By: Natasha Archary
Sport has a way of humbling supporters. An end to unbeaten runs evokes strong emotion amongst sporting fanbases around the world.
With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting attendance to sporting events, fans are offered some respite and can take their knocks privately. Sadly, South African social media will never allow rival fans to forget.
If only the rest of the sporting world understood how rough it is to be a fan of an international team in South Africa. Especially when it comes to English Football. January was painful for many teams in the English Premier League (EPL), even more brutal for fans on sports banter pages. Let’s recap the month’s biggest sporting upsets.
Liverpool’s dismal start to the 2021 EPL season
Draws to West Brom, Newcastle and Manchester United and 1-0 losses to both Burnley and Southampton meant the EPL title contenders lost their Top of the Table run. Making way for Manchester United to sit at No.1 for a few days.
Manchester United kicking Liverpool out of the FA Cup
The Reds’ poor start to the new football season wasn’t reserved only for the EPL. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United defeated Liverpool 3-2 in the FA Cup. Playing away at Old Trafford, Jurgen Klopp’s winning streak was taking a beating and the Reds bowed out of the cup.
Chelsea sacked Manager Frank Lampard
Staying with English Football, Chelsea’s sacking of Frank Lampard left football fans stunned, with the move coming less than 24 hours after a 3-1 win against Luton in the FA Cup. Fans took to social media to vent about the decision to have the seasoned former Chelsea player replaced with Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel.
Lampard had a good season last year and hit a few hiccups at the start of the 2021 season, with new signings needing time to get the play correct. Patience is not a virtue with clubs who want results NOW.
Fired Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp guides Maritzburg United to 2-0 win over Kaizer Chiefs
How’s that for irony? It wasn’t an entirely bad start for Chiefs however, qualifying for the CAF Champions League group phase with a win away against Angolan side Primeiro de Augusto.
Struggling Black Leopards stun Orlando Pirates 2-0
The Bucs were handed their second defeat of the season by the edgier Limpopo-based side. That Jan 17th defeat saw Pirates remain 5th on the league.
India hand Australia first Test defeat at the Gabba (Brisbane) since 1988 and win the series in the process
India pulled off a record run-chase in a high intensity final session to hand Australia their first defeat at Brisbane’s Gabba grounds since 1988. This meant India clinched the four test series 2-1 to win the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
Dustin Poirier stuns the MMA world by TKO Connor McGregor
Many thought Dustin Poirier was going to be just another casualty for Connor McGregor but this wasn’t the case. His techniques of quick calf kicks winded McGregor before his punches landed him a Technical Knockout.