Liverpool rallied after an early scare to defeat Villarreal 3-2 and advance to its third Champions League final in five seasons on Tuesday. Villarreal looked on its way to another stunning upset after opening a two-goal lead in the first half to offset its 2-0 first-leg loss in England, but the modest Spanish club couldn’t keep up and Liverpool came from behind to advance 5-2 on aggregate. After Boulaye Dia and Francis Coquelin put Villarreal ahead by the 41st minute, Fabinho, substitute Luis Díaz, and Sadio Mané scored in the second half to propel Liverpool into the final for the first time since winning its sixth European title in 2019. Liverpool will play the May 28 final in Paris against either Premier League rival Manchester City or 13-time European champion Real Madrid. They will meet on Wednesday in Madrid with City defending a 4-3 win from the first leg in England. The victory also keeps alive Liverpool’s hopes of a “quadruple” — winning all four major trophies in one season.
Djokovic tops Monfils in Madrid in his “best” match of year
Novak Djokovic feels like the hard work is starting to pay off. Trying to regain his best form after a slow start to the season, Djokovic looked sharp in his opening match at the Madrid Open, defeating Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the third round. “I would probably rate it as the best performance of the year. I felt very good on the court,” the top-ranked Djokovic said after saving all five break points he faced and converting the three he had against the 21st-ranked Frenchman. It was the Serb’s 18th straight win over Monfils. “Just generally very, very good performance,” he said. “I’m very pleased, considering, you know, that up to today I was not playing my best tennis in the few tournaments that I played this year and still kind of finding my rhythm, finding my groove.” Djokovic arrived in Madrid with a 5-3 record in the three tournaments he played. He had needed three sets in each of his last three victories this season, all in Serbia before losing the final there to Andrey Rublev.
First Asian American among NFL’s 10 new on-field officials
The NFL has hired 10 new on-field officials, including the first Asian American to officiate in the league and a former player. Lo van Pham joins the NFL from the Big 12 Conference. He was born in Vietnam and after a stop in the Philippines, moved to the United States when he was seven. Mike Morton becomes the third former NFL player on the 2022 roster of officials, joining Nate Jones and Terry Killens. Morton was drafted in the fourth round in 1995 by the Raiders, and was a linebacker for them from 1995-98. He also played in St. Louis, Green Bay (2000), and Indianapolis during his seven-year NFL career. Robin DeLorenzo becomes the third woman on the NFL’s roster of on-field game officials joining Sarah Thomas and Maia Chaka. She joins the NFL from the Big Ten Conference.
English on the mend, hopes to return at PGA Championship
Overlooked on the list of top players who registered for the PGA Championship without knowing if they will be at Southern Hills was Harris English. A two-time winner last year, English reached the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time and made his Ryder Cup debut in September. But he hasn’t played since the Sony Open in January as he recovers from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hop. “They liked where everything was at,” English said. “It feels like there’s definitely light at the end of the tunnel.” English has been taking long walks with his dog to build up stamina and has started hitting short irons under the watch of Justin Parsons, his swing coach. The plan at this point is to return at the PGA Championship, which runs from May 19-22 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He’d rather not return at a major, but as English said: “You’ve got to start somewhere. I’ll prepare as much as I can to win.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism