Good Week/Bad Week
There's a double helping of golf, some NFL and a certain derby game in our latest offering.
By Rob Lancaster
Last Updated: 24/10/11 3:57pm
There's a double helping of golf, some NFL from Wembley and a certain derby game in the latest offering of our Good Week/Bad Week feature.
It was a Sunday to forget for the Glazers and Manchester United, as well as the England cricket team, but New Zealand proved just champion in their own back yard, despite a nervy finale at Eden Park.
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In the end they had to cling on for glory but New Zealand - despite being without Dan Carter - are finally world champions again.
France - comfortably beaten by the same opponents in the pool stages of the World Cup - weren't given much hope in the final at Eden Park, and things seemed to be going according to the script when the All Blacks led 8-0 in the early stages of the second half.
However, Thierry Dusautoir's second-half try and Francois Trinh-Duc's conversion meant the host nation had to withstand some late pressure to lift the Webb Ellis trophy for a second time.
The relief was palpable amongst both the players and the crowd as Kiwis all across the world rejoiced at a long overdue triumph.
Victory in the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in Florida, top spot in the US Money List and a photo with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck - what more could Luke Donald ask for?
The world number one went into the PGA Tour's season-finale knowing that he needed to finish in the top two at the Disney World resort to have any chance of overtaking Webb Simpson at the top of the list.
His task became even harder when he entered the final round of the tournament tied for 14th, and a bogey at the eighth on Sunday seemed to kill off his chances.
However, the Englishman reeled off an incredible run of six successive birdies from the 10th - the last of them coming courtesy of a monster 45ft putt, as he charged through the field to claim a two-shot victory. Simpson, meanwhile, ended up in a tie for sixth.
Any time a team wins twice in the space of six days it's been a good week. But when you happen to pull off a great escape in Europe, then thrash your city rivals on their own patch, then 'good' doesn't even come close to doing it justice.
Manchester City needed a last-gasp goal from Sergio Aguero to keep alive their UEFA Champions League campaign on Tuesday night against Villarreal, though they still face a tough challenge in qualifying from Group A.
In the Premier League, however, it is the blue half of Manchester that is setting the pace, Roberto Mancini's side opening up a five-point gap at the summit with an astonishing 6-1 defeat of United on Sunday.
Controversial striker Mario Balotelli created headlines for the right reasons (although let's be honest, we've all been tempted to light fireworks in our bathroom, haven't we?) with two goals before his replacement Edin Dzeko helped himself to a late brace too. The blue moon is definitely rising...
There was no place like home for Sergio Garcia, the Spaniard cruising to an emphatic 11-stroke win at the Castello Masters, a tournament he hosts at the course where his father is Victor is the professional.
Garcia fired a total of 27 birdies and two eagles during the week at the Club de Campo del Mediterraneo venue where he was club champion at the age of just 12.
It was the second time in the tournament's four-year history that he has emerged victorious in the event, with his latest success being dedicated to the late Seve Ballesteros.
His final total of 27-under-par was the lowest winning score to par on the European Tour this season, eclipsing Ernie Els' mark of 25-under at the South Africa Open last December.
India's revenge mission is almost complete after their comfortable six-wicket victory in the fourth one-day international in Mumbai on Sunday put them on course for a series sweep over England.
Having swept aside the same opponents on home soil this summer, England have found life much, much tougher on the slow, low pitches in the sub-continent.
What is even more concerning is the manner in which they are being beaten by the reigning world champions - only in the third game have they been remotely competitive, and even then they couldn't come through in a tense finish.
Now skipper Alastair Cook has to lift his troops for Tuesday's final one-dayer, before a Twenty20 match brings the short, but far from sweet, tour to a conclusion. The sooner they get home, the better.
Jason Booth's defence of his British super-bantamweight title against Scott Quigg was billed as the master against the apprentice. It ended up being a one-sided fight that saw youth dominate experience.
Quigg looked physically bigger and stronger than an opponent who had no answer to his heavier blows, especially to the body.
The bout at the Reebok Arena saw the challenger completely dominate before Booth himself decided enough was enough, retiring at the end of the seventh round just as his corner seemed set to pull him out.
While Quigg now looks to have a bright future ahead of him - one that could include a mouth-watering showdown with Carl Frampton, another rising star at the weight, in the near future, Booth is left to contemplate just where he goes next. The 34-year-old insisted afterwards he was not done yet, though, suggesting he may move down a weight instead.
As if seeing their English team get a thumping at the hands of their local rivals wasn't bad enough, the Glazers then had to sit and watch their NFL franchise come a cropper at Wembley.
Their first stop on a busy Sunday was Old Trafford, where they witnessed Manchester United suffer a 6-1 loss against Manchester City that their manager Sir Alex Ferguson described as "the worst result in my history, ever".
From there the Glazers took a flight down to the capital to take in the fifth NFL regular-season game to be held at Wembley, as their Tampa Bay Buccaneers 'hosted' the Chicago Bears.
But again they came off second best, Matt Forte running for 145 yards and a touchdown to help the Bears triumph 24-18. The result, coupled with New Orleans' win later in the day, meant the Bucs slipped from top spot in the NFC South.
The motorsport world was plunged into further mourning on Sunday as MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli was tragically killed just one week after the death of IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon.
The charismatic Italian passed away after an accident on the second lap of the Malaysian Grand Prix when he lost grip and slid into the path of Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi.
The 24-year-old was taken to the medical centre at the Sepang circuit but succumbed to his injuries, with the race being cancelled and the paddock left in a state of shock after losing one of their most flamboyant characters.
It is the second straight year there has been a fatality at a MotoGP event following the death of Japanese 250cc rider Shoya Tomizawa at Misano in September 2010.