Molinari shares Italian lead
Francesco Molinari shot a five-under 67 on Friday to take a share of the lead on home soil after the second round of the Italian Open. Aiming to duplicate his 2006 victory, Molinari is tied with Felipe Aguilar of Chile and Simon Thornton of Ireland at nine-under 135 at the Golf Club Torino. A Turin native, Molinari has been the center of attention at the tournament. He said: “this is a special, special week for me. I was emotional yesterday on the 10th tee at 8am with only 50 people watching, so now with all these people on my course it’s a great feeling.” Molinari’s Ryder Cup teammate Nicolas Colsaerts lost his overnight lead when he bogeyed the 16th and 18th to sit one stroke back.
Yates wins sixth stage
Up-and-coming British rider Simon Yates won the Tour of Britain’s first “mountain” stage as he crossed the line in front on Haytor Rocks in Dartmoor, England, on Friday. Yates burst clear in the closing stages of a 137km sixth stage to win from Sky Pro Cycling’s David Lopez with Martin Elmiger of IAM finishing third. However, race leader Bradley Wiggins was just seven seconds behind Yates as he maintained his place at the top of the overall standings. The 21-year-old Yates’ stage victory took him to third place overall in the general classification, 1 minute, 6 seconds behind Wiggins, with Elmiger 32 seconds adrift in second position. Nevertheless, Wiggins remains in charge ahead of this weekend’s last two stages, which culminate with today’s finale in London and his form suggests he will be a strong contender at the Road World Championships time-trial in Italy next week.
Toulouse beat Saint-Etienne
Toulouse inflicted a 2-1 come-from-behind defeat on high-flying AS Saint-Etienne on Friday, the first win of their campaign at the sixth attempt lifting them out of the relegation zone. League Cup holders Saint-Etienne turned up at the Pyrenean city on a high with victory assuring them of the Ligue 1 lead, at least until big-spending Monaco’s visit to champions Paris Saint-Germain today. And les Verts, out of the Europa League, began promisingly, with Romain Hamouma capitalizing on a mistake from Toulouse goalkeeper Ali Ahamada to put the visitors into an 18th minute lead. This was the 26-year-old’s third goal of the season. The home side drew back level after the hour, when Danish striker Martin Braithwaite, a close season recruit, slid home a close range effort. Guinean defender Issiaga Sylla completed the comeback with quarter of an hour remaining.
‘Die Fohlen’ beat ‘die Lowen’
Borussia Moenchengladbach crushed promoted Eintracht Braunschweig 4-1 on Friday for their third straight home win that lifted them to fourth place in the Bundesliga. Moenchengladbach, who have lost all three away games this season, but have scored 11 goals in their three home wins, took the lead with Oscar Wendt’s powerful drive in the 22nd minute before doubling the score through Brazilian Raffael nine minutes later. Braunschweig pulled a goal back with Mirko Boland connecting to a beautiful Karim Bellarabi effort and cutback in the box and looked aggressive enough for an equalizer. However, their hopes were dashed when ’Gladbach struck twice in three minutes. Juan Arango was brought down in the box in the 72nd minute and Germany international Max Kruse converted the spot-kick, before Raffael snatched his second goal of the evening and his third this season in the 75th.
Typhoon prevents play
Yesterday’s OEC Kaohsiung ATP Challenger singles semi-finals were postponed because of Typhoon Usagi. Both semi-finals plus the final and the doubles final were rescheduled for today. Top seed Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan is due to take on No. 6 seed Matthew Ebden of Australia, while qualifier Yuki Bhambri of India faces No. 2 seed Jack Sock of the US. The doubles final pits top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah of Colombia against the unseeded Bhambri and Wang Chieh-fu of Taiwan.
Osasuna earn first win
CA Osasuna beat Elche 2-1 on Friday for their first win of the Spanish league season, provisionally lifting them out of last place. The victory came in the home debut of new coach Javi Gracia, who replaced the fired Jose Mendilibar. Midfielder Emiliano Armenteros opened the scoring for Osasuna at Reyno de Navarra Stadium in the 16th minute, and Oriol Riera added another goal in the 48th. Elche were left without a victory through five rounds in their return to Spain’s first division. Armenteros drilled the ball off the far post and into the net to put Osasuna ahead after Elche’s defense failed to clear a series of rebounds. Osasuna’s Roberto Torres almost doubled the hosts’ lead 10 minutes later, but Elche dominated the rest of the first half and only goalkeeper Andres Fernandez’s efforts to tap shots by Yiadom Boakye and Eduardo Albacar over the bar kept Osasuna in front. Riera netted his own rebound after Raoul Loe set him up in the area. Albacar pulled one back for Elche from the penalty spot with three minutes to go.
Sterling case collapses
Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling was found not guilty of assault on Friday when the case collapsed after his former girlfriend gave “disappointing” evidence. Sterling was alleged to have attacked Shana Ann Rose Halliday following a row about a text message. However, the 18-year-old England international, who denied common assault, walked free from Liverpool Magistrates’ Court when the Crown Prosecution Service withdrew its case after magistrates refused to treat Halliday as a hostile witness. The court heard Halliday’s evidence contradicted earlier statements. Sterling and Halliday had gone out for a meal in Manchester on Aug. 8, but on the drive back to Liverpool an argument started about a text message on the player’s phone. The prosecution alleged Sterling assaulted Halliday twice in his car, but then withdrew its case when Halliday failed to support the prosecution’s case by giving “disappointing” evidence.
Life bans for internationals
Fourteen El Salvador international players were banned for life on Friday after being implicated in a match-fixing scandal, the country’s soccer federation chief announced. “The disciplinary commission of the El Salvador Football Federation has decided to ban from all football-related activities 14 internationals,” said Carlos Mendez, president of Fesfut. The 14 are among 22 players who were provisionally suspended at the end of last month. Of the eight others, seven were suspended for between 20 days and 18 months while one was cleared. The players involved have 15 days to appeal. The matches at the center of the investigation were the friendly against the US on Feb. 24, 2010, which the US won 2-1, and DC United’s 1-0 friendly win on June 19, 2010. The Gold Cup encounter against Mexico which El Salvador lost 5-0 on June 5, 2011, and the 4-1 friendly loss to Paraguay on Feb. 6 this year were also probed.