Good Week/Bad Week

By Razwan Mirza - Tweet me: @RazMirza.   Last Updated: 14/05/13 12:22pm

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The dramatic twists and turns of sport were again highlighted in the last week of action as a couple of sporting giants suffered humbling defeats.

Elsewhere, there was one of the most dramatic endings to a football game any fan could wish for, while there will be a surprise finalist in this year's Aviva Premiership showdown at Twickenham.

Here's out pick of the big stories this week.

Good Week

Watford

Late drama at Vicarage Road

It was a 60 seconds which summed up eveything that is great about the domestic game. The sheer drama of Watford's Championship play-off victory against Leicester at Vicarage Road had the lot.

Gianfranco Zola side's promotion hopes looked over when City were awarded a penalty deep into stoppage time, but Manuel Almunia pulled off a stunning double save to keep out Anthony Knockaert's spot-kick and his rebound.

Then, quite amazingly, the Hornets broke away and the ball fell to the feet of Troy Deeney in the penalty area who crashed his shot into the back of the net and spark wild scenes of celebration.

The striker ended up in the crowd and Zola was sent tumbling to the turf as jubilant players, staff and fans charged on to the pitch.

Northampton Saints

After five previous failures at the semi-final stage, Northampton Saints finally reached the promised land thanks to a shock 27-13 victory over Saracens at fortress Allianz Park.

Jim Mallinder's Saints finally went marching on to Twickenham thanks to a stunning first 40 minutes that saw them score 17 points without reply.

And they made sure the East Midlands will be taking over the capital on May 25 after Leicester Tigers reached their ninth consecutive final with a 33-16 victory against Harlequins.

Ricky Burns

Burns overcomes tricky Gonzalez

Burns had the Glasgow home crowd in raptures as he retained his WBO lightweight title, but only after his opponent Jose Gonzalez quit on his stool before the 10th round.

The Scotsman looked rusty after an eight month absence and was utterly outclassed against the unbeaten Gonzalez, who dominated the early stages.

But Burns managed to turn the fight round in the seventh and "Chelo" fighting outside of his Puerto Rican home for the first time refused to rise for the 10th despite protestations from his trainer.

Afterwards, it was suggested that a wrist injury played a part in scuppering his title dream. Meanwhile, Burns is expected to be back in action in September for another huge night.

Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan

Nottinghamshire off-spinner Swann and Yorkshire seamer Bresnan both made it in England's latest squad for the first Test against New Zealand after their recoveries from elbow surgery.

Both bowlers have been back in action for their counties this season, and they returned to the England reckoning as expected.

Yorkshire duo Johnny Bairstow and Joe Root both keep their places while Swann replaced his fellow spinner Monty Panesar.

Bad Week

Roberto Mancini

Man City sack Mancini

After Wigan stunned Manchester City with 1-0 win at Wembley to win the FA Cup for the first time in their 81-year history, attention quickly turned to City's trophyless manager.

The Italian felt the club should have done more to stop rumours regarding his future circulating ahead of the Wembley showpiece with Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini reportedly favourite to take over the hot seat in the summer.

However, speaking after Malaga's 0-0 draw with Sevilla on Sunday night, Pellegrini stated that no deal is in place and he plans to discuss his future in the next few days.

Leeds Rhinos

The Rhinos will not be gracing Wembley with their presence for the first tiem in four years after suffering a 24-8 defeat to their bogey team Huddersfield Giants in the Challenge Cup fifth round.

Leroy Cudjoe went over the whitewash for a brace while Shaun Lunt and Joe Wardle added further tries for the home side.

Defeat meant Brian McDermott's side's eight-game unbeaten run came to an end and they must now concentrate on trying to retain their Super League crown.

Sir Bradley Wiggins

Giro d'Italia - Stage Nine

The Team Sky leader survived a testing and rain-soaked ninth stage won by Russia's Maxim Belkov at the Giro d'Italia.

Wiggins struggled desperately on wet roads and needed the help of his team-mates to make sure he crossed the finish line in Florence in the main bunch.

He put in another subdued display and failed to show the climbing prowess needed to challenge race leader Vincenzo Nibali.

Andy Murray

Murray out of Madrid Masters

The new world No 2 crashed out of the Madrid Open after losing 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 to Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals, but his energy-sapping comeback against Gilles Simon the night before seemed to have taken everything out of him.

The Scot refused to let his spirits drop following his exit and claimed he was "heading in the right direction" ahead of the Rome Masters.

But with the French Open just two weeks away, the British No 1 will have to improve rather drastically to have any chance of reaching the latter stages at Roland Garros.

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