Stuttgart continue revival
VfB Stuttgart continued their revival under new coach Thomas Schneider with a 1-0 win at Hertha BSC in the Bundesliga on Friday. Christian Gentner scored in the 49th minute when he met Alexandru Maxim’s corner at the near post to head past Thomas Kraft. Kraft displayed fantastic reflexes to deny Gentner before the break, when he tipped over the Stuttgart player’s powerful header in a rare attack for the visitors. The home side dominated the game, but failed to convert possession into clear-cut chances. Adrian Ramos illustrated his side’s wastefulness when he blasted over from a promising position in the 25th. Stuttgart had goalkeeper Sven Ulreich to thank for securing the win with a string of saves in the second half as Hertha’s pressure failed to yield an equalizer.
PSG take top spot
Brazil forward Lucas scored his first goal for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) to help the Ligue 1 champions snatch top spot with a 2-0 win at Girondins de Bordeaux on Friday. Lucas, who joined the club from Sao Paulo in January, added to Blaise Matuidi’s first-half opener as the visitors secured a deserved victory at Chaban Delmas. PSG have 11 points from five games and lead second-placed AS Monaco, who take on Lorient today, by one point. Laurent Blanc’s side were always in control and went ahead when Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s through ball found Matuidi and he beat ’keeper Cedric Carrasso from close range on the half hour. PSG made it 2-0 in the 64th minute when Marco Verratti released Lucas on the left and he coolly wrong-footed the ’keeper.
Cheetahs down Lions
Riaan Smit slotted a penalty three minutes from time to give the Cheetahs a 26-23 win over the Lions on Friday in a South African Currie Cup catfight. They were the only points scored by the hosts during the second half in Bloemfontein after turning over with a 23-3 advantage. Right-wing Smit did not miss a kick at goal, steering two conversions and four penalties between the posts at Free State Stadium. Center Johann Sadie and outstanding scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius were the Cheetahs’ try scorers on a perfect early spring night for rugby. Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies, yellow-carded on 30 minutes for throwing the ball away, also gave a perfect goal-kicking display. The discarded Springbok playmaker kicked three penalties and converted tries by replacement back Ruhan Nel and left wing Anthony Volmink. The Lions impressed at scrum time, with former Springbok C.J. van der Linde giving tight-head Rossouw de Klerk a torrid time before the Cheetah was substituted. Victory lifted the Cheetahs to second spot, behind title-holders Western Province on points difference, and the Lions are a point behind in third place.
Jovanovksi wins second title
Top-seeded Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia earned her second career WTA title yesterday by outlasting Olga Govortsova of Belarus 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 in the final of the Tashkent Open. Jovanovski was broken twice in the first set, but bounced back by breaking her opponent three times in the second. Both players finished with five breaks of serve each in a match that lasted nearly three hours. The 21-year-old Jovanovski also won a tournament in Baku last year, while the 113th-ranked Govortsova was looking for her first WTA title. She made her first Grand Slam appearance at this year’s US Open.
Goldson, Matthews fined
Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson and Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews were fined by the NFL on Friday as a result of hits over the weekend. Goldson drew a US$30,000 fine for “unnecessarily striking a defenseless player in the head and neck area” during Sunday’s 18-17 loss to the New York Jets. Goldson was penalized for committing a personal foul after hitting Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland. Matthews was fined US$15,000 for his late hit against San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Matthews was penalized 15 yards for hitting Kaepernick after the quarterback ran out of bounds with about 9:30 left in the first half.
Bonds conviction upheld
A US appeals court on Friday upheld the felony conviction of home run king Barry Bonds for obstruction of justice over his testimony to a grand jury probing the sale of steroids. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals said the former San Francisco Giants slugger had been “evasive and misleading” when he told grand jurors in 2003 about his childhood in response to a question about whether his former trainer, Greg Anderson, had given him self-injectable substances. Bonds had been testifying under a grant of immunity, and denied knowingly using steroids or any performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) provided by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative or by Anderson. While Bonds eventually said he had not received self-injectable substances, Circuit Judge Mary Schroeder wrote for a unanimous three-judge appeals court panel that his response could have influenced the grand jury into minimizing Anderson’s role in the distribution of illegal steroids and PEDs. In upholding Bonds’ April 2011 conviction, the 9th Circuit also rejected his contentions that the statute under which he was convicted did not apply to grand jury testimony and was unconstitutionally vague. His sentence of two years of probation and 30 days of home confinement had been put on hold pending the appeal of his conviction. Bonds’ jury had deadlocked on three perjury counts. In a statement posted on his Web site on Friday, Bonds said he had instructed his attorneys to ask the court and probation officials to allow him to begin serving his “full sentence and probation immediately.” “Meanwhile, I also intend to seek further judicial review of the important legal issues presented by the appeal that was decided today,” he said.
Saints dig deep to win
Northampton Saints were forced to dig deep as James Wilson got the decisive try in a 13-6 win at Harlequins in the English Premiership on Friday. Torrential rain meant the clash deteriorated into a war of attrition at Twickenham Stoop and it took a moment of inspiration to break the deadlock with the score tied at 6-6. Northampton’s George North rode two tackles as Saints thrust deep into Harlequins’ half and Luther Burrell then spun the ball wide to Jamie Elliot, who combined with Wilson to send the outside center storming over in the 63rd minute. Stephen Myler converted and kicked two penalties for Northampton. Meanwhile, Phil Godman kicked four penalties as Newcastle won 15-4 at Sale. The home side led 11-3 at the 30-minute mark before the Falcons hit back just before the break with two Godman penalties. Sale’s two-point half-time lead was wiped out by Godman’s fourth successful penalty, but Nick MacLeod responded to put the hosts ahead again. Rory Clegg’s penalty proved decisive as Falcons edged to a memorable victory.