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The day the underdogs bared their teeth from Paris to Miami Posted On 03 February 2020

Patrick Mahomes was telling anyone within earshot that he was going to Disney World – but only after the Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback had finished with dreamland

Mahomes at least was in the right geographical location for a celebratory trip, the Chiefs producing a stunning final quarter comeback in Miami, Florida to floor the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy at American Football’s showpiece, Super Bowl 54.

With his side 20-10 down and looking unlikely to end their 50-year Super Bowl drought, Mahomes inspired his side to score 21 unanswered points in fewer than five minutes to earn a famous 31-20 victory.

“We never lost faith,” said Mahomes, voted the game’s Most Valuable Player. “No-one had their heads down. We found a way to win in the end. Coach (Andy Reid) told me ‘keep firing, keep believing’ and I’m just glad our guys kept fighting.”

And in one quote, Mahomes summed up the philosophy of the underdog after a day in which favourites found things don’t always go as planned.

A few hours earlier, in conditions that were more barmy than balmy, Manchester City’s stuttering defence of their Premier League Championship hit the buffers at Tottenham where they found a way to lose a fractious, VAR-dominated game 2-0.

City, long odds-on favourites to win on the betting exchanges, missed a penalty, hit the post and dominated possession. Yet Spurs hung on, scored the opening goal with their first shot on target in the 63rd minute – Steven Bergwijn becoming an instant hit on his debut as the defending champions were re-organising following the dismissal of Oleksandr Zinchenko – and added the winner eight minutes later from Heung-Min Son.

Defeat leaves City 22 points behind leaders Liverpool, who can win the title as early as March 21, and coach Pep Guardiola moaned: “They had two shots and scored two goals. I don’t have too many things to say about the performance. We have to accept it and analyse it.”

However, the surprise over that result was nothing compared to the shock waves from a soggy Paris as Guinness Six Nations Championship favourites England were brought down to Earth by France, famously erratic and more used to inhabiting the lower half of the table in the last decade.

After an error-strewn first half England, Rugby World Cup finalists just three months ago, trailed 17-0 at half-time, and while two brilliant Jonny May tries ignited hopes of an outrageous comeback, France defended as if their lives depended on it and came away deserved 24-17 winners.

“We were slow out of the blocks, sorry for ourselves and out of kilter,” said coach Eddie Jones, who shrugged off talk of a World Cup hangover. “I don’t think we would have seen the response we got in the second half if we had a mental hangover. I was pleased with the second half – that game could have got ugly for us.”

England now face Scotland on Saturday.

Earlier, Dominic Thiem almost set the tone for The Day of the Underdog in the men’s singles final at the Australian Open, but defending champion Novak Djokovic picked himself off the floor to win 6-4, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 – a record equalling eight title in Melbourne and his 17th Grand Slam crown, two behind Rafael Nadal and three behind tennis legend Roger Federer.

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