Lazio reach semi-finals
Already performing well in Serie A, SS Lazio advanced to the Italian Cup semi-finals on Tuesday with a 3-0 win over Catania. Romania defender Stefan Radu put Lazio ahead in the 30th minute at the Stadio Olimpico with a header from a corner, and Brazilian playmaker Hernanes scored twice, in the 61st and 90th, getting set up both times by Sergio Floccari. Lazio will next face AC Milan or Juventus, who were to play yesterday. In the other quarter-finals next week, Inter host Bologna and AS Roma visit ACF Fiorentina. Lazio are second in Serie A, five points behind Juventus. Coach Vladimir Petkovic rested Lazio’s top scorer, Miroslav Klose, and did not even put him on the bench.
Ovechkin back with Caps
Alex Ovechkin is back with the Washington Capitals, having made a quick return from Russia once he heard about the end of the NHL lockout. Ovechkin was on the ice with nine other Capitals players on Tuesday morning for an informal skate. The team cannot hold official practices until the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified. Ovechkin then changed into a T-shirt that read, in Russian: “Am I really the prettiest one here, again?” Ovechkin got engaged to tennis player Maria Kirilenko during the lockout. He was so pessimistic about the NHL labor talks that he thought he would be spending the entire season playing in Moscow. He says the first couple of games back in the US might be hard as he gets used to a new coach and smaller rink.
Kovalchuk expected back
Superstar forward Ilya Kovalchuk has to play for the New Jersey Devils once the NHL lockout is lifted. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said on Tuesday that the KHL reaffirmed its intention to honor an agreement with the NHL concerning contracts. Players who have valid and binding NHL contracts must honor those deals, Daly said. There has been some intrigue this week whether Kovalchuk would leave SKA St Petersburg to return to the Devils. Some reports in Russia said he was concerned that he would make less money playing in a lockout-shortened NHL season. Kovalchuk played in a KHL game on Tuesday.
Nielsen hopes for return
Denmark’s Brian Nielsen hopes to fight on, despite facing major surgery to replace both hips. “I am well aware that I’m a very old man and it will soon be ‘over and out’ … but I’d like one or two more fights before it’s all over,” the 47-year-old heavyweight told Denmark’s TV2 ahead of surgery planned for yesterday. Nielsen’s last outing in the ring ended in a defeat by Evander Holyfield in May 2011 in Copenhagen in a WBF heavyweight title bout. The Dane, who boasts a professional record of 64 wins in 67 fights, said he would know soon after his operation whether a comeback would be possible. “If I’m not back on my feet after a month, it’s over, but that’s not how it’ll be — I’ll be up again after a week,” Nielsen said.
US$4m Super Bowl ads sold
Super Bowl ads have sold for more than US$4 million for some 30-second spots for this year’s game. CBS Corp chief executive Leslie Moonves said on Tuesday that all the commercials for the NFL championship on Feb. 3 in New Orleans were sold out. Companies paid an average of US$3.5 million for a 30-second spot last year. TV’s biggest event averaged more than 111 million viewers last year.