Boro held by the Blades
Relegated Middlesbrough and defeated play-off finalists Sheffield United fought out a drab 0-0 draw on Friday as the new English Championship season endured a low-key start. Boro, playing outside the Premier League for the first time in 11 years, struggled to find any rhythm in the first half at the Riverside Stadium, with the visitors seeing Danny Coyne save well from Keith Treacy. Middlesbrough’s best openings were half-chances, with Mark Yeates and Adam Johnson causing problems before the game fizzled out.
Villa sign defender Beye
English Premier League side Aston Villa signed Senegalese international defender Habib Beye from relegated Newcastle United on Friday on a three-year deal, the Premier League club said. The 31-year-old had appeared to be on the brink of joining Hull City on Thursday, before Villa boss Martin O’Neill made his move. Beye, who spent four years with Marseille before joining Newcastle in 2007, is Villa’s third major signing of the summer, following Stewart Downing from Middlesbrough and Fabian Delph, who was tempted away from Leeds United. “I think Villa is a great football club,” Beye told the club’s official Web site. “I was really happy when my agent told me Villa were interested. I just said: ‘Get it done.’”
Livingston refuse to play
Crisis-hit Livingston have plunged the Scottish League into chaos by refusing to play yesterday’s third division match with East Stirling in protest at their demotion from the first division. The Scottish Football League (SFL) relegated Livingston on Wednesday for breaching the league’s insolvency rules, but the club decided on Friday to appeal the sanction. As a result, Livingston said they would not play a third division fixture until their case was heard. An appeal was expected to also see a postponement of the matches involving Airdrie United and Cowdenbeath, who had been promoted to the first and second divisions respectively as a result of Livingston’s relegation. Instead, the SFL announced on Friday morning that Ross County v Airdrie, Cowdenbeath v Arbroath and East Stirling v Livingston would all go ahead, but the results would be void if Livingston’s appeal proved successful.
Valencia reject Mata offer
Cash-strapped Valencia have refused an offer of more than 20 million euros (US$28 million) from European champions Barcelona for their Spanish international winger Juan Mata, Spanish media reported on Friday. Valencia president Manuel Llorente told the 21-year-old player’s agent earlier on Friday that the club did not want to let him go and was in no position to offer him a higher salary, the online editions of sports daily Marca said.
Alkmaar record first win
Champions AZ Alkmaar beat Sparta Rotterdam 2-0 in the Dutch league on Friday after losing their opening fixture at Heracles Almelo. Belgium striker Moussa Dembele opened the scoring for Alkmaar after six minutes when he netted a pass from last year’s Dutch league top scorer Mounir El Hamdaoui. Alkmaar were still not at their best and missed several chances, but after 64 minutes captain Stijn Schaars set up El Hamdaoui to double their lead and seal the victory. In Friday’s other match, NEC Nijmegen also registered their first win of the season by beating Heerenveen 4-1.
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on
Growing concern over health standards in e-sports has prompted a new federation to pledge to address the problem, as players fall victim to conditions ranging from wrist injuries to obesity, stress and diabetes. The retirement of top Chinese player Jian Zihao, better known by his gaming handle “Uzi,” sent tremors through the booming sport, whose revenues are predicted to reach US$1.1 billion this year, according to industry analyst Newzoo. The 23-year-old, hailed as an “icon” of the League of Legends game, stepped away from e-sports in June, saying that “chronic stress, obesity, irregular diet, staying up late and other reasons” had given