The Marathonbet Top 10 Sporting Moments of 2019
We’re just weeks away from the end of another memorable sporting year.
From incredible individual feats to outstanding comebacks, 2019 was a year packed full of dramatic sporting headlines – and ones we’ll mostly remember for all the right reasons too.
Here’s our round-up of just some of the best sporting moments from the last 12 months…
Sporting Moments 2019 – A Year to Remember
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Tiger Roll wins a second Grand National on the bounce
After winning the 2018 Grand National in a photo finish at a price of 10/1, Tiger Roll came into the 2019 renewal as a short-priced favourite. The Gigginstown-owned thoroughbred looked the pick of the field, but many felt he was priced too shortly for a race that has so often proved too much for both horse and jockey to overcome.
The race itself is inherently dangerous, and despite travelling well, hearts were in mouths a couple of times as the nine-year-old came close to buckling at the final few jumps. Davy Russell dug deep though and drove him home to win by more than two lengths to catapult Tiger Roll into the history books as the first horse since the iconic Red Rum to win back-to-back Grand Nationals.
England win the Cricket World Cup
An extraordinary summer of cricket was kickstarted by one of the all-time dramatic finishes to a major sporting event. Chasing 242, England made hard work of the task at hand, with none of the top four batsmen making over 40 runs.
The middle order came to the rescue though, as Ben Stokes made an unbeaten 84 – including a freak boundary that occurred as he was running between the wickets – and Jos Buttler contributing 59 off 60 balls.
It would all come down to a super over. New Zealand were set the target of 16 runs from six balls, and only a dramatic run out from Buttler would prevent the Kiwis from lifting the World Cup. There were scenes of pure jubilation both on and off the field and the scene was set for a summer where, for once, cricket took centre stage.
Vincent Kompany sets Man City on their way to winning the Premier League
It may seem hyperbolic to say so, but Kompany’s wonderstrike into the top corner from 30 yards out against Leicester City in the penultimate game of 2018/19 season was the moment Pep Guardiola’ side knew another title triumph was written in the stars.
At 0-0, City were struggling to overcome a dogged Foxes side with over 69 minutes on the clock. A draw would have handed Liverpool the initiative on the final day with the Reds chasing their first ever Premier League title.
It was only fitting that the most exciting Premier League title race would be decided by the man who embodied everything about City’s rise from mid-table to European superpower over the last decade. In a neck-and-neck race to the title with Liverpool, it was always going to take a moment of magic to split the pair. City would eventually win the title by a single point, thanks in no small part to Kompany’s strike.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson strikes Gold at the World Championships
Everyone loves a feel-good sporting story, and KJT’s Heptathlon Gold at this year’s World Championship certainly delivered in that sense. In a career that had promised plenty but failed to deliver up until the meeting in Doha, the pressure was on the Brit, who came into the competition as a strong contender to take home gold.
In her way stood Belgian athlete, Nafi Thiam, a heptathlete so prodigious that she hadn’t been beaten since the 2016 European Championships. Sport doesn’t always happen the way the formbook suggests though, and KJT’s heroics in producing four personal bests during the competition saw her blow away the competition and beat Thiam by 304 points – the largest margin of victory at a World Championships since 1987.
The Liverpudlian also broke the British record – a long term goal of hers –overhauling her long-time rival Jessica Ennis-Hill with a final points tally of 6,981.
Ben Stokes’ Ashes Heroics give England hope
Whilst the white-ball team might have shone this summer, the red-ball side were unable to win back the Ashes from the Australians on home turf. Some poor top order batting and an over-reliance on Jofra Archer meant that a drawn series saw Australia retain the urn. The series wasn’t without drama though, and it might well have peaked on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Headingley.
With England chasing an unlikely target of 359, the Ashes seemed to be firmly in the grasp of the Aussies on the fourth day. After Joe Root fell for 77, England were still in need of another 200 runs, and things were looking bleak for the home side. A middle order stand between Stokes and Jonny Bairstow gave England a fighting chance, but when the wicketkeeper fell, it’s fair to say that not even the most optimistic of England fans were expecting much.
Up stepped Stokes, who, despite a slow start to his innings, started to tick along nicely while his partners fell alongside him. In the end it came down to him and number 11 batsman Jack Leach. Caution was thrown to the wind by the all-rounder, as he engaged full T20 mode and slogged every ball possible for multiple boundaries. Leach played his part too by surviving when he needed to, but a magnificent innings full of audacious shots by Stokes would culminate in a smash through the covers for four. His unbeaten 135 levelled the series at 1-1, and despite not being able to win the Series, this was arguably as momentous as the World Cup win at the time.
Tiger Woods returns to the big time with Masters win
Coming into the Masters this year, it’s fair to say Tiger Woods wasn’t heavily fancied to win a fifth Green Jacket. The legendary golfer hadn’t won a Major since 2008, and personal issues outside of the game had marred what had – for the most part – been a legendary career. The American had missed both the 2016 and 2017 iterations of the tournament with back issues, but a strong 2018 meant that whilst nobody expected Tiger to win, there were signs that he was back to playing some of his best golf.
What followed was four days of nostalgic golf from Woods, where he showed the kind of experience that it takes to win the Masters. The 12th hole of the final round was tournament-defining. Francesco Molinari shot straight into the water off the tee to finish with a double-bogey, and fellow final group competitor Tony Finau followed Molinari into the water, dropping him to eight under.
Woods – with considerable experience of Augusta on his side – played straight onto the green to putt for par, this sent him joint-top with Molinari. It was a sign of the tide turning, and Woods went on to win his fifth Green Jacket by one shot ahead of the likes of Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka.
Eliud Kipchoge runs a sub two-hour marathon
Following his failed attempt to go sub two hours in Italy in 2017, Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge took to the streets of Vienna in October to once again take on what was seemingly an impossible task – running a marathon in a time previously seen as humanly impossible.
Aided by multiple pacemakers along the way, Kipchoge completed the 26.2 mile run in 1:59:40, beating the two-hour mark by 20 seconds.
Whilst the run won’t count as an official world record due to the use of rotating pacemakers and the lack of competition, it will go down as one of the all-time great human achievements of the 21st century and will surely lead to the same feat being managed in a competitive environment in the future.
England defeat the all-conquering All Blacks
There was plenty of hope surrounding the English rugby team prior to the World Cup taking place in Japan this year. However, even the most ardent of England fans wouldn’t have expected the team to overcome what many believe to be one of the best rugby teams of all time.
After a relatively pain-free route through to the semi-finals, Eddie Jones’ side faced off against the All Blacks. Despite their billing as tournament favourites, they stood no chance against an England side that fed off the pressure of the big stage.
The underdogs never looked back after a try within the first two minutes. Despite gifting the All Blacks a try in the second half, England proved too much to handle for a supposedly unbeatable New Zealand team. The final proved a step too far for England, but the semi-final victory was impressive enough in itself to make the list.
Lewis Hamilton wins sixth F1 World Title
The British driver may well have been the pre-season favourite, but the manner in which Lewis Hamilton won his sixth Formula 1 World Title and the challengers gunning for him have made this season one to remember for the Mercedes driver.
Whilst Sebastian Vettel might not have been at his best in an inconsistent season for the German, his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc had a coming-of-age season. The young Frenchman was highly rated prior to the season beginning, but nobody expected a run of performances that saw him match – and at times, beat – one of the all-time greats in Hamilton.
The Brit also faced a sustained challenge from Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. The Finn – better known for his willingness to take a back seat and let Hamilton take the glory – laid down an early marker by winning the season opener in Australia. He put up a consistent fight throughout the season too, rather than letting Hamilton through when he needed to. Ultimately it wouldn’t be enough to stop Hamilton though, who raced away to yet another title to take him to six, just one behind the great Michael Schumacher.
Liverpool and Spurs live for the drama in the Champions League
It’s a competition that has produced many a classic game in the past, but rarely has the Champions League delivered in the knockout stages like it did last season. It makes sense to start with the team that would eventually go on to win the tournament, Liverpool.
After a humbling 3-0 defeat in the first leg of their tie with Barcelona, the Reds were faced with a seemingly impossible ask of turning the Catalan giants over by at least four goals. The home side’s cause wasn’t helped by missing two of their first-choice front-three in Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino. But when Divock Origi netted in the seventh minute, Anfield started to believe, and that in itself was a danger to Barca.
It’s a line that’s often trotted out when it comes to European nights at Anfield, but there was a sense of magic around the place when Gini Wijnaldum fired home in the 54th minute, just two minutes later the comeback was complete, with the Dutchman rising highest to nod Liverpool level. There was only going to be one winner after that, and courtesy of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s quick thinking, Origi turned the ball home to send Anfield into raptures.
If that wasn’t quite enough drama, Spurs travelled to Amsterdam to face a young Ajax team that had gone to the Tottenham Hotspur stadium and snatched a 0-1 win. Things started poorly for the English side, as Matthijs de Ligt climbed above Dele Alli to give Ajax the lead and Mauricio Pochettino’s side looked dead and buried when Hakim Ziyech curled home 10 minutes before half time. Lucas Moura fired home shortly after half time to kickstart the comeback, and all of a sudden, a sense of déjà vu descended on the Johan Cruyff Arena. Surely after Liverpool’s exploits, Spurs couldn’t find an improbable route to the Champions League final too?
Another smart finish from Moura gave Spurs another dose of hope just before the hour mark, and – when all seemed lost – deep into injury time, Dele Alli and Moura combined for the Brazilian to complete his hat trick and yet another incredible Champions League comeback.
Image sources: PA Images
What is your ultimate sporting moment of 2019?
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