Naismith boosts Killie
Steven Naismith grabbed a superb hat-trick to send Kilmarnock into the Scottish League Cup final with a 3-0 win over Falkirk at Motherwell's Fir Park on Tuesday. Killie, who will face either St Johnstone or Hibs in the final, were always in control after Scotland under-21 star Naismith scored a scorcher on the half hour mark. The 20-year-old bettered that in the 71st minute, latching on to a ball over the top before finding the top corner with a superb strike. The hat-trick was completed six minutes later when Naismith evaded two tackles in the box before being tripped, earning a penalty that he netted easily.
Maccarone goes home
Siena have signed striker Massimo Maccarone from Premier League club Middlesbrough on a free transfer, the Serie A club said on Tuesday. The 27-year-old has signed a three-and-a-half year deal. Maccarone made his name in Italy's Serie B with Empoli and he guided them to promotion in the 2001-02 season. His goals prompted Middlesbrough to pay a club record fee of £8.15 million (US$16.01 million) when they signed him for the 2002-03 season. He struggled in England despite scoring late winners in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals and semi-finals to help Middlesbrough reach the final.
Onyewu joins Magpies
United States defender Oguchi Onyewu joined Newcastle on loan on Tuesday in a move that will keep him in the English Premier League for at least the rest of the season. Onyewu passed a medical on Monday and later agreed to leave Belgian team Standard Liege. Newcastle has an option to make the transfer permanent after the season. The 24-year-old defender leaves the Belgian team after scoring eight goals in 93 games since joining in 2004.
Kiel in trouble again
San Diego strong safety Terrence Kiel was cited for urinating in public last month, his second run-in with the law in less than three months and the eighth by a Chargers player since April. Maria Velasquez, spokeswoman for City Attorney Mike Aguirre, confirmed that Kiel was cited and released by police outside a nightclub in the Gaslamp Quarter at 1:50am on Dec. 18. Kiel faces five felony drug charges stemming from his arrest in late September by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents. The DEA said Kiel admitted to shipping at least two parcels of prescription cough syrup to Texas, apparently to be mixed with soft drinks to make a concoction known as "lean."
Border slams Pietersen
Allan Border has criticized England batsman Kevin Pietersen for leaving Australia so quickly after breaking his rib during the opening match of the tri-series earlier this month. The former Australia captain said the South African-born batsman, whose form was a rare bright spot on England's disappointing tour, ought to have stayed if there was any chance he could help his team into the finals. Pietersen had his rib broken by a Glenn McGrath delivery at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Jan. 12. The English management opted to send him home to ensure his fitness for the World Cup in the West Indies starting on Mar. 13. "I've got to say he was on the plane before the x-ray came back," Border told Australian television. "If he's got a broken rib, fair enough, but it was just cracked and given two weeks' break he could be playing. "Too quick on to the plane for my liking."
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first