Son sees Spurs past Red Star, Johnny Sexton on Ireland’s World Cup ‘failure’
The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
Kyle Walker was forced to play in goal for Manchester City against Atalanta. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty
Tottenham Hotspur registered their first away win of the season last night, as they routed Red Star Belgrade 4-0 at the Marakana, to put themselves within touching distance of the Champions League knockout stages. Son Heung-min was on target twice - after being involved in the incident which saw Everton’s Andre Gomes seriously injured on Sunday - with Giovani Lo Celso’s comical opener and Christian Eriksen bookending the scoring. Elsewhere Manchester City were held 1-1 by Serie A side Atalanta at the San Siro, Mario Pasalic cancelling out Raheem Sterling’s fine opener. City finished the match with Kyle Walker in goal, with Claudio Bravo sent off in the 81st minute after he replaced the injured Ederson at half-time. Among the night’s other results, Real Madrid thrashed Galatasaray 6-0 and PSG squeezed past Club Brugge, winning 1-0 in Paris. Earlier in the evening Arsenal were denied at the death as they drew 1-1 with Vitoria de Guimaraes on a sodden evening in northern Portgal. Tonight Manchester United welcome Partizan Belgrade to Old Trafford (kick-off 8pm) and Celtic face Lazio in Rome (5.55pm).
Elsewhere the 2019-20 Heineken Champions Cup was officially launched in Cardiff yesterday, with Leinster and Ireland outhalf Johnny Sexton reflecting on his side’s poor showing at the Rugby World Cup, and suggesting there was only one way to view 2019: “As a failure. You can have opinions on why but it is a failure. We didn’t do what we wanted in the Six Nations. We didn’t do what we wanted in the World Cup so there is no other way to look at it.” But he insists Ireland were well prepared for their quarter-final clash with the All Blacks, in which they were routed 46-14: “We trained unbelievably well. We prepared unbelievably well. There seemed to be a feel of a really special week but we weren’t clinical enough on the day. They obviously played exceptional.” Meanwhile former England and current Harlequins captain Chris Robshaw has been critical of Saracens, with the English champions facing a 35-point deduction and €6.2million fine for a breach of the Premiership salary cap. He said: “Call it what you want. It is cheating. It is not a good situation for our sport to be in. It is not a thing we pride ourselves on.”