Colombia edge lowly Peru
Midfielder James Rodriguez scored the only goal as Colombia beat Peru 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier in Lima on Sunday to give Jose Pekerman a winning start as their coach. Striker Dorlan Pabon flicked a through ball with the outside of his right foot past a defender to Rodriguez, who sidestepped goalkeeper Diego Penny and shot left-footed into the net. The victory at the Estadio Nacional lifted Colombia into fifth place in the nine-nation South American group with seven points from four matches. They are three points behind leaders Argentina, who have played one more match. Colombia, who have not reached the finals since 1998, appointed Argentine Pekerman after sacking Leonel Alvarez in November last year following a home defeat by Argentina. Peru, whose coach Sergio Markarian was deprived of half a dozen players through injury, are one from the bottom with three points from four matches.
Celta promoted to top flight
Real Club Celta de Vigo were promoted back to Spain’s top flight after five years in the second division after a 0-0 draw at home to Cordoba on Sunday secured them second place behind division winners and Galician neighbors Real Club Deportivo de la Coruna. Celta, who reached the last 16 of the Champions League in 2004 and won the Intertoto Cup three years earlier, have 85 points from 42 matches, six behind Depor, who were 1-0 winners at Villarreal B, setting a second-tier record of 91 points. Real Valladolid, AD Alcorcon, Hercules and Cordoba finished the season in third through sixth respectively and are to playoff for the final promotion spot. Celta’s return to La Liga may help the club tackle the financial problems that have forced it into administration as they are likely to reap more from selling audiovisual rights next season.
‘Little Master’ sworn in
Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar was sworn in as a member of the upper house of parliament yesterday after being nominated in a surprise move criticized by some government opponents. Tendulkar, who is worshipped by millions of cricket fans in India, took his oath in Rajya Sabha for a seat theoretically reserved for people who distinguish themselves in the fields of arts, sciences or social service. He is the first active sportsman to serve in the house, though he has previously vowed to steer clear of politics and is expected to hold the seat only as an honorary position. When he was nominated in April, the Times of India said the gesture made “little sense,” while some opposition lawmakers accused the government of crass populist politics.
Kirwan knighted by queen
Former All Blacks great John Kirwan, who has also coached Italy and Japan at Rugby World Cups as well as being an advocate for sufferers of depression, was honored with a knighthood yesterday. The 47-year-old was named a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday honors list for his services to mental health and rugby union. Kirwan, who played 63 Tests for the All Blacks, has become a campaigner for mental health issues and he has written about his own battle with depression in the book All Blacks Don’t Cry. “There were scary times because of the stigma attached to depression, but I have tried to break those down because it is an illness, not a weakness,” he told the New Zealand Herald. He said he accepted the knighthood “on behalf of all those people who are suffering, to show there is hope.”