Sports-On this day… March 23


(Reuters) – ON THIS DAY — March 23

March 23, 1994

SOCCER – Manchester United players surround the referee after forward Eric Cantona was sent off following two bookings in the space of three minutes for fouls on Arsenal’s Ian Selley and Tony Adams in a 2-2 Premier League draw at Highbury.

It was Cantona’s second dismissal in four days — following his red card for violent conduct in a 2-2 league draw at Swindon Town where he stamped on John Moncur — and earned the gifted but volatile Frenchman a five-match suspension.

March 23, 1995:

SOCCER – Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince arrives at Croydon Magistrates Court to go on trial after being accused of assaulting a spectator following a fracas involving his team mate Eric Cantona.

Ince was charged with assault on a Crystal Palace fan during a Premier League match at Palace on January 25 that year, but was cleared. The Englishman told magistrates he walked away after Cantona launched a “kung-fu” kick on a Palace fan.

He joined Italian side Inter Milan in June of that year.

March 23, 2002:

SOCCER – Arsenal’s French midfielder Robert Pires receives treatment after damaging his knee ligaments in an FA Cup clash against Newcastle United, which ruled him out for the rest of the season and the World Cup in South Korea and Japan.

Arsenal won the sixth round replay against Newcastle 3-0 before going on to defeat Middlesbrough in the next round and Chelsea in the final for the Cup. They also won the Premier League title for a memorable double.

Pires was named the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year. “Obviously it’s a difficult time for me but winning this award has given me something to smile about,” he told the FWA.

March 23, 2003

CRICKET – Australian captain Ricky Ponting celebrates with his team mates after they beat India in the 50-overs World Cup final at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, to retain their title.

Australia won all 11 of their matches in the tournament in their ruthless charge towards a third World Cup crown that made them the most successful team in one-day international cricket.

Ponting guided Australia to another World Cup triumph four years later in the West Indies, before the team clinched a fifth title on home soil in 2015 under Michael Clarke.

March 23, 2008:

SOCCER – Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring his team’s second goal in the 79th minute of their 3-0 victory over Liverpool in the Premier League.

The Portuguese forward played a crucial role for his team with 31 league goals as they won a 10th Premier League title and 17th top division crown overall to sit one behind Liverpool’s then record of 18.

Ronaldo scored another eight goals in the Champions League as United won the title for their third European Cup, beating Chelsea on penalties in the final.

March 23, 2009:

TENNIS – Spain’s Rafa Nadal lifts the Indian Wells title after defeating Briton Andy Murray in the final for his second title of the year, following a maiden Australian Open triumph.

He added three more titles in the clay court swing later in the season, winning in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome, but suffered his first ever defeat at the French Open.

Nadal, winner of the previous four editions at Roland Garros, was stunned by Swede Robin Soderling in the fourth round. Roger Federer went on to claim the title.

March 23, 2013:

SOCCER – Former England captain David Beckham slips while trying to kick the ball at an event in Wuhan, Hubei province, during his ambassadorial visit to promote the game in China.

The former Manchester, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and Paris St Germain midfielder called time on his 20-year playing career later in 2013 having won league trophies in four different countries — the first Englishman to do so.

He is currently the co-owner of U.S. Major League Soccer side Inter Miami, who made their debut this year, and English fourth-tier side Salford City.

March 23, 2017:

FORMULA ONE – Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton takes a selfie during the driver portrait session at the first race of the year — the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

The Briton won nine races in the season to clinch his fourth title. He extended his dominance in the next two years to become only the second six-times champion in Formula One history behind Michael Schumacher, who won seven titles and retired in 2012.

March 23, 2018:

SOCCER – England fans face the Dutch police in Amsterdam ahead of an international friendly against the Netherlands.

British police described the behaviour of some England fans as “appalling” after 90 were arrested before and after the game. Videos on social media showed some fans throwing bottles at police and bicycles into Amsterdam’s historic canals.

The Dutch national anthem was also booed by a minority of England fans, an act that was described as “unacceptable” by England manager Gareth Southgate.

March 23, 2019:

SOCCER – Italy striker Moise Kean celebrates scoring their second goal in a European championship qualifying game against Finland. Italy won 2-0 to maintain their perfect record of 10 wins in as many matches to qualify as Group J winners.

The 24-team tournament, which was originally scheduled to be held this year in 12 nations across the continent, was postponed to June 11-July 11, 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Compiled by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge