Tag Archives: final

Basle 1 Chelsea 2: David Luiz strikes winner after shocking penalty decision

Basle 1 Chelsea 2: Luiz strikes with last kick of the game after Swiss side level with questionable penalty… but the Brazilian shouldn't have been on the pitch

PUBLISHED:

20:58 GMT, 25 April 2013

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UPDATED:

21:15 GMT, 25 April 2013

David Luiz scored a free-kick at the death to earn a crucial Europa League away win against Basle in the first-leg semi-final.

Moments earlier he had committed a late, high lunge, which should have seen him red carded.

It followed a shocking decision by referee Pavel Kralovec, when he adjudged Cesar Azpilicueta to have committed a foul in the area when it was clear he had not.

Fabian Schar struck from the spot to cancel out Victor Moses' first half header and seemingly earn Basle a draw.

Last gasp: David Luiz struck with what proved to be the final kick of the game

Last gasp: David Luiz struck with what proved to be the final kick of the game

Pure delight: Luiz celebrates wildly after scoring with a low free-kick

Pure delight: Luiz celebrates wildly after scoring with a low free-kick

Tucked away: Fabian Schar converted after a penalty was awarded for very little at all

Tucked away: Fabian Schar converted after a penalty was awarded for very little at all

Match facts

Basle: Sommer, Philipp Degen, Schar, Dragovic, Park, Fabian Frei, Salah, El-Nenny, Die, Stocker, Streller.

Subs: Vailati, David Degen, Diaz, Cabral, Sauro, Steinhofer, Zoua.

Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Luiz, Hazard, Ramires, Lampard, Moses, Torres.

Subs: Turnbull, Mata, Oscar, Mikel, Cahill, Benayoun, Bertrand.

Ref: Pavel Kralovec (Czech Republic)

More to follow.

Away goal: Victor Moses' (right) header opened the scoring for Chelsea

Away goal: Victor Moses' (right) header opened the scoring for Chelsea

Topsy-turvy: The Nigerian winger celebrated in style

Topsy-turvy: The Nigerian winger celebrated in style

Topsy-turvy: The Nigerian winger celebrated in style with some of his trademark acrobatics

Aiming high: Rafa Benitez wants to take Chelsea to Europa League glory this season

Aiming high: Rafa Benitez wants to take Chelsea to Europa League glory this season

Magic man: Until he was substituted, Eden Hazard was the star of the show

Magic man: Until he was substituted, Eden Hazard was the star of the show

Frustration: Marco Streller reacts after missing a good opportunity as Chelsea sat back

Frustration: Marco Streller reacts after missing a good opportunity as Chelsea sat back

Heineken Cup: Harlequins 12 Munster 18: Quins European hopes ended by Irish

Harlequins 12 Munster 18: Resurgent O'Connell jumps back into the Lions queue

PUBLISHED:

15:17 GMT, 7 April 2013

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UPDATED:

21:09 GMT, 7 April 2013

It may have been basic, but Munster strangled the English champions and were led by Paul O’Connell, who jumped and tackled his way back into Lions contention.

The 2009 Lions captain led a second-half charge which left Chris Robshaw and his Premiership men looking stunned in front of a full house of 15,000.

Munster’s pack won the crucial collisions — paving the way for another rejuvenated Irish master, Ronan O’Gara, to kick six penalties — four in the space of 14 minutes after the interval.

Resurgent: Paul O'Connell (centre) produced a dominant performance that must have put him back in Lions contention

Resurgent: Paul O'Connell (centre) produced a dominant performance that must have put him back in Lions contention

Quins’ previous Heineken Cup quarter-final four years ago, ended in the ‘Bloodgate’ scandal and a 6-5 win for Leinster.

The ramifications will not be as seismic this time, but Quins’ season is now in danger of collapse after three successive Premiership defeats.

They had turned around 9-6 ahead to harbour hopes of reaching a first semi-final at the fourth attempt, but that belief was shattered by Munster’s start to the second half.

O’Gara, shaking off the dis-appointment of being dropped by Ireland during the Six Nations, calmly kicked four penalties to follow his two shots before the interval.

Thin red line: The Munster No 8 steals the ball from Quins No 8 Nick Easter at the lineout

Thin red line: The Munster No 8 steals the ball from Quins No 8 Nick Easter at the lineout

O’Connell led the pack to give watching Lions coach Warren Gatland a firm reminder of his class and strength. On this showing O’Connell, who missed Ireland’s Six Nations campaign due to a back complaint, is a candidate to lead the Lions again following his impressive stint on the 2009 tour to South Africa.

For the moment, the 33-year-old refuses to discuss the prospect. ‘I’ve got a little bit to go in terms of match fitness but this was another injury-free day and I’m delighted to be back,’ he said.
Munster coach Rob Penney believes O’Connell will be ‘humming’ by the time of the Lions’ crucial games in Australia.

Quins director of rugby Conor O’Shea was also full of praise for O’Connell and a Munster pack in which back-rowers Tommy O’Donnell and Peter O’Mahony were outstanding.

Thank Evans: Quins' New Zealand fly-half Nick Evans secures another three points during the home side's rampant start

Thank Evans: Quins' New Zealand fly-half Nick Evans secures another three points during the home side's rampant start

O’Shea said: ‘Paul was absolutely magnificent. They rallied around him and followed him.’

O’Shea now has the task of re-energising his own team. ‘We didn’t play the way we can play because we weren’t allowed,’ was his blunt assessment.

‘Munster bossed the start of the second half and from then on it was a very big mountain to climb.
‘Our job is to qualify for the Premiership play-offs. We will be written off, no doubt, but we will just have to learn.’

Such thoughts seemed unlikely when Quins took charge at the opening scrums.

Pull the other one: Nick Easter drags back Paul O'Connell by his shirt before bringing him down

Pull the other one: Nick Easter drags back Paul O'Connell by his shirt before bringing himdown

The pressure brought a 6-0 lead through two penalties from Nick Evans and it was Munster who looked likely to crack.

But there were no clear try-scoring chances and the match became increasingly nervy as O’Connell and his gang started to win the crucial decisions from French referee Jerome Garces.

A third penalty from Evans helped Quins limp to a 9-6 lead at half-time and Munster turned to play into a stiff wind.

That handicap looked to make them more focused and a brilliant period of pressure rugby was rewarded by O’Gara’s nerveless kicking. He took Munster to a lead of 18-9 after 56 minutes.

Red riding hood: Munster's famous support were out in force at the Stoop

Red riding hood: Munster's famous support were out in force at the Stoop

A fourth penalty from Evans raised Quins’ hopes in the 65th, only for Munster to produce some clinical ‘keep-ball’ rugby and close out the match — much to the delight of their big following.

O’Connell claimed his team had not talked about such tactics, although his smile said something else. ‘The maul worked well and our kicking game was outstanding — you can’t win these tight games without that,’ he said in praise of O’Gara.

O’Shea refused to blame referee Garces for Quins’ demise. ‘Sometimes you have to say that the better team won,’ he conceded.
Smash and grab: England and Quins Mike Brown is wrestled to the ground by Munster's James Coughlan

Smash and grab: England and Quins Mike Brown is wrestled to the ground by Munster's James Coughlan

Sorry, sir: Quins captain Chris Robshaw is lectured by French referee Jerome Garces

Sorry, sir: Quins captain Chris Robshaw is lectured by French referee Jerome Garces

Harry Redknapp gives Julio Cesar the nod to save Queens Park Rangers from relegation

Redknapp set to give Cesar the nod ahead of Green in bid to save QPR from Premier League relegation

By
Stuart Fraser

PUBLISHED:

12:23 GMT, 1 April 2013

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UPDATED:

12:24 GMT, 1 April 2013

Julio Cesar is tipped to be the man Harry Redknapp will rely on to save Queens Park Rangers' season during the relegation run-in.

The former Inter Milan goalkeeper, who joined as a free transfer during the summer and earns around 60,000-a-week, has been in scintillating form at times this season and grabbed the attention of plenty of Premier League clubs including Manchester United.

Well held: Cesar's good form at times this season looks like it has clinched him the No 1 shirt

Well held: Cesar's good form at times this season looks like it has clinched him the No 1 shirt

He has fought for the No 1 shirt with Robert Green all season, although the rivalry has been tapered by injuries, but will be given the job of helping keep QPR in the top flight for the final push.

Cesar has started in 21 Premier League matches to Green’s 11 and has kept five clean sheets to Green’s none.

Run-in: QPR's final eight Premier League games

Run-in: QPR's final eight Premier League games

The Brazilian has only dropped one ball all season — give him a catch success rate of 98 per cent — and has saved 74 per cent of shots to Green’s 60 per cent.

He has also made on average twice as many saves per game (4.1 saves per match).

Meanwhile, Harry Redknapp has been maths teacher as well as manager to his players this week.

The Queens Park Rangers boss reckons that four wins plus two draws equals Barclays Premier League survival.

On the eve of the short journey to Fulham, winger Andros Townsend insisted: ‘The gaffer has said he thinks 37 points might be enough and we feel we are capable of achieving it.

‘We’re a confident group of players and we’re playing well at the moment. We can really take the game to the opposition.’

QPR will have to find a way past Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, as his side aim for a top-10 finish.

Schwarzer, 40, has been instrumental in Fulham securing a mid-table berth with eight matches remaining this season and manager Martin Jol sees no reason why he cannot continue to do a first-rate job at Craven Cottage.

Jol has opened contract talks with Schwarzer and believes the Australian can continue playing until he is at least 42.

Calculations: Redknapp reckons four wins and two draws will see QPR safe

Calculations: Redknapp reckons four wins and two draws will see QPR safe

Wasps 24 Northampton 26: Christian Day scores late winner

Wasps 24 Northampton 26: Day breaks hosts' hearts with last-gasp winner

By
Ian Stafford

PUBLISHED:

17:54 GMT, 23 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:11 GMT, 23 March 2013

Northampton 's pack dominated their Wasps counterparts to such an extent in this battle for the play-offs that three Wasps forwards were sent to the sin bin.

But it took Christian Day's finalplay try to steal victory. Stephen Myler still needed to land the simple conversion to confirm the win but Day's score – assisted by returning England star Dylan Hartley, who shoved his team-mate over the line – also earned a bonus point that could prove crucial.

Wasps, seconds away from a remarkable win considering they played with one man down for nearly half an hour and were crushed up front, now find themselves seven points adrift of fourth-placed Northampton.

Lee 'n' easy: Lee Dickinson scores the Saints' second try

Lee 'n' easy: Lee Dickinson scores the Saints' second try

Day's final score summed up a
physical clash between two teams featuring a host of players who either
lost for England last week in Cardiff or who are pushing hard for a
place in the June tour to Argentina.

Day's try resulted from a driving maul as the Wasps forwards spent much of the game going backwards and conceding penalties.

Saints would have been kicking themselves if they had lost, which they nearly did thanks to a second-half comeback from Wasps.

Losing director of rugby Dai Young
said: 'Fair play to Northampton, they had a real weapon in their maul
and they used it. It's hard to play against them with 15 men and even
harder with 14 for much of the game, especially when you don't get the
field position or the ball.

Heading for glory: Elliot Daly (right) of London Wasps scores his team's second try

Heading for glory: Elliot Daly (right) of London Wasps scores his team's second try

'That said, having got our noses in
front, I take issue with the last three penalties awarded to them,
although I'm not saying Saints didn't deserve to win. The bottom line is
that if you can't stop a driving line out you'll struggle.'

Northampton director of rugby Jim
Mallinder was more relieved than happy, saying: 'If you have a weapon
like that, then you use it. We controlled the game but Wasps can score
points quickly.

'We gave away some penalties and almost threw it away. But we got a bonus point win and are now in a good position.'

Snow stopping me: George Pisi evades Daly's tackle

Snow stopping me: George Pisi evades Daly's tackle

The portents were clear from as early
as the eighth minute, when referee David Rose awarded Saints a penalty
try and sent Thomas Rhys Thomas to the bin.

Eight minutes later, Lee Dickson
flopped over after another powerful maul. Wasps hit back through a
long-range Elliott Daly penalty and then a classic Tom Varndell try,
sprinting in from 50 yards to score his 12th of the season and his 72nd
Premiership try in total. Varndell is now only four behind record scorer
Mark Cueto.

Snow joke: Daly lefty dejected after Saints stole the win at the death

Snow joke: Daly lefty dejected after Saints stole the win at the death

A conversion and two penalties from
Stephen Jones meant the home side were only three points down at the
break, despite a Hartley try from yet another destructive maul.

This built into a five-point
advantage after another Jones penalty and a stunning finish from Daly in
the corner which will surely not go unnoticed by the England selectors.

But after Ashley Johnson received his
team's third yellow card, Day ended a period of sustained Northampton
pressure by snatching the game at the death.

NextGen Series: Arsenal and Chelsea on course to meet in semi-finals, while Aston Villa play Sporting Lisbon

Arsenal and Chelsea on collision course in NextGen semi-finals as Villa face Sporting

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

16:06 GMT, 21 March 2013

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UPDATED:

16:06 GMT, 21 March 2013

Arsenal and Chelsea are on a collision course in the semi-finals of the NextGen Series.

If the young Gunners side can beat CSKA Moscow at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night, they will face their London rivals in the last four.

Aston Villa, who beat Olympiakos 1-0 last night to progress, will play Sporting Lisbon, who beat Tottenham 5-3, in the other semi-final.

London Derby: Chelsea, who beat Juventus 4-1 in the quarter-finals, could face Arsenal in the last four of the NextGen Series

London Derby: Chelsea, who beat Juventus 4-1 in the quarter-finals, could face Arsenal in the last four of the NextGen Series

NextGen Series

QUARTER-FINAL RESULTS

(click for match report)

Chelsea 4 Juventus 1
Aston Villa 1 Olympiakos 0
Tottenham Hotspur 3 Sporting Lisbon 5 (aet)

REMAINING QUARTER-FINAL
Arsenal v CSKA Moscow – Monday March 25, 7pm (Emirates Stadium)

SEMI-FINAL DRAW
Chelsea v Arsenal/CSKA Moscow – Friday March 29, 3pm local time

Aston Villa v Sporting Lisbon – Friday March 29, 8pm local time

Both at Stadio G. Sinigaglia, Como, Italy

Both semis, as well as the final and third place play-off, will be played at Como FC in Italy over the Easter weekend.

Chelsea booked their place in the last four with a 4-1 win over Juventus last Sunday, thanks to goals from Lewis Baker, Alex Kiwomya and Islam Feruz.

Villa got through last night thanks to a first half strike from Graham Burke.

Sporting beat Spurs in a rollercoaster
match played at Leyton Orient – trailing 3-1 with minutes to spare,
they forced extra time thanks to a Laste Dombaxe penalty and Roman
Michael-Percil's last gasp equaliser.

However,
the Portuguese side proved stronger in extra time, with further strikes
from Alexandre Guedes and a 45-yard volley by defender Atud Fokobo
ending hopes of an all-English final four.

Arsenal will hope to join Chelsea and Villa when they host CSKA on Monday evening.

Winner: Graham Burke (centre) scored the winner as Aston Villa beat Olympiakos 1-0

Winner: Graham Burke (centre) scored the winner as Aston Villa beat Olympiakos 1-0

Dramatic game: Sporting's Ruben Semedo celebrates the penalty that restored his team's lead in extra time against Tottenham

Dramatic game: Sporting's Ruben Semedo celebrates the penalty that restored his team's lead in extra time against Tottenham

Six Nations 2013: Brian O"Driscoll cited for stamp on Simone Favaro

O'Driscoll cited for stamp on Italy openside Favaro during Ireland's Six Nations defeat

By
Duncan Bech, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

18:15 GMT, 18 March 2013

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UPDATED:

23:18 GMT, 18 March 2013

Brian O'Driscoll has been cited for stamping on Simone Favaro in Ireland's 22-15 RBS 6 Nations defeat by Italy on Saturday.

A brief statement issued by tournament
organisers confirmed that independent citing commissioner Aurwel Morgan
has decided the incident warranted further scrutiny.

The date and location for O'Driscoll's hearing has yet to be announced.

Ouch: Brian O'Driscoll was sin-binned for this stamp during Ireland's final Six Nations clash

Ouch: Brian O'Driscoll was sin-binned for this stamp during Ireland's final Six Nations clash

Cooling off: O'Driscoll spent ten minutes watching the match

Cooling off: O'Driscoll spent ten minutes watching the match

O'Driscoll was sent to the sin-bin for only the second time in his 14-year professional career in the first half of the match at the Stadio Olimpico.

The 34-year-old lifted his right leg and brought it down on to the chest of Favaro, the Italy openside, who yelled out in pain and writhed around on the turf.

The act was out of character for O'Driscoll, who has a fine disciplinary record, and was evidence of his frustration as Ireland slumped to a first Six Nations defeat by Italy.

However, he was lucky to have escaped a red card for an incident that clouded what is thought to have been his 125th and final Test in a green shirt.

Sendoff O'Driscoll could have appeared for the final time in the Six Nations

Sendoff O'Driscoll could have appeared for the final time in the Six Nations

The recommended suspension for a low
end stamping offence is two weeks, the mid range five weeks and top end
nine weeks, up to a maximum of one year.

While the offence was serious, O'Driscoll's lack of previous disciplinary issues will count in his favour.

It will be hoped by his province
Leinster that he is available for the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final
against Wasps on April 5 and for as much of their RaboDirect Pro 12
title push as possible.

A statement issued by the Six Nations
read: 'Brian O'Driscoll, the Ireland centre, has been cited by the
independent citing commissioner for an alleged stamping or trampling on
an opponent, contrary to Law 10.4 (b), in the RBS 6 Nations match
between Italy and Ireland on Saturday 16th March 2013. Details of the
Hearing will be announced later.'

Meanwhile, Ireland wing Luke Fitzgerald has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after he ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee against Italy.

India in control of second test with Australia after Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar take three wickets each

India in control as Jadeja and Kumar blow Australia away in Hyderabad

PUBLISHED:

12:16 GMT, 2 March 2013

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UPDATED:

12:16 GMT, 2 March 2013

India are in control of the second Test against Australia, who made 237 for nine declared in Hyderabad.

Part-time spinner Ravindra Jadeja picked up three wickets, while in his second Test Bhuvneshwar Kumar also took three, with Michael Clarke's 91 keeping the Australian innings together.

The visitors once again turned to their skipper after slumping to 63 for four, with the 31-year-old putting on 145 with Matthew Wade for the fifth wicket.

Three wickets: India's Ravindra Jadeja (left) had Australia in a spin on the first day of the second test in Hyderabad

Three wickets: India's Ravindra Jadeja (left) had Australia in a spin on the first day of the second test in Hyderabad

Second Test, Hyderabad

Australia first innings
237 for 9 declared (85.0 overs)
Clarke 91, Wade 62
B Kumar 3-53, Jadeja 3-33

India first innings
5-0 (3.0 overs)

However after Wade went for 62, the lower order failed to fire as Australia lost their final four wickets for just 29 runs.

And with little chance of numbers 10 and 11 James Pattinson and Xavier Doherty adding to the total Clarke brought them in so his bowlers could take advantage of conditions for the final three overs of the day.

However India were untroubled and finished five without loss.

Australia made two changes from the side which lost the opening match in Chennai with Glenn Maxwell making his Test debut coming in for Mitchell Starc, while Xavier Doherty replaced Nathan Lyon. The home side were unchanged.

After the visitors won the toss, Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled David Warner (six) with a delivery which cut back into the left-hander, then trapped Ed Cowan (four) lbw with a ball which may have pitched outside leg stump.

That left Australia 15 for two, with Phil Hughes and Shane Watson at the crease.

The
pair effected a mini-recovery, with the left-hander playing some
eye-catching late drives off the back foot, but Watson (23) then fell
lbw attempting to pull a ball which kept a little low with the score on
57.

Hughes (19) followed,
caught behind at the second attempt by Mahendra Singh Dhoni off the
bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin, before Wade and Clarke began the
Australian recovery.

Clarke looked comfortable at the crease, with a well-placed clip for four between two fielders indicative of his current form.

Wade
was less fluid, but equally determined, digging in at one end while his
skipper totted up the runs at the other as they moved Australia to 129
for four midway through the afternoon session.

Important innings: A 91 from captain Michael Clarke saved Australia from a humiliating total

Important innings: A 91 from captain Michael Clarke saved Australia from a humiliating total

Wade's confidence grew and when new bowler Jadeja came on to bowl, the wicketkeeper had no problem in hitting him back over his head for four.

After facing 95 balls, Clarke brought up his 26th Test half century with a single in the 48th over, edging his side closer towards 150.

On 52 India missed their best opportunity to dismiss Clarke as the skipper inside edged on his pad with the ball dropping to a diving Cheteshwar Pujara who got his fingers under the ball, but could not hang on.

Wade reached his half-century in the 55th over as Australia batted themselves back into the game.

Australia started the third session much as they ended the second, as the duo moved the score past 200 in the 65th over.

They could add just eight however before the hosts made a much-needed breakthrough. Wade cut one which was possibly too close to his body and was caught by Kumar at point for a 116-ball 62.

A sixth wicket did fall when Jadeja got one to turn away from Moises Henriques, who, playing to leg, missed the ball completely as it clipped the top of the stumps.

At 217 for six and with debutant Maxwell at the crease, the pressure once again was on Clarke.

He continued to bat sensibly, but his partner at the other end would make just 13 before he edged to Dhoni behind the stumps.

Peter Siddle was then soon walking back to the pavilion as he was caught on the crease by a low one from Harbhajan Singh for a 14-ball duck, leaving the visitors 236 for eight.

Clarke finally departed looking to up the rate with the tail, swinging across the line to Jadeja whose delivery kept low and hit the stumps.

India had little to worry about for the final three overs, with a Virender Sehwag boundary through gully off Siddle the highlight.

League One round-up: Swindon go top but Fabrizio Piccareta says he will resign in the morning

Piccareta claims he and Swindon's backroom staff will resign on Wednesday despite Robins going top

PUBLISHED:

22:38 GMT, 19 February 2013

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UPDATED:

23:22 GMT, 19 February 2013

Swindon assistant manager Fabrizio Piccareta claimed the club's backroom staff were all set to resign in the morning despite a 3-1 victory over Tranmere taking them to the top of League One.

Manager Paolo Di Canio quit yesterday citing off-field problems at the club and Piccareta revealed after the victory at Prenton Park the technical staff would follow suit.

Piccareta, who was put in charge for the trip to Tranmere, was adamant it would be his final game.

Going: Swindon beat Tranmere 3-1 but Fabrizio Piccareta will resign tomorrow

Going: Swindon beat Tranmere 3-1 but Fabrizio Piccareta will resign tomorrow

'After this game, this fantastic game
that everyone has witnessed, I want to tell you that this is our last
game as technical staff of this football club,' said Piccareta

'I want to highlight one thing. This
achievement that this fantastic team got tonight, so top of the league
and this victory has a name, and a surname and that is Paolo Di Canio.

'People must know that yesterday he
released a statement at 7pm, but until 5pm yesterday afternoon we were
together preparing for this game as usual, in the best professional way.

'And I just spoke to Paolo because he
just rang me to congratulate us and the players because he is absolutely
happy of what his team has achieved.'

Slow start: All the goals came in the second half at Prenton Park

Slow start: All the goals came in the second half at Prenton Park

He added: 'From tomorrow, I don't know what is
going on with Swindon Town Football Club but this was a very important
moment to say thanks to the Swindon Town fans that are amazing.

'Tomorrow morning we will resign
because we are here for Paolo Di Canio and we will follow Paolo Di Canio
everywhere. Even if he will coach Real Madrid or Luton Town.'

All the goals came in the second half at Prenton Park.

James Collins hit a fierce long-range opener for the Robins (48) with Gary Roberts (71) firing into the top left-hand corner of the goal from 25 yards to double the lead.

Gone: Paulo Di Canio resigned as Swindon Town manager on Monday

Gone: Paulo Di Canio resigned as Swindon Town manager on Monday

Tranmere pulled one back seven minutes later when Donervon Daniels slotted home from close range but any hopes of a comeback were dashed by Roberts' stunning long-range strike at the death.

In the other League One match, Oldham climbed out of the relegation zone with a 2-1 win at Stevenage.

James Dunne gave Stevenage a ninth-minute lead but the Latics hit back through Dean Furman (46) and a James Tarkowski header (60).

South Africa 2 Morocco 2

South Africa 2 Morocco 2: Hosts secure top spot after snatching last-gasp leveller

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

19:29 GMT, 27 January 2013

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UPDATED:

19:47 GMT, 27 January 2013

South Africa grabbed a late equaliser to draw 2-2 with Morocco on Sunday and take top spot in the final Group A table at the African Nations Cup.

Morocco, eliminated after drawing all three matches, were four minutes away from beating the hosts before defender Siyabonga Sangweni levelled.

Issam El Adoua opened the scoring for Morocco in the 10th minute at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Top of the group: South Africa's May Mahlangu celebrates his goal against Morocco

Top of the group: South Africa's May Mahlangu celebrates his goal against Morocco

South Africa players celebrate

May Mahlangu pulled South Africa level with a curling shot in the 71st minute only for substitute Abdelilah Hafid to restore Morocco's lead with a breakaway goal 11 minutes later.

South Africa will stay in Durban for their quarter-final against the runners-up in Group B who will be determined on Monday.

Close: Morocco came within minutes of earning their first win of the competition

Close: Morocco came within minutes of earning their first win of the competition

Close: Morocco came within minutes of earning their first win of the competition

Iker Casillas major doubt to face Manchester United

United handed Champions League boost as Casillas fights to return from broken bone

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

10:17 GMT, 24 January 2013

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UPDATED:

11:44 GMT, 24 January 2013

Iker Casillas is a major doubt for Real Madrid's Champions League double-header with Manchester United after breaking a bone in his hand.

The World Cup winner suffered the injury in his side's Copa del Rey quarter-final victory over Valencia on Wednesday when team-mate Alvaro Arbeloa kicked him while clearing a ball in the area.

Madrid will assess the injury before deciding what treatment is required while Adan Garrido is likely to deputise for the Spanish No 1.

Iker Casillas

Iker Casillas

Blow: Iker Casillas has broken a bone in his hand, making him unlikely to face Manchester United next month

Casillas will miss Sunday's La Liga clash with Getafe and the second leg against Valencia next week.

He is also also struggle to recover in time to face United at the Bernabeu on February 13.

'When I tried to close my fist it hurt. It's just the thumb. The fact that it has nothing to do with the wrist is good,' Casillas said.

Meanwhile, the club said in a statement: 'After carrying out initial x-rays…
it has been confirmed that the footballer Iker Casillas has suffered a
fracture at the base of the first metacarpal on his left hand.

'It will be assessed again by a specialist later today to decide what treatment will be followed.'

Real Madrid's goalkeeper Iker Casillas

Real Madrid's goalkeeper Iker Casillas

At war Casillas and manager Jose Mourinho have been at odds in recent weeks

The injury to a key figure comes at a delicate time for Mourinho with Europe's elite club competition resuming in just over two weeks.

Casillas has just been restored to the starting line up after the manager controversially dropped him for the league games either side of La Liga's winter break.

The decision provoked angry reactions from home fans and fuelled media speculation about possible dressing room rifts even though Real's defence has started to tighten up of late.

Casillas's injury follows reports in Spain that suggested he, along with team-mate Sergio Ramos, delivered an ultimatum to president Florentino Perez.

Main man: Casillas' injury will be a blow to the Spanish champions ahead of the Champions League last 16

Main man: Casillas' injury will be a blow to the Spanish champions ahead of the Champions League last 16

The pair want to see the back of the
Portuguese at the end of the season and have told Madrid chiefs that
they will seek their own move away should Mourinho be retained.

The 2011 Copa del Rey winners will face a high-profile clash with great rivals Barcelona if the holders can beat Malaga in their quarter-final second leg at the Rosaleda.

The scores are level at 2-2 after Malaga snatched a late equaliser in last week's first leg at the Nou Camp.