SPORTS BRIEFS

Agencies

Mon, May 07, 2012 - Page 18

SOCCER

Fiorentina secure place

Fiorentina secured their Serie A status with a 1-0 win at fellow strugglers Lecce on Saturday as AS Roma’s faint European hopes were left hanging by a thread after a 2-2 home draw with Catania. A first-half Alessio Cerci goal earned the three points for the Tuscans who were being managed by Vincenzo Guerini for the first time after former coach Delio Rossi was sacked for attacking midfielder Adem Ljajic in the dugout. Cerci was put clean through after 35 minutes by a Ruben Olivera flick and coolly slotted home at the near post past Lecce goalkeeper Massimiliano Benassi. Lecce trail Genoa by three points and must hope Champions League-chasing Udinese beat their relegation rivals yesterday or they will definitely be in Serie B next season. Meanwhile, Two goals from Francesco Totti on his 500th appearance for Roma were not enough to gain a win for his hometown club as they dropped out of the race for Europe with a 2-2 home draw against Catania. Totti, who missed a penalty in the first half, gave Roma the lead with a stunning left-foot strike seven minutes into the second period, but a penalty from Francesco Lodi and another from Giovanni Marchese put the Sicilians in front. Totti scored his 215th goal with 13 minutes left to set up a frantic finish, but despite piling on the pressure they could not find the winner and will have to hope Inter did not win yesterday’s Milan derby to have any hope of European soccer next year.

FIELD HOCKEY

Japan women to London

Japan earned the 12th and last berth in the Olympic women’s field hockey tournament by beating Azerbaijan 5-1 in the final of the qualifying tournament in Kakamigahara, Japan, on Saturday. Japan were favored as the highest-ranked team in the event at No. 9 and apart from a goalless draw with Chile in pool play, they won every other match by at least three goals. The host side will appear in their third straight Olympics, slotting into Group A with the defending champions Netherlands, the UK, China, South Korea and Belgium. Group B is world champs Argentina, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, the US and South Africa. Azerbaijan, yet to appear in an Olympics, also finished second in a qualifier for Beijing four years ago. The Japan men’s team could join their women counterparts at the Games, as they were to meet South Africa in yesterday’s men’s final, with the winner claiming the last Olympic spot in that field.

SOCCER

Steve Perryman hospitalized

Former Tottenham Hotspur captain Steve Perryman was taken to hospital on Saturday after “feeling breathless” watching Exeter City’s League One match against Sheffield United. The 60-year-old was attended by paramedics for about 10 minutes before being rushed to hospital. “Exeter City Director Of Football Steve Perryman was taken to hospital during today’s match after feeling breathless,” a statement on the club’s Web site said. “He is now comfortable in hospital.” Exeter chief executive Julian Tagg was quoted in the Mail on Sunday yesterday saying: “He was feeling dizzy at the start of the second half and he didn’t recover. It was a bit of a shock. But he is a tough character.” Perryman, who captained Spurs to FA Cup triumphs in the early 1980s, made a club record 854 first-team appearances for Tottenham in all competitions and was capped once by England.

ATHLETICS

Bolt wins 100m in Jamaica

Usain Bolt won the 100m in 9.82 seconds in the Jamaica International Invitational on Saturday night, a month before the sprinting powerhouse’s Olympic trials. The crowd cheered wildly when Bolt won in his first 100 of the year, giving him a standing ovation after the race that had two false starts. The time was the fastest in the world this year. “It’s always a joy,” Bolt said. “I was very happy to come here and see all the people who came out.” The crowd included Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller. Even before the race, the confident Bolt got the hometown crowd going with a quick “To Di World” pose, in which he points to the sky as if he’s about to shoot an arrow into the sky. Jamaica’s Michael Frater was second in 10.00 seconds. In the night’s final race, Yohan Blake of Jamaica dominated the 200m, with 19.91, the best time in the world this season.

TENNIS

Cilic makes Munich final

Third-seeded Marin Cilic beat German veteran Tommy Haas in straight sets on Saturday to reach the final of the BMW Open in Munich, where he will face 2007 winner Philipp Kohlschreiber. Cilic, the 2010 finalist, dropped just five points from his own serve as the 23-year-old Croat defeated Haas 6-3, 6-4 in one hour, 15 minutes. The 34-year-old Haas was once ranked as high as No. 2, but has dropped to No. 134. He was playing in his first ATP semi-final since August 2009 after receiving a wild card into the clay-court tournament. The fourth-seeded Kohlschreiber beating -second-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-4. The 28-year-old German was hoping to lift his first trophy yesterday since winning the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany last year.

TENNIS

Seppi, Paire in Serbia final

Second-seeded Andreas Seppi from Italy and Benoit Paire of France reached the Serbia Open final in Belgrade on Saturday. Seppi rallied to beat fourth-seeded David Nalbandian 2-6, 6-2, 7-5. Nalbandian easily won the opening set, but Seppi returned the pressure and eventually broke at 5-4 in the third to serve out the match. Nalbandian committed seven double-faults. Seppi said it took him a while to adapt to playing an evening match. He said he expected a tough match from Paire yesterday. Paire upset top-seeded Pablo Andujar of Spain to reach his first final on the ATP Tour. Paire served seven aces in winning 6-3, 1-6, 6-3. Andujar started off well, breaking early in the first set, but Paire responded by breaking twice for a 5-3 lead and serving out the set. Paire previously eliminated sixth-seeded Fabio Fognini, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and third-seeded Jarkko Nieminen.

CYCLING

Phinney wins Giro first stage

American Taylor Phinney won the first stage of the Giro d’Italia, an 8.7km individual time trial in Herning, Denmark, on Saturday. Phinney becomes the first American to wear the pink jersey since Christian Vande Velde when Garmin won the opening team time trial in Palermo in 2008. An outstanding performance from the BMC Racing cyclist was timed at 10.26 minutes, nine seconds ahead of British cyclist Geraint Thomas (Sky Procycling) in the 198-strong field. Ramunas Navardauskas of Garmin-Barracuda led for most of the day, but was eventually overtaken by Saxo Bank’s Manuele Boaro. The Giro continued with two more flat stages in Denmark for sprinters yesterday and today before moving to Italy on Wednesday.