European league football returns... Hamilton wins/loses on final grid of 2018's F1 season... Boca/River Plate Copa final sees further false starts... Texas A&M -- finally -- beat LSU... Lefty goes the distance in Vegas to beat Tiger... This is your Monday sporting recap.
City, Liverpool continue canter while Chelsea slips behind
The European leagues returned from the international break with Spain's top two going head to head, while in England Liverpool and Manchester City both had comfortable wins, with the Reds strolling to a 3-0 win over Watford and City thumping West Ham 4-0.
City and Liverpool's wins saw the top two pull further ahead in the race for the EPL title, but chasing side Chelsea's quest for a return to the Champions League next term faltered with a 3-1 defeat at Wembley against Spurs, leapfrogging its London rival into third.
Manchester United dropped points at home to Crystal Palace, while Arsenal continued its unbeaten streak, taking it to 17 games with a 2-1 win over Bournemouth away.
Fulham's new manager, Claudio Ranieri, started his tenure brightly at the basement-dwelling club, lifting the Londoners off the bottom with a 3-2 win over Southampton -- Aleksandar Mitrovic scored his second of the night just after the hour mark to secure the three points.
In Spain's top division La Liga, Ousmane Dembele spared Barça's blushes with a 90th-minute strike to draw level with Atlético Madrid and stay in the top slot, while Real Madrid's nightmare season continued with a 3-0 loss away to Eibar, in manager Santiago Solari's first official game in charge.
In Italy, Juventus continued its imperious form with a a 2-0 win over SPAL to move nine points clear in Serie A, with Cristiano Ronaldo's 10th goal of the season making him the fastest Juve player ever to reach the milestone.
Hamilton finishes F1 season in fine form
British driver Lewis Hamilton proved himself Formula 1's dominant force again Sunday in Abu Dhabi, securing his 11th victory of the season in what was an emotional farewell for veteran Fernando Alonso.
After securing pole position on Saturday, the Brit had set himself up well for a strong finish for the 2018 season, having secured the driver's championship back in Mexico two weeks ago. Following the floodlit season-closer the Mercedes driver said he plans to pick up again with the same verve next year.
"I really wanted to end the season strong, and I think on a personal note, I was able to do that," he said. "On the other side, the team did an exceptional job all year long, and I really wanted, race on, race off, to deliver for them and wanted to end the way that I plan to start next year."
Alsonso's final race in the sport didn't go quite to plan, with the Spaniard picking up three penalty points in three incidents in the final minutes as he veered off-track in an attempt to make up ground to finish 10th and gain a final championship point.
It wasn't to be, but before he signed off, Alonso -- voted "Driver of the Day" by the Yas Marina Circuit fans -- ended the weekend with some tire-squealing, smoking doughnuts on the track with Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.
Copa Libertadores final postponed again
Boca-River Plate is arguably Latin America's biggest derby, so throw in a Copa Libertadores crown on top of it and you have a game the whole continent stops to watch.
They would have done so this weekend, but the match between the fierce city rivals -- known as the Super Clasico -- was postponed for multiple times after River Plate fans attacked the Boca Juniors team bus ahead of the match at River's Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
It was postponed again Sunday, this time indefinitely, just hours before kickoff. It's not clear when the game might be rescheduled, but the presidents of the two clubs will meet in Paraguay on Tuesday.
Boca Juniors captain Pablo Pérez and midfielder Gonzalo Lamardo were treated at a hospital after the attack, which saw 29 River supporters arrested.
The final had earlier been pushed back after heavy rain postponed the first leg at the Bombonera two weeks ago. River Plate holds home advantage -- if it ever gets played -- after that game ended 2-2.
Texas A&M outlasts rival LSU for marathon win
With a score that more closely resembled a college basketball result, Texas A&M proved football is a game of attrition, playing out an incredible seven-overtime, 74-72 win over bitter rivals Louisiana State. Almost from the moment LSU players prematurely doused coach Ed Orgeron with Gatorade with the seconds ticking down in the final quarter, nothing in this game went to script.
Instead the college football regular season ended with an instant classic, with Aggies' QB Kellen Mond leading the charge with an incredible -- and lengthy -- shift, passing for 287 yards and six scores while adding 42 rushing yards and another touchdown.
The game was full of heart-stopping moments, with Mond getting the ball with a minute of regulation left, eventually feeding through a 19-yard Quartney Davis touchdown to send the game to overtime -- the first of many.
The drama continued, perhaps most notably with A&M's Kendrick Rogers' 25-yard touchdown reception to force the fourth overtime.
But ultimately it was Mond's night, his two-point conversion pass to Rogers sealing the win, snapping a six-game losing streak against LSU and the Aggies' first win over the Tigers since 1995.
Lefty victorious in Thanksgiving head-to-head jamboree
It may not have counted for anything on the PGA Tour, but for two of golf's most enduring personalities, in the desert near Las Vegas on Friday, it was all about bragging rights. Oh, and $9 million.
Phil Mickelson ultimately took home those rights after narrowly seeing off Tiger Woods at Thanksgiving weekend's big pay-per-view "The Match," a winner-take-all, head-to-head event at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Nevada, the latest chapter in the two men's long-running rivalry.
With the men so evenly matched that it spilled over into an extra four holes, the one-off matchplay event was close until the death. Neither golfer ever led by more than one hole, but Lefty finally edged his nemesis with a 1-up birdie on the last hole.
In the end, Mickelson won five holes, Woods won four and they had the same score on 13 holes.
"My heart can't take much more," Mickelson said before complimenting his opponent. "A day like today isn't going to take anything away from his greatness. He's the greatest of all time, but just to have a little bit of smack talk for the coming years means a lot to me because I really don't have much on him."
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