Weekend in Sport: Barcelona dismantle Real, Arsenal stumble, Hamilton roars to victory

Posted at 8:00 PM, Oct 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-29 01:02:05-04

Real thrashed in El Clasico … Boston draw line under season’s dominance with World Series win … Arsenal’s winning run comes to an end … Hamilton finally secures championship … Leicester City mourns death of beloved owner. This is your Monday sporting recap.

Barcelona humble Real in season’s first Clasico

Here’s a question: Is it even a Clasico if it doesn’t feature either Messi or Ronaldo?

Of course it is; these two rivals have been playing out grudge matches for decades. But going into Sunday’s fixture something felt a little off, with both of its main protagonists missing — Messi through injury and Ronaldo having said “adios” to La Liga in the summer — for the first time since 2007.

The Blaugrana didn’t seem fazed by its talisman’s absence, however, absolutely thrashing their rivals 5-1 in what remains Spain’s biggest game. In Messi’s absence Barça striker Luis Suraez stepped up handily, scoring a hat-trick, while Philippe Coutinho and Arturo Vidal scored either side of the Uruguayan’s virtuoso display, with only Real’s Marcelo Vieira able to reply with a solitary goal for the Madrid side.

The utter dismantling of its main rival brings the Catalan team back to the top of the table. Real trail in ninth, seven points behind and with coach Julen Lopetegui under increased pressure after a sorry recent run.

Red Sox dominate Game 5, win World Series

Major League Baseball’s best team from start to finish in 2018 are World Series champions. Boston dismantled the Dodgers 5-1 on Sunday at Dodger Stadium, winning the 114th edition of the Fall Classic four games to one.

LA put up a token resistance by winning Game 3, but the Sox were too strong and closed out the series at Dodger Stadium.

This is the ninth championship for Boston, tying the Red Sox with the Athletics for third most all time. Only the New York Yankees, with 27, and St. Louis Cardinals — on 11 — have more.

Boston, who last won it all in 2013, has now won four titles since 2004, which was the year the Red Sox broke what was then an 86-year drought between championships.

Boston’s Alex Cora, in his first year as a manager, is the first Puerto Rican manager to take a team to — and now win — the World Series.

Man U, Chelsea and Liverpool all win; Arsenal hit speed bump

After a stuttering start to the season the Gunners have made the most of life under new coach Unai Emery, and all eyes were on Selhurst Park this Sunday to see if a run of 11 wins in all competitions was to be extended.

Sadly for the team and its fans — who had taken to singing “we’ve got our Arsenal back” in recognition of the increasingly fluid football the Basque has brought to London — it was not to be, after a late Crystal Palace penalty leveled the score at 2-2.

Midfielder Granit Xhaka was both hero and villain here, scoring a screamer of a free kick to equalize just after the restart — only to see his good work undone in conceding the penalty that saw the Gunners’ fairytale winning run come to an end.

Elsewhere Chelsea easily extended its own winning run, brushing aside Burnley 4-0, Manchester United saw off Everton in a nervy 2-1 win, and Liverpool go top — at least temporarily — with a dominant 4-1 win over Cardiff City. Man City will return to first place with a win against Spurs in Monday’s match.

Hamilton enters F1’s hall of greats

Speaking of dominance, England’s Lewis Hamilton clinched his fifth F1 world championship, after a fourth-placed finish in Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix was enough to secure the points.

The city’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is becoming somewhat of a lucky charm for the Brit, who also clinched last year’s title here.

The race itself was won by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen — for the second year in a row. It marked the fifth victory of the burgeoning F1 career for the 21-year-old Dutch prodigy.

Hamilton, who matches the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio on the all-time list, had had to wait a week for his coronation after a costly decision to pit twice meant he could only manage third place at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas.

But it was worth the wait, joining Fangio and Michael Schumacher as the only drivers to win five or more titles.

Leicester City mourns

Tragedy struck the Premier League this weekend when a helicopter carrying Leicester City owner and chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, along with four other people, crashed in a parking lot near the club’s King Power stadium, shortly after a 1-1 draw with West Ham. All on board were killed, the club confirmed in a statement.

The statement described Srivaddhanaprabha as a “a man of kindness, of generosity and a man whose life was defined by the love he devoted to his family and those he so successfully led.”

A book of condolences will be opened at the King Power Stadium starting at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, October 30, the club said.

Players taking part in Monday’s league game between Manchester City and Spurs will wear black armbands as a sign of respect.

A huge outpouring of love for the man who transformed the Foxes’ fortunes — leading to an against-all-odds, fairytale triumph in the Premier League in the 2015-16 season — was evident at the stadium and online, as fans and football luminaries alike paid tribute.