Vinci beats second seed
Defending champion Roberta Vinci of Italy defeated second seed Aravane Rezai of France 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the Barcelona Ladies Open on Tuesday. Top-seeded Francesca Schiavone beat fellow Italian Alberta Brianti 6-2, 6-1 on the rain-affected outdoor clay courts of the David Lloyd Club Turo. Spain’s Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez dispatched Germany’s Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-4, justifying her third seeding while fourth seed and 2008 champion Maria Kirilenko defeated Masa Zec Peskiric of Slovenia 7-5, 6-1.
Indian star makes debut
India’s Sunil Chhetri made his Wizards debut in a 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rapids in a US Open Cup qualifier on Tuesday, a day after his visa and international transfer certificate were cleared. Chhetri, the first Indian national on a Major League Soccer team, started and played the first half for Kansas City. He agreed to terms on March 25 and was added to the 24-man Wizards squad on Monday. Teal Bunbury opened the scoring for the Wizards in the fourth minute but Wells Thompson scored in the 24th and 80th minutes to secure the win for the visiting team. The Indian international is one of the most popular players in his home country. The Wizards’ Facebook page has added more than 6,000 fans since Chhetri signed and nearly every move he’s made has been on news pages in India. Chhetri had a decent scoring chance stopped early and received yellow card in the 20th minute for taking down Thompson from behind. He was replaced by Kei Kamara in the second half.
Monaco reach Cup final
Substitute Moussa Maazou struck in extra time to lift Monaco to a 1-0 win over RC Lens on Tuesday and a place in the French Cup final. Striker Maazou headed home with 10 minutes left in the extra period after Lens had dominated an entertaining game at the Stade Louis II. Monaco will face amateurs Quevilly or Paris St Germain, who played yesterday, in the final. Lens were more aggressive in midfield but failed to convert two clear chances before the break through Kanga Akale. The winger missed the target after breaking down the left flank in the sixth minute. Shortly after the half hour, Akale collected a defense-splitting pass from Yohan Demont but was denied from close range by Monaco goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier. Monaco earned a penalty 10 minutes into the second half when Alejandro Alonso was brought down in the box by goalkeeper Vedran Runje. Nene converted it but, with a few players in the box when he took his shot, referee Stephane Bre asked for the spot kick to be retaken and the striker skied his second attempt. With the match into extra time, Lens midfielder Sebastien Roudet had a clear chance in the 98th minute but his header was parried away by Ruffier. A minute later, Maazou replaced Alonso and immediately made his presence felt when he headed home a Nene cross.
Benfica win Lisbon derby
Second-half goals from Oscar Cardozo and Pablo Aimar gave Benfica a 2-0 win over Sporting Lisbon and put the Eagles six points clear at the top of the Portuguese league. Striker Cardozo, the league’s top scorer with 21 goals, deflected in a Fabio Coentrao shot after 68 minutes in the Lisbon derby on Tuesday. Playmaker Aimar scored on a break 10 minutes later. Benfica are unbeaten at home this season and with six games to play have 67 points. Braga are second on 61 and Porto third on 56. Sporting have 41 points in fourth.
Cagliari sack ‘Coach of Year’
Massimiliano Allegri became the 16th coaching change of the season in Serie A’s 20-team league as he was fired by Cagliari on Tuesday only two months after he had been voted coach of the 2008-2009 season by his peers. Allegri has been replaced by youth team coach Giorgio Melis. The 42-year-old — who received 40 percent of the vote from his fellow coaches for the award — was almost two years into a three-year contract and was seen as one of the bright young prospects in Italy’s top flight. In his first Serie A job, he guided Cagliari to an impressive ninth place finish last season and for large parts of this term they were challenging for European qualification. But they had not won in their last nine games and Cagliari released a brief statement thanking him for his work and wishing him the best in the future.
Paraguay coach unrepentant
Paraguay’s Argentine coach Gerardo Martino is unrepentant over his penchant for picking naturalized compatriots for the team he is preparing for the World Cup finals. Buenos Aires-born striker Lucas Barrios is the latest to take Paraguayan citizenship through his mother, with Martino suggesting the Borussia Dortmund player could be in his World Cup squad. Paraguayans have questioned Martino’s use of players born in neighboring Argentina, though the coach was adamant he would continue the policy. “It doesn’t seem logical to me to miss out on an important player,” Martino told the Cardinal radio station in Asuncion on Tuesday. “The people will hang me for losing, not for nationalizing [players].” Midfielders Jonathan Santana and Nestor Ortigoza have played for the team and Jonathan Fabbro of local side Guarani has also taken Paraguayan nationality.
Twente suffer second defeat
An own goal by defender Peter Wisgerhof condemned Twente Enschede to only their second defeat of the season, the Dutch league leaders going down 1-0 to AZ Alkmaar on Tuesday. At the other end of the table RKC Waalwijk were relegated after suffering their 27th defeat of the season, losing 4-1 at Heracles Almelo, with Brazilian Everton scoring twice. With two matches remaining Twente top the standings with 80 points. Second-placed Ajax were aiming to reduce the gap to one point when they visited Willem II Tilburg yesterday. Wisgerhof found his own net in the eighth minute to put Alkmaar ahead and although Steve McClaren’s side dominated the second half they were unable to find an equalizer. Twente were unlucky to be denied a penalty despite an obvious handball from defender Simon Poulsen while he was trying to block striker Blaise Nkufo’s header.
Windies crush Canada
A fine knock by veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul saw hosts West Indies romp to a 208-run victory over Canada in their one-day international in Kingston on Tuesday. The 35-year-old hit 101 off 120 balls including six fours and a six as West Indies racked up 316 for 4 off their 50 overs. Dwayne Bravo contributed 74 off 75 balls including two sixes whilst the match featured the return of class batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan for the first time since he returned home from the tour of Australia late last year with a back problem. Sarwan showed he was in good order as he hit a quickfire unbeaten 47 off 26 balls with six boundaries including a six. Canada were never in the hunt with just Umar Bhatti putting up much resistance with 32 not out — Nikita Miller returning the best figures for the West Indies of 3-15.
‘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
The Chicago Blackhawks and the Montreal Canadiens, with the fewest wins of any NHL playoff teams, ignited the rink returning from a COVID-19 hiatus with upset triumphs in Saturday openers. NHL Rookie of the Year candidate Dominik Kubalik inspired the Blackhawks to a 6-4 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in game one of their best-of-five qualifying series at Edmonton, Alberta, scoring two goals and assisting on three others. “We were ready to go, and I think the game was pretty good,” Kubalik said. “I felt pretty good and everything went my way, so it’s nice, but it’s just the first game,