Perez rules out winter signings

Perez rules out winter signings

MADRID – Real Madrid chairman Florentino Perez has told coach Jose Mourinho he cannot sign a new striker in the winter transfer window to cover for the injured Gonzalo Higuain, a sports newspaper said Saturday.
The Portuguese coach is concerned that with Higuain ruled out for at least another two months he has only Cristiano Ronaldo and the out-of-form French striker Karim Benzema to rely on up front.
But Perez believes that “with Benzema, Cristiano, Higuain from March and

Asian Cup – We can play better, says Uzbek coach

DOHA – Pundits in Uzbekistan have rated Vadim Abramov’s team as the country’s best in a decade and their victory against hosts Qatar in their Asian Cup opener underlined those credentials.
Goals from Odil Akhmedov and evergreen captain Server Djeparov handed the Uzbeks a well-deserved 2-0 victory on Friday evening and Abramov believes better is still to come. “Our midfield in particular played very well but I hope this is not the best we can show. I think we can play better,” he

Former skippers greet PFF president

LAHORE – Former National skippers have congratulated Pakistan Football Federation President Faisal Saleh Hayat on becoming first Pakistani ever to have been elected to the prestigious AFC Executive Committee during the 24th Asian Football Confederation Congress at Doha on Thursday.
Faisal is also the only Pakistani who visited the football World Cup as member of FIFA/ World Cup Disciplinary Committee last year. He is also the chairman of Asian Football Confederation Disciplinary

Liverpool sack Hodgson, recall Dalglish

LIVERPOOL – Liverpool on Saturday announced that manager Roy Hodgson has left the club by mutual consent, with Kenny Dalglish put in charge for Sunday’s FA Cup tie against Manchester United. Hodgson leaves Anfield after an unhappy six month reign after taking over from Rafael Benitez with Liverpool having suffered a ninth Premier League defeat on his watch at Blackburn this week. That left the embattled side languishing in 12th position, four points above the relegation zone.

New Year expectations

In sport and otherwise, 2010 served up a whole lot of memorable moments, both joyous and saddening. Here one attempts to take a look at what is in the offing in sport for 2011.
The ICC World Cup 2011 starts off in the first quarter of the year, with India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka jointly playing the role of the tournament hosts. While the 50-over game is far less predictable than the tradition format of Test cricket, there are some teams that boast of a stronger hand at the

Garrigus leads Tournament of Champions

KAPALUA – American Robert Garrigus fired a 10-under 63 to grab a one-stroke lead over first round leader Carl Pettersson midway through the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions.
Garrigus played the final three holes of Friday’s second round in four-under to reach 14-under 132 in the season-opening tournament. “My wedge game is exactly where I need it to be,” American Garrigus said.
Garrigus, who has led the tour in driving distance each of the last two years, qualified for

US clinches 6th Hopman title

PERTH – The United States marched to their sixth Hopman Cup title with a 2-1 win over Belgium in the final of the mixed teams tournament on Saturday.
The tie was all square after the singles, but the American team of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and John Isner, capitalising on the absence of top seeds Serbia, claimed the deciding mixed doubles with a comfortable 6-1, 6-3 win over Justine Henin and Ruben Bemelmans. While it was the first time Isner and Mattek-Sands had claimed the unique

Zvonareva shows no mercy at HK

HONG KONG – Russian tennis ace Vera Zvonareva threw down the gauntlet ahead of the Australian Open with an awe-inspiring demolition of world number one Caroline Wozniacki in Hong Kong on Saturday.
The 26-year-old took just 56 minutes and dropped just one game as she thrashed the Dane 6-1, 6-0 on the back of an equally ruthless straight-sets win over Venus Williams at the exhibition tournament.

PIA crush Karachi to reach Quaid trophy final

LAHORE – Habib Bank and PIA qualified for Division I Final of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy after PIA beat Karachi Blues by an innings and 16 runs at Karachi’s National Stadium on day three of the four-day match on Saturday.
Karachi Blues made 146 runs in their first innings while PIA responded with 262 runs and later bowled out Karachi for 100 runs in the second innings. Aizaz-Bin Ilyas was the star of the match, taking 14 wickets, seven each in either innings for 65 and 45 runs

Federer clinches third Qatar Open

DOHA – Roger Federer hammered out his determination to hang on to his Australian Open title when he brushed aside Nikolay Davydenko to regain the Qatar Open crown on Saturday.
Last year the Russian beat the Swiss master on the way to the title.
This time world number two Federer overwhelmed the defending champion, who had put out top seed Rafael Nadal in Friday’s semi-finals, 6-3, 6-4 to complete the capture of the trophy without dropping a set. He was assertive,

A re-ordered cricketing universe

This definitely marks the passing of an era and the dawn of a fresh one. The sun has set on the decade of Aussie dominance. And it has been replaced with a resurgent, dogged, persevering and an awe-inspiringly balanced English Test team that has the skill-set and chutzpah to go out and conquer.
Resurgence always has an uplifting effect. This is even truer if it relates to a phenomenon that was once un-thinkable for the actors involved. For more than two decades, beginning in

Master Paints survive scare to reach final

LAHORE – Hissam Ali Hyder led Master Paints Whites to the final of the Toyota Cup Polo Tournament 2011 after a closely-contested match against The Bank of Punjab here on Saturday at the LPC ground.
Master Paints Whites scored six goals against BoP’s five and a half. Hissam produced four goals while one each came from Sufi Muhammad Haris and Lt. Col. Raja Nadeem. Rivals BoP remained at their heels throughout the four chukkers, with Shah Qubilai Alam, Hamza Mawaz Khan and Waseem

Kvitova downs Petkovic to claim Brisbane title

BRISBANE – Petra Kvitova stamped herself as an Australian Open contender after she overpowered Germany’s Andrea Petkovic 6-1, 6-3 to claim the Brisbane International here Saturday. Although most people hardly gave her a chance of beating Petkovic, who had been in imperious form all week, the 2010 Wimbledon semi-finalist tore up the script as she demolished her German opponent in 71 minutes at the Pat Rafter Arena.
Petkovic’s groundstrokes, which dominated her opponents in the

Australia taught a lesson they must not forget

Peter Roebuck – Australia have been given a cricketing education. England appeared to be playing a different game on a different pitch. When they batted the track was as placid as celery. Between innings the curator moved the poles and the pitch had more kick than a cranky colt. Even the outfield seemed to slow down. Not that the Aussies reached it all that often. Of the two teams out there, only one is playing Test cricket.
Over the years the Aussies have given the basics of the

Of world cricket and Pakistan’s tragic story

Sports This Week – England brought the curtain down on the Ashes series with a dominating triumph over Australia in the fifth Test. The issue, as it happened, was never in doubt. Australia’s batting had no answer to the English pace attack of Anderson, Tremlett, and Bresnan, supported by the feisty off-spin of Swann.
Anderson is a master swing bowler, with the ability to bowl outswing as well as reverse swing. In Tremlett, England have a bowler who brings the ball down from a

spot-fixing scandal – Different statements may land trio in trouble

LAHORE – Pakistan players Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif have submitted different statements over the bowling of no-balls at the ICC tribunal hearing the trio’s case in a spot-fixing scandal.
According to BBC, the explanation by each player widely differed from the other two when the tribunal asked them various questions.
Two players reportedly said that they did not know why the no-balls were bowled, while one said he did it by mistake.
“During this

Honours even on day one

HAMILTON – Pakistan’s Abdul Rehman produced a sustained, tight spell of left-arm spin bowling to take three wickets for 51 runs as New Zealand scrambled to 260 for seven at the close of play on the first day of the first Test at Seddon Park on Friday.
Kane Williamson was on 44 while pace bowler Tim Southee was on 56, his second Test half century, after the hosts had appeared to be in control on 78-1 at lunch only for Pakistan to seize the advantage in the middle session.