NFL greats Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers go toe-to-toe … Novak Djokovic loses Paris Masters final … Female referee makes rugby history … PSG breaks 58-year record. Here’s your Monday sporting recap.
1. Brady the winner in quarterback duel
Two of the best NFL players of all time went head-to-head Sunday as Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, quarterbacks sharing five MVPs between them, faced each other for only the second time.
It was 41-year-old Brady who celebrated victory in Massachusetts as the New England Patriots beat the Green Bay packers 31-17, improving its record to 7-2 to top AFC East. But it was thanks largely to the Patriots’ team effort, rather than a starring role from its quarterback.
Stats-wise, there wasn’t much between the NFL greats. Rodgers threw for two touchdowns and 259 yards, while Brady threw for just one and picked up 294 yards. Neither threw an interception.
Brady, however, did put his name in the history books once again, surpassing a record held by Peyton Manning, in becoming the first NFL player to amass more than 80,000 total yards in his career.
2. Djokovic on top of the world despite defeat
Novak Djokovic returns to the top of the world rankings Monday, but the Serb could not celebrate being top of the pile after a two-year absence with a fifth Paris Masters title, falling to a straight-sets defeat by Russia’s Karen Khachanov in Sunday’s final.
The loss ended Djokovic’s 22-match unbeaten run — yet the second half of the year has still been remarkable for the 31-year-old who had won only six matches in his first six events of 2018. Indeed, he is only the second man to rise from outside the world’s top 20 to world No.1 in the same year.
Djokovic beat Roger Federer in an epic three-set semifinal in the French capital Saturday, which the Serb has described as “one of the best” matches between the pair.
Speaking of Federer, the Swiss has voiced his opinion on Serena Williams’ US Open outburst, saying that the American great “went too far” during September’s final where she called the umpire a “liar” and a “thief” during her defeat by Naomi Osaka.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, the 20-time grand slam champion said: “I feel like Serena should have walked away. She did, but she went too far. She should have walked away earlier. The umpire maybe should not have pushed her there. It’s unfortunate, but an incredible case study.”
3. Female referee makes English rugby history
History was made Saturday as Sara Cox became the first woman to referee a top-tier English match, taking charge of Northampton Saints’ 15-14 win over Wasps in the Premiership Rugby Cup.
In March 2016, English rugby’s governing body — the Rugby Football Union — made Cox, 28, the world’s first female professional rugby referee.
Cox has already officiated in the Championship and the Sevens World Cup and will be working on the sidelines in men’s internationals — Hong Kong v Germany and Kenya v Germany — this autumn. However, no woman has overseen a tier one Test match yet.
4. ‘I saw it all happen’ — Schmeichel
Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has said the memory of the helicopter crash that killed the club’s owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha “is something that will stay with me, unfortunately.”
The club’s owner was one of five people who died on October 27 when the helicopter carrying them crashed outside the King Power Stadium shortly after taking off.
“I was on the pitch and I waved him off,” said Schmeichel after Leicester’s emotional 1-0 win at Cardiff Saturday. “I saw it all happen. It’s not a nice memory but I’ve had all the support that I need. The club has been great and everybody has received the support that they needed.”
5. Derby brawls, PSG record, Real back to winning ways
In European football, Manchester City remains top of the English Premier League after a 6-1 thumping of Southampton, while Barcelona and Real Madrid enjoyed weekend wins.
In Santiago Solari’s first La Liga game in charge of Real, the Spaniards beat Real Valladolid 2-0 thanks to goals from Vinicius JR and Ramos, but Real still trail Barcelona by seven points after a 90th minute Luis Suarez goal earned Barca a 3-2 win at Raylo Vallecano.
In France, Paris Saint Germain made it 12 consecutive wins at the start of the Ligue 1 season — beating a 58-year-old record held by Tottenham for the best winning start in Europe’s top five leagues. Kylian Mbappe and Neymar were on the scoresheet in PSG’s 2-1 home win over Lille.
Meanwhile, in Istanbul three players were sent off after the final whistle following a brawl of players and staff as Galatasaray and Fenerbahce drew 2-2 in the Turkish Super Lig. Galatasaray’s Badou Ndiaye and Fenerbahce’s Roberto Solado and Jailson were all given red cards.