Ireland’s clash with Italy postponed, Man City stun Real Madrid
The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
Zinedine Zidane saw his Real Madrid side throw away a 1-0 lead against Man City. Photograph: Pierre-Philippe Marcou/Getty/AFP
Ireland’s Six Nations clash with Italy on Saturday March 7th has been postponed due to fears over the coronavirus. The IRFU confirmed the fourth round match wouldn’t go ahead after meeting with the Minister for Health Simon Harris yesterday. The fixture - along with the women’s and Under-20s games - now has to be rearranged in an already congested calendar, with it unlikely to take place this campaign. As Gerry Thornley writes: “There is no blank weekend for the remainder of this season which, due to the Rugby World Cup, runs until June 20th when the Pro 14 final is scheduled to be played in Cardiff, after which the Irish senior squad embark on a two-week tour to Australia.” The rest of the Six Nations Championship is also in doubt, with England due to visit Rome in the final round of fixtures on March 14th.
Elsewhere Manchester City - who are facing a two-year ban from the Champions League for breaking financial fair play rules - have grabbed the initiative in their last-16 tie against Real Madrid with a 2-1 first leg win at the Bernabeu last night. Zinedine Zidane’s 13-time winners took the lead on the hour mark through Isco before capitulating late on - a Gabriel Jesus header and a 83rd-minute Kevin de Bruyne penalty, as well as a Sergio Ramos red card, leaving City firmly in the driving seat. Elsewhere Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus have plenty of work to do after they were beaten 1-0 away to Lyon, Lucas Tousart with a first-half winner. Tonight Manchester United welcome Club Brugge to Old Trafford in for the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie with the scores level at 1-1 after last week’s sodden draw in Belgium. Celtic and Arsenal are also in action tonight against FC Copenhagen and Olympiakos respectively.