The year 2018 witnessed lots of sporting events and incidents. Some brought good memories, while others were a dent on sports.
France beat Croatia
Pulse Sports has compiled 13 memorable sporting events and incidents both local and international in the year 2018 from January to December.
France rule world football again
France win world cup
The Les Blues emerged world champions after defeating Croatia 4-2 in the final of Russia 2018.
32 nations gathered in Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Each of the nations that made representation had its eyes on the covetous FIFA World Cup trophy.
However, there is always going to be one winner.
France started the tournament slowly, despite parading a squad that was full of stars namely Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezman, etc.
They warmed themselves into the tournament and it became clear after they edged out tournament favourites France to become world champions.
They last won the FIFA World Cup in 1998 when they hosted the rest of the world.
Mukarama Abdulai became Ghana’s all-time top scorer in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup
The Ghanaian bagged seven goals in the just ended FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup staged in Uruguay.
He won the golden boot of the tournament and also emerged as the third best player after inspiring the Black Maidens to the quarter finals.
Mukarama Abdulai also surpassed Jane Ayiyam’s six goals in the competition to become Ghana’s all-time top scorer in the history of the tournament.
Luka Modric ended a decade of Ronaldo and Messi reign
Luka Modric wins FIFA Player
The Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder became the first person in ten years to win the FIFA Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or aside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Luka Modric put up a splendid performance as Real Madrid won their third UEFA Champions League in a row and also led his country Croatia to a historic FIFA World Cup second-place finish.
He was adjudged the best player of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The orchestra of both the Real Madrid and Croatia midfield after a successful year of football was voted as the UEFA Player of the Season cum FIFA best player award in addition to the Ballon d’Or.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have both won the Ballon d’Or and FIFA Player award five apiece since 2008.
Luka Modric emerged as the first player to break that routine.
Real Madrid win third UEFA Champions League title
The Los Bloncos defied all odds to win the UEFA Champions League for the third season running.
Last two season they made history as the first club to defend the elite European club competition since it was rechristened in the 1992-93 season.
Most football pundits and fans thought that enviable feat was just fluke and their run was going to be curtailed.
However, they jumped all the difficult hurdles that came their way in PSG, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Liverpool to be crowned champions in a fashionable way.
Isaac Dogboe won and lost world title
‘Royal Storm’, as the hard hitter is affectionately called brought mixed feelings to Ghanaian sports loving fans.
He won the WBO Super Bantamweight title and lost it later in the year.
Isaac Dogboe knocked out his opponent to be crowned champion of the WBC Bantamweight title.
He became Ghana’s youngest ever boxing champion after knocking out Jessie Magdaleno in Philadelphia on Sunday morning, making him the new WBO super bantamweight/junior featherweight titleholder.
The Ghanaian won by TKO in eleven rounds.
However, the Ghanaian boxer was defeated by Mexican Emmanuel Naverrete to dethrone him as holder of WBO Super Bantamweight title.
Before his defeat he had gone 20 bouts with a loss.
Isaac Dogboe blamed his defeat on lack of preparation on his part and the inability of his corner to offer him the best of advice heading into the bout.
The Number 12 expose’
Kwesi Nyantakyi 222
The Number 12 investigative piece which was carried out by award winning undercover journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas into Ghana football shook the foundation of the beautiful game in the country.
The GFA president at the time Kwesi Nyantakyi and among several other sports officials were caught on camera receiving monies suspected to be bribe.
The expose’ prompted calls for the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to be dissolved.
FIFA had to step in to salvage the situation, which led to the formation of the FIFA Normalisation Committee to run Ghana football for a six months period.
The ripple effect of the expose was that the president of the Ghana Football Association Kwesi Nyantakyi resigned from the GFA, WAFU, CAF and FIFA.
He was later handed a lifetime ban for his role in the scandal that rocked Ghana football.
Arsene Wenger 22-year reign at Arsenal came to an end
The Frenchmen who took over as coach of Arsenal in 1996 after 22 years in charge of the London based club finally parted ways with the Gunners when the 2017-18 season ended.
Arsene Wenger won three league titles and a record seven FA Cups.
However, Arsenal failed to win the Premier League in 14 year run under his watch which made the Arsenal faithful to grow impatient.
The worst case was that Arsenal lost a place in the Premier League top four for two consecutive seasons, hence were relegated to the second-tier European competition which is the UEFA Europa League.
Jose Mourinho was sacked as coach of Manchester United after two and half years in charge of the Red Devils
Manchester United sacked manager Jose Mourinho after identifying a catalogue of his failings at the club.
The Portuguese, 55, took over in May 2016 and led United to League Cup and Europa League titles, but they are 19 points behind league leaders Liverpool.
The club have made a change after no progress with results or style despite spending nearly £400m on 11 players.
Unbeaten Gennnaro Golovkin was dethroned by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to claim WBC and WBA middleweight titles
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez claimed the WBC and WBA world middleweight titles by inflicting a first career defeat on Gennady Golovkin with a gripping point win in their Las Vegas rematch.
The Mexican claimed a frenetic final round on two of the three scorecards which was critical in preventing a repeat of the draw both men shared 364 days earlier at the same T-Mobile Arena venue.
Naomi Osaka became first Japanese to win grand slam
Naomi Osaka won the US Open to become the first Grand Slam champion from Japan, beating Serena Williams 6-2, 6-4 after the American was penalized one game for a third code violation.
Roger Federer becomes oldest world No1 after beating Robin Haase
The Swiss became the oldest world No 1 after he beat Robin Haase in the World Tennis Tournament quarter-finals in Rotterdam.
The 36-year-old Swiss, who won his 20th grand slam title last month by claiming a sixth Australian Open, replaced Rafael Nadal at the top of the ATP rankings with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory over the Dutchman.
“Reaching No 1 is one of, if not the ultimate achievement in our sport,” Federer said afterwards. “Sometimes at the beginning you just kind of get there because you played so well but later you have to fight for it and have to wrestle it back from someone who deserves to be there. When you are older you maybe have to put double the work in. This maybe means the most to me in my career.”
Federer has surpassed Andre Agassi as the oldest player to occupy the summit of the men’s game – the American was 33 when he was last on top in September 2003. Agassi was among the first to congratulate Federer: “Roger Federer continues to raise the bar in our sport. Congratulations on yet another remarkable achievement!!” he said on Twitter.
River Plates defeated Boca Junior to win historic Copa Libertadores (South American Championship)
River Plates came from a goal down to beat Boca Juniors in the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final staged at the Santiago Bernabeau in Madrid.
The Copa Libertadores is the showpiece club competition in South America, equivalent to the Champions League in Europe, and there were several household names in attendance at the Bernabeu, including Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Juventus’ Paulo Dybala.
The competition was played outside South America for the first time after River Plates fans attacked Boca Juniors team bus ahead of the second leg clash between the two Bunos Aires rivals.
Dario Benedetto fired Boca into the lead shortly before half-time at Real Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium.
Former Barcelona striker Lucas Pratto equalised for River in the second half, when he slotted home a cutback at the end of a slick passing move.
Before Quintero scored in the 109th minute of the second leg between the fierce Argentine rivals before team-mate Gonzalo Martinez wrapped up a 3-1 victory on the night for River – and a 5-3 win on aggregate.
Martinez’s goal completed a dramatic turnaround in a match moved more than 6,000 miles from Buenos Aires, in Argentina, to the Spanish capital after its postponement in November, when Boca’s team bus was attacked by River fans, causing injury to players and staff.
Nigeria won 9th Africa Women’s Cup of Nations title on Ghanaian soil
Nigeria beat SA
The Super Falcons of Nigeria defeated the Bayana Bayana of South Africa 4-3 on penalties to win the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) at the Accra Sports Stadium in Ghana.
The victory handed Nigeria their ninth title in the competition, which they have monopolized it over the years.
They came into the tournament as the defending champions and despite starting on a poor note with a defeat against South Africa in their opening group B game, they gradually warmed themselves into the competition and avenged their defeat.
The match had ended 0-0 after 120 minutes, with Nigeria’s goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi making the trophy-winning save in the shoot-out from the boot of South Africa’s Linda Motlhalo.
Experienced midfielder Asisat Oshoala had earlier scuppered the chance to seal a victory for Nigeria in normal time after she missed a penalty.
Source: Pulse Ghana