No sweat 
for Halep

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Yes, they Ken

Kento Fujihara, Kento Nagasaki and Ken Ilso are among SAZALI ABDUL AZIZ’s best S.League performers for April

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OTHER SPORTING MIRACLES

UNHERALDED: Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough (left) and his assistant Peter Taylor holding the 1978 Division One trophy. PHOTOS: ACTION IMAGES

1 Nottingham Forest (1977-78)

The idea of a newly promoted team securing the English top-tier title seemed absurd, but Forest achieved it in 1978.

Under Brian Clough, they finished third in the Second Division the season before, ahead of Bolton and Blackpool by just a point. But, led by Martin O'Neill, Peter Shilton, Peter Withe and John McGovern, they took the title by seven points ahead of Liverpool.

It was a season where Leicester finished bottom. Forest also won the League Cup that season and, a year later, became champions of Europe.

2 Muhammad Ali (1974)

Ali's refusal to be drafted for the Vietnam War had meant a three-year exile from boxing in what should have been his prime years.

On his return, he lost to Joe Frazier and Ken Norton, meaning nobody but Ali (above) himself thought he could beat the fearsome George Foreman, who had dismantled Norton and Frazier both inside two brutal rounds. But Ali's "rope-a-dope" tactics in the "Rumble in the Jungle" in Zaire saw him knock out an exhausted Foreman in the eighth round and win back the heavyweight title at the age of 32.

DANISH DELIGHT: Denmark celebrating their surprise success. PHOTOS: ACTION IMAGES

3 Denmark (Euro '92)

Given a week's notice to put a squad together when Yugoslavia were barred from the 1992 European Championship because of civil war, the Danes - who had been runners-up to the Yugoslavs in qualifying - were given little hope.

A 0-0 draw against England and defeat by hosts Sweden did little to dispel the notion, but a 2-1 win over fancied France put them into the semi-finals and they squeaked past Holland on penalties.

The might of world champions Germany awaited in the final but Denmark rode their luck, with goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel proving impregnable and goals from John Jensen and Kim Vilfort taking the team that had failed originally to qualify for the tournament to the most unlikely of victories.

4 Boris Becker (Wimbledon 1985)

In June 1985, a fresh-faced 17-year-old from Germany won the grass-court Grand Slam's traditional warm-up at Queen's Club in London and he was dubbed a "future Wimbledon champion" by the media.

Little did they realise the prediction would come true only three weeks later.

Unseeded and, with many of his early matches going largely unnoticed on outside courts, Becker (above) battled to the final where he overcame Kevin Curren.

The South African had conquered both Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe in earlier rounds but couldn't cope with the teenager's confidence and fearless approach, as Becker won the first of his three titles at the All-England Club 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4.

5 Bob Champion (Grand National 1981)

English jump racing jockey Bob Champion (above) was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1979 and given between six and eight months to live. But he opted to endure the then new and painful chemotherapy treatment and was remarkably back in the saddle a year later.

He had long believed that Aldaniti had the potential to win the "world's greatest steeplechase" over the gruelling four-and-a-half miles of Aintree's famous course, despite the horse being treated for a variety of injuries almost constantly.

Their partnership and victory in the 1981 Grand National was one of pure emotion and inspired the movie Champions in which John Hurt starred as the jockey. Now 67, Champion continues to work tirelessly to raise money for cancer research. 
- Wire Services.

WHAT THEY SAY

"I just think it's generally the biggest sporting shock. There were no odds that I would have taken at the start of the season. You could have given me 10 million to one and I'd have said, 'Nah, it's a waste of a quid'."

- Former Leicester striker Gary Lineker, who will have to present an episode of 
Sky Sports' Match of the Day next season in his underwear following a pledge made on Twitter

"I don't think anything betters this. I was a massive sceptic of Claudio Ranieri. I didn't think they could win it, but they've proved me and a lot of people wrong."

- Former Leicester midfielder 
Robbie Savage

"I think there's no doubt that is the greatest achievement in the history of our game. Football had become a closed shop with the same teams winning year after year and you never believed a story like this could happen, but it has and you just think what that could do for the rest of football now and if it could change and you could see more of this more often."

- Former Liverpool defender 
Jamie Carragher

Stealing food not a crime if you're poor: Italy court

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