Former world number one Jordan Spieth earned a share of the Phoenix Open lead following a stunning third-round performance on Saturday.

Not since the 2017 Open Championship has Spieth claimed a title – the three-time major winner falling to 92nd in the world rankings as a result.

Spieth also missed six cuts in 20 events last year, while also failing to reach the weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open to begin his 2021 campaign.

But Spieth is on track to end his drought at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona, where the American star is level with countryman Xander Schauffele (65) atop the leaderboard heading into Sunday's final round.

Spieth carded a 10-under-par 61 to catapult himself up the standings and to 18 under through 54 holes.

With 10 birdies and no bogeys, Spieth tied his career-low score – he has gone on to win nine tournaments when leading/co-leading after three rounds on the last 16 occasions.

"What I'm looking forward to is just staying the course, trusting it,'' said Spieth, who has his first 54-hole lead/co-lead on the PGA Tour since the 2018 Open. "I have no expectations on the results tomorrow. I really don't.''

"I built some freedom now seeing these results the first few days here to where I feel really good about the path I'm on,'' Spieth added. "I feel good about what the long term ahead looks like for me. And sometimes that's been in question. To myself.''

Scottie Scheffler (66) and Lee Kyoung-hoon (66) are three strokes off the pace, a shot ahead of Louis Oosthuizen (63) and Justin Thomas (64) at 14 under.

Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka posted a third-round 66 after birdieing five of his last six holes to be tied for seventh – five strokes behind Spieth and Schauffele.

Northern Irish star Rory McIlroy dropped down the leaderboard after carding a one-under-par 70 in round three.

Without a win since the 2019 WGC-HSBC Champions, four-time major winner McIlroy is six under overall and tied for 36th position.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is awaiting the results of a scan to determine the severity of Paul Pogba's thigh injury after the star midfielder was substituted in the first half of a last-gasp 3-3 draw against Everton.

Pogba hobbled off the field with six minutes remaining prior to half-time as United capitulated at Old Trafford, where Everton sensationally salvaged a point in the 95th minute on Saturday.

United were in control when Pogba succumbed to injury – leading 2-0 at the interval thanks to Edinson Cavani and Bruno Fernandes – before two goals in the space of three minutes to start the second half restored parity for Everton.

Scott McTominay put United ahead again with 20 minutes remaining, but just as the Red Devils looked like securing maximum points, Dominic Calvert-Lewin silenced the hosts in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Asked about Pogba post-match, Solskjaer told reporters: "It seemed like a muscle injury, his thigh.

"We will check him tomorrow, give him treatment and a scan, see how bad it is. We hope it's not too bad.

"He couldn't carry on, we had to take him off."

United's collapse dented their Premier League title hopes, with rivals and neighbours Manchester City – who have played two matches less – two points clear atop the table ahead of Sunday's showdown against champions Liverpool.

Saturday's result was just the fourth time in Premier League history United failed to win a fixture in which they led by two-plus goals at half-time, and just the second time at Old Trafford – 2-2 at Tottenham in December 1998, 2-2 at home to West Brom in October 2010 and 5-5 away to WBA in May 2013.

It was also just the fourth time United led a Premier League home game by at least two goals and failed to win, with Everton responsible for the last two occasions (also 4-4 in April 2012).

Fernandes scored a memorable long-range goal on the stroke of half-time to put United 2-0 ahead of Everton, following Cavani's opener.

Since his debut in the Premier League, only Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (22) has scored more Premier League goals than Fernandes (21). Meanwhile, only Southampton star James Ward-Prowse (five) has scored more outside the box than the Portuguese (four).

Kevin Durant will miss the Brooklyn Nets' clash with Eastern Conference leaders the Philadelphia 76ers due to the NBA's health and safety protocols.

Durant was in doubt for Saturday's showdown in Philadelphia following an unusual series of events on Friday.

The Nets star was named in the starting line-up to face the Toronto Raptors before being removed because of the league's health and safety protocols.

Durant was allowed to enter the game in the opening quarter, only to then exit in the third period – again due to coronavirus protocols – as the Nets lost 123-117.

Former MVP Durant finished with eight points, six rebounds and five assists in 19 minutes against the Raptors.

Prior to Saturday's matchup against the 76ers (16-7), Nets head coach Steve Nash said Durant is eligible to re-join the team on Friday.

Durant has been averaging 29.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game for the Nets (14-10) this season.

 

It was raining goals at Old Trafford and St James' Park in another dramatic day of action in the Premier League.

Manchester United appeared certain to pick up another three points just four days on from their record-equalling 9-0 hammering of Southampton having led 2-0 and 3-2 against Everton.

But Dominic Calvert-Lewin netted a dramatic last-gasp equaliser to seal a 3-3 draw for the Toffees.

Newcastle United won by the odd goal in five in a 3-2 triumph against the free-falling Saints, while Arsenal were beaten by Aston Villa and Saturday's other two games finished all square.

Manchester United 3-3 Everton: Red Devils in late hell thanks to DCL

Manchester United squandered a two-goal half-time lead in the Premier League for just for the fourth time, having done so against Tottenham (December 1998) and West Brom twice (October 2010, May 2013).

Indeed, it was only the fourth time United led by two goals at Old Trafford in the competition and failed to win, Everton now responsible for each of the last two occasions.

Only Toffees' late hero Calvert-Lewin (five) has more headed goals than Edinson Cavani's four this season, while Scott McTominay has scored in back-to-back league games for the first time.

Everton scored with each of their three shots on target, the last of which was the 12th home goal United have conceded this term – one more than in the whole of the previous campaign.


Aston Villa 1-0: Villans channel class of '92-92

Arsenal's recent resurgence has ground to a shuddering halt as they followed a midweek defeat at Wolves with a 1-0 loss to Aston Villa.

Ollie Watkins' second-minute goal secured the Villans a first league double over the Gunners since the inaugural Premier League campaign in 1992-93 when Ron Atkinson was in charge.

Dean Smith's men now have 35 points from 21 games, equalling the tally they managed in the entirety of the 2019-20 campaign. It also represents their best return in the top flight after 21 matches since 2009-10 when they finished sixth.

Arsenal, for who Mat Ryan became the fourth goalkeeper to concede within two minutes of a full debut for a Premier League club, have lost 10 of their 23 games - the earliest they have reached such an unwanted tally in a domestic campaign since 1983-84.

Burnley 1-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Seagulls still soaring despite draw

After defeating Tottenham and Liverpool in their past two matches, Brighton and Hove Albion had to settle for a point in a 1-1 draw at Burnley.

Still, Graham Potter's side are now unbeaten in their past five in the Premier League – matching their best unbeaten run in the competition, last going on such a streak in March 2018.

Lewis Dunk was on target for the Seagulls and has scored nine goals in the Premier League since Brighton were promoted to the top flight for the 2017-18 campaign. Only three defenders can better that effort (Marcos Alonso -14, Patrick van Aanholt -11, Virgil van Dijk-10).

Newcastle United 3-2 Southampton: Debut Magpies joy for Willock

Newcastle United ran out 3-2 winners over Southampton in a corking game at St James' Park, despite having Jeff Hendrick sent off after 50 minutes.

Joe Willock became the 11th different player to score on their Premier League debut for the Magpies and the third this season after Hendrick and Callum Wilson. His only other goal in the competition also came against the Saints.

James Ward-Prowse scored his fourth direct free-kick of the season. Only David Beckham and Laurent Robert (both with five) have ever scored more in a single Premier League campaign.

For Newcastle, this was the first time they had scored three goals in the first half of a Premier League game since October 2015 against Norwich City.

Fulham 0-0 West Ham: Fulham draw a blank again

Fulham's goalless draw with West Ham was their fourth in the Premier League this season, the most in the competition this term alongside Manchester United.

The Cottagers have now failed to score in 11 of their league matches - only Burnley with 12 have failed to score in more.

West Ham may not have been able to get the job done but they now have 39 points in 23 games, as many as they racked up the whole of last term.

Fulham have gone 12 games without a victory for the first time since April-September 2014, and this is their longest run without a win in the top flight since November 2007 to January 2008 (both were also runs of 12).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer dismissed the suggestion Manchester United's defending is hindering a Premier League push as he claimed they should not even be in the title picture.

United missed the chance to move level with rivals Manchester City at the top of the table on Saturday when they drew 3-3 at home to Everton.

Solskjaer's side led 2-0 and 3-2 before Dominic Calvert-Lewin coolly slotted in a 95th-minute equaliser that will allow City to pull five points clear if they beat Liverpool on Sunday in the first of their two games in hand.

The United manager was critical of his team's defending, although they allowed only six shots and three on target, having 14 attempts at the other end.

But mention of sloppiness at the back impeding their hopes this season brought a swift response from Solskjaer, who feels his team are overperforming.

"We're not talking about winning titles," he told Sky Sports. "We've come a long way this team. We shouldn't even be considered as title chasers.

"That's one for you. We've got to be better as a team, then let's see how we end up. Going forward, very good. Let's stop conceding easy goals."

It is just the second time in Premier League history United have led by two goals at home at half-time and failed to win, also drawing 2-2 with West Brom in 2010.


Solskjaer was largely encouraged by United's attacking play, fluent again four days on from the crushing 9-0 win over Southampton, but was frustrated not to be able to celebrate another victory.

"The second half we played some good football, but we conceded three goals from three shots on target," he said.

"When they have three shots between the posts and you concede three, that's disappointing, of course. We played some very, very good stuff.

"They're poor goals, definitely. During the game, we expect one or two good moments from the opponents, but they had three shots between the posts and you concede goals.

"It's disappointing. Of course, when it's in the last minute, added time, that's very disappointing."

De Gea spilled Calvert-Lewin's tame shot for Everton's first goal, scored by Abdoulaye Doucoure, before hesitating to come off his line in the final seconds as the England striker levelled.

It was the fourth time in De Gea's Premier League career he has conceded three or more goals while failing to make a save.

Solskjaer was not looking to apportion blame, though, adding: "I wouldn't blame anyone for the goals, but we know we could have done better as a team to defend all of them."

Dominic Calvert-Lewin says Everton proved they can compete with any team even if he was not sure if his late goal in the dramatic 3-3 draw at Manchester United would be allowed to stand.

The Red Devils saw goals from Edinson Cavani and Bruno Fernandes cancelled out by Abdoulaye Doucoure and James Rodriguez at Old Trafford only for Scott McTominay's 70th-minute effort to put the home side back in front.

With the clock winding down, it looked as though United were about to move level on points with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.

But Calvert-Lewin notched after latching on to a 95th-minute free-kick, with the England striker not sure if the VAR would rule his effort out.

"There isn't [a better time to score]. Even still I ran off celebrating and didn't know if I could fully get into the celebration because of VAR," he said. 

"It was close. I knew I didn't handle it but I didn't know if it was offside.

"I didn't even see he [goalkeeper Robin Olsen] was up. It was just about getting in the right position. I knew I wouldn’t get first contact, it was about trying to get second contact."

Calvert-Lewin was disappointed Everton had surrendered the lead having fought back from 2-0 down but is convinced Carlo Ancelotti's men have the capability to mix it with the best in the division.

"It's frustrating when we get back level from 2-0 down and then let them get the lead again from a set-piece. We had to stay disciplined and then smell the goal at the end and put it in," he added to Sky Sports.

"We had a change of system a few minutes into the second half. It allowed us to commit more bodies forward. We let them have too much of the ball. It was about picking the tempo up and getting after people.

"We are capable of so much more. Every team we play we can compete and beat them. The spirit we showed to get back in the game is what we are about."

The result leaves Everton in sixth but only three points adrift of fourth-place Liverpool, who have played a game more.

Ancelotti – who explained James was withdrawn after 70 minutes as an injury precaution – was proud of the character his team showed after feeling they were a little reserved in the opening period.

"I think we started well and were a little bit shy in the first half. After that the game was in control. We would not have deserved to lose. We had opportunities in counter-attacks in the first half but were not clinical," the Italian said.

"Manchester United are really strong in midfield. The idea was to put one more player in there.

"Rodriguez had a tight calf - he could play but not all the game. He scored a fantastic goal and I took him off to avoid problems.

"I am really proud. The spirit is really good. We have a good run in this moment. We have to keep this spirit high. We showed that at 3-2 we did not want to lose."

Raheem Sterling's lack of goals at Anfield is of no concern to Pep Guardiola head of Manchester City's crunch trip to face Liverpool on Sunday.

The England forward has scored three times in his past four Premier League appearances, helping to prolong a nine-match winning run that has put Guardiola's men on top of the table.

Sterling is his club's top scorer in all competitions this season with 10, although his record against the team he left to join City in 2015 is paltry.

In 14 matches for City against Liverpool, the 26-year-old has scored twice - the opener in the 2019 Community Shield at Wembley and the second in a 4-0 win over Jurgen Klopp's freshly crowned champions at the Etihad Stadium last July.

Six return visits to Anfield have drawn a blank, but Guardiola believes Sterling's performances overall have been up to the mark - highlighting his contribution as City went down 3-1 last season on Merseyside.

"I remember last time, when we lost 3-1 there, he made an incredible, exceptional game," Guardiola said of an all-action display culminating in a flashpoint with Liverpool defender Joe Gomez, an incident that infamously spilled over into England duty the following week.

"With this, I am more than satisfied.

"Of course, I want my strikers and attacking midfielders to score - everyone, two goals a game.

"That's what I want and he wants more than me. He likes to play on the biggest stages.

"I don't have doubts about this. But what I want is us to do it all together."

Indeed, the goals that have fired City back to the summit following a poor start to the campaign - they can go 10 points clear of fourth-placed Liverpool with a game in hand if they prevail this weekend - have necessarily been a collective endeavour.

Sergio Aguero, the club's all-time leading scorer, remains on the mend following a bout of coronavirus, his season having already been decimated by knee and hamstring problems.

City's leading creator Kevin De Bruyne (hamstring) will also miss out this weekend, although the likes of Phil Foden (nine goals in all competitions) and Ilkay Gundogan (nine in all competitions, seven in the Premier League) have come to the fore.

Of City players to have scored six or more goals this season - Ferran Torres (eight), Gabriel Jesus (seven) and Riyad Mahrez (six) complete the group along - Sterling has the best shooting accuracy (excluding blocks) at 72.7 per cent.

Gundogan, whose first Premier League goal of the campaign only came in the 1-1 draw against West Brom on December 15, has the best conversion rate of 24.3 per cent, with Foden and Sterling together on 16.7 behind Jesus (18).

Sterling has registered the most shots on target with 32 but has missed 14 of what Opta classes as "big chances", scoring seven.

Foden, Gundogan and Torres have only missed 10 big chances between them. On that metric, Gundogan has the best conversion rate of 62.5 per cent (scored five, missed three).

Spain international Torres, whose campaign was interrupted around the turn of the year by a positive COVID-19 test, has the best minutes-per-goal rate of 169.6, ahead of Gundogan (188.4).

One goal every 220.6 minutes places Sterling fifth out of the six, ahead of only Mahrez on 303.2. This is down on 2019-20, when he averaged a goal every 128.7 minutes en route to 31 in total - the most prolific season of his career.

"Our top scorer in the Premier League is seven goals, maybe in 14th or 15th position [in the league overall]," Guardiola said.

"If we don't understand what we have done so far, all together, we are going to drop.

"Everyone is going to solve for us, everyone is going to save us. It's going to be the team, the group.

"When that happens, we can compete. When we believe, for myself, I am going to do it or this guy alongside me is going to solve the game, we are going to lose."

He added: "Our success all the time when we are together was the quality we had as a players in a team.

"In the individual statistics we are far away from the best clubs. But our statistics as a team are really good. That is why we are first."

Dominic Calvert-Lewin struck a 95th-minute equaliser to deal Manchester United's Premier League title hopes a huge blow in a 3-3 draw with Everton at Old Trafford.

United twice looked to have seen off the Toffees but first threw away the two-goal lead Edinson Cavani and Bruno Fernandes had forged and then conceded for a third time right at the death.

Abdoulaye Doucoure scored one and created another for James Rodriguez, before Scott McTominay seemed to set Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on his way to victory in his 100th match as a Premier League manager.

But Calvert-Lewin's leveller from Everton's final attack denied United on an evening they lost Paul Pogba to an apparent thigh injury, meaning Manchester City can pull five points clear at the summit when they visit Liverpool in the first of two games in hand on Sunday.

Has the time come for a former world number one to end her wait for a first grand slam title since becoming a mother?

It is a question that has been asked time and again since Serena Williams returned in 2018 following the birth of her daughter, Alexis Olympia.

The legendary American must have long since become tired of being asked whether she can match Margaret Court's record of 24 major singles triumphs, with her last success coming when she was pregnant at the 2017 Australian Open.

While the 39-year-old - beaten in four grand slam finals after coming back to the tour - will be expected to mount a challenge over the next fortnight, it could be another mother who is celebrating at Melbourne Park.

It is eight years since Victoria Azarenka claimed her second grand slam title at the Australian Open, but the 31-year-old has shown there could be more to come.

Azarenka beat Williams for the first time in a major to reach the final of the US Open last year, but she then endured the agony of losing to Naomi Osaka.

That was her first championship match at a grand slam in seven years, having given birth to her son, Leo, late in 2016 before a prolonged child custody dispute badly disrupted her career.

A resurgent Azarenka took her tally of WTA Tour singles titles to 21 by winning the Western and Southern Open last August and was named the Comeback Player of the Year for 2020, as she headed back towards the peak of her powers.

The world number 13 claimed both of her grand slam titles at the Australian Open and will face Jessie Pegula in the first round next week.

Azarenka said she is enjoying her tennis more than ever and Michael Joyce, her former coach, believes she has a great chance of making a dream start to the year.

Joyce, who also coached Pegula, told Stats Perform News: "Vika has got as good a chance as anyone in Australia. She's back at the top, where she belongs.

"She won the Western and Southern and came so close at the [US] Open. She's also had some very tough draws as she's worked her way back, so she's done incredibly well to get back where she is.

"Opponents won't want to play her. If Vika gets through a couple of rounds, she can be very dangerous. Once she gets momentum, she can be hard to stop."

The great Martina Navratilova declared after Azarenka's run to the final at Flushing Meadows that she had witnessed "a new Vika" with extra punch in her shots" and "stronger than ever before".

Azarenka's positive outlook has also been evident off the court, as she recently launched a 'Think About It' podcast series, in which she engaged in in-depth conversations with the likes of motivational guru Trevor Moawad and professional rock climber Sasha DiGiulian.

The aim of the series was for Azarenka and her audience to learn from 'power players' in a variety of industries and show the strength that can be forged from vulnerability.

Azarenka's rivals may be feeling vulnerable in Melbourne as they think about how to go about beating the Belarus-born star.

Paul Pogba lasted only 39 minutes on his return to the Manchester United starting line-up against Everton on Saturday.

World Cup winner Pogba, who has rediscovered something approaching his best form in recent months, was left on the bench for the midweek 9-0 rout of Southampton at Old Trafford.

The France international replaced Fred against Everton in the only change to that side, yet it ended up being merely a temporary switch.

Fred was called from the bench shortly before half-time when Pogba pulled up immediately after playing a simple pass, seemingly indicating an issue with his thigh.

The midfielder was helped off the pitch and headed for treatment, dealing a blow to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in his 100th match as a Premier League manager.

Much of the Super Bowl LV build up has understandably focused on the tantalising battle between Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes.

Brady is eyeing a seventh Super Bowl crown against the NFL's top superstar Mahomes, who looks the most likely candidate to come close to his total in the years ahead.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs have not made it to Sunday's game purely based on their quarterbacks, though.

Stats Perform's NFL research analyst Ethan Cooperson will be in the commentary booth as part of the CBS broadcast crew with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo at Raymond James Stadium.

He has highlighted some of the most interesting data that suggests the Bucs' Mike Evans and Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill have pivotal roles to play.

EVANS RISING TO BRADY CHALLENGE

Brady and Evans have had a few difficult moments over the course of a campaign where the wideout has battled injuries at times.

But his contribution may not have had the credit it deserved for the Bucs' run to the big game.

"The Mike Evans effect is actually underrated," Cooperson said to Stats Perform News. "A little indication of that - Evans, this season, 14 touchdown receptions including the playoffs.

"The only wide receiver in Brady's career to catch more from him in one season is Randy Moss in 2007.

"So of all the years he played in New England with Wes Welker, with Moss, Evans is having the second most productive year in terms of TDs by any wide receiver who has been paired with Brady.

"This is obviously a great talent in Evans, who has had 1,000 yards in every season of his career, an unknown because he played on a team that was never in the playoffs.

"But now that he's with Brady, suddenly he's become, in some respects, a star because now we are realising how good this guy has been for all these years - and Brady's helped bring that out."

Evans is a formidable red-zone weapon when he is targeted. He has had one red-zone catch in each of the past two games, both touchdowns.

Per Stats Perform data, including the postseason, 11 of his 15 TD catches have come in the red zone; both figures are franchise records.

CAN HILL BE STOPPED?

In the AFC Championship Game, Hill (nine catches, 172 receiving yards) and Travis Kelce (13 catches, 118 receiving yards) became the first pair of team-mates all-time with 20+ catches and 280+ receiving yards combined in a playoff game.

The only time any NFL duo reached those numbers during the 2020 regular season was Kelce and Hill in Week 12 when they won impressively at Tampa Bay (21 catches, 351 receiving yards).

The Bucs will need an answer for Hill. In the first meeting, he became the second player in NFL history with 13+ catches, 20+ yards per catch and 3+ touchdowns in a game, joining Jerry Rice (December 18, 1995).

His 269 receiving yards were the most by any player in a game this season and the most ever allowed by Tampa Bay.

Cooperson explained: "Let's see what the Buccaneers do to defend Tyreek Hill.

"Last meeting, Carlton Davis against Hill, Davis allowed 194 receiving yards in that game - 183 to Hill, but 194 receiving yards, the most that any one defender has allowed in any single game all season.

"Clearly, they need to do something different against Hill, that's what this might come down to.

"In that game it was one of one of the better performances by a receiver in a single game in league history, something has to be done differently to try to shut him down.

"But, of course, there's the danger that if you rotate through much of the coverage to him then Travis Kelce's open all day to catch passes and beat the defense that way.

"It is a dilemma for any defensive coordinator with two great weapons like that, it seems like it's almost impossible to stop both of them - so maybe try to stop one of them.

"It's a nightmare to try to try to defend. And clearly they struck out in trying to defend Hill the last time. Recently, no one else has been able to cover both of those receivers.

"I like Hill with the speed. I think he's tougher to bring down in the open field. Some of his runs when he gets into the open field are electrifying and what he can do after the catch is pretty dazzling.

"He's an effective rusher in addition to being a great pass catcher. In the open field, that's a big part of what makes him so dangerous."

GRONKOWSKI V KELCE

The two star tight ends, Rob Gronkowski and Kelce, are also sure to capture plenty of attention and have been subject to many pre-game comparisons.

"To be fair, I don't think Gronk is a great weapon at this point," said Cooperson as he gave his verdict.

"I think he has one catch in the postseason. So he's a great blocker. That's one thing that's not mentioned about him, more than some of the other very good pass-catching tight ends.

"Cameron Brate actually is having a much more productive postseason than Gronk as far as receiving.

"It's essentially a case where Kelce has inherited the mantle from Gronkowski as the game's elite tight end. He has statistically, in terms of receptions and yards, surpassed a lot of what Gronk has done.

"Five straight 1,000-yard seasons - unprecedented for a tight end. Kelce is such a weapon, he's almost a wide receiver playing tight end.

"He's such a weapon in the red zone, he is such a weapon over the middle, he's a weapon on deep throws. There's not much in his game that he can't do.

"And there's not much that they don't use him to do. He's having the best season ever by a tight end and he's destroying the tight end record book.

"His next catch, assuming he gets a catch in the Super Bowl, that will be number 127 of the season, which will be the most ever by a tight end over a regular season and playoffs combined."

Andrea Pirlo explained Juventus' defensive approach against Roma was a tactical plan, after his side claimed a 2-0 win in Saturday's Serie A clash.

Cristiano Ronaldo – a day after his 36th birthday – opened the scoring 13 minutes in at Allianz Stadium, with Ibanez's own goal then securing the points for Juve, who moved above Roma into third place.

Ronaldo's goal was one of just three attempts Juve managed, with all of them coming from the Portugal star, as he hit the woodwork and saw a powerful effort saved by Pau Lopez.

Juve had just 43.3 per cent possession in total, with Roma having 14 efforts on goal – though they had to wait until the 61st minute to test Wojciech Szczesny, who made three comfortable saves against his former club.

"We had prepared this type of match. We knew Roma play very good football, so we were prepared to sit back, defend and then go on the counter," Pirlo explained to Sky Sport Italia.

"Our preventative marking was good, this was the approach we wanted, because it wasn't easy to go forward and be aggressive with Roma.

"Instead, we waited for them at times and attacked them at others. We basically did a reverse of the way Roma played against us earlier this season, because you need that in your locker and can't always be aggressive with a high press.

"We have found the enthusiasm, are more solid and our defensive approach is more determined now, because we learned from mistakes made in the past."

Juve have kept three successive clean sheets in Serie A, the first time they have managed that under Pirlo, while their tally of attempts was the lowest they have managed in a game since the rookie coach took charge.

Of the six clean sheets Juve have kept in the league this term, Giorgio Chiellini has featured in four of them, and Pirlo emphasised the importance of his former team-mate.

"Giorgio Chiellini is in good shape and we hope he can continue like this," he added. 

"The group has always been humble, known when it’s the time to run without the ball and when everyone needs to help out. Even the biggest champions do that and it’s a crucial element.

"I've learned that not every game is the same, especially in a very tactical league like in Italy, so you need to have different variations and alternatives, because otherwise the opponents can read you too easily."

History is up for grabs on Sunday when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.

A mouth-watering clash will see Tom Brady, at the age of 43, seek his seventh Super Bowl title in his first season with the Bucs.

If he succeeds, Bruce Arians' team will become the first ever to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy at their own stadium.

The opposition could not be any tougher, though, as Brady's heir apparent Patrick Mahomes seeks a second straight Super Bowl title with the free-scoring Chiefs.

REGULAR SEASON REMATCH

These two teams have already played this season, with the Chiefs winning 27-24 in Tampa Bay on November 29.

The Week 12 victory was more comfortable than the scoreline suggests, with the defending champions 17 points clear going into the fourth quarter.

However, Stats Perform data shows that history may side with the Bucs in this scenario.

There have been 13 previous Super Bowls between teams that met in the regular season, and the winner of the first matchup is just 6-7 in the rematch.

Mahomes lit up the regular season game, going 37-for-49 for 462 yards (fourth-most in franchise history), adding three touchdowns and zero interceptions. 

He became the first player in NFL history to complete at least 75 per cent of his passes for at least 450 yards and zero interceptions in a road game.

That win means Chiefs coach Andy Reid, dating back to the 2010 Philadelphia Eagles, has won nine straight games played in the state of Florida across the regular season and postseason.

It is the longest such streak all-time by a head coach of a non-Florida team. 

Stakes could not be higher for the rematch, which is also only the second playoff game all-time between starting quarterbacks of the previous two Super Bowl winners.

Brady triumphed in 2018, his penultimate season with the New England Patriots, while Mahomes was Super Bowl MVP last year as the Chiefs fought back to beat the San Francisco 49ers.

The only previous playoff meeting between the prior two Super Bowl winners was the 1983 NFC Championship Game between San Francisco's Joe Montana and Washington's Joe Theismann.

Washington held off a late Montana comeback attempt to win but could not go on to finish the job in the Super Bowl.

BUCS IN RARE COMPANY

Higher seeds have excelled in the playoffs over recent NFL seasons, though this year the Bucs (seeded five) have surged despite being on the road since Wild Card weekend.

Tampa Bay are the fifth team all-time to win three road games in a single postseason, joining the 1985 Patriots, 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2007 New York Giants and 2010 Green Bay Packers. 

The most recent three all won in the Super Bowl in a positive omen for the Bucs, with Brady famously falling to the Giants to conclude that 2007 season after going 16-0 in the regular season.

Aged 68 years and 127 days, Bruce Arians will be the second-oldest head coach in Super Bowl history, behind only the Buffalo Bills' Marv Levy (68 years and 180 days).

Arians has the chance to become the oldest head coach to win a Super Bowl, with Bill Belichick (66 years and 293 days) the current record holder after he and Brady saw off the Los Angeles Rams with the Pats two years ago.

The Bucs are the 11th team all-time to score at least 30 points three times in a single postseason. Nine of the previous 10 won the Super Bowl; the only team that did not were the 2008 Arizona Cardinals. 

No team has ever scored at least 30 points four times in a single postseason, but Arians and Brady likely need to do so if they are to prevail, due to the Chiefs' firepower.

MAHOMES IS COMEBACK KING

Mahomes has done wonders for Reid's legacy – the head coach now has seven playoff wins with the Chiefs (7-5), one shy of the combined total of all other coaches in franchise history (8-14).

If the Bucs take an early lead, they will know they must keep their foot on the gas.

Kansas City trailed the Bills 9-0 in the AFC Championship Game before rallying to win 38-24. 

It was the fourth time Mahomes has rallied from a two-score deficit to win a playoff game by two or more scores. No other QB in NFL playoff history has done so more than once.

Indeed, Mahomes has won 25 of his past 26 starts (including postseason), only the third QB to ever go on such a run (after Jim McMahon and Brady).

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce comes into the game in form. He has eight TD catches in his past six playoff games - only Jerry Rice (11) and Larry Fitzgerald (nine) have more in a six-game postseason span.

The Bucs, meanwhile, have been spreading the ball around - six different players have caught a TD this postseason, one shy of the most by any team in a single postseason all-time (1999 Rams). 

None of those six are Rob Gronkowski. But the tight end will still need to be watched closely – his 12 career postseason TD catches are tied with John Stallworth for second all-time behind Rice's 22.

Gregor Townsend praised the "calmness" and "togetherness" that saw Scotland end 38-years of Twickenham hurt, as Eddie Jones took responsibility for England's Calcutta Cup defeat.

Defending Six Nations champions England were caught cold by a dominant Scotland showing at an empty Twickenham, a venue where the visitors had not beaten their rivals since 1983.

Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell were influential in a game marking the 150th anniversary of this fixture, while rookie Cameron Redpath impressed and Duhan van der Merwe scored the game's only try in an 11-6 win.

Reflecting on a famous victory with ITV Sport, Scotland coach Townsend said: "I think there was just a calmness about how we played, a togetherness and an effort level that was superb. 

"We had a really good feeling with the way we trained and bonded. But you never know, it's the first game of the championship, there were a few who had their first game for a while or debuts. It was above expectations but what a start to the championship.

"It's impressive, to win here is very tough. Our line-out was superb, we really respect England's set-piece, their line-out has been outstanding the last couple of years.

"We put pressure on lines-outs, the scrums were good – then we were accurate in attack. It's difficult in these conditions to go wide, which we did. The kicking was excellent and so was the players' leadership – you could hear them in this empty stadium."

Captain Hogg revelled in the win but insisted the focus quickly turns to next week's home clash against Wales.

"It's amazing for us, I think we can't control what happened in the past that's gone, we can control what happens in the future," Hogg said, 

"We were a credit to a man, credit to England they provided a tough challenge. We stood up to it.

"We got excited during the week, we knew we could come down here and put in a performance. We looked after the ball in attack, went for multi-phase and caused England problems. We'll enjoy this one then it's onto Wales."

England also lost their 2020 Six Nations opener to France but rebounded to win a championship delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The hosts were left lacking in both the possession stats and penalty counts, and head coach Jones said the buck lies with him.

"Firstly congratulations to Scotland, they played very well, played with a lot intent and a lot of spirt, we just had one of those days, maybe I didn't prepare the team right, we were a long way from our best," Jones said.

"You just have days like that. It's my responsibility, every time a team goes on the pitch it's a head coach's responsibility."

England's midfield pairing of Henry Slade and rookie Ollie Lawrence struggled to get into the game but Jones had a simple reason to explain that.
"You've just got to look at the possession stats, they had 75 per cent possession, a penalty count of 10 to one. That's why the centres didn't touch the ball, it's the basics of rugby," he added.

"It is what it is, we get the players, we accept responsibility for the players, I accept responsibility for not getting players ready for this game."

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