Mali claim third place
Goals by Mahamadou Samassa, Seydou Keita and Sigamary Diarra gave Mali a 3-1 victory over Ghana in the Africa Cup of Nations third-place playoff on Saturday. Samassa put his team in front in the 21st minute with a diving header following a good pass from Adama Tamboura. Man-of-the-match Keita made it 2-0 just after halftime, the midfielder ghosting into the penalty area to convert a cross by Ousmane Coulibaly. Ghana wasted a chance to get back in the match when Salif Coulibaly handled in the box and Mubarak Wakaso blazed his 58th-minute penalty high over the bar. Ghana eventually pulled one back when Kwadwo Asamoah beat goalkeeper Soumbeyla Diakite with a long-range drive in the 82nd minute. Then, as Ghana pushed forward in search of an equalizer, Mali caught them on the counterattack, with Diarra scoring three minutes into stoppage-time.
Snedeker, Hahn share lead
FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker maintained his sizzling form this season by moving into a two-way tie for the lead with fellow American James Hahn after the third round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Saturday. Snedeker, helped by a run of five birdies in six holes around the turn, fired a four-under 68 at the Pebble Beach Golf Links on a glorious sun-splashed winter’s day. That left him at 12-under 202 and level with USPGA Tour rookie Hahn, who carded a six-under 66 at Spyglass Hill, the most difficult of the three venues being used. Chris Kirk of the US was a further stroke back after a six-under 64 at Monterey Peninsula, but it was not a good day for defending champion Phil Mickelson, who triple-bogeyed the last at Pebble Beach for a 73 to finish right on the cut line.
Sterne, Fisher lead by five
South Africans Richard Sterne and Trevor Fisher stretched their lead to five shots on Saturday after three rounds of the Joburg Open. Playing together, each fired a third-round 68 to share first place on 196, with compatriots George Coetzee, tournament favorite Charl Schwartzel, Jaco van Zyl and Chilean Felipe Aguilar on 201, the nearest challengers.
Nadal books place in final
Rafael Nadal looked sharp on Saturday as he booked a finals berth at the Chilean Open, his first event back from a seven-month injury absence. Nadal needed just 64 minutes to defeat third seed Jeremy Chardy of France 6-2, 6-2. In the other semi-final, Argentine Horacio Zeballos, ranked 73rd in the world, reached the second ATP final of his career with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) victory over eighth-seeded compatriot Carlos Berlocq.
Cilic to face Melzer in final
Home-crowd favorite Marin Cilic was to face fourth seed Jurgen Melzer of Austria in the Zagreb Indoors final yesterday. Top seed Cilic rallied to defeat defending champion Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday, while Melzer beat Robin Haase of the Netherlands 7-6 (7/2), 6-3.
Gasquet downs Nieminen
Third seed Richard Gasquet beat veteran Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 on Saturday to set up an all-French Open Sud de France final against eighth seed Benoit Paire, who overcame countryman Michael Llodra 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.