Villarreal rout 10-man Rayo
With a UEFA Europa League berth already secured, Villarreal rolled to a 4-0 win over 10-man Rayo Vallecano de Madrid in their last home game of the season on Saturday. Ikechuwku Uche and Bruno Soriano scored in the first half, before Jonathan Pereira struck in the 55th minute in the romp at El Madrigal. Rayo were left with 10 men when Anaitz Arbilla earned a direct red card for fouling Moi Gomez, who had only the goalkeeper to beat in the 63rd minute. Jaume Costa capped the demolition a minute later. Villarreal are in seventh place, two points behind Real Sociedad. If Villarreal finish above Sociedad they will avoid a playoff to reach the Europa League group phase. Also on Saturday, Levante UD beat Valencia 2-0 to sit one round away from finishing above their city rivals for the first time in history. Angel Rodriguez opened in the 70th minute, before Andreas Ivanschitz added the second in the 81st and the hosts hung on, despite Pedro Lopez’s red card with two minutes remaining. Levante are eighth, two points above Valencia.
Rams’ Sam makes history
Michael Sam made history on Saturday as the St Louis Rams made him the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL. Sam had an agonizingly long wait for the milestone moment, which came as the seventh and final round of the three-day draft was winding down. “I knew I was going to get picked somewhere,” said Sam, who starred as a defensive end for the University of Missouri and went public with his sexuality in February. “Every team that passed me, I was thinking how I’m going to sack their quarterback.” The 24-year-old was taken with the 249th overall selection in the annual allocation of new talent for the US’ most popular sport — seven spots before the draft concluded with pick No. 256.
Fog forces Madeira rethink
Persistent fog problems forced organizers to reduce the Madeira Islands Open to 36 holes on Saturday as the European Tour’s 1,500th event suffered more frustration. After the first day was abandoned due to heavy fog, the first round suffered a delayed start and early finish on Friday at the venue which stands at 700m above sea level. That left more than half of the 144-player field yet to start their opening rounds. After more delays on Saturday and with play only starting at midday, it was decided to make the event a 36-hole tournament. The remainder of the first round was set to resume yesterday with Scott Henry still holding the lead having carded a five-under opening round of 67 on Friday.
NZ claim 12th sevens title
New Zealand won the Rugby Sevens World Series for a 12th time in 15 seasons, but a pool loss to England sent the Kiwis on the hard road to defending their season-ending London title on Saturday. Pool wins in the morning against Argentina (40-10) and Wales (49-0) before a sold-out Twickenham crowd of 75,000 ensured New Zealand reached the knockout stage and secured the title a fourth straight time with an unassailable points lead over South Africa. The Kiwis have won a series-leading four tournaments this season, twice as many as next-best South Africa and Fiji, and they have yet to lose before the semi-finals. That record was on the line after a 15-12 loss to England put New Zealand into a quarter-final against South Africa, unbeaten pool winners along with England, Samoa and Australia, all previous champions in London.