Carter shocks Higgins

first_img Carter, who could not take part in last month’s Haikou World Open due to complications with his Crohn’s disease, sealed a place in the last 16 with the win. He took advantage of a missed red to make a 79 clearance in the first frame before Higgins made it 1-1 with a run of 111. Carter then made it 3-1 and 4-2 to progress. Fit-again Ali Carter upset four-time world champion John Higgins with a 4-2 victory in the first round of the PTC Grand Finals in Galway. “I’ve been really struggling with my Crohn’s disease and haven’t been able to practise much so it’s a big win for me,” said Carter. “I just dug in and it was a good performance. The first frame was massive, it’s hard to clear up from 60 behind, especially against John Higgins. Chinese number one Ding Junhui reversed a 3-1 deficit to defeat Andrew Higginson 4-3. Higginson, a semi-finalist here last year, reeled off breaks of 57 and 71 on his way to a two-frame lead but Ding changed the momentum irreversibly with a turn of 118 in the fifth. “I didn’t play well for the first few frames, I found it difficult to control the white. After that I came back nicely,” said Ding. “I’ve been playing okay for the last few months so I’m happy at the moment.” His compatriot Xiao Guodong was also successful, securing a 4-1 win over former world champion Graeme Dott, who was in ragged form. Rod Lawler denied China another winner on the night as he defeated Cao Yupeng 4-2. After losing the opening frame, Liverpudlian Lawler took the next three to put him on the road to victory. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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Reds decide against Suarez appeal

first_img The Liverpool striker had been given two days to decide whether to appeal after the incident during the 2-2 draw at Anfield on Sunday but has not done so. It means the Uruguay international will miss Liverpool’s last four games of this season and the first six domestic games of next season – potentially leaving him sidelined until October. Suarez released a statement in which he said he elected not to appeal because he realised his behaviour was unacceptable. He said: “I am truly very sorry about the incident with Branislav Ivanovic. I hope that all the people who I have offended at Anfield last Sunday will grant me forgiveness.” Suarez’s statement added: “I know that all the things that are happening to me in England will help me improve my conduct on the field. Right now I just want to focus on becoming a better footballer on and off the field. “I would like to explain to everybody that I decided to accept the ban because whilst 10 games is clearly greater than those bans given in past cases where players have actually been seriously hurt, I acknowledge that my actions were not acceptable on the football pitch so I do not want to give the wrong impression to people by making an appeal. “I really want to learn from what has happened in the last two and a half years, many things have been said and written about me, I just tried to do my best on the field. I hope to come back early to play.” Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre stressed Suarez himself had made the decision not to appeal, saying: “The charges against Luis were his to consider and we have to respect his decision to not appeal the 10-game ban. We are all disappointed at the severity of the punishment and in particular the differing standards that have been applied across various previous incidents. “Luis is an important member of our team and nothing has changed in that regard. We are committed to helping him improve his conduct and he will be given our full support. We look forward to him returning to the team next season when he is available for selection.” Reds boss Brendan Rodgers acknowledged Suarez’s absence will be felt, adding: “We can’t hide our disappointment at the outcome of this situation, but we have to move on and support Luis in his decision. Luis has made a huge contribution to the squad this season and we respect his decision to accept the ban. “He will be missed for the remainder of this season and the early part of next, but we will have the opportunity to welcome a better person and player when he returns.” Luis Suarez has accepted his 10-match ban imposed for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, the Football Association has announced.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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Jose return would be ‘spectacular’

first_img Press Association Andre Villas-Boas has described the potential return of Jose Mourinho to the Premier League as “spectacular”. The former Chelsea boss is expected to leave Real Madrid this summer and has made no secret of his desire to return to England, saying this week it is where he feels loved. Chelsea are favourites to re-sign their former boss, with Rafael Benitez’s short-term contract up at the end of the season. Tottenham manager Villas-Boas worked under his Portuguese countryman at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan, and he believes Mourinho is likely to have a position lined up. Villas-Boas said: “He obviously wants to come back to England, whether he has a club aligned or not, we never know.” center_img The Portuguese continued: “It’s extremely unlikely when someone makes it that public that something is not set out already but he is a great addition to the Premier League. He has a wonderful history in this league and I think it will be spectacular to have him back.” Mourinho has won a significant haul of trophies at all his clubs but has found it most difficult at Madrid. Defeat over two legs against Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals means the Champions League will once again elude the Spaniards this season, and Villas-Boas acknowledged Mourinho probably has not lived up to expectations. The Spurs boss said: “When he left (England) he wasn’t that well loved by a few of you guys (the media) and that was something we talked about. He was loved in all the clubs where he has won titles, in Real Madrid the same. “There is maximum respect for what he has achieved, but for it to be at the level of Real Madrid’s expectancy, we will never know. Probably not, but he certainly has won a league against a dream Barcelona team, which is a great achievement.” West Brom manager Steve Clarke and Swansea’s Michael Laudrup would both welcome Mourinho’s return to the Premier League. Clarke was assistant manager to the 50-year-old at Chelsea, but he insisted: “I don’t know if he’s coming or not, that’s the truth. “I know he was happy here because he had a good job at a good club and we were successful. That’s what he likes, he likes to win football matches wherever he is. If he comes back, it’s great for the Premier League. If he does come back and we get the chance to play against him that would be great.” Laudrup, a former Real Madrid midfielder, added: “To have good managers in a top league is always good, and there will be a lot of nice press conferences for the media to look forward to. He is a good manager, you just need to look at his CV and what he has achieved with all his clubs, so for him to return to Chelsea would be good for the Premier League.” last_img read more

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Ferguson keeps Lindegaard promise

first_img Ferguson promised Lindegaard he would make sure he reached the 10 Barclays Premier League appearances which at the time the Scot thought were required to qualify for a title winners’ medal. The manager has since learned that he would have been able to give Lindegaard a medal anyway, but nevertheless he intends to stand by his pledge to get the Dane into double figures. “I stand by that,” he said. “Anders will be in goal. I will play one or two younger players, and I want to play Jonny Evans and Phil Jones at centre-half because they are the future. Nemanja and Rio will just have to make do with a place on the bench.” Ferguson was presented with a cake by the media prior to Friday’s press conference in honour of the 26 years he has spent at Old Trafford. “It’s fully deserved,” he joked. “There have been some times when I have not agreed with what people have written and when you write positive things I tend to dismiss them. But I have never held a grudge. It is not my style.” Ferguson was in an emotional but cheery mood as he looked forward to his 1500th and final game as United manager before he stands down in favour of David Moyes in the summer. “It has been amazing,” he said. “Sunday (the home game against Swansea) was amazing and the parade on Monday was unbelievable. “I thought the scenes after the treble in 1999 couldn’t be beaten but I think Monday probably did.” Ferguson confirmed he has a League Managers’ Association meeting on Monday and horse racing commitments on Tuesday and Wednesday, ensuring the start of his retirement will be a busy one. “It is going to be a different life,” he said. “I have had 40 years as a manager.” Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed Anders Lindegaard will start his final game as Manchester United manager – and Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand will be on the bench at West Brom on Sunday.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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Carragher bows out as Reds defeat QPR

first_img Coutinho’s sweet strike provided the only goal but the difference between the two sides was huge and Liverpool should have put a hatful. There was a sense of out with the old and in with the new as 17-year-old Jordon Ibe, signed from Wycombe, made his debut. He was 13 months old when Carragher made his first Liverpool appearance but the youngster was not over-awed by the occasion, and after growing into his left-wing role provided the assist for the only goal Cutting in from the left he teed up Coutinho to fire home a low shot from 25 yards. The Brazilian should already have had one to his name as in the opening couple of minutes his low, diving header from Stewart Downing’s corner was cleared by full-back Michael Harriman but only after it appeared to have crossed the line. Loic Remy provided the visitors’ only threat, firing one shot wide and then mis-kicking from close range trying to convert Armand Traore’s cross. All afternoon the Kop had been urging Carragher to shoot – from a varying degree of ridiculous angles and distances – but he declined them all until just past the hour. The ball dropped to him 25 yards out and he smashed a first-time effort which cannoned back off the post with goalkeeper Rob Green well beaten. Forward Philippe Coutinho was Liverpool’s match-winner but Jamie Carragher was the star of the show at Anfield on his 737th and final appearance for the club as they beat QPR 1-0. The veteran centre-back brought the curtain down on a first-team career spanning 16 years 131 days – the seventh longest in the club’s history. Such is his longevity the 35-year-old has served under six different permanent managers at Anfield but his own influence on the team during that time cannot be underestimated And while the day was rightly a celebration of his achievements, the fact the game had the slight feeling of a testimonial would not have impressed the ultra-competitive, ultra-professional Carragher. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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Ireland camp hit by bug

first_img Both coaches and captains addressed the media at a conference at the 20,000 capacity home of Toronto FC on Monday and both Kiss and his opposite number Kieran Crowley have plenty of headaches ahead of the weekend’s game. Ireland beat the US Eagles 15-12 in Houston last Saturday, while the Canadians overcame Tonga in a bad-tempered encounter. “There is a bit of attrition after a long season, but fair play to the boys they have been good. We have had a couple of minor injuries from last week, but things are looking okay on that part,” Kiss said. “We have just had a situation today where we will not have a full squad training as there is a little bit of unwellness in the squad, but that is just something you have to deal with when you travel and these little stomach upsets happen.” New Zealander Crowley will delay finalising his team until Friday as he counts the toll left by an extremely physical encounter with the Tongans in Kingston, Ontario, on Sunday. Three players – Matt Evans, Sean Duke and Jebb Sinclair – are recovering from concussion, while Aaron Carpenter (back), Phil Mac (ankle) and Nick Blevins are fighting to be fit. “They have been good, we had a travel day down on Sunday. The boys are pretty battered and bruised after two games in four days. We have five or six guys we’re sweating on at the moment, we are going through the protocols and we will finalise our team on Friday,” he said. “They are in good spirits, winning helps that. They are looking forward to a big challenge, a tier one country and we want to put in a good performance and we are looking forward to a good game.” Ireland’s preparations for Saturday’s meeting with Canada have been hit by a stomach bug which has struck down a small number of the squad. Press Associationcenter_img The unaffected squad members trained in Toronto on Monday night, but coach Les Kiss is sweating over the recovery of some of his squad who have not been named. It adds to the Australian’s selection issues after he lost Simon Zebo to the Lions. However, injury worries over captain Peter O’Mahony, Chris Henry, Fergus McFadden and Robbie Henshaw appear to be easing ahead of the clash in front of what Canada Rugby hopes to be a sell-out at BMO Field. last_img read more

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Lethal dazzles in Diamond

first_imgLethal Force ran out a hugely impressive winner of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot for trainer Clive Cox and jockey Adam Kirby. The four-year-old grey made just about every yard of the running and burst clear two furlongs out. The 4-1 favourite Society Rock made up relentless ground under Kieren Fallon and at one stage looked likely to reel in the leader, but Kirby kept Lethal Force up to his work and the 11-1 chance crossed the line two lengths clear. Krypton Factor (25-1) finished well for third, with Gordon Lord Byron and Sea Siren close up behind. Cox said: “I’m thrilled for everyone. It’s just amazing – this is what it’s all about. Adam is such a brilliant rider, but it’s fantastic for the whole team at home. When he sent him on, it was explosive.” Kirby added: “I’m really, really pleased. We’ve always had a lot of respect for this horse and, to be fair to him, he’s always run his race without ever winning. When he hit the gate he was doing it all so easy. The only man I’ve got to thank is Clive Cox.” Owner Alan Craddock said: “We’re very fortunate. Clive Cox told us all along how good he was. I fancied him today, but nobody in the press seemed to. We thought he might have a squeak after his run at York. I’m overcome with emotion, just so pleased. Fair play to Clive Cox as he’s a master trainer, we bought him for just 8,000 euro.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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Sunderland pull plug on Peruzzi bid

first_img Just a day after the 21-year-old’s current employers Velez Sarsfield claimed the deal would go through following the Black Cats’ return from Hong Kong, where they are playing in the Barclays Asia Trophy, the Italian revealed the deal had been put on hold because of a problem revealed by a medical on Wearside last week. Di Canio told the Sunderland Echo in Hong Kong: “At the moment, there is no chance for Gino Peruzzi to join us.” Press Association Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio has revealed that Argentinian full-back Gino Peruzzi will not be joining the club after all.center_img Di Canio thought he had landed the right-back when he travelled to the north-east last week having finally agreed personal terms, only for medical tests to reveal the after-effects of a ligament injury he suffered last season. The Italian added: “My club is not a club that can sign players with some problems. “We are not Manchester City, who can think about buying a talented player with an injury and wait for him. “We are not very late [in the transfer window], but I would like a player ready to join the rest of the group because the process of integration is not just physical. “They have to understand how we play, which is not easy.” After the initial medical, Peruzzi was subsequently sent to see a specialist in Rome, and Velez were confident the programme with which he returned would address the issue and allow him to complete his move and become Sunderland’s 10th summer signing. last_img read more

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Munster sign Van den Heever

first_img Van den Heever, 24, has agreed a two-year contract with the Irish province and will join up with his new team-mates once he completes his Currie Cup duties with Western Province. Munster head coach Rob Penney said: “Gerhard is a young guy that is capable of playing in multiple positions and he has committed to Munster for two years so he has an opportunity to build in becoming a Munster man just like BJ Botha and CJ Stander before him. “He is a wing, centre and full-back with a lovely kick and is exceptionally fast so he should be a great addition to the squad. We are very happy to have him coming to us and I know they are disappointed to see him go from the Stormers.” Press Associationcenter_img Munster have confirmed the signing of South African winger Gerhard van den Heever from the Stormers.last_img read more

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Wenger: We must prove we’re champs

first_img Asked if people were right to question Arsenal, Wenger said: “Yes – we haven’t won the league for a long time, so that is why they question us. “It is not (about nine seasons) without winning a trophy, it is without winning the Premier League. “If you win the League Cup, it does not change anything. “It is the Premier League that is the most important thing, and we haven’t won it for nine years. “Of course, it does not strengthen your belief, because if you win it every year, you go in there and (say) ‘it is just ours’, so it makes the challenge (now) more interesting.” Wenger continued: “At the moment everybody still questions us, even more after our defeat at (Manchester) City. “But I see the game at City the other way round, that we can have even more belief after the game at City.” Wenger maintains his men can rise to the challenges of character they will face again in the first of their hectic festive fixtures. “It adds pressure, but you cannot play in the Premier League without pressure,” the Gunners boss said. “There are periods where the pressure is a bit bigger and periods where it is smaller. “You have to live with that and resist that kind of stress.” Wenger added: “People are only keeping in their mind the big matches that we lose, but we have won some big games. “What is at stake is if you want to win the Premier League, you want to win the big games at home. It is as simple as that.” One player who is certainly due a big performance is Mesut Ozil. The German playmaker has only shown glimpses of his class since a £43million club-record move from Real Madrid. Wenger, though, has every confidence Ozil will come good on a regular basis soon enough. “I believe that he has a personality. He works quite hard and is adapting to the physical challenges of the Premier League at the moment,” said Wenger. “Ozil looks to me like (Robert) Pires. It took a while for Pires to adapt to the physical side of the game. “Once he had adapted he was absolutely amazing and Ozil is a similar type of player.” The Gunners were knocked off the top of the table after Liverpool’s win over Cardiff on Saturday lunchtime, and were soon pushed down into third place when Manchester City won 4-2 at Fulham. Should Chelsea win at the Emirates Stadium tonight, the Gunners – who once held a five-point lead – will be fourth at Christmas. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger accepts people will always question his side until they have proven themselves as Barclays Premier League champions once again. Press Associationlast_img read more

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