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Friday, October 31, 2008

Asia gives thumbs down to Down Under proposal

Asia has rejected a proposal to include Australians and New Zealanders in the region's team to face Europe in the Royal Trophy, believing they can win the contest without players from Down Under.

Europe crushed Asia 12- to 3- in the most recent edition of the matchplay event in 2007, prompting organisers to consider following other sports by including Australasians in Asian events.

Under the proposal, Australia's Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy, former world number one Fijian Vijay Singh and major winner Michael Campbell of New Zealand would have been among those considered for two places on the eight-man Asian team.

"We asked players and a lot of people in Asian golf about what they thought but there was a consensus that they want to keep this Asian," Lincoln Vernancio of organisers Entertainment Group

"There's a strong feeling that the standard of Asian golf is improving fast and they have players good enough to win the Royal Trophy."

The annual event will be hosted in Thailand until 2011 before alternating between Europe and Asia.

This year's edition was postponed following the death of Thai princess Galyani Vadhana. The 2009 contest takes place from January 9-11

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Anand's parents overwhelmed by congratulatory messages

As the whole nation celebrated Viswanathan Anand's feat of retaining the world chess title, his parents were overwhelmed by congratulatory m
essages from visitors pouring into their home in the city.

"It is a moment of joy for all of us. Our relatives in great number were at home and as usual we watched the game online," Viswanathan and Susheela said at their house while talking about the exploits of their son.

"Soon after last night's press conference in Bonn was over, Anand called me and said 'Amma .... finaly it is over. I shall talk to you leisurely tomorrow'," Susheela said.

She was so engrossed in her son's game that she took her dinner well into the wee hours of today.

"I had my dinner only at 3.00 am in the early hours on Thursday," she said.

"It is a unique victory. Anand has showed his excellent ways of gaining control with solid play with black pieces. This reflects on his maturity, particularly from the period from 1995 till now. From 1995, Anand's graph has gone up in the same way as what Gary Kasparov was doing in his days," Viswanathan said.

"We watched each and every game of Anand on-line. We liked the fifth and ninth game the most amongst the eleven games. The manner in which Anand raised his game for a deserving win in the fifth was a reflection of his natural instincts. He is such a professional player," Viswanathan said.

"Of late, Anand has shown greater felicity in playing with black pieces as was seen in this eleven-game championship. This also will help Anand to maintain his rhythm in the coming tournaments," he added.

On the ninth game which he drew with Kramnik, Anand's parents said, "It was too difficult a situation. At one stage, we felt that he had a chance to win but it was a difficult decision to resign from the game. But we admire his qualities to have maintained the advantage. On such decisions to agree for a draw, we subscribe to his views."

Divulging that even Anand kept them in dark about his selection of seconds to assist him, Viswanathana and Susheela said, "He kept his selection very secretive. He never divulged to us the names. But, we feel that the rumour floated in the world chess circles that Anand has signed up with Magnus Carlson (rated number five in the world now) was a good one as it might have put pressure on Kramnik."

"We are happy that he has retained the title, which is a difficult proposition and it is a strong point in Anand's career," they said.

Asked to compare an Olympic gold medal with that of World Chess Championship title, considering that the game is not part of the Olympics, Susheela said, "I do not know and I do not want to compare in that way. But Anand is a unique person. To me, he is the best in the world not only in sports world but also as a person."

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CM congratulates Anand for winning World title

Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi on Thursday congratulated Viswanathan Anand for winning his third World Chess Championship title in
Germany.

An official release quoted the chief minister as saying that Anand has brought laurels to India and Tamil Nadu, his native state, and recalled the two earlier instances in Iran in 2000 and Mexico in 2007 where he had won the titles.

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President, Speaker congratulate Anand

President Pratibha Devsingh Patil on Thursday congratulated Visawanathan Anand for winning the World Chess Championship title in Bonn, Ger
many.

In her message, Patil said she is "delighted to learn about the victory and that Anand's consistent performance throughout his long and successful career is testimony to his hard work and dedication towards the challenging game of chess."

The President also wished Anand more success in the future. Meanwhile, Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee also congratulated Anand for his feat at the World meet.

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Ricky Ponting leads Australia fightback

Occasional off spinner Virender Sehwag grabbed three wickets but Ricky Ponting struck 87 as Australia reached 338 for four on the third day of the third test against India Friday.

Australian skipper Ponting led a top order fightback in reply to India's daunting first innings 613 for seven declared.

Sehwag bowled Ponting and Mike Hussey (53) in the final session after trapping opener Matthew Hayden (83) before tea.

At stumps, Michael Clarke was on 21 with Shane Watson on four, both surviving a few testing overs from Sehwag and leg spinner Amit Mishra on a pitch showing signs of wear and tear.

Hayden raised 123 runs with fellow opener Simon Katich (64) before adding another 79 for the next wicket with Ponting in the first two sessions.

Australia were coasting at 202 for one when Sehwag trapped Hayden leg before but Ponting added 82 runs for the third wicket with Hussey as the pair got on top of the Indian bowling attack.

However, Sehwag took three for 66 from 22 overs on his home ground to bolster an attack already without injured off spinner Harbhajan Singh.

Skipper Anil Kumble was also forced off the field after lunch when the team's lead spinner suffered a bad cut on his left hand after dropping Hayden on 70 and had to be taken to hospital.

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Advani congratulates Anand for World Chess title

Leader of the Opposition LK Adivani on Wednesday congratulated Viswanathan Anand for winning the World Chess Championship yet again.


"Viswanathan Anand has made the country proud once again by winning the world championship. I congratulate him on this achievement," Advani said.

"Anand is an icon of the country and nothing less then the excellence and talent of the young generation personified", he said. The BJP's prime ministerial candidate wished good luck for Anand's future career and said that he is an inspiration for the countrymen and the young people in particular.

Advani said that three times world championship winner inspires the youth to excel in whatever they do and be a world champion.

Viswanathan Anand retained the world title with a 24-move draw against Russian Vladimir Kramnik in the penultimate game of the 12-game World Chess Championship final in Bonn, Germany on Wednesday.

The Indian, playing with white pieces, took an unbeatable 6.5-4.5 lead to retain the title.

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Anand: The 'Lord of the Rings'

World Champion Viswanathan Anand was born on December 11, 1969 in Chennai. His father Vishwanathan is a retired general manager, Southern Railways.

'Vishy' as he is called by friends, developed the love for playing chess due to the constant inspiration of his mother Susheela, who taught him the game when Anand was six-years of age.

Anand pursued his schooling from Don Bosco school and finished graduation in B Com from Loyola College in Chennai. Jawaharlal Technology University conferred him the Honorary Doctorate degree at the age of 18.

The World Chess Champion started playing tennis in his childhood. And thanks to his dislike for the coaching camps in his school, Vishy left tennis and started playing chess. Anand also likes reading, swimming and listening to music.

Anand married Aruna in 1996. Both Anand and Aruna are fluent in Spanish; Anand also speaks German and French. In the early years of their marriage, Aruna called Anand 'Lord of the Rings' because he kept losing his wedding ring.

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Gary Kasparov hails Anand's triumph

Former world champion Gary Kasparov of Russia on Thursday hailed Viswanathan Anand's triumph over Russian Vladimir Kramnik to retain the W
orld Championship title in Bonn, Germany, saying it would not be easy for the younger generation to push the Indian aside.

"A great result for Anand and for chess. Vishy deserved the win in every way and I'm very happy for him. It will not be easy for the younger generation to push him aside," Kasparov said.

The former great said while Anand played consistently, Kramnik showed decline in strength and had some work to do.

"It was a very well-played match by Vishy. Except for the loss of concentration in the 10th game he played consistently and managed to enforce his style. This result ends the illusion that Kramnik is a great match player," he was quoted as saying by Chessbase.

Analyzing the performances of the two players, Kasparov, who lost to Kramnik in 2000 in London, said Anand was well prepared to counter his opponent who appeared "overly defensive".

"Anand out-prepared Kramnik completely. In this way it reminded me of my match with Kramnik in London 2000. Like I was then, Kramnik may have been very well prepared for this match, but we never saw it. I didn't expect the Berlin and ended up fighting on Kramnik's preferred terrain," he said.

"(In this match) Kramnik did not expect tough, sharp challenges with white, and this was the key for Anand. He kicked some sand in Kramnik's face and hit his weakness, his conservative approach to the game itself. Suddenly Kramnik had to fight in these sharp positions and he wasn't able to do it.

"London was a unique occurrence and I still stand with Leonid Yudasin as the only players Kramnik has ever beaten in a match! Kramnik now has some work to do."

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Maradona set to make coaching debut v Scotland

Diego Maradona, celebrating his 48th birthday on Thursday, said he expected to make his debut as Argentina coach in a friendly with Scotland on November 19.

Maradona has yet to be officially confirmed by the Argentina Football Association (AFA) but he has already been making plans and his appointment is widely seen as a certainty.

The AFA has said it will confirm the new coach next Tuesday.

One of the greatest players the game has produced and also one of the most troubled, it would be a remarkable turnaround for a man who has fought off drug addiction, alcohol problems and obesity since retiring.

Maradona's career peaked when he captained Argentina to World Cup victory in 1986 with some outrageously brilliant performances but dramatically declined as he was banned three times for drug offences, including one at the 1994 World Cup.

Bilardo, coach of Argentina's 1986 team, is expected to take on the role as general manager, marking his return to the national team set up after an 18-year absence, and has been involved in meetings with Maradona.

"We have to start working as quickly as possible," said Maradona. "We are going to play the game against Scotland with the best team we've got," he told reporters in front of his home on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

"I scored a goal there, on a tour with Menotti," he added, referring to his first goal for Argentina in a 3-1 friendly win over Scotland in 1979 under coach Cesar Luis Menotti.

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Anand is undisputed king of world

The dispute is over. Viswanathan Anand is world chess champion without a shadow of a doubt. The Indian overcame a spirited challenge from Challenger Vladimir Kramnik of Russia leans back before his first move with the black stones in the 11th game against defending Chess World Champion Viswanathan Anand in Bonn on October 29, 2008.
Vladimir Kramnik of Russia by drawing Game 11 of the 12-game series in Bonn on Wednesday to put at rest questions about his ability to perform against quality opposition in match-play.


A 6.5-4.5 win in the series against Kramnik gave him the world title for the third time, his first in match-play.

When he won the world title in Tehran (2000) and Mexico (2007) in tournaments, he had not got the credit he deserved. On the first occasion, Kasparov was still active, winning in classical chess. In 2007, Kramnik had already become a champion having beaten Kasparov in 2000 and subsequently other contenders as well in match-play.

Even when Kramnik finished behind Anand in the 2007 world championship, Kramnik had challenged Anand to beat him in the 2008 unification match to be acknowledged as the real world champion. "I have lent Anand the title temporarily," he had declared then.

Anand's retort was over the board and not through words. He planned his assault perfectly, prepared well for the match in Bonn and won in style. He would probably regain his No 1 world ranking soon, though his Bonn victory would not give him more than 12 or 15 points. More significantly, he has added a new dimension to his chess and can claim he is currently the best all-round player at the moment.

Anand clinches it with 24 moves draw

A brilliant move to shift his opening back to the King-pawn gave Viswanathan Anand the much-needed breakthrough. With his 24-move draw in the 11th game in the World Chess Championship match against Vladimir Kramnik in Bonn on Wednesday, Anand sealed his position as the undisputed champion. Anand won the 12-game match 6.5-4.5.

Anand took out his trusted opening move at the right time. The Indian opened with the King-pawn after shielding it for his five white games in the current series. Kramnik avoided the Petroff and went for the Sicilian in an effort to get a decision in the game which was so crucial for him to stay alive in the match. Kramnik employed the Najdorf variation, which he has not played at top level chess for a long time.

It may be recalled that Anand had found success against the Najdorf of Kasparov in New York (1995) and on that day the famous Argentinian Grandmaster (Miguel Najdorf) was present at the World Trade Centre to comment on Anand’s victory over Kasparov.

After Kramnik’s ninth move, shifting his Queen to the centre of the board, Anand thought for more than 10 minutes for his 10th move. Anand chose to castle on the Queenside and prepared his pieces for a Kingside offensive. One of the interesting features of the unusual opening was that it was slowly executed and by the time both the players completed the first 15 moves, they had used up an hour each on their clock.

Then in a tactical shot, Anand broke open the King-file and combined his pieces effectively. Kramnik was fighting with his back to the wall as he had a poor pawn structure and his King was exposed to the attack from the white pieces. When Anand forced the exchange of Queens on move 23, Kramnik realised that he had nothing more than a draw in the position. After 24 moves, Anand had 36 minutes left to Kramnik’s 27 for the remaining 16 moves.

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Chess players hail Anand’s success

Ages after India introduced the world to chaturanga**, the presumed ancestor of chess, grandmaster Viswanathan Anand became the first chess player to win the game's biggest crown in three different formats by retaining the world title with a 24-move draw against Vladimir Kramnik of Russia in the World Chess Championship final yesterday.
Chess lovers and players in Siliguri were ecstatic about this unique feat of the Indian maestro. “It is a dream come true,” said Mr Shyamal Chakravorty, a veteran chess player.
Mr Chakravorty, who played at the national level for many years, attributed Anand's success to his change of strategy in the final. “Unlike in his previous matches against Kramnik, Anand was more confrontational this time. He played in D-4 style, instead of E-4,” he said.
Noted chess player and coach Mr Somnath Bannerjee felt Anand's success was an outcome of the 38-year-old player's relentless effort and determination to raise his game to match the standard of Kramnik's play. “Kramnik is an exceptionally solid chess player. To defeat him you need to play a very compact game,” said the ace trainer, who described Anand's victory as the biggest achievement by a chess player in the history of the game.
Noted international chess player Sajal Basak of Siliguri said Anand's victory would not only inspire aspiring chess players in the region to do well at the international level but also encourage youngsters to take to chess in large numbers. The 27-year-old player said it was time to look beyond cricket and hoped Anand's achievement would increase both government and private assistance for individual sports.
But as another international player from the town Malyaban Sarkar felt, individual sports in India might continue to languish in neglect, as cricket was a huge source of revenue for all.
So, as we celebrate the victory of the new-age chaturanga wizard, let's spare a thought for the talented players in different disciplines in India who are crying for assistance and attention!

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Golf-Heavy rain halts play in Volvo Masters second round

Heavy rain caused the second round of the Volvo Masters to be suspended on Friday.

Dane Soren Kjeldsen, who has yet to start his round, leads by three strokes on six-under-par from Spaniard Sergio Garcia.

Order of merit contenders Robert Karlsson, the money-list leader by 297,425 euro ($380,000), Padraig Harrington and Miguel Jimenez all had to battle with the bad weather before the suspension came at 11.10 GMT.

Karlsson is three-over after four holes, Harrington, second in the money-list, is five-over after 13 and Jimenez, fourth in the merit standings, nine-over after four holes.

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Massa pips Hamilton in first Brazil GP practice

Home hero Felipe Massa made a perfect start to his Formula One title showdown with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton after lapping fastest in Friday's opening practice at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver, seven points behind Hamilton and embarking on the final stage of what some see as a Mission Impossible to wrest the title from the 23-year-old's grasp, lapped the Interlagos circuit in one minute 12.305 seconds.

Hamilton, who can become the sport's youngest champion after blowing his chance last year, was second and just 0.190 off his rival's pace in a cool and overcast session in which he had set the early pace.

Ferrari's outgoing champion Kimi Raikkonen, the Finn who made up a seven point deficit in Brazil last year to beat the Briton by a single point, was third despite a spin.

Hamilton need only finish fifth on Sunday to be champion, even if Massa wins his home race as expected, and will be unlikely to push too hard in what will be the second race for his Mercedes engine.

Both the Ferraris have new engines for Brazil, a boost for their bid to retain the constructors' championship. They lead McLaren by 11 points.

"We don't have to win (the race) so that is a pressure off our shoulders," Hamilton said after his arrival at the circuit on Thursday.

"We have not come here to finish further down the order but we obviously know that it is not do or die."

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Five changes to Wallabies line-up

Australia coach Robbie Deans has made five changes to his Wallabies team for Saturday's Bledisloe Cup match against New Zealand in Hong Kong.

Drew Mitchell, Richard Brown, Dean Mumm, Mark Chisholm and Luke Burgess were all added to the side that lost to New Zealand in Brisbane last month.

Uncapped flanker David Pocock was named among the Wallabies' replacements.

Isaia Toeava replaces Mils Muliaina for New Zealand after the full-back pulled out to be with his newborn son.

Muliaina, New Zealand's most experienced player with 65 caps, will join the squad on their European tour after the match against Scotland on 9 November.

The uncapped Cory Jane takes Toeava's place on the bench as the All Blacks field an inexperienced back three, with Toeava having won just 16 caps and winger Hosea Gear making his debut.

All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter will play at inside centre as coach Graham Henry gives understudy Stephen Donald a chance to start a Test at number 10.

Donald, who plays for the Waikato province and the Chiefs in Super 14, will start a Test for the first time, having made six appearances as a replacement this year, including two against England.

"Stephen was influential when he came on in the last Bledisloe Cup Test in Brisbane," said Henry.

"We thought it was important to have two navigators on the field because of their lack of rugby over the last six weeks. It gives us two playmakers and we think early in the game that will be helpful.

"We don't see it as a long-term thing or something we'll do often but it's an option we can use."

The All Blacks beat Australia 28-24 in this year's Tri-Nations title decider last month, a result which means that as holders they will retain the Bledisloe Cup - having edged the three matches so far this year 2-1 - regardless of Saturday's result.

With Gear replacing Richard Kahui on the right wing and Donald taking over from Ma'a Nonu, with Carter switching to centre, the other change is in the front row.

Neemia Tialata will start at tight-head prop in place of Gloucester-bound Greg Somerville, who is named on the bench after being added to the squad as emergency cover for the injured John Afoa.

Australia coach Robbie Deans said he was "not surprised" New Zealand had opted to switch Carter to centre.

"I had a wee suspicion they were looking at that area. That worked well for them late in the Test in Brisbane," said Deans, who had to make some changes himself because of injuries to Lote Tuqiri, Wycliff Palu, Hugh McMeniman and James Horwill.

"Saturday is an historic occasion and one that the players are excited about and proud to be a part of.

"I said after our last meeting that we'd be happy to play the All Blacks in a car park to have another game with them, and I stand by that.

"Each game offers us the opportunity to test ourselves and raise our standards, providing a great barometer of the progress that we've made as a team."

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US & Japan may host Bledisloe Cup

Australia and New Zealand are considering playing the Bledisloe Cup in the United States and Japan over the next two years.

The two great rivals face each other in Hong Kong this weekend with the match expected to be a sell-out.

Australia rugby boss John O'Neill said: "We have got a formal proposal from Denver to host the Cup next year.

"We are also talking to the Japanese about the possibility of holding the game in 2010 in Tokyo."

Saturday's Hong Kong Test will be the first time the pair have met in the Bledisloe Cup outside of either Australia or New Zealand.

The fixture, that is understood to have generated just over £5.5m in revenue, will be their fourth encounter in 2008 with the other three taking place in the Tri-Nations.

O'Neill and New Zealand chief Steve Tew said they were open to the idea of taking fixtures between the pair around the globe.

"We've got several opportunities in front of us for 2009 and 2010, not necessarily Bledisloe Cup games but for additional games for the All Blacks," Tew said.

"We're working through those quite seriously. The Denver game has been mentioned in the media.

"It's fair to say both Australia and New Zealand have ticked the box that we should explore that further and we will have discussions on that this week."

If the 2008 Bledisloe Cup series is level after the Hong Kong match, New Zealand - as the current holders - will retain the trophy.

It was first awarded to the winning team in matches between the two antipodean rivals in 1932. The All Blacks have held it since 2003.

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Adebayor doubts Arsenal title bid

Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor has questioned his side's ability to win the Premier League, unless they start to develop a winning mentality.

The Gunners appeared to be heading for victory over arch-rivals Tottenham on Wednesday, but conceded two late goals to draw the game 4-4.

The 24-year-old suggested his team-mates thought the game was won and was at a loss to describe what went wrong.

"To be champions in this way? You can never be a champion," Adebayor said.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was furious at his side's capitulation at the Emirates Stadium and Adebayor echoed his manager's sentiments.

The Togo international added: "There is a lot of disappointment. We are down at the moment because we did everything to get the three points and we ended up with one.

"We feel very sorry for ourselves that the things are not going the right way.

"It was one of the most difficult games in my life because I cannot understand that after 90 minutes we were leading 4-2 - I don't know how we finished with a draw.

"It's very easy to give up because we were 4-2 up and maybe thinking the game was finished. With five, six or seven minutes to go, maybe in our head the game was over."

Going into this weekend's game away at Stoke, Arsenal are six points behind leaders Liverpool and have drawn two and lost two of their opening 10 games so far this season.

They had also looked in control against Hull earlier in the season, but after taking a second half lead they failed to close out the game and goals from Geovanni and Daniel Cousin secured a memorable win for the Premier League new boys.

That followed defeat away at Fulham in August, while last season their title challenge fell apart after Birmingham secured a late draw at St Andrews.

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Paula Superb Radcliffe wins Great South

Britain's Paula Radcliffe looked in fine form ahead of next week's New York Marathon as she won the 10-mile Great South Run in a British record time.

Radcliffe, competing for the first time since her disappointment at the Beijing Olympics, won in 51 minutes 11 seconds.

At one point the 34-year-old looked set to break the world record, but narrowly missed out by 21 seconds.

"I'm just pleased to be back racing. It's all about next week, I wanted to get in the racing feel," she said.
The Briton had said she would use the south-coast run to "blow away the cobwebs" ahead of the defence of her New York Marathon title.

That she certainly did, beating Jill Boltz's British record of 51 mins 41 secs achieved in New York 17 years ago.

"I felt in the last two miles it was going to be really windy, so I saved a little bit for that. Actually, it wasn't as bad down the sea front as I was psyched up for it to be," she commented.

Radcliffe, who finished 23rd in the marathon at the Olympics after her build-up to Beijing was hampered by a stress fracture of her left thigh, showed no signs of fatigue.

She quickly stamped her authority over her rivals by racing through the second mile in 4 mins 57secs to open up a massive lead.

"I didn't want to totally hammer it because I've a more important race next week but at the same time I felt good running it and didn't feel I left anything out there," she said.

"Generally I wouldn't put myself on the line unless I felt I was OK. There are always little niggles in any marathon build-up - any marathon runner will tell you that.

"But when you know you've got the weeks of training and basically done the best job to get there, it's kind of fun to go racing."

Portugal's Jessica Augusto was a distant second in 53min 15secs, while Great North Run runner-up Magdalane Mukunzi of Kenya was five secs further back in third place.

In the men's race, Bernard Kipyego won in an unofficial time of 46mins 42seconds.

The Kenyan crossed the line ahead of Ireland's Martin Fagan and his compatriot and defending champion Luke Kibet.

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Tottenham reveal new ground plan

Tottenham have confirmed their intention to build a new 60,000-capacity stadium near their current White Hart Lane ground.

The development will include leisure facilities, public space and housing.

"The scheme includes the current site and adjoining land, with the stadium sited to the north of the existing one," said Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.

Levy said that the stadium will not be called White Hart Lane and will instead be named after a sponsor.

He added: "It will be an iconic stadium and will be at least as good as Arsenal's Emirates."

"We will need a naming rights partner, that is fundamental for any new stadium built in Europe," he confirmed.

Spurs announced the Northumberland Development Project at the same time as their financial results to June 2008.

Levy also said that new manager Harry Redknapp will not have that much money to spend in the January transfer window.

"I think there will be very limited changes in January," said Levy.

"We have clearly got the ability to score and the talent is there in the rest of the squad.

"This club has spent an awful lot of money and in January there is not very much available."

The chairman also revealed that for the year ending 30 June turnover was up 11% and the building of a new training centre is expected to start next year.
Revenue was up from £103m to £114.8m with net debt of £14.6m though that figure includes property acquisitions.

The Tottenham board pushed ahead with proposals for a larger stadium with a season ticket waiting list of about 22,000 but were conscious of the importance of remaining in the Haringey area.

Other sites were considered but ultimately it was decided their current location, plus land adjacent to it, was the most suitable option.

"With a waiting list for season tickets of over 22,000 and club membership levels of over 70,000, our need for an increased capacity stadium has been clear for all to see for some time," said Levy.

"Having reviewed our stadium options it was clear that there were a limited number of alternative sites to our current location.

"Following discussions with council bodies, the London Development Agency, Transport for London and local and central government officials, redeveloping the existing site emerged as the most viable route.

"We have spent five years buying and taking options over property around the current stadium site to enable us to either develop locally or to gain the critical mass to achieve a substantial site sale as a contribution to a relocation.

"To date this includes almost 60 separate property transactions, including 40 residential and potentially 160 commercial properties at a commitment of £44m.

"The public consultation period will now begin and we would hope to submit a planning application in 2009.

"I am personally delighted that we have been able to put forward a viable option which we know to be the fans' favourite - remaining at the club's spiritual home."

George Meehan, leader of Haringey Council, added: "We have always regarded Spurs as one of Haringey's prime assets. They bring major economic benefits to our borough and carry out some excellent community work through the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation.

"But more than anything, Spurs have played an integral role in giving a sense of identity to the area it calls home. Tottenham would not be Tottenham without its football club.

"We have been working extremely hard to regenerate the Tottenham area, which suffered so much from industrial decline.

Real progress is being made, and it is extremely pleasing that Spurs has demonstrated that they share our commitment to this continuing regeneration.

"But, as always, we will consider very carefully any plans that are submitted to us, as we strive to ensure that a new stadium delivers real benefits for all who live and work in the area."

Tottenham MP David Lammy supports the club's plan to remain in the borough.

"The club is a fundamental part of the life blood of the community, and its continued presence and vision will inspire new generations of young people well into this century," he said.

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David Beckham to share Milan free kicks

Ronaldinho will share free kick-taking duties with David Beckham when the England midfielder joins AC Milan on loan from Los Angeles Galaxy in January.

"He's a great champion. I hope he's happy with us. We'll take turns taking free kicks," the Brazil forward told Friday's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I've met him in the past and I have always been struck by his class."

The 33-year-old Beckham is moving to Milan to keep up his fitness during the American close season and stay in contention for an England squad place.

Milan said earlier this week the former Real Madrid and Manchester United player will join them on January 7.

However, Italian media reported that he is likely to be presented as a Milan player in December and take part in a training camp in Dubai during Serie A's Christmas break.

The exact duration of the loan has not yet been revealed although Beckham has said he will return to Los Angeles for the start of the new MLS season in late March.

"No one has spoken of a permanent transfer. This hypothesis is not possible because he has a contract with Galaxy, who don't want to let him go," Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani said.

"I hope it's a painful goodbye (at the end of the loan) because that would mean he's done well."

Galliani said Milan wanted Beckham, one of world's most famous and marketable athletes, for footballing reasons, not commercial ones.

But he added that the club were studying ways to profit from the arrival of Beckham, who has won 107 England caps.

"Milan's marketing department is already working with Beckham's to develop initiatives," he said.

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Paula Radcliffe sets British record

Paula Radcliffe (Bedford & County) gave a reminder of her world class credentials as she stormed to victory in the BUPA Great South Run on Sunday in a new British record time.

The 34 year old broke Jill Boltz’s 17 year old 10 mile national best of 51:41 by 30 seconds in what looked the ideal tune-up for next Sunday’s New York Marathon.

Radcliffe broke clear of the pack after a searing second mile of 4:57, which her rivals were simply unable to live with. In fresh, but wet conditions, she was ahead of world record pace for much of the race but eventually missed out by a mere 21 seconds.

Nonetheless, it was a hugely impressive return to top form after the disappointments of the Beijing Olympics, where she was severely hampered by a leg injury.

Radcliffe said: "I'm just pleased to be back racing. It's all about next week, I wanted to get in the racing feel. I felt in the last two miles it was going to be really windy, so saved a lit bit for that. Actually it wasn't too bad down the sea front as I was psyched up for it to be.

"The only thing to recover from in Beijing was that I wasn't in shape. I hadn't done enough running. I think I've done a bit more now and I felt more confident standing on the start line because you know you've done the preparations. At the Olympic Games I wasn't prepared and just had to get on with it. I just wanted to use today to have to have a good blow out.

"I didn't want to really totally hammer it, because I've a more important race next week but at the same time it was good to come down here. I felt good running it and didn't feel I left anything out there. When I finished my legs felt okay and I just didn't want to give everything today."

Portugal's Jessica Augusto was second in 53:15secs, with Kenya’s Magdalane Mukunzi of Kenya was a further three seconds adrift in third. Hayley Yelling (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow) was best of the rest of the Brits, 8th in 56:14.

In the men’s race, Kenya’s Bernard Kipyego won in 46:43. Olympic marathoner Dan Robinson (Stoud AC) was the leading British finisher in 9th with 48:12.

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Monty Panesar withdraws from club stint

Monty Panesar will not now play for Sri Lankan side Bloomfield ahead of the tour to India, the England and Wales Cricket Board has confirmed.

The 26-year-old was set to play for the club for a month to gain experience of playing on sub-continent pitches.

But it is thought that Bloomfield asked for a fee of £7,500 from the ECB, a demand which was rejected.

Panesar is now likely to join the England Performance Programme in India from mid-November instead.

An ECB statement said: "Monty was due to travel to Sri Lanka on 2 November to play a series of games for the club to get match practice ahead of joining the England squad for the forthcoming Test Series against India.

"It is now likely that Monty's preparation will be based around the England Performance Programme which includes a high performance camp in India."

The ECB is thought to have originally agreed to pay Bloomfield a donation of £500 for taking Panesar for a month, as a contribution to the club who are looking to rebuild their clubhouse.

A similar donation was made to South African side Highveld Lions when Steve Harmison turned out for them last winter.

But the ECB is believed to have received an email from Bloomfield earlier this week asking for a fee of £7,500, saying the ECB would benefit more than the club from the deal.

The ECB is still looking at a couple of options regarding Panesar gaining some experience on sub-continent pitches, but it is more likely he will join the performance squad.

The first Test against India begins in Ahmedabad on Thursday 11 December.

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Soccer King Diego Maradona - Photos


Soccer King Diego Maradona








Soccer King Diego Maradona


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Felipe Massa not to be underestimated

Felipe Massa can go from being one of Formula One's more underrated drivers to world champion against the odds in his home Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Only this season has the 27-year-old Ferrari driver, who would be Brazil's first world champion since the late Ayrton Senna in 1991, managed to emerge as a genuine contender.

Even if the seven points separating him from McLaren's championship leader Lewis Hamilton prove a gap too far at Interlagos, Massa can still end the season as the driver with most race wins.

He has already eclipsed team mate and 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen to emerge as Ferrari's leading driver with a contract to the end of 2010.

It is all a far cry from his early days with Sauber and, more recently, as a supporting act for Michael Schumacher and Raikkonen at Ferrari.

Massa's talents have always been evident, but so too have his flaws.

Former Ferrari driver Jean Alesi tipped the Brazilian for greatness when he first saw him drive a Formula One car, maybe because the fast and furious Frenchman saw a kindred spirit.

"I think he's a future champion," Alesi said before Massa's race debut with Sauber as a 20-year-old in 2002. "I've watched him testing... and he's mad, fast and clever."

As Sauber soon discovered, he was also expensively crash-happy.

Hired to replace Raikkonen, Massa failed to replicate the Finn's impressive debut season and was dropped after a year.

Managed by Nicolas Todt, son of then Ferrari team boss Jean, Massa was rescued by the Italian team who appointed him test driver for 2003.

At Maranello, the Brazilian learned his craft from the master -- seven times world champion Schumacher -- in a year that he has likened to being at university. The close relationship forged with the German continues to this day.

He returned to Ferrari-powered Sauber in 2004 and when Ferrari's Brazilian Rubens Barrichello moved to Honda at the end of 2005, it was Massa who was given a one-year contract to replace his compatriot as Schumacher's loyal number two.

With Raikkonen's move to Ferrari from McLaren an open secret and Schumacher still undecided about retirement, Massa was still in danger of being squeezed out after just one season with the champions.

Schumacher's departure ensured he stayed in 2007 but even then speculation about Massa's future refused to go away after double world champion Fernando Alonso fell out with McLaren.

Massa has never wavered, answering those who dismissed him as championship material by going faster than ever. He has won five races this season, adding to five from previous seasons, and notched up a string of pole positions.

It has not all been plain sailing, with the Brazilian failing to score in the first two races of 2008, but he has enjoyed changing perceptions.

"People always put me completely out of the game. Nobody expects you to do a good job and then you do a better job than everyone thinks and it's even nicer," he said recently.

"I'm sure if I started my career as a Ferrari test driver my reputation would have been completely different. Because of the first year, which was bad, my reputation was bad for so many years.

"I made some good results, scored some good points and made some good races," he said of that first year.

"But I made some very bad races as well. That was not a great thing for my image and it took very long to recover and change my image in Formula One. But, fortunately, I think we changed it."

Sao Paulo is where Senna was born and buried but Massa was much more of a Schumacher fan as a youngster.

The Brazilian started in karting, while also driving his father's car in Sao Paulo long before legally allowed, and moved into full time racing in Europe after abandoning his marketing studies.

His parents were comfortably off but not wealthy. When he arrived in Italy in 2000 to enter the Formula One Renault championship, he had a budget only for the first six races.

Massa overcame that by winning his first two races, a success that led his team to continue their support. He went on to win the title and the European championship.

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Hamilton expects a fair fight in Brazil

Lewis Hamilton has dismissed fears that his bid to become Formula One's youngest world champion could be wrecked by underhand tactics in Sunday's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

"We're here to race, I believe every driver that's here is a great sportsman and we're all very competitive," the 23-year-old McLaren driver told a news conference at the Interlagos circuit on Thursday.

"So I just have to trust and believe in everybody and hope that we can have a fair, straight race.

"That's what motor racing is all about and that's why I race, that's what makes it so exciting."

Hamilton leads Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa by seven points, meaning that the Briton need only finish fifth to take the title even if his Brazilian rival wins the race.

The two collided in Japan this month, with Hamilton failing to score points after being penalised for a wild start and then having to fight back from last position following the Massa incident.

Massa denied deliberately colliding with his rival and said at Fuji: "I have a good relationship with Lewis and would not do anything to destroy someone on purpose."

However, Formula One has been plunged into controversy in title-deciding races in the past, notably between Michael Schumacher and Canadian Jacques Villeneuve in 1997 and Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in 1989 and 1990.

NO ASSISTANCE

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, whose Honda team have been so far off the pace this season that he is unlikely to be in any position to assist his compatriot, predicted a straight fight and urged local fans to show their sense of fair play.

"I don't think I can help him (Massa) much, unfortunately," said the former Ferrari driver. "I would be willing to get some help from him.

"All I would ask of the guys who come here to cheer Felipe on is to respect Lewis.

"Imagine me doing something against Lewis -- would Felipe be happy with that? Would he be a worthy champion? I don't think so," added Barrichello.

"I think the guys have fought the whole championship by themselves and that's the way it has to be. I would not get in the way."

While Massa must aim to win and hope for the best, Hamilton is under pressure to make up for his failure last year to become the first rookie champion.

The Briton drew a blank in China and then allowed Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen to make up a seven point deficit and win the title at Interlagos in 2007 and he has vowed not to let that happen again.

"Last year we came here and I'd had one bad race, so it was all a bit hectic and the pressure of being at the last race was upon me and perhaps it got to me," said Hamilton, who this time arrived in Sao Paulo on the back of a dominant win in Shanghai.

"But this year I feel it's just another race. We've come from a great race in China and I know here that we will be just as strong if not a little bit stronger.

"It looks positive and again, my approach is the same as in the last race," added the Briton, who would be McLaren's first champion since Mika Hakkinen in 1999 and his country's first since Damon Hill in 1996.

"We are just here to do the best job we can and we're not looking at it and saying that we have to do anything again."

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Tennis-Paris Masters men's singles results

Paris Masters men's singles third round
results from France on Thursday


* 6-Nikolay Davydenko (Russia) beat Tomas Berdych (Czech
Republic) 6-1 6-1

1-Rafael Nadal (Spain) beat 16-Gael Monfils (France) 6-3 6-2

2-Roger Federer (Switzerland) beat Marin Cilic (Croatia) 6-3 6-4

4-Andy Murray (Britain) beat 15-Fernando Verdasco (Spain) 6-3 7-6(6)

13-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) beat 3-Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
6-4 1-6 6-3

11-James Blake (U.S.) beat Philipp Kohlschreiber (Germany) 6-4
6-4

7-Andy Roddick (U.S.) beat 10-Gilles Simon (France) 6-3 7-5

8-David Nalbandian (Argentina) beat 9-Juan Martin Del Potro
(Argentina) 6-4 6-0

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Tennis-Quebec City Challenge women's singles results

Quebec City Challenge women's singles
second round matches on Thursday



Galina Voskoboeva (Kazhakstan) bt Rebecca Marino (Canada)6-1 6-3

5-Aleksandra Wozniak (Canada) bt Carly Gullickson (U.S.)6-3 6-2

Nathalie Dechy (France) bt 7-Olga Govortsova (Belarus) 6-1 7-5

Angela Haynes (U.S.) bt Severine Bremond (France) 6-2 6-4

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James, Gibson help Cavs tame Bobcats

LeBron James scored 22 points, Daniel Gibson had 20 of his 25 in the first half and the Cleveland Cavaliers won their home opener 96-79 over Charlotte on Thursday night, spoiling well-travelled coach Larry Brown's debut with the Bobcats.

James just missed a triple-double, adding nine rebounds and nine assists in only 30 minutes for the Cavs, who bounced back from a sloppy season-opening loss at Boston with a much crisper performance. Mo Williams finished with 17 points.

Jason Richardson scored 24 and Gerald Wallace 13 for the Bobcats.

Gibson made three three-pointers and eight of 10 shots in the first half, when the Cavs opened a 17-point lead. He is Cleveland's best outside-shooting threat and the Cavs missed him last year in the final two games of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Boston after he separated his shoulder in Game 5.

Gibson's shooting stroke looked as good as ever in the first half, and Cleveland pushed its lead to 19 in the third and appeared to be on its way to a rout.

But the young Bobcats, who went 0-8 in the preseason, rallied and cut it to 62-57 on Richardson's layup late in the third.

The Cavs, though, responded while James was resting on the bench. Coach Mike Brown pulled his superstar with 3:12 left in the third quarter and didn't put him back in until there was 7:27 remaining. While James was out, Cleveland outscored Charlotte 17-6 and opened a 79-63 lead.

Following the Bobcats' winless exhibition season, Brown worried that his club wasn't prepared for the opener.

"I'm not trying to make excuses, but I don't think we're quite ready right now," he said.

The Hall of Famer was half right.

Charlotte was overmatched at times, but made a game of it in the second half before fading and falling to 0-8 in Cleveland.

The Bobcats did get their first look in more than a year at Adam Morrison, who missed last season with a knee injury. Morrison recently cut off his long hair and finished with seven points.

Leading by nine after one, Brown, who wants to limit James to 38 minutes per game this season, kept the Olympic gold medalist on the bench for the first 6-plus minutes of the second quarter. James checked in with 5:45 left and the Cavaliers quickly ripped off eight straight to push their lead to 18.

While James was on the bench, Cleveland rookie J.J. Hickson grabbed a loose ball in the lane and threw down a nasty, two-handed slam for his first points as a pro. James, usually on the receiving end of ovations, jumped out of his chair and screamed for Hickson, who didn't play in the Cavs' opener.

Notes: The 68-year-old Brown hasn't lost any of his feistiness, picking up a technical in the third. ... Cavs C Ben Wallace had five blocks. ... James was thrilled with Wednesday night's rally and free concert for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama that he co-hosted with hip-hop star Jay-Z. "It was great," said James. "It wasn't just a concert for Jay-Z, it was a big-picture thing." James previously donated US$20,000 to Obama's campaign. ... Crews for TV's "60 Minutes" have been trailing James for the past few days for an upcoming segment on Cleveland's star. ... At least for one night, the Cavs toned down their extravagant pre-game ceremony, which used to include four fire-spewing swords on the scoreboard. During a visit to Cleveland during last year's playoffs, NBA commissioner David Stern lamented the use of pyrotechnics around the league.

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Roddick goes to Shanghai, Djokovic out in Paris

American Andy Roddick claimed one of the three remaining spots for the Masters Cup, while world number three Novak Djokovic crashed out of the Paris Masters in the third round on Thursday.

A dream final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal was still on the cards after the two top seeds advanced to the quarter-finals.

Federer swept past Croatian Marin Cilic 6-3 6-4 while Spaniard Nadal beat local favourite Gael Monfils 6-3 6-2.

Roddick booked his ticket to Shanghai by ending the run of Frenchman Gilles Simon with a 6-3 7-5 victory.

The 2003 U.S. Open champion needed his best serve to beat the in-form Simon, who reached the Madrid Masters final earlier this month.

Although he managed only four points on Roddick's first serve, Simon proved a tough nut to crack and the American needed five match points to clinch victory.

"It's always an honour to qualify. I think this is six straight years, so that's a good accomplishment. I'm looking forward to it," said Roddick, who will next face another Frenchman, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Simon, eighth in the ATP Race, still has a chance of joining Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Andy Murray, Nikolay Davydenko and Roddick in Shanghai but his fate now depends on his rivals' results in Paris.

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Beckham to join AC Milan on loan

David Beckham will join AC Milan on loan from Los Angeles Galaxy in January after the deal was sealed with his lawyers, the Serie A club said on Thursday.

"AC Milan announces David Beckham's arrival on loan. Agreement has been reached and it is official," said a statement on the club's website (www.acmilan.com).

"The English player will be a Rossonero from January 7 2009."

No details were given on when the loan deal would end.

However, Milan's sporting director Umberto Gandini told Sky Sports News: "He (Beckham) has a commitment to go back to the MLS and I think he will do that."

Since news of the proposed deal broke this month, Beckham, U.S. Major League Soccer and a slightly reluctant Galaxy all said he would return to Los Angeles for the start of the new season in late March.

The 33-year-old is joining Milan to keep up his fitness during the United States close season and stay in contention for an England squad place. He has 107 caps and needs two more to beat Bobby Moore's England record for an outfield player.

The MLS regular season finished at the weekend with Galaxy failing to make the playoffs.

England coach Fabio Capello, who dropped Beckham while they were together at Real Madrid, said his former club Milan were doing good business.

But he did not say whether the midfielder's loan move would help his international prospects.

"Milan have made a good addition," Capello was quoted as saying in Italian media.

"At Madrid I left him out of the squad because he had signed a contract with Los Angeles but he continued to come on the field and train and I put him back in the team.

"He is a very serious lad, very sensible, a professional. People think he is a playboy off the field, it's not true at all."

Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani said earlier on Thursday that Beckham's lawyers were coming to the city for talks rather than next week as planned.

He hinted a deal was some way off but in the end negotiations were wrapped up swiftly.

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Murray maintains winning sequence

Andy Murray made it 14 wins in a row to reach the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters with a comfortable 6-3 7-6 win over Spain's Fernando Verdasco.

The British number one broke in the eighth game of the first set when the Spaniard imploded at 40-0 up.

Both players held serve to take the second game to tie-break, which Murray won after coming back from 4-1 down.

Murray next plays Argentine David Nalbandian as he bids for a record third successive Masters title.

The 21-year-old, who is aiming to become the first player to win three successive Masters titles after victories in Cincinnati and Madrid, looked composed throughout despite not being on top form.

The world number four had not lost to Verdasco in four previous attempts, beating the left-hander convincingly on his way to defending the St Petersburg Open only last week.

Verdasco proved to be a tougher opponent this time around, with a customary powerful serve and some fine shots, but the Spaniard's errors towards the end of the first set proved costly.

Murray admitted he took time to adapt to the ferocious pace of Court One, saying: "I was amazed how fast that court was, in comparison to Centre Court.

"I don't think he had a break point the whole match - he maybe once got a deuce on my serve - and I only had one break point.

"I don't really care about the environment. It's more the difference in speed of the courts I find it amazing.

"The ceiling is much lower and it makes the court play faster. I don't see why there's such a huge difference."

The games had gone with serve until the eighth game when the world number 17 lost his cool following a line call.

The 24-year-old received a warning for questioning the umpire's eyesight and proceeded to lose five points on the trot, netting when under no pressure and then double-faulting before snatching at a forehand.

Verdasco took a mini-break with a superb forehand down the line and could have won the set had he not directed a relatively easy smash into the net.

Murray took advantage of the lifeline with a Verdasco double-fault giving the Scot the chance to serve for the match, which he did thanks to another backhand error from the Spaniard.

The Briton was surprised by the way his opponent "lost his head".

"It doesn't surprise me when players go nuts over line calls but here it was more about the stage of the match. It was 4-3 and 40-0, and I hadn't been in any of his service games at all." said Murray.

"I thought it was my chance to break and I obviously got it. It was a little bit surprising, but it was perfect for me."

Murray will have to overcome a far more difficult hurdle in the form of defending champion Nalbandian if he is to progress to the last four.

The eighth seed, who reached the final of the Swiss Indoors in Basle last week, easily defeated his in-form compatriot Juan Martin del Potro 6-4 6-0 in Paris.

"He picks his schedule very well and is fresher than the other players towards the end of the year," said Murray of Nalbandian.

Murray's only previous match against Nalbandian came at Wimbledon in 2005, when the Scot - aged 18 - surrendered a two-set lead in his first outing on Centre Court.

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Hayden and Katich lead Australia fightback

Australia openers Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich hit fifties to provide a solid start in reply to India's huge first innings total in the third test on Friday.

The visitors reached 151 for one at lunch after India had declared their first innings closed at 613 for seven after tea on the second day.

Hayden was 59 not out after raising a fluent 123-run opening partnership with fellow left-hander Katich, who made 64 before he was dismissed. Skipper Ricky Ponting was 14 not out at the interval.

Australia were still 462 runs behind India's total, having resumed on their overnight score of 50 without loss.

Katich, who hit two centuries on his test comeback in the West Indies this year, looked good for another until spinner Amit Mishra bowled him after he missed a sharp leg break.

He cracked 10 fours, including fluent drives past mid-on against paceman Zaheer Khan and leg spinner Anil Kumble, to calm any dressing room nerves in the morning.

Hayden, searching for success in the series, got a fiery welcome from Zaheer, who struck him on his helmet with the day's first delivery and then on his body two balls later.

He settled down to play a range of powerful shots, flicking the bowler to square leg for four and Mishra over midwicket for six after the youngster had replaced skipper Kumble.

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Maradona set for trip to Britain

Diego Maradona plans to visit England this weekend to meet Argentine players before his likely debut as coach in next month's friendly against Scotland.

The 48-year-old will fly in to see Manchester United's Carlos Tevez and Liverpool's Javier Mascherano who could play against Hull and Spurs.

Maradona's appointment is expected to be confirmed by the Argentina Football Association on Tuesday.

The team is due to play Scotland at Hampden Park on 19 November.

"I will travel to England on Saturday to see Tevez and Mascherano," the 48-year-old said. "And in Scotland I will make my debut."

"We are going to play the game against Scotland with the best team we've got," he added.

"I really never expected this although I always dreamed of having the chance."

Maradona, who has had two brief spells as a club coach in Argentina, scored his first goal for Argentina in their 3-1 friendly win over Scotland at Hampden in 1979.

If Maradona does take over he will succeed Alfio Basile, who resigned earlier this month after a World Cup qualifying defeat by Chile.

Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi, who will not play against Scotland next month, has welcomed Maradona's expected appointment, despite being recently criticised by the Argentine legend for his attitude on the pitch.

"Those are things that you say at the time. I know Diego appreciates me and I don't hold any grudges," Messi told Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.

"There's no problem. He's a great and I admire him for what he gave to Argentine football."

Maradona spent seven seasons at Italian Serie A side Napoli and the club's former president, Corrado Ferlaino, insisted the Argentine was effectively the coach on the pitch.

"There was a time when (Ottavio) Bianchi was the coach but from his second season the players didn't talk to Bianchi, Maradona was the true coach," said Ferlaino.

Widely regarded as one of the best players in the history of the sport, Maradona is an iconic figure in Argentina.

In his remarkable 21-year playing career he hit new heights of brilliance on the field, yet plumbed depths of despair away from it.

His most memorable achievements came with the national side - the 1986 World Cup tournament becoming synonymous with his name.

His first goal of the 2-1 win came courtesy of an outrageous handball which he later described as "the hand of God", but the second is said by many to be the best goal ever scored; Maradona danced past five England players before poking the ball past Peter Shilton.

But Maradona's life away from football has been anything but straightforward, with a long-running addiction to cocaine undermining his genius.

The second failed drugs test of his career saw him sent home from the 1994 World Cup in disgrace, and since retiring at the age of 37, Maradona has suffered numerous health problems.

Battles with his drug addiction, alcoholism and obesity saw him suffer a heart attack in 2004, which put him in intensive care, while a later stomach-stapling operation saw him lose 30kg (66 lbs) of excess weight.

Maradona is a virtual novice in coaching terms, with only short spells with Argentine clubs Deportivo Mandiyu and Racing Club in the 1990s on his CV.

Carlos Bilardo, who coached the winning side in 1986, was involved in the talks with AFA president Julio Grondona and is likely to be part of Maradona's coaching set-up.

Pedro Troglio, who coaches Paraguayan club Cerro Porteno, has also been linked with a role.

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Australia assists Solomon Islands local sports orgs

AUSTRALIA has been supporting sports in Solomon Islands for a very long time.

The Australian High Commission, through the Australian Sports Outreach Program, has supported the Curriculum Development Centre (CDC) Physical Education (PE) Syllabus Project.

This was highlighted in a speech by the Australian Deputy High Commissioner, Alison Duncan, at the opening of the CDC PE workshop at King George VI School on Monday.

This is through the purchase and supply of about SBD$60,000 worth of sports equipment to be distributed to ten secondary schools, one in each province.

In total, seven Solomon Islands sporting organisations had received funding for sports projects under the 2007-2008 Australian Sports Outreach Programme (ASOP).

Australia has supported Triathlon, AvuAvu Sports Association, Futsal, Rugby Union Federation, Athletics Association and the West Makira Sports apart from CDC.

Three additional organisations have also received funding for 2008-2009.

In December they will also be supporting To'abaita Authority for Research and Development student volunteers.

This is to organise the North Malaita Christmas Games, as part of the North Malaita School and Community Sports Development Initiative.

“The assistance demonstrates just one way in which Australia works in partnership with the Solomon Islands Government...” said the Deputy Commissioner.

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Ronaldo named FIFPro World Player of the Year

Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo was named FIFPro World Player of the Year on Monday.

"To be recognised by my fellow professional players worldwide coming from over 50,000 players is amazing," the 23-year-old Portugal player, who helped his club to a Premier League and Champions League double last season, said in comments posted on the FIFPro website (fifpro.org).

FIFPro is the worldwide representative organisation for professional players, with 42 national players' associations as members.

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Indian batsman Gambhir handed one-test ban

Indian batsman Gautam Gambhir was handed a one-test ban by the International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee on Friday for breaching the spirit of the game in the third test against Australia.

Gambhir, 27, was found guilty after he was charged for elbowing Australian all rounder Shane Watson while taking a run on the first day of the test on Wednesday, an ICC release said.

Both players were summoned for a hearing by match referee Chris Broad on Thursday, where Gambhir pleaded guilty and Watson was fined 10 percent of his match fee.

Gambhir had faced a penalty ranging between a fine of 50 percent to his full match fee and/or a maximum ban of one test or two one-dayers, with a right to appeal within 24 hours.

He would miss the fourth and final test starting in Nagpur on Nov. 6, the ICC release added.

However, the Indian cricket board said in a statement the player would lodge an appeal against the decision.

The batsman top-scored with 206 for his second consecutive hundred following his 104 in the second test in Mohali.

"The decision to find Gambhir guilty of a (rule C1) level 2 offence is indicative of the fact that any degree of physical contact is unacceptable," Broad said in an ICC release.

He escaped a harsher ban of a minimum of two tests for a second offence within a year, having been fined 65 percent of his match fee for clashing with Shahid Afridi in a one-dayer against Pakistan last November.

Broad said the lightness of his contact with Watson and the provocation of the Australian player helped Gambhir's cause. He is the second Indian player to be penalised in the series which has witnessed a series of verbal exchanges between players from both teams.

Paceman Zaheer Khan was fined 80 percent of his match fee in Mohali after his verbal send-off to Australian opener Matthew Hayden was walking back to the pavilion after his dismissal.

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Two late Spurs goals stun Arsenal in 4-4 draw

Tottenham Hotspur continued their revival under Harry Redknapp, coming from 4-2 down in the 89th minute to snatch a 4-4 draw at Arsenal in a pulsating north London derby on Wednesday.

Spurs, bottom of the Premier League despite beating Bolton Wanderers in new manager Redknapp's first game on Sunday, led with a stunning David Bentley volley but needed late goals by Jermaine Jenas and Aaron Lennon to claim an unlikely point.

An inexplicable handball by Portsmouth's Papa Bouba Diop enabled Steven Gerrard to score a late penalty to earn a 1-0 home win that maintained Liverpool's three-point lead.

Second-placed Chelsea, beaten at home by Liverpool at the weekend, recovered well with a convincing 3-0 victory at Hull City highlighted by a superb Frank Lampard goal.

Manchester United were 2-0 home winners over West Ham United, both goals by Cristiano Ronaldo, while Aston Villa moved into the top four when they came from behind to record a 3-2 home victory over Blackburn Rovers.

Liverpool have 26 points from 10 games and Chelsea 23 points. Arsenal, Villa and Hull have 20 with sixth-placed Manchester United on 18.

Spurs got off to a stunning start when Arsenal old boy Bentley teed up and crashed home a dipping 40-metre effort.

However, Arsenal soon took charge with headers by centre backs Mikael Silvestre and William Gallas either side of halftime and a third by Emmanuel Adebayor.

Darren Bent made it 3-2 but when Robin van Persie banged in Arsenal's fourth after 68 minutes it looked all over.

Jenas, though, struck in the 89th and, after a Luka Modric volley came back off the post, substitute Lennon swept home the equaliser four minutes into stoppage time.

"It was amazing, a throwback to the old days," Redknapp told Sky Sports television.

"It's been a good week so far after a good win on Sunday," said Redknapp, who took over from Juande Ramos at the weekend.

Spurs remain bottom on six points but the whole mood around the club has changed in a matter of days.

"There are some good players here but certain parts of our game lets us down," said former Portsmouth manager Redknapp. "The dressing room is buzzing and we go into Saturday's game against Liverpool with some confidence."

Bentley said: "We showed character and spirit, a lot of people have questioned that over our recent games but we showed there that we are willing to fight for every point.

"Certain things have gone on, we've sorted them out now and are all pulling in the right direction."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger sank to his knees as Lennon's goal hit the net.

Wenger said: "I'm angry because we produced an outstanding performance but got the minimum result. We were at a level above Tottenham but got only one point.

"They were there for the taking, could have got five or six but we tried to keep the ball negatively and paid for it.

"The team has outstanding potential but we are immature and need to be guarded in the decisive moments."

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Maradona 'set to coach Argentina'

Argentina legend Diego Maradona could be set for a sensational return to football after claiming he has been offered the role of national coach.

The 1986 World Cup-winning skipper held talks with the Argentina Football Association (AFA) on Tuesday and is set to continue discussions on Wednesday.

The 47-year-old said: "The offer attracted me a lot. As soon as it is confirmed I will start working."

Maradona has had only two brief spells as a coach in Argentina.

If Maradona does take over he will succeed Alfio Basile, who resigned earlier this month after a World Cup qualifying defeat to Chile.

He was quoted as saying: "The idea is to start working immediately after the official announcement with the players who are in Argentina and then take the first plane to talk to the ones in Europe."

BBC Sport's South American football reporter Tim Vickery said: "This is all coming from Maradona.

"There is no official word from the AFA yet so it's still early days. But the tide seems to be blowing in his direction.

"He's a religious icon over in Argentina and is a very dangerous force to leave out."

Widely regarded as one of the best players in the history of the sport, Maradona is an iconic figure in Argentina after a remarkable 21-year playing career in which he hit new heights of brilliance on the field and plumbed depths of despair away from the action.

After making his professional debut as a 16-year-old for Argentinos Juniors, he went on to play for his beloved Boca Juniors before spells in Europe with Barcelona, Napoli and Sevilla.

Maradona's unique skills with the ball at his feet made him a superstar, and he is idolised by Napoli fans for almost single-handedly winning the Serie A title and the Uefa Cup for the unfashionable club.

But his most memorable achievements came with the national side - the 1986 World Cup tournament becoming synonymous with his name.

Maradona captained Argentina to a famous triumph, playing every minute of the tournament and scoring five goals, including two against England in the quarter-final which will live forever in football folklore.

His first goal of the 2-1 win came courtesy of an outrageous handball which he later described as "the hand of God"; but the second is said by many to be the best goal ever scored as he danced past five England players before poking the ball past Peter Shilton.

But Maradona's life away from football has been anything but straightforward, with a long-running addiction to cocaine undermining his genius.

The second failed drugs of his career saw him sent home from the 1994 World Cup in disgrace, and since retiring at the age of 37, Maradona has suffered numerous health problems.

Battles with his drug addiction, alcoholism and obesity saw him suffer a heart attack in 2004 which put him in intensive care, while a later stomach-stapling operation saw him lose 30kg (66 lbs) of excess weight.

Maradona is a virtual novice in coaching terms, with just short spells with Argentine clubs Deportivo Mandiyu and Racing Club in the 1990s on his CV.

But with his health largely restored, Maradona now looks set to take the reins as coach of the national team.

Carlos Bilardo, who coached the winning side in 1986, was involved in the talks with AFA president Julio Grondona and is likely to be part of Maradona's coaching set-up.

Pedro Troglio, who coaches Paraguayan club Cerro Porteno, has also been linked with a role.

Noray Nakis, the president of the AFA selection commission, has already stated his wish, saying: "I'd like Maradona to be the next coach."

Maradona was thought to be on a shortlist with former Boca Juniors coach Carlos Bianchi, San Lorenzo coach Miguel Angel Russo and Sergio Batista, who took the Under-23 squad to Olympic gold in Beijing in August.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Sachin might play in Australian T20 league

Cricket Australia (CA) will invite international stars such as Sachin Tendulkar to compete in the domestic Twenty20 competition from 2009.
Australia, South Africa and New Zealand have also put their heads together in a bid to establish a T20 competition for the southern hemisphere, to be launched by 2011, the Daily Telegraph reported.

“CA (is) ... encouraging international stars from overseas to play in each side and increasing promotional support in a move to make the tournament a bigger bash,” the game’s national ruling body said on Friday in a statement.

“Cricket Australia’s Board, meeting in Melbourne this week for two days of Board and Annual General Meeting discussions, has approved that CA’s management work with counterparts in South Africa and New Zealand to develop a regional T20 contest built on city-based, franchise-owned teams.”

CA Chief executive James Sutherland said the southern hemisphere concept had been developed over the past 18 months.
“Regional-level T20 Cricket played at the level immediately below international cricket has shown it can capture the public imagination and create new audiences for cricket,” he said.

“But as we have seen in India, it needs critical mass to generate major public excitement and the regional concept we have been charged with developing provides that critical mass.”

India's hugely successful Indian Premier League domestic competition featured Australian and other international guest players earlier this year.

The southern hemisphere T20 competition is still at a concept stage. It is based on having a yet-to-be determined number of franchises in an Africa-centred eastern conference and a similar western conference with an Australasian focus”.

The top teams from each conference would contest finals. “Timing would complement IPL timing, creating opportunity for Indian players to participate,” CA said.

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It’s not all over for Australia: Chappell

Greg Chappell former coach of the India national Cricket team and commentator explains how cricket is a ‘microcosm of life, in a short talk to Ashok Kumar of IndianExpress.com.
Do you think the emphatic 320 run victory of India in the second test at Mohali spells a downturn in the Australian cricket?

It’s not all over for Australia. Only time will tell if the Australian cricket is heading towards a downturn.

Where do you see cricket in India, today?

It is undoubtedly one of the major sports of the country. It would not be wrong to say that cricket is the epicentre of all the sporting events in India. Eighty percent of the money coming through cricket comes from India.
Is the Indian system giving ample opportunities to the potential cricketing talent in India?

It is difficult to say that the cricketing talent has been fully realized looking at the size of the country like India. One advantage which has come out of the shorter version of the game like IPL Twenty-20 is that the scope for the potential talent has increased.

One biggest advantage which the Indian cricket has been facing and will continue to face in near future?

Well, I can only say that the national team can accommodate only 11 individuals at a time and there is so much talent still left to be given an opportunity.

Could you share with us one most memorable occasion for you as a coach of the Team India?

The whole experience of being with Team India as a coach was a memorable one.

What in your opinion is the best thing about cricket as sports?

The best thing about cricket is that this game is like a microcosm of life. This game helps in you facing the challenges of life. There is no better place than India to see and experience the feeling.

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Bishan Singh Bedi lends a helping hand to Australian spinners

Australia may have failed in their bid to rope in Manoj Prabhakar to help their pacers master reverse swing but they managed to get spin legend Bishan Singh Bedi share a few tricks of the trade with their rookie tweakers ahead of the third Test against India.

Bedi, in a pink T-shirt and shorts, appeared in the nets this morning and interacted with both Jason Krejza and Cameron White.

"We discussed cricketing things only. Australian manager (Steve Bernard) requested me to come and have a chat with them and that's why I'm here," Bedi said after the net session.

Bedi admitted Shane Warne's retirement has created a huge void in Australian Cricket even though he refused to underestimate either White or Krejza.

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Anand claws back for draw, inches closer to title

Russian Vladimir Kramnik seemed to have finally woken up from his slumber to realise that he was just a loss away from losing the World Chess Championship title match.
The ninth game of the contest saw the Russian, playing with black pieces, not just take advantage for the first time here; he was almost on the verge of a dramatic win, before things took a turn and Viswanathan Anand clawed his way back with some stubborn defence. Kramnik began the match with a Slav defence and then attempted several variations, which appeared to be paying off. But Anand continued to go for sharp continuations and managed to earn a draw and take himself closer to the title.

From Anand’s perspective, the draw was not a bad result since he now has three games remaining to earn the half point and retain his title.

It was in the 19th move, Anand, suddenly realising that he was in a far inferior position with Kramnik’s bishops pairing giving the Russian an advantage, tried to manoeuvre his way out.

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Lawson's removal draws flak from within Pak cricket

The unceremonious removal of erstwhile Pakistan Cricket coach Geoff Lawson, of Australia, has drawn flak from within the country’s cricketing world, even as former cricketers have said that the decision had invited international ire towards Pakistan and that, henceforth, no foreign coach would show interest in accepting coaching assignment here.
A former Test cricketer said the foreign teams were reluctant to visit Pakistan and the hasty decision had sent “wrong signals in the cricket world”. He said that firstly Dav Whatmore should have been appointed as the coach, but once Lawson was chosen he should have been allowed to complete his full two-year-term.

“We are very short-sighted. Whatmore was more deserving. But after hiring Lawson the PCB should have let the Australian complete his contract. Now no foreign coach will be willing to come to Pakistan. This is very unfortunate,” the Daily Times quoted the unidentified ex-Pakistani cricketer as saying.

He alleged that the new management under PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt and Salim Altaf was settling scores with former chairman Nasim Asharf. “Both Ijaz and Salim were dead against Nasim but were unable to do anything because Nasim had support of President Pervez Musharraf.” He said Intikhab was appointed because of his close affiliation with the chairman. “Both were members of the PCB governing board during the tenure of Nasim,” he added.

Another foemer Pakistani cricketer also expressed similar views. “The decision has given a bad name to Pakistan cricket. The PCB should have respected the contract with Lawson. There were seven, eight months left of his contract. He should have been allowed to complete his tenure,” he said.
Lawson, released with three months compensation, was appointed coach of the national senior team for two years in July 2007 after Pakistan, led by Inzamamul Haq, suffered a first-round defeat in the World Cup in the West Indies in March.

The surprised sacking of Lawson came just three days after new PCB chairman Ijaz Butt said that ‘useless’ Lawson’s contract would not be renewed next year as the Pakistan team was gaining nothing from him.

Since 1998, Pakistan have had nine different coaches, some of whom, like Javed Miandad and Richard Pybus have been in the position more than once.

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Victory charge: Anand stamps authority with 2nd win

World champion Viswanathan Anand scored his second victory in the World Chess Championship, again with black pieces, against Vladimir Kramnik of Russia to extend his lead to two points.
If one thought Kramnik, playing with white pieces and trailing by a point would go on the offensive for the equaliser, they were quickly corrected. It was yet another Slav defense by the Indian ace in the fifth game and Kramnik went for what he had chosen in the third game, giving an idea that he had prepared something against the variation. However, Anand had other ideas and once again he was the one to come up with another surprise. If Kramnik thought he was going to deviate from the earlier game, he was proven wrong as Anand came up with a different idea on the 15th move.

Like in the third game, Kramnik yet again felt the heat and spent a lot of time on his clock. Anand got a good lead on the time while his position also remained intact. Kramnik went for unwarranted complications instead of trying to regain the momentum, which caused him dearly. The Russian was under pressure when Anand just improved the position of his pieces and maintained a fairly balanced position.

With the clock ticking away and not many options in sight, disaster struck the Russian on the 29th move. Going for a tactical move, Kramnik missed a fine retort that turned the tide decidedly in Anand’s favour. The Russian had started the combination with a piece sacrifice that boomeranged in quick time, and Anand ended the game with a clinical finish —sacrificing his last minor piece to ensure his central pawn’s march to glory. The game was over in 35 moves.

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Unstoppable Murray retains title

Andy Murray thrashed Kazakhstan's Andrey Golubev to retain his St Petersburg Open title and continue his stunning run of form.

The Briton swept to a 6-1 6-1 victory - his 23rd win in 25 matches - to secure his fifth tournament win of 2008.

Murray broke serve in the fourth and sixth games as he raced through the opening set.

And Golubev, ranked 150th, was broken three more times in the second set as Murray sealed victory in 58 minutes.

Murray arrived in Russia having sealed back-to-back Masters Series titles in Cincinnati and, last week, Madrid, after reaching the US Open final in between.

Sunday's final was the 12th consecutive win for the world number four, who has also won titles in Doha, Marseille and Cincinnati.

"I'm happy to win and to defend my title here," said Murray. "Andrey performed very well this week and, I believe, has a good chance to become a top-ranked professional."

The Briton, meanwhile, has been given a tricky draw for next week's Paris Masters.

As the fourth seed he receives a bye through to the second round, at which point he will meet Marcos Baghdatis or Sam Querrey.

The Scot is then likely to come up against Juan Martin del Potro or David Nalbandian in the quarter-finals and Rafael Nadal in the semis.

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Beckman clinches Frys.Com title

Cameron Beckman won the Frys.com Open at the second extra hole after a final-round 63 forced a play-off with overnight leader Kevin Sutherland.

Beckman made up three strokes on Sutherland at Grayhawk Golf Club in Arizona to finish tied on 18 under.

The pair parred the first extra hole but Sutherland flew through the green at the second and Beckman pounced.

Wales' Richard Johnson ended five under, while England's Brian Davis ended one under.

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Liverpool go top as Alonso snaps Chelsea streak

Chelsea's long unbeaten home record in the Premier League ended on Sunday as Liverpool earned a 1-0 victory to forge clear at the top of the standings.

Xabi Alonso's deflected first-half shot sealed a deserved triumph for the visitors, who move three points clear of Chelsea with 23 points from nine games.

Arsenal closed to within a point of Chelsea and surprise package Hull City, with a 2-0 win at West Ham United.

At the bottom of the table a whirlwind 24 hours for Tottenham Hotspur ended with a 2-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers, their first win of the season in front of new manager Harry Redknapp who replaced the sacked Juande Ramos.

Robinho scored a hat-trick as Manchester City beat Stoke City 3-0 while Aston Villa enjoyed a 4-0 win at Wigan Athletic to end the weekend in fifth place.

Portsmouth began life without Redknapp, who quit suddenly on Saturday to join Spurs, in disappointing fashion, conceding a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw at home to Fulham.

Chelsea suffered their first home reverse in the league since February 2004, a run of 86 unbeaten matches. It was also a first taste of defeat for manager Luiz Felipe Scolari since taking over at Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool have now beaten both Manchester United and Chelsea this season to underline the belief that they can win the title for the first time since 1990.

"They were unbeaten for a long time so it was a massive game and a big boost for the rest of the season," Benitez, who had never enjoyed an away league victory at either Chelsea, Arsenal or Manchester United, told reporters.

"We have shown we have character, now we must start preparing for Portsmouth because we need to get three points if we are to keep this mentality."

Liverpool moved the ball around swiftly on the wet Stamford Bridge turf from the start and drew first blood after 10 minutes when Alonso seized on a loose ball and beat Petr Cech with a shot that brushed off Chelsea defender Jose Bosingwa.

Steven Gerrard then brought a fingertip save from Cech before Chelsea began to dominate towards halftime. However, despite plenty of possession the home side only had Deco's off-target effort to show for their efforts.

Alonso smacked a free kick against the post in the second half while Ashley Cole wasted Chelsea's best chance to equalise when he sliced a volley wide late on.

Roman Pavlyuchenko scored his first league goal for Tottenham who finally recorded a victory, although they remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

Darren Bent added the second from the penalty spot after Bolton were reduced to 10 men when Gavin McCann was sent off.

Redknapp, who quit Portsmouth on Saturday to begin a salvage operation at Tottenham, faces a daunting trip to north London rivals Arsenal on Wednesday.

Arsenal left it late to defeat West Ham, an own goal by Julien Faubert and an Emmanuel Adebayor effort sealing the points. Carlton Cole was sent off in stoppage time for West Ham.

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Federer eases past Lopez in Basel

Roger Federer took a step closer to winning his third Swiss Indoors title by beating Feliciano Lopez 6-3 6-2 in the semi-finals in Basel.

The home favourite will now face David Nalbandian in the final on Sunday after he beat Juan Martin del Potro 6-4 6-4 in an all-Argentine clash.

Federer beat Spain's Lopez by breaking in the sixth game of the first set and then twice more in the second.

"I feel great and I'm playing better as the days go by," said the top seed.

After losing the year-end world number one spot to Rafael Nadal, Federer revealed that his focus was on winning titles rather than ranking points.

"Often you're on the tour and you go week by week and you're like, `Oh my god, I've got quarter-final points to defend from last year', but now when I come into a Grand Slam I don't care if I have 1000 points to defend or 50," said Federer.

"I know the rankings are still an important factor but really it's about winning titles, being healthy and enjoying the tour."

Nalbandian was the last player to beat Federer at the US Open, back in 2003, before the Swiss began his run of five consecutive titles.

But buoyed by 15 aces in the match against Lopez, Federer will take a 9-8 head-to-head record into Sunday's final.

Nalbandian, meanwhile, avenged his straight-sets loss to Del Potro at the Madrid Masters last week despite losing his first service game.

But he came back to lead 4-2 in the opening set before breaking his opponent and taking his second set-point chance.

Nalbandian then broke in the third game of the second set when Del Potro's running forehand went out and saved a break point of his own, while leading 5-4, with a drop shot-forehand pass combination.

"I was the lucky one today, last week it was him," Nalbandian said. "I served almost perfect and I think that is why I won today."

Meanwhile, Sweden's Robin Soderling will play Julien Benneteau of France in Sunday's ATP final at the Lyon Grand Prix.

Soderling beat Gilles Simon 5-7 6-3 6-3, while Benneteau beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (7-4) 7-5.

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Montreal mayor hopeful Canada F1 GP can be saved

Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay said he was hopeful the axed Canadian Formula One Grand Prix could be reinstated next year after meeting the sport's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone on Thursday.

"We've had a constructive meeting, we have a better understanding of the issues," he told reporters.

"We still have a lot of work to do to evaluate all the options, but it is still possible to hold the grand prix in Montreal in 2009 and subsequent years."

Tremblay was accompanied by Quebec economic development minister Raymond Bachand and federal international trade minister Michael Fortier.

The race at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was dropped from a revised calendar this month, leaving North America without a grand prix for the first time in 50 years.

Ecclestone told reporters at the Chinese Grand Prix last weekend that there was no way back for Canada next year, despite France subsequently dropping off the calendar for financial reasons.

"They want 17 races, the teams, and that's what they've got," he said.

Canadian Grand Prix organisers denied at the weekend that they had defaulted on payments owed to Ecclestone for past hosting rights.

"It is true that we have a commercial disagreement regarding our monetary obligations, but only for 2008," said Canada Grand Prix marketing vice-president Paul Wilson in a statement.

"This is the result of an historical difference within the contractual understanding between the two parties.

"We were working hard to resolve the matter in order to meet our 2008 obligations when Mr. Ecclestone, without notice, surprised everyone by unilaterally dropping the Canadian Grand Prix from the 2009 FIA schedule last October 7."

The decision dismayed the teams, with Canada and the United States being important markets for the manufacturers that dominate the sport.

"It's the opposite of what we want to see," BMW-Sauber team boss Mario Theissen, whose team took their first win in Canada this season, said at this month's Japanese Grand Prix.

"The intention should be not to step out of this market but just the opposite -- to use Montreal as door opener for a future U.S. race as well."

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Pompey to take time over new boss

Portsmouth will not rush to appoint Harry Redknapp's successor after his decision to take charge at Tottenham following Juande Ramos's dismissal.

"We'll take a deep breath and then have some conversations over the next few days," Pompey chief executive Peter Storrie told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"It's only right and proper that we think about this and then go forward.

"It has been such a shock and it all happened so quickly that it's not something we have thought about."

He added: "I have obviously spoken to (owner) Sacha (Gaydamak) and it will be decided between him and me - with my recommendation."


Tony Adams, Redknapp's long-term assistant, and first-team coach Joe Jordan took charge of the team for Sunday's 1-1 draw against Fulham at Fratton Park.

Ex-Arsenal defender Adams, Jordan, former Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce and ex-Chelsea manager Avram Grant are among the contenders to take the job full time, but Storrie refused to provide any clues.

Redknapp has already put in a good word for Adams and Jordan.

"I spoke to Peter about it and said 'you've got Joe and Tony, and they are both terrific guys'," Redknapp said.

"Joe is very experienced, Tony is up-and-coming in the managerial game and works very hard. I don't think either of them would do any harm, for sure."

Redknapp rejected an approach by Newcastle in January to replace Allardyce.

And Storrie said he wished something similar had happened when Tottenham came calling.

"Nothing would have given me greater pleasure if Harry had rung me on Saturday night and said 'Look Peter, I've thought it over and I want to stay', like he did with Newcastle.

"But on this occasion the lure of Tottenham was too much."

Storrie insisted there were no financial problems at the club and that decisions would continue to be driven by owner Alexandre Gaydamak.

"In the summer we sold Sulley Muntari for a club-record fee and sold Pedro Mendes but used most of that money in bringing in Peter Crouch and Younes Kaboul and a couple of loan players," he said.

"If we were to sell players we would re-invest and bring other players in. We've got a very, very good squad here, a quality side and when January comes we'll approach it then.

"Sacha Gaydamak has owned this club for two-and-a-half years and has continued to put finance into the club to bring in players.

"It will be his decision in January whether he wants to continue that growth and expand."

Meanwhile, Jordan expressed his surprise at the speed of Redknapp's departure, while also wishing hm the best.

"It was a bit of a shock I must admit, but Harry is a good manager and you expect that good managers will be wanted by big clubs," said Jordan.

"The speed of it has surprised a lot of people and it was a shock to me."

Jordan added: "I think it is important that they can get the right man.

"They've got to take a deep breath and take stock of events over the past 24 hours and then take things from there."

Crouch joined Portsmouth from Liverpool in the summer, but the England striker said he did not feel let down by Redknapp's departure.

"He was a big reason why I came to the club, but I'll move on and I wish him all the best," said Crouch, who scored against Fulham.

"It was a complete shock and I would have loved him to remain at Portsmouth.

"But Tottenham are a massive club, I did my YTS there so I know how big a club it is and if he can get them to where they should be that would be fantastic.

"These things happen in football so I am never that surprised. We will carry on regardless and continue our good season."

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