Zenit stay top after draw
Champions Zenit St Petersburg remained top of the Premier League on Sunday after a 2-2 draw at 10-man Spartak Moscow in a match overshadowed by violence, which saw a bus stoned and visiting fans attacked with bats. The match at the 60,000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium, featuring fans known for their mutual hatred, had started amidst tension when a number of Zenit supporters were attacked by Spartak fans on their way to the ground. Spartak took the lead in the 21st minute when Zenit defender Alexander Anyukov diverted the ball into his own net as he tried to clear Demy de Zeeuw’s pass to Nigerian striker Emmanuel Emenike. Zenit leveled in the 38th minute through Portuguese midfielder Miguel Danny, who sent the ball home past Spartak goalkeeper Andrei Dykan with a close-range shot from Alexander Kerzhakov’s pass. Spartak’s Argentine fullback Nicolas Pareja was sent off three minutes before halftime for a dangerous foul. Kerzhakov made it 2-1 for Zenit just 30 seconds after the interval, scoring from Roman Shirokov’s cross from the right edge of the box. Spartak rescued a point when Brazilian striker Welliton scored from Aiden McGeady’s cross.
Alkmaar cruise past VVV
AZ Alkmaar cruised to a 3-1 win at VVV Venlo to extend their lead on Sunday, as AFC Ajax and Twente dropped points. Swede Rasmus Elm put Alkmaar ahead after 32 minutes when he curled a free-kick around the wall and then set up Adam Maher on the hour to double the lead. Simon Poulsen sealed the win, before Robert Cullen scored a consolation goal for VVV in stoppage-time after Ahmed Musa missed a penalty. Alkmaar are top with 21 points after eight matches, four more than PSV Eindhoven, who moved into second following a 2-0 win at NEC Nijmegen with late goals from Zakaria Labyad and Tim Matavz. Twente slipped to third as Luuk de Jong salvaged a 2-2 draw with a last-minute header at home to winless bottom side Excelsior Rotterdam, who clinched their second point. Ola John put Twente ahead after 34 minutes, but Excelsior substitute Darren Maatsen turned the match around with goals in the 85th and 86th minutes.
Ferdinand, Gerrard left out
England coach Fabio Capello has decided against gambling on the fitness of Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard after leaving the duo out of his squad for Friday’s crucial Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro. Capello’s side need a draw in Podgorica to book their place at next year’s finals in Ukraine and Poland, and the Italian was not willing to risk Gerrard or Ferdinand breaking down after the pair’s long battles against injury. Tottenham Hotspur forward Jermain Defoe and Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott have lost their places, with Fulham striker Bobby Zamora and goalkeeper Scott Carson recalled to the 24-man squad.
Steve McClaren quits Forest
Former England coach Steve McClaren has resigned as Nottingham Forest manager after just 10 games in charge of the struggling Championship side, the former European champions confirmed on Sunday. McClaren walked out just hours after Forest fans called for him to quit following Birmingham City’s 3-1 win at the City Ground. McClaren, the former VfL Wolfsburg, Twente and Middlesbrough boss, was already under pressure following Forest’s woeful start to the season and he leaves with the team languishing just one point and one place above the relegation zone.
Woods out of top 50
Tiger Woods will plummet to depths he has not reached in 15 years, as he is projected to drop two spots to 51st in the world rankings that were to be issued yesterday. The former world No. 1 has not triumphed anywhere since the 2009 Australian Masters and has been steadily losing ranking points because of his struggles on and off the course. In yesterday’s rankings, Woods was expected to be sandwiched by South African Louis Oosthuizen (50th) and fellow American Jonathan Byrd (52nd), the first time he has been out of the top 50 since he was 61st on Oct. 13, 1996. It has been just more than three years since Woods clinched the last of his 14 major titles and he has not competed on the PGA Tour since missing the cut at the PGA Championship in August.
England winger Delon Armitage will miss this weekend’s quarter-final with France after receiving a one match suspension from the World Cup tribunal yesterday. Armitage was cited for making a dangerous tackle in England’s 16-12 Pool B match against Scotland at Auckland’s Eden Park on Saturday. World cup Independent Judicial Officer Bruce Squire deemed Armitage’s offense to be at the lower end of offending, which has an entry point of two weeks. Squire took into consideration mitigating factors and the absence of aggravating factors in suspending Armitage for one match. Armitage’s suspension takes effect immediately and will include the match against France. “It’s a shame to lose Delon, as he has played well, but these things happen and we have some quality wings in Mark Cueto and Matt Banahan to choose from,” England team manager Martin Johnson said.
Filly Danedream takes Arc
Three-year-old filly Danedream raced away from the field in the last 250m to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Europe’s most prestigious flat race, by five lengths in Paris on Sunday. Danedream, a late addition to the 16-horse field, became the first Arc champion from Germany since Star Appeal in 1975. She covered the 2,400m Longchamp racecourse in 2 minutes, 24.49 seconds to break the race record set by Peintre Celebre in 1997. Shareta ended second, a neck ahead of Snow Fairy, with So You Think fourth. “The race was quite fast,” winning rider Andrasch Starke said. “Just before I got into the last bend, I was so confident. I had a really good position and she was traveling so well.”
Ogier wins Rally France
Sebastien Ogier held off a strong challenge from Daniel Sordo of Spain to win the Rally France on Sunday and make up ground in the title race. Mikko Hirvonen of Finland finished third to join defending champion Sebastien Loeb at the top of the standings. Ogier beat Sordo by 6.3 seconds to complete the 23 stages in 3 hours, 6 minutes, 20.4 seconds in his Citroen, and pull within three points of Loeb. “I’m really happy with the outcome of this race,” Ogier told the WRC Web site. “I did exactly what I had to do by looking at Dani and the split times. I took the lead but I did not take the risk.” Loeb retired on Friday after his Citroen had an engine failure and did not score any points in his native Alsace region. Petter Solberg of Norway initially took third place, but he was later disqualified after his car was found to be 4kg shy of the regulation minimum weight. Hirvonen earned three more points as a result.
Japanese couple Rikiya and Ayumi Kataoka had their honeymoon wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic, but their resourcefulness in enforced exile in Cape Verde has won them appointments as ambassadors for its Olympic team. The Kataokas had completed a third of their round-the-world trip when a suspension in long-haul flights stranded them for five months in the archipelago of 10 tiny islands off the coast of West Africa. Unable to resume their journey to Europe and then home to Japan, and unwilling to head to the African mainland, where virus cases are spiking, they had to trade their skills with domestic businesses to
WEEKEND MATCHES: While Tatung FC made good on their chances early on, Taiwan Steel rallied to win the game 2-3 and move to the top with Taichung Futuro Sunday’s action saw Taichung Futuro, Taipower FC and Taiwan Steel tied for first place on 30 points in the Taiwan Football Premier League, while Hang Yuan FC picked up a point to take the No. 4 spot on 25 points after holding Taipower to a scoreless draw. In Taoyuan, Tatung FC hosted Taiwan Steel. It was an exciting matchup, as the visitors rallied from 2-0 down to take the game with three goals. Tatung made good on their chances early on. Honduran midfielder Elias Argueta opened the account 15 minutes into the game with a low shot from the right. Three minutes
Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing attack on the next generation of snooker players after he made the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, ending Chinese star Ding Junhui’s world championship dream. The mercurial 44-year-old Englishman won an enthralling high-quality second-round encounter 13-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Mark Williams. When asked by the BBC whether he thought he would remain at the top of the game for this long, the Briton, who turned professional in 1992, said the poor quality of younger players had secured his position and that something drastic would have to happen
Max Verstappen informed his Red Bull team that he would not be driving “like a grandma” in Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday — and he was as good as his word. The Dutch 22-year-old seized his opportunity at Silverstone, ending dominant Mercedes’ run of four successive wins this season and moving up to second place overall, 30 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen’s confidence shone through early on, after slotting into third place behind the two Mercedes, when he was told by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to take care of his tires. “Mate, this is the only chance of being