Raja, Guangzhou go to semis
Morocco’s Raja Casablanca earned a second dramatic win at the FIFA Club World Cup by scoring in extra-time to beat CF Monterrey of Mexcio 2-1, while China’s Guangzhou Evergrande downed Al-Ahly of Egypt 2-0 to also reach the semis on Saturday. Raja midfielder Kouko Guehi scored with a header five minutes into the first added period to the delight of the home fans after the first 90 minutes ended 1-1. Raja went ahead in the 24th thanks to a goal from Chemseddine Chtibi, before Monterrey pulled level through defender Jose Basanta’s header in the 53rd. After a scoreless first half at the Agadir Stadium, Brazilian forward Elkeson put Guangzhou ahead four minutes after the break, before Argentine forward Dario Conca sealed the win in the 67th. Raja are to play Copa Libertadores victors Atletico Mineiro on Wednesday, while Guangzhou face European champions Bayern Munich.
Van der Walt wins Mandela
South Africa’s Dawie Van der Walt fired a four-under 66 in the third and final round to win the Nelson Mandela Championship by two shots on Saturday. The 30-year-old finished the rain-shortened EPGA event on 15-under-par to finish ahead of Englishman Matthew Baldwin and Spaniard Jorge Campillo, as he picked up his second European title at the Mount Edgecombe Country Club in South Africa. The win came on the eve of the former South African president’s funeral after he passed away on Dec. 5. “It’s obviously really special, making you part of history,” Van der Walt said after his victory. “Winning the Nelson Mandela at this time, when it’s sad for everyone, everyone is mourning and tomorrow’s the big day, it means a lot and it’s something I can keep close to my heart for ever.” Frenchman Romain Wattel was alone in fourth three shots back, while South African Oliver Bekker was a further stroke back to complete the top five. Overnight leader Daniel Brooks of England blew a three-shot lead as he ballooned to a six-over score of 76 to slide to a joint 11th-place finish.
Verona keep Catania bottom
Hellas Verona held bottom club Catania to a goalless draw in the Serie A on Saturday, thanks to the heroics of goalkeeper Rafael. Gino Peruzzi fired the rebound wide of the right upright. Rafael made another close-range save to keep out Pablo Alvarez’s header from Pablo Barrientos’ free-kick. Verona’s only real chance came on the stroke of halftime, when Juanito Gomez collected a deft backheel from Luca Toni and rolled across for Romulo, who shot wide of an open goal. Catania, which remain bottom, snapped a run of three straight defeats and are four points off safety ahead of the rest of the weekend fixtures. Verona remain sixth.
Kuchar-English take lead
Americans Matt Kuchar and Harris English scorched the back nine in a sizzling nine-under-par 27 to seize a four-shot lead after Saturday’s better-ball format at the Franklin Templeton Shootout in Naples, Florida. Joint leaders overnight with the teams of Kenny Perry-Sean O’Hair and Charles Howell III-Justin Leonard, Kuchar and English dovetailed superbly to card a 12-under 60 at Tiburon Golf Club for a 20-under total of 124. South African Retief Goosen and Swede Fredrik Jacobson were in second after shooting a 61 in the charity event, three strokes in front of Englishmen Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood (61) and Howell and Leonard (67). Defending champions Perry and O’Hair slipped back into a tie for sixth at 11-under after a 69.