Tag Archives: attempt

Luis Suarez: I invented a foul against Stoke

Suarez: I invented a foul against Stoke because I wanted to win… but I was unfairly treated over Mansfield handball

By
Tom Bellwood

PUBLISHED:

17:19 GMT, 16 January 2013

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UPDATED:

18:08 GMT, 16 January 2013

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has admitted he 'invented' a foul against Stoke City to try to win the match but believes he was unfairly treated following his handball against Mansfield.

Suarez came under attack from Stoke defenders and the media for his blatant attempt at winning a penalty during the game at Anfield earlier this season.

And he has now come clean, telling Fox Sports Argentina: 'I don't listen all the nonsense some
people say about me. I'm accused of cheating here. People say I throw
myself all the time inside
the box.

Taking a tumble: Suarez hit the deck during the match with Stoke in an attempt to win a penalty

Taking a tumble: Suarez hit the deck during the match with Stoke in an attempt to win a penalty

'Let's see: they said that when we
played against Stoke, for instance, and in that case they were right. I
invented a foul because we were drawing 1-1 against Stoke and I wanted
to win.

'Sometimes on the pitch I say to myself, “What have I done” But the name of Suarez sells papers.

'The other day, for instance, I touched the ball with my hand accidentally, and I was criticised because I kissed my hand.

'The media make up a lot of things
about me because they want to sell papers. I say to the media: you
should talk more about football, not about other stuff.'

In the interview in Argentina, aired today, he claims the reason he is targeted is because Manchester United hold sway over the English media.

The Liverpool striker also believes
the media is helping Sir Alex Ferguson's side in their quest to regain
the Barclays Premier League title.

It
had seemed the race row and handball controversies involving Suarez had
been put to one side following the drama-free North West derby on
Sunday.

He also slammed the media for treating him and his fellow South Americans differently to British players.

No stranger to controversy: Suarez was involved in a race row with Evra and, more recently, there was this handball against Mansfield (below)

No stranger to controversy: Suarez was involved in a race row with Evra and, more recently, there was this handball against Mansfield (below)

No stranger to controversy: Suarez was involved in a race row and, more recently, this handball (below)

He said: 'When someone comes and says
to me something bad about being a South American, I don't cry, because
that happens inside the pitch.

'I have my conscience clean. But as I
have said: Manchester United controls the media, they are powerful and
the media will always help them.

'I can help Liverpool today. We are united and we can play well. Liverpool doesn't depend on me.

'It's complicated to play here in
England. As Carlitos (Carlos Tevez) and Kun (Sergio Aguero) has said, it's complicated
for a South American footballer to be here as we are treated
differently to the local footballers.

'But they have their culture, they
are like this, you know. I have to play football, which is what I always
wanted, but I have suffered a lot for being a footballer.

Bold claims: Suarez believes Manchester United control the English media

Bold claims: Suarez believes Manchester United control the English media

Liverpool loan move for David Villa rejected by Barcelona

Cough up if you want Villa! Bold Liverpool loan move rejected as Barca hold out for 16m

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UPDATED:

13:34 GMT, 31 December 2012

Liverpool have been rebuffed in a bold attempt to take Barcelona striker David Villa on loan.

The 31-year-old is frustrated at the Nou Camp due to his lack of game time and is keen to come to England.

However, Barcelona will not entertain the idea of letting the Spain international go out on loan and will only consider a bumper transfer offer to sell in this window.

Hotshot: But David Villa has found opportunities hard to come by at Barca this term

Hotshot: David Villa has found opportunities hard to come by at Barca this term but his goalscoring record with both the Catalan giants and Spain is exceptional

David Villa

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has already agreed a deal with Chelsea for Daniel Sturridge and is advanced with talks over a move for Thomas Ince. However, that deal has dragged because Blackpool want 6million for a player they bought from Liverpool for 250,000 18 months ago.

Villa was seen as a player of quality and experience who could share the burden with Luis Suarez and fit into Rodgers' ideal 4-3-3 formation having also played on the left for Barcelona and Spain.

Brendan Rodgers

Lone furrow: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers (above) is in the market to
bring in some support up front for Luis Suarez (below), despite his two goals against QPR

Luis Suarez

The move would have been an exception to Liverpool's normal guidelines with the club reluctant to bring in players who are over the age of 24.

Arsenal were interested in Villa but are reluctant to become embroiled in another bidding war with Barcelona having been told the price would be at least 16m.

Chelsea have been sounded out also but Rafa Benitez is unlikely to move for Villa with other options still ahead of him, despite the breakdown in the move for Demba Ba.

Villa has made 17 appearances for Barca this season and scored five goals. However, he would also be cup-tied in Europe having figured against Spartak Moscow, Celtic and Benfica in the Champions League.

Harry Redknapp handed 20million to sign Loic Remy, Yann M"Vila and Mohamed Diame

QPR hand Redknapp 20m in bid to lure Remy, M'Vila and Diame to Loftus Road in January

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UPDATED:

22:32 GMT, 30 December 2012

QPR want to back manager Harry Redknapp with a 20million spree to fight relegation.

The Premier League's basement club have earmarked Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila, 22, Marseille striker Loic Remy, 25, and West Ham midfield star Mo Diame, 25, in an ambitious attempt to stop their slide into the Championship.

A bid of 9m is said to have been placed for Remy, a 7.5m offer is primed for M'Vila while Diame has a 3.5m release clause.

Top target: Mo Diame (left) would bolster QPR's central midfield area

Top target: Mo Diame (left) would bolster QPR's central midfield area

The club would face a hard sell to convince the players to come after yesterday's 3-0 defeat to Liverpool left them eight points off 17th-placed Aston Villa, but they know Redknapp is a persuasive boss capable of rescuing them.

Newcastle, who will lose Demba Ba to Chelsea, would seem favourites for Remy but a deal for M'Vila, 22, would represent a coup for QPR.

He has been tracked by Arsenal and Tottenham but is suspended from playing for France until June 2014.

Redknapp has also considered Paris St-Germain's Diego Lugano, 32, and Aston Villa defender Richard Dunne, 33, who is returning to fitness and mulling over an offer from New York Red Bulls.

Ambitious: Harry Redknapp has been a long-term admirer of Yann M'Vila

Ambitious: Harry Redknapp has been a long-term admirer of Loic Remy

Ambitious: Harry Redknapp has been a long-term admirer of France stars Loic Remy (right) and Yann M'Vila

Tough: Redknapp has a huge task to avoid the drop

Tough: Redknapp has a huge task to avoid the drop

Simon Whitlock advances in the World Darts Championship after beating Haruki Muramatsu

Magic! The Wizard wins with an easy victory over Muramatsu

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UPDATED:

01:02 GMT, 20 December 2012

Former World Championship finalist Simon Whitlock barely broke sweat on day six at Alexandra Palace as he breezed past Japanese qualifier Haruki Muramatsu 3-0.

The Wizard averaged 95.5 as he brushed aside the spirited Muramatsu in straight sets and moved into the second round of the World Darts Championship, where he will play Colin Osborne.

There was some uncharacteristic double trouble for Whitlock in the first leg as a hat-trick of missed double 10s allowed the Japanese player to take an early lead.

No sweat: Simon The Wizard Whitlock barely broke sweat as he breezed past Haruki Muramatsu 3-0 in the World Darts Championship

No sweat: Simon The Wizard Whitlock barely broke sweat as he breezed past Haruki Muramatsu 3-0 in the World Darts Championship

But after hitting double 10 at the third attempt in leg two, The Wizard eased to a one-set lead as he hit a 13-dart finish in leg three before a double 16 in leg four to seal the set 3-1.

The pair held their own throw at the start of the second leg, before the Aussie moved ahead with a 48 checkout in leg three. Whitlock then secured the second set by the same 3-1 margin as the first with a 116 finish in leg four.

And Whitlock won the third set 3-1 as well as he secured the crucial break in leg three before finishing the match with a double 18 finish.

Home time: Dennis The Menace lost 3-1 to Ronnie The Rocket Baxter (below)

Home time: Dennis The Menace lost 3-1 to Ronnie The Rocket Baxter (below)

Ronnie Baxter

Ronnie Baxter also won on Wednesday night as he got the better of two-time world champion Dennis ‘The Menace’ Priestley 3-1.

The Rocket went two sets up and, after losing the third set in a deciding leg, closed out a four-set win against Priestley.

Baxter did the damage early on as he hit a 13-dart leg on the way to taking the opening set 3-1.

But The Menace had chances of his own as he missed two shots to win the second set, in the fourth leg, before losing it 3-2.

The third set also went to a deciding leg as this time it was Baxter’s turn to miss opportunities. The Rocket let five chances to take the match slip through his fingers and, as a result, was stretched to a fourth set.

But then it was Priestley’s turn to spurn opportunities and there was no coming back this time. After making a strong start to the set, Priestley missed four shots at a double to extend the match into a final set which left Baxter to seal the win by hitting double 10 in the deciding leg of set four.

Scare: Colin Lloyd had a massive scare against the American Darin Young but Jaws eventually won 3-2

Scare: Colin Lloyd had a massive scare against the American Darin Young but Jaws eventually won 3-2

2002 world finalist Colin Lloyd survived a massive scare as he beat American Darin Young 3-2 to set up a second round tie with former BDO world champion Mark Webster.

It was a match that swung one way and then another but Jaws eventually prevailed 6-4 in a dramatic fifth set.

Young took the opening set with a 144 checkout in leg four before Lloyd responded to take the second set in a deciding leg.

And, after a break each followed by a hold of throw apiece, Young hit double 16 to win the deciding leg of set three to take a 2-1 lead.

But the 2005 World Matchplay champion quickly wiped out the deficit as he took the fourth set 3-0 to send the match into a decider. Jaws held his own throw in the opening leg and then hit double 16 to break in leg two before a clinical 124 checkout sealed the set and brought him level.

And Lloyd appeared to be cruising towards victory as he broke in the opening leg of set five before a 64 checkout moved him 2-0 up.

But the drama had only just begun as Young won the next leg before capitalising on Lloyd’s missed 68 finish in leg four to level at 2-2 with a 77 checkout.

Jaws then went back ahead with a 51 checkout to break but the American followed up with a 115 checkout of his own and the players were locked at 3-3.

Dominant: Justin Pipe (pictured) won with an easy victory over Andy Jenkins

Dominant: Justin Pipe (pictured) won with an easy victory over Andy Jenkins

DAY SIX RESULTS

Justin Pipe 3-0 Andy Jenkins
Ronnie Baxter 3-1 Dennis Priestley
Colin Lloyd 3-2 Darin Young
Simon Whitlock 3-0 Haruki Muramatsu

But, after Young won the seventh leg to move 4-3 ahead, Lloyd reeled off three straight legs to seal a tense 6-4 final-set win.

In Wednesday’s other match, Justin Pipe started the night with a dominant 3-0 win over Andy Jenkins.

The 41-year-old from Taunton won the first two sets without dropping a leg before completing his easy victory with a 3-2 third-set win.

Thursday sees the remaining four first round matches take place with Dutch duo Vincent van der Voort and World Grand Prix champion Michael van Gerwen topping the bill. Kim Huybrechts is also in action before round two begins on Friday afternoon at Ally Pally.

VIDEO: Worst basketball free throw ever! Appalachian State basketball player Brian Okam embarrassed

VIDEO: Is this the worst free throw ever US college player suffers embarrassment

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UPDATED:

17:24 GMT, 11 December 2012

Outside of seeing a scoreless game,
there are few certainties in basketball and it seems at least going
close to scoring a point from a free throw is no longer one of them.

The free throw often results in a
player finding the basket. If not that then the ball may bounce out, hit
the backboard or at the very least have enough power and distance to
count as a shot.

Sadly for Brian Okam, he failed to do
any of the above with his feeble attempt for Appalachian State in a
college match at Western Carolina University.

Tension: Brian Okam lines up the shot for the Mountaineers at a Saturday game with Western Carolina

Tension: Brian Okam lines up the shot for the Mountaineers at a Saturday game with Western Carolina

Embarrassment: The ball flew high into the air...and landed almost at the feet of reserve center Brian Okam

Slip-up: The players all gaze upwards as the ball soars into the air above their heads... but doesn't travel forward

Slip-up: The players all gaze upwards as the ball soars into the air above their heads… but doesn't travel far

Butter fingers: The free throw falls far short of the basket during the game at WCU

In fact, his attempt is so bad it
barely travels three feet after looping high into the air prompting a
stunned commentator to declare: ‘I don’t know what that was, that might
be the ugliest thing I have ever seen.’

Following the throw 90 minutes into the game, WCU went on to clinch the match 70-64.

Despite the clip going viral on the
internet, with comments suggesting Okam’s throw was on purpose, the
player himself admitted it was just an error and is something that he
looks back and laughs at.

Okam said: ‘I hit the first shot and
on the second, it was just one of those crazy things where the ball
slips out of your hand. Obviously a lot of folks have seen it and it’s
gotten a lot of attention, but I’m just focused on moving ahead with
final exams this week and getting back on the winning track.

‘You look back at it and laugh a
little bit for sure, but it’s not something that will be in my mind the
next time I step to the free-throw line.’

VIDEO: Watch the 'worst free throw ever' here…

Play Video

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Wales must learn lessons from autumn internationals

Harsh lessons from autumn agony for Wales as Australia complete clean sweep

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 2 December 2012

For 79 minutes and 33 seconds it looked like Wales would finish a rotten autumn in some style, then Kurtley Beale changed everything with a final try to snatch a 14-12 victory for Australia.

The players stood apart on their own tryline, heads hanging and lungs burning, as Leigh Halfpenny lay sprawled on the floor receiving treatment after his courageous attempt to stop the attack.

It was a brutal, ugly metaphor for where Welsh rugby is right now.

Fortunately, Halfpenny’s neck injury was not serious and he was released from hospital on Sunday. But the team itself does need treatment because some harsh truths have been exposed this autumn.

Dejected: Wales slumped to four defeats in the autumn internationals

Dejected: Wales slumped to four defeats in the autumn internationals

BREAK THE PATTERN

The best game Wales played this year was their first: a blistering start to their Grand Slam Six Nations campaign against Ireland in Dublin. Back in February, they were still on a high from the World Cup and had yet to start choking on the suffocating pressure of the Cardiff bubble.

Against Australia, they recaptured the intensity and precision of that form but the pattern of the year still reads five straight victories, a jolly against the Barbarians and then seven straight defeats.

Scrum-half Mike Phillips described Welsh rugby as a soap opera and for a decade there has been an extraordinary pattern of peaks and troughs — 10 defeats in a row (2002-03), eight wins (2004-05), five defeats (2006-07), five wins (2008), five defeats (2010), then this bizarre year.

DON’T BE A FIT FLOP

There is no point being the fitter side if you are not playing at a pace and intensity that is pushing your opponents beyond their physical limits. The backs lost on average four per cent of their body fat and put on 5kg of muscle during 30 training sessions in 10 days before the autumn, but they failed to exploit that superior fitness.

Late show: Kurtley Beale of Australia scores a last minute against Wales

Late show: Kurtley Beale of Australia scores a last minute against Wales

Until Saturday, in every meeting with a southern hemisphere side this year Wales had been ambushed by the early pace of the game. It is like setting a treadmill to sprint in the gym and then trying to jump on.

This time, despite Australia having 74 per cent possession in the opening quarter, Wales were very aggressive defensively and it put them straight in the game.

BE SMARTER AT THE DEATH

Wales have developed a wicked habit of clutching defeat from the jaws of victory. Three times this year they have lost to the Wallabies in the dying seconds — the total deficit is 13 points in their last four meetings — and it comes down to performing basic skills under pressure.

Warren Gatland talked about closing out the tightest Test matches. ‘It was obvious to us in the stands that they were going to use the ball,’ he said. ‘A couple of players weren’t in the front line defensively at the end. They’ve exposed us.’ Time and time again Wales contrive to lose from winning situations.

THE GATLAND EFFECT

The players have made every effort to play down his absence but the stark results tell their own story. Even though Gatland has overseen two defeats at the end of the autumn since returning, the spike in performance says Wales are back to their best with him at the helm.

Main man: Wales improved with Warren Gatland back at the helm

Main man: Wales improved with Warren Gatland back at the helm

The problem now is that he is gone again until after the Lions tour. He brings an X factor as a coach, coming up with ideas like a 13-man lineout against the All Blacks.

He has never done a huge amount of hands-on coaching — he has assembled a fine group of coaches to do precisely that — but his presence as head honcho undeniably gives the players a psychological edge. It becomes a weakness when he walks away.

VITAL STATISTICS

You cannot slip off one-on-one tackling against the southern hemisphere sides. Wales missed 22 against the All Blacks and 15 against Australia. Only Fiji, Scotland and Argentina had worse tackling statistics this autumn. It is uncharacteristic of a team that prides itself on defence.

Sorely missed: Dan Lydiate

Sorely missed: Dan Lydiate

Dan Lydiate, a maniac when it comes to tackling, was sorely missed and his absence affected the balance of the back row. In attack, Wales made three clean breaks per match, but their opponents made seven.

At times the match resembled a really impressive tennis rally without anybody actually hitting a winner. Wales have to find a killer instinct from somewhere. They have to make line breaks count.

MONEY MATTERS

While the regional game is on a financial precipice, even the national team have not been able to fill the Millennium Stadium all autumn. The visit of the All Blacks was a few thousand short, while 25,000 and 30,000 empty seats stagnated the atmosphere of the Argentina and Samoa matches.

Meanwhile, the players have saved the Welsh Rugby Union at least 500,000 in win bonuses over the past six months. As for absentees, the side run 80 to 90 per cent of their training drills in first-team combinations, but with so many players injured or flying off to France for club duty, preparations have been severely disrupted.

FLYING SOLO

It tells you everything about Rhys Priestland’s year that he has slipped from the No 1 sexiest man in Wales to seventh. He lost his way and his swagger during the Six Nations and has been under relentless pressure since.

But two weeks ago he started seeing the team psychologist and that may just be the secret. Against Australia he showed glimmers of his old self. He has been picked out as the fly-half to take Wales to the 2015 World Cup and has a bespoke coaching regime to harness his talent including individual sessions with a running specialist.

In the playmaker role his form determines the team’s success: when he plays well, Wales play well.

NFL viagra secret: Chicago Bears star Brandon Marshall reveals on-field boost

Why are NFL stars so pumped up They take VIAGRA, claims Chicago Bears ace

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UPDATED:

11:49 GMT, 30 November 2012

Professional sportsmen have been glugging Red Bull and popping caffeine pills for some time now in a desperate attempt for a last-minute pick-up before a match.

But it seems American footballers have taken that drive for peak performance to a new level, at least according to one player.

No wonder, he's smiling: Chicago Bears star Brandon Marshall claims NFL players take Viagra to boost their on-field performance

No wonder, he's smiling: Chicago Bears star Brandon Marshall claims NFL players take Viagra to boost their on-field performance

NFL Viagra secret revealed

Chicago Bears’ Brandon Marshall claims NFL stars are taking Viagra before games to boost on-field performance.

Marshall told the Mirror: ‘Some guys will do whatever they can to get an edge. I’ve heard of some crazy stories.

‘I’ve heard of guys using Viagra, seriously. Because the blood is supposedly thin, some crazy stuff.

‘It’s kind of scary with some of these chemicals that are in some of these thins, so you have to be careful.’

Up for it: Viagra is legal in the USA, provided it is prescribed by a doctor

Up for it: Viagra is legal in the USA, provided it is prescribed by a doctor

From a sports science perspective, the pills would work in a similar way as they do in the bedroom. The pills relax and widen blood vessels, in turn speeding the flow of oxygen to the muscles and boosting performance.

Viagra is legal in the USA provided it is prescribed by a doctor — it is even advertised on American television by former NFL coaches.

Track World Cup nightmare for Jason Kenny

Kenny crashes spectacularly as hosts' Track World Cup campaign falters

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UPDATED:

00:00 GMT, 18 November 2012

Three-time Olympic champion Jason Kenny crashed at high speed on day two of the Track World Cup in Glasgow as the hosts missed out on gold on another eventful day at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

Jess Varnish and Becky James, who combined to win team sprint gold on day one, won individual sprint silver and bronze, respectively, but Kenny's bid for the keirin title ended when he hit the Siberian pine at 75 kilometres per hour.

The 24-year-old from Bolton was able to ride around to show there was no significant damage and is scheduled to compete in the sprint on Sunday.

Taking a tumble: Home favourite Jason Kenny crashed out of the keirin final

Taking a tumble: Home favourite Jason Kenny crashed out of the keirin final

Taking a tumble: Home favourite Jason Kenny crashed out of the keirin final

British Cycling sprint coach Iain Dyer said: 'He looks a bit second hand and he feels a little bit second hand. Nothing's broken. He's taken a lot of skin off. That skinsuit's already in the bin.'

The Olympic sprint champion was supreme in the early rounds, but had to wait for his chance in the final due to a temperamental motor-paced Derny bike.

When the race did get under way at the third attempt, Kenny was well positioned with one lap to go and was making his move on the back straight when he lost his balance and tumbled to the track.

Kenny took Quentin Lafargue with him and both riders were quickly on their feet nursing skin abrasions, with the Frenchman undergoing assessment by medical staff.

Stefan Boetticher of Germany avoided the incident to win ahead of Peter Lewis (Jayco) and Takashi Sakamoto (Japan).

Dyer added: 'He (Kenny) got caught in a bit of a drag race with Stefan Boetticher, the German guy, which he didn't really want to take on at that point on the race.

'He was looking for the wheel, looking to get into the slipstream again and he was keeping an eye on Lafargue behind him.

'I think both Boetticher and Jason were looking behind at exactly the same time, both moved in the same direction and Jason never saw it coming, he just smelt it and heard it.'

Partisan crowd: Jessica Varnish and Rebecca James went against each other in sprint semi-final

Partisan crowd: Jessica Varnish and Rebecca James went against each other in sprint semi-final

Partisan crowd: Jessica Varnish and Rebecca James went against each other in sprint semi-final

Kenny was not the only Briton to crash out of the keirin.

Lewis Oliva, competing for Wales-Team USN, crashed on the final corner of his semi-final heat and was taken away on a stretcher. He was diagnosed with mild concussion and will be monitored by team medical staff overnight.

There was a happier conclusion to the day for Varnish.

The 21-year-old focused on the specialist starting role for the team sprint for the Olympics, but her 2012 Games ended in disappointed following a takeover infringement.

Following the retirement of Victoria Pendleton, Varnish is diversifying and riding all four sprint events in Glasgow.

She qualified second fastest and negotiated the early rounds successfully before edging to a 2-1 semi-final win over James.

Varnish was then beaten 2-0 by Kristina Vogel of Germany in the final.

'It was good,' Varnish said. 'It's nice to be actually in a final. I just want to be able to step it up another level now. I'm not in the best shape, so I've not played all my cards.

'It's really nice to gain experience at the moment and build on to the worlds (in Minsk in February).'

James, who like Varnish is to ride the keirin on the final day, responded from her semi-final defeat to beat Hong Kong's Lee Wai Sze in the ride-off for bronze.

The 20-year-old Commonwealth medallist said: 'It's been such a hard day, getting three rides up against Jess was really tough and then missing out on the gold/silver ride-off was hard.

'I had to get my head round it and I did not want to come away with no medal, so I'm really happy.'

Jonathan Dibben placed fifth in the men's omnium as Germany's Lucas Liss won by one point from world champion Glenn O'Shea of Australia.

Dibben was third in the final event, the one-kilometre time-trial, which Liss won to secure gold.

The men's individual pursuit was won by Denmark's Lasse Hansen in four minutes 20.875 seconds, with Ireland's Martyn Irvine second in 4mins 22.745secs, a significant personal best.

Olympic and world champion Laura Trott was in fourth place at the halfway stage of the women's omnium.

The 20-year-old was fourth in the flying lap, ninth in the points race and won the elimination race, an event she appears to have mastered.

Australia's Ashlee Ankudinoff was in first place, but just a point better off than Trott with three events to go.

Saracens 29 Wasps 24

Saracens 29 Wasps 24: Hodgson to the rescue as Sarries edge to victory

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UPDATED:

17:10 GMT, 4 November 2012

Former England fly-half Charlie Hodgson kicked a magnificent seven penalties from seven attempts but it was not quite enough to enable Saracens to depose Harlequins at the top of the Aviva Premiership.

Hodgson's only kicking miss was a conversion attempt from the touchline after lock Alistair Hargreaves scored Sarries' only try.

South African Hargreaves had an afternoon of mixed fortunes, grabbing his charge-down try and being sin-binned before being carried off on a stretcher following a controversial challenge by James Haskell.

Main man: Charlie Hodgson kicked Saracens to victory

Main man: Charlie Hodgson kicked Saracens to victory

Saracens' other three points came from a Nils Mordt penalty while Hodgson was off the pitch receiving treatment for a cut.

But Wasps pushed them all the way, with tries from winger Tom Varndell and scrum-half Charlie Davies, three penalties and a drop goal from Nick Robinson and a conversion by his replacement Tommy Bell not quite enough to stop their four-match winning run in all competitions from coming to an end.

Saracens, who needed to win by seven points to go top, were without Owen Farrell, Brad Barritt, Chris Ashton, Mouritz Botha, Alex Goode and Mako Vunipola through England call-ups while Wales prop Rhys Gill was ruled out by injury.

Former England winger David Strettle served early notice on Wasps, slicing through their defence before opposite number Christian Wade produced a try-saving tackle.

But Wasps conceded a penalty, allowing Hodgson to kick Sarries ahead after only four minutes.

The visitors took only two minutes to hit back with the opening try.

Diving over: Saracens' Alistair Hargreaves scores a try against Wasps

Diving over: Saracens' Alistair Hargreaves scores a try against Wasps

Wade found full-back Hugo Southwell, whose well-timed pass provided Varndell – this season's leading Premiership tryscorer – with the space to outpace Richard Wigglesworth on the outside and touch down in the corner for his seventh of the campaign.

Robinson missed the conversion and a long-range penalty before landing a calmly-struck 30-metre drop goal in the 20th minute.

But two penalties in the following three minutes from Hodgson edged the home side 9-8 ahead.

Hargreaves, showing remarkable agility for a big man, scored Saracens' sole try in the 28th minute.

The giant South African second row made the most of his 6ft 7in frame to charge down an attempted clearance kick by Davies from the base of a Wasps scrum and then won the chase to dive on the ball and claim the try, but Hodgson was off-target with the difficult conversion.

Centre Elliot Daly was narrowly wide with a long-range penalty shot for Wasps before Robinson landed one from closer in.

Robinson struck again to level the scores in the final minute of the first half after tryscorer Hargreaves was yellow-carded by referee JP Doyle for going over the top at a ruck.

Over and out: Hargreaves was taken off with neck injury

Over and out: Hargreaves was taken off with neck injury

Two minutes into the second half Hodgson went off with a blood injury after Saracens were awarded a penalty and Mordt came on to kick the goal and put the home side back in front.

Six minutes later Robinson levelled the scores with his third penalty.

England back-row forward Haskell incurred the wrath of the home crowd with a huge hit on Hargreaves, who received treatment on the pitch for several minutes before being carried off.

But the only sanction from referee Doyle was a penalty, which Hodgson struck from 40 metres to put his side back in front at 20-17.

Two more penalties from Hodgson in a three-minute spell stretched Sarries' lead to nine points.

Robinson's replacement Bell was just short with a penalty from inside his own half before Hodgson struck his seventh from two metres inside the Wasps half.

But Wasps battled to the end and they were rewarded with a losing bonus point when Davies squeezed over for a last-gasp try, converted by Bell.

Gianni Paladini resumes Birmingham City takeover talks

Paladini resumes talks over potential Birmingham takeover

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UPDATED:

22:06 GMT, 27 October 2012

Gianni Paladini has resumed talks with Peter Pannu over his potential takeover at Birmingham City – and the Italian is hoping to work around ownership rules that would block his purchase.

The former chief executive of Queen's Park Rangers has re-opened negotiations following an aborted bid to purchase the Championship club last month.

In talks: Gianni Paladini looking to take over at Birmingham

In talks: Gianni Paladini looking to take over at Birmingham

Paladini is looking to broker a deal
with the St Andrew's club's Chinese owners, a difficult task as they
have set a hefty price.

The Italian is trying to secure the
Championship club for a total package of around 25m but of more
interest to Football League officials will be his involvement.

The authorities contacted
Nottingham Forest when it became apparent last summer that Paladini
might be linked to the purchase of the former European Cup winners from
the estate of late owner Nigel Doughty.

However, it appears that a third
party is fronting the latest offer in a deliberate attempt to put
distance between the former agent and his designs on the Championship
strugglers.

A source said: 'Paladini's move is deliberate and will test the new Football League rules to the full.'

Other interested parties are also
eager to strike a deal but are waiting until owner Carson Yeung's trial
for money-laundering has been completed.

The one unknown is the financial state of the club's parent company, Birmingham Inernational Holdings Ltd.

It remains in severe difficulties and any potential collapse could spark a fierce war for control.

Paladini is aware that he has
rivals and is keen to tie up a deal with Pannu, recently appointed as
chief executive of BIHL, before Yeung's trial or the surface of any
other problems with the holding company.