Sat, Dec 24, 2011 - Page 18 News List

SPORTS BRIEFS

Agencies

ICE HOCKEY

Deryk Engelland suspended

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland has been suspended for three games for an illegal check to the head of Chicago Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger, the NHL announced on Thursday. Less than nine minutes into Pittsburgh’s 3-2 win on Tuesday, Engelland launched himself into Kruger, driving his forearm to the head of the Chicago forward. Kruger suffered a concussion from the hit. No penalty was assessed on the play, but right after the hit, Blackhawks enforcer John Scott fought Engelland and received an instigator penalty on top of his fighting major and the Penguins scored on the ensuing power play. Engelland will forfeit more than US$9,000 of his salary, which will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

SOCCER

Atletico fire Manzano

Atletico Madrid put Gregorio Manzano out of his misery on Thursday when their unpopular board sacked the coach following the King’s Cup defeat by third-tier Albacete and offered Diego Simeone his job. The 55-year-old Manzano’s departure came after less than a half-season in his second stint at the helm, while former Atletico midfielder Simeone said he was ready to take over after quitting as coach of Racing Club in his native Argentina on Tuesday. Club president Enrique Cerezo told reporters the 42-year-old Simeone, a fan favorite as a player, was enthusiastic about their offer and the club were expecting his response by yesterday. “We have only made an offer to Simeone,” Cerezo added. Known as “the professor,” Manzano has overseen an erratic campaign including a 5-0 league drubbing at Barcelona.

SOCCER

Villarreal promote Molina

Villarreal have promoted former Spain goalkeeper Jose Francisco Molina from B team coach to take charge of the first team following the dismissal of Juan Carlos Garrido, the La Liga club said on Thursday. Villarreal were humbled 2-0 at home by third-tier Mirandes in the King’s Cup on Wednesday, losing the last-32 match 3-1 on aggregate and prompting president Fernando Roig to sack Garrido immediately after the final whistle. He leaves the side hovering just above the La Liga relegation places after 16 rounds of a stuttering campaign that also saw them beaten in all six of their Champions League Group A games, scoring just two goals and conceding 14. Molina, 41, who kept goal for Villarreal, Atletico Madrid and Deportivo Coruna, has agreed a contract until the end of the season, the club said on their Web site.

RUGBY UNION

NZ name assistant coach

World champions New Zealand have named former Waikato Chiefs supremo Ian Foster as assistant coach. Foster, who coached the New Zealand Super rugby side in more than 100 matches between 2004 and this year, will assist recently appointed head coach Steve Hansen, who has been tasked with sustaining the top-ranked side’s success following Graham Henry’s retirement. Foster replaces former assistant coach Wayne Smith, who stepped aside to take up a coaching consultant role with the Chiefs. “This is a great honor to work with the All Blacks. I’m thankful for the faith that Steve Hansen and the board have shown in me,” Foster, a former coach of the Junior All Blacks, said in a statement released by the New Zealand Rugby Union yesterday. The All Blacks have also named Brian McLean, who was an assistant to Samoa at this year’s World Cup, as defense coach, with a skills coach to be named in the new year.

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