Liverpool’s European hopes ended; Zebo’s Munster return a good move for all
The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold after the Champions League defeat to Real Madrid. Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Liverpool are set for a barren season after their hopes of Champions League glory were ended last night by Real Madrid thanks to a 0-0 draw at Anfield which saw the Spanish side go through as 3-1 winners on aggregate. It’s a season that has gone from bad to worse for the Premier League champions who now have a job on their hands just to secure a top-four finish with Jurgen Klopp saying that last night’s result was the story of their season. Real Madrid will now go on to face Chelsea in the semi-finals while Manchester City will meet Paris Saint-Germain after they saw off Borussia Dortmund with Phil Foden netting the winner. Pep Guardiola’s side now harbour real hopes of a historic quadruple and afterwards the manager hailed his team for “building history”.
On to rugby and the big breaking news yesterday was that Simon Zebo will be returning to Munster as he brings his stint at Racing 92 to a close. The contract will be co-funded by the IRFU and will see Zebo line out for his home club where he made 144 appearances and scored 60 tries, making him the province’s all-time record try scorer, between 2010 and 2018. Writing this morning, Gerry Thornley says that the move is a good one for all parties with the 2023 Rugby World Cup a real carrot on the horizon. Meanwhile, an unintended consequence of the Irish Government’s mandatory hotel quarantine system could yet ruin the 2021 women’s Six Nations, writes Gavin Cummiskey. Ireland play Italy in Parma on April 24th and, as it currently stands, the squad may face 10 days of hotel isolation on their return, something which former Ireland captain Fiona Coughlan says would be “incredibly tough” given that the players all have jobs to return to.