Sessegnon ban upheld
Sunderland attacking midfielder Stephane Sessegnon will miss the rest of the season after his appeal against a three-match ban for his dismissal against Aston Villa on Monday was rejected, the FA said on Wednesday. The 28-year-old Benin international was shown a straight red card after catching Villa midfielder Yacouba Sylla with a challenge during the second half of a Premier League game at Villa Park, which Sunderland lost 6-1. Speaking after the game, Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio criticized referee Lee Probert’s decision to send Sessegnon off. “There was nothing in it,” Di Canio said. “The leg was not straight. He didn’t want to cause any damage to his opponent. The referee fell in a trap. It wasn’t a nasty action.” Sunderland’s defeat left them level on 37 points with Villa and Newcastle United, five points above the relegation zone with three matches left.
AIK ’keeper found dead
Soccer club AIK’s Croatian goalkeeper Ivan Turina has been found dead in his northern Stockholm apartment, local media reported yesterday. “I can confirm that Ivan Turina is dead, but there are no suspicions of crime,” police spokesman Patrik Nuss was quoted as saying by the Aftonbladet newspaper. The 32-year-old Croatian signed for AIK in 2010 and played 65 league games for the Solna club. He is survived by his wife and two one-year-old daughters.
Benitez mum on Mourinho
Interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez on Wednesday refused to be drawn on speculation that Jose Mourinho is poised to return to Stamford Bridge at the end of the season to replace him in. Mourinho is expected to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season and dropped a hint that he may return tohis former club after Madrid were eliminated from the Champions League by Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday. Benitez has accepted that he will leave Chelsea when his temporary contract expires at the end of the season, but was reluctant to address rumors about the identity of his successor. Speaking ahead of the return leg of his side’s Europa League semi-final with Swiss side Basel, Benitez said: “It’s not my business. I have to concentrate on my business, which is with Basel tomorrow.” Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata also shied away from discussing the matter, but did give his backing to Benitez, who has faced protests from some of the club’s fans since he was appointed last year. “All I can say is that we’re working really, really well with Rafa and that’s the truth for me,” Mata said.