Mon, Jun 17, 2013 - Page 18 News List

SPORTS BRIEFS

Agencies

ICE HOCKEY

Pelss confirmed dead

The Edmonton Oilers have confirmed that prospect Kristians Pelss has died. He was 20. The Oilers released a statement on Saturday saying the team was deeply saddened by the loss of Pelss, who went missing on Tuesday and was feared drowned in a river near his home in Riga, Latvia. Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish said in a statement: “This is the news we feared. Kristians was an outstanding man and we feel terrible he has left us at such a young age. I can’t imagine how painful this situation is for the Pelss family.” Pelss arrived home in Riga on Monday after playing last season with Edmonton’s top minor-league team, the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League. He was drafted by the Oilers in the seventh round in 2010.

SOCCER

Spain make under-21 final

Spain will defend its European under-21 title in the final against Italy after dispatching Norway 3-0 on Saturday at the Netanya Stadium in Petah Tikva, Israel. Italy beat the Netherlands 1-0 in the other semi-final, courtesy of striker Fabio Borini. The final will be in Jerusalem tomorrow. Goals from Rodrigo, Isco and Alvaro Morata secured victory for Spain. Rodrigo netted on halftime, Isco doubled the lead with a stunning strike in the 87th, and Morata capped the win in the 90th.

SOCCER

Messi surpasses Maradona

Lionel Messi surpassed Diego Maradona in the all-time international goalscoring charts for Argentina with a hat-trick in a 4-0 thrashing of Guatemala. The Barcelona superstar found the net in the 14th, 40th and 48th minutes to take his goals tally for Argentina to 35, one better than former captain and 1986 World Cup winner Maradona on 34. Messi now stands level with Hernan Crespo on 35, and the 25-year-old maestro will fancy his chances of reeling in Gabriel Batistuta, who holds the record with 56 goals. Messi opened his account against a hapless Guatemalan side with a low shot on 14 minutes, before converting a penalty just before halftime for his second. He completed his hat-trick just after halftime, coolly tucking away Ezequiel Lavezzi’s low cross from the right. Messi’s hat-trick came at the end of a troubled week that saw the four-time World Player of the Year and his father, Jorge Horacio, accused of defrauding the Spanish tax authorities of more than 4 million euros (US$5 million). Messi denied the allegations.

CYCLING

Sagan wins eighth stage

Slovakian rider Peter Sagan, of the Cannondale team, won a sprint finish to take the eighth stage of the Tour of Switzerland on Saturday, with home star Mathias Frank keeping the yellow jersey. Sagan, who had also won Monday’s third stage, was the strongest over the last few meters of the 180.5km run from Zernez and Bad Ragaz. He finished ahead of Italy’s Daniele Bennati and Philippe Gilbert of Belgium. “I have to thank all my teammates for the amazing work they did to build this win,” Sagan said. “Today we knew was a great opportunity.” Frank had a 13-second lead over Portugal’s Rui Costa and 23-second advantage over Czech rider Roman Kreuziger ahead of yesterday’s concluding time trial in the village of Flumserberg. For Sagan, it was his eighth career stage win on the race with two coming in 2011 and four last year. One of the day’s biggest losers was Australia’s Cameron Meyer who was forced to stop to change a wheel. The Orica GreenEdge rider slipped from eighth to 10th place in the overall standings with a 2 minute, 9 second deficit.

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