Fiorentina secure place
Fiorentina secured their Serie A status with a 1-0 win at fellow strugglers Lecce on Saturday as AS Roma’s faint European hopes were left hanging by a thread after a 2-2 home draw with Catania. A first-half Alessio Cerci goal earned the three points for the Tuscans who were being managed by Vincenzo Guerini for the first time after former coach Delio Rossi was sacked for attacking midfielder Adem Ljajic in the dugout. Cerci was put clean through after 35 minutes by a Ruben Olivera flick and coolly slotted home at the near post past Lecce goalkeeper Massimiliano Benassi. Lecce trail Genoa by three points and must hope Champions League-chasing Udinese beat their relegation rivals yesterday or they will definitely be in Serie B next season. Meanwhile, Two goals from Francesco Totti on his 500th appearance for Roma were not enough to gain a win for his hometown club as they dropped out of the race for Europe with a 2-2 home draw against Catania. Totti, who missed a penalty in the first half, gave Roma the lead with a stunning left-foot strike seven minutes into the second period, but a penalty from Francesco Lodi and another from Giovanni Marchese put the Sicilians in front. Totti scored his 215th goal with 13 minutes left to set up a frantic finish, but despite piling on the pressure they could not find the winner and will have to hope Inter did not win yesterday’s Milan derby to have any hope of European soccer next year.
Japan women to London
Japan earned the 12th and last berth in the Olympic women’s field hockey tournament by beating Azerbaijan 5-1 in the final of the qualifying tournament in Kakamigahara, Japan, on Saturday. Japan were favored as the highest-ranked team in the event at No. 9 and apart from a goalless draw with Chile in pool play, they won every other match by at least three goals. The host side will appear in their third straight Olympics, slotting into Group A with the defending champions Netherlands, the UK, China, South Korea and Belgium. Group B is world champs Argentina, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, the US and South Africa. Azerbaijan, yet to appear in an Olympics, also finished second in a qualifier for Beijing four years ago. The Japan men’s team could join their women counterparts at the Games, as they were to meet South Africa in yesterday’s men’s final, with the winner claiming the last Olympic spot in that field.
Steve Perryman hospitalized
Former Tottenham Hotspur captain Steve Perryman was taken to hospital on Saturday after “feeling breathless” watching Exeter City’s League One match against Sheffield United. The 60-year-old was attended by paramedics for about 10 minutes before being rushed to hospital. “Exeter City Director Of Football Steve Perryman was taken to hospital during today’s match after feeling breathless,” a statement on the club’s Web site said. “He is now comfortable in hospital.” Exeter chief executive Julian Tagg was quoted in the Mail on Sunday yesterday saying: “He was feeling dizzy at the start of the second half and he didn’t recover. It was a bit of a shock. But he is a tough character.” Perryman, who captained Spurs to FA Cup triumphs in the early 1980s, made a club record 854 first-team appearances for Tottenham in all competitions and was capped once by England.