. Having indicated that he was ready to sign a new contract, he sat out Rafael Benitez’s first game against AK Graz in the Champions League and within days had signed for Madrid.

Then, when presented with the chance to re-sign for Liverpool 12 months later, he chose to join Newcastle instead at the last minute. When he headed back to Anfield that Christmas for a Premier League game, he was the subject of chants of, among others things, 'Where were you in Istanbul'

‘I could see the deflation in his eyes and recognised how hurt he was,’ Carragher wrote in his autobiography about the incident. ‘To see a player who had played his heart out for us on the end of a reception so untypical of those that former Anfield heroes usually get was depressing.

‘Over the years I’ve seen players who didn’t contribute half as much as Michael, and some who were only here for a season or two, be welcomed back as if they had played 500 games and won dozen of trophies. It made no sense.’

Of course, any hope that bridges would have been rebuilt were extinguished when Owen went to Manchester United in 2009 but, given he was without a club at that time, it was hardly an offer he could refuse, particularly as Liverpool showed no interest then to bring him back.

There was talk about Owen being drafted back to Liverpool as an emergency measure last month but it lacked substance. Brendan Rodgers has a vision in mind and it does not include signing a 32-year-old who has not started a Premier League game for two years and three days.

Tony Pulis, though, has an idea in mind for Owen and the Potteries are where he will see out his playing days. But what happens then

Will Owen ever return to Anfield and watch a game from the stands Will he be welcomed back, say, if a reunion takes place for the treble winners of 2001

To look at everything Owen achieved for Liverpool, those questions should not be asked. That they are tells you everything about a sad situation.