Bilbao draw at Valladolid
Forward Markel Susaeta scored one goal and set up another as Athletic Bilbao fought back to earn a 2-2 draw at Valladolid in the Spanish league on Friday. Valladolid had an excellent start with striker Javi Guerra heading home the opening goal eight minutes in after Bilbao’s Aritz Aduriz had hit the post. Alberto Bueno then doubled the hosts’ lead in the 15th when he toed Daniel Larsson’s pass beyond goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz. Oscar de Marcos pulled one back for Bilbao in the 22nd minute by redirecting Susaeta’s cross off the upright and into the net and Susaeta completed the comeback by tapping in a corner at the far post in the 50th minute. “The team has improved its image over the past few games,” Susaeta said. “We hope we can continue to do so and move up the standings.” Bilbao remained in 13th place, while Valladolid stayed in 10th.
Balotelli won’t miss food
Maverick striker Mario Balotelli said he was relieved to escape the English media, driving, weather and food when AC Milan’s new signing was officially presented by the club on Friday. “To be a player for Milan has always been my dream, so I’m very happy,” he told a news conference. “But I prefer playing not talking.” The 22-year-old explained that he was happy to be closer to his family and friends following his move from Manchester City which came after a series of fall-outs with manager Roberto Mancini and some bizarre incidents. The Italy forward mused on the positives and negatives of living in England. “Good things, only when I get to Carrington to train, so my teammates, my manager, those are the good things. The bad things? ... Everything else.” Balotelli listed the bad as “the press first, the weather, the food and the way they drive” but said he would miss the Premier League. “It is an amazing league and I think it’s the best, together with the crowd and the pitches,” he said.
Star charged with assault
Liverpool and England winger Raheem Sterling has been charged with assaulting a woman and the case will go to court later this month. The 18-year-old was summonsed to Liverpool Youth Court on Friday on a charge of common assault. The teenager did not attend the hearing and lawyer Mick Hogan appeared on his behalf. Police said a 27-year-old woman, who is known to the player, suffered “slight” facial injuries during an alleged incident in Toxteth, Liverpool, on Nov. 2. Hogan told the court Sterling denied the allegation. He said the alleged offense took place when the winger was 17 but, as he turned 18 in December, the matter should be transferred to the adult courts. “I do have instructions to the effect that Mr Sterling will be pleading not guilty to this charge,” Hogan said. “He is aware of today’s hearing and the club are very supportive.”
Kirilenko, Lisicki make final
Maria Kirilenko of Russia and Germany’s Sabine Lisicki will meet in the Pattaya Open final in Thailand after both claimed straight set victories yesterday. Second-seeded Kirilenko needed just 67 minutes to overwhelm Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-0, 6-2, and Lisicki beat Russia’s Nina Bratchikova 7-5, 6-3. After Kirilenko broke twice to lead 3-0, Cirstea failed to convert three break points in the next game. She also began the second set in dismal form by dropping the opening game with a double-fault. The Romanian finally held serve in the ninth game and then broke to level the set at 2-2, but Kirilenko swiftly regained control to earn her best win since October 2011.