Benzema, Fillon-Maillet, the Girondins… Our tops and flops of the sports weekend

Royal Benzema, Fillon-Maillet alone in the world, City too, the Girondins and the MHR spanked… Discover the tops and flops of the Figaro sports department.


Benzema and Real add a trophy to their collection
The victory and the title for Real Madrid. FC Barcelona fallers in the semis, Carlo Ancelotti’s players disposed of Bilbao (2-0) on Sunday, in Saudi Arabia, during the Spanish Super Cup final. And this despite the expulsion of Eder Militao at the end of the game. After Luka Modric opened the scoring in the first period, the inevitable Karim Benzema, still brilliant on Sunday, made the break after the break, from the penalty spot. Future opponent of Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League and leader in the La Liga standings, Real Madrid wins the Super Cup for the 12th time in its rich history and succeeds… Athletic Bilbao on the list. « I’m not tired of winning“Promises Ancelotti, hungry. Note that Benzema, with his 303rd goal in White, came a little closer to the podium of the top scorers in the history of the club, five lengths from the legend Alfredo di Stéfano (308 goals).

Fillon-Maillet will arrive launched in Beijing
Quentin Fillon-Maillet alone in the world. Three days after dominating the sprint, the 29-year-old French biathlete won the pursuit of Ruhpolding (Germany) on Sunday and thus confirmed his new status as boss of the circuit. All while positioning itself as the main contender for the big crystal globe. « I imagined this season fighting for the general but to have so much lead, it’s incredible“, he rejoiced, he who has a mattress of 97 points on his runner-up, the Swede Sebastian Samuelsson, with nine events by the end of the season. Fillon-Maillet does not forget the other important deadline for this start of the year, the Beijing Olympics (February 4-20): “Having a yellow World Cup leader’s bib does not guarantee me a medal at the Games at any time, so I will have to do the job on site and I intend to do it.“, he launched. And to continue:There will be extra pressure and I will try to manage it with confidence by being good at race management, with good skiing and good shooting. » There is no more.

Manchester City go straight for it
Nothing stops Manchester City. Not even Chelsea. In the shock of the 22nd day of the Premier League, a remake of the last Champions League final, Pep Guardiola’s Skyblues dominated Thomas Tuchel’s Blues (1-0) on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium. Goal from Kevin de Bruyne for the outgoing champions, more than ever favorites to their own succession. In the standings, City are 11 points ahead of Liverpool (1 game less), who crushed Brentford on Sunday (3-0), and now 13 over Chelsea.

The good accounts of the Blues of the hand at the Euro
A job well done. Two days after their convincing start in the Euro against Croatia (27-22), the Blues never trembled on Saturday against Ukraine (36-23), who had never beaten France until ‘now. And who will still have to wait, to get there. And more importantly, Guillaume Gille was able to rotate his squad as he saw fit, even leaving Nikola Karabatic in the stands to breathe, which could always be useful for the rest of the competition… “You had to be serious. We had to prepare for something a bit special against a team on which we had few references, little knowledge. I think the group really put the right ingredients“, savors the coach. A clear success which allows the French to approach with confidence the last match of this 1st round, Monday (8:30 p.m.), against Serbia.

Nasser Al-Attiyah, king of the desert
Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah signed a fourth victory in the rally-raid on Friday in Saudi Arabia (2011, 2015, 2019, 202). A masterful success against a Sébastien Loeb who nevertheless did everything to get back on the Toyota Hilux, in vain, the Alsatian and his Hunter prepared by Prodive having to settle for a second place. With four crowns, Al-Attiyah invites himself to the table of the (very) great of the event, alongside Ari Vatanen. On four wheels, only Peterhansel did better with eight successes to which must be added his victories on a motorcycle (6th), making 14 triumphs in total.

Marquinhos trivializes excellence with Paris
The big man of the Parisian victory over Brest (2-0) on Saturday, during the 21st day of Ligue 1, is Kylian Mbappé, who went through all the emotions, between a bang and a bloodshed. We could also put the completely crazy stoppage of Gigio Donnarumma, the overall encouraging performance of the leaders in the L1 standings or even Thilo Kehrer’s second goal in two matches. But we should not forget the XXL performance of Marquinhos. In fact, the Brazilian captain of PSG didn’t do anything more than usual. Simply, his habit is to approach excellence… Relaunch, duels, athletic impact, heading, positioning, composure… The total. The former Roma is one of the best defenders in the world, period. He shows it on each of his outings with the regularity of a Swiss clock. Paris, FC Mbappe? Not only. There is also « Marqui », the essential Mr clean.


Bordeaux flows
Nothing is going well in Bordeaux. In the hard for long weeks, the Girondins hit rock bottom on Sunday, suffering a real beating in Rennes (6-0). « I take all the responsibility, I failed to push the players enough, to help them free themselves from fear. When you’re scared, you can’t play football“Said Vladimir Petkovic after this new disaster. And the Bordeaux coach added: “We were afraid of ourselves. We refused to take responsibility for the game and this led to easy mistakes (…) This must not happen again« . If he says he doesn’tnever let go“, the former coach of Switzerland is obviously threatened. Although, the problem is deep in Bordeaux… Gérard Lopez, the president of the club, addressed the players in the locker room. « It will stay between us but it was an encouraging speech“Simply specified Mr. Petkovic. In the L1 ranking, the club with the scapular occupies 19th place with 17 points, tied with Troyes (17th) and Lorient (18th) and five lengths ahead of the Saint-Etienne red lantern (12 pts).

Historic spanking for Montpellier
The MHR in History. A « record » which Philippe Saint-André’s men would probably have done without… The Héraultais were indeed corrected at Leinster: 89-7, final score. 13 essays in the haversack. An ordeal… 82 disbursement points? A record for a French club in the European Cup, erasing the mark of Bourgoin beaten on this same lawn 18 years earlier on the score of 92 to 17 (+75). Note that this is the heaviest defeat in the history of the club, ahead of the 92-12 suffered against Stade Français in 2005-06. Good news ? The biggest card in the history of European cups remains the property of Stade Toulousain, winner 108-16 with 16 tries against Welsh Ebbw Vale in 1998. Small consolation… Montpellier nevertheless retains a slim hope of reaching in the round of 16 of the Champions Cup: we would have to beat Exeter next Sunday for that. Leinster are also in third place in Pool A.

The Djokovic prank
That’s it, it’s over… After several days of suspense, twists and turns of events of all kinds, Novak Djokovic left Australia on Sunday. His visa was cancelled. End of the story. The Serbian world number 1 will not defend his title in Melbourne and the Australian Open started without him last night (live scores here). « The insane soap opera turned into a planetary farce“, notes Martin Couturié, editor-in-chief of the Sports department of the Figaro , ensuring that all the protagonists of this sad story come out “losers« . « Already affected, Djokovic’s image is now branded by his mistakes (at best) and his lies (at worst)“, he assures, also considering that the Australian government “is not far from being ridiculed« , while « the organization of the Australian Open did not shine either« .

Bad weather for the Fennecs
Cold shower for Algeria. Held in check during their first CAN outing, the Fennecs lost to Equatorial Guinea on Sunday (0-1), in Douala, in Group E. It was Esteban Orozco who made the difference. Riyad Mahrez and company pushed, pushed, without finding the fault. With a small point in two games, Algeria, which will face Côte d’Ivoire (1st, 4 pts) in its third match in Cameroon, is in last place in the classification of this group, behind Sierra Leone (2 pts) and his executioners from Equatorial Guinea (3 pts). On the edge of the abyss…

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