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Blue Bombers advance to Grey Cup after wild 21-17 West Final win over Roughriders –



The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will have the chance to run it back.

The Canadian Football League’s top regular-season team will play for the Grey Cup after defeating their bitter rival, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, 21-17 in the bitter cold at Winnipeg’s IG Field during the CFL’s West Final on Sunday afternoon.

It was a game that had all the makings of December football in Canada – including a wind-chill of minus 18 before kickoff.

The Bombers looked set to open the scoring on the game’s first drive, but wide-open receiver Nik Demski bobbled the catch, the ball landing in the hands of Saskatchewan defensive back Ed Gainey.

The bad luck struck again just moments later.

After a Riders two-and-out, Winnipeg receiver Drew Wolitarsky fumbled the football just inches from the goal-line, which Saskatchewan returned into Bomber territory.

Two plays later, Saskatchewan running back William Powell opened the scoring on an inside run.

Receiver Rasheed Bailey capped a 71-yard drive by the Bombers with a touchdown to tie the game – and the first quarter ended tied at 7.

Winnipeg would turn the ball over three times in the second quarter, but the Riders could only turn that into a single field goal, leading 10-7 at halftime despite the 5-0 turnover margin.

Saskatchewan started the second half with the football and the lead, but their opening drive was halted by a fumble from quarterback Cody Fajardo that the Blue Bombers recovered – their first turnover of the game.

Riders kicker Brett Lauther missed a 36-yard field goal for Saskatchewan, and returner Janarion Grant brought it out to the Winnipeg 40-yard-line – kickstarting a Bombers touchdown drive highlighted by a magical Kenny Lawler catch and running back Andrew Harris’ first major since Oct. 8.

Saskatchewan needed just two plays to respond with their own score, a 67-yard touchdown by receiver Duke Williams.

Winnipeg didn’t pull any punches on their next possession, a 72-yard touchdown drive finished off by CFL rushing touchdown leader, backup quarterback Sean McGuire.

Read more:

Hamilton Tiger-Cats advance to Grey Cup after beating Argonauts in Toronto

Fajardo led the Roughriders on an extended drive that included a controversial catch on third down by Williams, where Bomber fans thought the ball hit the ground.

But on the Riders’ third third-down on the drive, defensive back Nick Taylor stepped in front of the pass from Fajardo to force a turnover on downs.

Demski ran a sweep for one more Bombers first down to seal the win.

“We go in at half, we’re only down by three after giving the ball away that many times,” Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea said on 680 CJOB after the game. “I thought the temperature in the locker room was pretty good. I thought we were going to be on the right side of the score (at the end of the game).”

Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros, the West Division’s most outstanding player nominee, finished with 17 completions on 21 attempts, totaling 229 yards, three interceptions and one touchdown.

“Definitely had some plays that we left out there and I thought we were a much better football team than them,” Collaros said on the post-game show. “Happy to escape there with a victory. Should have been worse.”

On the other side, Fajardo finished 19 of 27 for 265 yards and one touchdown.

Andrew Harris, who returned from a knee injury that sidelined him for the final four games of the regular season, led the game in rushing with 136 yards on the ground, while also hauling in one pass for nine yards.

“Something about the playoffs just gets me going, puts a little spark, a little extra energy, a little more enthusiasm, a little more focus, and I felt that all the way through today,” Harris said.

“We gave the ball away too many times in the first half, it was a little frustrating. But our defence flexed on them in the second half and we were able to finally punch it in there in the third. I thought our defence kept us in it and offensively we’ve gotta be a lot better than that next week for sure.”

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‘It’s just time’: Legendary Winnipeg Blue Bombers broadcaster Bob Irving ready for last call

Williams was the games leading receiver with four catches for 108 yards – nearly half of them (52) after the catch.

Winnipeg is back in the Grey Cup game for the second straight year, sealing a rematch of the 2019 championship game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Sunday, December 12th from Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.

Kickoff is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. Central Time.

Bob’s final call

It was only fitting that the Bombers sent legendary radio play-by-play man, Bob Irving, off with a win.

After a five-decade broadcast career, including 48 years at 680 CJOB, Irving’s iconic run came to an end when the fireworks sounded at IG Field on Sunday night.

Irving became the 13th member of the Bombers’ Ring of Honour before the game.

“I’ve loved every minute of what I’ve done … particularly covering the football and particularly being the voice of the Blue Bombers,” Irving said after announcing his retirement earlier this season.

Winnipeg loves you too, Bob. There will never be another like you.

Click to play video: 'Legendary broadcaster Bob Irving prepares for last call'

Legendary broadcaster Bob Irving prepares for last call

Legendary broadcaster Bob Irving prepares for last call

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Soccer-Brazil to stop unvaccinated footballers playing in top leagues



The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) said on Friday players must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to take part in this year’s league championship,

The CBF said it was in constant contact with health bodies and had sent an updated list of requirements to member clubs.

“One of these is the obligation to present a full vaccination certificate against COVID-19 to the CBF’s Medical Commission,” it said in a statement.

The top four national divisions kick off in the second week of April.

Brazil coach Tite has said he was not selecting Atletico Madrid defender Renan Lodi for his squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers because he was not fully vaccinated.

The issue of athletes’ stance on vaccines has dominated sports headlines recently after tennis player Novak Djokovic, who is unvaccinated, was deported ahead of the Australian Open.


(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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Olympics-Canadian snowboarder Parrot eyes Beijing gold after cancer battle



Canadian snowboarder Max Parrot said on Friday that the mental toughness he gained during his battle with cancer carried over to the slopes where the slopestyle Pyeongchang silver medallist now hopes to go one better and win gold at the Beijing Olympics.

Parrot’s career was put on hold when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in December 2018. Two months after being declared cancer free in mid-2019, Parrot won an X Games big air gold medal in his return to competition.

Showing no signs of rust, Parrot also won a World Cup gold later that year and started off 2020 with another big air gold at the X Games in Aspen.

“Every year I become better and better physically and mentally, and especially going through such a big challenge as cancer you get really more mentally tough,” Parrot told a virtual news conference.

“If you look back at my season right after my cancer … It was pretty much my best year ever.”

Parrot finished fifth in his Olympic debut at the 2014 Sochi Games before a runner-up showing at Pyeongchang.

The 27-year-old Canadian pre-qualified for the slopestyle/big air team headed to Beijing based on his results from the 2020-21 winter season and is not shy about his intentions.

“Of course my goal is to go for the gold, that’s for sure,” said Parrot, whose cancer battle is chronicled in a documentary called “MAX – Life as a Gold Medal” that was released this week on his website.

“But I am really happy as well that if I don’t get the gold I won’t have any regrets because I did everything in my power over the past couple months and that was something important for me as well, just to not have any regrets.”

While there were some days during Parrot’s cancer battle where he wondered if he would ever return to the sport he loves, he said he never let those thoughts take over.

“When I had cancer it was ‘OK, I’m going to do treatments, I am going to do them as best as possible’ and even if I didn’t know if the treatments would work or not, in my mind cancer had no chance against me,” said Parrot.

“I had a lot of determination and motivation and the whole time I just wanted to get back to my passion as soon as possible. But never getting back to it was not really an option in my head.”


(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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Canada's Denis Shapovalov is on to the fourth round of the Australian Open – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News



The Canadian Press

Published Friday, January 21, 2022 7:28AM EST

Last Updated Friday, January 21, 2022 6:40PM EST

MELBOURNE, Australia — Canada’s Denis Shapovalov has a spot in the fourth round of the Australian Open for the first time in his career.

He beat Reilly Opelka 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Friday to set up a showdown with third-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany.

The Canadian has been pushed hard at Melbourne Park, averaging three hours 37 minutes of court time per win so far.

“I’ve gotten very familiar with the ice baths the last week,” Shapovalov said with a smile in an on-court interview. “We’ve become very good friends.”

At six foot 11 and 225 pounds, Opelka is an imposing force on the court. He had a 17-10 edge in aces on the 14th-seeded Shapovalov but made 46 unforced errors.

“Early on I actually found a rhythm on his serve,” Shapovalov said. “I was able to chip quite a lot back, so I was happy with that. I think I did a really good of just taking the chances today.

“Obviously it’s really tough to get the rhythm against a guy like that so I’m super happy.”

It was the first career meeting between Shapovalov and the 23rd-seeded American. Zverev, meanwhile, has a 4-2 edge in head-to-head matchups against the Canadian.

“Hopefully I can win,” Zverev said. “It’s going to be a great match.”

Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., previously reached the third round at Melbourne Park in 2019 and 2021. The 22-year-old’s best Grand Slam performance was a semifinal showing last year at Wimbledon.

Zverev defeated Maldova’s Radu Albot 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in third-round play.

“Radu is in great form right now … 1/8I’m 3/8 happy to be through in three sets,” Zverev said.

Ninth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal was scheduled to play Britain’s Daniel Evans in third-round play Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2022.

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