Libya boost finals hopes
Libya moved closer to a first World Cup appearance after defeating Togo 2-0 in Tripoli on Friday. The Mediterranean Knights have nine points from five games in Group I — three more than Cameroon — with a September fixture in Yaounde to come. Cameroon are away to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today and their chances of making the play-offs would greatly diminish if they lose. Libya have nine points, Cameroon six, DRC five and Togo are out of the running with four as only group winners advance to the 10-team final stage. Faisal Saleh converted a penalty on seven minutes amid tight security at the Tripoli Stadium and Komlan Amewou conceded an own-goal not long after.
Essex shot out for 20
Six batsmen made ducks as visiting Lancashire bowled Essex out for 20 in a second division game at Chelmsford on Friday, their lowest score in a first-class fixture. It was also the lowest score in county cricket since Essex skittled Surrey for 14 at the same ground in 1983. “I don’t think there’s any panic. As bizarre as it sounds most guys feel on top of their game,” all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate told BBC radio. “Hopefully it was just a blip and a freak incident. I couldn’t give you a reason for why it’s happened apart from a good bowling spell.” Lancashire won the match by an innings and 105 runs as Essex compiled their worst total since being bowled out for 30 by visiting Yorkshire at Leyton in 1901. Seam bowler Glen Chapple took 5-9 while fellow paceman Kyle Hogg chipped in with 4-11.
Wigan turn to Coyle
FA Cup holders Wigan Athletic have appointed former Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle to replace Roberto Martinez with the task of getting them back into the Premier League. Wigan, who were relegated to the Championship (second division) three days after winning their first major trophy, named 46-year-old Coyle as their 37th manager on Friday. He begins work immediately and will be formally presented to the media early next week as the replacement for Spaniard Roberto Martinez, who has left to manage Everton. Bolton and Wigan are local rivals in the north-west of England and Coyle’s record of relegation with the former last year and failure to achieve immediate promotion back to the top flight may go down badly with some Wigan fans. He was sacked by Bolton in October last year. “People will remember him from getting promotion at Burnley. He had a tough time at Bolton, some of our fans will remember that too,” Wigan owner Dave Whelan told Sky Sports News. “He has a belief in Wigan Athletic and I can feel that.” Sportswear and leisure magnate Whelan said the “total and utter priority” was promotion in two seasons despite Wigan appearing in the Europa League next term for the first time.
Petkovic wins again
Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, playing her ninth match in 11 days, reached the Nuremberg WTA claycourt final on Friday with a 6-4, 6-3 win over top seed Jelena Jankovic. Petkovic, a former world No. 9 whose ranking has sunk to 109 after a series of injuries. Romanian seventh seed Simona Halep won a tough three-setter, 6-3, 0-6, 6-2, against Czech fifth seed Lucie Safarova in the other semi-final. “I was hoping the match wouldn’t go on forever as I was really tired,” Petkovic said after her 90-minute win. Petkovic won a lower-tier ITF event in Marseille last weekend after failing to qualify for the French Open.