Chievo crash out of cup
AC Chievo Verona are out of the Italian Cup but Bologna, Atalanta BC and ACF Fiorentina disposed of lower league opposition on Wednesday to book their spots in the last 16. Chievo were shocked 1-0 at home thanks to Fabio Lucioni’s 60th minute winner for Reggina Calcio, who will now face more illustrious competition in AC Milan. A 35th minute strike from Cristian Pasquto was enough for Bologna to overcome Serie B side Livorno and book a tie against Serie A title contenders SSC Napoli. Atalanta went down to a 31st minute goal by Denis Tonucci at home to second division AC Cesena, but leveled thanks to Manuel Parra 10 minutes later. Giuseppe De Luca put the Bergamo side ahead just after the hour and Parra sealed the win with his second in the 82nd minute to secure a last-16 encounter away to AS Roma. Fiorentina continued their purple patch, which has seen them climb to third in Serie A, with a 2-0 win over second division SS Juve Stabia thanks to second-half goals from Haris Seferovic and Ahmed Hegazi. La Viola will now play Udinese.
Lyon win to go top
Bafetimbi Gomis scored a hat-trick as Olympique Lyonnais thrashed Olympique de Marseille 4-1 to climb above Paris Saint-Germain to the top of the French league on Wednesday. Steed Malbranque was the other scorer for the visitors before Loic Remy grabbed a 77th-minute consolation for Marseille, who had Rod Fanni dismissed late on. Also, Montpellier Herault and LOSC Lille Metropole progressed to the semi-finals of the French League Cup by beating OGC Nice 3-2 and SC Bastia 3-0, respectively. Saint-Etienne advanced to the last four on Tuesday by beating PSG on penalties.
Serena named player of year
Serena Williams has been named WTA Tour Player of the Year for the fourth time after winning Wimbledon, the US Open and Olympic gold in a stunning summer of success. The American started the year poorly but back-to-back tournament wins in Charleston and Madrid in April and May marked a remarkable change in fortunes. Williams went on to win 48 of 50 matches, landing the Wimbledon and US Open titles and taking gold in London where she defeated Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 in the final. She then finished the year by winning the WTA Tour Championships in Istanbul although she remained ranked third in the world behind Victoria Azarenka and Sharapova. After her win in Turkey she said: “I’ve always said if I’m playing well and doing everything right, it’s really difficult to beat me. I still believe that, which is great that I can still kind of play that way. I feel like there are always ways for me to improve, but I think it’s a true statement, without trying to sound really full of myself or anything.”
Laporte staying at Toulon
Bernard Laporte, the former French national coach and sports minister, is staying on as manager of Top 14 side Toulon for a further two years, he announced yesterday. Laporte initially signed a two-year contract in September last year and is to put pen to paper to an extension which will keep him at Toulon until June 2015. “I really want to do this,” Laporte said. “We are going through an interesting period and the aim is to establish this club among the elite of French rugby. That means being up among the leaders every year, For the past 10 years it has been Toulouse and Clermont who have been up there. Now we want to be up there with them.”