Sports Briefs

AGENCIES

Tue, Mar 24, 2009 - Page 18

■SOCCER

Olympiakos claim title

Olympiakos won a fifth straight Greek league title and their 12th in the last 13 seasons by beating Panionios 3-2 on Sunday. Dudu scored one goal and set up another for Matt Derbyshire. Predrag Djordjevic also scored for Olympiakos, while Lourenco da Silva and Anderson Gonzaga scored for Panionios. With three rounds to go, Olympiakos have 65 points, 11 ahead of Panathinaikos and PAOK Thessaloniki. Panathinaikos were held to a 1-1 draw at Asteras and PAOK beat last-place Thrasivoulos 2-1. Meanwhile, around 60 fans clashed with police inside the Olympic stadium in Athens and police said they had used tear gas to disperse the crowd. Police said they had also clashed with dozens of fans outside the stadium, where AEK were hosting Levadiakos.

■RUGBY LEAGUE

Match called off after death

Celtic Crusaders and Wakefield Wildcats called off their Super League clash on Sunday following the death of a 21-year-old player in a reserves fixture between the clubs. Crusaders and Wildcats second strings were playing at Maestag, South Wales, when Wakefield’s Leon Walker collapsed in the 63rd minute. He was airlifted to a hospital in nearby Swansea, but was pronounced dead upon arrival. Walker signed for Wakefield in November having spent three years at Salford City Reds, where he earned representative honors with Yorkshire and England in 2007. “This is a tragic loss for all involved with rugby league. Clearly everybody at the club is devastated by this news and all our sympathies and prayers are with the family at this time,” Wakefield chairman Ted Richardson said.

■SOCCER

Capello calls up Baines

England coach Fabio Capello handed Everton defender Leighton Baines a surprise call-up to his squad for the friendly against Slovakia and World Cup qualifier against Ukraine. Capello also named Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Foster, Tottenham defender Ledley King and his White Hart Lane team-mate Aaron Lennon in the 24-man squad. Uncapped left-back Baines comes in for injured Manchester City star Wayne Bridge. The former Wigan player has been watched several times by Capello and scored a superb free-kick in Saturday’s defeat at Portsmouth to finally claim his first goal for Everton since joining the club two seasons ago. King’s presence in the squad for the first time under Capello was also a surprise given that the Tottenham center-back is rarely able to train because of a long-term knee injury. With Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard back for the first time since the qualifying win in Belarus last October and Rio Ferdinand fit, England should be at full strength against Slovakia at Wembley next weekend.

■SOCCER

Coach needs police help

French coach Henri Michel left Super Stadium near Pretoria in a police vehicle on Sunday after Mamelodi Sundowns became the latest victims of a shock-riddled South African FA Cup. The defending champions lost 1-0 after extra time to Platinum Stars in a second round tie settled by a harsh 95th-minute penalty that Colombian Luis Renteria converted. When the final whistle sounded a mob chanting “Michel must go” tried to jump over a security fence, but police and security officials quickly defused the situation. Defeat was the final straw for some success-spoilt Sundowns supporters with the Cup exit to unfashionable Platinum ending their last hope of collecting silverware this season.

■BASKETBALL

Louisville hold off Siena

Louisville held off a potential upset to advance to the round of 16 at the NCAA championship tournament with a 79-72 victory over Siena on Sunday. Forward Terrence Williams had 24 points and 15 rebounds to help the Cardinals, the top seeds in the Midwest, secure the win over the ninth-seeded Saints in Dayton, Ohio and progress to a matchup against Arizona. Pittsburgh, top seeds in the East, escaped with a tight 84-76 victory over eighth-seeded Oklahoma State in their game in Dayton. Sam Young led Pittsburgh with 32 points to help set up a clash with Xavier on Thursday. Missouri and Syracuse also advanced. Missouri defeated Marquette 83-79 in the West and Syracuse beat Arizona State 78-67 in the South. The tournament, now down to 16 teams, resumes on Thursday. The championship game will be played in Detroit, Michigan, on April 6.

■BASEBALL

Tsao becomes an Elephant

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Tsao Chin-huei (曹錦輝) officially become a member of the Brother Elephants yesterday. The team agreed to recruit him with an annual salary of NT$4.2 million. Tsao will bear No.71 on the back of his uniform and is expected to garner 20 wins this season, team president Hong Ruei-he (洪瑞河) said. The salary package does not include a bonus of NT$1 million that will be given to Tsao if he meets expectations, Hong said. Tsao said he was prepared and ready to play any time. The Elephants picked Tsao last year at the tryout and the parties engaged in negotiations for about three months until the contract was signed on Saturday. However, team manager Wang Kuang-huei (王光輝) did not say yesterday whether Tsao would be the starter in the opening game on Saturday.

■BASEBALL

Floyd signs with White Sox

Pitcher Gavin Floyd has agreed to a four-year, US$15.5-million contract with the Chicago White Sox, the club said on Sunday. Under the terms of the deal, the 26-year-old right-hander will receive US$750,000 this year, US$2.75 million next year, US$5 million in 2011 and US$7 million in 2012. The White Sox hold a US$9.5 million club option for 2013. Floyd went 17-8 with a 3.84 ERA for Chicago last season, ranking sixth in the American League for wins and seventh for opponents average (.241).

■NASCAR RACING

Bush dominates at Bristol

Kyle Busch led 378 of 502 laps on Sunday to win at Bristol, Tennessee, his second victory of the season. It was redemption for Busch, who lost his power steering while leading last spring and was bumped from the front in August by Carl Edwards after leading 415 laps. And he was well on his way to victory in the Nationwide Series race on Saturday, leading a race-high 157 laps before his crew let a tire slip away on the final pit stop. The ensuing penalty knocked him out of contention and he finished sixth. He was untouchable in his Toyota on Sunday, even to teammate Denny Hamlin, who followed him across the finish line. “Man, it’s great to get a 1-2,” Hamlin said of the Joe Gibbs Racing dominance. Hamlin has had his own heartbreak at Bristol — he led 98 laps last spring and was headed to the win when a fuel pickup problem cost him the victory. He finished third, again behind Busch, in August. Defending three-time series champion Jimmie Johnson was third in a Chevrolet to tie his career-best Bristol finish, back in 2004. Jeff Gordon, his teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, was fourth. Kasey Kahne was fifth in a Dodge.