1) Whilst the rest of the sporting world is shutting down, the relatively low spread of coronavirus in Mexico means that Liga MX was one of the few major global football leagues still playing matches last weekend. As this parish has previously covered, the Mexican top flight is no backwater. It has been recently graced by the mercurial Ravel Morrison, the deadly Keisuke Honda and the, erm, Vincent Janssen.
However, to view Liga MX as just a home for forgotten names of football is to do it a disservice. Try matching the 2013 Clausura Final for drama. Down to 10 men and trailing 2-0 on aggregate to rivals Cruz Azul in the 88th minute of the second leg, Miguel ‘Piojo’ Herrera’s Club América scored twice to force penalties. Goalkeeper Moisés Muñoz was the hero in the shootout, saving Javier Orozco’s effort as América won 4-2. Herrera’s celebrations in the rain are also quite something.
Spare a thought for Cruz Azul. That defeat in 2013 prolonged a wait for a league crown that is still ongoing and stretches back to 1997. La Maquina’s last title was secured in almost equally dramatic and certainly more violent circumstances than their aforementioned loss. In extra time of the league final’s second leg, with Cruz Azul searching for a win after the tie finished 1-1 on aggregate, León’s Argentine keeper Ángel Comizzo chose to reinforce a well-worn cliché.
The Turkish Super Lig is still carrying on, albeit without fans. In the absence of supporters, there could be more Graeme Souness-esque shenanigans as they will not fear the retribution. Few remember Kevin Campbell’s spell at Trabzonspor but it happened and he downed Galatasaray. Les Ferdinand hit 14 goals in just 24 games during a loan spell with Besiktas. Not to mention some Dean Saunders magic for Galatasaray.
2) Also lost to coronavirus was the returning XFL, a supposedly family-friendly revival of Vince McMahon’s infamous early naughties flop football league. Whilst American TV viewership did not continue to match the week one promise, it does appear the XFL’s all-access style and raw play gained enough traction to do what it could not do in 2001 and earn a second season.
3) With handshakes out for the time being, the NBA reminds us what we are missing. Whilst Tom Curry is probably glad to do away with the formalities, in the PDC Premier League Gerwyn Price has his own way of avoiding unwanted contact.
5) Martin Fourcade retired last week. He may not be a household name outside of France, or even biathlon, but you cannot dispute that when it came to sprinting uphill on skis and firing a gun he was a star. Do not just take Classic YouTube’s word for it, the climax of his 15 kilometre mass start win at the Olympics in 2018 – one of three three gold medals in PyeongChang and five over the course his career – is tour de force in TV tension, even in Czech.
3) Here is 11 minutes of Roberto Carlos.
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