Udinese add to Milan woes
A beautifully-worked Antonio Di Natale goal saw lowly Udinese beat AC Milan 1-0 in Serie A on Saturday to deal a huge blow to the visitors’ prospects of European soccer next season. Former Italy striker Di Natale tapped in the winner after a slick one-touch move to give Francesco Guidolin’s side their first league win in four matches. Mid-table Milan have 35 points after their third league defeat under Clarence Seedorf and are six points behind fifth-placed Inter, who occupy the last Europa League spot. Seedorf rested a host of players with tomorrow’s Champions League last-16 clash at Atletico Madrid in mind, with Milan trailing 1-0 from the first leg. Udinese moved up a place to 14th on 31 points with a win that will ease the pressure on Guidolin after a series of poor results. In Saturday’s other league match, Catania drew Cagliari 1-1 at the Verona side’s Stadio Angelo Massimino.
Santa Cruz retains title
Leo Santa Cruz dominated former champion Cristian Mijares to retain his World Boxing Council title with a 12-round unanimous decision in an all-Mexican super bantamweight matchup on Saturday. The 25-year-old Santa Cruz showed he is coming into his prime by overpowering the veteran Mijares, winning on all three judges’ scorecards and improving to 27 wins, no losses and one draw. Two judges scored it 120-108 and another gave it 119-109. Southpaw Mijares, 32, was completely outclassed at the MGM Grand Garden Arena as he dropped to 49-8-2 with 24 knockouts. Mijares, who was contesting the 12th title fight of his career, is a former WBC and WBA world super flyweight champ. This was Santa Cruz’s second title defense, after having won the crown in August last year with a third-round knockout of compatriot Victor Terrazas.
Hadley leads in Puerto Rico
PGA Tour rookie Chesson Hadley stalled on the back nine before clinging to a one-stroke lead over Danny Lee after the third round at the US$3.5 million Puerto Rico Open on Saturday. Hadley made four birdies in the first six holes to open up a three-shot cushion at the turn, but added only one birdie on the back nine for a five-under-par 67 at the Trump International course in Rio Grande. “It was frustrating, to be honest,” Hadley said after signing for a 16-under 200 total with one round left. New Zealander Lee (66) birdied the final three holes to jump into second on 15-under, with Americans Jason Gore and Jonathan Byrd two shots behind. Halfway leader James Driscoll plunged seven strokes behind after a 75 that did not include a single birdie.
Honest Hunt rejects penalty
Werder Bremen midfielder Aaron Hunt was hailed on Saturday for refusing to accept a penalty kick and telling the referee that he had not been fouled. The incident happened in the 75th minute of the game against Nuremberg. Hunt fell to the ground inside the area after being challenged by Argentine defender Javier Pinola and the referee awarded a penalty. Yet the midfielder convinced the official that a foul had not been committed and the penalty was overturned. “Congratulations to Aaron Hunt for having told the referee that it was not a penalty,” Werder coach Robin Dutt said. Earlier in the game, Nuremberg’s Japanese international Hiroshi Kiyotake also made a sporting gesture when he indicated to the referee that a corner awarded to his team should instead be a Werder goal-kick.