Libya boost finals hopes
Libya moved closer to a first World Cup appearance after defeating Togo 2-0 in Tripoli on Friday. The Mediterranean Knights have nine points from five games in Group I — three more than Cameroon — with a September fixture in Yaounde to come. Cameroon are away to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today and their chances of making the play-offs would greatly diminish if they lose. Libya have nine points, Cameroon six, DRC five and Togo are out of the running with four as only group winners advance to the 10-team final stage. Faisal Saleh converted a penalty on seven minutes amid tight security at the Tripoli Stadium and Komlan Amewou conceded an own-goal not long after.
Essex shot out for 20
Six batsmen made ducks as visiting Lancashire bowled Essex out for 20 in a second division game at Chelmsford on Friday, their lowest score in a first-class fixture. It was also the lowest score in county cricket since Essex skittled Surrey for 14 at the same ground in 1983. “I don’t think there’s any panic. As bizarre as it sounds most guys feel on top of their game,” all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate told BBC radio. “Hopefully it was just a blip and a freak incident. I couldn’t give you a reason for why it’s happened apart from a good bowling spell.” Lancashire won the match by an innings and 105 runs as Essex compiled their worst total since being bowled out for 30 by visiting Yorkshire at Leyton in 1901. Seam bowler Glen Chapple took 5-9 while fellow paceman Kyle Hogg chipped in with 4-11.
Wigan turn to Coyle
FA Cup holders Wigan Athletic have appointed former Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle to replace Roberto Martinez with the task of getting them back into the Premier League. Wigan, who were relegated to the Championship (second division) three days after winning their first major trophy, named 46-year-old Coyle as their 37th manager on Friday. He begins work immediately and will be formally presented to the media early next week as the replacement for Spaniard Roberto Martinez, who has left to manage Everton. Bolton and Wigan are local rivals in the north-west of England and Coyle’s record of relegation with the former last year and failure to achieve immediate promotion back to the top flight may go down badly with some Wigan fans. He was sacked by Bolton in October last year. “People will remember him from getting promotion at Burnley. He had a tough time at Bolton, some of our fans will remember that too,” Wigan owner Dave Whelan told Sky Sports News. “He has a belief in Wigan Athletic and I can feel that.” Sportswear and leisure magnate Whelan said the “total and utter priority” was promotion in two seasons despite Wigan appearing in the Europa League next term for the first time.
Petkovic wins again
Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, playing her ninth match in 11 days, reached the Nuremberg WTA claycourt final on Friday with a 6-4, 6-3 win over top seed Jelena Jankovic. Petkovic, a former world No. 9 whose ranking has sunk to 109 after a series of injuries. Romanian seventh seed Simona Halep won a tough three-setter, 6-3, 0-6, 6-2, against Czech fifth seed Lucie Safarova in the other semi-final. “I was hoping the match wouldn’t go on forever as I was really tired,” Petkovic said after her 90-minute win. Petkovic won a lower-tier ITF event in Marseille last weekend after failing to qualify for the French Open.
Cubs suspend Stewart
The Chicago Cubs have suspended infielder Ian Stewart for 10 games for comments about manager Dale Sveum that the player posted on Twitter. Stewart was sent to Chicago minor-league affiliate Iowa in early May and earlier this week complained bitterly about his treatment on the social networking site. “I think Dale doesn’t like me, and he’s running the show,” Stewart tweeted, adding that he expected the Cubs to “let me rot in AAA all season and then non tender me after.” Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations for the Cubs, announced the suspension on Friday, when the Cubs beat the New York Mets 6-3. “His loyalty clause in his contract requires certain standards of personal conduct, and he didn’t adhere to that,” Epstein said. “He made a mistake, he apologized for it and we’re taking some disciplinary action. It’s over at that point.”
Kiryu loses joint record
Japanese teenage sprint sensation Yoshihide Kiryu has lost his joint junior world record for the 100m after officials ruled that the equipment used for measuring wind speed was not up to international standards, a report has said. The 17-year-old clocked 10.01 seconds at a meet in Hiroshima on April 29, sparking hopes in Japan that he could become the first native Asian to dip under the 10-second mark. However, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has informed the Japan Association of Athletics Federations (JAAF) that the time was not valid, Kyodo News reported late on Friday. Kiryu had run with a tail wind measured at 0.9m per second, but the measuring equipment was not up to international standards, which call for an ultrasonic wind gauge, Kyodo said. The time, which makes him the ninth-fastest 100m sprinter of the year, will continue to be listed in the IAAF rankings, Kyodo said. The JAAF has now requested that future meets featuring Kiryu are measured using the proper wind gauges. Kiryu’s time of 10.01 was the same as that clocked by Trinidad and Tobago’s Darrel Brown in 2003 when he was 18.
Duo share St Omer lead
South Africa’s Tjaart van der Walt and Briton Robert Dinwiddie, making light of a bad back, shared the lead at four-under-par after the second round of the St Omer Open in France on Friday. Overnight leader Van der Walt was set to go into the weekend heading the pack, only for three bogeys in the closing seven holes to bring him back level with Dinwoodie. The Londoner put himself in contention with a faultess five-under-par 66 for a combined total of 138.
Tonga defeat US 18-9
Tonga bounced back from a surprise defeat to Canada with an 18-9 triumph over the US in Carson, California, on Friday in the Pacific Nations Cup. Tonga, who fell 36-27 in Ontario on Saturday last week to unbeaten Canada, were without three players suspended by the International Rugby Board: fullback David Halaifonua, prop Eddie ’Aholelei and center Siale Piutau. Even in their absence, the US could not control a physical Tonga side lifted by two tries from Sione Piukala. Chris Wyles gave the hosts their first lead of the year with a penalty-kick in the fourth minute — the first of his three penalties that accounted for all of the US’ points. Pacific Nations Cup action now switches back to Japan, where the Japanese host Canada and Fiji play the US on Wednesday.